Blog

January 2016 - PS Insights

TWEET, TWEET

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News is Twitter is preparing a variation on the 140 character limit that has been the heart, soul and original reason for being for the brand. Hmmm. There’s already a name for a Tweet that’s longer than 140 characters—it’s called a Blog. We understand that the economic model for Twitter has been a problem. But brevity is the soul of wisdom and are 10,000 character posts from Twitter really tweets?

CUSTOMER SERVICE

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It’s the small things that separate good customer service from great customer service. We were adding Buffer to our social media toolbox and inadvertently ordered the version for large corporations. We eMailed Buffer about the error and one of their CSR’s got back to us within an hour acknowledging our error and correcting the billing. Good customer service. But when we eMailed a “Thank you,” they went the extra distance. They asked us to let them know if the reversal showed up on our credit card and please let them know either way if it did or didn’t. It did. We replied. And they thanked us again. What little things do you do to separate good from great?

TOP TEN

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We were discussing media with a client CEO who was eager to reach consumers in America’s largest cities. And then he proceeded to rattle off a list of Rust Belt northern markets. When we politely corrected him, he was almost startled that in his years in the executive suite the top markets had shifted to the Sun Belt. “Atlanta? Houston? Really?” was his only response. How do you make sure you’re operating off the latest, most accurate data in your business?

THE RIGHT VOICE

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Most of the advertising we see is instantly forgettable. But occasionally, a marketer finds the right way to communicate to their target audience—and when they do, the results jump off the page. The new campaign for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas shows provocative images of 20- and 30-somethings and the tagline, “Just The Right Amount of Wrong.” (Which they wisely trademarked, as well.) A perfect calling card for a Vegas property looking for well-heeled Millennials. And a good follow on to “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” How do you find a brand positioning that resonates, has staying power and can find its voice in multiple expressions?

CLEANING MANIAC

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How do you create a great commercial for a general purpose cleaning product? The answer comes from a French ad agency in a video that’s quickly going viral. Part of what we appreciate is the honest tag line: “Almost Makes Cleaning Exciting.” No over-promise, just a simple, entertaining and engaging spot. How do you make your marketing almost exciting?

MILLENNIAL SMARTS

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Over the holidays, Steve’s son and daughter-in-law were in from LA and a lively discussion broke out about the new Star Wars movie. Steve and Paul (who, like George Lucas, hated it) finally asked them, “What’s the difference between taste and opinion?” To which Jenn quickly replied, “Taste is from the heart. Opinion is from the mind.” What criteria do you use to separate your taste from your opinion?

SELLING THE BOTTLE

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In their run-up to Super Bowl 50 (we’ll do a separate blog about the switch from Roman numerals), Bud Light has been running spots highlighting past Bud commercials and touting their commemorative 50th Super Bowl beer bottles. We guess their strategy is like the U.S. Mint and the U.S. Postal Service: If you want to raise revenue, get collectors to buy your product—whether they use it or not. What gimmicks are you using to raise your bottom line?

OUTTHINK

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IBM is back. With a huge commitment to their Watson technology and cognitive computing. 75 years ago, they launched the Computer Age with the classic tag line, “Think.” 40 years later, Apple launched its iMac trying to one-up IBM with their tag line, “Think Different.” Now IBM’s new Watson campaign ends with the tag line “Outthink.” Subtle, but accurate. How are you outthinking your competition?

GOOD-ENOUGH-ISM

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An insidious process has infected the New York City landscape: A developer announces a new project with great fanfare (World Trade Center rebuild, Downtown Brooklyn redevelopment, etc.) and presents an extraordinary architectural model designed by a major starchitect like Frank Gehry or Daniel Libeskind. The bravura work helps earn zoning variances and community approval. But with each subsequent step of the project, the spectacular work gets redesigned, diminished and, typically, the “name” architect is either fired or quits in disgust. What the city and the neighborhood is left with is…mediocrity. In a recent NYTimes article about the latest (fifth) proposal for a new Penn Station in New York City, Mary W. Rowe, EVP of the Municipal Art Society said it bluntly: “I worry that we’re getting into incremental good-enough-ism. This lack of ambition is distressing to us…It should reach the highest standards of design. I mean, we are New York City.” How do you prevent your ambitious projects from becoming “good enough?”