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AFFORDABLE vs CHEAP

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How do you deal with clients or new business pitches where they’re overly interested in the lowest price? We have a simple (and effective) response. In new business meetings we explain to prospective clients that, “We’re never the cheapest, but we’re almost always the least expensive.” We elaborate that when we get the assignment right the first time, it reduces the time (and money) clients have to spend on revises, rewrites and rethinks. How do you answer the question of price vs. value?

WHAT MAKES A WINNER?

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Get your team together over lunch (buy it for them – it’s a good morale booster) and give them the following fun and intriguing exercise. Ask them what products, services and brands stand out in their minds. Then when you’ve compiled the list, ask them what it is about those brands that make them standouts. Finally, ask the team whether your brand is a standout – and what you can do to get it on their list. Painful? Probably. Beneficial? Absolutely!

NEW MEDIA

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When was the last time you bought a magazine, watched a TV show or surfed a website you’d never read, watched or seen before? We all get caught up in our day-to-day schedules and assignments and it’s easy to forget that there are a million new worlds opening up all around us. (Here’s a link to the 59 (!) new magazines that launched in August, 2015.) Once a day, spend 15 minutes looking at a website you’ve never seen before. Once a week, buy a different magazine and read it cover to cover. You’ll be amazed how it will open you up to new ideas and opportunities. Where do you get your “fresh eyes” from?

YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW

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The unfolding story about Volkswagen’s software turns Cassandras into prophets. The NYTimes ran an article last week about professor Eben Moglen who’s been writing about the dangers of “proprietary software” for years. In sum, he says, “Proprietary software is an unsafe building material. You can’t inspect it.” (Pictured: the device that caught them.) Volkswagen’s blatant cheat was uncovered totally by accident. How many others aren’t being discovered? How do you assure your business is being run honestly and openly?

THE WRONG INVESTMENT

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VW apparently spent more time on deceptive software that emission controls. It cost the CEO his job; and it will likely cost VW dearly. We have written about the idea that “it’s never the crime it’s the cover-up.” Bad business is bad business. And it will likely always catch up with you. What do you do to make sure your business practices are as positive as they can be?

PEPSI TALK

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Pepsi just hooked up with the reticent speaker Marshawn Lynch via BBDO, the first commercial the agency has made for Pepsi in seven years. We’re not particularly impressed with the spot. But the fact that the longstanding Pepsi agency just got another crack at the brand, to us, is the big news here. What do you do to rebuild lost business relationships?

DOLLAR SHAVE

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Dollar Shave Club burst on to the Internet a couple of years ago with commercials so assaultive and funny it wasn’t really clear that the business was for real. Recent publicity indicates they’re now #2 in the US ahead of Schick. Another example of a challenger brand taking on the big boys with a benefit that resonates. When blades are locked up at drug stores, you know the price is way too high. Gillette’s “response” has been boring at best. What do you do to extend meaningful benefits that can break through to challenge the leaders?

CHIZZA

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Kids’ two favorite foods – maybe everyone’s favorite foods – pizza and chicken have finally come together. KFC is getting into the pizza business chicken style with Chizza. It’s only available in the Philippines for now. Gross you say? Or yummy, delicious? Either way, what mashups have you launched to get a piece of someone else’s category?

SNARKY TWEETS

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Brian Williams returned to the air on ailing MSNBC just in time to report on the Pope’s visit to the U.S. He was met with a number of snarky tweets. The old adage of no PR is bad PR certainly isn’t true here. But the bigger issue is how soon bad news often fades and how miraculously people are often able to rehabilitate their image. What do you do to recover from bad news?

LOGOS

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We’re generally not big fans of logo redesigns. Too often they’re updates for no apparent reason or the “brainchild” of newly-hired CMOs who want to make immediate brand impact without dealing with the company’s real problems. But in the case of Google’s recent redesign, we acknowledge some smart thinking. Fast Company has a lengthy posting as to the reasons. In a nutshell? It’s a “digital” redesign. The spacing between the letters is dynamic, so the word can compress. And it can become extremely small and still be legible. When you look at your company’s logo, are you asking 21st century questions about what the redesign should do?