November 2015 - PS Insights


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US-Russia? China-India? Phooey. The thrilling new space race is Elon Musk/Jeff Bezos/Richard Branson. While Bezos’s successful landing of Blue Origin seems to put him in the lead, we vote for Richard Branson, whose Virgin Galactic already has more than 700 cash deposits for seats on his $200,000 suborbital space excursion. So we now know the answer to the question, “What would you do with a billion dollars?” It seems tech nerds want what they’ve wanted since they were six: their own private spaceship. If you had the money, what dream(s) would you pursue?


Posted by | Uncategorized | No Comments reported that hiring at small businesses “screeched to a halt in October” citing a report by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. According to the report, owners added a net zero workers per firm (1,400 surveyed) down from 0.05 workers per firm in September (not much to brag about, either). While economists and Wall Street might feel bullish about the economy, Main Street continues to have its doubts. How are you promoting and working with small businesses in today’s market?


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We’ve written before about “Spec” being a 4-letter word. Now Zulu Alpha Kilo –a Toronto (agency? Freelancer? Production company? We have no idea from their website) has taken a bold step with a short video addressing the absurdities of spec work. 1.5 million people have viewed this satire where a “client” calls on different businesses such as a restaurant, coffee shop and framing store and attempts to get them to fill out an RFP or serve him a spec meal or ice cream cone. Will ZAK change the prevailing attitude? We doubt it. But we salute their attempt. How do you deal with requests for spec work?


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A report from the BBC last week highlighted an Italian company that surveyed its employees about their main concerns. The #1 response was, “Too much eMail.” As a result, the company has asked everyone to stop sending internal eMails for one week and to try talking to each other. Ironically, the company sent out an eMail announcing the experiment. How do you manage the overwhelming digital flow in your organization?


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Target stores certainly goofed with a new Christmas sweater that reassigned OCD to mean “Obsessive Christmas Disorder.” Neither funny nor smart. But they say they’ll keep on selling it and we should all lighten up. Making fun of anxiety disorders is certainly not in the spirit of giving. What marketing overreach have you done that you wish you could take back?


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A&P has gone bankrupt and is now closing all its stores. Various supermarkets are taking over individual properties. The strategy has been to close the stores for a day and reopen as the new branded store the next day. It’s efficient and minimizes disruption. But it’s also disappointing to see that, for the most part, only the brand name changes. The supermarket shopping experience remains creaky, user-unfriendly and decidedly rear view mirror. What do you do and what do you wish the supermarket industry would do to update and improve customer experience?


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So McDonald’s has finally turned some positive news and positive business numbers. All day breakfast is winning. To millennials, breakfast is not a time of day. It’s a menu desire whenever they want it. Breakfast is a McDonald’s menu strength and now it’s a business strength, too. What do you do to read your target audience needs, mine your assets and put your best offering forward?


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Being visible has a price to pay. The latest brouhaha has people angry at Starbucks for their annual Christmas cups. It seems people want more Christmas cues on the cup. A simple red tone with the green logo just won’t do. It’s a perfectly good cup to us. What other minutiae do you find customers attacking?


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We were impressed with Jonathan Mindenhall’s recent presentation on airbnb. As a company committed to shared experiences it struck us that he is the perfect CMO for the company. It’s not surprising to us that Mindenhall’s last job was at Coca-Cola. The airbnb work seems to us to be a perfect follow on to Coke’s Open Happiness. airbnb’s “Belong Anywhere” feels a lot to us like “Open Humanity.” What do you do to wrap your brand in higher order experiences?