Thursday, October 30, 2008

Duarte Design Annual Pumkin contest

Duarte Design, revered by Garr Reynolds on Presentation Zen, each year have a Halloween Lantern Competition. The designs get better and better each year. Truly creative companies always run these type of annual events. Does your business, group of friends, family do something similar? If not why not? Accountants, tree surgeons, builders, bin men and all use their creative skills shouldn't you be encouraging them?

People who can use their whole brain are more productive and are more likely to give your company the edge which will make a difference in these time the media are calling a recession.

What can you do to stimulate your team/friends/life.

What ever it is do it today!

Six things to remember when you have a stand at a trade exhibition

Yesterday I went to the Interbuild exhibition at the NEC. I'm not a builder but was there because several of my agencies clients where exhibiting. Walking around the massive hanger that is the NEC I was amazed by the amount of money, time and energy companies waste at exhibitions.

I've done exhibitions myself before and they are very expensive and are really hard to quantify the success of. There are a few things that should be considered before booking your companies expensive slot. Here we go.

  1. Have a clear goal. Most of the exhibiting companies had done all the work, complex stand, loads of staff, shiny brochures, boxes full of pens, widgets and competition entries - you know the score. Thing is their company hadn't given the staff a reason to be there. There they stood not really knowing what to do. Am I collecting names, ensuring I get rid of all the pens/brochures/widgets etc, am I pushing a new product. Hardly anyone knew.
  2. Look interested. Most people on stands were bored, twiddling their thumbs, texting, picking their nose etc. Look, if you're bored and un-interested then why the hell should a slightly nervous visitor come to your stand? Would you approach someone who looked like they had an ASBO but what wearing a suit? No, so why are you doing it at a very expensive exhibition?
  3. Get people on the stand. You're there to speak to people that's the whole point to ensure you do it. If things are quiet leave your stand and venture into the isles if they're really quiet wander around the exhibition yourself. Engage people, pull then into your stand. The more you get on to the stand the more passers by will want to come to the stand too. People are nosey to see what others find so interesting.
  4. Don't waste money on a flashy stand unless it was a purpose. Lots of the stands looked like they were designed by Norman Foster! Lovely to look at but they had no tie back to the product, brand or exhibition. They were cold and uninviting and the staff, yes them again looked bewildered and lost. Save cash on the stand but ensure you have a well thought out reason for people to come to speak to you.
  5. Have knowledgeable staff on the exhibition stand. So many stands had, sorry to say this, "Dolly birds" on the stand. At Interbuild I can see how this tactic works after all the place is full of male builders. But once people have been to the stand, ogled the girls and left a business card to win a bottle of Champers, have really got a good lead? The answers probably not. Save the cash and save the poor girls dignity too. Have people who know what they are talking about who can finish the lead and ensure that when you follow-up that lead they'll remember you for your knowledge and great products, rather than the eye-candy.
  6. You are going to follow-up those leads aren't you?! So many get put in a drawer when you drag yourself back to the office after a hard few days at the show. What a waste of time and money. Ensure you follow -up all the relevant leads and lose all the time wasters. That includes all the bag/pen/widget/competition entries. You don't need or want millions of leads if each day you get 10 good leads and convert 2 into orders later then you'll have an amazing conversion rate.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Is it just me?

Is it just me or can no one else see the "Smile" on the new Pepsi logo? I've looked and looked but I can't see what's supposed to be a smile. Clearly a lot of work and cash has gone into it but all seems a waste. If it's supposed to lift sales I'd say that's a waste of time too. Coke has a clear lead and there's no changing the majority of people. Pepsi need to build on thier story not tey to hide behind a new logo becasue they've run out of ideas.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What if... We all refuse the recession

Each morning on Radio 4 more and more news comes in of the world wide recession. In reality there's not much I alone can do about the recession.

I realise that I'm only small and even if I put everything and every penny I've ever made or am likely to make into a bank or business it would absolutely no difference at all. I like most people of the world am small fry.

But what if...

But what if all us small people did something amazing. What if we all refuse the recession? I know it sounds fanciful and impossible but think about it a bit more. All this mess has been made by only a few people who someone gave a load of cash and power to. What if a huge number of people got together and collectively made a difference. What if we all refuse to have a recession or change how we live so that we don't care and don't let the recession effect us? What would all the big wigs do then? How would they cope with the fact that their cock-ups and messes didn't matter to us because we just got on with life and supported each other?

I'm not saying I have any answers. What I am saying is that there's a recession because they told us there was one and there telling us that we're all going to hell in a hand cart and what do we do we sit here and take it!

My profession has a lot to answer for Marketing as a whole has a way of putting spin on everything. Government now runs on marketing, it'll tell you what's good for you, doesn't matter which party it is or even which country.

My mantra is that marketing and everything in life should be used for good, there's no reason why not. So let's market ourselves mentally and physically out of the recession. Positive Mental Attitude is what's needed.

Keep looking for glimmers.

Use some common sense with your double yellow lines

Contractors in Leeds have had a serious loss of common sense. While painting double yellow lines in the Hyde Park area they found a parked car. Instead of painting the lines at the back and then in front of the car and returning later, they simple went around it!

I'm presuming that no one told them they could use their initiative!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Animal Farm at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

Last night I went to see Animal Farm at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds.

I'm not a theatre goer normally, but I love George Orwell so I booked as soon as I heard about it. I was lucky enough to get tickets for the first preview night and I wasn't disappointed.

Before entering the theatre I wondered how the animals would be represented. The result was a great halfway house so that the characters where visibility human but took on their animal characteristics. The set was fantastic to showing a whole range of aspects of the farm from the chicken shed to the farm house itself.

Sound and music was used to great effect to give a feeling of terror and wonder at the same time.

This is a great adaptation of a great book, if you get the chance go and see it, If not at least revisit Animal Farm the book, or try out the film which was funded by the CIA and used as anti Soviet propaganda.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Amazon slash delivery charge

Amazon have made a very brave and clever move in light of the credit crunch. One of the first things to go at times like these is the purchase of luxuries, like books.

Lowering the minimum order value to get free delivery is a great move by Amazon.

It says to it's loyal customers that Amazon knows that times are hard but that you still want to buy things from Amazon, so it's making life easier for you. For none or infrequent users its a reason to log on and buy stuff from Amazon while it's competitors still have high delivery charges.

Amazon are clever enough to know that trying to hang on to margins is a recipe for disaster and that doing this know rather than trying to hedge its bets is a way to keep going when they'll be a lot of casualties.

Email Experience Council - Email irony

I signed up for email alerts from the Email Experience Council recently. They do a great job and are to be congratulated.

The ironic thing is that their emails keep arriving in my spam box!

Iran nearly has the worlds biggest sandwich!

This really out of the blue and not related to what I usually blog here it just made me laugh out loud.

Today officials in Iran where upset that they have supposedly failed to beat the world record for the worlds largest Ostrich sandwich. The sandwich making had gathered huge crowds but before the sandwich could be measured by the Iranian officials the crowd rushed forward and ate it.

It just made me chuckle!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Missed opportunities

Last week I cancelled my car insurance and switched to a new one. Nothing odd in that happens every year.

The insurer I was with was an online only broker they play on the fact that they give the best price cover because they don't have a call centre. Well clearly that's wrong because I beat the cost from another supplier.

The missed opportunity was that when I hit the cancel button on the site there was a question about why I'd switched but that was it. No attempt to see if they had a better deal for me, not even a sorry you're leaving. Nothing!

What a waste of a great opportunity, with the amount of data available on car insurance and the data they hold on me they could have given a perfect option for me - instead they did nothing and lost a customer.

For me this throws up another question.

How on earth do you ensure loyalty in the insurance market?

It's very cut-throat, most people don't make any claims for years and there's little interaction with the insurance company. The market at the moment seems to be all about cost, which is great for consumers but means that everything is driven to the lowest common denominator. Sheila's Wheels is one which stands out as it's niche is women drivers, but once you're insured how do they create loyalty and avoid the end of policy switch dance?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Stand for something

I read Seth's Blog each day. There's always a great insight into his mind.

Today's is relevant not just for Business or Marketers but for the population as a whole. Stand for something! You can't be everything to everyone, no matter how much you'd love to. You have to make tough decisions and stand by them that's what make you - you!

Have a good read and think over how you can stand for something, something important to you. Be yourself - no one else is going to do it for you!