I don't usually write about these, because they're almost always over produced and riskless affairs promoting me-too and banal products.
But, consider this new book promo from O/R. They're also giving 20% off to Google employees, which is a clever touch.
And then amuse yourself with this pitch perfect ad from GE. Big-time ad execs could never run something this self-aware on TV, but of course, we don't need TV anymore. Not when people (instead of networks) spread around the stuff we choose to watch.
A common form of complexity is the sophistication of fear.
Long words when short ones will do. Fancy clothes to keep the riffraff out and to give us a costume to hide behind. Most of all, the sneer of, "you don't understand" or, "you don't know the people I know…"
"It's complicated," we say, even when it isn't.
We invent these facades because they provide safety. Safety from the unknown, from being questioned, from being called out as a fraud. These facades lead to bad writing, lousy communication and a refuge from the things we fear.
I'm more interested in the sophistication required to deliver the truth.
These take fearlessness. This is, "here it is, I made this, I know you can understand it, does it work for you?"
Our work doesn't have to be obtuse to be important or brave.
By giving people more ways to speak up and more tools to take action, we keep decreasing the gap between what we wish for and what we can do about it.
If you're not willing to do anything about it, best not to waste the energy wishing about it.
What's a customer worth?
A customer at the local supermarket or at the corner Fedex Print shop might spend $10,000 or even $25,000 over the course of a few years. That's why marketers are so willing to spend so much time and money on coupons, promos and ads getting people to start doing business with us.
But what happens when it goes wrong? What if a service slip or a policy choice threatens that long-term relationship?
If you know what's broken, you can fix it for all the customers that follow. It seems obvious, but you want to hear what customers have to say. After all, if people in charge realize what's not working, the thinking is that they might want to change it.
At the same time, a critical but often overlooked benefit of open customer communication is that individuals want to be heard. Your disgruntled customer doesn't want to hear you to make excuses, and possibly doesn't even want you to fix yesterday's problem (probably too late for that), but she does want to know that you know, that you care, and that it's not going to happen again. Merely listening, really listening, might be enough.
Big organizations (and smaller, unenlightened ones) grab onto the data benefit and tend to ignore the "listening" one. Worse still, in their desire to isolate themselves from customers, they industralize and mechanize the process of gathering data (in the name of scale) and squeeze all the juiciness out of it.
If you live in the US, you might try calling 800-398-0242. That's the number Fedex Print lists on all their receipts, hoping for customer feedback. It's hard to imagine a happy customer working her way through all of these menus and buttons and clicks, and harder still to imagine an annoyed customer being happy to do all of this data processing for them.
The alternative is pretty simple: if you're about to lose a $10,000 customer, put the cell phone number of the regional manager on the receipt. That's what you and I would do if we owned the place, wouldn't we?
Answer the phone and listen. It's an essay test, not multiple choice.
When in doubt, be human.
Your own personal media company, the focus on building individual skills, the networks that we're all part of…
It makes no sense that we're busy spending our 'work' time weaving together audience, passion and new competencies.
Unless we also acknowledge that the old method of productivity, of being a good employee by obediently doing what you are told, is obsolete.
Our job is to figure out what's next and to bring the ideas and resources to the table to make it happen. Otherwise, all of this (this blog, your online activity, the courses you take) is nothing but a worthless distraction.
We've created a huge web of inputs and levels and skills and distractions. It's thrilling to see people doing something with it. Go.
Would you miss it if it weren't there?
Vogue magazine regularly runs more than 600 pages in length. And that's fine, because it's worth more with the ads than without them.
On the other hand, if the ads disappeared from Twitter, would the service be better or worse?
Media companies of the future will be built on ads we want to see, ads we'd miss if they were gone.
[And yes, I mean your fundraising newsletter and your Facebook updates, and I mean the announcements on the speaker at the airport and the robocalls too.]
A fever is a symptom. There's an underlying disease that causes it. Giving you a fever (sitting in a sauna) doesn't make you sick, and getting rid of the fever (in a cold bath, for example) doesn't always get rid of the illness.
The New York Times bestseller list used to be a symptom, the symptom that a book was really popular. Now, it’s so easy to game and fake that some people have confused themselves into thinking that being on the list can actually cause your book to be popular.
It’s easy to be fooled into paying a lot to hire a salesperson who is leaving a fast-growing company. After all, it seems like hot-shot gifted salespeople are often the cause of a company growing fast. In fact, we often see that a fast-growing company seems to produce hot-shot salespeople (or programmers or whatever).
Does the really buzzy launch party make the movie good, or does a good movie get a better party?
Sometimes cause and effect can be flipped (enthusiastic people can become happy, or happy people become enthusiastic) but it’s often worth keeping track of which part of the process you’re trying to invest in and which part you're working to create.
Spending time and money gaming symptoms and effects is common and urgent, but it's often true that you'd be better off focusing on the disease (the cause) instead.
When things get dicey, we notice that some people are feeling the heat. Others are just fine, doing their work, unfazed by the situation.
The thing is, it's not the heat that's actually the issue. It's the feeling.
How we process what's happening is up to us, isn't it?
For a long time, Australians thought of themselves as living on the edge of the Earth, a long haul from markets, from industries and from colleagues.
Today, of course, Australia is precisely in the middle.
That's because the world keeps getting smaller and ideas and connection are the currencies that matter, not atoms or molecules.
Consider this new campaign for really comfortable handmade shoes from Lahore. Lahore as in Pakistan. Handmade leather shoes are a click away, regardless of where they were made, but you might choose these.
There will always be two ends of the market. There's the race to the bottom, based on efficiency at all costs, that says, "we have what they have, but cheaper." The problem with the race to the bottom is that you might win.
The other end is for items that we want, regardless of how far away they come from, because the ideas they embody are worth seeking out.
If you're in the idea business, it doesn't matter where you're from. It matters if we care about the change you're making.
The pedant (that's what we call someone who is pedantic, a picker of nits, eager to find the little thing that's wrong or out of place) is afraid.
He's afraid and he's projecting his fear on you, the person who did something, who shipped something, who stood up and said, "here, I made this."
Without a doubt, when the Beatles played Shea Stadium, Paul was a little out of tune. Without a doubt, the Gettysburg Address had one or two word choice issues. Without a doubt, that restaurant down the street isn't perfect.
That's okay. They made something.
Sure, make it better, by all means put in the time to bring us your best work. But no, of course not, no, the pedant is not our audience, nor is he making as much of a difference as he would like to believe.
News for those to seek to make something: Shopify has run a build-a-business competition every year, and I was lucky enough to be involved a few years ago. Next year, Sir Richard Branson and a few other mentors are going to be offering advice and coaching to the winners on his island (!) for a week. I wanted to let you know that I'll be making a surprise appearance (as a benefit for Acumen), running a special seminar for the winners there next September. Check it out–looking forward to seeing what you build.