Rediscover the Soul

It was meant to be THE launch. The event that would help rescue ailing telecoms company Nokia from its perilous slide into brand irrelevancy.

Last week to a packed audience in New York, Nokia Senior VP Jo Harlow unveiled the Lumia 920 smartphone; the device many predict will either make or break the struggling Finnish company.

Harlow beamed as she proudly proclaimed that the Lumia is ‘the most innovative smartphone in the world’. Unfortunately, the markets didn’t quite share her enthusiasm. Nokia’s share price slumped by 11.4% to a meagre $2.51 following the announcement.
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Your Customer is the Hero

Back in the early 1950s, the tobacco industry had started to focus on the development and promotion of filtered cigarettes. This was mainly in response to scientific data that proved smoking was indeed harmful to human health. One brand in particular – Marlboro, started to be sold with filters. The knock-on effect was that Marlboro began to be viewed as a cigarette for women, much to the dismay of the brand’s owner Philip Morris.

Motivated by making Marlboro more universally appealing, Philip Morris tasked its advertising agency Leo Burnett to create a new image. An image that would reinvent Marlboro for a wider market.
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The Art of Transparency

My good friend Crispin recently sold an unwanted motorbike via eBay. Here’s his listing in full:

Here is my unloved Kawasaki KDX 125 for sale – its PINK and GREEN. You need to be a confident person to ride this bike or you will have your dinner money stolen. I purchased it as a spare bike (I had a WR450) back in 2005 and have not really used it – just the odd trip to work.

I hold a number of MOT certificates, the first runs from 19th July 2001 and details the bike has done 8307KM. The current reading is 10450KM but I do remember having to replace a speedo cable a few years ago as the speedo was not working so its probably done a few more KM’s – maybe 200ish more. I also did some work on it a while back and couldn’t work out where the indicator relay needed to go back to so its stuffed into the side panel. I also lost one of the rear foot pegs – well I think it fell off! Read more

Dragon’s Blood

This is the shower gel I used this morning. Dragon’s blood?! It came as a sample, bundled in with a bunch of other stuff I ordered from an on-line store. Amongst the products I was expecting, it was the one that caught my eye. I had to give it a go.

How interesting or compelling is your offering? Are you selling “a spicy blend of dragon’s blood and ginger” or are you simply pushing boring old “shower gel”? Granted, there is a place for shower gel, but that place is painfully crowded – traditional or “safe” shower gel manufacturers have to resort to price to compete. Without even looking, something tells me the retail price of this captivating body wash isn’t rock bottom.

Of course the whole thing breaks down if the product is less than awesome. Dragon’s Blood thankfully rocked. I’ll be ordering some.

Babies Names

I’m now at an age where many of my friends are having children. How quickly times change. It wasn’t that long ago when they were getting in at 3AM; now they are getting up at 3AM to change nappies!

Some of my friends have always had names in their head for what to call their kids. Whereas, others ponder for hours over baby naming books, choosing something which sounds just right.

What is actually in a name, and does it really matter what you call your newborn? What’s better – a name that stands out, or one that fits in? Fitting in is expected – it’s non disruptive. Take Andrew Smith for example, a nice normal name. It doesn’t offend, but merely blends quietly into the background.
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Alleyway Sex

Through my consulting work with a number of clients, I’ve started to notice a very common trap which many of them are falling into.

Technology firms, whether vendors, resellers, or systems integrators tend to have numerous product offerings. They want to market these offerings in the best way possible, however the common trend is to market each product, in an unstructured way which varies from month to month.

For example, in January an e-Shot is sent talking about product one, in March some telemarketing occurs on product two, and in May an event is run on product three. It’s a bit like a one night stand, or a quick fumble in an alleyway – the customer is hit with various products at various times, with zero consistency. Each product does something different; the company pushes mixed, confusing messages. There is no central theme or strategy which underpins the campaign – its pure hit and hope.
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