Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fluent in Finance

Here's a great advert that was produced in Britain (as so many of the good ones are). It's about a new tax that they want to impose on banks, dubbed the "Robin Hood" tax, as it takes from the rich (banks) and gives to the poor (the money will be spent on foreign aid, infrastructure and the like). Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty

Who has the best branding (maybe of all time)? Animal welfare charities. On TV, they parade pictures of malnourished or otherwise abused, and ask for a small monthly donation. The fact of the matter is, most of us don't like to see these animals, so we send in money.

Oh, and it works. To the tune of about $5B last year alone.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Save Money. Live Better.

Interbrand produces a list of the most valuable brands each year. This sub-list, for the most valuable retail brands in the U.S., shows the top ten for 2010.

What's interesting to note here is the presence of a Wal-Mart brand twice on the list. It speaks volumes when a company, who sees weekly traffic of 100 million in the U.S., appears twice on this list. Even more so when the two most valuable retail brands in one of the largest markets in the world are discount chains. Maybe this list will shuffle once America's economy gets itself back in order? Or, perhaps consumers are just whores for inexpensive products and being able to shop for their clothing, electronics and groceries in the same building. Either way, Wal-Mart seems to have it all covered.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Think Different.

Yesterday was the first day that pre-ordering was available for the iPad. Thanks in large part to the genius of Apple branding and previous technology, tens of thousands of people lined up yesterday to be the first to pre-order. Apple announced that, in the first six hours of the day, 91,000 iPads were pre-ordered. Say what you want about the iPad, 91,000 is a lot of anything sold within a six hour period. Analysts say that Apple is on track to sell 5 million iPads this year alone. And why? For most people, it has no value other than the Apple logo on the back. That's great brand equity kids - maybe one of the greatest of all time.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Have It Your Way

I was waiting in line at Starbucks the other day, and there was a rather large line. The people in front of me were getting angrier as their wait (and everyone else in the line) increased. When they finally got to the barista, they began to yell. Has this ever happened to you?

When did we become such a 'me' society, and how have we let it get this far? While the barista was getting berated, I felt bad for the employee, but more importantly I felt awkward. This customer, who had to wait for a shorter amount of time than I did, summarily decided that it was their job to scold the employees publicly, belittling them in the process. Yet, no one else in the line felt it was important enough to warrant what equated to a screaming match from a two year old.

Afterwords, the manager came over, and gave the customer some free drink coupons and the customer walked away happy. I was left thinking two things: great job to Starbucks for containing this issue, and silencing the belligerent customer; but more importantly, why did the manager reward the customer for their petulance? We set out to stop it in children at an early age, but when it comes to adults, we practice a system of appeasement to make a buck.

I wish that companies today would just grow some balls and tell the customers who act like children and throw temper tantrums that there are other coffee shops. In fact, I believe that if enough companies did this, and maybe rewarded the good customers, they could effectively change consumer behaviour for the better. After all, there is a high turnover with these service jobs because there is little pay, and bitchy customers to deal with. So why not change customer behaviour? In the long run, it makes more business sense, no?