Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Dissonance and the “Shin Gimel” effect

October 15, 2011

Imagine that every day when you enter your office building you have to wait 20 minutes for the receptionist to let you in.

She is busy talking in her cell phone about last night’s episode of Dexter, smoking a cigarette or looking for a temp badge in the computer.

She is quite hostile all along in a passive-active-aggressive manner, forgetting to use “Thank You”, “Excuse me”, “How Can I help you”, and relevant phrases.

Once you pass the guard, you have to look for parking. The old, large, parking area is now closed off ,because the logistics department wanted to paint some barrels a few months ago.

As a result you end up parking in an illegal parking spot, wasting 15 minutes for the parking search and ten minutes walk to the office.

The implicit message is clear – your time is not valued here , the “chiefs” do not care about wasting your time.

While this story comes from a governmental faculties (“Shin Gimel is the hebrew acronym for an army  guard ), some high-tech companies send a similar message.

In one company I know the guests had no access to the restrooms or a proper sitting place  in the lobby. There are many companies without a proper parking arrangement or validation, even for customers.  In some cases the guards have lost the Israeli ID, that was given to them to vouch for the guest badge …

To contrast, having a courteous receptionist, well designed lobby, easy parking and efficient process send a clear signal to employees and customers.

Your time is important and we value your presence.

Confused Parking - Fail Blog

Confused Parking - Fail Blog


Branding Humus in Tel Aviv

September 16, 2011

Last Friday I had a craving for Humus. I decided to try Abu-Ahdm which is about 800 meters from my house. It is a Tel Aviv branch of the original location in Yasif village at the north of Israel.

Abu Adham Humus  Sign

Abu Adham Humus Sign

Something seemed strange , as all the signs were gone, but the place was still operating and serving Humus. I suspected they lost the franchise and walked away to Humus Badunas , which is a franchise of the original location next to Check Point original headquarters in Ramat Gan.

It is a nice example of the power of the Brand. Not all Humus is created equal, the owner has to wake up at 4AM to get things done properly. The Pita has to be soft and warm. A good franchise monitors its franchisees , to make sure they are not destroying the brand.

The Humus was quite nice, by the way and checking at the web it does seem I was right regarding Abu Adhm in Ibn Gvirol.

And here is an interesting post(Hebrew) about Humus and Social resistance.

Marketing Wonders and IT in Saudi Arabia

August 28, 2010

Saudi Arabian IT Leaders Conference

I just got invited to the Top 100 IT Leaders conference. In Saudi Arabia.

I wish the times would come soon in which such meeting would be possible.

Smart Customer Survey

July 16, 2010

We have been doing a lot of customer surveys lately and it is great product management tool.
I just filled a feedback survey from Best Western Coyote Point.
Since I stay at this hotel 30-40 days a year I thought I might be able to get my bagels back in breakfast 🙂 by answering the survey.
One interesting thing about the survey is that it asks you to name the previous hotel chain that you stayed in. In my case it was Holiday Inn in New York.
Then they show a list of all the Holiday Inn’s in new york and ask for the specific one ! What a nice competitive database they must have.
The next step is a questionnaire about my experience with their  competitor in which I stayed.
What a smart move !
It gives them great competitive data,at a very detailed resolution and extremely updated feedback.
It also provides a good scale to the grades I gave to Coyote Point Best Western.BTW, The Holiday Inn itself didn’t ask for my feedback.

Smart product management !

Best Western Survey on Holiday Inn

Best Western Survey on Holiday Inn

best western survey

Local Mini-Market Disappearance

July 12, 2010
Cute Human Watch Dog

Cute Human Watch Dog

My local mini-market is gone and I’m so sad.

Not long ago we had cute,slightly rugged, cheap mini-market that offered great service.

The store had four young owners ( my age 🙂 ) that worked on the store every day and every hour.

The results was they provided great service, were highly efficient and the pace was young and quick.

The deliveries were free, refunds easy and if one was missing kohlrabi the owners would go and get it.

They liked to hear feedback and despite having ש smaller selection , it was tailored to customers inputs.

One more thing – it had one of the cheapest price points, despite the central location in Yehuda Makabi street.

As a result the place was always packed , even though the much bigger Mega supermarket was located just across the street.

Alas, three months ago they sold to “Supersal”, a big retail store that decided they want to “rule” the new “niche” of “urban mini stores”.

The owners used the opportunity and sold the real estate at a very nice price.

So now we have a new “urban”,”local” “My Supersal” which is horrible.

The service is hostile,clueless  and slow, the dairy products are out of date and the stock is much smaller and more expensive.

This is what happens when marketing and finance are calling the decisions and analyzing the trends and numberz instead of using  EQ.

It was the owners that created the place and made it successful, not just the “concept” or the “strategy”.

They cared about customers happiness and their own reputation and revenues.

Right now the people who shop in the store

  • have nothing to do with the people who work in the store
  • who have nothing to do with the people who manager the chain
  • who have nothing to do with the owners of the chain
  • whoa are probably the customers as it is publicly traded chain store …

And the the new store is quite empty – in the same location.

Beware of Ferris Wheels

February 9, 2010

I’m  an optimist and was quite surprised to find out that Ferris Wheels actually break down ! It’s amazing what one learns at the gym while working out.

The “Great Wheel” in London broke  for four hours and people were freezing in the cold London evening. It was so cold they took down the fancy drapes.

The interesting business lesson is, the very next day, 11,000 visitors were waiting in line to get back  in. The trick was that the owner gave out five pounds to each passenger who was stuck on the wheel. What a great marketing turnover. According to these five pounds are worth today£430.28 using the retail price index, or £2,404.60 using average earnings index.

The Great Wheel in London

The Great Wheel in London

And if you think the modern wheels are safer, you should read about the “Singapore Flyer“, the world tallest Ferris wheel, just relaunched.

On 23 December 2008, the wheel stopped moving and trapped 173 passengers for about six hours.[7] The breakdown was caused by a short-circuit and fire in the Flyer’s wheel control room, which cut off the air-conditioning in the wheel. Eleven passengers were evacuated via a sling-like device from a few of the capsules, and those stranded were given food and drink. The wheel restarted nearly seven hours after it had stopped and two people were hospitalized. The Flier was closed indefinitely and an investigation into the cause of the malfunction was launched.

Singapore Flyer

Singapore Flyer

An American-Israeli Sushi-Humus Grill-Bar

September 25, 2009

In my May post A Mexican, a Sicilian and a Greek Walk Into a Restaurant I discussed  how three different restaurants,in the same location, next to our start-up office, went out of business one after the other. Just after I posted it, a fourth restaurant opened in the same location with the brilliant name “Grey, an Israeli-American Bar- Diner”.

Guess what happened last week to the American-Israeli diner that served  sushi, Asian noodles, middle-eastern grilled meats, American burgers and breakfasts.

Restaurants,like start-ups, should  be very focused in their messaging and efforts. It is very hard to market excellence in five different areas.We had to decide whether  to deliver our cloud solution as a service (“Public Cloud”) or an on premise product (“Private Cloud”) . Both options were viable, and there were good arguments for each road. Despite the similarities and temptation it would have been a mistake to aim at both markets at very beginning.

Even “The Cheesecake factory” focuses on a single  item (with 40 variations 🙂 ) from its huge menu – when it comes to branding. Personally, this is also the only item I Like to eat there. And yes, I know the picture is from another Deli …

New York style Cheesecake with strawberries

New York style Cheesecake with strawberries

Free Sony Vaio Light Blue Cleaning Cloth – Corporate stupidity

September 10, 2008

We have two cool Sony Vaio laptops. Unlike most of our boring X61s ThinkPads they are shiny and smiling.

Unfortunately, when one of them just broke and we had to get it fixed. Now I got it back from the repair with the stupidest letter I have seen in a while.

Dear Valued customer

We Regret your Sony VAIO product required service and we want to be sure you are completely satisfied with your experience in dealing with our repair center.

As a small token of our appreciation we have inserted a light blue VAIO cleaning cloth into your unit.Please use this cloth to maintain the cleanliness of your LCD screen*

* Please refer to reverse side for proper cleaning instructions.

Really. I will scan the copy when I’m back at home.

A $3000 laptop is broken for a month. We had to buy $2000 replacement and lose at least five net days on getting it fixed. And we get a cloth ! for free ! and it is light blue ! How about a free iPhone ? that would make me happy.

Oh, maybe it is just my guilt, but it seems they also accuse of meof not being clean enough…

And to put the final touch, there are cleaning instructions on the back page.  Sure , we know how to defragment a Sony Vaio hard drive and remove sypware from the registry, but how does one use a duster ?

Final Warning :

Note: If there are tiny black or bright points ( red, blue, green or white ) that cleaning does not seem to be able to remove from an LCD dispaly , it is possible that the display has a defective pixel.

Any my free advice to anyone taking a shower ( and Sony support in praticular ) :

Note: When you take a shower,If there are tiny bright points ( red, blue, green or white ) that cleaning does not seem to be able to remove from your head, it is possible that these are your eyes .Beware to clean gently with our small appreciation of light blue cloth. Do not scratch the surface…

Credit Where Credit is Due, Original Marketing

August 23, 2008

I just learned that Vee Cee Co Op are the guys who created the dead on 27 radio commercial i mentioned.

They also made some other cool projects, such as “low rent in tel aviv”,”prepare from zombies attack”, check their site for more info.

Nice stuff, original+humor and to the point.

On a similar note, someone invested a lot of effort in this funny site It offers parents for rent, when you are to busy to be with your own kids. The site survey is “Should parents sacrifice everything for their kids?” 🙂

Dead on 27 – Marketing On The Local Radio

April 4, 2008

Dead On 27

On my very short daily drives to work I usually listen to the local 102fm  radio station.

When I lived in the suburbs I used to read Haaretz daily news on the long way to work, but had to stop after I got a 500Nis fine for reading-while-driving. It seemed the cops were bothered that I did not install a head-up-display.

I recently noticed that some of the commercials are quite good. Most radio commercials used to be cheesy, low budget, explicit descriptions with horrible music rip-offs.

“Joe and Son Belgian Style Welding is the Best Belgian Welding in Israel. You will not be able to find a cheaper Belgian Welding firm in Israel”

In the last few weeks , I heard some really cool ones, which are fast, catchy and very cheap to make. My favourite is :

Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix. There are some things that you have to see on time. TravelTours – we arrange trips to oversee concerts”

IMO, it is a great example of an effective ad . On 2004 I flew to London just to see Shane MacGowan leading the Pogues, before his drinking habits would send him to  other side. I did the same with Pixies ,RHCP and the Water Boys, but will probably never get to see Nirvana in concert ( I’m Still waiting for The Smiths reunion ).

The spot is targeted to the relevant audience, it is very short, but the message gets through very sharply. It uses humor , but also touches a deeper notion and makes you remember the value proposition.

Since top performers rarely show up in Israel , coordinating the travel and ticket purchasing can be quite a hassle. This company identified the need and found an excellent way to distribute the message to the right audience.

Copyright  – Top picture is taken from amazon through Adam Hersh Posters. Added a link so you can buy it, since I didn’t find copyright information. Assuming they are OK with it.