Friday, August 17, 2012

Separated at birth

Two sides of the same coin.

In Europe, it's the Toyota GT86...

In America, it's the Scion FR-S...

Which launch spot is more interesting? Which is more relevant to the 20-something men Toyota is targeting? Which is more memorable?

I know what I think. I'm wondering what you're opinion is...

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Groupon is victimized by its own success

Two years ago, Google offered to buy Groupon for $6 Billion. They should have taken the money and run.

After announcing yet another poor month of sales and missed profit projections, Groupon's stock fell 27% to $5.51 which is almost one quarter of the stock's $20 selling price when it debuted last November. Their market cap now? $3.6 Billion.

Oops. Another internet bubble burst.

But why?

First, the business model is flawed. Groupon sells to retailers under the assumption that new customers who came for the incredible discounts would become regular customers who were willing to pay full price. In reality what happens more often than not is Grouponers use a coupon for a transaction on which the retailer loses money and never come back.

Second, the service was too easily copied. Living Social, American Express, Bank of America and others all offer daily deal services that are either just like Groupon or, in the case of the financial institutions, easier to use. There was nothing proprietary or patentable in Groupon's business model, so it was inevitable that once it was successful, copycats would flood the market.

Third, their advertising. Groupon fell for the line that if their Super Bowl advertising was controversial it would get them noticed and help build their business. I've chronicled that debacle here and here... But they could have saved themselves a lot of heartache if they had just bothered to watch the spot.

It's a sad tale. One that's repeated too often when successful entrepreneurs listen too closely to all the people telling them how smart they are and forget that maintaining success is harder than achieving it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Clean up after yourself

There is no way to wipe the slate clean, start over, press the reset button.

If your brand fails to live up to its promise, you can't sweep it under the rug and hope it will go away, especially in today's connected world.

The only way to move beyond a bad product, less than stellar service experience or other corporate miscue is to acknowledge the failure, apologize and improve.

Your customers don't expect perfection. But if you don't make it right after you make a mistake, you can expect them to look elsewhere.

Your competitors will be happy to clean up your mess.