Friday, May 17, 2013

Pack attack

If I were in charge of the economic development department in my adopted home state, I'd be worried. Wisconsin's image is about to take another hit.

No, we haven't produced another Jeffrey Dahmer. Nor have the protests reignited around the capitol.

It's even worse.

TBS has just green-lighted a reality show called Cheeseheads in hopes of doing for Wisconsin what Duck Dynasty and Swamp People have done for the state of Louisiana.

Here's how TBS describes the show in their press release:
“Green Bay, Wis., is home to the World Famous Green Bay Packers and their fans: The Cheeseheads. These citizens don’t just bleed green and gold; they eat victory for breakfast. For them, being a Cheesehead is more than just being a fan. It's a way of life. This show will take viewers into the hilarious subculture through the eyes of a group of proud Wisconsinites as they navigate life in the only way they know how – loud, proud and with lots of beer. For these folks, there is no off-season.’’
And here's a video release of some of the auditions.

Having been to more than a few Packers games over the past 20 years, I have met my share of Cheeseheads. I know they are a part of the Wisconsin culture. I also know they're really nice people and a hell of a lot of fun.

But if you're trying to sell Wisconsin as a place where sophisticated, 21st century, high-tech businesses can find the workers they need to succeed in a global economy, your job just got a whole lot harder.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Who's your brand target?

The social media kerfuffle du jour occurred because Michael Jeffries is a smart marketer and a lousy communicator.

Abercrombie & Fitch is successful because Jeffries has a well-defined Brand Target. The problem is, he said it out loud.
"Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong in Abercrombie & Fitch clothes, and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”
Great brands know who they're for and who they're not for. They are both inclusive and exclusive. But as Mr. Jeffries is now learning the trick is to be exclusive without being a jerk.

Apple's brand target appears to be young, cool, creative individuals as is evidenced by the Mac versus PC commercials.

Did this open Apple up to some criticism and ridicule? Yes. Did it mean they wouldn't sell their products to dweebs? Of course not.

A brand target is not a sales target. A brand target is the epitome of who you designed your product for.

A sales target is whoever walks in your door with enough money to buy your product.

Confuse the two at your own risk.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Why Facebook mobile is stuck in neutral

Facebook may rule on the desktop, but they still haven't figured out mobile.

The apps for Android phones and tablets are terrible. I know this from personal experience. According to reviewers, the new Facebook Home app works great unless you want to use your phone for its primary intended purpose, a phone. And now comes the news that AT&T will be dropping the HTC/Facebook phone from its lineup because they've sold only 15,000 of them in the past month. For context AT&T sells 300,000 Android phones every month.

How do they keep getting something so important, so wrong?

Let's start with this premise by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
"You're going to be able to turn your Android phone into a great social device. Our phones today are designed around apps, not people. We want to flip that around."
It's all about context and control.

All the features and functions that work on the desktop where I can focus almost exclusively on Facebook become overwhelming in a mobile environment where I may have only a few seconds to check my wall on phone. In order to make order out of the chaos and randomness that is my timeline, Facebook should give me more control and make it easier to for me select the features I prefer in a mobile environment.

They're so busy worrying about "people" they're not thinking about the individual users and how we might want to customize the experience to get the information and content we're looking quickly and easily.

The minute they cede control to the users is the moment they'll begin to succeed in mobile.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Oreos are perfect

Sometimes a spot captures a brand's essence so brilliantly, naturally and effortlessly, it neither needs a set up nor an explanation.

This is one of those rare spots. Enjoy.

Monday, May 13, 2013

There's no fighting the future

In the '80s the mantra was "I want my MTV." Now it's just "I want my TV."

We can't get enough.

The average American watch five and a half hours of live television per day. Toss in DVRs, web videos, streaming on smartphones and tablets and that number climbs near double digits.

So it's not surprising that ABC is enabling viewers in New York and Philadelphia who subscribe to a cable service to view network programming on their mobile devices with their new Watch ABC app.

As live viewership in the home continues to dip thanks to DVRs and services like Netflix, networks have become less valuable to advertisers. Adding more viewers who can't skip commercials whether their in their living rooms, offices, or anywhere else helps support their ad revenue. Plus offering the service only to cable subscribers helps build subscription revenue.

It's not the answer to the networks' ongoing issues, but it's a move in the right direction.