Uber’s Image

An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance. Uber’s image has taken a beating. A shellacking. A bloody thumping. And it started long ago. I’m one of the few humans who finds nothing to like about Las Vegas. But when I’m reluctantly in town, I use Lyft to shuttle around. Upon occasion, the Lyft driver will also have an Uber sticker in the windshield. I always ask them who they like working with better, and why. In a word, they think Uber is a hard-nosed, cheap outfit, difficult to work with. Okay, that was more than a word – but their dislike for Uber is palpable. In fact, they would rather drive for Lyft but they still bow to Uber’s market dominance. Which is fading. Where did Uber’s bad reputation begin? It appears to have started at the top, where all corporate culture begins. From there, the next … Continue reading

In the Moog

Great things don’t die. Among musicians, Moog – the storied innovator and maker of synthesizers – is iconic. This despite the company having once been sold, the buyer disfranchising Moog’s engineering team, then going under, then being revived by the founder (Bob Moog) who later passed away. In an age where digital, software controlled synthesizers are much more versatile than Moog’s analog gear, Moog is growing. Mainstream musicians and Hollywood studios clamor for their products. It is a sign of coolness for a road musician to have at very least a Minimoog on stage. A brand based on somethings Key to Moog’s revival was … Continue reading

Authenticity Angle

“It will take me a few days to get $800,000. Is that okay?” This was actually uttered by the CEO of a tech startup when an early adopter customer was unsatisfied with the product and wanted to cancel their contract. The lesson herein is that this company is still alive, is thriving, and dominates their industry; and the customer still tells the story to peers … who buy the product. It was a most authentic statement. Here, the CEO was understanding about the customer’s desires, and the limitation of his corporate cash flow, but also the need to make things right. He may have lost a sale, but he built a corporate reputation concerning authentic relationships. The Authenticity Issue Authenticity has always been a valued part of a brand. Now it is as critical as a heart. People once allowed a lot of slop from corporations in terms of integrity … Continue reading

Marketing Progress

Marketing measures their effectiveness, but should also measure organizational effectiveness as perceived from outside. The fact is that all organizations want to make progress. Too often though, progress is equated with profit. Profit is only one form of progress. To not measure more meaningful aspects of progress might lead to eventual doom. Imagine that you could report to the CEO a fantastic year. Sales up. Net profits up. Total number of customer up. But let’s also assume that you failed to measure customer satisfaction, brand loyalty or relative market position. Next year you would likely be reporting plunging sales, no profits and a bleeding customer base. Every organization wants to make progress, but you have to define what is the progress that needs making. A 10% improvement in customer satisfaction might generate 20% more sales the following year with additional marketing spend. If you have not monitored customer satisfaction, then … Continue reading

Operational Marketing

Brand Delivery Fail

Lying on the floor while talking to my insurance company shows why marketing must be involved with operations. In the past week I did business with a bedding retailer, which indirectly led to filing an insurance claim on my car. The bedding company’s operations were a disaster – they got precisely 0% of our order correct, causing my wife and I to camp on surplus mattresses placed on the bedroom floor, checking The Sleep Guide’s mattress protectors tips. Their late-arriving truck hogged the street, causing a passing vehicle to clip my side-view mirror. Unlike the bedding retailer, the insurance company (Geico) executed perfectly, from a well-designed web claims form to nearly instant claims analysis, body shop appointments rental car reservations and more. The contrast is stark. The bedding company experience after the sale (and to a lesser degree, during the sale) was a study in manufacturing customer frustration. The salesmen … Continue reading

Branded Lies

If you want to destroy a brand, just lie a little. Some recent political news (on which I won’t elaborate to avoid ruffling friendly feathers) is a case study in bad marketing by incorrectly setting the market’s expectations and misleading buyers. This is a cardinal sin in the Marketing religion, and those guilty of the sin will burn in the pits of unemployment lines. All relationships are built on trust, and all transactions are relationships. Even small one. When you buy a candy bar at the corner store, you trust that the reported weight is close to accurate, the contents are faithfully reported, that the snack isn’t poisonous and that the store has not substituted inferior goods. That’s a lot of trust behind a 50¢ transaction and fleeting relationship. Had any of those trust points been violated, you would never again buy that candy bar or shop at that store. … Continue reading

Apple Brand Polishing

Apple is now the most valuable brand on the planet, with Google growing faster and likely to overtake them. Poor old Coca Cola has dropped to third while these upstarts reign. Interbrand recurrently measures the strength of various global brands. They recently released their latest report that knocked Coke off its thirteen year perch at number one. As the chart shows, Google began their assent in 2009 and Apple followed in 2011, all riding the wave of a highly wired and wireless global society. You may drink Coke, Pepsi or bottled water, but everybody sips while searching Google on their iPhones. Interbrand’s analysis is not the old school, completely financial estimate of customer good will that expresses a brand’s cumulative equity. If we used that measure, Coke would still command the lead with Coke $12B in customer good will, Google would have $10B worth, and Apple would trail with a … Continue reading