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

Trust Me. I’m In Marketing.

Trust isn’t what it used to be, because there isn’t much left. A report by Richard Edelman surveys people from countries around the globe to see who they trusted or not. Trust in government is low, but then again no sane person really trusts that much concentrated power. Trust in the media has plummeted as alleged journalists have removed their masks to expose their unmade partisan and ideological faces. Only businesses and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) score above the 50% mark, and they do so with no margin for error. Who the heck is this Trust fellow? All relationships are built on trust. If you don’t believe that, go buy a candy bar and think about the layers of trust incorporated in a simple purchase. You trust the maker of the candy bar not to poison you, which means you trust their trust in agricultural and chemical suppliers. You trust the … Continue reading

Believe This

Try forcing a stranger to believe something they have never heard of before, or to abandon a belief they have held for years. Odds are you will fail at both. “Belief” is understanding without knowledge, facts or proof. Yet humans have many complex belief systems firmly rooted in air. This is not inherently bad. Beliefs guide actions, and if beliefs are noble, then good things occur. But beliefs are also firmly rooted in the mind – trying to uproot beliefs (at least in the short term) is like trying to pull a redwood tree out of the ground with your bare hands. Belief systems are important to humans and to marketers. For humans, belief systems are shortcuts to understanding life, the universe and everything. The belief doesn’t even have to be correct as long as it provides a person with a grasp on their perception of reality. This is one … 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

Perception is Reality

“Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality.” — Jules de Gaultier Marketers deal in perception. Great marketers meld perception and reality. The fact is that people perceive what they want to believe. This explains much about politics, religion and brand loyalty. People perceive value in things – concepts, communities, tribes, brands – and either admire or despise them accordingly. A lot of money has been made by creating a brand and charging people for the brand as opposed to the product. You can spend $3,500 for a Saint Laurent handbag which has a manufacturing cost of maybe $10, holds no more than a Walmart handbag, and arguably is a sterile design devoid of individualism. And many people do. One of marketing’s jobs is to decide on the perception the public should have of a product or a brand. This is driven largely by the target audiences and … Continue reading