Monthly Archives: May 2008

When brands keep it real

I was checking out the 2007 local Addy Award winners and I saw this Gold winner from Strategic America in the category of interactive media:

How about that intro?

So, you want to work at Kum & Go.

We should probably mention it’s no cakewalk,

It’s more like walking all over a cake,

then having to clean up the mess.

Do you find that as refreshing as I do?

The video is cheesy, the song is lousy (including Enrique’s version) and the acting goofy. And that’s the point.

It’s a brand showing some personality and effectively communicating two things:

  1. They expect a lot out of their employees
  2. As a result of their employees, customers can expect a friendly and positive experience

They pull it off well. It feels genuine.

So a belated congrats to Strategic America for the award and a kudos to Kum & Go for keeping it real.

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Seth Godin’s Meatball Sundae

While on my recent trip back home I was able to get in some book learnin.’ I took the time to finish up Seth Godin’s latest book, Meatball Sundae.

The rundown:

The ‘meatball’ represents traditional, boring products of decent quality made in mass quantities. These products have minimal differences thoughout their respective markets. Think meatballs or paper plates or floor mats or chalk.

They’re commodities, the basic building blocks of civilized society. We still very much need these things, says Seth.

And these meatballs worked very well with traditional advertising. If you are interrupted on enough occasions and reminded of why a particular brand of meatball is better than another, you will begin to believe it.

But meatballs do not work with the whipped cream and cherries of ‘New Marketing’ – the blogs and wikis and the rest of the shiny new “Internet stuff” we keep blathering about.

A meatball sundae represents a fundamental misalignment of creating ubiquitous, indifferent products and promoting it with the passion and creativity required of “New Marketing.” It just doesn’t work.

To be clear, Seth says we still need meatballs. We still need average products for the masses. But growth is becoming more and more difficult for boring products because people are responding less and less to old messages.

Instead, we’re wanting the complete full sundae.

Not just the marketing whipped cream – the blog, the Twitter presence and the Facebook profile. But the products and services being promoted must align with this strategy.

The good news: if you’re an existing company with products and services that resemble meatballs – all hope is not lost. But it requires commitment. It requires being nimble, making purple cows instead of brown cows and giving a damn.

My only qualm with Meatball Sundae is that like a lot of Seth’s work, it’s fairly high-level. I wouldn’t consider this a roadmap to give to someone in MKTG that “doesn’t get it.”

But that’s not to say there aren’t several solid case studies and plenty of reason for excitement about the potential power of emerging media coupled with unique products or services.

Of Seth’s examples, here’s my fav:

The Sick Puppies were a little known rock group out of Australia. They had no major-label promotion and no radio airplay. Then, a creative soul who calls himself Juan Mann made a video… The video has been watched more than 6 million times and turned the bands records from cutouts into bestsellers.

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A few photos from southern Iowa

I grew up in Murray, Iowa.

2000 census population: 766.

Here, for your enjoyment, are a few photos I took over the weekend while stomping on some old grounds:

These are shoes – lots of shoes – stuck on roughly 200 yards of fence posts. Why, you ask? Me too.

You have to believe that at one time, this truck (and the barn) represented growth.

I don’t know who John B. Huber was, but he died in 1900 at the age of 76 and, presumably, his bones have rested in the southern Iowa soil for over 100 years.

I stopped by the local tavern with some friends. The bar owners told me they had established a sandwich in honor of my dad. It’s called the ‘Old Man Club’ because unlike the regular club, it’s a layer smaller and easier for old guys like my dad to eat. Does your dad have a sandwich named after him?

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20 entrepreneurial quotes

Check out Yasmine Mustafa’s post on 20 entrepreneurial quotes at The Cheap Revolution blog.

Some of my favorites:

  • Life is too short to live someone else’s dream. – Hue Hefner, founder of Playboy Magazine
  • We have no patent on anything we do and anything we do can be copied by anyone else. But you can’t copy the heart and soul and the conscience of the company. – Howard Schultz, Chairman of Starbucks
  • The key is to just get on the bike, and the key to getting on the bike is to stop thinking about “there are a bunch of reasons why I might fall off” and just hop on and pedal the damned thing. You can pick up a map, a tire pump and better footwear along the way. – Dick Costolo, Founder of Feedburner

Hat tip to Conversation Agent for the link.

Know of any other great quotes or quote lists out there?

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