I recently sat down with my brother from another mother, Mitch Joel, to discuss the Super Bowl, Life after the 30-second spot, the life, death, after life and rebirth of creativity. And Miriam. @mitchjoel and @jaffejuice
It's another well spent hour of my life and I suspect it will be of yours as well. So give it a listen by downloading or listening here. Or you can subscribe to the show here.
PS I apologize for Mitch's singing. Really I do. Profusely.
PPS Mirum is now the agency formally known as Twist Image and Six Pixels of Separation Podcast, but it's still the same Mitch we all know and love.
Andrew Keen is mad as hell...and he's not going to take it anymore. Actually he's just a big softy with a big brain and a big heart. Either way, he's not afraid to stick out his neck and have an intelligent conversation or debate about things he cares about...deeply. And in his new book, The Internet is NOT the Answer, he doesn't pull punches when he calls out certain greedy entrepreneurs, monopolies, plutocracies (I think that's the ruling power on Pluto) and Uberocracies.
GIve him a piece of your mind (if you can spare it) at @ajkeen, but only after you listened to this podcast, which you can download here.
And if you'd like to subscribe to this podcast, you can do so here.
Mitch and I had a great conversation debate about creativity, the legitimacy and integrity of advertising, Jerry Seinfeld's zinger filled "acceptance speech" for winning an honarary Clio (you can read the full text here) and more.
Personally I think the last 5-10 minutes are particularly powerful.
I was keynoting at a Satmetrix (the Net Promoter People) customer experience conference earlier this month in London -- and over fish ‘n chips during lunch, I ended up chatting with one of my fellow keynoters, Ian Williams (@CustExpMan), about making mistakes.
Ian had a rather controversial point of view that organizations should go out of their way to make mistakes ON PURPOSE. I immediately thought of Apple versus Microsoft. While the former seemingly makes mistake after mistake (remember AntennaGate?) and seemingly gets away with it every time, the latter -- in an effort to be perfect to market -- gets vilified for even the tiniest deviations from the norm.
In the startup world, there is a popular saying: “Done is better than perfect.” This statement speaks to the ability get a release in the market warts and all, as opposed to obsessing on ironing out all glitches and gremlins before allowing consumers in.
Failing fast, embracing failure, pivoting and “iterating, iterating, iterating” are all healthy signs of life in the entrepreneurial world, but how does this translate into the corporate world of innovation? Or in this particular case, the world of customer service and customer experience?
Furthermore, what about the ability to purposely make mistakes? It’s one thing to make a mistake (that’s why they call it a mistake), but when this is deliberate, surely it falls somewhere on the continuum of corporate sabotage to corporate insanity?
When I’m asked what makes a brand social, or how a company can become more social, I talk about R.E.A.C.H., an acronym (hey, I’m a consultant) for responsive, empathetic, accessible, connected and HUMAN. What is it to be human? Corporations aren’t human, but their employees are. Brands are not human, but they are symbols that reflect the beliefs, ideals and philosophy of the founders, leaders, employees, partners -- and customers of the company it keeps.
The Starbucks promise is that if you aren’t absolutely happy with your drink, they’ll make another for you. That’s their assurance to you if the barista at the register, the one with the Sharpie or the one that presses the buttons at the machine, isn’t always on top of his game.
If it is true that “to err is human, but to forgive, divine,” surely this is a sign to empower our front line to make more honest mistakes. Humans aren’t perfect, and it is precisely this imperfection that endears us to one another. Surely our customers would be the first to recognize this. Surely empathy works both ways.
I saw a stat that shows that companies who aren’t able to sufficiently solve a problem, but went about it in a genuine, compassionate way, scored higher net promoter scores than companies who did solve a particular problem, but did so in a rude, uncaring or abrasive way. That’s an incredible insight into aptitude versus attitude.
In a world where we punish our customer service agents if they spend too much time on the phone, what if we rewarded them based on how many times they messed up? What if we incentivized our people based on their ability to volunteer times they were prepared to take a chance to tackle a challenge, versus handing it off to the next in line? And if they were to fail, celebrate and encourage them to share the learnings and insights that have the potential to iterate, evolve and grow with the entire company?
Of course, I recognize the irony that if one sets out to make a mistake on purpose, it isn’t a mistake at all, is it? Which is in of itself… perfect!
That's the title of my workshop, which - hopefully with your help - I will be giving at next year's SxSW Interactive Festival in Austin, TX in March of 2015.
You know how much people hate Powerpoint? Well, maybe it's not the application that's the problem....maybe it's you! I'm no software expert, but I do use Powerpoint to great effect and success in all facets of my business: from delivering Keynote presentations to presenting my company's credentials. Presentation skills are absolutely critical in terms of developing and executing an elevator pitch and closing the deal. In this workshop, I'll pass on all of my experience, tips and hacks to turn you into a Presentation machine. I’ll even give some of you an opportunity to present to me and I’ll critique you Simon Cowell style. This workshop will include both “function” (WHAT) and “form” (HOW) i.e. I’ll help you structure your content around the perfect pitch. If you're a startup, this is an ideal workshop to help you develop your muscle around pitching to brands, agencies and of course, investors. All attendees will receive a best practices pitch presentation template.
Also, my co-founder, Gina Waldhorn has a proposed panel called, "Founding a Company in Tech...in Heels". (fwiw, I was wearing heels as well when I founded Evol8tion with Gina)
A focus on the journey of starting a tech company as a woman, this session will provide real life stories from highly successful women entrepreneurs across service, product, and investment businesses. We've had our eyes on the prize since we were playing dress up (or basketball), and busted our asses to get where we are today. We're creating an amazing community of like-minded women, and are going to share our perspective and predictions for the future of women in tech.
So if you're heading to SxSW or even if you aren't, we'd both love your vote of confidence:
Vote for my panel here - http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/39779
Vote for Gina's panel here - http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/39876
My latest MediaPost Online Spin column below, which introduces a concept about "earning" versus "commanding" a bundle of products or brands. Whether you're Panasonic, Nike, Apple or Procter & Gamble...this notion applies.
A month ago, Procter & Gamble announced it would be culling about 90 to 100 of its brands globally, in a restructure that would instead focus on the company’s top 70-80 brands.
On the surface, the move makes complete sense. After all, the remaining brands have accounted for 90% of sales and 95% of profit over the past three years.
So if I read that correctly (and the math is rather simple), we’re talking about 90-100 brands responsible for 10% of sales and only 5% of profit.
If that’s the case, one might ask what on earth the company was doing in the first place carrying so much dead weight relative to the remaining rock stars.
Or perhaps you were astounded by the tremendous lopsided contribution of sales and margin within the family of brands. You shouldn’t be, as your own customer base is probably not that radically different from this kind of 80/20 split. Certainly this is true within the B2B world -- and although less so in the B2C space, I wonder what Zappos, Starbucks, Amazon.com or Coca-Cola would say when it comes to their power products.
But I digress.
So back to P&G and the announcement, which came from Chairman and CEO A.G. Lafley, who himself had returned to the company 14 months prior to steady a rather behemothic ship. Lafley had indicated disappointment with the company’s financial situation, and this move was a decisive step to get things back on track.
And yet, I didn’t interpret any strength in this move at all. To me, it was all about consolidating the status quo; the known versus unknown; the “safe bets” or sure things versus the wildcards or anomalies.
I would contend that there are no sure things or safe bets nowadays. Just look at the threat Dollar Shave Club presents to the incumbent, P&G’s Gillette brand.
My gut feeling is that P&G’s brand-cutting move will be followed by a tried and tested approach, including mass/paid media and reach-heavy digital or social plays like Facebook, and doubling down on massive global sponsorships like the Olympics, as opposed to riskier and less proven approaches on the innovation front.
In my previous startup boutique, I did some work with Panasonic. I recall how excited execs were about an SD card that could be interchanged and used in all their devices, from camcorders to cameras to HD TV’s to their Toughbook P.C. They believed that this interoperability (or compatibility) would be key to developing an unequivocal reason for consumers to choose every product within Panasonic’s portfolio.
I remember telling them to “earn the bundle,” not “command the bundle.” Instead of creating a walled garden or closed system, let people decide for themselves what to use, and based on your great functionality, service and experience, they would give you more of their hard-earned money and loyalty.
If you think about it, the walled garden didn’t even work for Apple. And thankfully so, when you look at how many iPods the company subsequently sold to PC users.
Nike “earned the bundle” with me. I started with the obvious pair of shoes and hodge-podged the rest of my outfit from every other brand. Today, my shoes, socks, , GPS watch, shirt, shorts, windbreaker, gloves and hat are all part of the earned “Just Do It” bundle.
Instead of cutting brands, why wouldn’t P&G have looked to invest in its existing suite, creating creative, lateral and bold pairings or partnerships, bundled around “reasons to behave” versus “reasons to believe.” Like P&G did with Potty Palooza during frigid Times Square days, with Duracell (charge your phones and cameras) and Charmin (go to the loo). Or what Charmin did with its Sit or Squat acquisition. Although truth be told, we still haven’t seen this live up to its potential -- for example, a tour de force combination of Always, Pampers and Charmin owning the public restroom for entire families!
As the old saying goes: "If you're digging yourself into a hole, the smart thing is to stop digging.” Personally, I would choose to earn the bundle from a much larger portfolio of everyday products, as opposed to commanding the bundle from a smaller set – which no doubt will be under even more financial scrutiny, competitive pressure and startup disintermediation in the future.
Last week, I popped into my local Apple store for back-to-back-to-back appointments with the Geniuses (or Genii) at the Bar.
First port of call was my own iPhone and its radical draining battery. Turns out the problem was my 17,000 apps independently calling for “background app refresh” and “location services” all at the same time. Problem solved, one for one.
Next up was my daughter’s beyond-smashed and dysfunctional iPhone. This is when things got hairy. I was told it would cost $199 for a new phone. I explained I had AppleCare and they acknowledged this, but informed me that my two-year warranty had expired.
Enter the worst bait-and-switch in the history of not-so-smartphones. Obviously the idea is to get people to upgrade to new phones. In this case, my daughter’s iPhone 4S could easily have been upgraded to a 5 or 5S (with Two-year contract of course), but as it turns out, she -- quite understandably -- is holding out for an iPhone 6.
Only Apple is not operating on the same page as my daughter (who I suspect she is not the exception, but the overwhelming majority now) and as a result, is lagging behind pretty radically in the high-stakes game of innovation. The Apple 4S came out on Oct. 14, 2011 and my daughter’s phone was purchased in May, 2012. It’s now August 2014 and all we hear from the too-cool-for-school Blueshirts is thestandard response: “We don’t know when the anticipated mythical iPhone 6 announcement is going to echo from the heavens.”
Why not? Why wouldn’t you inform your own people when your overdue phone is ready? Why constantly trade on innuendo, hype and secrecy? That’s soooo Steve Jobs-era and 2011!
After switching Blueshirts three times and apparently talking to the store “manager,” I found out that I could purchase a phone for $199 and then trade it in when I was ready. At today’s rate, I would get $125 for the phone. But a) the rate fluctuates daily (I’m a day trader now?), b) the phone would have to be in pristine condition (did I mention, this was for my teenage daughter?) and c) I would have to use the store credit for a new iPhone from the Apple store.
The problem here is that Apple is being out-innovated (outsmarted?) by AT&T and the like. AT&T now has “Next” that allows customers to swap out old phones (defined as older than a day) for the latest and greatest with two provisions: 1. The “lease” renews and 2. It has to be done in an AT&T store. That’s AT&T 1, Apple 0 for those keeping score in-store.
To make matters worse, I explained to “the manager” that I was literally (my third appointment that day) about to purchase a new MacBook Air and spend up to $3,000 in the process in their store, making it the 11th active i-device in my household. Yes, there is a “kick me” sign on my back right now.
You would think the manager would be “empowered” to make me an offer. How about meeting me halfway at $100? Nope.
How many people were in the exact same situation as myself, do you think? I didn’t have to think for too long. There was one person sitting right next to me with the exact same problem: a horribly cracked iPhone 4S screen, waiting for the 6, and oops… expired AppleCare.
How many tens, hundreds, thousands of people are walking into Apple stores every single day experiencing the exact same poor customer experience? The mind boggles.
It would appear that innovation -- or rather, the lack thereof -- has a value: It’s $199. When multiplied by tens of thousands of dissatisfied customers, that comes at a rather steep price.
to the reincarnated and reinvigorated Jaffe Juice.
What was once a weekly op-ed column is now an unshackled, uncensored and uninhibited dialogue
on the subjects of new marketing, advertising and creativity.