Saturday, December 26, 2009

╠ Mistakes make money ╣

I came across an interesting ad the other day(left). This ad mentions the existance of a PSP-4000. A console that does not exist and therefore was taken up by gaming sites as news of a possible leak towards the future.

One simple ad has generated huge press simply because it stated support for a non-existant console. This is only doubled when the blogs post again saying 'It was a mistake'.

The amusing thing is that the ad will have no backlash...just a lot more valuable targeted impressions. All because this item supports a non existent console.

It makes you question whether this mistake was in fact on purpose or could lead to future accidentally on purpose mistakes.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

╠ Competition drives ambition ╣

One thing that I have discovered in life is that one of the easiest way to drive an individuals ambition is competition. Challenges that must be met or overcome in order to feel pride.

The greatest source of this is other individuals with like minded ideals. Two people competing for the same goal will cause greater outcomes than an individual.

Even for the loser, even though they lost they still would have competed harder, so in cases where there is not limited results, where everyone can benefit from harder work. For example high school where everyone trying harder pushes everyone else along. MHS and Macrob in Melbourne are examples of this.

So overall competition is good...But that leaves one thing. What happens in a blue ocean market space, where there is no competition, limitless opportunities and no one to challenge you to do your best?

Do you continue the momentum? Or does you ambition fade? Or are there other ways to drive it?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

╠ Whose Mcfault is it? ╣

McDonald's has been slammed by a parents council about their advertising efforts this year. One of the points as highlighted by the Gen Y marketing blog is that they were slammed for sponsoring athletics.

The question I have is where does the fault for this product really lie if this is perceived as a negative outcome. Is McDonald's really to blame for attempting to increase their brand perception by supporting a non negative activity? Is not the role of a business to make profits? Is it the athletics organization fault for accepting money from what may be perceived an unethical source.

Does the problem fall to the parents? Should they be making sure their kids only get their athletics in environments away from advertising aimed at them? Is it the kids fault for being sponges?

Personally I think it does fall to the parents. Markets work via demand. If parents conciously took the effort to demand more appropriate advertising it would work up the chain. A complete boycott would lead to the creation of new athletic alternatives where the parents will pay instead.

The point of the matter is that you need to pay for athletics and McDonald's is subsidizing that for the parents. If they don't want that, they have to cough up the equivalent amount. This sponsorship exists because the market supports it. Parents are currently happy to have their children advertised to rather than pay for it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

╠ The internet is stalking me! ╣

So via facebook everyone can see photos of you, twitter can share your every thought and foursquares allow people to know where you are. Is it just me or does the internet have enough information to make any stalker happy?

With each of these opportunities there are chances for organizations to access this information as well and try and use it for their own advantage.

I have to ask at what point will we rebel? At what point will the internet ask for too much information? We seem to all have a sharing fetish and I believe its something that will come back to bite us.

Friday, November 27, 2009

╠ Apologies with meaning ╣

I got an interesting email earlier today which basically said that ebay was sorry for an inconvenience I may have experienced with my last transaction. Now I don't really know what inconvenience they were referring to...but they attached a 10% off voucher. Basically meaning I can now go and buy something big and shiny and save 10% after I just spent $7 on a trinket.

At first I was confused because I wondered how ebay could do it considering they don't own what they 'sell'. But it makes's a nice offer, encourages repeat purchase and actually means something because it literally is out of their back pocket.

Additionally what I like is it is conforming to a norm that people are used to from bricks and mortar retailers and using it to segway them into online auctions.

So Kudos off to buy a yacht!

Monday, November 16, 2009

╠ You're in the way! ╣

This picture to the left is what came up when I went to read an article that caught my eye in an RSS Feed. However instead of being able to read the article this video popped up over the start of it and began to play on its own accord. Furthermore there was no button I could press to remove it or drag it away.

So I figured I may as well let it end and hope it disappears. When it finished it just stayed there so my entire point of reading the article was ruined. I had to refresh and hope it wouldn't load again.

So basically this ad has said 'Instead of that thing you wanted, look at me!'. This is the worst kind of advertising. Yes advertising is normally an interruption but this is a step beyond that, this is a disruption and detour, and on top of this at the cost of downloads as it did seem to be quite a high quality video it was displaying.

Advertising like this is horrible because it hurts both brands. You don't agree with the messge of the ad because of your emotional state of annoyance and you dislike the site for allowing such poor advertising. It's a ridiculous lose-lose situation and I hope to never see it again.

Friday, November 6, 2009

╠ Allocating consumer costs correctly ╣

I recently discovered the haste with which stock can clear from an Aldi store. If you want that special item that they have every week then you better get in before 11am on the day of launch.

The thing about Aldi is it allocates the cost paid by the consumer accurately. Aldi consumers are not necessarily monetarily rich, but instead time rich. Therefore they can go to the extra effort.

I wondered why Aldi didn't simply raise prices to meet demand. However it goes back to the time rich nature of consumers. Yes, there are people who miss out a lot of the time, however most of their consumers are time rich meaning they can head in early. If they really want the product then they will be in at 9am. So whilst you may have people in throughout the week asking for the product, a lot of them only want to look at it. It's not unreasonable to assume that 90% of people who want the product may be in early on that Thursday.

What makes a good business is to set your costs to the consumer focussed around what they're most willing to pay. Are they time poor, travel distance poor or just money poor. Making sure you align your business with what your customers are rich in means your customers will be overall more satisfied. Another example of this is 7-11 which survives due to catering to time poor consumers.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

╠ What is Expensive? ╣

Throughout Uni I've always heard about how things add value to a product, make people willing to pay more for it. Basically working as if people have an exact dollar value they're willing to pay for an item that fits into a product category and then additional for extra components and branding.

However in practice it isn't like this. On my most recent large purchase I was negotiating a price down for an outdated display item and I realized I don't have an exact price that I won't pay a cent more. Instead what the situation is in most cases is as the price rises, your percentage chance of purchase goes down.

What this is known as in economics is price elasticity, how much demand changes with an increase in price. The greater the change,the more elastic a product is. The elements that reduce the elasticity of a product are elements such as brand and reduced alternatives. Basically it is shaped by the opportunity cost of not purchasing it. Is today your only opportunity? Do you need it right away? Someone saying yes to these will be more price inelastic and therefore will be a higher chance of purchasing the same product for a higher cost.

So pricing isn't about hitting a magic number that everyone will buy at, it's about picking a value that will create the highest percentage chance of purchase in the average situation without sacrificing too much profitability.

To finish I'd just like to share what was one of my favourite thoughts on this issue. The definition of expensive is wrong, instead of just being a high cost item it is instead an item that is priced above your expected expenditure. Or in relation to my explanation priced at an area with low purchase intention.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

╠ Hypocrisy has a place in the market ╣

One man. One mission. To get a Windows 7 Whopper. Over in Japan to celebrate the release of Winodws 7, Burger King (Who we in Australia all know as Hungry Jacks) has created the Windows 7 Whopper. 7 Beef patties for the low cost of 777 yen.

I find it amusing how Hungry Jacks can get away with this, however McDonald's as the market leader is slammed heavily for being the case of obesity. As the biggest they are the easiest target. McDonald's has to adapt to the demands of the ethics spouting consumers who believe they are the evil of the world.

The thing I find even more amusing is that McDonald's facing these concerns and adapting their menu to the complaining consumers desires hasn't hurt them. If anything it has made them a stronger market leader. In normal circumstances you would think that putting limitations onto a player in a market compared to its competitors, would disadvantage it until it loses it's competitive edge.

So in this case acting ethically was the more beneficial option. Though this raises the question why if healthy is competitive, such a burger would exist as the Windows 7 Whopper.

The idea of ethical actions leading to benefits for a company is known as the Business Case for CSR. CHeck it out if you want to find more about the ethical side of corporations.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

╠ Why there is no PSPhone ╣

One thing that I find more and more as I study the depths of marketing is that a lot of decisions that I originally thought as stupid now have grounded theory behind them.

A rumour or fan desire that I've been hearing for years is the PSPhone. A PSP that multi functions as a phone.

However there is a clear point as to why this won't work. Phone's life cycles are minimal. The iPhone is probably the longest living, where one model can hold strong for an entire year. Consoles are different, they have a lot longer life cycles.

The reason Consoles work is that they have a wide library of games that they build up over the years. Reduce that time frame and games are reduced. Once you reach that point what is the point of having a PSP? You ay as well just get a handheld computer for PC games.

The only way to conquer this is through digital distribution where everything is guaranteed to be forward compatible. An example of thisdone right is the iPhone. The PSP is clearly trying to catch onto this with the PSP Go. However belief in the success of it is near rock bottom.

Some markets are mearly not meant to have crossover. Add too many things to your phone and all of a sudden you face other problems like battery life as well.

So to all my gamer readers out there, I hopethis stops you holding your breath for the PSPhone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

╠ The Paradox of choice ╣

Normally in Uni I'm faced with the same boring stuff every day, however one of my classes is a little different. There is no textbook. Therefore the learning isn't restricted, the content can alter and variate. This is valuable because if there's anything that can be said for reality, things don't stay the same for long.

Today in this class an interesting theory came up, 'The Paradox of Choice'. This theory refers to the choices we have when we go out to purchase something. I'll try to keep it simple. First of all it can be inferred that for every purchase you make, your happiness with that purchase is gauged by the performance of the product, relative to your expectations. By this method it is possible to be dissatisfied with a good product if you had ridiculously high expectations. So what's the secret to happiness? Low expectations!

Now this is where choice factors in. If you have one choice of a product your expectations won't be too high because it's not customized at all, it's basically all that's there and if you want a product in that category, you have to have that one. Now if you had two options things are a little different. You can weigh up the choices and pick the one that suits you a little better. But this comes at a cost, since you're no longer just stuck with what's there and you have a choice, your expectations are raised. This increases with every additional product choice. The more options there are, the more likely you are to find a product that suits all of your requirements better and therefore the better you feel the product has to be to reinforce that you made the right choice.

Thinking on this further I found it to apply to me a lot. Especially with technology there are so many options. Therefore the one you pick has to do everything you want and more for it to actually exceed your expectations and make you happy with your purchase.

So theoretically the best purchase you will ever make is when you walk into a store and the only thing left on the shelf is one sole product that satisfies your needs, however was there anything else you would still pick this one.

This also interestingly ties into my work where we're now told to take a brief reach into our customers mind and then stick to and try and focus on one sole product.

For any of you quite interested in this please do give the video below a look, it is quite interesting and the speaker himself is also a bit witty and humourous to boot. The point I'm referring to here is mainly referenced at around 10 mins in.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

╠ What is Brand Loyalty? ╣

Some of you may have seen the report on Mumbrella about Lasoo's iPhone application. Basically what this application does is collect catalogues together and show you all the products on sale meaning you know where to get the best price. Mumbrella predicted this as a huge change for retail, but I was skeptical.

My first thought was brand loyalty. Clearly we will prefer our retailers, we are happy to pay extra to shop at our favoured retailers. Then I realized that I myself don't even follow this pattern. I will get my favourite retailer to price match, or go elsewhere. Brand loyalty doesn't follow the textbook definition. It's not simply something that allows you to charge a premium and get away with it.

The truth about Brand Loyalty is that it reduces the amount you are willing to spend on searching. Whilst cost is often minimal to shop around, effort is still exerted and high brand loyalty leads us to have a lower limit for the degree with which we will go to research alternatives.

This is where that application hits. The effort exerted is reduced. Whilst some things can be as simple as a web search, even that requires enough effort to not be bothered for every transaction. This however is simply plug in the name and you know what everyone else has it at. Personally I don't know a retailer that I would be loyal enough to, to not actually go to that little effort when it comes to decent sized sales.

The application itself isn't that simple to use, however this vein of program is becoming more and more easy to setup and within time it's likely to be simpler and simpler. With such a high level of brand loyalty required to compete with this ease will brand loyalty become less cared for? Will price become the over arcing core element of success?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

╠ Bing It! ╣

When thinking about how to describe Bing I think the best description is that Bing is the younger brother of someone who turned crazy and went on a massive killing spree. Everyone knows he's there and will look at him, but nobody wants to play with him. Thus he becomes and outsider and all the other kids start to make fun of him.

The reason I say this is that I was recently at a Windows 7 training presented by Dell and Bing came up. Now just to set the scene, any Microsoft rep or employee using google is meant to receive a death glare. During setup I noticed the rep open google and then suddenly switch over, realizing his folly. Further more during the demonstration when showing off Windows 7 features, Google was shown as a frequently visited page. It showed Bing as weak, but to make up for it the rep answered all difficult questions with 'Bing it'. It almost seemed like an insult, but it's a good shutdown. Google it has too many syllables, Bing it sounds almost insulting.

Bing's placement in the industry itself makes it even more of a joke. Straight after this demonstration there was a Mac rep who used the same comeback. Whilst Mac itself is smart enough to not take on google for a search engine, 'Bing it' is still more of an insult than an actual proposition that it worked, despite the fact they were promoting a competitors product.

What I find as an interesting point is that will this catch on as a meme. Following on that, if it does how will Microsoft react?

Any further questions? Bing it!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

╠ Reduce functionality, increase profits ╣

One thing that I've had to face with a lot of the technology I use is the idea of 'homebrew content'. This is content created by the wider community, available for all to use. When it comes to things like the PSP it makes the console overall much more useful. Basically it goes from one group making all the stuff slowly to everyone working and you have all the good stuff quick.

Unfortunately however this content comes with content that breaches law. An example of this is the fact that one of the first homebrew applications for any device is one that allows it to play super nintendo games.

The thing that always confused me thought was how the companies fought for the removal of such exploits that allowed this. Yes there are some worse programs, for example with the PSP you can play PSP games without buying them. Whilst I know why they have to look like their trying, I always thought there was more value in feigning inferiority in regard to beating all the leet hackers out there and leaving it open.

The reason this doesn't work though is the relationships built. If someone like Sony were to leave a huge gaping hole like this in their software then game developers would not support their software. This has actually happened to a degree, in the sense that there are very few PSP unique titles.

So overall it's an interesting proposal. There is a point where profitability can be increased by reducing functionality.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

╠ Inferior yet Superior ╣

A few years ago I remember hearing rumours of a format being created that would compress a cd track retaining the quality of a CD that would be of average size 1mb. At the time I was amazed. I thought it was a marvelous invention and so proud that it was coming out of Australia.

Thinking now though, if a file format like that were to be released it would be meaningless. $100 no longer only gets you a 128mb Mp3 player.

It's amazing to think that something that would have been so effective a few years ago would be worthless nowadays. It hasn't changed, its competition hasn't changed.

Increasing the support in order to make way for this new format would be wasted money, considering the current marketplace. Despite the product is completely superior to mp3, it is simply not attractive.

Strange how the market can change. It is only in adapting to market changes that you can find true success.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

╠ iSnack 2.0 ╣

Those of you watching the AFL yesterday would have been introduced to the new name of what is overall growing to be one of my least favourite marketing campaigns...It's definitely trying very hard to beat Pimp My Kettle.

So iSnack 2.0...You know what, it's not even worth going into every detail wrong in that name. The blog would become too long and boring for anyone to read.

Zac Martin over at Pigs Don't Fly was the first in my list of bloggers to post about the iSnack 2.0. His goal is to be listed No. 1 for iSnack 2.0. So this is me helping. By filling up iSnack 2.0 with blogs complaining about it we may just send a message that may be heard. If you want to help be sure to link the words iSnack 2.0 to Zac's or my blog post.

Friday, September 25, 2009

╠ The Perplexing Case of Aldi ╣

One of the things that has changed since I moved out is that I've been located a lot closer to an Aldi store and there is quite an experience.

There has been one thought I've been toying with for the past week though. Does Aldi's neglectful treatment of merchandising actually possibly help them?

My main thought on this came to do with their high seller products. Do you want to buy something from Aldi where it looks like the entire shelfload of stock is still there, or does the fact that it looks like it's selling well further improve your perception of value in a peer pressure type sense?

I keep managing to jump back and forth however I think I may have finally come to a conclusion. Thinking back a full shelf does look better, more professional and more aesthetically appealing. However Aldi's personal treatment reinforces their brand image and associations which are about the fact that they save money by cutting down costs anywhere. The visual manifestation of this further instills the brand image in your mind and makes you believe that these must be the cheapest things around.

So in all it's a bit of a wash consumer wise, so it comes down to the fact that Aldi is saving money doing it this way as well. So as long as it's working for them they should keep their crummy stocking setups.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

╠ An Unhappy little Vegemite ╣

Now I love my vegemite. Whenever a tourist comes to town I'm the first to try to convince them to try the wonderous goo that they sometimes confuse for chocolate. But unfortunately when it comes to their last campaign, I'm not as proud as I used to be.

I refer of course to the New Vegemite. I'd add a slogan here but the only message I seem to remember is that apparently it's just like the old Vegemite. Hmm, something that goes in a sandwich that tastes just like Vegemite? Wait, isn't there already something that does that...idno, maybe original Vegemite.

So a campaign centered around completely cannibalizing your own product by replacing it with could it ever fail? Especially when the product has no name and it becomes the consumers job to name this product that tastes just like original vegemite.

My complete confusion at this campaign seemed to be endless. So I thought the best way to solve it would be to stop listening to the campaign and actually just try the thing...and you know what...It tastes just like vegemite except that you have to keep it in the fridge, and the list of ingredients on the back is about 10x as long.

The only possible upside that this campaign could stumble would be that having vegemite in the fridge as well as the upboard would increase exposure and possible usage? Long shot but maybe, or secondly this new vegemite seems to require more substance to achieve the same level of taste so it could be increasing turnover due to it's own sheer inefficiency...

I would've thought I would at least be able to understand a campaign by people who were able to create such a strong brand image as the happy little vegemite. But it just eludes me. If anyone knows the secret to why this campaign isn't a complete waste let me know v_v

Thursday, September 17, 2009

╠ Solve your problems on my terms ╣

I recently moved and of course what comes with that is calling up all of the people who offer services and being put on hold indefinitely. Now I understand that this is what people are used to but it could be so much better.

Why should I be sitting at the phone waiting for someone to be free and pick up the phone. Is there any value to me being on the line? Unless you're Telstra and you're making money prolonging phone calls then there is no value.

Waiting on hold is annoying, plain and simple. One thing I found recently in my search for internet was how Dodo had the ability to register your interest and they would call you when they're free.

Sure you may have to wait by the phone for a bit, but you're not on the phone wasting money and time. I don't understand why companies cannot adopt a system like this. Call up or register online that help is needed and then they call you asap. If you're online you can even have a nice little animation showing expected call time or something.

Sure it costs you a call but I can tell you, after you've spent twenty minutes on hold, the degradation to your personal brand in that individuals mind is well worth the effort. An example I have is where I had an issue with Telstra's bill. So I had to spend half an hour of my time, and probably $30ish of credit just to get them to fix a problem that they created.

So this is my cry out for customer service that actually serves a changing customers needs. Move with the times. Being on hold should be being pushed to be a thing of the past.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

╠ Marketing is boring ╣

...Or at least it appears to be by what Universities have to say about it. I've reached the half way point of my final semester and I've just taken a small step back and realized that what I'm learning doesn't match the career. Marketing is about innovation and design, quite artsy really. However University paints it as rules, guidelines, almost a mathematical formula to success.

Now this actually appeals to me to a degree, hence why I can get caught up in it and it becomes a surprise to look back for a second. University seems obsessed with theories...however the unfortunate thing with theories is that they usually ignore variables. Unfortunately this is the fault with all theories, they try to summarize things, which can only be achieved by removing bits.

I know I keep calling out for it but I'd really just love Universities to listen a little and try and teach us how the marketing life really is, rather than theories. Especially when some of the innovations must come at the price of ignoring a few of even the most basic theories.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

╠ Social Experiments Gone Wrong ╣

One thing that always gets to me on Facebook and similar networks is when people change their personal details s part of what they usually call a 'social experiment'. The most common one is people changing their birthday in order to see if people realize that you change it or simply just follow the cues and wish you a happy birthday on another date.

Personally I believe that such experiments are a complete waste of time and in the end noone really feels the better. Basically it shouldn't require you to perform an experiment to prove that when you lie to someone, they get the wrong idea. Your respondents will fall into 3 categories. Thse that know your birthday that pick up that you're lying, those who thought they knew and just get confused and those that go with the flow and wish you a happy birthday only to feel like a dick once the experiment is over.

No matter which group you fall into you are left feeling worse than you originally did in regards to the person conducting the experiment.

So the data itself earned from the experiment is basically worthless and you've just screwed over your entire facebook network. Kudos.

I hope that this post at least deters one person from conducting a social experiment...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

╠ Sharp Dressed Man ╣

What has probably been the thing I've been learning most this semester is the mind games that go in behind everyday life. The little things that can be the defining pont between a good first impression and a bad one.

In the past I had believed, thanks to my mum's teachings, that being myself and standing up for what I like is important. Unfortunately I turned out to be a weird kid and as much as I'd like to believe it, showing up to an interview in my giant Mario Bros Mushroom Hoodie isn't going to earn me any bonus points...unless Im going for a VG company.

The viewpoint that was originally in my mind was that I could be what I want and it was that being different that would add me value. But this is not the case. Simply being different isn't enough to make you special. As weird as it sounds, to a degree you have to be like everyone else to be different. It is by reaching those minimum requirements of correlation with the norm that you will be accepted. Only from there do you have the balance board to be different and be rewarded for it.

This applies to businesses as well to be accepted there must be things you do the same before you can do things different. Even in the most differentiated and out there firms you can find most of the base jobs are still all the same.

The true way to being successful isn't in being different, it's in being the same...differently.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

╠ Utilizing Twitter ╣

One of the things I've been determined to do since finding twitter is actually find a way to use it for something useful. At Manifest the main thing with twitter that I did was to run a competition where during the weekend if you made a tweet with #manifest in it you were eligible to win. It went down quite well...

The question as to whether it was worth the merch is yet to be raised, however the point is that it sparked discussion and we were getting quite a few tweets, all aligned with the right tag.

The reason I bring this up is that I saw another style of competition today, except this time you had to tweet this '@GuitarHero: “Today is the day I’m getting @GuitarHero 5!” RT for your chance to win 1 of 5 #GuitarHero 5 bundles!'

Basically a set message. One message posted a million times, that my friend is spam. Creating content based around your brand, that's community building.

So what are your thoughts, do I get to feel the pride of one upping a worldwide brand, or is there some trick to this Guitar Hero tweet that makes it more valuable?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

╠ My Greatest Success to Date ╣

What I believe to be my greatest achievement in retrospect is progression of Melbourne Anime Festival's mascot 'Peppa-chan' throughout the year. Peppa-chan has been around since 2004 and to be honest the character development has been slim. However I believe it's really grown a lot this year. Peppa-chan has grown, she now has facebook, twitter and various other accounts on sites linked within the community. She finally has a presence and has been able to connect for once.

The best part of it though was that I was able to run an event titles 'Operation Peppa-chan' that encouraged attendees to dress up as our mascot. This event was a huge success and most who attended seemed to really enjoy it. On top of this whilst the event was running we were also collecting money for charity.

So basically an event that is purely Manifest and that only Manifest can do and therefore is representative of everything Manifest, albeit a late start due to other events, ran really well. The brand was reinforced, the mascot was reinforced. The lovely medal you see above was actually donated by Emil Braun making it a low cost event. Charity wise we managed to raise over $600. So basically it was a brand building, low cost, high enjoyment and CSR positive endeavour. Frankly I'm just glad to see it all pay off.

Also I'd really like to thank those who helped along the way, Candice for dressing as Peppa, the entrants, and just anyone who helped along the way.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

╠ Kids These Days - No Respect! ╣

Sorry to everyone who was waiting eagerly for my next post to arrive only to find a week went by with nothing but I was frantically trying to organize the Melbourne Anime Festival. I was the branding manager so it's been a long year trying to revitalize what to many has seemed like a bit of a dying brand.

As volunteer work obviously the aim is to learn a lot and develop my skills in order to show off to potential employers. I'll be detailing my activities later on as I prepare my post mortem.

However the one thing that I must mention first which I am quite proud of is that I actually organized for our mascot to be kidnapped. Peppa-chan as she is called used to be basically a faceless entity. Through the year I've slowly added life to her through facebook and twitter and to cap it all off I had her kidnapped. So yes if you employ me I will find a way to have your favourite element captured!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

╠ Unsustainable Advantage ╣

One thing that I've been thinking about a bit lately is refund policies. A lot of companies have them and it's usually along the lines of 7-14 days after purchase you can still get your money back. Some businesses offers are clearly better than others. My question about this though is how much should you advertise this? As refund policies are generally a cost and if everyone took it up you'd be out of business.

The example I would like to use is EB Games. What they do is offer a 7 Day money back if you finish the game that quick you can bring it back. can rent the game for a week for free. Dodgy? Perhaps. But these are the holes that exist in refund policies.

Normally with loss leaders they are stock items that you can simply run out of. But policies are forever. I've wondered why EB Games haven't taken their policy and tried to make something of it. 'The 7 Day Game Challenge!' Finish a game in seven days and return it to receive a full refund.

The reason I believe it hasn't happened is the loopholes that have to exist in these policies...if you start encouraging people based on this reasoning then all of a sudden EBGames becomes a free rental store.

Refund policies are definitely a confusing one. Just what is the right amount to advertise them? I think it's a flaw with the policy rather than the marketing, but at the moment I just believe there are too many getaway free refund policies. Yes it adds security, but when you can't advertise it right for fear of having it turn on you is that really worth it?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

╠ It's the small things that matter ╣

The market of portable gaming faces one huge issue, software piracy. This is especially prominent in Australia because release dates between our games and America's can be quite broad. The ability of consumers to download your game and not pay for it is a huge issue that the players in the market have to deal with. This is even more of a problem for the PSP as it doesn't have the casual gamer market to keep it afloat.

The thing that annoys me is the lack of innovation in attracting gamers to actually purchase a game. One example of someone doing it right is my favourite game company Square Enix, who with their new big game Dissidia are offering a bunch of free stuff in a collectors edition. Most of it is probably useless junk, but at the POS it looked pretty so I put down my preorder, and it seemed other people had chosen the same option as there were 60 pre-reg's just at the store I went to.

Gaming companies seem to be too happy to sit back and wait for Sony or Nintendo to fix the problem, but as a competitor in the market they too have power and should be aiming to follow this culture and try to add incentive that can't simply just be downloaded.

If there is a problem in your market you should always be trying to innovate your way around it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

╠ Wicked Sick Branding ╣

Most of you have probably already seen this ad over on Pigs Don't Fly but I liked it so much that I thought I'd cross post it. I like it because it's so effective at proving two things: The value of branding, and also that incredible value can be created even with a completely new brand.

The original sale captures the items raw cost, no branding, no anything. Buying a BMX on ebay will set you back 27.50. However stick a name on it and the value grows, further more create hype around it, knowledge increases and as knowledge increases the value of the brand rises.

The thing that also stands out is that thanks to the increased knowledge for the product via the video the buyer of the product could possibly even sell the Wicked Sick BMX for more than what he paid because the value of the brand has increased. On top of this those guys could also technically get away with reselling other ebay items witht the Wicked Sick brand name because to those who know it, there is added value.

Personally I'm waiting for the appearance of the wicked sick toaster!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

╠ The My Chem iPod Dock ╣

Whilst perusing the officeworks in QV yesterday I came upon a curious iPod dock(pictured left). To the normal eye nothing would appear odd at all. However if you look in the bottom left corner you notice the model number iH8...which roughly translates in computer nerd language to iHate.

Now I've seen a lot of iPod docks that have i[letter][number] so I don't believe this one is on purpose, or at least the rest of the packaging showed no link to encouraging hatred. In fact I'd go so far to say that if on purpose it directly conflicted with the offer messages of the packaging.

When it comes to technology a lot of users will understand the concept of using numbers instead of actual letters, and the prospect of hate is something that would probably be turned away from by mid to older aged users, aka those with the most disposable income usually. When there are so many ways for a product to go wrong you think you would at least try to make the product code a non-deterant.

Then again I could be completely wrong and it could be on purpose in order to trick people like me into promoting it...oh the beauty of marketing. Thoughts?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

╠ Success in Failure ╣

Often we can find ourselves turning our noses up at ads or simply deeming them ineffective and a waste however even in these cases there is still value to be attributed.

For us to choose to purchase something first there has to be a need, second a product that satisfies that need must be able to quash all risks involved in the purchase of the product. Now, when I say risk I'm not saying someones going to come and shoot you for buying the wrong pair of glasses, the risks I refer to are more various. For example a main one is financial risk, aka can you afford it, another important risk is breakage or lemon risk which refers to the durability of the product.

When it comes to an individual product individuals can have varying risks, some may have the financial risk as top priority, in this case they'll usually opt for the cheapest product. Other people however, especially in the case of technology are more afraid of faulty products, and will pay that bit extra for a brand that they know.

The way this links back is that whilst you may hate an ad, the brand will usually stick in your mind. Take the case where the faulty risk is of the highest importance to you, where choice is limited. Would you choose the brand you know, a brand that is successful enough to advertise, albeit poorly, but advertise none the less, or a complete no name brand?

In the end what matters to a consumer is justify the product, to satisfy the level of risk they are happy with. So I would assume in a case where quality is of priority you would choose the brand you know. This is simply because there is one thing that every television ad shouts loud and clear. 'Look at us, we can afford to be on TV!' If your original message doesn't get through, this one always will.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

╠ I'm a big boy now ╣

This little poster may not seem like much, being only an a3 surrounded on all sides by A2's but it's still a big step for me. These posters were hung by Plakkit, a group in Melbourne who does poster distribution in key areas. Therefore it makes it my first paid advertising distribution...thingy.

Of course there's been a lot of putting things up for free and for favours but this is my first experience paying to advertise and I think it is a key step in a marketing career.

Is it equitable for the cause? Who knows? That's for market research to discern after the event. However this is the method I chose with a limited budget in order to advertise our event. What matters though is that I personally I feel like a million dollars to see something like this come off. Even though I paid for it, it's a very similar feeling to seeing someone reference you on a blog.

So if any of you see yourselves around Melbourne Central be sure to keep an eye out ^^ Anyone wanting to find out more about the event being advertised, it's an anime convention named Manifest.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

╠ Because it all counts ╣

In my catching up on TV I came across a set of coles ads advertising that 'it all counts' and detailing the ways in which you save money with them. There is one of these I would like to draw your attention to and it goes like this.

You shouldn't be taxed for being a woman, so Coles is paying the GST on all feminine hygiene products for you.

I'm not sure about all of you female types out there but is 11% off a tampon a real winner for you? Is it a deciding factor in where you shop? Do you feel particularly cared for? As far as I have heard feminine hygiene isn't something you really talk about too much so a big conglomerate saying they care isn't something I see as really convincing.

Now also the other problem is as a male I feel completely ignored by this campaign. Granted us males don't really need anything like this on a monthly basis. However the point is that sales work by being sustained by full price purchases. So as a male our purchases are funding something with which we receive no value unless we are particularly whipped by our significant others.

So I just have to question this particular idea, alienating half of the population for a relatively ineffective minor price cut. What are your thoughts?

Monday, July 20, 2009

╠ Brand Loyalty at its best ╣

Apologies for the reduced posting as of late however I got a little tied down because I had a formal to attend as well as a birthday to organize, amongst all of my normal activities.

Just wanted to take a quick moment to show this cake though. This was a cake that was designed for me without me knowing. It's covered in Nintendo's core mascots which could be considered promotion however I didn't care about that aspect. I loved it, as did everyone else at the party.

How many of you can name brands that you could place their material all over your birthday cake without a single person at your party raising an eyebrow? In fact how many brands could even pull something like that at an office party?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

╠ Currency is so analogue ╣

So today I faced the horrible endeavor of leaving the house without my handy credit card. I'd grown so used to the convenient that it was an eye opener.

Now as a commerce student my dealing with money is pretty organized, so the loss of the core of my structure threw me off.

The two problems I faced today were first of all being short changed. The second was that I ran out of money because like all other scared people of the world I don't like the idea of carrying excessive amounts of cash. All of which solved by cards. The other thing I however I perhaps wish I could have facedis that cash causes an issue with is as an untraceable transaction, most commonly used to evade centrelink. Unfortunately Woolworths is one of those follow the rule type organizations.

Cash clearly seems to be the inferior product, however due to those hard bent on sticking to the old ways it continues on and will continue on into the far future.

You can tell people to upgrade their TV, their radio, their whatever else you've improved by adding a clock to it. However the more popular the original item, the longer it will take to be phased out. So by that measure does cash currency have a future date of discontinuity? WHat do you all think?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

╠ Achievements ╣

One of the additions to video games in the current generation is the inclusion of achievements and trophies. These are awarded for finishing particular tasks. For PS3 the trophies you achieve are ranked by difficulty, from bronze to gold and then a bonus platinum trophy for if you collect every other trophy in the game.

The reason why I find this so good is that it increases the playability of a game but also ensures that you've completed everything that a game has to offer, rather than just the story. It also tells you when enough is enough and it's time to move on.

I believe it's important to give yourself something similar in life. Every company you work for should have it's own goals, from simple bronze ones to the overruling 'platinum' goal. On top of this you should also have your own goals, including those individualized for jobs. Most of the time you have a specific goal in mind when applying for a job and it's good to keep that in mind else you may find yourself dwindling longer than you would perhaps like in an area that may not further your overall goals.

It's also good to keep your individual goals separate because unless you really, really love work, then you should have other interests. Even those that don't further your career are worth including, be it to one day do that Star Wars Marathon or play through every one of the ironically named 'Final Fantasy' games released. If you don't set yourself the challenge you may just keep pushing these side goals off and do you really want to live the kind of life where you didn't take the time to do these life defining achievements that make life worth living.

It's up to you whether you achieve the goals, and you always have the option to reassess the ones that you lose interest with. What's important is keeping your goals in mind so that you don't let yourself stray from what you truly want.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

╠ Sponsored Mobility at its best ╣

Now as most of you may know in this semester just gone I took a subject I loathed called Career Management. A course that if you were to follow the lecturer you would misconstrue as a class about how to analyze careers after you've had them...conveniently enough with examples from her career. Useful I know. Now through this all there was one sole lesson of value. Obvious without the class but I want to give it some credit. The term I'm referring to is sponsored mobility.

Sponsorship in a career sense is where someone, usually further along their career path than you helps you along or takes you under their wing. It's meant to be a must do and something that it doesn't matter who it is because everyone has something to teach.

Now not wanting to shoot myself in the foot I remained open to this concept. However after experiencing it I believe there are some areas where it may appear less than useful. Recently I went on a trip to Brisbane with my father to experience the entrepreneurial lifestyle. I've listed below the activities and what I've learned.

Super Happy Fun Trip To Brisbane
  • Trip to Airport in Taxi - Entrepreneurs don't pay bills, fines etc. They believe in the par 10 (sp?) principle. So not paying what you owe 'the man' is good...
  • Airplane Trip to Brisbane - Entrepreneurs prefer to talk to any female that sits down to them and reveal their secret business plans to them rather than talk to their own son
  • Taxi Ride from airport - Taxi drivers in Brisbane are as bad as Melbourne and asks interstate tourists where x street is
  • Meeting 1 - We are vultures, ravenous, ravenous vultures, benefiting from the corpses of failed entities
  • Meeting 2 - Basic usage of a computer to make presentations is still super impressive for some things. Pixelated images FTW
  • Lunch - Father left to go to a meeting alone. I suspect fornication. Discovered I fail at social interaction...doubly so for people not of my age
  • Meeting 3 - Entrepreneurs never disclose everything. People will line up left right and center for a good sounding idea
  • Bar - The best bars are the ones that allow you to stare at 'eye candy'. Also Asahi apparently means Heinekin
  • Hotel - Apparently booking a two bedroom room each is the way entrepreneurs do it.
  • Dinner - Restaurants are also rated based on their proximity to eye-candy. iPhone app Urban spoon has room for improvements. Apparently Asahi decided it no longer wanted to be heinekin and turned back into Asahi beer.
  • Casino - While wife takes care of child alone, entrepreneurs will play. Including initialization of flirting, drink buying and number getting
  • Hotel - True entrepreneurs fly off to other states whilst leaving their family to find their own way to their flight much later.
  • Airplane ride - People should have to pay more to bring a baby along with them...and they should have to have their own special booth or something
  • Ride Home - Apparently Toorak means South Yarra station
Overall, what it seems I can learn from my father is that marriage means nothing and noone is more important than yourself and your interests. not sure about all of your views on this but I think a certain note should be added to chosing a sponsor...choose them wisely.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

╠ Vodafone Mess with your head! ╣

Those of you who read and enjoyed my previous adventures in procuring an iPhone may be happy to hear that the story did not end there. The last story was apparently so riveting that it made it all the way to mumbrella. I believe I owe thanks to the Tim fellow who collects the content. Now you may notice that it is a Virgin ad that I have placed above and there is quite good reasoning for this, reasoning that may make the Mumbrella line 'Michael Lanyon explains why Clemenger BBDO’s helped sell him an iPhone' a little bit less than true.

So the way the story goes is that I went down to the Vodafone stores with intent of getting one of those fancy 32gb 3gs' and when I got there this all started going quite smoothly until one road block. Some how my age had been put into the system incorrectly. Normally no biggie but seems with vodafone it is. Now I have a pretty good number as you can see on the right, so I was kind of interested in keeping it. The only way it was possible was to purchase a sim from another carrier, port the number and come back.

Now remember I also had an exam this day so time wasn't on my side but I humoured them anyway. I went down to Dick Smith, bought a virgin Sim, started porting the number and went back to find that Virgin wasn't actually a group that this problem would be fixed by. Now by this point I'd basically given up but I opted to run a credit check to ensure I was actually ok for this considering $74 a month is a bit for a uni student, but that went fine. So it really was just this clerical error at the start that stopped me. I do consider myself a bit brand loyal, and I do like vodafone ads, especially the fold it one as referenced by Mumbrella and also the current one inclusive of voice twittering. However when they can't simply convert a prepaid sim of theirs to a plan sim then well that starts to wear thin. The final option was to call them up and wait for all the people inquiring about the new iPhone.

Which I did start doing however by this point the damage was done. By sending me out of their store to a Dick Smith they had sent me straight past a Virgin store which had a much more appealing deal available for the old 16gb. I inquired about it and the process there ran smooth from start to finish. So as much as I hate to admit it...I'm on Virgin now.

So that's how I go from aiming to be with a group whose ads I love, to a group whose sexist ads I hate with a fiery passion. Goes to show that no matter how good your ads are in the end it does come down to the individual service or product and Vodafone's lack of simplicity in correction of errors cost them revenue of $2,000 from me.

Now lets see if this story can make the news too :P

Friday, June 26, 2009

╠ Marketing Messes with your head! ╣

First off I'd just like to take a small moment to say it's my 100th post here and boy what a ride it's been. Kudo's to anyone who read them may want to...uh...reexamine your life or something.

In order to celebrate I want to tell you a story of how Marketing is really starting to mess with my head.

At the moment I have a pitifully poor phone, the battery dies within five minutes of talk so I've been keeping up to date on all the iphone developments. My final decision is to go with Vodafone because when I went into their store they acknowledged my existence, I've been with them before and the clencher was simply that their advertising doesn't suck(Yes I am that shallow). I've never locked myself into such a big contract, so last night being the night before the release I was tossing and turning in bed because I couldn't sleep.

However when I did get to sleep I dreampt about getting the iPhone and being in a car driving around for a vodafone shop in the outer suburbs with hilarious results. Now what I found the most amusing about the dream was when I finally found the store I discovered their advertisement of the iphone and it was the 'You've got to be tossing possums!' health insurance lady. I had no option but to listen as she spoke, knowing that one of her stupid phrases could come out at any second, luckily however after about a minute of listening in fear I woke from my sleep.

I don't know what to think, my dream purposefully attacked my reasoning for picking vodafone on the grounds of their not sucky advertising by putting in sucky advertising...Does my subconscious not want me to get an iPhone? None the less I thought I'd share with you just how doing marketing can mess with your head.

The second curious thing about the dream was not the single mention of the exam that I have in about 5 hours...perhaps I'm showing a bit too strongly where my priorities lie...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

╠ I wish...Death of University ╣

This weekend just past I had a curious meeting where the organization I volunteer for had to talk down to a sub-organization because of their lackluster results. Promotion was a huge issue for them and what I found interesting was that our head said that him and myself were the people on committee to approach because I had been formally trained and he had experience.

This made me realize how little University does for you. This year I've been stumbling through the brand manager position learning everything I have to just before I have to do it. None of which was covered in Uni.

One of the questions raised during the meeting was how do you advertise on twitter. Any marketer would know twitter and how to utilize it, however it has not been mentioned in a single class of mine. I've been at Uni for almost 3 years now and I honestly feel like this one year of experience volunteering as well as blogging has taught me more than what Uni can.

The curious thing though is that in my career management class which contained two parts, one presentation (Which my group rigged so we all got full marks), and then the plan itself I scored 6/10 meaning the plan itself got 1/5. Seems volunteering in the role you actually want to do, blogging about your area of interest and building network contacts is a horrible career plan.

University isn't what it promises to be. It's simply teaching you the core outdated elements of broad career interests. If I had just volunteered for 3 years as the branding coordinator for my organization and used the money I spent on uni to feed myself better and maybe invest in an online journal or two then I would be in a better state than what I am now.

Personally I think what University is should be shrunk down instead of being extended. They should teach you all the basic elements in a year like TAFE and then it's up to you to find experience, or you can come back for another year to be taught more advanced stuff, the latter being the 'if all else fails' option.

So overall this is me once again saying, if you're in Uni and doing nothing else to help you towards your desired career, I worry for you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

╠ Stumbling can get the best results ╣

I found a curious blog on one of the forums I frequent earlier today. Alice and Kev is a blog dedicated to the game Sims 3. What the creator has done is made two fail characters destined fr misfortune and disposed of all of their assets leaving them homeless.

A simple concept but the game has enough twists to draw you into the blog because anything can happen. They're not real but you still and personally I hope that Alice still manages to make something of herself.

When I first heard of it I thought it so succesful that it had to be a stunt by the company, however then I remembered who makes the game and something like this is probably beyond them. Turns out it is just a humble normal person who has stumbled on success.

It is incredibly effective at selling the product though, incredibly well managed. There's even a charity page for CRM so that he's not belittled for picking on homeless people. Personally I'm amazed at the simpleness of the concept and yet how powerful it will be. Goes to show that simple ideas can and will work.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

╠ Death of...Death ╣

Those of you who frequent the works of Zac Martin will know all too well about his fondness for death of posts. Usually revolving around a physical or analogue style system trying to compete in the new digital age. Usually with controversial results.

Now as much as I'd love to do a death of death of's, they are far too successful especially for those with ego's the size of blimps, so the closest thing is Death of death.

Death is actually something that has lost a lot of its power in recent years. Death has most often be used in ads like quit smoking or speeding. However death has grown old. Death is currently in a nursing home, rocking back and forth going 'Back in my day'. Death is no longer feared. It's not scary. It's simply an end with no continuation. Fear these days lies in losing everything and having to live on knowing what you've lost. Cancer can do this...Death cannot.

So overall...I can live with dying, if you want to use scare tactics on me, death is as effective as a particularly perturbed unicorn.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

╠ Being a Hero is Optional ╣

Recently I invested in the PS3's latest game to receive Sony's seal of approval through ridiculous amounts of advertising support, inFAMOUS.

The main feature of the game is the choice between good and evil. Personally I'm too much of a fan of damsel's in distress and the like so I can't run past any needy individual without stopping. However for some this would obviously be a little easier. I think this quote from the game rings true.

Any man can handle adversity. If you want to test his character, give him power. - Abraham Lincoln

Marketers in particular are not immune to this. We receive great power when put in control of brands or asked the tough questions. It can easily go to our heads, and specially with noone looking over us it can be dangerous. As the slogan goes, 'Being a hero is optional!'

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

╠ Iphone. Explosion or Trickle? ╣

As most of you connected types would know Apple launched the iphone 3gs late last night and everything has basically exploded with discussion.

An interesting thing I would like to point out is that Apple blurted everything out all at once. No bit by bit, in one night everything got posted.

This raises the curious question about why didn't they save some, let it out as more of a trickle to build anticipation. What I perceive to be the reason for this is the haste in which they are trying to work. No matter what some may say the iPhone 3g will probably still be the main contender and as such will face cannibalism issues.

So they've saved everything until now to give you ten days total until release to contemplate the information and make sure it is prominent in your mind at launch

Sunday, June 7, 2009

╠It may not be a cookie, but it still says eat me! ╣

Those of you who have passed through QV recently may have noticed three little traffic light covered balls plastered everywhere. What they signify is a new health kick that QV and the city of Melbourne are participating in.

The way it works is that the green light is obviously the healthy option, yellow is a little bit naughty and red shouldn't be consumed unless you wish to face the same demise as Elvis. Also via a stamp card eating 5 healthy products gets you entry into a prize draw.

What I like about this campaign is that it actually encourages good habits, is actually filling a void by providing an easy identification system and also seems relatively inexpensive. I hope these lovable little balls hang around past the promo period as I see them as a great competitive advantage.

Friday, June 5, 2009

╠ The Internet is Pyramid Selling ╣

Over my many years scouring the internet I've had countless varieties of sites. One element that has seemed to play in each is a pyramid style structure. This blog is one such device.

There's always the person who brought you here who you look up at and think 'Someday that could be me!'. However that is rarely the case as success isn't usually easily imitated with the same response.

When it comes down to it going 'viral' is exactly the same as the aim in any pyramid scheme. You can simply sell them your products(subscribe/view) or join your effort(referrals, references). Similarly it also boils down to your original real life networks to adopt and propel you forward, hoping to find chains of people with sharing interests.

It's weird to think as huge an entity as the internet shares such a risky conotation.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

╠ Who can you trust when designing campaigns? ╣

One of my class assignments was to design an advertising campaign. With my appreciation of Dick Smith up and it in its rebranding, it seemed the obvious choice.

My groups campaign idea was two tiered, there would be ads(<-Example) in newspapers, billboards and TV(To suit demographic) which would link to reviews which would be in newspapers, on the radio and obviously online for the more tech savvy.

The entire focus is around the Techxpert, getting the 'Techxperts' to show their knowledge, and by providing that knowledge to consumers, gaining their loyalty.

To contrast this the current campaign by Dick Smith revolves around 'Who do you trust when buying Technology?' which has featured on trams and TV. Unfortunately they haven't appeared on the internet, perhaps hinting they may be a bit wallpaperish.

So thoughts on my first campaign?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

╠ Twitter is Broken ╣

Whilst most marketers would believe Twitter has had it's time on top, ranking with the likes of facebook and myspace. I beg to differ

My first thought for Twitter was that it's really gimicky. First twitter in unique location here, unique individual twittering there. That's most of the news around it.

I think Twitter in it's current state has run out of steam, however it's not actually the gimickyness that has caused it in my opinion. Thanks to programs like Twollow the entire follower/following dynamic is blown, accounts can auto-follow you that will never actually read what you post. To prove my point I've made an account to follow anyone who talks about Gruen :P

Because of this I think Twitter needs to change its dynamic before it gets more flooded with Twollows than Twits.

PS: Interesting note, as I was writing this Twitter was actually not working, fail whale and all.

Friday, May 29, 2009

╠ The world IS mine ╣

For a career management plan, one of the requirements was to draw a picture of how you would like to see your career future.

Pictured on the left is my entry. I must admit I was surprised that at least 50% of the class simply stole pictures from google images. Those left simply drew a metaphor, doors, gardens growing/sprouting etc.

In a class with the majority doing marketing/management as a major and the students could not even attempt to be innovative.

It is days like these that I am so glad I discovered blogging. Without it I could easily had been as scared of open ended activities like this.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

╠ Ditch the Suit ╣

During the weekend just passed I met up with my family and since it's now my final year, conversation moved to my career. Also being close to my birthday the prospect of buying me a really good suit arose. I declined, however this was because when it comes to a suit I would want to pick it myself, because I don't want just a generic suit.

Now they used this as me trying to put forward an excuse for me just wanting to be cheap because I would never spend a lot on a suit myself. Now they were rather certain about this so I had to take a new viewpoint and sort of make the challenge to get a good job without resorting to buying a fancy suit. Which is actually a little bit of a shame because I am quite fond of one day looking spiffy in a suit.

Those of you who read Marketing mag may remember Zac Martin's post about ditching the resume. The resume is simply a way of trying to make yourself look fancier than you are, and suits are the same. In fact they work just like branded goods, you buy them for the social value. Basically you spend $500 on a suit to say that you spent $500 on a suit. Yet somehow this makes you better for a job than someone else.

Zac manages to use the fact that he ditched his resume and replaced it with a blog to spark conversation. However suit's are not so easily replaced, there's not exactly an alternative attire that isn't considered directly inferior to a suit in an interview situation.

That being said I'm going to give it a go. See if I can be a little different and see how far I can get without a suit. Odds are I'm fighting a helpless cause however it will be an interesting challenge to trial none the less.

Amusingly the actual final part of the challenge was to write a book about it if succesful and use the proceeds to buy a suit. But who needs to write a book when you have a blog. So I'll be keeping you up to speed here. As for the proceeds buying a suit...well I may just be waiting a while for that :P

Friday, May 22, 2009

╠ Is waiting for when I'll apparently love coles ╣

Now I must start this post with saying I am actually a woolies boy, I've worked there, got the discount card and also got the credit card. So therefore my view of Coles may be a bit skewed.

However one thing that has been popping up on Facebook is 'Which you'll love coles item are you?'. What makes it more curious is that people are doing it and liking it. When prompted as to why the answer I got was you have to shop there to understand it. Seems shopping at Coles makes you part of some special club...

Whilst I am confused at the succesfulness of this quiz I must admit it is quite good for Coles. Once you get an item you identify with that item and I would think that in most cases you would pick up and have a look at yourself as a product. When you're raking in 4000 of these quizzes a month that's a pretty good investment for something that probably cost them nothing.

It's also an eye opener because it shows that for some people at least the value that they must get back for interracting with a brand isn't high at all.

FYI I'm you'll love coles milk apparently...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

╠ I don't talk to people ╣

Recently I have been thinking about communication. The way I've looked at it I perceive it to be be broken down as talking to people and talking at people and this is decided by the socially expected requirement of instant response.

In a normal real life conversation you talk and then the socially respected return is to respond. The same exists for phone conversations.

However email and SMS are different. Whilst a response usually may be expected, the uncertainty of when the message is received by the user leads to the social acceptance that an instant reply back is not required usually. While it may be required the social norm is that an email response isn't as socially expected as a response in conversation. This is what I consider to be talking at people.

There are some mediums that can seem unclear. MSN for example is a good step closer to talking to someone however again that reply is not instantly expected, MSN is most cases an activity done while engaging in something else, be it surfing or whatever, the point is you can usually give a minute or two to wait for a reply without getting too irate depending on the situation. It is this that makes it a talking at medium.

The benefit of talking at someone is that you get the chance to structure a response, however this is usually at the cost of emotion. Emotion is a powerful tool in communication and is a large factor when it comes to building relationships.

Brands can only talk at people.

Friday, May 15, 2009

╠ Maccas to the Rescue ╣

Two nights ago I was asleep and woke up in the middle of the night just before there was a power outage. I noticed this because not only did the music stop but the low hum as well as a bunch of lights turned out. It was a rare experience for me. No sound, no light. It was so odd that I couldn't get back to sleep until it turned back on. However the experience was so odd that it was burnt in my mind the turn off and back on time.

This demonstrates my dependence on technology. Now the root of all this of course is the internet as I spend my life basically connected. If I don't check my emails every hour or two then something weird is happening. Now the reason I'm saying all this is because in the power outage the router got damaged and is now unable to connect.

Hearing that McDonald's has free internet I thought I'd check it out and here I am quite happy with the experience. You only get 50mb per session so there's no real chance for foul play, but plenty for me to get my fix.

I didn't realize how effective it would be though. Not only do I feel more positive about McDonald's but beyond that I actually feel hungry...hungry for Mcdonalds. Which I would go and fulfill however the line is nearly to the door. I'm sure it would be even stronger were I not next to a bin. At one point someone sat down with their bag full of goodness and I had to take a second and third glance at the line.

Cross this with Nathan Bush's view on wifi as a marketing tool and I think Wi-Fi is really underutilized as a marketing tool.

Now excuse me as I go and sing break up songs about the Internet and I. Goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend...