In Insight on August 6, 2008 at 3:17 pm
Favre heads out of town - Courtesy the AP
It’s been impossible the last couple of days to watch ESPN or NFL Network and not hear some talking head say, “Of course the Packers are a better team with Brett Favre at quarterback.” These aren’t fans saying this, they are “football experts.” And yet, it looks like Favre is on his way out.
Swing by Brand Autopsy and take a read regarding the latest marketing initiatives undertaken by Starbucks. In addition to John Moore, a former Starbuck’s guy, and Seth Godin, here are some quotes from other commenters:
“It seems like a strange promotion all around — as in, I can’t tell who really benefits from it.”
“Bad decision for Starbucks. Definitely not the best way for them to go.”
“It won’t be long before their brand has totally been commoditized.”
It seems the wisdom of crowds is pretty clear in both examples, yet neither the Packers nor Starbucks seems to be listening. I don’t think the management of either the Pack or Starbucks are dumb people, in fact I’d wager they are pretty darn smart. So why the disconnect?
What makes smart people make poor decisions? Are these poor decisions merely because a handful of people on the outside say so? When, and how, do you incorporate the Wisdom of Crowds into your thinking?
In DINU on July 23, 2008 at 2:46 pm
John Moore from Brand Autopsy has a great story on a BBQ joint in Texas, Snow’s, that was named Best in the State by Texas Monthly. As a result, they’re dealing with sudden and overwhelming success. Some of Moore’s commenters suggested buying more meat and teaching more employees how to make the BBQ. I disagree and think Seth Godin would agree with me. Seth recently posted on the issue of scarcity and often writes about the power of telling a story and consumers’ desire to tell one to themselves, the premise of his book, All Marketers Are Liars.
Snow's BBQ Pit Master Tootsie Tomanetz
Snow’s can create a remarkable story for themselves, and their customers, by preserving their scarcity. The Pit Master, Tootsie Tomanetz, can’t – or at least shouldn’t – be duplicated. She’s an integral part fo the Snow’s BBQ experience. Could they teach somebody else to do her job just as well? Yeah, they probably could, but that’s not the point. Tootsie is the person you tell your cousins and friends about. Could Snow’s order more meat so that they don’t run out at 9:45am? Sure, but that’s part of the story. Want to be guaranteed you’ll get your meat? Go to Costco.
Snow’s has a unique story and unique business model. They may be the best BBQ in Texas today, but they have a chance to become the Best BBQ in the U.S. Yes, the product has to stand up, but it’s the story that will take them to the next level. But what about the business you ask? I wager they could increase their profits by a factor of five without adding one more Pit Master or selling one more brisket. When you create scarcity that generates the type of demand that has people driving hundreds of miles and staying overnight so they can be first in line, you can start selling all sorts of ancillary products. Snow’s BBQ T-shirts? Could sell those from Coast to Coast. BBQ Sauce, cook books… all without compromising the quality of the product, or the quality of the story.
In DINU on July 10, 2008 at 3:04 pm
The brains behind the hit NBC TV show The Office know that the key to developing a loyal following is to create a Deeply Immersive Narrative Universe. Sure, the Scranton-based office is an absurd caricature of real life, but the world they created is so consistent, that we are all willing to join in the fun.
John Moore over at Brand Autopsy has a terrific ongoing feature he calls “Would you miss” where he asks his readers if they would miss a brand such as UPS or Pizza Hut. Well, he’s turned his attention to Dunder Mifflin. Would you miss this fictional brand?
What I think is interesting in a sort of murketing way are the comments on the Brand Autopsy website. Some people chose to view D-M as a real brand while others would miss the TV show. Millions of people got a chuckle out of Dilbert, but no one would ‘miss’ Dilbert in the same way they would miss Michael Scott, Dwight and the gang. I’m not suggesting people out there truly believe Dunder Mifflin is a real company, but the way we engage with a Deeply Immersive Narrative Universe can blur the lines.