Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

One of my latest Fallon Planning internship projects has been to help build next week’s Brainfood presentation. The topic is heroes. Through the lens of the superhero and pop culture, we’ll explore the heightened relevance of heroes, what it means to be a hero today, and how brands can empower your inner hero.

My Superhero made on Marvel.com

This is hosted by Alyson Heller, Strategic Planner, as well as myself. Event info is as follows:

Fallon Brainfood: The Return of the Real Hero, from Caricature to Character

Date: Thursday, January 15, 2009
Time: 12pm CST/1pm EST/10am PST
Location: Fallon Stage 24 (for employees) and here on the Interwebnets (for everybody else)

If you work at Fallon, come see Brainfood on the 24th floor. And if you don’t work at Fallon, watch Brainfood live @ Fallon Planning Blog at http://fallontrendpoint.blogspot.com/ or UStream at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/fallon-brainfood (sound and video only).

(Also, see the Facebook event I created here.)

What is Brainfood, you ask?
Brainfood is a monthly all-agency lunch conducted by Fallon Planners. Wide-ranging topics explore trends, business issues, and actionable opportunities for our brands. Moreover, Brainfood offers us a chance to come together, share a beer and some pizza, and engage in a stimulating discussion on a variety of interesting topics that affect our business. Past Brainfood presentations have included trends and hot button issues such as The Mobile 10: Mobile Media, Virtuality, Design For All, China Rising, Latin America in the Age of Web 2.0, Social 10-Trends in Social Media, Blogging the Agency, and more.

Missed previous Brainfoods? Go to http://www.slideshare.net/akispicer/slideshows for a sampling.

Experience Matters posted a summary of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s 2008 WOM Marketing Summit speech on how is company excels in customer service and how word-of-mouth works for them. Reading through the list of core company values, I just kept thinking ‘yes, yes, yes’. It makes sense.

  1. Deliver “WOW” through service.
  2. Embrace and drive change.
  3. Create fun and a little weirdness.
  4. Be adventurous, creative, and open-minded.
  5. Pursue growth and learning.
  6. Build open and honest relationships with communication.
  7. Build a positive team and family spirit.
  8. Do more with less.
  9. Be passionate and determined.
  10. Be humble.

Most eye-catching part of his advice to me was the part about the new employee training. Zappos sends new employees to a customer loyalty bootcamp. At the end of these 5 weeks, employees are offered $2,000 to quit. A small percentage actually take the dough and leave, but this doesn’t worry Zappos. The desire is for Zappos to hire only the people who really care about their customers, so if this number were higher, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

These are four pieces of advice Hsieh shared with the audience:

  1. Chase the vision, not the money… “Whatever you’re thinking, think bigger.”
  2. Repeat customers are the lifeblood… “Great product, great service or low prices – choose and focus on 2 of the 3).”
  3. Transparency… “Be real, and you have nothing to fear.”
  4. Culture… “Create committable core values.”

All great values a successful company should have, especially the idea of transparency. If, at the heart of a company’s product/service is something real, something of value, and something that matters to the audience, forging a positive pathway for company success should happen organically. Being honest and up front in the face of any overall company faultyness (poor product usage, pr snafus, etc) can’t hurt, either.


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