Archive for November, 2004

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November 30, 2004

People For the American Way – Free Speech Online

And, thank our founding fathers for this:

Amendment I — Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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November 30, 2004

Forbes.com: Puzder: Hardee’s Chief Lauds ‘Decadent’ Burger, Scoffs At Critics

These guys are even more entertaining than Burger King!

Ok, so it is 1420 calories and 107 grams of fat. Frankly, I laud anyone willing to sell this, nonetheless eat it. I would be interested, for comparison sake, to know how many calories and fat are in a steak dinner with all the trimmings at a high end steak house.

Overall, America once again shows the world how to do things to excess!

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street shinjuku

November 21, 2004

street shinjuku
Originally uploaded by AtlasBrand.

Early morning commute in Shinjuku, with a man out of place.

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night shinjuku

November 21, 2004

night shinjuku
Originally uploaded by AtlasBrand.

The view from my hotel room in Tokyo.

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November 18, 2004

Japan and marketing and customs and blogs and…

Spent a rapid two days in Japan this week, and the jet lag is kicking me in the rear right now. I think I handled it better when I was younger, but that just might be nostalgia talking.

The visit was a great success, even with the short duration. I have to hand it to my colleagues in Japan for being organized and direct. Interesting to think of them as direct, when that is not really the cultural norm. Perhaps being employees of a very direct US company accounts for a large part of that.

In fact, it was amusing to see that I was apparently trying to pay more attention to traditional Japanese business etiquette than they were. I think my training from years ago on the “correct” way to behave in a meeting with Japanese business people (as well as the “rules” for other cultures) might need some updating when it comes to the Microsoft Japan team. But, I always believe it is better to deliver the highest level of respect to anyone seeing on the other side of the table, regardless of where and when.

All I will say about the traditional after hours entertaining was that I did not drink too much and I did make it to karaoke. I also proved once again I am incapable of singing.

Japan, home to many of the most powerful brands in the world, is a real treat for the senses. High visibility is key to branding there, and the lights and colors abound. I was so pleased to walk around and feel the presence of marketing everywhere. Just the place for a person like me.

Flying over, and intentionally not “working” while on the plane, I did some thinking about blogging. Since starting this blog I have always been fascinated by the visitor statistics and the referring URLs (how people got here). When anyone exposes their thoughts in a public forum like this they are revealing more than just their words, they are revealing their overall perspective on the world. Controlling how much of that perspective to reveal is the fine art of self-marketing. We are our own brand, and establishing the meaning of that brand in the minds of the audience can be a tricky task.

Back to the referring URLs. My teammate Harry Pierson is the most popular referring site, and that is cool. Check out Harry’s blog for all things architectural as well as other keen insights into the world.

The other big source of referrals is through search. One of the popular search terms that get people here is”burger king marketing/branding”. I am glad my strange obsession with Burger King is paying off. I also should report that I found a Burger King just a couple of miles from the office that I did not really know was there. Haven’t visited yet, since that might spoil all the fun. I can also point you to their latest online effort.

Other terms that get people here are my name alone or my name plus some descriptive word. I am not quite sure, actually, how to interpret the search terms that people use in conjunction with my name. If there is some hidden meaning in this blog that I am missing, I welcome comments or email explaining them to me. I don’t intend for there to be any hidden meaning at all — just my opinions (and see disclaimer at bottom for clarity on that) as well as some interesting facts as I find them. My referring to any outside article or topic is neither endorsement nor condemnation of that topic, it is simply a reference for discussion. Likewise, this is primarily a blog about marketing and other related topics — not a journal of my life. If you want to know what is going on in my life, send me an email. The short answer to that, for those that just want to the highlights, is work/sleep/daughter/wife/wine/Rebus/Knopfler/window blinds/upcoming trips/need to get to gym — not necessarily in that order.

Finally, if it is really that interesting to anyone, I am not. But, if I was, so what?

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November 10, 2004

Starbucks Media Bar!

This is amazing.

I am not compensated in any way by Starbucks for endorsing this product.

I went to Starbucks yesterday and burned a couple of CDs. The experience was everything I have ever imagined a consumer technology experience should be. When I think through the complexity of a self-serve tool in a coffee shop for selecting music and creating a CD, this amazes me even more.

Now, it is trite to extol the virtues of Starbucks (and HP) in building this solution. Time and money and testing by a company that lives for “customer experience” should generate a solution this seamless. Likewise, it is a bit trite to ask why other companies can’t do anything as good.

Instead, I think it is interesting to think about how this solution can fundamentally do two things. First, it upsets the balance once again in acquiring recorded music. Just when I thought that iTunes and the iPod (which are also brilliant products) had change the game completely, the Starbucks experience made me rethink things. The best way I can describe the overall feeling I got making my CDs yesterday was “warm and comfortable”. This is, of course, a natural extension of the Starbucks “third place” philosophy. It brings back some of the feelings that a small record shop once invoked, right down to the hip cats behind the counter.

The second thing this solution does is demonstrate that technology is a tool, and as a tool it does not take a technology company to use it wisely and effectively. As a market we focus way too much attention on companies like Apple, Sony, and Microsoft and the solutions they create. That is all well and good, but what happens when a consumer company wants to demonstrate their own thought leadership around technology? Well, we mostly get lousy solutions like the weird controller in new BMWs or ATMs that still confuse users. Sometimes, however, we get brilliance. Even more so, we get brilliance through the creative and careful application of a bunch of existing technologies. I know that there were lots of technology challenges here, but they were challenges in putting together pieces of current and standard technologies. Given the right people and the right mission, those pieces come together perfectly.

Yes, there are some flaws in the overall experience; the boxes for the finished CD get easily crushed around the edges in their storage bin and the volume control was a little temperamental. However, I walked away as happy as I have been when interacting with music in a long time.

Go and make yourself some music, and get me a venti black ice tea no sweetner while you are there.

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November 7, 2004


Yahoo! News – Read a Book, Get Oral Sex?

1) I learn a piece of street slang I did not know (I am usually pretty good at keeping up on this stuff).
2) I enjoy that smart marketing folks pull one over on the ordinary people.
3) I despair that smart marketing folks let cleverness get in the way of actually motivating people to buy the product.

Remember, the job of marketing is to sell more product. Everything else is a bonus.