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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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