Previous month:
February 2008
Next month:
April 2008

March 2008

preparing for when the walls come tumbling down

Think about your employees, your coworkers, your colleagues...

think about the ones who "know" the most.

What would happen if they were to write a "10 confessions" post...

detailing everything you keep internal?

They know your dirty laundry, they know the shortcuts you're taking, they know your proprietary tactics...

because they do the most, they may be able to do the most damage.

What would this do to your business...

and how much would the damage incurred cost to repair?

What are you doing TODAY that can prevent this from happening?

And please don't tell me that your going to bring litigation, that just looks bad for everyone.

If you think this isn't going to happen you're naive...

or unaware of the conversations your ex-employees are already having.

Is this the cost of doing business...

or is it time we began paying more attention the end of our product and employee life cycles?

brands breaking promises - Staples

Staples_sargent_2 Staples has a catchy slogan - That was easy. If they hadn't promised an "easy" transaction, I might not have been quite so irked at my experience.  They made a commitment, and they failed.  And unfortunately I don't know that anyone from Staples is even reading this post, so they may never know just why their business is performing the way it is.

As many of you know, I'm in the market for a new computer. 

While some have suggested that I just go Mac, I took the advice of John@Dell and visited Staples to sample some of the Dell products on display.  However, I couldn't find a single Dell computer in the entire store that was in working order.  Was that "Easy"?

That_was_easy_2 Nearly every computer on display was inoperable.  Many were either 'off' or frozen in an update mode.  For those units that were operational, nearly all the touchpads  on the display units were slow or unresponsive.  Every single laptop was physically damaged, and many were missing keys or more (ex - an XPS was missing the front "bumper").  When I asked a sales person for assistance, he was glad to be of assistance, but he didn't know anything about computers - other than that Staples offered an in-store repair warranty from a team of trained and certified technicians.  When I asked about the units on display, he said that they couldn't be fixed.  Yet just 3 minutes later, he tried to sell me on their in-store repair plan.  It was just hillarious.  They can't fix their own computers, but they want me to fork over a few hundred dollars so they can fix mine.  Was that "Easy"?

That_was_easy_2When I asked about upgrading the RAM, he referred me to their website.  When I asked about upgrading the hard drive in the unit to a larger hard drive they had on sale, he didn't know which hard drives were on sale, nor did he know "what we have" in the store.  Forget bait-and-switch, this was just bad business.  When I asked about DDR2 and DDR3 RAM, he shrugged, then left to assist another customer.  Was that "Easy"? 

That_was_easy_2When trying to purchase a pair of 15 dollar skullcandy earbud headphones (FYI - the BEST noise canceling budget earbuds at an amazing price point), I needed to wait for a sales representative to unlock the case.  Then, after unlocking the case, he wouldn't give me the headphones.  Rather, he left them behind the counter at Customer Service for pickup after purchase.  So I went to checkout counters to purchase the headphones.  However, as I didn't have the item (and the sales rep didn't give me a payment slip), they couldn't ring me up at checkout.  So I had to go back to Customer Service to purchase this item separately from any other items I was purchasing.  Was that "Easy"?

Which leaves me wondering, what IS easy at Staples?

  • The long lines at the copy and print department?
  • Their semi-knowledgeable sales staff?
  • Their great location and parking (which they actually have)?
  • Their seemingly under-qualified tech support?

Which begs the question - are Dell and HP doing themselves a disservice by allowing Staples to display their merchandise?

links for 2008-03-14

the nature of discovery (video)

  • You will never discover relevant value for without actively looking for it. 
  • You're never going to fully understand your brand positioning without listening to the buzz, both online and offline. 
  • You're never going to learn if you don't actively observe the world around you.

Kudos to BL Ochman, Asi Sharabi, for sharing the amazing video below (after the jump).

That being said, after watching the video above, what did you learn about the product being promoted?

Check out the landing page here.  This is a UK campaign encouraging drivers to remain alert for cyclists.  I thought the message was amazing, but without clicking through to the landing page, I didn't learn anything about a product.  Is this a sound strategy?