Archive for the ‘Flip Charts’ Category

So good in so many ways!

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

You may recollect that I renewed my Denver Post subscription in the fall.  See my ten reasons for continuing the subscription at:

After all, I could just get all my news from social media…..

Now the Denver Post has delighted me with their new Digital Replica Edition.  So good in so many ways:

  1. Perfect on a snowy morning:

    The physical Post so close, yet so far on a snowy morning

  2. Has every article, ad, and column.  It’s the paper!

    Looks nice - press any article and it expands to be read

  3. Allows you to share conveniently.  Because I’ve got to be tweeting, FaceBooking and (sometimes) sending old-fashioned emails.
  4. Great price.  I think it’s about $1 a month on top of my subscription.  A very fair price, but $1 more than they have been getting from me with the current iPad version.
  5. Eliminates me frowning and growling when the paper is late.

Congrats to the Denver Post!

(But do try to get the physical paper here earlier…..or you know where this is going… longer any physical Wall Street Journal showing up here!)

Super Bowl ad recap: The good, the bad and the “maybes”

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Where else can you spend $3.5 million in 30 seconds?  Besides the Super Bowl.

And that doesn’t include production costs for exotic stunts, big celebrities, cool locations and dogs.


My consideration of Super Bowl ads revealed some biases on my part.  I acknowledge the merits of brand building but I feel that “product benefits” should be reasonably front and center and this influences my picks. This may be just sour grapes on my part that I’ve never marketed a brand with the leeway to just build that brand on a standalone basis.   My ad budget always had to accomplish ten things at the same time.

I don’t know all the product categories intimately (i.e. beer) and have not been as tuned into vampires or Ferris Buehler as others.  (I did not know who M.I.A. was, but I do now.)

So, here goes:

The Good:

  1. The Yellow Camaro ad where the college kid’s parents DID not get him the car (getting the little fridge instead).  Conveys the total joy that a sports car represents.  Memorable.
  2. Jerry Seinfeld and the cool Acura sports car that he wants to be the first to own.  Cost a fortune but I think they got the value on the screen.
  3. The MetLife financial planning ad showing that financial planning is for everyone and you don’t need to be a genius.  Charming array of cartoon characters.  Not one pundit I read pointed to this ad so I’m obviously way off base here.
  4. M&Ms….that got people talking.  Good for them.  Top 5 commercial, without any Internet preview, I believe.
  5. “Wego”, the rescue dog, fetching Bud Lites.  Closes with the message, “Help Rescue Dogs”.  Very memorable, very fun.

The Bad:

  1. A few advertisers wasted their money, including Bridgestone with the two sports ads where the balls were made of tire rubber, Dannon’s Oikos (I’ve watched it a number of times and still it puzzles me), and Audi, I think, even though vampires are big.  The Audi commercial was so cool and then it’s about headlights.  I think that’s a mismatch, in my mind.
  2. I won’t deny that sex sells, but I can’t get that situation at all – somewhat the same problem as vampires and headlights.  Domains and sex – I don’t see the link.  (On the other hand, I liked the Teleflora ad which targeted men and told them that things are simple.  Get flowers. Good things could happen.)
  3. The Hyundai ad with the boss having a heart attack.  That’s not funny.  (But I’m disappointed that the Hyundai cheetah ad didn’t get more play with pundits or viewers.  I thought that was funny on target for benefits.)

The Maybes:

  1. Clint Eastwood’s Chrysler ad.  You have to be made of money to air that ad – the ad was 2 minutes long – the math makes me shudder.
    1. Is Chrysler made of money?  It’s controversial and prompted lots of dialogue….but does that sell cars?
    2. TIVO statistics did not find the Chrysler commercial in the Top 10. Here’s where people were on SuperBowl Sunday:  the top five included the two Doritos ads, the royalty Pepsi ad, the VW ad……and the M&Ms ad.
    3. It’s a fun national “holiday”, I’m not sure that “dark & moody” works.  Save it for the Academy Awards.
    4. And I haven’t even touched the whole topic of which political orientation that ad “seemed” to support.
  2. So, of course, I’m not sure about the Chevy Silverado Apocalypse ad.  It was dark.  And these are manly guys who have survived thermonuclear warfare and now are having a Twinkie?  I’m not sure if the co-promotions worked.
  3. David B and his new underwear.  Who looked at the underwear when you could stare at him and his amazing tattoos?   And did anyone think about H&M when they looked at the ad?  Did you realize that the undies represented an innovation in the category?  Did that matter?
  4. Bud Lite Platinum:  I don’t know the beer category but I don’t see how you add the word “Platinum” to “Lite”.  Really?

I enjoyed everyone’s real time comments as I posted on Bright Beacon Partners’ FaceBook page and tweeted at BrightTopics.

Anyone out getting a new car, new undies, or a six pack?

The Ten Top Reasons I Renewed the Denver Post

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

The Pew Charitable Trust recently reported that some 70% of survey respondents said they would not miss their local paper.  Hmmm.

But I did just renew my Denver Post subscription.  There were plenty of reasons not to go this way:

  1. So much of the news in the paper seems like it happened two days ago.  I already saw a headline alert as much as 18 – 24 hours before it is “re-reported” in the Post.  I look through the paper in a bemused way as I examine yesterday’s news.
  2. There is so little written by the Post, which I can understand, as they have cut, cut, cut staff.  I’ve already read the “long form” version in The New York Times.
  3. Recent feature articles seemed long and very self important.  Hmmm.
  4. There’s that weird section each Thursday which I immediately throw out which seems like hyper-local news (a good thing) but I get a strong impression that the B team puts it together.
  5. I love the afternoon Denver Post Headlines email….even if they do repeat the morning news headlines (don’t do that!).  You do get a good snapshot of what’s happened locally during the day.  Who the cops shot at etc.
  6. And I can always go to the Denver Post website and use their iPad app:

    Look at those finger prints - hours of iPad usage!

But I still renewed and here’s the top 10 reasons why:

  1. How would I have known about the corn maze south of Greeley?
  2. Occasionally, there are very interesting articles about events in Denver, for example, the new art museum opening on November 18.
  3. I love the Thursday leisure section article where some amusing dignitary in town is interviewed at an interesting “watering hole”.  I don’t want to read it online as someone puts together a really wonderful photo montage each week.
  4. The Sunday business section has that interesting Wall Street Journal insert. You’d think I would have had enough WSJ 6 days a week, but I like the insert.  Interesting columns – loved the column with the Dad and his two sons.
  5. How would I know when the Clinique “gift with purchase” is happening at Macy’s?
  6. Where else would I see pictures of the charity lunch I went to?
  7. My boyfriend does the puzzles while I cook.
  8. Reading through the paper is an excellent safety net for articles I could have missed elsewhere.  This happened today.
  9. It’s quick and painless to read through……no guilt about deeply important articles that I should be reading.
  10. The Sports Section is where I look for scores and standings across my favorite sports.  And, for some reason, I like knowing who made how much money each week on the PGA.  Plus I need the articles on the Broncos to retain my full status as a Denver resident!

So, we’ll give it another year and see if I can justify it once again.  But please, work on some good feature stories….

Solid Intuition or Personal Bias?

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Pearson PLC is selling Interactive Data Corporation to Silver Lake and Warburg Pincus.  Pearson is continuing to exit assets that don’t seem core to their business which is increasingly focused on educational products.

As a strategist, I applaud companies that:

  • Keep a tight strategic focus
  • Exit assets that are not part of a company’s core competency.  Pearson selling Madame Tussauds wax museums, for example.  B2C business not akin to their main businesses
  • Decide that competitive dynamics are unattractive.  We know that Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg are doubling down in the financial sector and Dow Jones/News Corp has plans as well

However, there is something about selling their 61% of Interactive Data that nags at me.

  • These information services businesses are solid businesses where you embed yourself deeply in customer workflows.  And goodness knows, there’s lots of workflow serving the financial services business
  • You reuse information and capabilities in new and different ways, resulting in high profitability
  • Doubling down in education is the way to go with state budgets likely to be crimped for years to come?

So, is it my personal bias showing that this nags at me?  Is this exactly what senior leadership needs to be very alert to… personal bias allows decisions to be made that aren’t strategically sound?  Or can intuition play a role?

My favorite new product of 2009

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

I’m delighted with my wine cellar and enjoy a nice bottle of wine.  But how about the occasional glass of wine?  You can’t hold that bottle of wine out beyond a few days, no matter what they say!

Red Truck Cask

Enter the Red Truck cask which keeps wine fresh for up to 5 – 6 weeks.  So, you can have a glass of wine and then come back in a few days for another one.

I think more new product developers should spend time looking at changing their form factor for product delivery vs. the product itself.  Isn’t that the miracle of bottled water?

Key Value-Added for Communications Companies?

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Triple or quadruple play is becoming the standard for cable and telecom players serving the residential market.

Now the new opportunity center seems to be around small and medium business for the cable players with the telecom folks looking to secure that fortress.

But will this be largely a price game….shaking margin out of these customer segments?

Angles we see worth pursuing

  1. More aggressive industry specialization including tools and applications suited to these industries
  2. Outsourcing or forms of business process support that free the SMB players from dealing with every issue soup-to-nuts

But you may be thinking, added SG&A for these offerings? Will it pay? Will the offerings be world class?

We think one viable direction is to pursue software as service to fill application needs for SMB customers either given their industry profile or in support of business process needs they have in sales and marketing management, HR functions and the like.

Issues to Investigate

  • Which avenues make sense to pursue in sofware as service for SMB? How do you find the balance between meeting unique needs and not having too wide a portfolio of offerings?
  • Is a communications player a credible provider of software as service? For what segments? Or needs?
  • What value-added does the communications player offer?
  • What’s the business model for everyone to make money?
  • Is software as service going to continue to grow or have the logical applications been found and delivery issues solved?

We at Bright Beacon Partners help our clients explore growth opportunities from the conceptual, early consideration phase through business case and on into implementation.

Diversity in senior segments never ceases to amaze!

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Recently, while talking about product design issues, I was reminded once again of the range of segments in senior marketplace:

Aspiring, Might Need A Boost Segment

Example:  A 60-something gal who heard at a cocktail party that I knew something about texting.
Within minutes, I am sending her a text message and showing her how to retrieve it.  We find out
that she has tons of messages stacked up which she reviews.  She sends a nephew a message.  He
is thrilled.

Lessons learned: No one in her circles was texting and none of her younger relatives had tumbled to the realization that she just needed a little boost to get going.  What are service providers doing to give
the little boost?  This isn’t just a wireless issue but pertains to many new technologies

Specialized marketing tactics:  Training store and care center employees about the little boost, CRM work to identify those who might need a little boost, special events that draw seniors for real-time demos, or ????

Simplest is Best Segment

Example: At the same event, another guest spoke quite vehemently about not wanting any extra functionality beyond calling, a refrain we have heard in many settings and by a variety of consumer segments

Lessons learned: Instead of shaking our heads in bewilderment about a segment so different from most of us, it’s time to acknowledge that this segment is out there.  Specialty wireless players like Jitterbug are pursuing this segment.  Can major wireless players strip phones of applications to reduce implied complexity?

Specialized marketing tactics: Collateral materials at point-of-sale that stress only calling features.  Locks that can block the functionality of other keys so the customer can’t wander there.  Or??


For us, this speaks to refining customer segmentation further around needs and attitudes and away from simple views by demographics.

Complementary more than Conflicted?

Monday, June 16th, 2008

We’re  in the process of advising an agri-business start-up about customer segments, product configuration, branding, and other elements of their marketing plan.  Most people know us from our focus in the service sector, primarily in multimedia, broadband, telecommunications, information services and advertising.  So, what’s up with agri-business?

Strategically, we very much adhere to “stick to your knitting”:

  • Need to understand market space and expertise
  • Avoid adventures too far afield
  • Careful about what you really don’t know

Implications for us:

  • Don’t assume, ask questions, listen

Much caution around technology issues.  For example, when we did the branding work:

  • Make sure we understand what words mean in the target market
  • Especially when looking for something that might have double meanings

But there were some “evergreen” truths around our expertise in marketing, new products and strategy:

(Work in progress!  Please come back to see more.)