Archive for the ‘Quick Points’ Category

How to be “road kill” in the bundling game

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Bundling products together adds value for customers.

But what if you are the standalone product like a AAA membership?

I think one of the big car insurers is bundling in an Emergency Roadside Service feature into their offering as a retention tool.  Allstate?

And now Firestone wants me in their “Extra Mile Club”.  (Does my car have that many problems that I’m “special” to Firestone?)

Apparently, I now have Emergency Roadside Service as part of being in the Extra Mile Club.

Just what do I do when AAA comes around to be renewed?

AAA – road kill in the bundling game?


And beware, Grease Monkey.   Apparently Firestone wants to eat your lunch too with a hot coupon for an oil change….but more on couponing in my next post.

That Super Bowl Ad Magic?

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

At $3.5 million per 30 second spot, we had better see some Super Bowl advertising magic. So, expect a close game between the Patriots and the Giants….and some Bright Beacon blog posts on our views on the best and worst of SuperBowl ads. Follow us at BrightTopics on Twitter or on FaceBook.

Beware tone deafness…..

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

The Komen folks have demonstrated once again that you can create your own public relations disaster by not considering all the angles.  Hearing all the viewpoints.  Considering all the reactions.

They have the right to go in whatever direction that suits their charter with whatever partners fit them best, just like any small or large business, not-for-profit, government agency or other.

You may have to pursue a radical or potentially controversial change in course through a series of steps and stages….

Now this will go down as one of the worst public relations disasters ever.

In our social media world, the penalties are enormous for missteps.

Truly epic brand damage.


The end of the buggy whip example!

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

When markets shift dramatically, we strategists know that it doesn’t matter how well you make a certain product.

You couldn’t sell buggy whips once cars came in….

And you couldn’t succeed with the world’s best film products when digital photography came in.

RIP, Eastman Kodak.

(But you’ll be back in many Harvard business school cases.)



That crazy “naming” business……

Monday, December 5th, 2011

One of my clients recently said to me that doing a product name is just very hard…..

But how hard could it be…..we consider the product, the attributes it delivers, the target market, competitive names and off we go….

Except for matters of taste, personal preference, competitive conflicts, trademark congestion, it really would be pretty straightforward….

Here’s a few current examples and how you can run amok:

  1. Qwikster: So much has been written, but I have to say as well – how could the mailed product from Netflix have the Qwikster name?  Ok, enough said.
  2. NuVal: King Soopers’ new scoring of specific foods’ nutritional value.  But why is it “Nu”?  Has an food’s nutritional value changed as a result of the scoring?  The “Nu” hangs me up… even gives me some genetically engineered feel which is probably not desired.
  3. Dreamliner: Boeing’s new 787.  What a marvelous name in a category where conventional names have the numbering pattern.  But then delivery is nearly 3 years late.  A headache of epic proportions for marketers.
  4. Metro State: The community college here in Denver wants a new name and wants Denver in that name but keeps bumping up against the University of Denver who is not taking kindly to encroaching in their space.   Stop right now and work on a different name idea.  Their current ideas are:  Denver Metropolitan State University.  Denver State Metropolitan University. Metropolitan Denver State University.  This is going nowhere.   They all sound the same to the naive listener and they are all TOO LONG.  Start over!
  5. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art: Would love to visit this new museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.  But hate the name.  Feels like a mall or a senior retirement community.  Hmm.

What names are bugging you?  Let me know.

Loving this name…..

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Latke Love…..this QuickPoint is my annual assessment of booth names at the local farmers’ market.  I like a break from weighing the outlook for smartphones, Internet video etc.

You might remember from my August 2010 post that I wasn’t too sure that Crock Spot was going to work last year.  (What was the benefit?  Why were there no crockpots in sight etc?)  And sure enough, they are gone.

But here’s a fun name, Latke Love, that evokes imagery of mom’s home cooking and interesting ethnic cuisine for me…..I’m betting they will be around next summer.   They seem to be doing a nice business this year.  Including with me.

Fun name and cute visual!


First, it was nearly impossible….and then 20 billion!

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Just a quick note to all my fellow new product developers….who struggle mightily in the trenches with balky technologies and other challenges.

I put a fair amount of “blood, sweat and tears” into Video-on-Demand, including testing the service with mocked up systems that NEVER could have been deployed.

In a time before the iPad, the Droid, FaceBook, Bing, 140 character tweets etc.

With important corporate partners, none of whom exist today in the same corporate structure.


Comcast has just announced reaching 20 billion views of its VOD system.  20 billion views!

Could that mean that the whole industry has had north of 40 billion views?

So, my fellow new product developers.  Keep the faith.  Understand customer needs.  Struggle with systems, devices, processes, departments etc.

It is worth the fight!

Never the same way twice…..

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

For years we’ve talked about the 7 hours a day of TV viewing by households.  I’m not sure I’ve ever reached that profound goal.  But this week, I was chuckling to myself about all the methods I had used on just a couple of days to “watch TV”:

  • A Video-On-Demand episode of a favorite show
  • A Youtube of a boys’ choir imitating cats (ok – a friend sent it to me and it is pretty funny!)
  • An episode of The Office on Hulu
  • A DVR episode of a news program I missed
  • Video clips of finalists from American Idol embedded in a newspaper article.  (And yes, I did want to watch a video from The New York Times on artfully using scarves as a fashion accessory, but I’ve got to get some work done.)

I’m glad I don’t program a linear network these days.  And I’m happy I’m not an advertiser trying to chase audience.  Although I have to say that the ads were quite artfully slipped in the Hulu episode and in the VOD I watched.  Good work!


Much learned, much to reflect on…30th MBA reunion

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011


My Columbia reunion was excellent on so many levels….I’ll post a longer blog on both the personal and professional side over the next several days.

And comment on tools for real-time blogging, posting, sharing etc.   No longer does anyone need to sit there in one way reception mode!

Partying like it was yesterday!

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011


Gala for the 30th Saturday night.   I think I was up later than I’ve been in 30 years.   And, no, I didn’t wear those shoes in this pix, though I admired my case team member who did.  In fact, it was great to be with my Strategy case teammates who were great “oh so many years ago” and remain great.  A lesson about picking great people and then building a great team?