Category Archives: Marketing

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Subaru’s Viral Video a Success

A short one-minute video (seemingly endorsed by Subaru in Russia) made its way to YouTube on April 23, and two days later it has racked up over 6.5 million views. A success? Probably. If nothing else, the video is sure to make you laugh – but I’m not sure how many Subarus will roll off the dealership lot because of it.


Bizarre Marketing: What are Google and Samsung Doing?

What’s going on in the tech world this week? I can’t really say… a lot of strange marketing, to say the least. Google has decided they’re going to name their next treat-themed mobile operating system release “KitKat”, and Samsung announced a new smart watch but their website hasn’t yet reflected the big news (as of this writing). Plus, Samsung revealed their device during a very long and strange presentation fit with a music performance and other longer-than-necessary product reveals and discussions.

Back to Google – I’ve never understood why they thought that naming their mobile OS after sugary treats would be a good idea. Froyo? Ice Cream Sandwich? Jelly Bean? But here we are, arriving alphabetically at the letter ‘K’, and the multi-billion dollar company chooses “KitKat”.

“And someone said, ‘Hey, why don’t we call the release KitKat?'”

John Lagerling, Google’s Director of Android Global Partnerships, may help us understand the reasoning behind the name. Lagerling says that “One of the snacks [at Google] that we keep in our kitchen for late-night coding are KitKats. And someone said, ‘Hey, why don’t we call the release KitKat?'” So there it is, they were eating KitKats, so their next mobile OS is named the same thing.

From a marketing perspective the naming doesn’t make sense, but neither do any of their other mobile OS release names. However, now that they have a partnership with KitKat (one of my favorite candy bars), who knows what will happen. Maybe it will flop like other similar tech marketing campaigns have in the past.

Looking at Samsung now, they are just way off the mark on marketing altogether. No same-day website update, no elegant presentation, and it turns out they’re continuing to make their phones BIGGER. They are also introducing a line of pants with pockets large enough to fit their new phones in.

What surprised me most about Samsung was their ‘big presentation’. It was dry, the co-CEO a bit hard to understand, and just lacked the precision, tension, and energy that an Apple presentation always has. I’m sure Samsung will ship plenty of products, but I have yet to buy into a company that just makes things.

In other (more normal) marketing news, Apple quietly sent out press and media invitations detailing an event on Tuesday, September 10 that “should brighten everyone’s day.”


Ten Principles of Good Design

I won’t try and convince you that I came up with these ten principles of good design, but I absolutely agree with all of them. Jony Ive’s team at Apple is purportedly only one of a few companies that lives and breathes by these ten principles, and the principles are evident in all of the design elements that make up Apple’s products, services, and branding.

Dieter Rams, a German industrial designer known for Braun consumer products, is credited with the development of the following ten principles of good design:

Good design is…

  1. Innovative
  2. Makes a product useful
  3. Aesthetic
  4. Makes a product understandable
  5. Unobtrusive
  6. Honest
  7. Long-lasting
  8. Thorough down to the last detail
  9. Environmentally friendly
  10. As little design as possible

Rams’ principles align well with my belief of what good design is. Perhaps that’s why I love what Apple has achieved when it comes to design, or perhaps because I love Apple’s design work I’ve come to appreciate the same design principles.

Whatever the case, tell me how Apple falls short on just one of those principles when it comes to design and you’ll have my full attention.

Advertising Isn’t Evil (Part 2)

To continue the discussion on advertising, let’s talk about advertising’s place on the web. Something that a lot of bloggers and others who run a website (and bring in a substantial audience) have to deal with is whether or not to run advertisements on their site. Other times, they don’t have a choice.

The biggest blogging platform, WordPress, runs ads on your site if you host your blog with them. You can pay to have ads removed, or you can apply for WordAds and share the advertising revenue. Other platforms do the same thing.

If you love to write, and you want to please your audience, the choice seems simple: don’t run ads on your site. However, shouldn’t bloggers be able to monetize their work? If you agree with the second statement, good for you. There is certainly a way to please your audience and run ads without any adverse effects. Continue reading

Advertising Isn’t Evil

The days of Mad Men are long gone. The world of advertising isn’t quite as glorious as it once was. We’re tired of ads, so we find ways around them. Netflix is commercial free – and we love it. Software exists to completely hide any ads that websites try to show you. But not all advertising is evil.

If it’s done well, you don’t even realize you’re being advertised to (or at least it isn’t an inconvenience). On the web, advertising is all about providing ads that are ‘relevant to you’. Many ads will even ask, ‘Hey, is this ad relevant to you?’ Hulu does this with their commercials, and many other online advertisements ask the same question. Continue reading

People Connect With People

It’s really simple to create something. Whether it’s a product or service, anyone can find a way to deliver something of value. The problem is, though, that products and services don’t sell themselves. They also don’t create a following or a dedicated group of fans on their own. It takes a story – your story. Why? Because people connect with people.

Pat Flynn’s presentation that wrapped up the Financial Blogger’s Conference in 2011 illustrated this concept perfectly. Pat knows that his transparency and visibility has been a huge component of his success with Smart Passive Income. When you visit his blog, one of the first things you see is Pat’s face. Instantly, you have a face behind the words on the page. On so many websites (and mine’s no exception) it’s hard to find out who is ‘speaking’ to you. What’s more is that so many websites talk down to their audience.

What a visitor wants and needs is a personal connection with the person or group or organization they’re reading/listening to. A personal connection not only makes the visitor feel more welcome, but also makes them feel like they actually know the person that’s interacting with them. On top of that, a personal connection also makes the visitor more likely to buy whatever it is you may be selling.

So, whether you’re selling a product, service, or just want people to read your blog, you have to understand that people connect with people. This all goes back to Seth Godin’s emphasis on framing your story.