Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mystery Solved

I thought it a bit strange why my video (a real crappy one shot off my DVR with a camera no less) got so many views yesterday (1,000+). Well, mystery solved when I looked at my Insight stats on YouTube this evening. It showed over 700 views coming from one source: A blog post from Seattle Weekly.

The blogger, Caleb Hanan, wrote, "Want to watch a DVR'ed video of the Dreamliner's first flight by a sick dude with a taste for cheesy songs? Of course you do!" And people did.

I'll stand by my original idea that Boeing should've had this music blaring on site while the 787 rolled down he runway and took off. It would've been viewed by way more people later online.

Adweek Media's Best of the Decade

Thanks to Twitter, I stumbled across this list of the best of the decade in advertising from Adweek Media. The cool thing is that there's a reader's choice for each category as well.

I found this TV spot, which won for Best Commercial of the Decade (non-Superbowl), to be my personal favorite. And I'd never seen it because it ran at Cannes.

I like this one as well, but I had to go to the Philips Website to find out that they were selling a new 21:9 HDTV.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Did Boeing let a moment slip away?

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been plagued with delays due to design, labor and production issues, but on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009, it made its maiden flight. A big accomplishment for an aerospace company that hadn't launched a new line over two decades.

While the first flight was streamed live from a special Website setup by Boeing, there wasn't much else beyond that to commemorate this event. Why not? Was it because they didn't want to bring attention to the more than two-year delay? Was it to avoid putting too much emphasis on Washington state where the 787 may no longer be manufactured in the future?

I think it was a wasted opportunity to show the country and the world that Boeing isn't rolling over to Airbus. They could have made this a big event for the US by showing Americans that we still engineer and make things in this country. Allude to the fact that we will pull out of this recession and this is a great start to it. Rah, rah, rah! But no. Nada.

At least they could have made the event less boring by adding some production value to it. Well, I took liberty and made a little something (Note that this is a rough mock-up and a full, cleaner version will be released on DVD--No, not really):

And if you read the lyrics to the chorus of "Defying Gravity" from "Wicked!" it fits perfectly:

So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
"Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly!"
And if I'm flying solo
At least I'm flying free
To those who'd ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am
Defying gravity
I'm flying high
Defying gravity
And soon I'll match them in renown

Update (Dec. 16, 2009): The video above soared to almost 1,000 views in less than 24 hours. The true count is unknown as YouTube metrics throttles the numbers based on some proprietary algorithm. It's the my most viewed video, but it's the fastest growing and it goes to show that timing is everything in social media.
Thursday, December 10, 2009

ATMs getting better

Knowing that the banks have oodles of data about me, it used to annoy me each time I used an ATM and it always asked me: "English" or "En EspaƱol". Once I understand, but everytime? But having used the new Bank of America ATMs that have been rolled out across the country, I must say they've made a huge leap forward in terms of usability.

First of all, I can't remember the last time it asked me for my language preference. One annoyance in life dispatched! The screens also seem to anticipate what you may want to do rather than taking you from screen after tedious screen by offering short cuts to such things as providing dollar amounts to withdraw right after entering my PIN.

The other cool feature is that they've done away with deposit envelopes for depositing cash. You don't even need to count it as it takes care of that as you deposit the cash.

I'm sure I'll find something lacking, but I'll have to commend Bank of America for looking at the UX from the customer's standpoint in their next generation ATMs.
Friday, December 4, 2009

Gap: Cheer Factory Campaign

The new Gap "Cheer Factory" campaign is both fun and integrated to meet today's social media needs. The campaign has the usual suspects of traditional in TV, and social media in Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. I love the concept with the holiday "cheer" component being literally translated into cheerleader style cheers.

The use of YouTube makes this campaign not only viral via the TV spots, but also via an employee contest for all Gap stores: The Gap Cheer Off. Each store creates their own cheer and submits them to the YouTube group page and the 25 top viewed will get a party for their store. By doing this, they've integrated all retail-level employees into the campaign.

One last note, I love the "Talk to the Moose" ads because I think it's a shot at Abercrombie & Fitch.
Thursday, December 3, 2009

Burberry - Solid

Well-managed brands regardless of where they show up--TV, print, social media--are always consistent and evoke the same emotional response regardless of the medium. Burberry, to me, is one such brand.

The campaign with Harry Potter star Emma Watson stays true to the heritage of Burberry but manages to infuse youth into it.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009

IKEA shows creativity is not dead.

Now this is a brilliant use of Facebook for marketing:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Tad Better

A couple of months ago, I commented about how American automakers needed simpler logos. Well, looks like Chrysler at least is making an attempt at it.
Saturday, October 31, 2009

Blogs Dead?

It's been more than a month since my last blog post and frankly, this is starting to feel like work. What happened?

I believe it's a combination of Twitter and Facebook. These two applications have made it easier to share opinions, what you're doing, photos, videos, links and whatever else you want to share with friends and the world. Add to that the complimentary applications such as TweetDeck and there may be really no place the blog anymore unless you're a commercial blogger.

I recently started using foursquare and like so many new applications coming to market these days, it seamlessly integrates with Twitter. So you get to update friends about where you are and where you like to hang out without having to have your friends join the same app.

I don't have the data, but I'm sure if you Googled it, you can find usage metrics on blog sites such as blogger and WordPress. I'm wondering how the growth of these sites have slowed or perhaps declined?
Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Look at me! I'm American!

Nothing screams quality than an American car right? There are a lot of things wrong with American automobile manufacturers, but here's one thing I'd like to see them address: Their logos.

Seriously. Have you ever been driving down the highway and spotted a car that made you say, "Hmm...not bad"? Then you saw the [insert American manufacturer here] logo and purged the thought from your head.

How can you make cars people want to buy when you can't even design a decent logo that won't mar your car with it? It goes against almost every branding rule, but is it so bad if people love the way the car looks, but can't quite figure out who makes it? They'll remember the logo, but not the name. It's a bit of a stretch I know, but these are desperate times for US auto makers.

The other plus is that people will really think it's the "new" [insert American manufacturer here]!

Take a look at some quality brands. The common denominator is that there's very little color, if any, and they're all silver! They blend into the car, not stick out like a sore thumb. Chevy makes matters worse by making their logo gigantic on every car!

The rest of the world:

The Americans:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Marissa Mayer from Google

If you don't know me...I not-so-secretly love Marissa Mayer. She's one of the many reasons why Google is not so worried about Microhoo! No, Mr.'re the one that doesn't get it.
Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hide and Seek?

When a company's brand 'jumps the shark' what do they do? One can argue that Starbucks is one such brand. Howard Shultz's goal of becoming the third place and becoming ubiquitous with coffee has largely been a success. But the world changes and growth is stifled when your brand is scorned where you're trying to open new markets.

Is this why Starbucks is trying a new concept? In this Seattle Times article, it's reported that Starbuck will open a redesigned store called 15th Avenue Coffee & Tea. It's hard to tell if this is simply a new product line or if the venerable coffee giant is hiding it's brand because it is no longer welcome in certain locales.
Monday, June 8, 2009

If you can't beat 'em...

Love this billboard promoting Peter Walsh's organizing products and supplies.
Saturday, June 6, 2009

openskies Experience

The service and experience of flying openskies, a British Airways subsidiary, was so satisfying that we forgot to take pictures during the flight. I had been looking forward to this flight to Paris ever since reading about it in Wendy Perrin's column in Conde Naste.

Our first experience was at JFK where we skipped over to the BA business and first class check-in counters instead of having to stand in the lines with the other BA passengers. The agent checking us in asked if we had flown openskies before and when we said it was our first time, she asked how we heard about the service (obviously for tracking purposes). She then told us we had the best seats on the plane.

Upon boarding, we were greeted by large seats in a bulkhead section so there was no one sitting in front of us. Lots of room! It wasn't a full flight, but I imagine the attentiveness of the flight attendants wouldn't have changed. We had great service and our flight attendant for our section gave us tips on where to go and what to eat in Paris.

The seats were comfortable, the food was fantastic and the inflight entertainment systems were so good, we didn't get enough sleep.

Return trip was about the same except we had access to the executive lounge in Orly, which was nice not to have to sit around in the main terminal. The one small downside on the return flight was that we were in a "yet-to-be-converted" cabin of an L'Avion plane (openskies merged with L'Avion earlier in the year). The seats weren't as comfortable and we lost our great bulkhead seats we had reserved.

But I'd fly them again if I'm flying out of NYC. I hope they're able to weather the economy and emerge without shutting down as it would be a shame to lose such a great airline.
Thursday, May 28, 2009

Streaming to rule!

I remember a few years ago putting together a market requirements document that relied heavily on streaming video to supplement other media. Thanks to Hulu it's available least the infrastructure and software is there now. It's just a matter of time before we see this ala Netflix on other devices as a licensed product.
Saturday, March 28, 2009

Not Intuitive

I'm sure when Facebook decided to change their user interface to stay competitive, they knew they needed to be careful not to alienate, frustrate or even annoy their millions of users. Or did they? There's been quite a groundswell of negativity toward the new design.

My personal pain came about when I was trying to help a coworker figure out how fans would upload photos to a special section called "Fan Photos". Logically, we went to the "Photos" tab, but there was no way to upload photos, just view them. We knew fans could load photos because other pages had tons of fan photos.

Were people tagging them with the page's name? Nope.

Was there a special app that allowed fans to do this? Nope.

I was so frustrated, I started mousing over and clicking all over the screen. When . . .

If you click in the text field under "Write something . . . " you get the option to add photos, links or whatever else you allow fans to post. Seriously? That makes perfect sense to the product managers, UX and QA folks who worked on this? You go to something that says "Write something . . . " to load photos.

Is it just me?
Sunday, March 8, 2009

No Obama

This is less a lesson on how to use Twitter for political campaigns and more one on what happens when anyone thinks they can. Let me preface this by saying I've been a long supporter of Representative Neil Abercrombie and so this is in no way a critique of him.

I found Neil's Twitter account a few months ago and started following him. At first he was tweeting just like everyone else, with updates on what he's been doing, bills he was supporting and his campaign for governor of Hawaii.

Then I started to notice his tweets almost seemed to be generated by a bot. The tweets were being fed from Utterli and kept saying the same thing except it had a slightly different link URL.

So I @neilabercombie'd him to find out what was going on. I got a tweet back from @ikitajima explaining that each tweet was indeed different and had I clicked on the link I would have heard a different message from Neil on Utterli.

Here are my issues with that answer and why I don't think it serves Neil or his campaign well:
  1. Inpersonal. By using the same exact "Aloha Everyone! It's me, Neil, reporting in." over and over, it feels like an afterthought or not worthy of the little extra effort it would take to customize each tweet. It feels very automated and cold. Not what you want to convey if you're running for a public office.

    Why not try to convey a little of Neil's personality? He should've talked about how he loved seeing "The Boss" Bruce Springsteen at the inaugural concert because he loves his music.

    Even if it's not him really tweeting all the time, you can provide some transparency by noting who is tweeting on his behalf at the end of each tweet. Even Britney Spears knows how to do that.

  2. Nonintuitive. Looking at each tweet, it looks like the same one over and over again. Almost like a mistake.

    Why not summarize what the link is about so people can decide if they want to click on the link or not? Are you expecting that the mystery of what may lie beyond the link will entice people to click on the link? You're not selling ad impressions. Better yet, get your message out in 140 characters, just like Obama did.
Friday, March 6, 2009

I'd love to work for . . .

I'm sure there are many in my field that would love to work for Marissa Mayer of Google. This is a great interview about how Google develops products, but more importantly you get great insight into Marissa.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kindle Content on iPhone

I recently got a Kindle 2 for a variety of reasons (which I'll post about later) with portability of many books being one of them. So when I saw this post on Gizmodo this morning, I was intrigued.

Essentially, Amazon launched an iPhone app that allows Kindle users to snyc and read their e-Book purchases. It's a bit odd in that Jeff Bezos and others at Amazon have mentioned in interviews that reading for long periods of time doesn't lend itself to backlit devices. Perhaps it's more a convenience feature for when you find yourself waiting in line or something and you don't have your Kindle with you, you can do a little quick, short reading on your iPhone?
Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Unexpected Surprises

When you get something unexpected and nice, it tends to get associated with the source. And when that source is a product, service or company, it gets associated with the brand--even if it comes in the process of getting one's oil changed.

This morning I took my car to Michael's Toyota in Bellevue, Wash. for a basic, run-of-the-mill oil change. I actually had two unexpected and pleasant surprises. As I was getting checked in I noticed a punch card for oil changes. The service tech noticed I was looking at it and she went through my records and found three prior oil changes. She went ahead and punched all the prior ones as well as the one I got today. So my next oil change is free!

Then after my service was completed, I was told my SUV was up front. When I walked out I couldn't find it so I pressed my remote entry fob and saw the SUV in front of me flash its lights and chirp. I hadn't seen it because it was clean! We had some snow about a week ago so it was covered in mud when I came in. I knew they washed cars for major service, but not for an oil change. Nice.

That little pleasant surprise stuck with me most of the day and I told several co-workers about it. Both suprises, the free oil change next time and the car wash, made me feel better about taking my car there. I don't remember what brand or quality of oil they used, but that doesn't matter. Don't forget the little things when it comes to making a memorable customer experience!
Monday, March 2, 2009

No help from yelp?

According to a New York Time's article, it appears that Yelp, the online review site, isn't playing nice with the business that are reviewed by its contributors. Unlike other review sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp doesn't allow reviewed business to respond to posts.

Instead, CEO Jeremy Stoppelman's stance is almost militant:
“Business owners want to control their reputation, and we’re just not going to let that happen,” he said. His top priority is “to make sure the community is protected and can share without fear of being publicly spat on.”

“We can’t referee factual disputes,” responded Mr. Stoppelman. “Why believe the business owner who has skin in the game?”

So if I understand this correctly, it's OK for the community to spit on businesses with no opportunity to respond or address an issue? That sounds more like a one-way and very Web 1.0.

He appears to have a large bias against the integrity of businesses. What's most troubling, however, is lack of faith that users of the site can't make up their own minds after reading both points of view.

For example, on TripAdvisor, reviewed hotels can post responses to reviews by users. I can read all the reviews from multiple contributors as well as the hotel management before making an informed decision. If there are several consistent posts about bad service and the response from the hotel doesn't seem reasonable, I can take that information and form my own opinions. It works for TripAdvisor, so why not for Yelp?

There's always two sides to every story and every review. There's no need to remove any reviews, but let people decide for themselves after hearing both sides.

Did you know . . .

Got this via a Tweet from AOL founder Steve Case.
Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sure of one's online persona

I saw this on several blogs last week and it's an interesting idea: Hand out cards with your name on it and encourage people to Google you.

If you're really confident on what will show up, at least on the first page, I say go for it. If not, you'd better not.
Saturday, February 28, 2009

Church 2.0: Part 2

In part one I shared some of the offline marketing efforts and tools Eastlake Community Church in Seattle utilizes to stay connected to members and to welcome new ones. In this post, I'd like to review the online efforts Eastlake uses quite effectively.

The main launching off point is Eastlake's Website. From here you can find everything you need to learn about the church including who they are, why they started, location, service hours and loads of links to get a feel for the services as well as staying connected. Nothing revolutionary here, but still, a great site with the content tailored to their audience.

In part one, we talked about the Connection Cards people can complete and drop off in the collection buckets. You have the opportunity to provide your email address and request various sorts of information. One option is to receive Eastlake's weekly newsletter, which provides news, activities for the week and other housekeeping information.

And in case you missed a service, wanted to listen to one again or were interested in the music performed by the church band, there's a place where you can download all of that.

Social Media
Eastlake leverages social media to the maximum, but is careful to use ones that make sense and also ensures they stay active once setup. This is just sampling of their social media efforts:

It's important to point out that Eastlake appears to understand that both their offline and online experiences need to be authentic to their "brand". When you experience both indenpendently, you don't feel a disconnect between the two. I think that's a lesson lost on many companies.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What? Blockbuster RENTS?!?!

Seth Godin got famous by popularizing permission marketing. And he's published several books on everything from customer service to e-marketing.

But his recent blog post is a bit of a stretch. Apparently Seth was in England and wanted a DVD so he walked into a Blockbuster, found the DVD and wanted to buy it. Long story short they said he couldn't buy so he wanted to rent it and he couldn't because he wasn't local. So he rants about it and how it's not good service and how they should've helped him more. Like tell him where he could buy it and draw him a map to the store down the street.

Seriously? It was a Blockbuster Seth. They rent videos. Are you saying you didn't know that? It wasn't a Best Buy. Why would you go in there and think you could buy it in the first place. Do you go to a Japanese restaurant and ask for Chinese food? There should be a sign that says "Sorry no Chinese, Korean or other foods. Please see the directory below for competing restaurants that may better meet your needs."

Lesson: No matter how famous or prestigious the blogger, don't take everything as gospel. Yes, even from me.

Boxeed-in by Hulu

One of the cool things about Boxee was its ability to stream Hulu content on your AppleTV. No more. Apparently, the content owners don't like it even if they're making money from the streams via embedded ads. Oh well.

But what caught my eye was the post on the Hulu Blog by CEO Jason Kilar. He does a fantastic job of explaining the situation and empathizing with Boxee users. Which is refreshing to read instead of hearing the same corporate babble about copyrights, digital rights, legalese, blah, blah and blah.

Customers, especially your most passionate ones, don't like to be treated nor spoken to like children. It would seem like no-brainer logic, but we all too often see large media companies, in particular the music industry, do exactly that. People want frankness and honesty.

Don't just take my word for it, read the responses to the post. Most appreciate it.
Sunday, February 15, 2009

Google shoots and sometimes misses . . but it's OK

Just a quick post about an article in today's New York Times explaining how Google decides to shut something down if it's not meeting expectations or goals.

This is something Google is very good at doing. They don't necessarily ship perfect, but good enough to give its users a taste. If people like it, they refine it and get it almost perfect. It's a simple concept lost by so many other companies.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feed your crave with Twitter

Just wanted to share this really simple and cool use of Twitter. A Korean BBQ taco truck has such a loyal following, they use Twitter to help its fans find them with tweets throughout the day. Read the article here at the LA Times.
Monday, February 9, 2009

Church 2.0: Part 1

Originally, I was going to share some of the Web 2.0 and social media tools used effectively by my church, Eastlake Community Church, but then I realized they were also doing some other great things . . . marketing the church. Marketing is not quite the right word for it, but that's how I can relate it to how companies can take a lesson from them.

First Impressions
When you first arrive, you are warmly greeted, offered a hot drink and maybe even a snack. If you have kids there are programs for them to attend. If you have a baby, there's a private area where you can view services from and not worry about any crying. That's all you need to know until you enter the service area. Sometimes we make things too complicated by trying to accomplish too much in that first contact and end up confusing and losing customers.

Even the program adheres to the K.I.S.S rule:

Set Expectations
Making sure you let people know what to expect, regardless of what it is, often leads to better satisfaction. No surprises means less chance for disappointment or misunderstandings. If you're going to stick a six-inch needle into my hip as part of a medical procedure, I'd like to know that ahead of time so I don't freak out minutes before you do it. If a particular dish on the menu is going to take 45 minutes, tell me ahead of time so I don't get annoyed waiting for it.

Collect Information
In each program, there's a CONNECTIONcard that the pastor asks you to fill out and drop off in the collection bucket after the service. They want to know who you are, how you heard about the church, and what you're interested in. In order to make improvements and determine what your needs are, you need to collect data on your customers. I think it's a brilliant idea to combine the tithes and offerings with the collection of the CONNECTIONcards. There's a bit of peer pressure to drop something into the collection buckets, so if not an offering, why not some data about who you are?

Make it easy to share

I'm already at church, so why give me several postcards about the new series? So I can share it with friends and others, of course. Again, so simple: What, When, Where and Why. Once you have a customer, make it easy for them to spread the word.

Part 2: Focus on the Web 2.0 and social media tools the church uses effectively.
Sunday, February 8, 2009

Online Brand Building

I'm about a month into my year-long personal project/experiment to separate my professional and personal online brands. It's still early, but it seems to be going well. I Google both "Henry Yamamoto" (pro brand) and "Broadbandito" (personal) regularly and it looks like the right things are showing up under each respective search.

In order to really make this work, I've also been actively cultivating the pro brand. Take for example, the simple practice of commenting on other people's or corporate blogs. Instead of ranting or making random comments, which would probably benefit more so the personal brand, the comments are insights into what the blogger posted and providing thoughtful, relevant insights.

I discovered OpenSkies, a new British Airways subsidiary, while searching for flights to Paris for a trip I was planning. I was a bit worried about booking on a new airline in this economy, so I posted on their blog asking some basic viability questions. Dale Moss, the CEO, responded that they have the full backing of BA so they expect to weather the economic downturn.

Several weeks later I followed up with a comment about why I was giving them a try and Dale mentioned it in a subsequent post. He even posted a link to my blog. I think he did so because I talked about how I loved being an early adopter of new "brand experiences" and backed up their strategy of being a point-to-point carrier.

When I actually take the trip this spring, I plan on continuing the dialog by posting my experience on OpenSkies' blog and emailing Dale as well.

This is the third active interaction I've had this year with companies and agencies engaging their customers online. First it was the Washington State Department of Transportation, then SoBe beverages, and now OpenSkies.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Twitter and Politics

You know Twitter has jumped the shark when _________. In this case, it's when political maneuvering by Democrats and Republicans, in a non-partisan race, creates a tweet recall.

Ron Sims, who was recently appointed as deputy secretary of HUD, posted a tweet that reminded voters of the deadline for a special election. Problem was, it provided a link to an editorial that endorsed his current appointee. The tweet was immediately recalled when it was pointed out that it was an inappropriate endorsement.

Sims staffers said it was an innocent post to simply remind people of the election deadline. I'd buy that for a newb, but Sims and his staff are veterans of Twitter and have been using it for a variety of purposes. If they genuinely were trying to do that, why didn't they link here?

Political issues aside, I think one can safely say that Twitter is making its hockey stick accent up the bell curve.
Sunday, February 1, 2009

SoBe Hat-Trick

I didn't make the connection until I saw the trailer for Monsters vs. Aliens followed by the SoBe Superbowl spot, but the SoBe team pulled the hat-trick.

I was wondering what the weird creatures were that were accompanying the SoBe lizards. Turns out they are characters from Dreamworks' Monsters vs. Aliens. Traditional media + social media + movie tie-in = Some crazy biz dev and media planning.

Opening up the SoBe Life Water Yuzu Black Currant, holding it up high and making a toast to the SoBe marketing team.


The lessons from SoBe marketing continue just hours after the last post. Not only are the minds behind the SoBe Superbowl marketing team integrating every possible medium, they are also monitoring them as well.

A few hours following my last blog post and tweet on Twitter, sobeworld is now following me on Twitter. Wow. I'm totally impressed.

That's right folks, you have to track and monitor as well. Too often I get the "bandwagon" call from someone who wants to setup a Facebook page or Twitter account only to be left bewildered when I ask, "who's going to be managing it"? Is it for news, customer service, marketing, research or all of the above? Still no response. I don't want to get into it too much here, but you get the point.

Please. I'll sign an NDA if I have to, but please put out a white paper following this campaign.

UPDATE: I had to go out, so I grabbed some SoBe to complete the whole process.

SoBelieve Superbowl

New age beverage company SoBe is doing the full-court press leading up to the Superbowl. The company, which was acquired by PepsiCo in 2000, specializes in beverages geared toward the 18-29 year old market.

Wherever you happen to be during the Superbowl--and in the case of the target market it's often more than one place at a time--you'll run into SoBe. I woke up and found them while syncing my iPhone on iTunes.

Top Center: Note the SoBe lizzard on the default iTunes home page.

The tile from the iTunes home page goes to this track, which is featured in Sobe's Superbowl spot. Note that it's not even free. The artist and SoBe will make some money off the downloads.

If you happen to be on MySpace:

On Twitter:

And of course, Facebook where you can win a trip to Vegas and a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit party:

We won't have access to the ROI and other metrics from the campaign unless SoBe or their agencies choose to release them, but on face value they appear to have done this campaign right and are where they need to be.

Here's the Superbowl ad, which is in 3D: