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: