Logos and Other Stuff You Should Not Worry About

Seth Godin wrote a post a couple of days back called “Your Brand is Not Your Logo”, where he called the recent re-branding efforts of a couple of big consumer brands “Cluelessness on the half shell”.  I couldn’t agree with that more. I wrote a post a while back on product naming and this one is a bit like that one in that I will state right out of the gate that I don’t know a darn thing about Logos.  You’ll notice the lack of logo on this page.  In fact you will notice the lack of anything that looks even remotely like “Branding” on this page.  Why?  Because I will venture to say, that you, dear reader don’t give a hoot. Over 60% of you (according to Google Analytics) are 1st time visitors.  I bet not a single one of you 60% has ever heard of me before.  Some of you got here though Twitter or came to this page from StumbleUpon or clicked on a link here from the CrankyPM or OnProductManagement.  The one thing you folks do have in common is that you came here for the content.  That’s it.  You’ll read the article in front of you and decide to subscribe, Stumble or bookmark based on that alone.  This blog is a startup and it looks like a startup – a little rough around the edges, clearly no money was spent on design and I haven’t sprung for a logo. Now let’s compare that to a couple of the top marketing bloggers out there.  How about Seth Godin or Guy Kawasaki (go have a look,...

A Skeptic’s Guide to Social Media Press Releases

Up until the past year, I’ve been pretty old school about press releases.  I spent years at IBM where the “newsworthyness” of releases was hyper-scrutinized and even the availability of a new product wasn’t always deemed newsworthy enough to warrant a release.  After a while I became that person who reviewed the release and wrote “What are we announcing?  Who cares?” all over it. Wow, have things changed.  In the past year I’ve worked on a couple of spectacularly successful social media press releases.  And I don’t throw “spectacular” around lightly either. Release 1 The first one was was an accident.  We were working on a traditional release related to a change in our corporate green policy.  The announcement was good for employees and the planet and would showcase how customers could use our products to do the same at their company.  At the last minute the roll-out of the new initiative got delayed.  The Super-Smart PR Guy (SSPRG) I work with suggested we do a social media release around our existing initiatives, which were pretty cool already but we’d never really talked about them externally.  “We can’t do that!!!  There’s no news!!!” I wailed.  Having had my knuckles rapped so many times for lack of newsworthyness had clearly traumatized me but in the end SSPRG talked me into it.  We shot some video, included some links to the info on our web site about the program and created an online “how-to” paper that described how to start a similar program at another company.  We did not use our regular wire service and instead put it out over a...

What I Learned as a Judge of a Marketing Award

Last week I was on the jury for the 2008 Broadridge Canadian Investment Marketing Awards.  This is the marketing prize that is part of the Canadian Investment Awards which recognize leading investment products and firms illustrating an enduring commitment to excellence within the Canadian financial services industry overall.  I got invited to be on the jury by the folks at Kaleidoscope Marketing an Communications who I had met at an American Marketing Association function and are all-around great folks. Did I mention that I get to attend their big crazy party?  I figure it’s going to be fun because if there’s a group of people on the planet that are in need of a few drinks right now, it’s people whose job it is to care about the stock market. The submissions were generally good (ok, ok, there was one stinker but at least it made the other ones look better) but there was a real separation between the good submissions and the great ones.  Here is what I took away: Objective Setting and Results Measurement Doesn’t Happen Enough – A number of campaigns only had soft goals (increased awareness was the most common) and then never made any attempt to measure if they had met those goals.  These campaigns also tended to be not focused on a particular segment.  One juror referred to this technique as “Spray and Pray Marketing” which I thought summed it up.  This is marketing 101 stuff in my mind.  If you don’t have a goal and don’t measure results you might as well just hand out money on the street. If Your Product...

Guy Kawasaki, Alltop and Why Twitter Makes me Cooler than You

Today Alltop launched productmanagement.alltop.com and Rocket Watcher made the cut of the 25 or so blogs listed there.  In addition to getting some traffic driven to this site, I get to put this nifty little red badge on my site that you see below my photo over on the right. Whoop-dee-doo!  How did this happen!? In a word – Twitter. So here is how it started.  I’m a big fan of Alltop (click over there and have a look.  Go ahead, I’ll wait for you to get back) Guy Kawasaki’s “online magazine rack” of blogs sorted by topic, and I’ve used it to find a lot of the bloggers that I follow.  I find doing searches and trolling through the blogrolls of bloggers that I read is OK, but in general the Alltop lists of blogs with the last few posts were a big time saver for me. So then I got to thinking – Hey, I want to be listed there too!  So I clicked around on the site and noticed that anyone could submit to be listed.  So I did.  By email.  It was even a funny email which I was sure would get Guy’s attention.  Here it is in all its original glory for your entertainment: Hi Guy, I launched a new marketing blog called Rocket Watcher a few weeks back focused on Marketing and Launching New Innovative Technologies and it kicks ass.  Please add it to marketing.alltop! Top 5 reasons Rocket Watcher belongs on Alltop Marketing: 1/ My posts are smart because I’m Director of Marketing for XXXX’s Incubation Program so I’m actually doing this...

Financial Services is Your Target Market. Are you Doomed?

So you run product marketing for a release 1 IT product and your target vertical is financial services. Nice timing! Too bad about that global market meltdown thing.  It’s possible that your CEO/Project Executive might be making some noises about revisiting that decision.  Here are some things to think about. Consider this before you bail out of Financial Services: Other segments stink too – Go ahead, focus on another segment.  How about Retail?  Manufacturing?  That pesky recession thing is clobbering those segments too. You picked that segment for a reason, hopefully a good one.  In the U.S. Financial Services is about 18% of IT spending, all of Wall St. is 6% of that.  Not all of financial services IT spending is grinding to a halt overnight. Your product was developed with that segment in mind. Just because marketing decides to change the target market focus, doesn’t make it so. The stock market is unpredictable. The past two weeks have shown that yesterday’s crisis can sometimes be tomorrow’s 1,000 point gain. Sticking with Financial Services – Some things to do right now: Tighten your segmentation – Not all of financial services is taking the same hit.  Investment Banking might not be the segment I would be chasing right now.  Wealth Management on the other hand makes more sense.  If possible, focus on the parts of the market that aren’t getting hammered. Work your Accounts – When there is consolidation happening this rapidly, it pays to understand the shifting power structures inside a given account, particularly the big ones.  If you have friends at Bank of America, JP Morgan or Citibank,...

I Know Nothing About Product Naming (But That Doesn’t Stop Me from Doing It)

I’ve spent most of my career working on Version 1 products so I’ve done my share of product naming.  The only thing I’ve learned is that few people actually know anything about how to do it well and in the end you are generally picking the least offensive name from a collection of crappy names.  My best qualification for doing naming is that I at least understand that I know nothing about it. Oh I know there are experts at this stuff and consultants that seem to get the whole naming thing.  But I’m working on a Version 1 product, which means we don’t have any revenue, which means we are broke.  The likelihood of me having budget to hire a naming expert is right up there with how likely I am to get budget to have Bono play at my launch event. 3 things to think about before you start: Make sure that you have your product positioning worked out.  I like names that associate with positioning but even if you don’t, you shouldn’t pick one that associates with something against your positioning. Don’t pick something with “bug” in it. Look at your competitors and names of products in adjacent spaces.  Ideally your name should be memorable.  It won’t be if there are already dozens of products with similar names.  Hint: If in contains “soft”, you might want to rethink that. If you are in a large company, have a look at your company naming standards. You might be tempted to dodge those rules but don’t forget that they’re there for a reason.  Customers searching your website will...
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