Brand loyalty, enthusiasm…worship?

I’m sure you’ve seen people lining up to be first in line for a new movie (Star Wars etc), new products (the iPhone comes to mind), new video games (HALO II) etc.

How do you create something people will line up for? Not all of the items below have to be true at the same time but having several of them helps:

  1. It should be unique;
  2. The company/product should have values that reflect those of your target audience;
  3. It should represent something i.e. aspiration, inspiration, joy, pure entertainment, mayhem, whatever;
  4. It should be identifiable by others; and the most important
  5. You should be able to order it animal-style.

What is the purpose of this?  Local guy Bryan Hardwick, lined up to be the first customer of the new In-N-Out Burger in Folsom, just down the road from Morgan/Dorado HQ.

Bryan, I respect your commitment to your passion. I’m a little frightened by it, but I respect it.


Better than “fair” time in Reno at WFA Convention

Yesterday was a quick trip up to Reno to talk to attendees at the 2009 Western Fairs Association Convention. The topic was social media. This was basically a very quick “Social Media 101.”

The room was full, I’m estimating about 200. This demonstrated a huge desire to learn from an industry that many would perceive as being slow to change.  What I learned is that couldn’t be further from the truth. These folks were hungry for information.

wfa_mini_biggerThink about it. The core of their business is bringing people together for entertainment, education and community.  They have passionate fans, committed volunteers and tireless staffs. They just needed someone to give them a little shove. I hope I did that.

One of the questions that consistently came up during the session and then conversations afterward was the all to common, “where do you find the time?” I wrote about this last May and pointed to a video by the crazy-smart Clay Shirky.  The big point that I was trying to get across, in addition to the concept of found time, was they need to let go and provide tools for those that care about their local fairs to talk amongst themselves and others.

If they would have me back, it would be wonderful to speak with this group again as they were one of the friendliest and nicest groups of people I have ever met. Even better would be if someone that was in my session was there in my place to talk about what they’ve done in 2009 and how it helped them build their community.

Thank you to the Western Fairs coordinating team for including me and thank you to my new friends from the Butte County Fair, Contra Costa County Fair, The California State Fair, the Nevada State Fair and HorsePower Promotions.

There’s something about the first time…

that you help a new client receive positive media coverage.

In this case, the new client is Lumens. They make visual presenters.  What are those? Think of the overhead projector when you were a kid. Put that on steroids. Add the ability record audio and video with one button, hook it up to an HD monitor and project in HD1080. It’s a big, big jump.

This week, Lumens introduced the PS660. The first HD1080 projector priced under $2,000.

Lumens PS 660
Lumens PS 660

We think it’s pretty cool and apparently Ken Royal from Scholastic Administrator did as well.  Thanks Ken for meeting with the nice folks from Lumens at FETC!

I showed you the good…and now time for the bad

I just showed an example from a local basketball court manufacturer about how to effectively use timeliness in your marketing by tieing a pitch to a news event (in their case offerring to build a basketball court at The White house).  Now, unfortunately I have to show you the bad.

Actually, I’m not going to show you here. I’m afraid of putting it on this page. So, I’m sending you to the Bad Pitch Blog so you can read it in all of its glorious context.  Please read. Learn from the mistakes of others.

There’s a fine line between creative and cheesy

It never hurts to look at your marketing like you don’t have any money.

One tactic sometimes used in developing marketing ideas is the “$” game.  If you had an unlimited budget, what would you do? The correlation to that is, “what would you do if you had no money for marketing.”  Both of these can help stimulate the mind and get creative ideas flowing.

Once you get ideas down, a good idea is to plot them on a line with “creative” at one end and “cheesy,” on the other.  My usual advice is to throw out ideas that lean towards cheesy (although some brands embrace the cheese and thrive with it).

The current White House basketball court
The current White House basketball court

Last night on the news I saw a story about a local guy who offered to build a basketball court for the White House for free. Then there was an article in our local paper today about it.  Did he use a PR firm for this? I don’t think so. He used an ad on Craigslist titled, “I want to build Obama’s basketball court.

A few friends of mine have courts from this company, RhinoCourts, and I have to say, they are pretty impressive.

What the First Court could be (image from Rhino Courts)
What the First Court could be (image from Rhino Courts)

This stunt definitely falls on the creative side of the spectrum because it was:

  • timely
  • real
  • he could deliver on the promise
  • it caught the attention of lots of people
  • I haven’t seen any backlash

Well done!

Update!  This story has now jumped to CBS News – Check it out. The power of a small program.

You don’t have to like him…but you have to admit he was good

Jeff Kent is retiring today.


He was the last active link to the 2002 Giants infield that helped them get to their first World Series, in oh about forever.  I worked across the street from Pac Bell Park then.  We had season tickets.  I made to about half the home games that year.  Sometimes on sunny Tuesdays, we’d have “afternoon meetings across the street.”

The infield was JT Snow, Keff Kent, Rich Aurilia and David Bell.  They all played hard.  They won. Well at least right up until Game 7 of the World Series.

The Giants of that era are forever tied to Barry Bonds, but we would be remiss if we didn’t remember that for most of those years when he was hitting all those home runs he was protected in the line-up by a second baseman from Huntington Beach.

A day of hope (with a small “h”), a day of change, a day to reflect before…

getting back to work.

Tomorrow the sun will come up (and I’ll see it come up as I have to leave to drive to SF at 5 am).

As individuals, and as a nation we will face the same opportunities disguised as obstacles and hardships that we faced yesterday.

There is no secret sauce that will make everything work again, there is no short-cut that does not come without consequences. There is just a long, slog back up the hill ahead of us.

I had a discussion last week with a friend. He works in the same field as me.  He and his children are of similar age, to me and mine.  Over the years, he has reaped the rewards of hard work.  In our discussion he said, “I’ve been thinking, do I need to have this much house?  Would we be just as happy with let’s say 2/3 of the square footage?  Downsizing would take a lot of pressure off of me and my wife and I could spend more time coaching baseball and less time having to hustle to make enough to keep this lifestyle going.”

I think a lot of people are having those same thoughts, those same discussions.  So, take today, reflect. Think hard about what you want. Tomorrow, get out there and start making it happen.