Skip directly to content

TiVo – When First Mover Advantage Isn’t, And When A Great Experience Doesn’t Build Profits

on Sun, 05/12/2013 - 09:49

TiVo and YouTube have teamed upto enable users to stream YouTube clips via broadband Internet connection to their TVs, later this year, in the continued ‘blurring of your TV and the internet.’

TiVo has struggled in the DVR category they essentially invented, in spite of great buzz and rabid TiVo evangelists. The company has never had a profitable quarter, primarily because lightning fast technological innovations allowed TV cable providers and consumer electronics retailers with better distribution channels, (and in some cases, better software and equipment) to jump into the category and commoditize it by lowering the price, bundling services, and offering free equipment. Poor TiVo.

So what can you learn from TiVo’s experience?

Stop assuming that “first mover advantage” is a given. It’s not. And in some cases it’s a disadvantage.

Brand share isn’t guaranteed even if you have avid brand users. Sure, brand experience and loyalty are important. But TiVo spawned some of the most fervent evangelists in recent history and the brand is still struggling to turn a profit.

It’s not a good sign when your brand name becomes the de facto term for the category, unless, like Google, you’re the proverbial 600 pound gorilla. If consumers equate your brand name with the service, and competition commoditizes that service, it’s tough to reassert a unique value proposition.

The bottom line? Marketers can’t assume anything and they can’t focus on any one part of their positioning strategy; they have to keep all the balls in the air and resist following the latest marketing trend unless it makes strategic sense.

Originally posted March, 2008

Five Star Rating: 
No votes yet

Google’s 9 Principles of Innovation

on Sat, 05/11/2013 - 18:50

Dreaming up fresh, original, ground breaking ideas is tough. Yet some people create new ideas effortlessly, while others struggle.

Want to exercise your creative muscle? Take a look at this article to learn some of the techniques Google utilizes to encourage innovation within the company.

One example: “Creativity Loves Constraints,” says Google’s VP of Search Products. “People think of creativity as this sort of unbridled thing, but engineers thrive on constraints.”

So true. The most creative and prolific agency folks I’ve known are those that insist on a creative strategy or strategic roadmap to frame their creative efforts.

And briefs aren’t just for agencies, btw; every company needs guidelines to keep ideation on track.

If you have a minute, take a look. The article is a fast read and well worth your time if innovation is important to your business.


Originally posted March, 2008

Five Star Rating: 
No votes yet

brandeo weekender – news, tips & trends from the week of february 18th.

on Sat, 05/11/2013 - 18:45

There’s lots of talk about authentic brands but a lot of it is just, well, talk. For a look at a truly authentic brand, take a look at this video about Firehouse Subs, founded by two brothers who like to cook who are also former firemen. Part of the company’s profits are spent donating lifesaving equipment to fire departments all over the country. There’s a Firehouse Subs near me that I’ve never visited---you can bet the next time I pass by I’ll stop in.

On the political front, bloggers are a visible part of news reporting on the 2008 election, and now Wonkosphere takes blogosphere analysis to 'a whole nother level.’ The website monitors feeds from 1,200 liberal, conservative and independent blogs and utilizes the information to project public opinions and the news stories before mainstream media.

If you haven’t seen Reactrix Step Scape’s place-based interactive ads you likely will soon. The company’s technology immerses consumers in high-impact branding “experiences” that instantly respond when people walk across or gesture over the display area aka the floor. Wall ads coming soon. UPDATE: Reactrix Shuts Down.

Google has officially launched Ad Sense for video. Ads come in video and text formats according to Techcrunch, and both appear as banners along the bottom of the video. Video watchers click on the “InVideo” ad to watch the video, or go to the advertiser’s website when they click on a text ad. InVideo ads are charged on a CPM (per-impression) basis, while the text ads are charged on a CPC (per click) basis. Will this mean the end of preroll advertising Techcrunch wonders? We can only hope.

BTW, if you don’t know what this orange square is, it’s time you found out. This article from WebTrends is a great primer on RSS along with how it can clear your inbox of all those newsletters clogging it up (try it and you’ll wonder how you lived without it) and help your marketing efforts.

Have a great weekend.

Originally posted February, 2008

Five Star Rating: 
No votes yet

Reverse Product Placement - Should You Launch Your Brand Virtually Before You Launch in the 'Real' World?

on Sat, 05/11/2013 - 18:42

Reverse product placement refers to creating and ‘launching’ a fictional brand in media such as movies, television shows, books, virtual worlds and games.

Once the brand gains critical mass and awareness, it could be translated to a commercial product and launched into the ‘real’ world.

While reverse product placement has occurred in movies, television shows and books, former MIT academic and current Xbox Live Arcade product planner David Edery suggests that reverse product placement in virtual worlds and games can save marketers “tens or hundreds of millions of dollars fighting mature competitors for mindshare and shelf space in the physical world” by launching “a new offering in an uncluttered fictional one" Source:

He notes that it happens with other media, such as "Every Flavor Beans," from Harry Potter books and movies, later converted into a real-world product by Cap Candy, a division of Hasbro.


“The Simpsons Movie” was promoted by selling real products under imaginary brand names like Buzz Cola, Frosted Krusty-O’s and so on, and certain 7-Eleven locations were temporarily re-branded as outposts of the show’s Kwik-E-Mart chain.

Related Links:

Rob Walker "False Endorsement", 11/17/07 - New York Times

Originally posted November, 2007

Five Star Rating: 
No votes yet

Online Franchising - Can it Help Grow Your Online Business?

on Sat, 05/11/2013 - 18:39

Some web businesses are adopting online franchising as a strategy for growth.

Two examples:, a membership site that tracks supermarket deals, and, an Internet-design and search-engine marketing company. Franchisees get an exclusive territory and proprietary materials to get them started just like franchisees in the ‘real’ world.

Online franchising isn’t for every company but if you’re undercapitalized and yearning to grow, it could be worth investigating.

Franchising removes the logistics of having to supervise employees over a broad geographic area, permits more rapid expansion and can enable a higher level of personalized service for franchisors that are not web only.

Another key benefit - Franchisees/partners are typically more motivated and qualified than the typical prospective employee.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Originally posted 2007

Five Star Rating: 
No votes yet

Shopper Marketing - How Manufacturers are Differentiating Brands In-Store

on Sat, 05/11/2013 - 18:37

Advanced shopper marketing competencies help manufacturers differentiate themselves in the eyes of their retail customers says a report on “Shopper Marketing: Capturing a Shopper’s Mind, Heart and Wallet," recently released by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and GMA and Deloitte Consulting LLP.

Shopper Marketing, according to MediaPost, "is all marketing stimuli, developed based on a deep understanding of shopper behavior, designed to build brand equity, engage the shopper and lead him/her to make a purchase.”

The increasing emphasis reflects research showing 70% of purchase decisions are made in grocery stores, 68% of purchases are impulse, and only 5% of shoppers are loyal to one brand.


Originally posted November, 2007

Five Star Rating: 
No votes yet

MySpace Self-Serve Ads Offer HyperTargeting to Businesses

on Sat, 05/11/2013 - 18:34

Poor MySpace. Last week’s media frenzy over the announcement of Facebook Ads eclipsed their announcement of Self-Serve Ads, “the first ever ad platform to offer customized tools for small businesses to create and target display ads to their desired customers in a social media environment.”

The Self-Serve platform is based on hyper-targeting, which, like Facebook, uses the information from member profiles to serve them ads that might appeal to them. MySpace launched hyper-targeting in July of 10 interest groups including movies, finance and fashion, and 50 advertisers including Proctor & Gamble, Microsoft and Ford. The company says that “Performance lifted up to 300% for those using hyper-targeting” and they expect the number of interest groups available to advertisers to rise to the thousands by the end of the year.

Particularly excited by the opportunity to reach the 23 million small businesses in the United States, with less than 1 million advertising online, MySpace views Self-Serve as a huge opportunity.

BTW, Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of News Corporation, owner of Myspace calls MySpace “a place for self-expression, where users’ MySpace pages become their home on the Internet. It is where they discover people, content, and culture -- where they share information, communicate, and consume. Facebook, on the other hand, tends to be a web utility, similar to a phonebook."

Uh huh.

Originally posted November, 2007

Five Star Rating: 
No votes yet


on Sat, 05/11/2013 - 18:31

Unlocking the Power of the Social Graph

The days of wondering what your family and friends are up to are long past. Facebook is a social network whose objective is to help people communicate more efficiently with friends, family and coworkers and be involved in their online lives.

Previously the only advertising opportunities on Facebook were banner and newsfeed ads and advertiser-sponsored groups. In November, 2007 the company launched ‘social ads’ to help advertisers leverage user profiles and the power of an individual’s social graph.

The recently announced system offers businesses:

  • A way to build pages on Facebook to connect with their audiences
  • An ad system that facilitates the spread of brand messages virally through Facebook Social Ads™
  • An interface to gather insights into people’s activity on Facebook that marketers care about.

As of November 2007, Facebook is the sixth most trafficked U.S. site. The network has more than 52 million active users, with half of them returning on a daily basis. Users spend an average of 20 minutes on the site daily.

Facebook has an 85% market share of 4-year U.S. universities. But more than half of Facebook users are outside of college with the fastest growing demographic those 25 years old and older. It is the no. 1 photo sharing application on the web.

company info
Palo Alto, Calif. (headquarters);
New York

How Facebook has become a very British way to stay in touch
New Ways Facebook's Beacon May have Broken the Law
Facebook’s Strategy; More than Ads
Facebook Tries to Tap the Fansumer
Riding Social Networks Wave: The Next Phases
Facebook - A Marketer's Friend

Originally posted 2007

Five Star Rating: 
No votes yet

Jockey Launches the Jockey UnderWars

on Sat, 05/11/2013 - 18:28

Get People to Dance in their Underwear

Admit it. You’ve danced in your underwear. Who hasn’t? So, why not dance in your underwear in front of millions of people?

Jockey has launched the “May the Best UnderWarrior™ Win” challenge. Anyone interested in claiming their 3 minutes of fame can choose their music, film themselves dancing, and sign on to the Jockey UnderWars site to create their UnderWarrior profile (complete with a trash-talking handle like “Vanillah Thrillah” or “Boom Sniggity”.)

Participants can post their video on the site, or compete with other players in the official Jockey UnderWars Tournament beginning November 15th; the winner will be determined by audience votes. To boost viral growth, Jockey encourages participants to mail their videos to their friends and family and lobby their votes. Oh, and did we mention there’s a $5,000 grand prize?

Jockey has made the promotion unique by reversing the perception of underwear as something that should be hidden. This approach works well for Jockey because it’s a fun approach that engages their youthful, energetic, audience with their brand. It also gives Jockey the opportunity to show off a good-looking product.

What are the opportunities for you to engage consumers with your brand by doing something unexpected? Paradigm shifts are great ways to surprise and engage your audience---as long as they don't negatively portray your product or service.

Originally posted 2007


Five Star Rating: 
No votes yet

Pop-up Marketing - Generate Buzz, Boost Sales, Launch Products

on Sat, 05/11/2013 - 18:22

Pop-up marketing, also referred to as pop-up retail, pop-up stores, or simply pop-ups, are a blend of event marketing and retail. These temporary retail locations can be very simple or elaborate, and range in size from kiosks to multi-level stores.

The key to successful pop-up retailing is finding a good retail location and the ability to deliver a positive brand experience. While some are located in high traffic locations, others are located in neighborhoods.

Typically pop-ups open for short durations, usually just a few days to a few weeks which helps imbue them with a sense of ‘coolness’.

Pop up stores are typically used to bring a brand to life with an engaging experience, to showcase a product or brand, and to promote buzz and urgency for a new or limited edition product, but could also be opportunities to test products and obtain market research.

Retailers often use the pop-up tactic to target areas where they want to capture an audience segment they may otherwise have difficulty reaching. While many pop-up stores sell product, some stores are promotional only, offering free samples, opportunities to win prizes, etc.

Retailer Uniqlo used shipping containers which they trucked from location to location. The inside of the shipping container contained a showroom and a dressing room where customers could try on clothes. The shipping container reinforced the uniqueness of the brand and its introduction to the U.S.

Even Wal-Mart has gotten in on pop-up retailing, promoting their Metro 7 fashiion line in Miami’s South Beach District for just 2 days in 2006.

Related Links Pop-Up Stores: All the Rage
The latest trend in retailing: shops that open for a few days in a major city or a mall—and then are gone Businessweek, 2/9/07
Altoids Curious and Original Chocolate Shoppe Opened for 6 days in Februrary, 2007, the pop-up was promoted as an “anti-Valentine's day shop…for those exhausted by the unrestrained sentimentality of Valentine’s Day.” The Chicagoist, 2/7/07
Target store in lower
Manhattan pops up to promote upscale Proenz Schouler line. (Feb1-5 2007)


Originally posted 2008


Five Star Rating: 
No votes yet