Tag Archives: apple

Plannerben’s Foreign Policy

Last fall, John Chipman, the director-general and chief executive of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, advanced the notion that in our globalized world, “every company needs a foreign policy.”

The New York Times, 31 January 2017

I can’t say that as the owner of a very small business–as small as you can get before you cease to exist–that I’d ever considered the need to have a foreign policy before.  However, executive orders issued by our nation’s President have inspired me to think about the global nature of my business and to respond accordingly.

If it seems ludicrous that a consultant should have a foreign policy, consider this: most of my clients are multi-national and global companies.  Over the past 27 months, I’ve worked with one ad agency that’s part of a Paris-based holding company and another agency based in London.  Those agencies’ clients, in turn, include a global bank accused of bribery in China and a UK-based company with businesses across the globe.  I helped a mid-sized US agency pitch a bank holding company based in Japan.  I’ve even worked for two companies based in that most foreign of locales, New Jersey.

So, while I don’t jet-set around the globe, I do recognize that my work depends in a large part on working with people from anywhere and everywhere.  These people include foreign nationals, naturalized Americans, undocumented residents and people with countless political and religious beliefs not to mention gender identities and sexual preferences.  I can’t count ’em because it’s none of my damn business so I don’t keep a record.

As such, I commit Plannerben | Anecdata to support and work with people and companies in any nation as long as they believe that our differences are strengths and not weaknesses.  I will work with people of any political stripe, with any belief system as long as they recognize that what connects us as humans outweighs what separates us.

I strongly reject President Trump’s attempt to wall off America from the world.

Like my daughter, I support international diplomacy

I recognize that I’m not Apple.  I’m not Hard Rock Hotels for that matter.  And it’s not like Kim Jong Un is burning up the phone lines trying to hire me.  I do not anticipate any substantial negative or positive reactions to our policy.  However, I accept John Chipman’s challenge above as an opportunity to think about my business and how I conduct it.  Even in New Jersey.

Get Your Mind out of the Gutter and into the Toilet

When we set out to solve marketing problems, we often try modeling, as in “how would another brand solve the problem?”  More often than not, I think we use sexy brands–Apple, Nike, Starbucks and so forth–because they usually get their marketing right.

However, I suggest that you stop thinking about what’s sexy.  After all, most marketers don’t have the resources of these brands nor can they always take the big risks that those brands have taken.

So, instead of sex, try toilets.



Challenge Accepted!

As in, ask yourself, “what would we do if we were trying to sell toilets instead of our brand/product?”  Turning your strategy exercise into an exercise of selling toilets has three key advantages:

1.             Toilets have clear use cases.

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Retro Rant: Same as it Ever Was

File this one under la plus la change

Over two years ago, I wrote what became the most-viewed post on my old blog, Translinear: Silicon Valley Hates Children.  I wrote the post in about five minutes after the umpteenth time we got our ears blasted by a video on CNN.com because one of the kids had turned up the volume the last time he or she used it.  I took out my frustration on the tech industry:

These never-stop-working companies favor two types of people, the young or otherwise unencumbered who have no commitments as important as work or those who have commitments such as family but choose to push them aside in pursuit of a career.  In either case, you have a bunch of people designing products for a broad market with little to no understanding of the market’s needs.

Well, it happened again.  Recently, the missus and I decided to limit our kids’ screen time.  It took a few minutes on my son’s iMac, which has parental controls.  It acted a little wonky right after, but it was simple enough.

Then came my daughter’s Chromebook, a device designed as a secondary PC and a popular choice for kids.  You’d think their supervised user feature would have a time limit function.  Nope.

You can block sites.  Since my daughter lives on the Nickelodeon and Disney sites, however, I find that feature relatively useless.

In short, Google markets a device to families with kids without really meeting their needs.

So, my advice to Google’s product teams: go have some kids already.  Sheesh.

Apple Watch: The Marketer’s Opportunity

In a recent post, I talked about the consumer use case for the Apple Watch.  In short, my experience with an Android Zenwatch taught me that smartwatches work really well for people who find themselves on their feet a lot and/or like to keep an eye on a few pieces of information such as weather.

So what does this use case mean for marketers who want to keep on emerging consumer technology?

Right now, I can’t see any marketers benefitting more than Apple and Google.  In addition to watch sales, these companies will gain at least some access to usage data.  If I were Google (who, let’s face it, will almost certainly use the data better) I’d be curious to know what functions watch owners use the most and which data points they keep on their wrists.  These data add another dimension to their understanding of the consumer and how he or she uses technology.

As for every other marketer, I make a humble suggestion: build an app for the watch. Continue reading

Stand up if you don’t get the Apple Watch

Literally.  I mean it.  Stand up and walk around if you don’t get why anyone would want the Apple Watch.


These guys get it.

I haven’t gotten any closer to the Apple Watch than reading about it on Gizmodo.  However, I bought myself an Android smartwatch, the Zenwatch, in December and have worn it on and off since then.  I’d like to point out some aspects of the device that Tim Cook‘s medicine show did not cover.

  • Don’t just sit there; do something!

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Sarcasm is the kryptonite of social media marketing.

After a brand reaches the friends-and-family scale, it becomes very difficult to determine whether the people chattering about your brand have serious or mocking intent.  Social listening platforms offer sentiment analysis, but…yeah.

Today, I stumbled upon Apple’s approach to the problem, as seen above.  Basically, they ask “are you serious?

I had asked Apple for a refund to my son’s iTunes card because, somehow, the App Store allowed him to download a game on his iPod Touch that it couldn’t play.  After resolving the issue (surprise: refund!), they sent a pretty standard customer satisfaction survey.  At the end of the survey, they had an open-ended text box for the respondent to put in any other comments.

Beneath this box, the survey had the question you see above: “was your comment above a compliment, suggestion or complaint?”

Granted, a CSAT survey differs greatly from a tweet.  But I wonder if a big brand couldn’t create branded hashtags to allow commenters to identify their tweets as “compliment, suggestion or complaint.”

Great Customer Experience Made Easy

Getting customer experience (CX) right sounds terrifying, but it really doesn’t have to be.  I’d like to share a recent experience that shows how easily marketers can employ CX that truly engages and pleases the customer.  In this case, I am that customer.

Analyst firm Forrester has fostered a great conversation among marketers about CX. For the uninitiated, CX involves expanding the brand from a relatively simple platform for marketing communications to a theme that runs throughout every customer touchpoint.  Look at it this way, if your brand promotes fun, then the packaging should be fun, the people who pick the up the phone at the call center should be fun and the website ought to have some fun, too.

It sounds expensive and/or time-consuming, but Other World Computing (aka OWC and Macsales to its fans) manages to do so as a company with annual revenues around $100 million.  My recent experience with this retailer of Macintosh parts and accessories makes a great case study.

It started with a somewhat annoyed phone call.

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