Thursday, February 25, 2010

back to basics

A fella I know who has started his own online business was telling me how exciting it was to get that first sale from that first customer.

He was also excited to tell me how his automated email response system sent out a pre-generated email thanking customer x for their purchase.

And would then send them a follow up mail in 30 days time with further product information.

I thought this was a seriously missed opportunity.
In 99% of cases, if you only have one customer surely this is a big chance to find out whether you can get permission to establish a bit of a relationship with them.
Who knows, they might even help you make a better product.

Even if you only have one customer, the customer doesn't know he's your only one.

Yes, I get that in some cases an impersonal automated response can signal big when small but it's very rare for that to be more benefitial. Even if you are big.

Thinking about this led me back to the seven rules to foster collaboration with customers, by Guy Kawasaki in 'Rules for Revolutionaries' and paraphrased here by me.

Captive audiences, target customers, attacking markets etc.
We are NOT at war with our buyers, please.
And while we are at it, they are multi layered, multi faceted human beings not mindless 'consumers'.

The product needs to be of a high enough quality (or at least have the potential) if your customers are going want to get involved with you.

In a direct to customer situation the largest segment you are going to deal with is one person. This time it's personal.

You may have millions of transactions to think about but each customer only remembers their own.

Changes to a product or service should be made to make it better or easier for THE CUSTOMER to use, not the other way round.

If customers are complaining it means they still give a shit.
Listen and act.

Create ways for customers to collaborate with you.
Customers will give a greater share of their wallet towards products or services they feel some ownership of.

The chap in the story now gets it, thankfully.

almost blue

Unfortunately missed Diana Krall who was in Perth last night at the open air stage on Kings Park, the magnificent space that overlooks the city.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

civic utility in WA

Here on the main streets of Perth the banners declare 'It's OK to be Alright'.

FREE busses ferrying city workers and tourists alike to and from any destination in the city centre is more than alright, rewarding positive behaviour rather than punishing failure to comply this helps to keep down congestion.

Something for Boris to think about back in London.

Along Perth's many beaches you will also find FREE barbeque stations. Gassed up and ready for anyone who wants to use them.

Instead of the costly effort of clearing up after disposable beach barbeques the local council simply provides the utility.
And the community maintains them.

I'm claiming civic utility as a catch all phrase for these type of initiatives. More to follow, no doubt.

By the way London. Did I mention it's 37 degrees out here today?

Friday, February 12, 2010

never get out of the shop

You've read the blog and digested the nuggets, now buy the the t-shirt.
Exclusive Boat merchandise now available in the shop.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

brit pop

Gerald Laing is one of the legends, albeit somewhat unsung, of the British pop art movement of the 1960's and is still producing provocative works to this day, at the ripe old age of 74.

This morning I was fortunate enough to get a private gander at the print retrospective that just opened at the Morton Metropolis gallery, next door to G towers.

I was also taken through the back to a secret room where a few original paintings are hanging, including 'Belshazzar's Feast' (above), and 'Domestic Perspective' (the one with the hoover).

In a strange coincidence the shadowy figure pictured under Amy's armpit is in fact gallery co-owner Raye Cosbert.

Also on display is one of the last prints in circulation of the perhaps one of Laing's best known works 'Brigitte Bardot'. This one will set you back £12,000, but some of the other prints start at a more affordable £500.

The show runs till 24 February, at Morton Metropolis at the top end of Berners St, W1.

Thanks to Serena and Zara for the tour.


To be fair, I'm not sure if this talk by Charles Fleischer is straight up comedy or if the science is for real, but as a lesson in how to deliver a presentation on a pretty dry topic - mathematics, numerology and string theory - in an way that makes you feel you are being hustled in Times square, it's a winner.

In the advertising business, for anyone who's wrestled with how to engage with an 'audience' around something like insurance products this will resonate.

Intrigue, stories, metaphor, pictures and humour, these are some of the things that connect with human beings and spread. Facts come second.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

you've been framed

The story of when TV host Johnny Carson interviewed the Girl Scout who sold the most cookies door to door one year, is recalled by Neuromaketing blog

During the interview Johnny asked: “What’s the secret to your success?”

The girl replied, “I just went to everyone’s house and said, ‘Can I have a $30,000 donation for the Girl Scouts?”

When they said ‘No,’ I said, ‘Would you at least buy a box of Girl Scout cookies?’

Reminds me of the down-and-out fella who stopped me in the street round near Liverpool St (at banker bonus time) and said

‘Can you spare £200 for a hooker and some cocaine, guv.’

I gave him £1 for a cup of coffee.

This is what neuromarketing calls a 'framing' strategy.
By floating the £200 number, a pound seems like nothing in relation.

Smart cookie.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

21st century boy

A classic tv interview with Tony James of Sigue Sigue Sputnik from 1988.

Notice how no questions phase Tony, he know's exactly what Sputnik is about:

'If Elvis formed a band in 1990 (ie the future), this is that band'

With one eye on a transmedia future he also states that he wanted to create a band, from the outset, that worked on TV and film as well as in a rock'n'roll context.

'If the people look great, learning to play is easy, but you can't do it the other way round'

Tony understands the power of a great story (or myth).

'[An article] in the Herald Tribune about this Russian street gang...SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK..TJ calls everyone excited..brings home the piece torn out....somehow it captures the essence of the band..the idea of this fagin like group of money launderers in Moscow is soo right..the name makes a great story every time its printed.. like all great names.. so different.. even the Sputnik connection is great.. mans first object in space some kind of man made god....'

'We sit around for weeks playing the demos in the shop at ear splitting volume, looking like stars and wearing our own T SHIRTS... it was our art, everyone special, was my fanaticism, everything had to be special, exactly so... like making the band stay up till 3 in the morning the night before the first gig just to paint the flight cases red with the sss logo in Japanese along the side so we would look like a futuristic army arriving...!'

Then they built the music product to match the story.

Brand essence, brand personality, brand building, brand positioning, brand equity, are stuff we talk about every day, but in the end what connects is the brand story.

I doesn't even have to be true, as long as it's something that we want to believe.

Psycho maniac interblend, shoot it up.

Monday, February 08, 2010

essential purpose

Once you figure out what a brand 'stands for' it's much easier to figure out what to do with their advertising and marketing.

Sounds pretty straightforward but I'm always surprised at how often it's either ignored or not deemed to be that important.

Particularly when looking for a role to play within the social media and using the social technologies that connect people.

Without a clear purpose then it's just papering over the cracks or sprinkling hundreds and thousands on the top.

This purpose is often described as 'brand essence' and lives at the centre of some kind of onion type analogy.

I would argue that it's simpler than an an onion, and is more akin to the diagram above.

And anyway, often this 'brand essence' may mean something to the people creating the chart but means bugger-all to a punter.

Once a clear purpose is established it becomes a life state that feeds into the outward facing physical manifestation of the brand (the things it says and does) and also into the spritual aspect (how we feel about it).

Built on shoddy or questionable 'essential' qualities will manifest itself as a reflection of those qualities in the physical and 'spiritual' truth of the brand.

The good news is, fixing the inside first, the essential, will alter the other two by default.

It can start right now and the effects begin immediately.

Herein lies the potential for innovation (and the ROI)...

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Superfly is a crowd-sourced collaborative public art concept showcasing contributing artists and designers on posters in outdoor spaces nomally used for advertising. The first 'exhibition' took place in November last year on the streets of Dundee, in Scotland.

This weekend you can see a more conventional 'indoor' exhibition of that 'exhibition' as part of the Dundee Pop-up - a day of art events curated by creative social network Central Station.

It all gets a bit meta now as this weekends event is, in effect, being 'advertised' by means of posters containing similary crowd-sourced art in the same said outdoor 'advertising' spaces.

Yes, I'm still trying to figure it out too, but whatever it means, it's very interesting.

Superfly founder, Jon Gill, is no slouch on the illustration and graphic design front himself and is a friend of Never Get Out Of The Boat.

godzilla '56

You know the old story...boy meets girl, girl gets caught on cctv holding up bank with a shotgun and becomes overnight celebrity, boy loses girl.

That was the premise of this track recorded around 1988 by my band at the time, Godzilla '56. We were a punk inspired mash up of Ramones, Sigue Sigue Sputnik and the Ultra Magnetic MC's - under the influence of MDMA - and recorded this with my future bellboy records collaborator Chris Cowie at his studio in Aberdeen.

This track only turned up after Chris pinged me to say he had found a box of dat tapes at the back of his shed the other week.

I particularly like the 'channeling' of Scotty Moore for the guitar solo and the absurdly inept wah wah drop out before the 'arch' key shift at about 2:39.
Not to mention the awesome Godzillabass riff throughout.


Monday, February 01, 2010

gurus of new marketing #979 : eric cantona

There have been better players, who've scored more goals, done more charity work and been better role models but when the late great George Best is said to have admitted he would he would have given up drinking to play alongside Eric Cantona, you know you are dealing with a true star.

Thirteen years since he last professionally kicked a ball (or a hooligan) and we are still talking about him.