Archive for August, 2011

Do the right thing

Great article that discusses the dilemma that we all face each day in our business and personal lives. It is hard to do the “right” thing sometimes when the pressure to do what looks good is so great. I like to read articles like this that challenge me to decide on the “right” things when faced with those tough decisions.

The Struggle Of Doing The Right Thing

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Use Twitter Search to Listen

This month I would like to discuss the social media tool that most people have a hard time associating with business opportunity, Twitter. Most people view Twitter as a place for people to broadcast mostly meaningless posts about the nuances of their daily life. That being the case, some wonder why a business would be interested in involvement with this platform. While I may agree that much of what you see on Twitter may be small details of people’s lives, I still feel there is an opportunity for businesses to use this platform to engage their community. The secret lies in a little known feature called Twitter Search and listening. You can find the launch page here:

http://twitter.com/#!/search-home

This feature allows you to search key terms and see all the Twitter posts that include those terms. Some large companies use this feature to search listen for their brand names or products and see what people are saying about them. Because people tend to be much less guarded with what they are posting, the information they find as it relates to their brand or products is better than any focus group data they could buy.

The SMART companies that are engaging in the above go one step further and engage their customer base in one to one interaction. For example, if someone posts something like “Trying the Snapple Diet Plum-a-Granate tea and it tastes terrible”. Someone at Snapple would see that utilizing Twitter Search and might send that person a reply like “Sorry you did not care for our Plum-a-Granite tea, we would like to send you a voucher good for you to try any of our other flavors free of charge”.

Do you see how that situation changed? How do you think that customer might view Snapple going forward? Do you think they might tell a few people about that experience? Maybe Tweet about the experience? Tell their Facebook friends about the experience? Do you think that might change those people’s perceptions of Snapple? The answer to most of these is likely yes. Is the customer goodwill and word of mouth that action created worth that free bottle of Snapple they gave away? I think most of us would say that is a no-brainer.

Likely, many of you are thinking “That’s great, but how does that relate to me engaging my customers on a local level?”.  Well, Twitter Search also allows for you to narrow your search terms down to a geographic area. All that you have to do is use the advance search feature or search your term with the following format:

Search term near:zip code          

For example:           Bought new car near:92835

This search feature allows you to only see the Twitter posts that mention buying a new car in and around the zip code you have specified.

Using the above example, an automotive window film shop might search for things like “bought new car” “Car is too hot” or even direct things like “window tint”. The key is to use search terms that relate to needs that your potential clients might have. With the search “Bought new car”, you might send out a reply to them like “Congratulations on your new car purchase. If you are considering having the windows tinted, I’d love to discuss our products and services with you.” Likewise a commercial/residential shop might search for terms like “faded furniture/floor” “Glare” “high electric bill” etc. Then, they can engage those that have posted things that would be relevant can be engaged one on one.

In the video, I discuss the recent example of Morton’s Steak House and Peter Shankman. For the complete story, visit the following link:

http://shankman.com/the-best-customer-service-story-ever-told-starring-mortons-steakhouse/

This shows how a one to one customer interaction can become word of mouth on steroids. You think Morton’s got a steak’s worth of promotion out of this?

I hope that this blog shows you that Twitter can be used effectively to first listen to your potential clients and then engage them one on one. This type of personal engagement because you are listening will separate you from the competition and have people talking about you in the community.

Morton's Great Customer Service

If you think Twitter cannot be used to build your business, how much positive juice do you think Morton’s is gonna get for this one act of listening to what was being said on Twitter? Pretty sure they used Twitter Search to see the original tweet.
Big props to Morton’s!

Click for Full Story

Great Customer Service Story About Morton’s

Building a team

The word “team” is so commonly used in today’s organizations, most managers are oblivious to its true meaning. Here are three characteristics a group must have to be considered a real team, and to maximize its potential:

  • A meaningful and common purpose. This is more than an outside mandate from the top of the organization. To be successful, the team must develop and own
    its purpose.
  • Adaptable skills. Diverse capabilities are important. Effective teams rarely have all the skills they need at the outset. They develop them as they learn what their challenge requires.
  • Mutual accountability. You can’t force trust and commitment. Agreeing on the team’s goals is the first moment at which team members forge their accountability to one another.

This Management Tip of the Day brought to you by the Harvard Business Review.

 

patricfransko:

Creative work environment

by Ben Chestnut, Founder of Mailchimp

1. Avoid rules. Avoid order. Don’t just embrace chaos, but create a little bit of it. Constant change, from the top-down, keeps people nimble and flexible (and shows that you want constant change).

2. Give yourself and your team permission to be creative. Permission to try something new, permission to fail, permission to embarrass yourself, permission to have crazy ideas.

3. Hire weird people. Not just the tattoo’d and pierced-in-strange-places kind, but people from outside your industry who would approach problems in different ways than you and your normal competitors.

4. Meetings are a necessary evil, but you can avoid the conference room and meet people in the halls, the water cooler, or their desks. Make meetings less about delegation and task management and more about cross-pollination of ideas (especially the weird ideas). This is a lot harder than centralized, top-down meetings. But this is your job — deal with it.

5. Structure your company to be flexible. Creativity is often spontaneous, so the whole company needs to be able to pivot quickly and execute on them (see #1)

Patric Fransko: 5 Rules for a Creative Culture

5 Rules for a Creative Culture

Posted: August 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

Creative work environment

by Ben Chestnut, Founder of Mailchimp

1. Avoid rules. Avoid order. Don’t just embrace chaos, but create a little bit of it. Constant change, from the top-down, keeps people nimble and flexible (and shows that you want constant change).

2. Give yourself and your team permission to be creative. Permission to try something new, permission to fail, permission to embarrass yourself, permission to have crazy ideas.

3. Hire weird people. Not just the tattoo’d and pierced-in-strange-places kind, but people from outside your industry who would approach problems in different ways than you and your normal competitors.

4. Meetings are a necessary evil, but you can avoid the conference room and meet people in the halls, the water cooler, or their desks. Make meetings less about delegation and task management and more about cross-pollination of ideas (especially the weird ideas). This is a lot harder than centralized, top-down meetings. But this is your job — deal with it.

5. Structure your company to be flexible. Creativity is often spontaneous, so the whole company needs to be able to pivot quickly and execute on them (see #1)

IWFA Unveils a New Website

Posted: August 16, 2011 in Window Film Posts
Tags:

IWFA

In an effort to increase the visibility and awareness of the window film industry, the IWFA unveiled their new website, which now has a more modern and contemporary look. You can take a look Here.

There are many new exciting features on the new IWFA website, including:

  •  Sleek, updated layout using the IWFA’s fresh new colors and branding
  • More timely updates highlighting current IWFA and industry news
  • Enhanced communication system, allowing for more targeted emails to members depending on specific industry roles and interests
  • Easier to navigate with easy‐to‐use tabs for browsing
  • Segmented for specific audiences (i.e. Consumers and Window Film Professionals)
  • Simplified business locator, providing the ability to search for a dealer, distributor, supplier or specific manufacturer
  • Access to media releases, industry news and legislative alerts
  • Interactive events calendar with auto‐calendar appointments and a “Remind Me” feature
  • Exclusive, members‐only content, including branding and marketing materials to download and share

This is only the beginning of their website redesign and they are looking forward to continued improvements, which will include many more members‐only capabilities including the ability to create a one page “website” or company profile directly on the IWFA site. We will also be establishing a section on the home page for Design Professionals (i.e. engineers, architects, interior decorators) with information specific to their needs.
We are excited to share the new face of the IWFA and invite members to download the new logo and branding in the marketing section of the Members Only area of the site.