When Social Media Specials Break a Brand Experience


Recently, my wife, my dad and I visited an ice cream shop on the Riverwalk.  As I checked in on Foursquare, the location based service, it notified me that there was a special at the location.  I was pleasantly surprised.  According to my BlackBerry, it said “While you’re in the hood, you should hit up the scoop shop! Check in and get 3 scoops for $3! Show that you’re mayor and and get an extra scoop on us!”  I showed my wife and dad the offer and explained how Foursquare worked.  I presented the offer, but the gentleman behind the counter told me he was unfamiliar with special and he’d have no way of ringing this up.  At this point, I’d experienced a brand disconnect and looked foolish.  It was not the fault of the employee, there merely had been a break down in the system.

Unfortunately, this was not the first time I had experienced a promotion through social media that had not been communicated to the person working the register.  To alleviate this, may I suggest that if you’re looking to do a special offer presented via social media, that you consider the following:
  • Allow the folks working the register to offer their ideas for special offers.  Then, they’ll feel that they’re part of the bigger picture and will learn that there are special offers being promoted.  They may also have additional insight on what the customer wants since they’re on the front lines.
  • Don’t be afraid to make special offers for social media, just measure the results.
  • Communicate the offer to all members of your team. A small flyer behind the counter can help. Include screenshots, if it helps, and train the staff how to ring up the offer so that it is tallied as such for review of the metrics later.
  • Try new platforms and different offerings.
  • Repeat
Here’s hoping that the ice cream shop on the Riverwalk gets the scoop on this post so future visitors can be surprised and delighted not only by their ice cream, but also their progressive offerings.

My Public Apology for the BlackBerry Outage

Yesterday, BlackBerry and I experienced a little turmoil in our relationship. I want to go on record right here, right now and apologize to the millions of people that experienced an outage due to my foolish mistake. Yesterday, BlackBerry came to me wearing a new pair of jeans that she had seen Lady Gaga wearing. For the record, @LadyGaga haunts my nightmares, she is often there, stealing my organs after @Pink has cold clocked me. Anyhow, BlackBerry came by the office to show me her new jeans and asked me the question every man dreads hearing “do I look fat in these jeans?” Not thinking clearly and having my truthful and analytical hat on, I slowly drew my eyes away from my computer screen, she turned around, I turned my head sideways like my dog Clunkers does when he’s confused and responded “yes, yes you do.” STUPID MISTAKE. She looked at me with fire in her eyes, the way she does from time to time (studies show she’s happy about 99% of the time) and said “you’re paying for this one and all your nerdy friends will too.” CRAP. I knew what that meant. Shortly there after I started receiving tweets, text messages, Facebook messages and even phone calls (GASP!) asking me what I had done. People were clearly upset. I felt like Tiger Woods as my four words turned into a trending topic on Twitter. Although the weather was warm in San Antonio, it was an icy night for me. BlackBerry asked me “How could you say such a thing!? Are you some kind of IDIOT!?” My slip of the tongue costs millions of you your addiction yesterday, causing massive withdrawals and anger, all due to me. I. AM. SORRY. I must have apologized to BlackBerry a thousand times. So what did I do to fix it? A home made dinner, a massage, I scrubbed toilets, read to her and was compassionate. I tried to speak as many love languages to her as I could… and it worked. This morning, she was as chipper as could be. She tried those jeans on again and asked me “so how do I look?” “Sweetie, you look beautiful.” So BlackBerry addicts, there you have it. That’s why your device didn’t work yesterday, I’ve now publicly apologized to you (she made me do that) and now all is well with the world. Welcome back to your addiction and Merry Christmas.


photo by Floyd Brown

Ultimate Thailand Explorers

@ashleypalmero and I have recently entered the Ultimate Thailand Explorers contest to win a trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand!  While in Thailand, we would be competing against four other couples in other cities vying for the chance to be selected the Ultimate Thailand Explorers and winning *another* trip back to Thailand!  Have a look at our entry and drop us a line in the comments on where you suggest we visit if we win!

Innovate or Die – Part 2

Welcome back!  In developing your product or service to be meaningfully unique, you’ll need to leverage three additional points.

Explore Stimulus

Exploring stimulus is a crucial component to the development of new ideas. In typical brainstorming, people make a list of ideas to develop something out of nothing. Imagine if you decided that you wanted to buy a new digital camera. Rather than coming up with a list of features you’d dreamed up, wouldn’t it be easier and more effective if you reviewed different models for the features, benefits, designs and quality to make a decision versus trying to come up with a list of things you think you’d like? Exploring stimulus when developing a new product is the same, where you begin with some building blocks to develop brand new ideas.

Leverage Diversity

Leveraging diversity requires taking different members of your team, even suppliers and vendors, and looking to them to provide new pieces of inspiration. If you only ask one team for their view on a rose, they might all come back saying beauty. Leveraging the diversity can yield different perspectives on the same rose including vitamin c tea, romance and rose water. Bring in different teams and look at what different world views can do for your process.

Drive Out Fear

Drive out fear by applying a system to your innovation process. Deming, who helped Japan rebuild after WWII implemented what we knew in school as the Scientific Method. Plan > Do > Study > Act. Plan what you’re going to do and what you want to test. Do what you’ve planned inexpensively. Study the results. Act on your findings to adjust your idea. A fail fast, fail cheap attitude is best in finding out whether your idea is worth determining that you should continue, you should quit or you should continue but adjust course.

Pack Like a Pro, Save on Baggage Fees – Best Packing Method

The best packing method I’ve found via Red Oxx

Now that you’ve cheated at Priceline and/or Hotwire, you’ve got to pack your bags!  Unfortunately, most domestic airlines charge $15 for the first bag and $25 for the second bag.  To smack those fees down fast, we need to be smarter than the airlines (easy).  Bundle Wrapping benefits you by allowing you to use a smaller bag so you can carry it on with you avoiding baggage fees altogether or allow you to pack everything into one bag versus two, saving you the extra baggage fee.  Additionally, bundle wrapping also reduces wrinkles since you don’t crease any clothing.

Bundle wrapping requires some easy prioritization of your clothing.  Start by having your jackets zipped, shirts buttoned and pants folded in half.  Have your socks, undergarments, dob kit and other soft goods together; this will form your core to bundle your clothing around.

When you begin bundle wrapping, you should keep all shirts and jackets face up, unless it is a tailored jacket, which should travel face down.  Start by laying the jacket out flat first <step 1>, if one is being packed, then lay a shirt in the opposite direction <step 2>.  Continue alternating until you’ve packed all jackets and shirts.  Next, lay the waist of your pants at the under arm portion of the shirt <step 3> and continue alternating until all the pants are packed.  Lay your core <step 4>, the soft goods mentioned above, in the center.  Now, take your pants and wrap them over the core <step 5> and wrap the shirts around the bundle <step 6> that you’ve built.  Wrap the final jacket or shirt around the bundle <step 7> and place it in the suitcase, then strap everything down <step 8> to minimize shifting during travel.

This packing method may seem complicated, but you only need to review the diagram (courtesy of Doug Dyment, OneBag.com) once and it becomes a snap.  For your convenience, I’ve included the diagram above as a pdf. Your choice to pack efficiently can now save you the $15 first bag fee that most airlines charge and even the $25 second bag fee.

You’re ready to have a great time on your next trip.  Safe travels on your next adventure!