Why The Starbucks “Race Together” Campaign Failed To Fail

Why The Starbucks “Race Together” Campaign Failed To Fail

Listen to this episode. http://traffic.libsyn.com/websearchsocial/0084-blog-why-the_starbucks-race-together-campaign-failed-to-fail.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download | EmbedSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSListen to previous episodes on Stitcher, iTunes or Libsyn. Today is Word Carnival day – and that means it’s the one day a month where a band of business owners that I know get together to blog on the same theme. This month’s theme: myth busting. And what a fantastic topic. I bet we can all pick out something (or two or three somethings) in our industry that our customers believe that are simply not true. And it’s our job as smart and ethical business owners to educate them. The funny thing is that in my industry I feel like that’s ALL I do sometimes. Constantly battle the myths and misconceptions that are both “common sense” (but inaccurate) or propagated by less ethical or less informed marketers. These are the myths that can cost businesses time and money, leading to little or no results and often disillusionment with the process of marketing altogether. So there was no shortage of topics to tackle this month. The challenge was narrowing it down to one. Then the Starbucks “Race Together” campaign fell into my lap. And I realized that there are worse myths than the ones that cost us time and money and lead to our disillusionment. There are the myths that sell disillusionment, that make the internet and social media and most of the human race seem hopeless and horrible. We want to throw our hands up and give up not only on marketing but on people entirely. That’s why I ditched my original...
Dear Jessica Ann, The Release Of The U2 Album By Apple Is Not A Marketing Fail

Dear Jessica Ann, The Release Of The U2 Album By Apple Is Not A Marketing Fail

Harumph. If you heard our podcast this past Monday, you’ll know that we touched on the current U2 scandal and outrage. Specifically we decided that the whole thing amounts to… meh. Neither Carol Lynn nor I found it disturbing or outrageous that Apple released the U2 album, despite some reasonable concerns such as the amount of space the album takes up on a mobile device. Ultimately, we concluded two things: This outrage is more a reflection of the Internet zeitgeist than it is a reflection of a mistake on Apple’s or U2’s part. If you run a small business and you do something nice for your audience, someone will hate you for it. Today, friend of Web.Search.Social Jessica Ann, commented on the matter. After reading it I had to chime in with this out-of-the-ordinary second post for the day here at Web.Search.Social. After reading my response, please check out the discussion Carol Lynn had on our podcast episode, “Oh, The Outrage! The Reality Of Trying To Please Everyone With Your Marketing.” And don’t miss today’s regularly scheduled article, “The Only Buzzword You Must Eliminate From Your Marketing Vocabulary.” My response is to Jessica’s article “5 Tips to Not Be Like U2 With Your Marketing” at SteamFeed. An Open Letter To Jessica Ann Hi Jessica, How’s things? It’s your buddy Ralph here. You know how we generally agree on stuff? This isn’t going to be one of those times. I read your article on SteamFeed and wanted to take a moment to voice some disagreement and cite some of my own opinions. I’ll paraphrase your points for clarity but I encourage everyone to...
Is Van Damme’s Volvo Video Worthy Of The Hype?

Is Van Damme’s Volvo Video Worthy Of The Hype?

I’ve seen a lot of praise heaped upon the Volvo Trucks video featuring the “Epic Split” by Jean Claude Van Damme. Personally, I had two flashbacks. First, I pictured Van Damme’s torturous martial arts training in the movie Bloodsport. This was my introduction to the Van Damme split, but in this case, his ankles were tied to two trees and he was being “stretched.” Ouch. Second, I was horrified to hear the resurrection of Enya’s Only Time, a song I played ad nauseam during the tail end of my time as a radio deejay. It was enough to make me say matté (Bloodsport reference). As of this writing, the video has been viewed more than 64 million times. If you’re not among the 64 million, behold… the Epic Split. I’m guessing at least 63.9 million of those views are from people like me who aren’t in the market for a Volvo commercial truck and didn’t pay much attention to the truck-related information at the end. Apparently, Volvo’s agency wanted to generate buzz inside its target by first generating buzz outside its target. Whether or not that strategy works still remains to be seen. Here’s the thing. Several organizations have already “honored” Volvo with awards for this video. For what? Creativity? This is why I stopped caring about industry awards many years ago. Awards look nice on the wall and they make my mom and dad proud – actually, my awards hang on their walls – but they don’t mean a damn thing unless they put money in my clients’ pockets. Question 1: Did The Video Drive Sales? This is...

Lena West, Lori Ruff, Lisa Gerber, Carol Lynn Rivera and Ada Lovelace Walk Into A Bar

Happy Ada Lovelace day! Well, technically, it’s tomorrow, but so what; it’s never bad to start a celebration a day early. Wait. Hold on. What’s that? You don’t know who Ada Lovelace is? Well, sit back and let me drop some history on you. Who Was Ada Lovelace? Ada Lovelace was a mathematician and writer born in 1815. She is known for her work with Charles Babbage who caused a technological revolution by originating the concept of a programmable computer. He designed a device called an Analytical Engine which could be programmed with punched cards. That device became the grandfather of all modern computing devices. But all good hardware needs good software. This is where Ada Lovelace enters the scene. She collaborated with Babbage on the Analytical Engine and developed an algorithm to calculate a series of Bernoulli Numbers. Don’t expect me to explain Bernoulli Numbers. It’s just too complicated and you wouldn’t understand. Seriously, you just wouldn’t understand my explanation. Ok, I admit it, I don’t know what the heck Bernoulli Numbers are, but I know they are complex. The point is, Lovelace’s contribution makes her recognized as the first computer programmer. Now there is debate as to what she did and how much help she had. There is also debate over the use of the word “programmer” given the technology of the time. But no one debates that Ada Lovelace was not only brilliant, but exceptional. The fine details of her work may be debated, but the contributions she made are without question. So why do we celebrate her? Here’s the politically correct answer. Because she was...
Why Do We Trust Seth Godin?

Why Do We Trust Seth Godin?

Don’t misunderstand, I’m not questioning his credibility. Hearing Seth Godin, author of numerous business bestsellers, speak last week about “Thriving in a Post Sandy Business World,” I was impressed. I’m asking: What makes him so effective? He didn’t say much I haven’t heard before. We’re in a new economy, the industrial economy is over, competition is fierce, you must stand out to succeed, get past your fear, “fly closer to the sun.” Godin presents his ideas so compellingly that he convinces. He says what we may not want to hear. He advised business owners ravaged by Superstorm Sandy to forget about “getting back to normal” and instead, “reinvent yourself.” “I don’t have a map for you,” he said. “There are no more good jobs where they tell you what to do and pay you more than you’re worth,” he said. Ouch. He articulates truths we may already suspect, but we resist or simply lose sight of them. Like other talented speakers, preachers and teachers, he tells us what we may already know or fear is true, but in a way that’s irresistible. They make us laugh, they entertain, persuade, provoke and compel us to take action. Smart marketing needs to do all that too. Be not just informational, but transformative–changing attitudes and behaviors. Smart marketing can change a no into a yes. An official from the NJ Small Business Development Center at Brookdale Community College, the sponsor of the event, asked Godin what to tell entrepreneurs who frequently ask: “How do I come up with new ideas for my business?” You already know how to come up with ideas,...
What Crime Great Elmore Leonard Understood About Marketing and Storytelling

What Crime Great Elmore Leonard Understood About Marketing and Storytelling

Crime writer Elmore Leonard died recently at age 87, having penned more than 40 books, as well as screenplays and short stories. The movie Get Shorty with John Travolta was from a Leonard novel, Quentin Tarantino made Rum Punch into the movie Jackie Brown, and the hit FX cable show Justified stars Leonard’s Raylan Givens, a quirky U.S. marshal who “shoots to kill.” Leonard’s place in the literary pantheon may be debated, but no one can dispute that the consummate storyteller excelled as a communicator who knew how to grab interest and hold it, something much marketing neglects to do. I unearthed these smart marketing gems among Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing: “Never Open A Book With Weather” Unless it’s a hurricane, weather is trivial. Consider these openings from Leonard’s short stories: They had dug coal together as young men and then lost touch over the years. Now it looked like they’d be meeting again, this time as lawman and felon, Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder.–“Fire in the Hole” At Kim’s funeral—people coming up to Ben with their solemn faces—he couldn’t help thinking of what his granddad Carl had said to him fifteen years ago, that he hoped Ben would have better luck with women.–“Tenkiller” A time would come, within a few years, when Ruben Vega would go to the church in Benson, kneel in the confessional, and say to the priest, . . .–“The Tonto Woman” Don’t you want to know what comes next? Smart marketers work to elicit this type of urgency in their communications. “Try To Leave Out The Part That Readers Tend To Skip”...