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Trends, commentary, and insightful rants from the bleeding edge of advertising, content & branding.

The Great Recession is Over. Now What?

 

ass kickin' time

I know you probably don’t remember this, but a year ago, you were sweating bullets. The end was nigh, this was the big one, the economic cataclysm that would consume a generation. You saw your life flashing before your eyes.

And then? Well, things got bad for a while. But somehow armageddon was averted. The ship righted. The blood stopped flowing. And you opened your eyes and realized that you weren’t going to die this time.

Every few years or so, a turning point pivots this little roller coaster called the economy. You don’t realize it at the time. You only see it in retrospect. When Netscape went public. When Google launched. Seismic events that redefine the economy and change the rules of the game.

This is that moment.

We’re at the bottom of one of the biggest recessions in American history. All the deadwood has been cleared out, the money is starting to flow again, and the 2010’s are going to be defined by what you do right now. The tendency is going to be to sit back and be cautious, because people got burned by this thing and they’re not going back into the fire.

More playground for us.

Because the next decade is going to be defined by those of us who recognize the signs. Who realize that media isn’t dead, it’s just fractalizing. Who know that people don’t change habits just because they’re moving more and more of their life online. Who know that whenever something dies in an ecosystem, there is nothing but daylight for the sure and the strong.

Recoveries are made by those who invent them.

If you wait for others to see how warm the water is, you’ve already lost. Pretty soon the whole pool will be packed with people. You’ve got six months, tops, to try to do the things you’ve wanted to do, and help shape what the next phase will look like. After that, you’re locked into whatever shape the economy will take. You’ll be a spectator, not a driver.

Stop reading blogs. Go reinvent the economy.

Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.

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Filed under: mobile, recession, skateboarding cats, supergenius llc, , , ,

Five Questions for Zappos CEO: Tony Hsieh

Zappos CatalogTony Hsieh, CEO of online retailer Zappos.com was kind enough to debut a new feature on Black Match. Five questions for a CEO. For those under rocks, they sell shoes.

1)   What advantages for the Zappos brand come from being so accessible and  transparent across social/digital platforms?

At Zappos, our #1 priority is our company culture. Our belief is that if
we get the culture right, most of the other stuff, like delivering great
customer service or building a long term enduring brand, will happen
naturally on its own. We’ve formalized the definition of our culture into
10 core values:

Being transparent isn’t really something that’s specific to social/digital
platforms. Core value #6 is “Build Open and Honest Relationships With
Communication”… It’s just part of who we are.

2)   As a company that has famously avoided broadcast advertising in favor
of “actions” that advertise (i.e. free shipping) what was the trigger point for your recent ad campaign? How are you/will you measure success (i.e. sales only)?

We take most of the money we would have spent on paid advertising and
invest it into the customer experience instead.  However, we do spend as
much money on direct marketing as possible when it pays for itself.
Using hypothetical numbers, this means that if we spend $1 on paid
advertising, if we get back $10 in sales, then we will spend as much money
as possible as long as we continue to hit that ratio. The problem is that
there isn’t enough advertising inventory out there that meets that ratio.
What we found was that if we invest some money in offline brand
advertising such as magazine ads or TV ads, then that improves the ROI of
our online campaigns, so that altogether we are still hitting the ratio
that makes sense for us.

3)   Is there an overall strategy for your participation in digital/social media or has it come about organically?

It’s really been organic. We aren’t really about “digital/social media” (a
term which I personally dislike). We’re really just about figuring out
ways where we can best express our core values (our culture) and our
commitment to great customer service. We’ve found that Twitter has been
great for that, but so has the telephone, which is why we put our 1-800
number at the top of every page of our web site. The telephone isn’t very
newsworthy, but it’s one of our best branding devices.

4)   Has/How has the Zappos brand been challenged over the past 12 months?

I think the biggest challenge with building our brand is that Zappos is an
experiential brand. Anyone can start another web site tomorrow and make
the same claims that we do about delivering great customer service, but
it’s not until you actually purchase something from us, or call our 1-800
number, or visit our offices, that you can start to tell the difference
between another company and the Zappos brand and culture.

5)   There are obviously tricks that traditional retailers are stealing from you (I’m looking at you piperlime.com); are there dance moves you’re borrowing from traditional/brick and mortar retailers?

We really don’t focus very much on what other retailers are doing. We just
focus on what our customers and employees tell us and then try to deliver
the best customer experience possible while still meeting our financial
goals.

There are a number of interesting widgets that Zappos has in play, including this great Google/Zappos sales mash-up.

Filed under: brands, ceo, consumer choice, online advertising, recession, social media, supergenius llc, twitter, zappos, , , , , , , , , ,

The Good News is…You’re Fired.

munchRecessions Are Good. Pass It On.

Stock trackers off, people.  Disable them, get them off your iGoogle, hide them on your iPhone, just put them away for a little while. Let’s focus on something else.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that we’ve been in recession for a year. The trouble isn’t that we’re in a recession. The trouble is that we’re scared to death.

Welcome to capitalism: recessions happen here. Always have. Part of the deal. The economy grows, reaches a breaking point, and recedes for a while, like a wave on the beach. A breather. An adjustment. It’s a healthy, natural part of the economic cycle. It clears out the bad wood and allows new trees to grow.

And that’s what we should be focused on, instead of the minute-by-minute stock trackers: cycle. Yeah, credit-default swaps and bubble real-estate markets are scary and unpredictable, but here’s the deal: we’ve been here before, we’ll be here again. No matter your personal philosophy, this is a real opportunity to get in touch with your inner Buddhist.

Oh, there’s another one: opportunity. Because – taking our cues from the Buddhists – if we stop focusing on what was, and what will be, we can free ourselves to look around and concentrate on the here and now. Calm hearts and minds will be the real winners right now, those people who can see beyond the panic and concentrate on what they can do today.

When so much is out of our control, we tend to prepare for the worst. But there is opportunity in every recession, even if the headlines drown it out. Your opportunities may be personal or professional, internal or external. But they’re there, and they’re real, and they’re more productive than firing up a browser and watching the stock market freak out.

Filed under: recession, , ,

About

Super Genius LLC is a digital media and creative incubator that excels at bringing fresh, new thinking to existing strategy as well as blank-page strategic development. Our mission is to open up unique and exciting ways of connecting brands and consumers.

"The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." William Gibson

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