Is Chevy Missing a Golden Marketing Opportunity? And Stuff?

If by now you aren’t aware of the awesomely awkward delivery of a (apparently recalled) Chevy truck to Madison Bumgarner last night, well here:

Instant Internet classic. Just google “Chevy Guy” and you’ll find a gold mine of funny.

And then go over to any Chevy property. Their Web site is … fine. Their twitter feed is full of … clever jokes?

Hysterical.

They should OWN this moment. The Chevy Guy Video should be front and center. Every painful line he stammered should be played UP, not hidden away. His little note card should come inside every new Chevy truck sold this year. And their web site should look like this:

technology and stuff

C’mon Chevy – grab this and RUN with it.   #TechnologyandStuff. Create a @ChevyGuy twitter account. Instachat some stuff.  Get a new commercial on air by Monday with the Chevy dude explaining technology and stuff to someone. Or hire Rob Ford to do a new one for you. Whatever – just do something!

OWN IT.

Facebook’s Brand Extortion Perception Problem

extortionI originally read Eat24′s “breaking up with Facebook” post via Zite and it echoed so true, I shared it with a lot of folks I know. I wasn’t planning to blog anything, but wrote such a long comment to Mathew Ingram’s piece, I thought, hey, why not – let’s blog this one!

I don’t think anyone’s complaining about signal-to-noise, or even paying to have reach. I’ve never heard a brand complain about running Facebook ads. I think they are complaining about the following:

Facebook users are instructed to Like brands to get updates from them. There is no mention to users as to how to control frequency of said updates, nor any disclosure about brands *having to pay* to reach them.

This is at best unfortunately disingenuous. At worst its deliberately misleading.

What makes it all much, much worse, IS the tweaking of algorithm. If you were managing a brand’s Facebook page, you’ve noticed a steady drop in every single stat/category – unless, of course, you pay. This too is not disclosed to brands. As a result, it certainly appears that Facebook initially made it free & easy for brands to get “hooked” on posting to Facebook, and then, without warning, came along and said brands would then need to pay for the same reach they previously enjoyed.

Now we can certainly remain positively-minded and call this “evolution of a model” – but it sure comes across a lot like extortion. And when Facebook replies with callous comments, it does nothing but reinforce that perception.

Personally, if I were running a brand, I’d make every effort possible to create a funnel FROM my Facebook page to *anything else*. Email newsletters, Twitter accounts, etc – all services where the expectation/understanding of how brands are positioned *to consumers* is clear. The problem I see for Facebook is I’m not the only one thinking this way – it’s an increasing sentiment and one they should stem the tide of.

I’d suggest they start by fixing 3 things:

  1. Inform Users that Liking a brand on Facebook is not the same as subscribing to a newsletter. It’s an indication of taste, and occasionally that brand may appear in a Wall feed.
  2. Guarantee Something to brands so they can make meaningful long term plans. I think a lot of brand managers would feel better about betting on Facebook if they could provide guaranteed plans of any kind – I wonder how many people have had to tell their boss that their reach dropped 90% without anyone knowing how/why.
  3. Enable Subscribing to Brands for end-users. I understand Facebook controls the overall algorithm, but how about letting a user take control of some components? This could be a paid service to the brand – whatever – but if I *want* to get every update from a Reebok, Nike, NextGuide, Eat24 – shouldn’t I be able to?

How to Succeed at I-Stage 2010

Next week 9 companies are taking the stage, er i-stage, to showcase their aspiring visions of future gadgetry.  This is the third year for I-Stage, and I’m pleased as punch to participate as a judge (along with ReadWriteWeb’s Richard MacManus, TechCocktail’s Frank Gruber, and Best Buy’s Rick Rommel).  This is not my first experience with the event, as I was supporting Boxee at the inaugural event two years ago.  That experience plus my time at CES and my numerous times at the Under the Radar events has me putting up this post, with some final words of wisdom (?) to this year’s finalists.  This list is not in any particular order.

  1. Practice! You have a week to go, if you are spending any less than an hour a day, you are not devoting enough time to the demo.  If you think Steve Jobs “wings it,” try holding a MacBook on the tips of your fingers and keeping it perfectly level for more than a second.  This Friday I’d spend as much as half of your day rehearsing, then keep it light over the weekend – think about how marathoners practice.
  2. Practice in front of an audience and/or camera.  Every rehearsal should either have a live audience (peers, friends, employees, strangers, spouses, pets, whatever) or be in front of some form of video camera (we use Flips at our office).  You’ll never take it seriously if you don’t feel there’s some form of audience, and it’ll help you find areas to improve.  BTW, I’d think it goes without saying, but watch the videos after you are done!
  3. Lock things down. You should be playing with your “Real” demo right now, and avoid changing your codebase as much as possible.  Further, if you feel you must continue to tweak, keep backup builds/demos ready so you can revert to stable versions.  And bring those with you, just in case.
  4. Be very redundant.  Need an HDMI cable? Bring two (or three).  Have a local server?  Have a second laptop with an identical build.  You might be able to run out to Radio Shack the morning of, but you really don’t want to.  This goes for mid-presentation as well – if you had planned to do something, and it just isn’t working out, be ready to swap out with a secondary version instead at a moment’s notice.  You should probably practice that too.
  5. Make sure we understand your… (whichever are applicable, odds are most of them)
    1. Vision
    2. Product
    3. Target Market
    4. Pricing
    5. Distribution
    6. Differentiation
    7. Technology
    8. Strategy
    9. Plan
    10. Benefits
  6. Emphasize benefits. As an example, the technology behind SMS is uninteresting, whereas the benefit of being able to send short text-based messages to your contacts is huge.  Focus on the way your technology & features benefit your target users, not the technology & features themselves.
  7. Prune your pitch.  You only get 3 minutes, which is NOT much time!  Your pitch should be fine-tuned, with literally every word mattering.  Don’t show esoterics, don’t show fluff, and don’t try to wow us with “me-too” elements of your features (“look, it even tweets!”).
  8. Show off. Show us what makes you special, different, distinct.  Show the steak and make it sizzle.  Show the amazing features and the corresponding benefits.  Show the vision.  There’s a huge difference between “fluff” and “sizzle” – find it, and show us!
  9. Plan on reliable stuff. Power is reliable.  Computers are pretty reliable.  WiFi can be unreliable.  Cell networks are unreliable.  Prototypes are unreliable.  Beta software is unreliable.  Real-time is very unreliable.  Waiting for Internet results for anything is highly unreliable.  You should not have anything unreliable in your demo – as I said before, with only 3 minutes you don’t have much wiggle room if you are depending on a real-time Internet lookup of something over a 3G network with geo-tuned services.
  10. Entertain us.  Now that your demo is all set, you’ve practiced, it’s reliable, your pitch is solid, etc, it’s time to add a little charm.  Make a joke.  Do something interactive with the audience.  Show some color.  Do something that takes your pitch beyond “just a demo”.  At the very least, smile and make eye contact!
  11. Avoid cliches. Please, no references to jetpacks, flying cars, or laser guns.  Seriously.  And nothing about lists that go to eleven.

Good luck inventors and entrepreneurs!  We’ll see you next week.

ps – one more tip: pack layers, its cold in San Francisco.

Not all PR people (nor bloggers) are alike

Another week, another set of nonsense about how PR people are bad, don’t know anything about new media, etc etc etc.  I’ve seen this so much I was about to shut the lid of my laptop and ignore, but instead felt I should say something.  In summary:

I’ll make it quite simple to understand: this industry is simply too vast to generalize.  There are PR firms and individuals who understand influence, social media, and bloggers.  There are firms who don’t.  There are those who know how to leverage all the changing media to benefit their clients.  And there are those who don’t.

Maybe we can stop with the generalizations while we let the good continue to separate from the bad

read the rest here…

Inspired by the NY Times, Scobleizer, and TechCrunch.