Yesterday I wrote about the $100 million advertising budget to turn Halo oranges into a brand. I have to admire the singular approach and focus on one product.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is the recent marketing of Hello Kitty. The company in charge of this brand seems to believe that if they slap the logo on a product it will sell. There have been entire displays of Hello Kitty items, targeted as much at adults as kids: fans, duct tape, gumball machines, hair straightening irons, Snuggies, eyeglasses and hooks to name just a few of the hundreds of things out there.
It used to be that if I saw something featuring Hello Kitty I would buy it for my sister. Now I am overwhelmed by the volume of merchandise featuring that logo. I think they have gone too far. There is a fine distinction between abundance and saturation, and Miss Kitty has her paws over the line.
Are you guilty of trying to exploit a good thing? If you have a successful program or product, do you focus on it (like Halo oranges) or go overboard with exposure (like Hello Kitty)? In many cases, less is more. Don’t overexpose your clientele to such a point that they ignore you instead of being delighted by your presence.
I recently read an article in Fortune that Roll-Global, the company that owns POM and Fiji Water, is now looking to market mandarin oranges under the Halo brand. So far, they have invested $220 million in a packaging facility and another $100 million in an ad campaign. If the strategy they used with POM pomegranates is any indication, we’ll be seeing Halos and the little oranges everywhere in the near future. I wonder what possesses someone to have the vision to brand an obscure type of produce. The plant can box 19 million mandarins, each day! Is there really that much demand out there for tiny oranges? The investors obviously think so. The goal for Roll-Global is to “transform a piece of fruit from a commodity to a premium brand.” I am reminded of a training exercise I do where I hand participants (ironically) an orange. At first glance, all the oranges look alike, but the attendees need to write a story about their orange and share it with the others. Some create a tale about how the orange received its dimple or spot. Others give super powers to the coloring on the orange peel. By the time the exercise is over, most people could match the specific orange to its owner. Think about your organization in the context of oranges. Whether it be on a multi-million dollar scale like Roll-Global or in a modest way like my basket of oranges at a workshop, the objective is to give the oranges a brand. How can you tell the story of your organization to set it apart from others that are seemingly like you at first glance?
— beth triplett leadershipdots.blogspot.com
Source: The Big Rollout by Anne Vandermey, Fortune, February 3, 2014, p. 12
Last week, the schools in Houston were closed because it was 28 degrees and snow was forecast. That story made the rounds at work, since in Iowa it was -1 degrees, with feet of snow on the ground, and, of course, we were having business as usual. I think about the infrastructure that we have in Iowa to basically allow us to persevere through these harsh Midwest winters. Individuals, businesses and communities own the tools, equipment and clothes to deal with the snow and move on. People own four-wheel drive vehicles or put Blizzak tires on their cars. Cities own salt trucks and it seems that every pickup truck in the city has a plow to clean the parking lots of area businesses. Most people don’t like the winter, but they have the capacity to deal with it and move on. Cities like Houston, or even as far north as St. Louis, have minimal equipment and are paralyzed with much less snow or frigid air. In your organizational world, what is the equivalent of five inches of snow? Do you have contingency plans, equipment and infrastructure to allow you to continue operating when “winter” hits? Or maybe you are in a zone where “snow” occurs with such infrequency that you have chosen to accept the consequences rather than prepare for a rare event. Maybe “five inches of snow” for you is a deadline, when you know you need extra staff and computing capacity to handle the excessive loads. Maybe your “winter” is a home sporting event, where tourism demands and parking issues double when the team is in town. Maybe you need to be prepared for when new technology changes are rolled out and everything must be updated. Everyone is assessing their risks and taking action accordingly. Iowa is betting that their investment in multiple plows and mountains of salt will be a wise use of community resources; Houston is prepared to cancel school and lose some productivity if the temperature makes an extraordinary dip. Think about the threats you face and evaluate the cost of being prepared — or not.
I saw the movie Saving Mr. Banks over the weekend — a mostly true account of Walt Disney’s attempts to gain the rights to produce Mary Poppins from author P. L. Travers — a task that took him nearly 20 years. Disney is quoted as saying that he remained persistent with the curmudgeonly woman because he made a promise to his daughters to make their beloved Mary Poppins character into a movie — and a promise is something that he “never ever” breaks. Most people don’t go to the lengths that Disney did to honor their word. Many do not even fulfill their promises for simple tasks in the short term. I have been listening to Fred Kaufman’s Conscious Business, a course about consciously creating integrity between what you say and what you do. Take a lesson from Kaufman and Disney and be more intentional about honoring your word. If you say you will send some information to a colleague by the end of the day, make every attempt to do it. If you say you will call, be sure to pick up the phone. If you promise yourself that you will go to the gym after work, mean what you say. And if you say you will do something that doesn’t work out as planned and takes a decade or two to fulfill, don’t give up easily. It’s not just Mr. Banks that was saved by Disney’s persistence; it was Walt’s integrity with his daughters.
Our new volleyball coach was quoted in an article about the new system of play that he has instituted for the men on his team. “We talk a lot about how discipline is freedom,” he said. “Because we remained so disciplined in our system, we had the freedom to make good choices and create lots of scoring opportunities.” Think about how discipline is freedom in many other settings. If you have the discipline to regularly eat healthy and routinely work out, you have the freedom to indulge on a treat without guilt. If you have the discipline to write your week of blogs in advance, you have the freedom to go to a basketball game without worrying about how you are going to fit in an entry. If you have the discipline to save on a continual basis, you have the freedom to make choices about where you live and work. If you have the discipline to analyze your data, even when you are ahead, you have the freedom to experiment and learn new things. Discipline is freedom in so many ways. In what one area do you need to increase your discipline to provide you with more opportunities in the future?
— beth triplett leadershipdots.blogspot.com
Quote by Dan Mathews in article Men’s volleyball squad takes pair at Park Tournament by Tyler Oehmen posted online January 18, 2014.
I learn a lot of new things in my staff meeting “nuggets” including having a window into some of the latest trends. I learned about 3D printing in this forum, but last week I saw a glimpse into the hot new product of Rainbow Loom. For those of you not exposed to anyone under age 16, it is quite fashionable to make bracelets out of multi-colored rubber bands. (Note: the bands are also glow-in-the-dark, neon, glitter, etc. — not just any color.) Kids are buying the kits and bands like crazy and spending hours making “jewelry” or following intricate directions to create patterns. Unlike the previous fad of Silly Bands, Rainbow Loom actually seems to be welcomed at school and in daycare (presumably because it mesmerizes young ones as they are deep in concentration!). Maybe you should consider bringing a Rainbow Loom to your next staff meeting so that your team can gain these lessons from its use: > Persistence: you need practice to get the hang of it! > Patience: especially if you move beyond the elementary styles > Following direction: who doesn’t want their staff to have some of this? > Visualization: taking an idea into implementation > Creativity: the combinations are endless! > Building self-esteem: after you practice patience and get good at it! > Working together: a perfect team-building option All the lessons you teach your staff don’t have to be lofty! Take advantage of a fun new trend and let Rainbow Loom serve as a training exercise for you.
— beth triplett leadershipdots.blogspot.com
Source: Why Rainbow Loom Can Be Good for Kids’ Development by Katherine Lee Thanks to Amy and Leah for introducing this to us
There is a catchy song out with the line “This is gonna be the best day of my life.” I wonder what that would look like. I tried to think of what I would identify as the best day of my life so far. I was stumped. Should it be the day that had the biggest consequences (e.g.: I started college) even though that first day itself was pretty scary? Should it be the day where something was completed (e.g.: I got my doctorate) even though sitting through another graduation ceremony probably wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had? Should it be a day of leisure (e.g.: on vacation in Punta Cana) or a day of exhilaration at work (e.g. passage of the strategic plan)? I was reminded of a quote I have seen on cards: “We don’t remember days, we remember moments.” How true that is for me. So even though I am tempted to sing along with American Authors and have hope that today is gonna be the best day, I think I will settle for creating some great moments. How about you — can you create one of your best moments today?
Last week I facilitated a workshop about effective leadership. One of the comments I shared was a concept from Warren Bennis that often people are leaders in one situation, but not in another. For example, you may not be a leader at work, but be president of your neighborhood association, or you may be a supervisor in the office but a concession volunteer for your booster club. I think this goes beyond holding a leadership position or not. I may serve in a leadership role for one item at a meeting, and someone else may act in that capacity for another topic. I am no less of a leader in scenario two, but I may exercise my leadership traits by comments I make or conclusions that I draw rather than in how I present the material. Leadership happens in the middle, not at the top. Almost everyone has someone above them. Vice presidents have presidents. Presidents have boards. Boards have shareholders and government officials. And so on. Don’t worry about where you fall in the hierarchy. Act like an Oreo — with the good stuff in the middle — and lead from where you are.
It seems that buzz about 3D printing is everywhere. In the last month, I have seen articles touting the process to make bionic ears, prosthetic hands, plastic guns, discontinued parts for classic cars, jewelry and even wedding cakes. Apparently we are on the brink of a 3D revolution. While Santa didn’t deliver too many of the $1,000+ printers this year, but by next year it is forecast that the sleigh will be overflowing with them. I had a hard time getting my arms around this process. “Printing” sounds so two-dimensional, and an image of paper pops into my head, when in reality multiple materials can be used to create the object in 3D. (I think of the wax animals that were formed by a monstrous machine at the zoo when I was a kid.) Now the material may be plastics, wax, rubber, or even sugar to make confectionery treats. There are some obvious uses for this technology — architects making 3D models of buildings and floor plans; engineers making prototypes and parts, or artists using it to bring dimension to their creations. But how can you go beyond this and deploy 3D printing for your organization? Creating personalized giveaway products on site for visitors or trade show participants? Crafting a fresh toy to be printed out for each sick child that comes into a doctor’s waiting room (so the germs are not spread)? Making a new cup or plate for patrons at a restaurant? Utilizing 3D to bring chemistry to life in a classroom? Ready or not, accessible 3D is coming. Think now of how you can effectively capitalize on the extra dimension of benefits.
Just as less is more with ingredients in Cheerios, it appears that less is more in print as well. The best selling cereal in the United States has adopted a new strategy when it comes to the design of its boxes. The latest versions are beautiful examples of being clear about your brand. Instead of filling every square inch of space with copy, the new boxes communicate one simple message:
Their tagline: The One and Only. Can you learn a lesson from Cheerios and boil your message down to a single word to communicate the essence of your message? –— beth triplett