Jun 30, 2008

Branding or Scarring?

In an earlier post on branding I talked about how important your reputation is in the market. Focusing on how customers are benefiting from your products and services and what they think and feel about your company is vital.

My company has recently commissioned a research firm to interview high level executives to explore the challenges they are experiencing in their business particularly in the area of unified communications. We're learning some interesting things about branding too!

This is proprietary primary research so I won't go into too much detail but when it comes to your brand the feedback we are getting will blow your mind! Well, actually, it's pretty much common sense. Get rid of your slogans, your catch phrases and focus on being consistent and deliver on what you say you will deliver on. Be clear on what you can do for your customer, be flexible, if something screws up ... fix it and always do your very best to NOT disappoint your customer.

Work with your customers to understand what their expectations are and how their experience has been working with your company so far. Combine this with a solid reference program and you've got the makings of a one, two punch.

The picture above is meant to stimulate a discussion about branding. Who benefits from branding? The cow or the farmer? What's the branding experience for the cow? Pleasent or painful? How do you brand your product and company?

Jun 24, 2008

Success Story Podcasts

In an earlier post I covered the importance of strategic references and case studied the Michener Institute who demonstrated Digital Microscopy. My company designed a secure high speed network which enabled Michener to role Digital Microscopy as a educational medium for their students.

We showcased their solution at a healthcare tradeshow. During the show I had editors from various publications visit our booth to see this solution and talk to our customer. After a demo and conversation with Michener we provided them with a media stick which had a written case study and podcast success story interview on it.

The podcast is an interview of the key visionary leaders at Michener who talk about this innovative project and how it can re-define how we teach and how we deliver healthcare.

Jun 22, 2008

Social Media that matters

These are just some of the many social media services available under the web2.0 phenomena we are now experiencing. More services are coming online everyday.

I'm having a lot of fun playing in this web2.0 sandbox. Some of these tools are a fun, help me be productive and I'm meeting new people. I'm all for this stuff!

But, something is happening that is making me wonder. It's all around the concept of spreading yourself too thin and information fragmentation. At the end of the day one needs to look at all these services and define what they need and want and figure out how these tools solve their problems and achieve their goals. I'm one of those people starting to get confused about what to use and why!

I write and read blogs, I bookmark sites, I socially network. But over time am I going to get exhausted trying to maintain and manage all these social media activities? If I'm starting to get concerned about social media saturation and overwhelmed by the number of services I'm sure there are others too.

I'd be interested in learning how people are using these various services and for what reasons and how effective they are in helping them be successful. Seems to me that this is a book in the making? Use my new comment feature below (allows for direct reply to a comment) or visit my FriendFeed room on this topic.

Jun 21, 2008

Upgrading Comments using Disqus

I was leaving a comment on Dave Winer's blog and noticed he used Disqus which claims to improve the commenting part of a blog. It allows comments to become more like discussion threads. So, I'm giving it a shot. I had to change the HTML code (I'm not a code dude so this will be interesting) in my blogger template and supposedly that's all that's required. So, this post will act as my pilot test to see what happens. All I need now is some comments! =).
UPDATE: It's working. It was easy and instant. 10 out of 10 to Disqus.

Why I like FriendFeed, so far

Thanks to Steve Reubel who has been blogging a lot about FriendFeed and how he's using it. I'm liking this application! It is like an "inbox" for all of the social media stuff I'm doing. I have a blog, I use Twitter, I use Diigo and Delicious for bookmarking and YouTube for posting videos. I use these web 2.0 services for work and play.

The problem is they kinda exist separate from each other...so it fragments my "social media" persona and doesn't give readers a fuller picture of what I'm thinking and doing. Now, I can use FriendFeed as an aggregation point for all my digital dialogue. It's also a great tool to bump into people with similar interests and track what their digital dialogue too.

Here's a great video from Tim Steward on how FriendFeed works.

Cisco I-Prize

The Cisco I-Prize contest is a global search for Cisco's next "Billion Dollar idea". This contest started in October of 2007. Over 1100 ideas were submitted from across the globe. I submitted about seven ideas and two made it to the semi-finals (36 ideas made it to the semis). I chose to bet the farm on one idea and thanks to my team of five outstanding and talented individuals we made it to the finals (12 got through)! We expect to hear this month if our team won. UPDATE: Received notice yesterday that the winners won't be announced until late July.

The I-Prize contest has been an amazing experience and kudos to Cisco for doing this. Rumour has it there will be a second contest...give it a shot! If you want to know more watch the video below.

Google Maps, an Idea

I love Google Maps especially the Satellite feature. This picture is the result of an address search. The "pin" indicates where Google thinks my house is however it's actually the house with the red box around it. This got me wondering about how this type of inaccuracy could be corrected. Wikis allow us to make changes to them why not Google Maps?

Thanks Chris Gurney for pointing out that Google already offers this capability. It seems that it is in "limited release" though. The "how to" video is on YouTube but I can't make an address edit.

Jun 14, 2008

Tuned In to Product Management

If you develop complex products and "solutions" then the upcoming book "Tuned In" is worth a read. There are thousands of business books produced every year so how is this one special? The folks writing this book are key leaders from Pragmatic Marketing. They provide a product management framework for companies that develop, support and sell technology products. They offer training and consulting services and boast a client list that includes Microsoft, Cisco and SAP to name a few.

I took a seminar a couple of months back and highly recommend any product manager to take a look at Pragmatic's framework. It is geared for the tech. industry but I think any product manager could benefit from using parts of it. Sometimes it's better to look at things outside of your industry to get ideas and alternative thinking.

Jun 12, 2008

Introducing ProductCampToronto

Join us this fall at ProductCampToronto! This event is an "unconference" where you get to choose the topics of discussion not sponsors with "planted presentations" and event organizers more interested in the agendas of sponsors. Hey, don't get me wrong, some shows are great to attend and deliver value. However, no show, asks and empowers you the attendee to set the topics and direction. ProductCampToronto is for anyone interested in the art and science of product management. To register visit the "official wiki" and join our Facebook Group. Subscribe to this blog for updates too.