By Trevor Daughney
A new article by @deantak: Steve Jobs wanted to make a car to take on Detroit http://t.co/famA84m5 , reminds me of how out of date the information consoles are in cars. On a recent car search I encountered clunky dials and calculator-like button pads to control the screens. I almost felt peer pressure to wear acid-wash jeans to fit in with the 80s software interface.
A better option would be to leave the console to consumer electronics makers. The root of the problem is that cars are designed on 5 year cycles, where consumer electronics change in less than a year. Instead car companies should design dashboards to hold tablets, much like they design the roofs to interface with racks for bikes, skiis and the like. They could add software APIs for added integration.
One catch for car companies is that they will no longer be able to sell their console packages for $1000s. Still, it makes sense for them to seize this opportunity before new players (apple?) emerge to profit from their inefficiency. No matter who ends up selling the services, its not much of a leap to imagine downloading a Camry app to your connected iPad.
By Trevor Daughney
Gord put me onto this hilarious marketing video (caution, contains foul language) for the Church Street Gym in New York. In it, trainer Eric Kelly dogs his pitiable clients to their face, “I bet someone gave you a wedgy on your way here.” He says what I’m sure every gym trainer in the world having a bad day dreams of saying to their clients. He lands verbal punches fast and furious: “you look like all the nerds just had a convention on your body.” As a marketing asset, it is even more contrarian when you find out his clients are wall street bankers, some of the world’s wealthiest and powerful people, a class of folks used to pampering and deference. Is this crazy or genius marketing?!
Some of my favorite recent marketing campaigns prove that this strategy of embracing a harsh reality can be a real winner. Take Chrysler. Detroit rose and fell with the US car industry. And for the past several decades as US-based car makers have lost market share, Detroit has seen over a 1 million denizens pick up and leave. It became the butt end of jokes, and synonymous with decay. Chrysler, however, embraced its rugged image and quickly differentiated its brand in a cluttered market. As Eminem says in this commercial, “this is the motor city, and this is what we do.” With over 15 million views for this video to date, the numbers attest to the campaign’s success.
Likewise, Domino created the turnaround campaign to respond to negative feedback about the taste of its product. Rather than hide from the problem, their marketing campaign addresses the issue head on. Along the way the campaign makes taste a buying criteria in the value segment of the market where price is king.
So yeah, maybe Church Street gym is onto something. Their wall street banker clients are looking for something rugged and authentic. They go to the gym looking to take a few hits; in and out of the ring. The typical gym pampering is exactly what they are seeking to avoid.
Done well this type of marketing strategy can intentionally create a chasm between a company’s out of touch past and a promising future. Who else needs a shake up?
Things are not going well for RIM’s Blackberry brand. They are losing the battle for consumer dollars. Its time to step away from trying to be everything to everyone and get back to their roots as an enterprise solution. Today’s CIOs need technology that allows them to take control of all the data on their employees’ mobile devices. I see a security hardened mobile solution and a new campaign: “We’re all business.”
Who do you see running a campaign embracing a harsh reality? Yahoo! anyone?
By Trevor Daughney
Canada is doing away with the penny, stamping its last one-cent coin in May. It costs considerably more to make than it’s worth. If you are like me, its demise fits with your plans. When I can, I use plastic instead of cash. Increasingly, I use my phone instead of plastic.
For example, I recently made a last minute stop into Le Beau, my San Francisco corner store, and used LevelUp to buy grapefruit juice and lunch supplies. A wallet is one less thing to carry.
A digital wallet also has conveniences that money can’t buy. I used PayByPhone the other day to pay my parking meter. The mobile app notified me that the meter was running out and allowed me to top it up without stepping away from brunch and my flight of maple-glazed bacon. The city of Vancouver has a similar phone-based system, though you are required to call a number.
Dialing for dollars to park in Vancouver.
Mobile payments also make it convenient (and affordable for the government) to continue breaking down prices by the cent, nickel, dime or quarter. Long live the penny.