Good morning all 🔅 the roosters are crowing, the doggie is snoring, the scones are baking, its a cold and rainy morning here. I was thinking of this need of categorising people. To a lot, the following might sound extreme. To a few, this would be moderate
To the right, I'm left. To the left, I'm right. Don't get boxed in.
For AA believers, merits matter. For merit fighters, exclude elite networks and bias
Does racism exist? Absolutely. Do some people attribute everything to racism? Yes.
Is gender bias real? Yes. Do some women exploit and blame everything on female discrimination? Yes.
Is the Me Too campaign a real issue? Yes. Do some women take advantage of it? Yes.
Is the BLM movement important? Yes. Was it exploited? Yes
What is wrong with gays, lesbians, trans people? Nothing. They have this one chance on earth just as much as you and I do.
Is climate change real? Yes. Do some people and gov’ts exaggerate it for personal gain? Yes.
Is vax important? Yes. Are all vaccines safe, useful, fully tested? No.
Is democracy the best political ideology in the world ? Nobody knows. It has been evolving over 2000 yrs and more rapidly in recent years with frequent human interaction.
Is communism and dictatorship the same? No
Are anarchist right wing ? In the early 1900, they were far left. Things changed in the 70s
Were you born on this earth to work non stop, pay gov’t their wages so that they can establish a set of rules and dictate how you should live, eat and be friends with? No
To Bitcoiners, I'm a Bitcoiner. To shitcoiners, I'm still a Bitcoiner. Is that a bad thing? At some point everyone is going to be a bitcoiner it won't even be special anymore. Enjoy the moment while it lasts
Sharing some of my notes on the topic of sales - this is just on the common lingo. If you are from hardcore tech background, chances are you are not going to know this (other than what's common sense and fly by the seat of your pants). Hope this helps whomever who is exploring revenue and income generation in your business plan. I'll share some of the books I've read below as well on this topic
1. Set sales targets - daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually
2. Sales plan: resources, budget, materials /demo kit
3. In a sales environment, you are the leader, the coach and the person who sets the standards and calls the shot (Less Democratic) - Brian Tracy
4. 20% of your activities account for 80% of your results (common Pareto principle uses in sales and everything else in life =) )
Types of sales
1. retail - goods and services to individual customers
2. outbound sales - looking for leads.
3. inbound sales – converting prospects.
4. Social Selling - social media
5. Direct selling - car booths, markets
6. Enterprise sales - sw solutions to companies
7. Channel sales - distributions
In retail finance: supply chain includes manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers. Each player adds a profit margin to the product's cost.
Price is a key factor in the purchase of a product and plays a role in price image, market share, and customer loyalty.
Common Pricing Strategies
1. Cost-based pricing: cost + markup
2. Market-based pricing: competitive landscape
3. Value-based pricing: Perceived value.
4. Loss-leader pricing: Sell one product at a loss to boost sales, attract buyers (Also price penetration)
5. Price skimming: Start with a high price and lower it over time.
6. Dynamic pricing: Adjust prices based on market demand and other factors.
7. Premium pricing: Higher than competitors, superior
8. Freemium – free for basics + pay for premium.
9. Subscription based.
Elasticity in Pricing
1. Price Elasticity of Demand: Consumption reaction to price changes.
2. Cross Elasticity of Demand: Demand for one product changes with the price changes of another product
High-end items, cigarettes: inelastic
Milk and eggs: highly elastic.
Behaviors impact on pricing
1. Substitute products – cannibalizes other products.
2. Complementary products - encourages sales e.g., dipping sauce for chips.
3. Optimal pricing: maximize profit by taking all things into consideration: cost, competitive advantage, customer needs, operations etc.
4. Line pricing: similar or cluster prices within a product line (basic, standard, premier) for many different products
5. Markdown Pricing: gap between initial price and actual selling price
6. Size-based pricing
MSRP - Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price
MRP - Maximum Retail Price
Competitive price index = Our Price / Competitor’s Price (some countries have rules on this margin)
Sales funnel: Leads > Prospects > Sales
Inbound marketing: content Marketing, seo's, social media, emails, blogs, reviews, media, video (YouTube etc), podcasts
Outbound marketing: Cold calls/emails, mails, legacy media (TV, Radio), ads, trade-shows, events, billboards, networking, introductions
If you are hiring, some things to look into : base salary, commission, incentives, and benefits. If you are a super small startup, ESOS might be an option for incentives and benefits.
The line between sales and marketing has been blurring over time. These days, 70% users make their decisions even before sales efforts kicks in. That’s the power of marketing.
Some books I went through (it was ok – it wasn’t super exciting – but a lot of clarity on what to do, what not to do, common mistakes made, short cuts, the art and psychology of sales). There are a lot of sites that talks about this too.
1. They ask, you answer – A revolutionary approach to inbound sales, content marketing and today’s digital consumer by Marcus Sheridan
2. Win new customers with outbound sales by William “Skip” Miller
3. The expert guide to retail pricing by Kiran Gange
4. Secrets of closing the sale by Zig Ziglar
5. Selling 101: What Every Successful Sales Professional Needs to Know by Zig Ziglar
6. Advanced Selling Strategies by Brian Tracy
7. Sales Management by Brian Tracy
When you get your hands down and dirty, you are bound to make plenty of mistakes and that's ok. I wish someone told me that, so I am telling you that <3
If you are very familiar on the art of sales, I would love to know and learn more - whats your secret weapon, practices, do's and don'ts, books and sites etc
Picked up this book by Jessica Livingstone (Co-Founder of YC and wife of Paul Graham) - I like the style of the book as its interview Q&A based hence unfiltered. But its like really really old. It was published in 2001, even Twitter only started a few years later.
1. First chapter is on Pay Pal (refer to the attached) - I thought it was kinda odd how they did not mention who the CEO of x.com was throughout the conversation (but he said they made amends and are friends now)
2. This other part was informative :
Livingston: Was the growth viral?
Levchin: We built the system to be viral from day one. The idea was: I can send you the money, even if you aren't a member. If I send you $10, you get an email saying, "You have $10 waiting for you. Sign up, and you can take it." That's the most powerful viral driver there is. Free money available to you.
For eBay buyers and sellers, it became this crazy loop where buyers would be like, "I want to pay you with PayPal," and sellers would be like, "I don't accept PayPal." And buyers would say, "That's OK. I'll just send you $10, and you can sign up." So the seller would get infected, and the seller would say, "Oh, this is really simple, so I only accept PayPal."
“Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end, because once you get there, you can move mountains.” —Steve Jobs
This book ‘Insanely Simple - The obsession that drives Apple's success’ by Ken Segall piqued my interest when I first read about the upside-down logo on a Macbook (when you open your macbook in public, others will see it correctly - publicity). Segall was the Creative Director for the “Think Different” campaign and originated the idea “i” for iMac, iPhone, iPod, iPad. He worked closely with Steve Jobs from the '80s. I’ve been exploring a few marketing, branding, PR books in recent days for my own needs. This book was raw and useful. I'll share my notes here, should it benefit anyone else.
1. Apple ignited the personal computer revolution but faced irrelevance when Steve Jobs was ousted.
2. Upon his return, he reignited computers (iMac), transformed music (iPod and iTunes), revolutionized smartphones (iPhone), and reinvented computers (iPad).
3. Apple’s slogan and company identity : simply amazing, and amazingly simple.
4. Microsoft introduced the Zune Store to rival iTunes. It used "Microsoft Points," where customers bought points in hundreds and converted 80 points to purchase a 99-cent song. This is the opposite of simplicity and why it didn’t work
5. The truth was the truth and his opinion was his opinion, regardless of personal feelings, alliances, or the room's atmosphere.
6. Clarity propels an organization. Not occasional clarity but pervasive, twenty-four-hour, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners clarity.
7. He had no issue abandoning investments if his strategy changed. He once canceled a TV campaign on the brink of production, forfeiting over a million dollars.
8. That Steve Jobs was intolerant of stupidity is a matter of record
9. He seemed to buy the notion that any publicity is good publicity, and the negatives just rolled off his back.
10. For big campaigns, it involves agency (creatives, account and media directors), and Apple's team including Steve, product marketing, product design, marketing comms, and in-house creative.
11. Start with small, smart groups—and keep them small. More people invites complexity
12. “You know how many committees we have at Apple? Zero. We’re organized like a start-up. We’re the biggest start-up on the planet.” Jobs at All Things Digital conference in 2010
13. Project quality decreases as more people get involved (there’s an economy theory to this : diminishing return)
14. The project's quality improves based on the involvement of the decision maker. Doesn’t have to be the CEO but anyone who is the decision maker
15. “I lost track of the number of midnight phone calls we had just to go over the copy for an ad about to be published.” Segall
16. He insisted on being the first to see the agency's creative ideas. Even the VP of marketing couldn't filter the work before he had a chance to view it. Steve wanted to make his own judgment “Maybe I’ll see a spark in there that nobody else sees.”
17. Intel vs Apple - Intel has report cards for the ad agency - highlights and lowlights. Steve Jobs preferred real time honestly.
18. Intel vs Apple - If there is a better idea mid production, they can share it with Steve Jobs. Steve looks forward to it. This is not possible with Intel as it has many layers of processes
19. Trying to solve problems by copying just one aspect of Apple's approach doesn’t work. Simplicity is an all-or-nothing concept.
20. “Steve volunteered some great ideas and I saw him suggest some clunkers. But I’ve never seen a CEO who had Steve’s passion for creativity.”
21. “One of the most important things Apple does is trust itself. We didn’t test a single ad. Not for print, TV, billboards, the web, retail, or anything.”
22. In a multilayered org, it’s difficult to stand up for imaginative thinking—because it puts your neck on the line. In Apple’s flatter organization, it’s easier to “think different.”
23. “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.” Steve Jobs, 1997 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference
24. Some companies try to please everyone and seize every opportunity, but it often leads to confusing product offerings. Please everyone ends up pleasing no one.
25. Dell and HP model clutters (names, specs etc) vs simplified Apple models
26. Steve Jobs trusted his people. He sees them at the start of the job and when they return to the Apple boardroom to share the finished work. Not a million updates.
27. Intel didn't trust itself - it had multiple focus groups
28. Testing was a religion to Intel, just as Simplicity was to Apple.
29. Even geniuses need reminders. During a meeting, Steve Jobs requested 5 points in a 30s clip, but Lee Chow disagreed and suggested only one point - with a playful paper toss. He crumpled 5 papers, threw one to Steve (caught), then all 5 (Steve missed). The argument won to keep it simple, with just one point
30. When Steve Jobs returned, Apple was 90 days from going bankrupt.
31. “The products suck! There’s no sex in them anymore!” Steve Jobs, upon his return on Business Week interview
32. Ad campaigns takes about abt 3 months from idea to completion of a project (idea, feedbacks, production)
33. When Apple created the first iPod, it didn’t set out to create a portable player that could accommodate music, movies, podcasts, and photos. It created a music player. The rest came later. Aim realistically.
34. The 1.0 version of this product didn’t even support apps, which quickly came to be the most revolutionary part of the platform. The original idea was that Apple would support only web apps developed in Safari
35. When people trust a brand and see real value in it, they’re willing to pay more for it. If you have a mediocre brand, the only way to attract customers is by lowering prices.
36. Apple vs Dell : Apple started in 1997, aiming for immediate action and trusted a small, smart team led by its CEO, Steve Jobs. They knew their identity and took a month to create the "Think different" campaign. Dell started in 2008, took months to plan, relied on a committee, and struggled to define its identity. Michael Dell only got involved after the project was done, and they ended up with presentation boards tucked away in a closet.
37. At HP, process has become more important than progress.
Steve’s fascination with history and his appreciation for iconic images would figure prominently in the work that lay ahead.
38. Upon Steve's return, it took 6 months to revive Apple.
39. Apple had three target groups: Those who remembered the old Apple but had lost faith, A younger generation who only knew the struggling Apple, and Apple employees in need of inspiration after years of challenges.
40. iPhone’s single button has become an icon of Apple’s devotion to Simplicity
41. There are three functions that people use most on their iPhones: Internet, phone, and iPod.
42. Campaign can run for years (Think Different ran for 5 years) - i always thought you need a new campaign every few months!
43. "I don't hate it this week," he said. "But I still prefer 'MacMan' as the best name”. This shows how Steve Jobs had strong opinions but could change his mind when faced with passionate arguments (it became iMac)
44. Apple doesn’t just keep naming simple for the sake of brand-building. It keeps naming simple so it doesn’t confuse the hell out of people
45. Steve had the sensitivities of an artist and was fanatic about details. There was no such thing as an unimportant detail.
46. Steve was most comfortable with a table, a whiteboard, and an honest exchange of ideas. He liked the atmosphere in the room to be such that he could put his bare feet up on the table if he felt like it. Which is something he really did do.
47. Apple vs Dell : “In fact, I never even attended an overcrowded meeting. There’s something in the blood at Dell that requires it—there’s something in the DNA of Apple that forbids it.”
48. Steve didn’t have a lot of patience. He was supercritical. He’d interrupt you in a heartbeat. If you could successfully present to Steve, I imagine you could successfully present to anybody.
49. Simplicity is in a hurry. It wants to cut to the chase and concentrate on the important stuff.
50. Apple's launch events were painstakingly choreographed and rehearsed, with backup plans for every potential issue. Yet, amidst the precision, Steve's informal demeanor was easily seen
51. In many ways he followed the traditional presentation playbook: Lay out the agenda, lay out the facts for each topic, then summarize each topic before moving on to the next. At the end of the show, he’d summarize the high points of the entire show all over again.
52. If he had a thought he wanted to stick with you, he’d repeat it. Over and over.
53. Apple's original iPod wasn't described as a 6.5-ounce music player with a five-gigabyte drive but as "1,000 songs in your pocket." This human-speak approach is a hallmark of simplicity.
54. Apple's advantage lies in its consistent use of human, nontechnical language over the years
55. Companies like Dell are heavily focused numbers and stats. Projects have specific goals, and if the clicks don't meet those goals, there are consequences.
56. Steve often emphasized Apple's position at the intersection of technology and liberal arts in his presentations. He valued ideas above statistics
57. “Fuck the lawyers” - when lawyers were being a pain on copywriting (Lawyers matter, but sometimes they can be a bit strict =) )
58. Intel considered its lawyers’ decision to be more of a ruling than a request
59. Doesn't take no for an answer if he believes it's possible. If you can’t do it, he will get someone else to do it.
60. Apple has a rich history of zeroing in on specific enemies,
- Apple vs Intel : snail
- Apple vs Microsoft (Mac vs PC)
- Apple vs Dell
61. Steve Jobs once said: “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”
Steve started Apple in 1976 when he was 21. He stepped down 6 months before he passed away at 56 years old in 2011
After being ousted for 11 years, Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 - He restructured the company, simplified operations, launched new products within six months, worked with a small team alongside ad agency and created the iconic 'Think Different' marketing campaign.
This was his speech as he introduced the campaign to his global marketing team :
To me, marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world, it’s a
very noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to
remember much about us. No company is. And so we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.
Now, Apple—fortunately—is one of the half a dozen best brands in
the whole world. Right up there with Nike, Disney, Coke, Sony. It is one
of the greats of the greats. Not just in this country, but all around the
globe. But even a great brand needs investment and caring if it’s going
to retain its relevance and vitality, and the Apple brand has clearly
suffered from neglect in this area in the last few years. And we need to
bring it back. The way to do that is not to talk about speeds and feeds.
It’s not to talk about MIPS and megahertz. It’s not to talk about why
we’re better than Windows. The dairy industry tried for twenty years to
convince you that milk was good for you. It’s a lie, but they tried
anyway. [Audience laughs.] And the sales have gone like this [down],
and then they tried “Got milk?” and the sales have gone like this [up]. “Got Milk?” doesn’t even talk about the price—matter of fact the focus
is on the absence of the price.
But the best example of all, and one of the greatest jobs of marketing
that the universe has ever seen, is Nike. Remember, Nike sells a
commodity. They sell shoes. And yet when you think of Nike, you feel
something different than a shoe company. In their ads, as you know,
they don’t ever talk about the price. They don’t ever tell you about their
air soles and why they’re better than Reebok’s air soles. What is Nike
doing in their advertising? They honor great athletes, and they honor
great athletics. That’s who they are, that’s what they are about.
Apple spends a fortune on advertising. You’d never know it. . . . So,
when I got here, Apple [had] just fired their agency and was in a
competition with twenty-three agencies that, you know, four years from
now they’d pick one. And we blew that up and we hired Chiat/Day, the
ad agency that I was fortunate enough to work with years ago, who
created some award-winning work, including the commercial voted the
best ad ever made, 1984, by advertising professionals.
And we started working with that agency again, and the question we
asked was: Our customers want to know, “Who is Apple, and what is it
that we stand for? Where do we sit in this world?” And what we’re
about isn’t making boxes for people to get their jobs done, although we
do that well. We do that better than almost anybody in some cases. But
Apple is about something more than that. Apple at the core, its core
value, is that we believe that people with passion can change the world
for the better. That’s what we believe. . . . And that those people who
are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that
And so what we’re going to do in our first brand marketing campaign
in several years is to get back to that core value. A lot of things have
changed. The market is a totally different place from what it was a
decade ago. And Apple is totally different, and Apple’s place in it is
totally different. . . . But values—and core values—those things
shouldn’t change. The things that Apple believes in at its core are the
same things that Apple really stands for today
And so we wanted to find a way to communicate this. And what we have is something that I am very moved by. It honors those people who have
changed the world. Some of them are living; some of them are not. But the ones that aren’t, as you’ll see—you know that if they ever used a computer, it would have been an Apple. The theme of the campaign is Think different, honoring the people who think different and who move this world forward.
And it is what we are about; it touches the soul of this company. . . . I hope that you feel the same way about it I do.
This book “Contagious” by Jonah Berger is highly rated, with many positive reviews.I mean the book is about how to make things go viral and the book itself went viral =)
I enjoyed most parts of it, great examples and explanations. But for some areas I would tread cautiously. Coming from a Ziglar school of thoughts for sales where willing buyers leads to willing sellers, I think it's important to draw the line between how marketing benefits people vs how marketing manipulates people. I share a similar view on neuromarketing efforts - it's a great attention grabber amidst information overload environment, but we must avoid manipulation, like margarine mimicking butter by changing color from white to yellow and packaging to gold in the 90s.
I’m doing a lot of heavy homework on marketing, pr, and branding for my own benefit. I’m sharing my notes here for everyone’s benefit. And as usual, you don’t have to agree with everything. The author has written a great summary as well, I will share his link below.
Chapter 1 : Social currency
1. Word of mouth is social currency. Scarcity and exclusivity boost social currency
2. Example - speakeasy bars - hidden, exclusive, but accessible (I had a blast barhopping speakeasy bars once - it was like treasure hunting).
3. But be cautious, limiting access can seem snobbish. This is why I declined Bluesky's invite (I hope Bluesky opens their doors for everyone )
4. Choices signal identity. People love talking about themselves, just as they enjoy food and money rewards. They prefer being seen as entertaining, smart, or hip.
5. If your product generates these types of topics, it becomes word of mouth.
6. Three ways to increase word of mouth:
- Find inner remarkability - what's interesting, surprising, or novel.
- Leverage game mechanics - rules and feedback loops engage and motivate.
- Make people feel like insiders.
7 More examples:
- Snapple cap fun facts spark conversations.
- Blair Witch Project's mystery generated buzz.
- Frequent flier points are addictive for top-tier benefits despite 90% never claiming the points.
- Credit cards evolved from gold to platinum, sapphire, diamond - as gold became norm.
- Gamification, badges, and sharing achievements on social media.
8. Exclusivity makes people feel special and privileged. Scarcity techniques, like limiting McRib (made out of pork tripe and stomach) by days/locations, boosts demand, even inspiring people to create tracking apps.
9. People don't always need payment to be motivated, sometimes external rewards can diminish their natural drive
10. People gladly talk about companies and products they like. Bzz Agent is an example, testers get free products and coupons to share.
Chapter 2 : Triggers
1. People naturally talk about products, brands, and organizations, but how can you encourage them to talk about a specific product or brand? Through triggers. This chapter reminds me of Pavlov's theory.
2. Word of mouth can be immediate or ongoing. For instance, Rebecca Black's song "Friday" was bad but gained traction because it triggered searches every on Fridays. Similarly, Budweiser's "Wassup" ad became a global phenomenon due to its widespread use of the phrase by dudes globally.
3. However, Geico's slogan, "so easy, a caveman could do it," was catchy but ineffective because it didn't trigger people (as they were not cavemen).
4. Negative reviews can surprisingly boost sales. A $60 Tuscan red wine's sales increased by 5% after being called "redolent of stinky socks" on a wine website. Even the widely mocked Shake Weight vibrating dumbbell made $50 million in sales.
5. Kit Kat's "Give me a break" ad was a brilliant trigger, and further associating their product with coffee using coffee as stimuli. Merch can also be a trigger factor if high usage and publicly visible to generate ongoing word of mouth.
6. Common and frequently used stimuli is more effective as trigger factor
Chapter 3 : emotions
1. People share because they care, driven by emotions. Jonah Berger's 'Most Emailed' list shows that education articles surpass sports, and health trumps politics in shares.
2. "Awe" - that sense of wonder and amazement, triggers higher shares, as seen in viral videos.
3. Dave Carroll's song about United Airlines breaking his guitar while throwing cargo went viral as it related to so many people, leading to a 10% drop in United's shares in just 4 days
4. Focus on emotions, not just features or facts, to motivate action. Example - google ad "Parision in Love".
5. Good news, humor, anger, and anxiety drive sharing due to the psychological arousal they evoke.
“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the power of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.” Albert Einstein
Chapter 4. Public
1. Visibility matters; what's built to show, is built to grow.
2. Social proof, the "monkey see, monkey do" effect, is powerful. For example, baristas fill tip jars to encourage tipping by making customers assume others have tipped.
3. Design ideas that advertise themselves can thrive, like Hotmail's "Get Your Private, Free Email from Hotmail at www. Hotmail. com," which led to 8.5 million users in a year, resulting in a $400M acquisition by Microsoft. Apple and Blackberry followed suit with "sent by iPhone'' and "sent by Blackberry."
4. Other products that self-advertise : Burberry, Lacoste, Apple's white earphones, Pringles' tube container, and Louboutin's red soles
5. Behavioral residue like reviews, write-ups, likes, and zaps, matter.
6. However, a bad example is the "Just say no" smoking ad, which ended up encouraging more kids to smoke instead of reducing it. If you want people not to do something, don't highlight that lots of their peers are doing it.
Chapter 5. Practical value
1. Most viral videos are made and watched by adolescents. However, video by an elderly, Ken Craig's corn video also went viral because it is practical and useful.
2. Behavioral economics is fascinating. Prospect theory suggests people prefer options that yield a win over a loss, even if the end result is the same as psychological impact > rational thoughts. Diminishing sensitivity explains why high-value discounts are effective ( Many good YouTube lecture series on this)
3. A restrictive / limited promotions work better, as constant sales can become a norm and bore to customers. Limited-time offers make deals more appealing. Quantity limits, like "One per household" or "Limit three per customer," have a similar effect.
4. For low-priced products (<$100), percentage discounts seem more significant than absolute ones.
5. Discount cards that don't publicize the discount/savings to others and encourage hype may not generate much excitement and hype
5. Practical value, like cost savings and useful information, encourages sharing of content.
6. Specific specific / narrow focus content, such as Ethiopian food in the US, gets more shares because it compels people to share with those who might find it useful, unlike general content about food locations.
Chapter 6 : Stories
1. Stories provide persuasive proof through analogy. Narratives captivate, leaving little room for doubt and making people more susceptible to persuasion
2. For instance, Jared Fogle's 245-pound weight loss by eating Subway for six months became the "healthy diet" story and benefited Subway
3. Stories are like Trojan Horses. We craft carrier narratives that people share, and subtly discussing our product or idea along the way. Dove's 'Real Beauty' campaign triggered realisations on how women are insecure without makeup and became a global sensation while it made Dove synonymous with the cause. Dove was the Trojan Horse
4. However some attempts such as Bensimhon's 'fool in the pool' Olympics guerrilla marketing stunt failed. It generated word of mouth, but people were concern over other athlete's performances and were angry and the casino that was used to advertise on stunt-man's body was forgotten. The Evian baby ad, while super cute and great, lacks product correlation and failed to talk about Evian.
5. The key is to ensure people talk about the right things. Virality is most effective when the brand or product is integral to the story, like Blendtec's "will it blend" campaign - A simple YouTube video just blending everything they can find to show how sharp it is and that went viral
6. When stories become viral and it is narrated from one to another, people will focus only on critical details, leaving out the extraneous ones.
Summary by Jonah Berger : https://executiveeducation.wharton.upenn.edu/thought-leadership/wharton-at-work/2013/04/crafting-contagious/
Here's a previous book notes within this category:
I have been diving into the topic of branding, marketing, sales and PR for my own benefit and I’ll share some of my notes here for everyone’s benefit. This book - The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Laura Ries (2004) - is an old one, written at the onset of global internet hype, examples are ancient, but comes with valuable branding input. As with all books - you don’t have to agree with everything and that’s ok. I don’t either
1. Marketing is not selling. Marketing creates a brand in prospects' minds.
2. Everything a company does can contribute to the brand-building process.
3. Today - most products and services are bought, not sold.
4. Branding “pre-sells” the product or service to the user
5. In a store of shelves full of brands, the only selling that happens is through the brands - The power of a brand lies in its ability to influence purchasing behaviour.
6. A brand name on a package is not the same thing as a brand name in mind.
7. The Internet revolutionizes brand-driven buying. Consumers buy cars online without test drives or physical inspections.
8. You are a brand.
1. The law of expansion – Brand should stay narrow focused to increase sales in the long run. Expanding too broadly can reduce market share e.g. Amex, Levis
2. The law of contraction – Start in a niche market to build a stronger brand identity.
3. The law of publicity – Public opinion carries more weight than promotion/ads. Generate buzz through media and articles before resorting to advertising.
4. The law of advertising – Advertising is defensive; it doesn't increase sales but defends brand leadership.
5. The law of the word - Focus on owning a unique word in the prospect's mind, like Mercedes = prestige. You own the brand when people use your brand name for every usage “hand me the Kleenex”, “I need a band aid”.
6. The law of credentials – being the first in the category builds credibility
7. The law of quality – Quality perception matters; narrow focus (i.e., cardiologist gives a stronger vibe as a specialist compared to a general practitioner) and compelling names enhance it.
8. The law of category – promote the category you lead, not just the brand.
9. The law of names – each distinct product line should have its own name.
10. The law of extension – avoid putting the same product name on everything esp. in diff markets (i.e., regular beer and light beer is diff market)
11. The law of fellowship – healthy competition can generate buzz and excitement. Having 2 or more competitors is ideal. ~1000 wine brands in Napa Valley is a tough market to be a brand leader in.
12. The law of generic – Avoid using generic names like General, Standard, etc. Simple, unique words are more powerful.
13. The law of company – company and brands are not the same. Sometimes they are. Generally, customers recognise the brands
14. The law of sub-brands – dangerous grounds. If distinct, treat it separately i.e., iPhone, I pad, MacBook.
15. The law of siblings – General Mills has red lobster and olive garden; black decker used the brand DeWalt for professional tools. Carefully manage sub-brands under a parent company to prevent brand homogenization.
16. The law of shape – Logotype is crucial, clarity and typography matter. logotype > logo. Nike's swoosh logo is memorable because it's tied to the word/logotype.
17. The law of colours – use colours strategically. Red for attention grabbing, blue is calm, purple is royal, black, white grey are basic. If competitors, contra the colours to create distinction.
18. The law of borders – Globalize but maintain brand attachment to the country of origin, if possible. i.e Corona extra hit fame as the highest selling beer because the lime / lemon at the neck of the beer bottle reminded people of Mexican tequila (shots).
19. The law of consistency – Don't change branding when tapping into new markets; it confuses customers. I.e., if BMW were to introduce cheap cars, it would be a diff brand altogether.
20. The law of change – Change branding if your brand is weak, moving down the price ladder, or experiencing slow growth.
21. The law of mortality – Recognize when it's time to let go and enter fresh markets. New categories create opportunities for new brands.
22. The law of singularity – Stay narrowly focused and stick to a common word that defines your brand's identity. Your brand is what the customer remembers it as. It's as simple and challenging as that.
some interesting concepts
- increase the share of the pie / market size - when you narrow focus. Don't increase the size of a slide of a pie (attempting to sell everything)
- start a category to be a market leader. It's easier
I posted this a few months back on how startups find users at the early stages. I tend to look back for this note every now and then as I find these experiences encouraging.
1. Tinder during the early days identified colleges as highest dating profile. They presented to sorority and frat groups and onboarded 15k users manually through their college presentations before Tinder went viral.
2. Brian Chesky of Airbnb went door to door taking "professional" pics and putting them online, slept on people’s living rooms, and grew home by home, block by block.
3. Stripe brothers immediately installed there and then for anyone who was keen at the YC alumni meets instead of giving the link. This became known as the “collision installations”. Stripe is worth $50B.
4. Alibaba’s Jack Ma sent a sales team across China to meet with factories one by one - the factory owners were reluctant as they neither had internet not wanted to speak to people online. Digitalising traditional businesses is not an easy feat, let alone a country as big as China. But it obviously worked as they surpassed eBay.
5. Quora and Reddit filled their sites with own contents for it to pick up user engagement.
6. Red Bull did guerrilla tactic and put empty cans everywhere to make it seem "peer approved". Don’t think this is ethical but for another sugary caffeinated drink to hit a saturated market, it worked.
7. Dropbox launched word of mouth campaign and worked on direct ‘referral’ - their users sent 28M referral invites - they increased user base from 100k to 40M users (40x)
8. Evernote’s founder Libin started with a freemium model - what he found is that the longer customers used the service, the likelier they would pay for it
9. Canva has both paid and free model, and the paid model is low priced for the design and feature offerings which makes easy paid customer conversion. You can also pay standalone to the designers (they crowdsource designers).
10. OkCupid had interesting content market strategy where they will write articles around dating, sex preferences that got a lot of shares. A year after launch they got about 2 million users.
11. Etsy went to the source - the craft community to get people with inventory on board. Etsy is worth $10B.
12. TaskRabbit started with a niche customer segment - they reached out to moms who had other mom friends in their community.
13. Twitter during @npub1sg6…f63m’s time early days and comeback had some of the most learnings. One was to reach out to influential people in SV, another was to target specific market segments like sports, lifestyle, and country leaders. One successful campaign story I read involved setting up large monitors at the SWSX festival to display real time user engagement, and within a day user adoption increased from 20k to 60k users.
Jack's square (now block) during the early days is one of my fav stories. One learning was on how he prioritised less preferred investors first, allowing him to make mistakes and learn before engaging with the ideal ones. It might seem like a no brainer now but 10/10 entrepreneurs I speak (including myself) do not do this. In another instance, he wrote a pitch which included "140 Reasons Why Square Will Fail" and while it put them on a vulnerable spot, it also answered all the questions investors had. It showed how the founders were transparent and thought ahead. Jack is undoubtedly one of the most creative and unconventional founders out there and he is right here for anybody to get feedbacks on Nostr. Kinda wild if you think abt it.
That’s about some examples. It takes A LOT to build a product and launch let alone figuring out how to find users, but customer acquisition is everything.
A piece from Paul Graham's blog " Do things that do not scale" - talks about the many ways to look for early-stage users. I like this statement a lot and it often serves as a timely reminder:
“It's harmless if reporters and know-it-alls dismiss your startup. They always get things wrong. It's even OK if investors dismiss your startup; they'll change their minds when they see growth. The big danger is that you'll dismiss your startup yourself.”
And on a last note: PERSIST.
in the past weeks I've written on fashion, music, tech evolution (mobile), physics, silicon valley, writing, math, cult of the dead cow, jury duties, converting trash to energy, roman history, genghis khan (not done), global politics, salt, standing table, payment gateways, nostr aps...nobody has gotten upset over it
where is this sentiments coming from ?
Talented musicians and artist, just like entrepreneurs, make it big when they breakout. Record labels, just like venture capitalist, sign them in and get them onto the next big thing. The pros are that there is already a per-existing network and connections for these record labels hence everything moves quickly. Confirmed gigs and good ones that is, with marketing sorted out for them. Musicians get paid. But record labels can take from 50% - 90% royalty of artists and bands.
Record label promotes and distributes, but you also need producers, and they take about 2% - 50% of streaming revenues. Good producers are rare and would make a big difference. The creative industry is very different yet similar to startups. Its a diff way of approaching what works, but the audience is all of us. And record labels / producers need good artist and bands just as much as artists and bands need them.
Back during the hippie era, the breakout from norm was heavy on creative expression and counterculture. The big battle was between the creative industry led by the left and capitalism led by the right (50s - 70s). An example of a creative industry led by capitalism would be Disney which synced and optimized creative processes to maximise output. This unfortunately meant a larger form of creative suppression.
To breakaway from the culture as a whole, a lot of indie artist emerged, but harder to make it big as indie or get funded well, let alone as a well as a breakaway artist. Jazz was big on individual expressions from the 20's era but I'd think Motown (record label) shaped African American music throughout the beatnik era - Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder. This beatnik period was a lot on finding a bridge between creativity and capitalism.
One reason why I think Tidal was a smart purchase is that the Bitcoin integration with rev stream and many features to it brings out all the past problems and strengths and finds the best way for capitalism to benefit creativity ie boost artists, increase visibility and improve payment modes.
Nostr music apps have just as much potentials, if not more.
My wild guess is that when Tidal and Nostr music apps takes off, there is going to be a revolutionary way in which record labels and producers start operating with new and better revenue streams. I believe this culture change will slowly start sipping into the movie industry as well, and maybe even independent entrepreneurs. It's definitely one of the more interesting integrations for the future, from a historical perspective