Archive for July 2009
Customer service is the new marketing because it is grounded in competency, people, and contact - all things that can help you with innovation and relationships and that cannot easily be outsourced. They in turn create the experience your customers have that contributes to your story - that of your company and your brand.
Every now and again, a PR meme appears on the Web – almost to the point where you could set your watch by it. This time around, Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times sparked the conversation with an in-depth article, “Spinning the Web: P.R. in Silicon Valley.” I respect Claire and I believe she wrote an extensive article that chronicles the launch of one particular startup and also featured supporting quotes from those PR professionals who are helping to usher in a new breed of corporate communications. While an exposé makes for an interesting read, PR is undergoing a much more significant renaissance that receives almost zero attention in this article. P.R. in Silicon Valley is far more sophisticated and effective than what’s actually spotlighted in the story and it’s much more potent than most entrepreneurs, investors, and executives realize.
The recent debates about the redesigned Tropicana orange juice packages that made a brief appearance on the market and disappeared after an outpouring of customer complaints brought to light again the need for caution when changing the packages of major brands.
At the Aspen Ideas Festival this week, Andrew Sullivan said, “Journalism has become too much about journalists.” True. It’s not just that newspapers are covering their own demise as thoroughly as Michael Jackson’s. This is about the mythology that news needs newspapers – that without them, it’s not news.
Gone are the days when snaring attention for start-ups in the Valley meant mentions in print and on television, or even spotlights on technology Web sites and blogs. Now P.R. gurus court influential voices on the social Web to endorse new companies, Web sites or gadgets — a transformation that analysts and practitioners say is likely to permanently change the role of P.R. in the business world, and particularly in Silicon Valley.
It would be profoundly reassuring to view the current economic crisis as simply another rough spell that we need to get through. Unfortunately, though, today’s mix of urgency, high stakes, and uncertainty will continue as the norm even after the recession ends. Economies cannot erect a firewall against intensifying global competition, energy constraints, climate change, and political instability. The immediate crisis—which we will get through, with the help of policy makers’ expert technical adjustments—merely sets the stage for a sustained or even permanent crisis of serious and unfamiliar challenges.
Let’s face it: Your regular customers are on autopilot. When a purchase is repeated enough times, it becomes habit. However, market shifts can disrupt even the most powerful habits, and the current financial meltdown is the single biggest market disruption we’ve ever lived through. Customers are altering their behavior because of uncertainty about the future: laying off employees (maybe even your contacts), hoarding cash and postponing routine purchases. All purchase decisions are now up for conscious review. This is a daunting challenge, but it also creates opportunities.
Here’s video from the Aspen Ideas Festival responding to my question about what follows the industrial age. It’s much better than my limited report on it below:
Yesterday's report on the causes of the crash of Air France Flight 447 is incomplete, and the reliability of the investigation's findings will never be without question. But the broad conclusion is probably all-too true: the computer had something to do with it.
Chris Anderson has built a career out of making bold pronouncements that the economics of Silicon Valley - the way in which software and digital technology are built and distributed - are likely to spread to, and ultimately conquer, the rest of the economy.