Defining the Brand: Loyalty or Acquisition?

Like most mornings before I get my day rolling, I check the internets and see what’s going on.  Lo and behold, my buddy Bryan Willmert shared this article about gamification from Mashable.  In this article, we are presented with the game mechanics needed for customer loyalty:

  1. Define the “grind” – a clear and easy-to-understand action as the core of your product and loyalty effort
  2. Lay down an XP (“experience points”) system
  3. Create five social actions
  4. Develop a Social Loop With Appointment Mechanics
  5. Have a Reward System Based on SAPS (non-cash rewards by the way)

As I read it, I was reminded of something I posted a couple of years ago where I recommended my former employer change their focus from customer acquisition to customer loyalty.  Now, I’m not naive as I completely understand in the automotive industry, sales are king, BUT I will say that times have changed and that focus might need to make a shift towards loyalty, customer relationship marketing, customer experience or whatever you want to call it.

My “out of the box” idea to my friends at The General would be to take the $10 million you pulled from Facebook advertising and the money you would have spent on the Super Bowl and invest some (or all?) of it into a platform that develops the Apple following I’ve heard many of my former colleagues talk about when I was there.  If you want to develop a car culture where you have people talking about you on their own, provide recommendations and not have to rely mainly on incentives, why not give it a shot?

Check out the following chart that just happened to pop into my inbox as I was writing this:

Most companies would love to see this chart about them, wouldn’t they?  Things are different now, especially online.  Investment must be made and the platform and consumers need to be cultivated.  The biggest question is, are you patient enough to wait?


TEDx Detroit 2010 Relived…@nullfear

If you’re a fan of TED and the local TEDx events, you’ll appreciate this.  As TEDx Detroit approaches on September 28th, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite talks from last year.  First up is Will Smidlein also known as @nullfear on Twitter.  I affectionately refer to this 14 year old as “boy genius” because he is.  Bryan Willmert first introduced me to will last year and it’s been awesome getting to know him ever since.  Enjoy his interview with Charlie Wollborg from last year and if you haven’t signed up yet, do it soon!  We’d love to have you there and meet some of the most talented and creative minds the Detroit area has to offer.

Opening Day Is Here!

Since Bryan Willmert decided to reminisce about Harry Carey over at Soul Excursion, I might as well give you all a peak into my team…the Detroit Tigers!  If you were in Detroit in 1984, you witnessed a remarkable season that saw our boys of summer start off an incredible 35-5 and go on to win the World Series over the San Diego Padres.  So in honor of opening day and my annual hope that the Tigers can beat the Twins for a Central Division pennant, I say, “Bless You Boys!  This is the year!”

Time For A Change

Back in November, I posed the question, Which Way Do I Go?

Well, I have an answer for you.

Look for my thoughts on marketing, advertising, social media, and technology at Edooce, where I’ll be partnering with Bryan Willmert.  This just seemed like a natural partnership given how much Bryan and I have in common and the different perspectives that we can bring.  We still have a lot to plan and sort through, however, we know that we want to do this with specific objectives in mind.

Salt and Light will remain my primary platform to talk about my faith, my family and other fun musings.  I’ve been blogging for more than a year now and it just felt it was time to shake things up a bit.  As I continued to write about the many different things going on in my life, the “”business” side of my posts began to feel out of place here.  One thing that I’ve learned while doing this is to continuously evaluate and change for the better.  I’m hopeful this is a step in that direction.

I’ve been warned by people I trust that maintaining 2 blogs (3 if you count Rey(es) of Light) is going to be difficult.  I’m aware and ready for that challenge.  I might as well take that on for one of my 2011 goals!

I’m humbled and grateful for those of you that have come here over the last 16 months.  Please don’t stop!  I really feel I still have a lot to share!  Thank you again and I look forward to seeing you HERE and THERE.

10 People / Things I’m Thankful For

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without all of us thinking about the things in life that we are thankful for.  Sometimes life gets so busy that we often forget to take a moment and reflect on our lives and truly appreciate all that we have.  This last year has been an awesome opportunity to learn about myself and what matters the most.  With that, here is my list.

  1. God.  This will always be numero uno in my book.  I always go back to Luke 1:37…”For nothing is impossible with God.”
  2. Julianne.  She puts up with a lot from me and still stands by my side and is so supportive.
  3. Gina.  My firstborn who has such a passionate heart.
  4. Joshua.  My son who has the same determination and focus as I do.
  5. Jessica.  My princess who has eyes and a smile that will melt anyone.
  6. Luke.  My little boy who is not afraid of anything and keeps Julianne and I on our toes.
  7. My dad.  Quite simply, he is my hero and who I strive to be as a father each day.
  8. Kensington Community Church.  This place has allowed me to grow in my faith by connecting with great people and great leaders.
  9. Bryan Willmert.  Yes it’s a little sappy but Bryan and I have become really good friends through our passion for Christ and the social web.
  10. The social web.  The number of quality and intelligent people that I’ve met through Facebook, Twitter and blogs is amazing.  Special shout out to Gini Dietrich because she represents the benefits of what Twitter can do for people.

There you have it.  By the way, numbers 3 – 6 are all equal just in case you were wondering.  As you gather this week for your Thanksgiving meals, take a moment and appreciate the people and things in your life and let them know it.

What are you thankful for?

Detroit Reverse Kicks Off This Week! (VID)

As I was getting ready mentally to start my work week, I started thinking about Detroit Reverse.  It’s hard to believe that this event starts tomorrow!  You’ve heard Bryan Willmert and I talk about this before and what I really want you to get out of my message below is to get involved.  Change doesn’t happen without action.  Now is the time to act.  There are many opportunities to volunteer to help make this event a success for the students participating this week.  I encourage you to check them out and see first hand what Detroit Reverse will do to change the lives of the people participating in it.

“Cultural Divide”

DetroitReverse on Facebook and Twitter

Is Social Media Dying?

This post originally appeared on my friend Gini Dietrich‘s blog, Spin Sucks on June 22.  Just thought I’d share it here as well.  You may also want to check out the rebuttal from Jelena Woehr and decide for yourself what side of the question you’re on.  Let me know in the comments below!

I recently read a blog post from Justin Kistner (through SocialFresh) where he theorizes that “social media” will reach its peak by 2012. If social media is dying how can organizations set themselves up for success in this continuously growing and evolving area?

We’ve all read blogs or articles that say “90 percent of social media is just showing up” and we likely know that success in this space can only happen if leadership embraces the strategy and is willing to invest in it. A good friend of mine, Bryan Willmert, gives an example in a post where references Ford is investing 25 percent of its marketing budget in the social web.

He also gives five thoughts on how companies can embrace the social web:

  1. Allocate budget to hire a “Social Media Guru”.
  2. Find the right person for the job (leverage social tools such as LinkedIn or Twitter to find that person).
  3. Work one-on-one with your “Social Media Guru” so they know how to market you (no one knows your business better than you do).
  4. Let them run with it and teach you along the way so you understand where your investment is going and what is coming back.
  5. Keep an open mind and don’t hang on to the ways that you always have done things.

In my perfect world, I’d structure the organization to have a Community Manager who manages a department responsible for the social web and new technologies. (Note: I’m coming from the perspective of a large corporation and this may not apply to smaller companies.)

The people in this role have a working and personal knowledge of how to leverage tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare, and CitizenTube for business growth. They use the tools daily and have first-hand experience. They become a knowledge center for the company to educate other departments (c-suite, sales, marketing, customer service, HR, advertising, and PR) on how to best leverage for their area of expertise.

I’ve seen too many examples of companies that “sort of” jump in, because of the pact mentality, and add “social media” to someone’s already full plate.

Now…will this organization exist in 2012 where Kistner’s theory says social media will reach its peak? It may not in its proposed form. The social web, Web 2.0, or “new media” will continue to evolve, but it will be part of how companies are run, no matter what it’s called.

Are you and your organization prepared to evolve with this shift in how we get our information and communicate? Or will you just “sort of” get it?