November 9, 2004 Volume 4 Issue 27
Business 2.0 and ‘Dumbest’
If you’ve read me for a few months you know I like books.
And you also know Nancy and I moved from a large place in Arizona to a much smaller adobe in California ... meaning there is much less space for ‘stuff’. Yet, there is always room for another book or two. One of which I’ve just finished reading. It is a collection from what I think is an excellent business magazine, Business 2.0.(http://www.business2.com/b2/). The book is The Dumbest Moments in Business History ... and I recommend it.
Not because it is full of funny stories that happened by accident, or even plan ... as it is.
Not because it has lessons we can learn from ... as it most certainly does. Instead, I suggest it as serious reading which will help fill in the gaps in our business history knowledge levels.
Why is knowing business history important? How many facts and figures will gain us a new customer or retain a current buyer? Well, to be honest, I’m not certain Human Resource stories, Manufacturing and Production articles and Accounting snafu’s are helpful to we charged with moving products and services out the door and making a profit. Still, knowing these happenings gives us a foundation on which to build a successful campaign in 2005.
And then the Public Relations chapter and the Sales and Marketing chapter are filled with “live” examples of things not to do. For example, fill Coca Cola cans with something other than Coca Cola, which the folks in Atlanta did for one of their promotions.
Or what KLM, the Dutch airline, did with animals who arrived in Amsterdam without the proper paper work. There are even a few anti Wal-Mart stories ... the people who have certainly reached out to me, an anti-shopper, and made me feel welcome. They seem to have offended several with a lack of service at the newspaper boxes located outside the store - stories I read with a smile.
Sports and outlandish promotions go as far back in my life as I can remember. Growing up in St. Louis at a time the Browns baseball team still existed (prior to their move to Baltimore) the competition with the Cardinals was so great they had to stretch to fill the stands. Some of the ideas of the 1940's were updated to the ‘90's ... with the same results. Yes, beer @ .10 triples attendance, and causes havoc both on and off the ball field. Yet, the Cleveland Indians tried the same idea again anyway - and ‘enjoyed’ the same negative results.
Of course there are the “T” shirt readings, which one would think might be confined to college campuses. Not so. Abercrombie & Fitch have become the masters of poor taste when it comes to slogans on wearing apparel. Annually they have a recall after offending someone so deeply it makes the evening news.
Musicians have brought to market lyrics not only not suitable for Sunday morning, many are out of place as bathroom humor. And then these people, such as Chuck Berry, wonder why their popularity and record sales decline.
Media gets beat up from the left and the right on a regular schedule. Often they deserve every spit-ball aimed their way. NBC may own the top prize for their rigged and staged explosion of a General Motors pick-up truck. All to gain a few more viewers ... it instead cost them plenty of bucks and a lousy reputation for quality journalism. All this long before Dan Rather and CBS stretched a story during our recent national election.
There have been and probably will continue to be marketing campaigns where sex gets in the way of the true message. Or at least stretches the truth. “Fly Me” was a National Airlines slogan that worked so well they got bought by Pan Am ... and we all know what happened to them.
Well, I could continue with Edsel like stories. Instead I suggest you get a copy of the book for yourself. It’s worth it.
Of late I’ve been doing a good bit of Chinese history and cultural reading.
From the major news sources, this, an Anonymous Chinese Proverb, is not what most would normally think. Making it even more powerful;
“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”
The RJm Story
Being a slow learner, many lessons came late in life.
"It IS What’s Next!” is a story I tell to association groups, at company meetings, for special events. Anywhere. Everywhere. At any time.
It’s an inspirational message. With words about the Business of Your Life and how it affects the Life of Your Business. Want to know more? ... visit itISwhatsNext.
Sure, you can phone me @+1+760-376-1858or send an E-mail to Ray@RayJutkins.com.
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.