Ah, a new year! Which means it’s time for a little reflection on the previous 365 days, and a little projection for the days ahead. Many of us set resolutions at the beginning of the year, and then abandon the new habits just a few weeks into January. Resolutions don’t work for me either, so I set goals instead. I use a quick 4-question survey to look back on the previous year, and make a plan for the next year. No pain, no fuss. Just four questions. When I’m done, I have a simple action plan to make this year successful.
I spent about 20 minutes total in the shopping madness that is Black Friday. Merchants anxious for my discretionary spending employed all sorts of lights and sounds to get attention, each one louder and brighter than the next. Digital impulses are gone in a flash, pushed out of our sight by more and more messages that demand our attention. The jumbled noise makes me long for a more sophisticated and lasting esthetic.
The Dallas AIA Women in Architecture announced the contestants for the 2012 Express Yourself competition. The competition winners are formally announced Saturday, October 20 at the conclusion of the Texas Society of Architecture convention in Austin. The Express Yourself competition book will also be unveiled at that event. My digital art piece, “Sunny Day”, has been selected for publication.
There are so many talented women in this group. I’m certain I’m not one of them. It is just an honor to be nominated.
A Few More Details
I wanted to see what could be created with a digital canvas. I used Paper, an iPad app to sketch and “paint” this picture. The app is really easy to use, and encourages activity with its simplicity. Paper gives you just a few colors, and some brushes, a pen, pencil and eraser. But that isn’t any reason to think you are limited. If you haven’t tried Paper, give it a look and see what you create.
Every day, we talk to all kinds of clients who need help building their brand. There is a reoccurring theme to these conversations — clients want to find new customers and keep the ones they have. Who knew? And exactly how do you do that?
One answer is to start a conversation offline. Any good conversation worth having contains equal parts of talking, and listening. Our digital impulses tend to shut off the listening part of the conversation. Here are four ways to step away from the keyboard, and have a conversation with your customers.
On a trip to lovely Nashville, Tennessee, a tub of Blue Bell Kentucky Delight Ice Cream jumped out of the Kroger freezer case and into our grocery cart. (What? You don’t go shopping at the grocery store when you’re on a trip? Hmm.) Turns out it was simply yummy pecan pie pieces and caramel folded into brown sugar ice cream.
It was advertised as Kentuckian. It even featured the outline of the Bluegrass state on the packaging. Sure, some bakers may splash a little bourbon in their pecan pie recipe. But Kentucky Delight? We have pecan pie in Texas, so there is no way it should be limited to Kentucky! And where is Kentucky exactly? Isn’t it north of Oklahoma?
It is time to talk about JCPenney and their new marketing strategies under Ron Johnson. It was possible to hope for a different outcome, but cracks started to appear before the fresh coat of paint was even dry. How effective is their aggressive jump into a new branding and sales campaign!
In a rush to implement new marketing strategies, like changes in pricing structure and store design, JCPenney forgot about their consumer. No doubt they were trying to attract a new shopper, or at least get her to shop more often. And in the meantime, they completely alienated current customers with a sudden shift in pricing and no incentives (coupons) to drive purchases. Sales have suffered and the perception of the previously solid retail brand has been damaged. JCPenney is suffering from an identity crisis. Not only are the trying to redefine what the retailer looks like, they have completely lost sight of who was buying items at their store in the first place.