Archive for March, 2011

I was wrong but probably right.

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Hayden has just pointed out that Google did in fact print a number of hard copies of Think Quarterly.

These were free for their advertising and industry partners and they say that they have no plans to do a larger print run.

I still believe there will more printed soon and they will be for sale.

Time and marketing imperatives will tell.

I want it because I can’t have it.

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Google has just produced an online magazine called Think Quarterly.

It’s aimed at their business partners and advertisers, and is stylishly designed.

I guess, given the name, that they intend to publish it four times a year.

It is the sort of publication that would make an excellent collection, especially a printed version sitting in your bookcase or on your coffee table.

However Google have made it very clear that this will remain an Ezine and there will be no hard copies.

Below is an extract from the Think Quarterly site.

“We’re flattered by the positive reaction but have no plans to start selling copies!”

Making the product a rarity is one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book. It also gives it a higher perceived value.

What’s the bet they will be releasing a printed version very soon?


Monday, March 21st, 2011

Inspired by my involvement in Alphabattle, I decided to develop a new family of typefaces.

They’re called Dotcom and Dotcomdotau.

Intended to be reproduced in two colours, they use circles, squares and lines to create abstract shapes.

It’s not the most legible family of faces about, in fact there is a clear breach of form over function.

Selling or marketing?

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

I recently moved into an apartment and downstairs we have two coffee shops.

They both stock delicatessen items, prepare take away meals, sell lunch and of course serve coffee.

They are identical, in many ways.

One is always full and sometimes it’s hard to get a seat, while the other is normally empty.

The empty one is far cheaper, yet what they are selling isn’t that different. However one is just selling, while the other is marketing.

The difference between the two was best described by a former lecturer at the Harvard Business School, Theodore Levitt.

“Selling focuses on the needs of the seller and the need to convert product to cash. Marketing focuses on the needs of the buyer and the need to satisfy the customer through the products produced.”

The successful café has created an experience and their shelves are crammed with interesting things to buy.

You might just go in for a macchiato but you will probably come out with a basket full of imported French Brie de Meaux, Italian Sopressata and a duck egg Frittata for tonight’s dinner.

I’m off for a coffee now, and I’m taking my wallet.

Out of service.

Monday, March 7th, 2011

The service industry is at an impasse.

For years the telecommunication and airline industries have been promoting service as one of their key benefits and a cornerstone of their business.

However as a result of the GFC, costs have been squeezed and the bottom line has to deliver returns to the shareholders.

CEOs are rewarded when they deliver a profit and the brand image is of secondary importance.

Airlines are continually cancelling flights when they don’t reach a particular percentage of capacity.

Making the claim, ”More flights more often.” seems rather lame.

Then take the telcos and Vodafone in particular.

They have spent years and millions of dollars promising service and raising the expectation of their customers.

Many consumers, sick of the monopoly and heavy handedness of Telstra, moved to the more proactive and approachable Vodafone.

Now it’s all gone horribly wrong.

With an increasing lack of service from the network and the company, their customers started to complain.

There are so many disgruntled consumers that a class action has been mounted against Vodafone. Currently 20,000 angry people have signed up.

Their initial response to the barrage of complains was to shut down their email server.

Now they are in damage control.

The Vodafone CEO, Nigel Dews, has been forced to publish a public apology, listing the steps they are now taking to rectify their shortfalls.

Time will tell if they do lift their game and invest more than just words in delivering a better service to their customers.

If you do wander past a Vodafone shop at the moment they are eerily empty. So the one area they were trying to protect, by reducing service, their profit, now seems very much at risk.

It’s been years since anyone has debated the value of a brand as being as important an asset as production lines or bricks and mortar.

This fact seems to have been lost on short-sited shareholders and weak, complicit, CEOs.


Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Thea and I have just spent 6 weeks in Indochina.

I took about 3,500 shots while we were away.

Here are a few of them.

To call this photography would be an insult to the likes of Brassai, Penn or Brandt.

These are just some snaps taken by an enthusiastic amateur, who fell in love with the people, culture and colour of this amazing part of the world.

The insects weren’t too shabby either.