Friday, August 04, 2006


Today is the last day of my internship. It marks the end of one experience in my transfer; an experience that has been as rewarding as it has been a significant learning experience. If you haven't yet had a chance, read the impetus behind this blog at this post.

I will be blogging again soon, hopefully after this transfer is finally complete.

Until then,

Chris Posey

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I Had Lunch with Dustin Staiger Who Has Been Quoted by Tom Peters and Whose Blog Receives Regular Commentary from John Moore

Over the course of my transfer into corporate marketing and my venture into social media (blogging, to the layman-Dumb and Dumber, revised), I have learned of the compelling nature of one very important marketing/blogging skill: name-dropping. So today, I will dip my toes into this pool and shamelessly report that yesterday, I sat down and had lunch with Dustin Staiger of "Casual Fridays."

Now, my reference to Jenks marketer and guy who has been quoted by Tom Peters is not intended to be gratuitous; I actually wanted to pass along a gem I pulled from our discussion.

For the two of you who follow my blog regularly, you may remember a previous post on my blog citing Jennifer Rice's insightful rebuttal of Laura Ries's concern over Weber's positioning strategies. Yesterday, Jennifer's post came up in my lunchtime conversation with Dustin. We made quick discussion of it and moved on. Later, as we were contemplating the evolution of social media, I expressed concerns I have had with the life expectancy of social media (as I have presented in my blog in a previous post). Then, reaching back to our previous discussion about Rice/Ries (a name similarity which I glibly made a comment about as I stuffed chips and salsa into my mouth, realizing later that I may have been mispronouncing my two positioning/branding heroes' last name for years), Dustin made a great point. To paraphrase, blogging is not the end all, be all of social media. Social media is not about "what you do...[but] how you do it" (Rice). Just as McDonald's is not positioned as a hamburger joint but as a place of convenience, social media is not about blogging but about (in Dustin's words) an "exchange of ideas." (I had to keep saying this phrase over and over in my mind during lunch yesterday just so I wouldn't forget it for today's post.)

The moral: it's not a question of if blogging will go the way of the chatroom, but when it will inevitably happen, what will come after, and how prepared you and I will be for it.

Name droppingly,

Chris Posey

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How do you like that for name-dropping?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Picture of Disquietude

Have you ever held someone in high esteem--all the way up until you actually met him or her? It was at the initial meeting that you realized that this previously assumed upstanding Dr. Jekyll was actually the troglodytic Mr. Hyde. Over the course of my internship, this has happened to me not once but twice. The immediate response is disappointment, and the long term response is avoidance.

Transfer this analogy to business. Have you ever made a decision to visit a service firm (including restaurants) based on reputation, word of mouth, and/or an appreciation for the strength of the brand, only to be disappointed by the front-line experience? You suddenly realized that the highly-touted service provider was really no different than any other provider in the same industry. Or perhaps the high price of the service followed by the low quality of the service provided made it painfully clear to you that the company was only in it for the money. You were, in the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, "the picture of disquietude."

This morning's post by John Moore articulated one such Hyde-like quality that has tainted many a strongly branded service--and its employees (enter Jerry Maguire): "You play with your head-not with your heart."

Now, my idealism and naivete are not so blinding that I don't realize that there is really only one purpose in going into business (enter Jim Cramer): to make money. However, to keep from repulsing those first-time visitors who revere you simply because of your brand reputation, your brand must permeate your service, top down. To wit: no doubt, someday I will join my near 6 month old daughter on her first trip to McDonald's. And I can tell you without a doubt that if any aspect of the service provided to my sweet, wonderful, beautiful, perfect, litttle baby girl who is now and always has been cute (yes, even from Day One) contains "Satan's signature" (back to Jekyll/Hyde), not only will we discontinue our visits at that point, but I will become the biggest brand whatever-is-the-opposite-of-evangelist you have ever seen. I know Ronald McDonald just wants my sweet, precious baby girl's paltry allowance, but if that becomes clear to me, I will be introducing her to the Whopper on our next dad-daughter date. The careful avoidance of such a traitorous transgression should be adhered to not only by the company as a whole, but also by the service providers whom the Company has made the conscious decision to hire. Are they working from paycheck to paycheck? Neither I nor my very intelligent and cute baby girl should be able to sense that.

I'm not simply speaking of the provision of good customer service here. I'm speaking of maintaining brand consistency throughout the service organization. I don't want just any old restaurant for my perfect little angel, I want the McDonald's brand. I don't want to take my baby girl to just any old fun amusement park, I want for her to be immersed in the Disney experience that comes with a brand that permeates the firm, all the way down to the people who sweep up the mouse-covered candy wrappers strewn all over the park.

Fall short in providing the service expected from and consistent with your strong brand and you may very well become the rarely frequented, much avoided "Blackmail House."


Chris Posey

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