Hiring a booth babe is SO, SO wrong, or not.

Companies still do it. They hire “booth babes” to work the stand, attract punters and scan badges. They are paid per scan. Yes it is still that shallow.  Here are 3 reasons why this is a bad idea, and 1 reason probably it isn’t.

NO: Qualified leads, not any lead

Every time you scan someone it is another lead in a database to be qualified. The best time to qualify the lead is when they are standing in front of you. Not 1 weeks after the event by email or constant chasing them by phone. Use staff who understand your products and your customers on the stand.

NO: Attracting the wrong people clogs up the stand

If you have hordes of people wanting to talk to / oogle / be seen next to the booth babe then it is stopping genuine potential customers get to your stand to register their interest or get more information.

NO: Wrong image of your company

Is this really supporting the brand values of the company? If it is, like GoDaddy or Wheels and Heals magazine then fine. But for 99% of you it probably isn’t. It doesn’t help you recruit customers, partners or employees.

YES: Brand awareness through selfies

If you want to shamelessly get your brand out there. Cash in on men’s weakness to be seen with attractive women plus the trend for selfies. Set up the booth babe taking selfies with punters where the company branding is very visible in the selfie, either on the model’s skimpy clothing or the background. BUT only if it supports your brand values.

The image is from the “Wheels and Heels magazine” stand – so probably on-brand.


The power of social media: good & evil

A simple mistake by a Sainsbury’s employee who put a poster aimed at employees, to encourage every shopper to spend an extra 50p, up in a store window would have been a local issue 5 years ago. Realising their mistake it would have been taken down and forgotten, with perhaps a little ribbing from colleagues and a dressing down from their supervisor. Not now. Social media amplifies everything. The good and the bad. The blunder was spread around the social universe with the hashtag on Twitter until it was picked up by a national newspaper, in this article,  which supercharged the social media force.

Here is the offending or offensive poster.

Sainsburys 50p

You no longer own your brand. Your consumers & enemies do

In this video, it explains why the power is now with the consumer. You  no longer own your brand when your customers or enemies have the power of social media in their hands.

One misquote by the CEO can send a brand into freefall as Gerald Ratner discovered in 1991.

Although widely regarded as “tacky”, the shops and their wares were nevertheless extremely popular with the public, until Ratner made a speech at the  Institute of Directors on 23 April 1991.During the speech, he commented:

We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, “How can you sell this for such a low price?”, I say, “because it’s total crap.”

He compounded this by going on to remark that some of the earrings were “cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn’t last as long.” Ratner’s comments have become textbook examples of the folly of making fun of, and showing contempt to, customers. In the furore that ensued, customers exacted their revenge by staying away from Ratner shops. After the speech, the value of the Ratner group plummeted by around £500 million, which very nearly resulted in the firm’s collapse.Ratner resigned in November 1992 and the group changed its name to Signet Group in September 1993.

Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 14.05.03Michael S. Jefferies,  the slightly overweight and un-cool CEO of Abercrombie,  made it clear about the focus of his brand in an interview in 2006, but has resurfaced and now with the power of social media has gone viral.

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” Jeffries said in the article. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

This has unleashed a torrent of abuse, calls to boycott the stores, and affirmative action as the video below shows.

America’s Cup team reveal their secret weapon #americascup #social

In this fantastic video it shows the Emirates Team New Zealand team understand how to maximise the power of social media. But they also understand that these videos need to be done properly. It is not hacked together on an iPhone after a few beers. They also showed that some of the top sailors are pretty good actors and can just about keep a straight face. 36k hits and climbing.





Ambush marketing. Way cheaper, way cooler and way more fun than BIG BUCKS marketing

You could pay a “kings ransom” or “an arm and a penis” for the marketing rights to a huge event, such as the Olympics. Or you can spend time thinking and being creative. Something that is being called guerrilla or ambush marketing. It won’t make you popular with the organiser or the main sponsors but it will with your customers.

A brilliant example of this was Dr Dre at the 2012 Olympics. The story is worth reading, but Tom Fishburne has captured it perfectly in the cartoon below. However, before you write this off as a quick stunt that got lucky you need to understand the thinking that went behind it.

Planning an ambush

Like any good ambush it requires a real understanding of the ‘prey’, careful planning, patience and immaculate execution.  What has made it possible is that marketing has evolved to where the brands are owned not by Don Draper, but by the consumer. And brands that really get this mindset change will do phenomenally well.

Ambush marketing banned

The London Olympics wanted to protect official sponsors, so they orchestrated an historic ban on ambush marketing. Parliament made ambush marketing illegal with stiff penalties. A bakery was prevented from having buns shaped like the Olympic rings. Olympic cafe had to change its name. Almost 300 enforcement officers were checking firms to ensure they are not staging “ambush marketing” or illegally associating themselves with the Games at the expense of official sponsors such as Adidas, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and BP.

So how did Beats by Dr. Dre, a headphones brand, beat the ban? They were everywhere in the Olympics. Every time you tuned in, athletes were wearing them. Every time you looked online, people were talking about Beats.
Ambushes require audacious thinking

They took a look at the Olympics from a different angle and realised that many of the athletes needed to focus whilst warming up and wore headphones to drown out the noise. So they created custom national headsets in the colours of all of the competing teams and provided them free.

Ambushes require meticulous planning

They then thought about consumers and built a campaign that wasn’t about the headphones. It was about the consumer expressing themselves through the headphones: “Everybody has something that makes them one-of-a-kind #showyourcolor.” And they built everything around the #showyourcolor theme.

Ambushes require timing

And then like any good ambush, they waited. Athletes started wearing the headphones with very visible colours when warming up, a time when they were still enough for the cameras to be on them. It worked!!

And it spread from athletes to consumers. You couldn’t miss it. Samsung may have been the official sponsor, but Beats owned the better insight and better story. And to add insult to injury for the official sponsors the IOC endorsed the approach “There is a difference between someone using equipment with a logo and someone promoting a brand”.