Category Archives: viral video

How created a disruptive customer experience

If you think about what’s happening in the men’s shaving razor market it’s a little like a cold war era arms race. Each year more and more blades are added to the humble razor. The giants of the industry Gillette and Schick continue to add more and more features to their products but are they creating more value?

Michael Dublin from doesn’t think so. In a mere 12 months he has built an online subscription based razor business with more than three hundred thousand customers.

How? Michael recognized three major pain points for men when it comes to buying shaving equipment. Firstly razors are expensive! and they keep going up in price. Rather than getting more for less consumers are getting more for more…. Secondly the experience of buying a razor is far less than ideal (to put it politely). Razors a usually locked behind a plastic cage at the back of a Walgreens store and it take 20 minutes to get someone back there to let them out! Finally who really needs 5 blades? How close a shave do men really need?

How about a world where razors are bought online at low cost and sent to you each month – a just in time subscription model. Not only that but they are provided by a company with a sense of humor, that doesn’t take things too seriously (apart from disrupting the existing business models).

A great value proposition is worthless if no one knows about it so to overcome the inherent challenge facing any new business or new idea, Michael developed a video to communicate what is all about…

While it certainly is not a video that will appeal to everyone, it does a great job of speaking directly to his target audience – men fed up with spending a fortune just to keep up with the latest shaving technologies.

How knowing your customers improves your ability to communicate

Stop shouting at your customers

It may sound obvious but the better you know who your customers are and what their preferences are the better your chances of finding them without having to SHOUT!

How do you get the attention of your potential customers?

What media do your customers prefer to use to get information on the problems you can solve? With the ever expanding universe of media options how do you decide where to invest? Let your customers make the decisions for you.

Where do they spend time online? Where do they network? How do they learn more about their profession? Who are they influenced by?

Finding out more about your customer’s preferences is crucial to making the right investment decisions. However choosing the right media vehicles (mouth pieces) is only half of the journey. What you have to say to customers when you find them is even more important.

What insight do you have about customers that can demonstrate you know them perhaps better than they know themselves?

Being an Ironman triathlete one of my favorite examples of this comes from the following Cliff Bar commercial which shows what its like to be a “triathlete”

This super creative 30 second tv spot really speaks to the target customer. It says we know who you are and how you feel, it is a great example of connecting with customers on an emotional level.

Was it successful? Only Cliff Bar have the actual data on that but as a customer its something I love to talk with other triathletes about. The impact of the message also means that Cliff Bar is always top of mind when it comes to selecting or recommended sports nutritional products to others.

Which company ads or messages really stand out for you?

Why social media matters to customer centric businesses: Death by a thousand cuts

Much has been written about the impact of social media on corporations and yet many still dismiss it as a distraction.

The “United Break Guitars” video has now been viewed more than 12 million times. For those not familiar with this story, United Airlines passenger Dave Carroll had his guitar destroyed by the airline’s baggage handlers during a flight. After a battle with United for reimbursement and repeated rejections, he wrote a song decrying their poor customer service. (See video below)

So what?

I have heard a number of commentators suggest this incident has really not made a blip on the radar screen of United’s business. While others have argued it actually cost them a fortune.

I think the answer lies somewhere in between these positions. I did not stop flying United after seeing the clip but at the same time it did further diminish my opinion of them and how they run their business. As competition enters the market such as Virgin America I am more interested in considering these alternatives and what they have to offer.  The social media impact of hearing about negative experiences reinforces my perception United really does not care about retaining my custom and makes me open to hear about alternatives.

So while bad experiences like these shared on social media don’t necessarily change short term behavior they do reinforce a negative brand position for companies that is very difficult to reverse. They are constantly swimming upstream against waves of customer dissatisfaction.

For me I see negative social media as more like a “death by a thousand cuts”, it creates a slow but consistent erosion of a Brand’s reputation that increases its costs to acquire new customers and puts at risk its existing customer relationships.

Essentially it is amplified “negative word of mouth” so while the impact and influence of this will vary across the customer base, it is hard to argue it will not have an impact.

The bottom line

It does not have to cost more to do the right thing for your customers. Avoid the slow death of negative sentiment and instead give customers something positive to talk about, it will be like floating downstream…

What do you think the impact of social media has been on business?

Are you as customer focused as this dog?

This is one of my favourite videos that really demonstrates customer focus in action…. understanding customer needs and demonstrating how you will fill those needs in a tangible way is how every great customer focused professional operates… enjoy the video!

Using Video to drive better communication with your customers

Video has a lot of my mind-share right now, it is increasingly becoming a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes to provide insight and value to their customers. In fact depending on your objectives, video can be an enabling tool for just about any business goal.

A few powerful uses:

1. Interviewing customers – if you have great customers, why not interview them and ask them what they think about what you have done for them. Most customers are more than happy to share their positive experiences with others.

See some of our examples here

2. Interviewing thought leaders – are there people in your industry that are seen as thought leaders, innovators that everyone is interested in hearing their opinion? Would your customers be interested in hearing what they have to say?

Here is a great example of such an interview from David Garland’s site “Rise to the Top” for entrepreneurs. Here he interviews a well know thought leader in marketing, Seth Godin

3. Telling stories/documenting case studies

Why video? It is a medium we are all very familiar with, it allows us to really get a sense of the full spectrum of human communication in a setting we are used to.

We can see and hear a person communicate almost as thought they are sitting right in-front of us.

David Boyll, the Director of Digital Media Technology for Oracle Corporation, recently shared some other facts about the value of this medium:

“Conversion: Internet Retailer reports that found that viewers who chose to view video converted at a 400% increase over those who did not.

“According to Forrester, video stands about a 50 times better chance of appearing on the first page of results than any given text page.”

Thanks to Brightcove Blogs for surfacing this data.

If you are interested to hear what some of silicon valley’s best practitioners, agencies and consultants have to say on the topic, we have a great SVAMA program coming up in Sunnyvale on February 10th.

See here two personal invite’s from speakers at the event:
Our Key Note Jeff Severtson kindly put together this short video:

Why United must change its culture

There has been a interesting phenomenon occurring over the past few months relating to a poor United customer experience. This was not any customer however, it was David Carroll, lead singer of the Canadian band “Sons of Maxwell”. I will let David take up the story in his words from here:

“In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and my Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. I discovered later that the $3,500 guitar was severely damaged. They didn’t deny the experience occurred but for nine months the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss. So I promised the last person to finally say “no” to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world.”

Here is the 1st song, now with almost 5 million views…

Another strong message to the leadership about United’s need to fundamentally change its organizational culture, if it is to ever grow and profit in perhaps the toughest industry in the world it must develop a culture that focuses on delivering the greatest value at all times to its customers. This is an unfortunate example of again where they fall short……..