Tag Archives: brand

what is in a name..

I just read an article on the Telegraph about how Pizza Hut is changing its name to Pasta Hut. I had to check the date on the article to make sure it wasn’t April 1st!

It turns out that they are trialling it in 30 of its branches to see if they can actually move upmarket and I imagine attract more upmarket customers (who I am sure the idea is will spend more money with them..). It feels a bit gimmicky but maybe is not a bad idea. Pizza Hut has a brand that is down market and has a pretty good (!) reputation for low quality food. The change may well communicate that they sell pasta now but it is going to take some serious marketing spend to tell people the quality of the food has gone upmarket. They are spending £18m 😉

I am not convinced they need to change the name. It will differentiate them more from the other pizza companies – Ask Pizza has a decent range of pasta, and I usually have only pasta there. It might make people think of Pasta Hut first.. The negative though, is that it might have an effect on their delivery business – a pasta restaurant isnt one that springs to mind for my pizza delivery.

I wonder if this is just a marketing gimmick and after a while it will just revert back to Pizza Hut. It is an expensive way of doing things though..

What’s your view?

Beta 2.0 – the art of the conversation

Lets go on a journey back in time. The year is 2004 (pre the launch of the Gmail beta), and it marked a year of change in online services. It was the start of what has now become a standard – launching online services whilst in beta to the public. Prior to this point software and web sites were tested amongst select private groups and then launched publicly. Everything was a bit slower.

Today, whether it is a need for speed or just a requirement to get something out there, betas prevail. In fact something like 40% of all Google’s products are still in beta. This feeds the online tech community’s thirst for something new and also makes use of a group of people who are tech savvy and able to identify improvements and issues – quickly. It is an open source of testing.

There is a downside though – I have signed up to countless services in the last few months alone and whilst some just don’t impress and I promptly leave never to entertain their doorstep again most are (unsurprisingly being in beta) good but just not quite there yet. I usually write about improvements on here to those services and/or submit feedback to the owners for (hopeful) addition. But with so many services starting up, time is becoming a limiting factor and I have noticed a dramatic improvement in the ways these services are interacting with the tech community.

Three methods stand out.

1. The use of getSatisfactionIntense Debate, Twitter and many others have used this to their great benefit. It acts as a 3rd party support/feature request engine and allows for public interaction on a product – like a Forum 2.0. The important thing to note is that your customers can add your company and products without you and interact with other customers – so it is another place online to check what is being said.

2. Surveys and reminders – Everyone knows about surveys – they are a quick and easy way to ask questions (but not too many) of your customerbase. The really important thing to remember is that whilst reading the replies takes time, that is is the reason you sent the survey in the first place 😉 I was most impressed to get emails from Qype (local reviews) about me not having interacted with them recently and from Skydeck, where I was on their beta program and I had got stuck in one of their processes (it only works with US mobile phone companies right now). I also get surveys from 1and1 – quite regularly as they often have problems – I have stopped responding to their surveys – having given them the worst marks and even asking for a callback and not gotten any response, it is obvious no one is reading them. It is just a matter of time before I close all my accounts with them down (5 weeks and counting till shutoff).

3. The last method is within the service itself. I have been using SocialMinder which is a great service that allows me to keep track of who I have talked to when – I’ll write more about this another time as it is one of the best services I have seen in quite a while. They have a prominent feedback link built into every page and have also brought the concept of voting for features that you want added to the feedback page. I’d like to see a restriction on the number of votes you have so that I can just vote for everything but so far people do not seem to have abused this. This last method is a great way to allow users to understand the need to prioritise features and not expect everything in one go.

Mind you, whilst I am all praise for SocialMinder’s setup, I have not had a response back on any of the feedback so right now I am just hoping that someone is actually reading it.

The beauty of the conversation is that when you start having one with your customers, you quickly become much closer to them – not only do you have a better understanding of their needs, but also you make your customer feel like they are involved in the company; that the company is not a cold entity and the result is an added loyalty to the service.

You can never have enough loyal customers 😉

N.B. This all assumes you dont lie to your customers. Needless to say the end result of that is a disenchanted customer or worse someone who is actively berating the service publicly.

[Update] Turns out SocialMinder does restrict the number of your votes 🙂 They are using a system called uservoice which seems to provide something similar to getSatisfaction – it seems to have some better features though is not quite as rounded out yet.

web 2.0 @ marketing tech

Earlier today, I spoke at Marketing Tech around the idea of treating email marketing as a conversation. From the feedback it seemed to go down well 🙂

The conference overall was good – I liked the interactivity of the sessions rather than the more usual presentations delivered usually – it is nothing like the interaction present in tech/web 2.0 conferences though – but then this is a much less tech orientated crowd – it was mostly brand or internet marketers present. In fact, I never even saw an open laptop during any of the sessions.

The session I was looking forward to, and most related to this blog, was the Web 2.0 session presented by Will Mcinnes (I am 99% certain he will visit this site again if he practises what he preaches and tracks his “ego” online!). These sorts of sessions are again completely different to the web 2.0 conferences. I asked a question regarding Twitter and how brands should look to get involved. I don’t think he really answered my question – mainly because not many had even heard of Twitter yet – even my geek savvy Account Manager had not heard of it as (though I sense she will be using it shortly) – I imagine this would almost be sacrilege in a web 2.0 conference these days! In any case, the session lived up to expectations and I thought he got across the concepts of “buzz marketing” and “sentiment analysis” and the idea of having a conversation with your audience which I believe is the way forward. Of couse to have a conversation you have to listen..

So one of the tools he mentioned was Brandwatch which I am assuming are these guys. They look interesting, and seemed to be able to show where conversations involving your brand are taking place. It is certainly a good place to start. Nielsen Buzz Metrics is a similar tool – I have used Nielson’s BlogPulse in the past to track conversations online and found it to be a useful free tool, though Will mentioned that Nielsen’s Buzz Metrics is paid for. Google Alerts is an even easier starting point to track your brand online, though possibly more time consuming.

Anyway, I don’t want to regurgitate the whole session again here – I recommend you head over to either Will’s blog or his company website for more info.