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Charlie Wollborg
Chief Troublemaker. Marketing Strategist. Creative Director. Keynote Speaker.
Chief Troublemaker. Marketing Strategist. Creative Director. Keynote Speaker.


The more hoops you make your customers jump through, the less likely they are to jump at all.

Your convoluted internal processes, department silos and legacy systems count for squat. This means you contact forms, voice mail trees, captcha, no substitution policies, "not my job" thinking, form of payment limitations, conference registrations, social media policies and "that's the way we've always done it" mentalities.

Organize and optimize around your customer. The job you save may be your own.

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Out: Social Media Greeters. In: High Powered Concierges.

Another good post from Chris designed to get folks discussing the local face of your brand.

I think intellectually, we know there's a difference between a nation brand, our local retailer and their employees. But a bad experience anywhere in that value chain doesn't just weaken the individual link, it damages each connection.

We're emotional creatures. Do me wrong and I won't easily forget. How many times has a bad server or a cold dinner forever ruined your relationship with an entire restaurant brand? How about an user unfriendly website? A confusing voice mail phone tree?

We all need to elevate our game at each consumer touchpoint. We live in a world that is both online and offline all the time. Brands must be both human and digital. All brands are now both local and global. We need to stop thinking about our strategies for each medium and strengthen our relationships with every point of contact.
Local and Online Blending

I'm noodling around ideas of local. Here's the start of such ideas. I'd love to know your thoughts.

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Be an AND person. It’s where you’re going AND how you get there. You can’t buy your integrity back after you’re a success. Do good and you’ll do well.

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The TEDx family mourns the lost of another great Detroiter. Jeff Zaslow was a source of wisdom, humor and inspiration for millions through his best-selling books, WSJ column and keynote speeches. Please take a few minutes out of your day to watch Jeff's inspiring talk from last year at TEDxAlvaPark in Detroit.

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Out: Plastic people. In: Your people.

Nothing makes a company more forgettable than stock photo people on your home page. Sure, stock art plastic people are prettier than your real people, but you can’t build a relationship with a stock photo.

We do business with people we know, like and trust. Plastic people make your brand look like a commodity. Generic. Disposable. Forgettable. Replaceable.

Use photos of the actual people your customers will being working with (and hire a darn good photographer to help show them in a good light). It will help humanize your enterprise, engender loyalty and a sense of ownership from your team all while helping you build relationship with customers and prospects.

Your people are integral to your brand and brand experience. Online. Offline. All the time.

And while we’re bitching about stock photos… Take a look at the technology photographed in your brochures, collateral and website. Are the computers, laptops, cell phone and headsets in the photos older than your new intern? Dated technology sticks out like a sore thumb. Refresh and stay relevant.

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Is it time to add photography as a required competency in schools?

We're a visual society. We skim more than we read. And we love to look at pictures. A lot.

Take a gander at just about any marketing case study these days, and you'll see smart marketers are using photos to drive traffic with Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, Picsa, 500px, DailyBooth, TwitPic and Tumblr.

And that's not even mentioning the insane numbers YouTube puts up every day. Maybe we should be talking about adding video production/editing to the required curriculum?

The old world looked down at folks who could write or spell. And while that won't change anytime soon, I believe the day is quickly approaching where we will snub job candidates who cannot light, compose, capture, retouch, edit and share.

Photo by the most excellent photographer Brad Stanley.

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Childhood can be tough if you have an unusual name. You can never find a pencil or a sippy cup or bike license plate with your name on it. On the bright side, when you grow up, you're more likely to win a gig as a host on NPR. Peddle on, future Lakshmi Singhs, Jian Ghomeshis, Quinn Klinefelters and Kai Ryssdals of the world.

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Out: Super Bowl Ads. In: Super Brand Experiences.

The best ad during this Sunday's football game stars two Canadian rec league hockey teams and one American beer. Stellar work from Budweiser. +Scott Stratten has all the awesome details.

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Sitcoms make you laugh. Ads make you buy.

While the full Ferries Bueller ad is somewhat cute ( ), Abe Froman would never drive a CR-V. He's the Sausage King of Chicago for crying out loud. In typical Super Bowl ad fashion, they created good content without tying it to the product. Everyone will remember Ferris long after they forgot what product co-starred in the ad.

A good ad grabs our attention, draws us in, make us laugh, cry or think. And most importantly, an effective ad indelibly brands our brain while making us want to "buy now." Super Bowl ads often skip the branding and selling and stick to entertaining. It’s such a shame to waste your ad budget on anything less than all three.
Here's my review of last year's SuperAds:

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Nothing tells your customers “Please, don’t contact us–ever” quite like using CAPTCHA on your website. Sure, CAPTCHA is an effective way to weed out those annoying bots jamming your order system, but it also weeds out frustrated prospects and customers.

Do you really want to create a barrier between you and your customers just so you can stop a few spam bots?

Maybe it wasn’t your decision. Maybe is was the folks in IT working to keep your inbox clean and clear. Are you going to let the IT department make your important customer service and brand experience decisions?

Do your brand a favor, and more importantly, do your customers a favor: Kill the captcha.
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