Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Build It and They will Come is…
My puppy, whose name is Georgia, is going through her “terrible twos.”
The use of the word “no” doesn’t seem to register all of a sudden. She used to understand that word, but now just seems to have forgotten what it means.
My other dog, whose name is Herschel, is a bit of a cantankerous sort. Any time I talk to him, he growls a little and huffs and snorts. He’s soon to turn 12 years old. And while he does eventually understand the word “no” –when you say it, he still growls.
My two dogs remind me a lot of businesses and prospective clients out there.
This morning’s electronic version of Ad Age is all about the BIG Three US automakers.
One story is titled, “GM Tells Congress It Plans To Slash $600M in Marketing.”
Another one is titled, “November Car Sales Plummet And Not Only For Detroit.”
And then these two are followed by one titled, “If GM Has A Brand, It’s General Misery.”
Sounds dismal doesn’t it?
There’s even an article titled, “How To Be Fired” that coaches agencies on how to deal with being let go.
The first new car that I bought was a Honda. That was back in the 1970s. Since then, I’ve owned only two American made cars. Both were SUVs…one an Oldsmobile and the other a Ford…and I am not sure I even made it to the two year mark in ownership of either vehicle.
I bought the Honda in 1978.
Back 30 years ago, the market was certainly speaking and speaking louder it became.
In some ways Detroit is a lot like my dog Herschel…but eventually at least he does listen.
Georgia… I told you what?
In today’s Atlanta Journal Constitution, there was a front page story in the business section about a restaurant here in the ATL (Atlanta, that is) called J. Christopher’s.
One of the really cool guys running Grey Advertising Atlanta met me at a J. Christopher’s a couple weeks ago. Kind of a older building that had gone through some urban wear and tear, but nice on the inside and the food was okay.
According to the article, two guys have recently joined up with the folks that started J. Christopher’s to develop a franchise market expansion program for the concept.
These two guys — Holbrook and Haddock (sounds like partners in a law firm doesn’t it!) — come from a near exclusive background of working in the quick service and fast food restaurant industry.
Haddock was the past CEO of AFC’s Popeyes Brand and Holbrook was one of AFC’s founding partners and past president.
Just FYI…the new CEO of Popeyes is a female who was recently featured in the press about how she is having to revive the Popeyes brand and its service deliverable.
I was all okay with these guys until I tripped across a sentence that I re-read a couple of times to make sure I got it right.
Here is what it says…
“The company isn’t concerned about hitting specific targets for the number of new stores opened.”
They really don’t mean “targets” as in “target groups” do they?
Then I read on…
“The most important thing for us as we go forward is that we select the right franchisees,” Holbrook said.
He’s not one of those Build-It-And-They-Will-Come-Junkies is he?
Well… here’s the clincher…
“In order to win Monday through Friday, you have to convince people that breakfast is worth coming in for.”
Okay…let’s go with the flow of the article author… they left behind the BIG chains and are not back in the seat of being young, energized entrepreneurs again.
When I saw the headline, I thought maybe this is worth calling them and telling them about some cool tools that we have to reach out and get into the consumer mindset…find out what consumers need and desire…and how you can deliver an experience that satisfies those needs.
Then again, I thought about my puppy and how many times I have to say the word “no” and how often she doesn’t even listen.
Folks…BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME is DEAD. DEAD.
“J. Christopher’s is banking on customers seeing value in what their restaurants offer”
The verb “Banking” may say it all!
Al Reis is the author of the Ad Age article, “If GM Has A Brand, It’s General Misery” and in his article he captures the point of all of this best
Here is what he wrote…
“In 2007, the U.S. automobile industry spent $4.6 billion on advertising. For all that money, you might think the U.S. automobile industry would have done a lot of brand building.
Take a recent 12-page Saturn insert with the headline “Rethink.” Each of Saturn’s five models encouraged automobile prospects to doing a little cogitating.
Saturn Aura: “Rethink responsible”
Saturn Vue: “Rethink safe”
Saturn Outlook: “Rethink big”
Saturn Sky: “Rethink adrenaline.”
Saturn Astra: “Rethink amusement”
So why should you buy a Saturn? What’s the sum-up thought that encompasses the Saturn lineup? I don’t know, do you?
Furthermore, Saturn’s “rethink” words don’t make much sense either. They seem to be borrowed from other brands. Volvos are “safe.” Cadillacs are “big.” Porsches are “adrenaline.” And I have no idea what a “responsible” car is or an “amusement” car.
Oddly enough, if Saturn were a dominant automobile brand, this approach might make a semblance of sense. But in the first 10 months of this year, Saturn’s share of the U.S. automobile market was just 1.4%, about the same as RC Cola’s share of the cola market.”
BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME is DEAD.
So instead of living behind the walls of your brand, get out there!
Ask consumers what they desire…ask customers what makes your experience one that they crave…compare your brand experience to experiences that have consumers waiting in line to get there…
Hey… the road is open and the path is clear…there’s big opportunity on the horizon…
Come get into the MINI COOPER with us and…
Let’s Journey! Woof…Woof!
UPDATE 1/4/2009 — No question that GM is a sinking ship…and their ad agency that produced the set of spots airing in the Bowl Games needs to have their IVs clipped. One of the spots compares a GM gas guzzling mega SUV to the MINI Cooper claiming that the GM SUV gets better gas mileage in the city — another one compares a GrandAm to a BMW. Any other agency folks out there game for an intervention confrontation to get this agency into rehab???