May 09

Della: A Missed Opportunity

As reported by Engadget Dell has decided to dramatically change its recently posted Della Micro site after only 10 days of being online.  Designed as a site  to communicate with women offering them user tips and product suggestions Dell looked to create an environment that was welcoming and knowledgeable to the computing needs of this customer segment.

Interesting thinking but instead the project almost immediately blew up in their face. The initial content such as the tips and tricks can be found here and here but to give a brief discussion it spoke about things such as finding recipes on the net, counting calories and as we know every woman’s favorite color PINK (LIKE OMG!) . Instead of attracting women they were feeling put off and they were letting their voices heard online:

From their facebook page:

Um, some of us ladies were checking out Dells new Della computer section and we think it is condescending of you to make a different one for women as though we are not as smart as men when it comes to computers??” – Wynter Gentry Nash

….if it wasn’t for the tech tips section of the site, I wouldn’t be offended, but all it seems to imply is that women don’t care for anything but cooking and gossiping and looking fashionable with their computer.” Caily Jones as well as on the

On Della site itself:

“..This is  a load of fluff that only serves to provide insight into how Dell perceives my demographic. Essentially, we women will buy anything if it comes in pink and fits in our purse.” User UmmmWhat

Overall Dell took a huge grilling from this audience they wanted to pursue and very smartly made some changes to the site such as updating the tips section and changing the Della name to ” Dell Lifestyle”. In my opinion the site is still a bit fashiony/ultra feminine but its passable.

Now the question is ,isn’t segmenting your market important in marketing?? Absolutely, and if Dell executed the site right it could have been successful but here are a few things that it seems they did wrong:

Stereotyping/Over Segmentation: My initial impression of the Della website was that it targeted women concerned about  fashion and things that are ‘cute’ ( I’m thinking Paris hilton types) it didn’t delve into anything technical and rather focused on the smaller netbooks and that you can have colors on your laptops. Mistake: The majority of women haven’t been locked away and want more from a laptop than just email and facebook.They use it day to day at their work and they blog, make movies etc. They want to know which machine is going to suit the reasons they use their computer.

Women using computers

There are many women who know computers,advertising a pink computer isn't going to work anymore- Photo Via Flickr from TheSeafarer

Created a Man/Woman separation: looking again at the sites lack of any technical topics it didn’t acknowledge that there are  women in the high tech industries. This was definitely an opportunity missed! There are many smart women out there who do tech ( I personally know a few ) but very often anything dealing with computers and things technical like that is seen as an area for men. Highlighting the  successes of women in computers could have not only welcomed women into buying a dell  but it could also left viewers of the site with a feeling of empowerment and wanting to go out and do the same. This also could have been a great opportunity to expand into  mentioning Dell’s other business of computer accessories and products.

I think it was very smart of Dell to have listened to the negative feedback and react as soon as they did, it will definitely cut any negative coverage or drop in sales they would have suffered if it were online any longer. Unfortunately I think they lost out on a great opportunity , and had they been more careful with the execution they could have had a site for audiences to talk about . A website that embraced the needs of women in computing and helped  women be successful with laptops and computers.  In the end of it all  when it comes down to segmentation I think  it comes down to doing the research  but also importantly when you’re online acknowledging all of the audiences that will be viewing your website and not making anyone feel inferior.

Have any questions/comments? Contact me at or send me a twitter message .

May 09

New Products and Social Media: Nissan Hypercube

As I’ve learned through reading cases and witnessing first hand, word of mouth is HUGE when you’re looking to get a message across or a product sold. If you can get people talking positively about your company  your message carries much further than any ad or commercial would. Interestingly enough, marketing agency Capital C has decided to do a full product launch using this idea but by primarily using social networks and social media tools.

The Campaign:

Coming in Spring of this year Nissan Canada is looking to release the Nissan Cube, an entry level vehicle positioned to compete with the likes of the Scion xB and the Kia Soul among others. These cars are targeted towards a younger audience  but follow along the same shape,size and price so a large portion of how these cars will be competing is on personality and emotional connection with the car( personalization options, community etc).

Rather than go for the traditional route of placing advertisements which have little interaction and communication with the customer, Nissan through agency Capital C has opted to release the Cube differently and has decided to rely entirely on Social media to get its message out. The campaign called Hypercube which started in March relies on users of  social media sites such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter  to get people talking about Nissan’s new product  before it launches and build connection and strong interest among a potential customer base.

The Hypercube portal

The Hypercube portal

How did they do this?

By setting up landing pages on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace a competition was started where Canada’s creative  population (considered influencers in this car’s segment) compete for the opportunity of owning one of 50 Nissan Cubes. Starting as a  free for all ‘audition’ people would register through a main portal (  where they are then whittled down through the use of audition profiles to 500 users who then must vie not only for the daily votes of their peers through whichever creative means possible, but impress a panel of judges who will in turn give away 50 of the little Cubes. Each of the 500 participants are provided with a ‘canvas’ where  they may direct votes and be as creative as possible with. After the cars have been awarded winners are then obligated to post online about how they  use and customize their newly won cars to demonstrate the usability and personality of this product.

Canvas of Hypercube contestan Michelle Savoie

Canvas of Hypercube contestant Michel Savoie

Outside of this contest Hypercube’s fans are not forgotten. People still interested in this contest/car still  remain engaged in this campaign. Not only are the encouraged to check out each participants canvas and vote but  through the social network Twitter  they are interacted with and encouraged to build community. With posts in French and English @thehypercube interacts and gives mention to people who create content  or ask questions about the  Hypercube  and the campaign, and more recently has even directly interacted with  fans through the formation of Hypercube meetups.

Hypercubist Rannie Turingan :

Having consistently received Twitter messages, group requests and hearing about it in my interactions with him I figured by mentioning him in this blog post he might leave me alone! I kid! I feel he’s done a very good job in interacting with and building upon his social networks and with his success deserves the mention.

Using his Twitter nickname @photojunkie Rannie posses the question: ” Where should PhotoJunkie go in his Nissan Hyper Cube in Toronto?” Within his canvas Rannie uses his talents as a freelance photographer and takes panorama photographs at  many known and unknown locales in Toronto demonstrating to people a new side of where they live ( many of his followers reside in Toronto).

Rannie's HyperCube Canvas

Rannie's HyperCube Canvas

But I think this is only half of why he is currently at #18 of 500 participants. A very important part of his run for the car is the fact that he engages his network and makes them feel that they play a direct role in his success.  Yes there is the constant posts and messages received by him asking “have you voted for me today”  but its also  like he’s bringing fans with him on these Panorama’s (in some cases actually doing so). Including a counter of photos’ distance traveled and total campaign stats he lets people know of his progress.

Roy Thompson Hall Panorama

Roy Thompson Hall Panorama

Another important aspect of his Hypercube campaign is that he also directly involves his fans in the creation of these pictures, on a consistent basis  he asks for suggestions of new photo locations as well as encourages people to tag along and be part of the locale itself.  In this regard Rannie has harnessed what social media and word of mouth marketing aims to do and that is having people feel like they are part of the story and an active participant  rather than having a message blasted in their face. By voting for him participants feel like they are part of his winning, almost like they are winning themselves.

Apr 09

MeshU 2009

So I had an insanely busy past few weeks, and this last one was pretty much the end of it. Big highlight was taking in MeshU 2009 at the MaRs Discovery District this past Monday. After attending Refresh Events on March 23rd ( watch out for these events, they fill up insanely fast!)  I won a ticket to attend MeshU (thanks!).  The first convention I attended in 2009 , I walked away with some great learning and experience. Although there were 3 streams (Design,Programing, Management) as a marketer I’m more experienced in the organizational portions of business so I opted to stick with the management stream for the day. Here is a brief run down of all the sessions I attended and a few of the key learning points I gained:Mesh U

1. Finding and Keeping Startup People, Daniel Debow (Rypple) :

For anyone not involved in HR the first knee jerk reaction to this is to zone out, but the key insight from this session  is in a start up EVERYONE needs to be involved in getting great people on board. Looking at my notebook I have a lot of little points written down but the key things are that everyone should be actively seeking great people to bring into the organization ( the idea that great people bring more great people) and that firms should build a company culture where people will want to be ‘friends’ with the company. Through this they may take an active role in seeing how the company is progressing and eventually feel passionate about signing on with them if asked.

As well, getting great people doesn’t happen overnight. The process needs to be as transparent as possible clearly stating the risks of joining the company. In the end both you and the candidate are investing a lot into this relationship and it needs to be developed not smashed together.

2. Selling Agile Development , Dominic Bortulussi (The Working Group):

For someone who isn’t a web developer/programmer I had a bit of difficult time getting my head around this but by applying the topic in a more general business/client sense it became a lot more understandable. To think about a regular client/business relationship you have one side who has a task that needs to be done and specifies a price that they are willing to pay. Then on the other side there is a company who approaches the  client and provides the service for them.Very simple. But thinking deeper its not.

Like all things in life not all projects go out with out experiencing problems or delays.There can also be the case where a client suddenly wants additional specifications added. Very often either the company or the client suffers having to take a loss on the project or not getting everything they wanted.  That’s where the flexible project practice the “Target/Scope Model” comes in:

  • The client sits down with the company to determine a set price and key project needs. Additional optional features are discussed and priced out.
  • As the project continues the client removes and adds scope to the project  depending on how ahead/behind progress the project is.
  • Any scope added/removed from the project is discounted at 50% of the price ( ex: a new feature is added because the project is running ahead of schedule, an optional feature is added for half its price)

There are some criticisms in terms of it being very meeting heavy (between 15%-30% of the project is spent in client/provider meetings) but especially in the consulting field the idea of flexible pricing and  having a project be more realistic to the needs of both the client and producer is a really interesting idea.

For more info check out the powerpoint from the presentation

3.Lessons learned: How I founded, bootstrapped, grew and sold my web startup,Carl Mercier ( Defensio) :

Very often startups feel that they can’t survive without having venture capital funding. Attending this session I learned that you can go it on your own and perhaps be even more likely to walk away profitable. Rather than having an investor who will have first go at your profits you control the revenues and can sell at lower thresholds in comparison.

In part Carl Mercier spoke about having an effective marketing plan (Digg doesn’t work!) and a strong business strategy from the start(neither does an advertising revenue model!). Compared to a funded start up,  a bootstrapped start up needs to be making money fast and  must also do away with all of the niceties they could have had being funded (must have  cheaper offices, used equipment, less flash). Important to all companies but especially to bootstrapped startups is the connection the firm has with their customers especially the early adopters.  These are the people who will be selling your company to their friends,family and everyone else around them. Treat them right!

4.Segmentation, Positioning and Storytelling: How a Smart Market Strategy Can Drive Growth, April Dunford ( Rocket Launch Marketing)

As someone studying marketing I was really excited for this session, and I wasn’t disappointed. While there was a lot of no brainer marketing things (for me anyways) like segmenting your market (you can’t target everyone!)  there were some good points made in terms of selling your company/product:

  • Creating a strong value proposition: Tell up front why your customer should buy your product and what makes you different from your competition ( customers don’t want to think!)
  • Create a personal story of your company to tell to customers, it builds a stronger connection and is more effective than listing off facts. They come in 3 forms: Customer Success ( how has the product/service positively affected a customers business) , Competitive Win ( how did you one up your competitor) and Company creation ( such as how Youtube was supposedly started in someones garage *Wrong*) .
  • Communications is VERY important. For whatever initiative you do be it a website, using social media , all the way down to your corporate culture , companies need to have a clear and targeted message. Don’t make it too formal or generic , every piece of messaging should be targeted towards the customer and leave an impression. Another key to this is to remain consistent, everyone should be on board saying the exact same thing even when it may seem repetitive as this is how your company is being portrayed to the public.

5. Boiling the frog: how to get everyone else as excited about your idea as you are, Jason Oke

( Juniper Park) :

I think this presentation complimented well with April Dunford’s presentation.  This presentation furthered the idea of effectively communicating yourself to clients. Lets face it when faced with change most people try to resist it ( interesting enough I learned from this presentation that the ipod was at first rejected)   but by being passionate and targeted with your presentations you can defeat objections and win over people.

Again the idea of telling a story was presented. People need to be sold on the process as well as the product. Often times we are too modest or self defeating of ourselves , we need to stop this as sometimes we can actually kill good ideas. While a strong business case is always important, demonstrating your passion to others and how this came about is  important as well. Jason Oke presented the idea of going beyond the old powerpoint or boring report for the idea of being  multimodal : present some of the tools or inspirations that your team worked off of, bring in a customer to use and demonstrate this product and tell your customer what they think, or go a completely different route  and give them something like  a book  describing the story of your product. To get your customer on board you need to make them part of the process, allow them to give input and take an active part of your presentation  so they feel a stronger connection with your company and what you’re trying to sell!

Have any Questions/Comments? Contact me at or send me a twitter message.

Apr 09


One of the quickest but most intense emotions we can feel, it catches hold of us and puts us completely off guard.POW Title Doing something completely out of the ordinary  is something we all know will get a reaction from people. So  its interesting that companies and organizations don’t try to SURPRISE us more often, especially in a market place where the fight for mind share is becoming more and more intense.

I just finished reading POW! Right Between The Eyes! by Andy Nulman a book I had registered to recieve for free a few months back (and it was well worth the effort!). Having the time now to sit down and read the book I have to say I’m surprised I don’t think about the power of surprise more often but also notice that “DUH!” its so obvious  some of the companies I’ve always been a fan of use surprise and IT WORKS!

As for the book itself, its not a stuffy business book presenting you with a lot of institutionalized information but its also not completely dumbed down. Andy Nulman builds a strong business case for the use of surprise tactics  in organizations drawing from his own personal experience in the many companies he’s worked with( Just for Laughs, Airborne Entertainment etc)  but also drawing from real world examples from something as small as exceptional service delivery to full marketing campaigns. Best of all he doesn’t leave it at that, he leaves the reader with thought processes and differerent tactics ( very tempted to try time bombing)  that anyone with a bit of creativity can put into practice.

Overall very enjoyable book, worth every penny I spent ( ie: $0! Go and get the book anyways!) . After spending the last 3 months with my nose in very theoretical and cut and dry textbooks  it was a great mental break that actually got my mind going and has me seeking out ideas. Thanks Mr.Nulman for sending me out a copy of your book , expect me to contact you sometime in the near future ;)

Have any Questions/Comments? Contact me at or send me a twitter message.

Mar 09

Since I've been gone…..

Wow so its been almost a month since I last posted, slightly embarrassing but its been for good reason! Over the past 4 weeks I’ve been spending a lot of time with people in the Social media/technology fields and attending events to expand my overall knowledge, I’ll have an post coming up soon but I thought I’d lay down a summary of the events I’ve been to:

Podcamp Toronto : Ryerson needs to hold more of this type of event! I think the school really demonstrated what it was about and showed how they can excel above the rest. This ‘unconference’ while initially rooted in the realm of podcasting expanded into blogging, social media, and overall just business/interaction on the net. Some of the sessions I attended included :

-Building Relationships with Word of Mouth and PR Practitioners While Maintaining Credibility with Your Audience .Panel Discussion included :  Anita Clarke,David JonesEden Spodek andMatthew Stradiotto, moderated by Keith McArthur.
-I Got the Job because of Social Media by Daniel Patricio 
Web Metrics Suck, (Or: How to Use Metrics to Get Sh*t Done) by Jeremy Wright of B5 Media 


PodCamp Toronto

PodCamp Toronto

PodCamp Toronto

PodCamp Toronto

Overall A+ conference! Really enjoyed it! I haven’t had time to check things out yet but as a bonus all sessions were posted to the web :

Facebook Camp at MaRs: Held only for a night, and quite a different set up but still was a very useful and informative event! Just to share some interesting Facebook insights did you know that 70% of toronto residents are on Facebook? Or on average that Canadians use this site 29.6 minutes a day and 2.7 times! Canada is a major Facebook nation.

Some key highlights from this event included:

Facebook Connect: Looking at the Facebook platform that allows companies to connect Facebook profiles and import that information directly to their website allowing users to bring their friends and login with them. Not only does this create an easier process for the user but through interconnectiveness at facebook it can encourage users to add more content and drive more traffic to a person’s website.

Whopper Sacrifice: I’ve personally experienced the site when it was up and running but it was great to see the marketing statistics and effectiveness of this campaign. Done by Refresh Partners ( located in Toronto!) this campaign was amazing! A user of the site was given the ability to sacrifice 10 friends for a free whopper, where the friend would be sent up in a flame and burned to ash digitally. This program achieved amazing results!

-233,906 friends sacrificed
-high virolocity: for every one user of the site, they sent 2 more.
-After 10 days the coupons ran out and Burger king happy with the results shut down the site!

Democamp19: Another great event, but again very different from the other 2 I attended. In comparison this event was about web entreprenuers demonstrating their latest projects to the net community. So many great projects to discuss, rather than blather on I’ll post all of the sites:

-N8R text : text your location to N8R text at 416-662-3408 and get a haiku of the location

Something I found interesting at this event was the idea of Ignites presentations which means 20 slides at an auto setting of 15 seconds per slide. It forces the presenter to be on task, well practiced and succinct I think I’d like to try doing it in the near future.


US Now

US Now

Us Now Movie Screening: This was at Bloor Cinema, the movie was about the idea of a colabortive world using web tools and how government and organizations can use this to bi-pass barriers and have a more involved organization. Most of the people I were with were there to see Don Tapscott ( which I was too, his book “Grown Up Digital” is a must read!) but I was really excited by the ideas presented in the movie. One interesting segment included a British football team owned and run by the fans. By collaboration they decided which players to purchase, the starting positions of the players and other tasks that a regular owner would do and I was amazed that such a system was sustainable. Unfortunately Don Tapscott didn’t have much time to speak, but he did share some insights in the end and overall yet another good learning experience.


Premier of "Toronto in 6 Words" Care of MSovie via Flickr

Premier of "Toronto in 6 Words" Care of MSovie via Flickr

GenYto/Canlit at CSI: Not a direct learning experience but still an interesting event to attend.Involving many of the people I’ve been speaking with over the last while I thought it was really interesting to see how this group is made up ( from marketers/ photographers/ PR People/Webdesigners and the list goes on….) despite everyone coming from different backgrounds/experience levels everyone was still able to come together have a good time and share experiences. Following the theme of all of the events it was about collaborating , sharing and bettering each other as a group. While this was more of a winding down and having fun event its not something one would normally see  happening very often  in my opinion.


Closer to end of the night at Canlit.... I think we're all entitled to a few bad pictures :S Care of Rannie Turingan Photography


Whats on tap for the weeks to come, well in the near term its going to be “Passion” on March 23rd by Refresh Events and then FAILcamp coming up in July….. but I sense there will be many more in between as well. Stay tuned! 


Have any Questions/Comments? Contact me at or send me a twitter message.

Feb 09

My First podcast!

Just a quick warning, as its my first podcast its far from perfect but after the amount of time it took me to learn to edit this thing on garage band ( because Apple software is so much more ‘user friendly’) I’m a little proud of it. Its a short look at my life as an army brat, the ups and downs of it and where things are headed in the future. Hope all of you enjoy! I’m hoping sometime in the near future to make this a regular thing, for now its just a class project.

Feb 09

Why I'm Not Listening to Your Presentation!

This seems like a pretty back to basics post but I find too many people  get this all wrong and loose the very people they are trying to persuade in the process. Creating a great presentation ( powerpoint or otherwise) is something that takes time and a lot of thinking to do right, but can also be easily completely screwed up. While I’m no expert on the subject as I’ve been a guilty party well ,I’ll use a bit of my experience  from my communications background and from having to sit through countless presentations ( and many bad ones!):

Practice! :  There are very few people who can ‘wing it’.You need to put time into knowing your presentation and what you plan to say or else you’re more likely to have many run on points and take way too long! As well practicing can’t be done in your head as it doesn’t account for the speed of your talking  and any Ummm’s and Ahh’s that you’ll have trying to put decent words together. By doing it out loud you can hear how your presentation is going to sound and can change any wording that  doesn’t flow right. 


Personalize: This comes in two parts,  adding a personal aspect/experience  to  your presentation to build credibility ( can’t be done in all cases)  and personalizing it for the audience. What I mean by personalizing it to the audience is if you’re speaking to  for example a  group of Computer programmers you’re not going to tell them the basics of a computer. So basically don’t regurgitate information that you’re audience already knows this is probably the easiest way to have people tune out, even if  you have something relevant to them later on. 

Learning to use less : Another very common mistake I’ve seen is people trying to cram as much information as possible  onto slides. People aren’t there to read from a powerpoint, they’re there to hear you speak . So speak more than what you place on the powerpoint/blackboard etc. This will keep the attention on you and your audience won’t zone out after reading the slides before you’ve gotten to your points. There are so many general rules out there that I won’t go into in terms of how much you should place on  slides , what I can say is to put on only as much that it will compliment what you’re saying  and not dominate the presentation.


Be Creative and Interactive:  Unfortunately we all have very short attention spans and if we’re not engaged we start talking with the person beside us or do anything that doesn’t involve actively listening to you! Again if you’re using powerpoint it needs to be interesting to the eye  and what you say needs to keep the audience listening . Moving beyond just telling the audience information is effective as well. It can be a demonstration, a short skit, a funny little game  just something to break away from just constant speaking. 

 To add more to this,  audiences tend to take away more when they are actively involved. This also can be the hardest thing to do as there will be a lot  resistance. Through asking simple questions, having people do small activities or at least giving them a small laugh , not only will they be more likely to pay attention but they will also remember  the key information that you’re presenting! 



I hope this helps out a bit for the next time you’re doing a presentation in whatever setting that may be. The biggest take away I would like to express is to be audience oriented! Your audience is the whole reason you’re presenting, if you loose them you’ve pretty much failed at your goal.

Have any Questions/Comments? Contact me at or send me a twitter message.

Feb 09

Google Latitude: Stalker or Business tool?

         So this week the all mighty Google *bows*  released  its new mobile application called Latitude.  Interestingly it fits  with Wired Mag’s  recent article named “Inside the GS Revolution”  which is of a similar theme.  So what is this new possible killer app from Google?  Through the use of a mobile browser ( only through certain OS’)  a user can access this app and  and through the use of invites basically tether themselves to thier friends or family through the use of GPS.  Users can find out where and what their contacts are doing and  have the option to contact them through phone or Google talk.

              The general consensus I’ve been hearing in discussions of this new project is ” That’s a Stalker’s dream tool!”  and truthfully if you think about it today with people handing out friend invites so easily if someone really wanted to they could follow someone else around town. But there is also the thought that you are also giving Google the ability to know where you are and more knowledge of your communications.  This gets into some questionable discussion areas.

         Thinking about this app in a business sense it could hit some interesting ground though. Looking at it on a firm by firm basis it could be used to track sales staff and know the location of employees who are often out on business trips.  It could be used at conventions and large business to tell customers of the location of key employees for tours, discussions or service. But on the marketing side of things I think is where things can get really interesting.


            Looking back to my Wired Magazine reference, in the late 1990’s the company brought forward the idea of convergence and push media. This tool could be used in combination with an application such as Twitter where not only do we learn a friend/colleagues location but also have that added dimension of a  micro blog post.  Look at this program as well on a commercial level and a person could explore an area and be pushed coupons or promotions based on the proximity of the store or company. Allow for the  micro blog postings  of customers within a certain store and it could also be communicated outwards the quality of products, or the thoughts about certain aspects of a store( this would probably need to be tweeked…. a system like this could probably cause screen clutter really fast!).


          Looking at this application on a privacy sense it is a little scary but Google does work to ease fears a bit by allowing a hide feature . But how are you going to hide from Google?! With the increased usage of smart phones there are many opportunities coming up in the future for people and businesses to interact with one another adding an increased layer of choice and knowledge for the customer and another measurement tool for the firm. Lets see how widely accepted this program is in the months to come……


Have any Questions/Comments? Contact me at or send me a twitter message.

Jan 09

Steve Jobs: I’m not dead yet!!

This is a pretty insane case of the CEO being part of a company’s brand. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple has come out in a public letter stating that he is in good health and not dying! Much like earlier this year after a presentation of the Iphone 3G , rumors about his health have been circulating around the net after it was announced that Job’s will not be giving the 2009 keynote at MacWorld.

After this announcement Apple stock took a significant dive falling to $83.35 a share from $100 in mid December. Steve Jobs in his statement attempting to prevent further damage , stated that he was skipping MacWorld this year to focus on a recent hormone imbalance that has been causing him to lose significant weight over the past year and that he is OK staying on as CEO for the forseeable future.

With Job’s prostate cancer announcement in 2004 pundits and investors have taken an increased interest in his health giving rumors like this very quick legs. While Steve Jobs has been instrumental upon his return in bring back Apple co. to great success , he has now in my opinion become a liability to the firm. Being so strongly associated with the brand (among some apple fanatics he’s seen as a savior) investors and customers cannot see a future for this company without its ‘great leader’.

My prediction for the year is either while becoming fed up or slowly forced out of the company Steve Jobs will step down from his position as CEO and take a more consultative role . While he’s done such great things for this company I think this is an example of how a company cannot have a single figure head or public face to the firm because like in the case of Steve Jobs’ if they are unable or unsuitable to represent the firm , the company overall becomes weaker in the eyes of the public.


Image source:

Dec 08

General Motors : After the Bailout

I just finished watching the General Motors press conference concerning the funds the will be receiving and their plans moving forward and thought it would be a great case to start up some conversation regarding communications and dealing with public perception.

There were a few things that I thought CEO Rick Wagoner did right and somethings he could have improved upon.

What Went Right:

Presenting a sense of humanity and teamwork: He came with two members of his management team and made mentionof their hard work and put human faces to his company . This included making mention to his COO’s business casual wear for casual friday and how his CFO had not been able to change his clothes since yesterday being so busy . To me this showed that they aren’t taking an easy route out and that as a company they will work to meet the requirements of the deal.

Humbly acknowledging sucess: Mr. Wagoner made mention of the design and quality success of the 2008 Malibu, mentioning that this is the direction that GM plans to move towards. It demonstrates that GM has the potential to become a strong company once more.

What went wrong:

Arogance: A key peice of this press conference should have been directly thanking the American people and stating that they will not let them down. Instead of this Mr Wagoner made statements of how GM had made america in its first 100 years and will help to bring the american people out of this recession as they reform themselves and move into the next 100 years. You don’t even know if you’ll last past 2009!! Now is now the time to be making any grandiose statements, it should be acknowledging that you’ve been making mistakes and that they will be fixed ASAP!

Lack of details: Often there were statements made towards the plan presented to the US government but no clear direction or details had been mentioned on how exactly they plan to change themselves. I think they should have at least stated some details of a clear plan like for example how they plan to focus on strengthening core brands,begin retooling factories to be more efficient or completely re-inventing themself to be a leader in green technologies. Other than some very broad and ambigious statements from the COO I heard none of that…. in the months to come its going to be very important to communicate how GM is going to make itself profitable.

Moving forward: In the months to come its going to be ever important that GM has strong communications between government and all of its stakeholders. Its going to be very important as well to demonstrate that they aren’t wasting the public funds given to them, especially in these hard times. With the many billions invested in the banking industry I feel that a feeling of anger and disdain is the general sentiment of the public towards banking firms who are doing little to show how they deserve the public trust ( the term “banksters” says alot about this sentiment). Being close to bankruptcy GM cannot afford to go this route, they need to change their past perception that America ( and the world ) needs GM and instead that its exactly the opposite.