Archives: March 2005

Badvertising: FedEx

FedEx has, for years, done great advertising. A new ad I saw this week doesn't measure up, however.

A confident looking, bearded Phil Knight-esqe CEO is sitting with a bunch of people, outside in a beautiful mountain environment. He says, "Thank you for coming to this offsite. I'm looking for ideas to make our company better."

A young girl, about junior high school age, is sitting in the circle of adult workers. She says, "We can start sending all of our packages with FedEx. Overnight, ground ... everything." The CEO says, "Great. Thanks for coming. You can all go home now."

Oh. So business is that simple? Just change the way you ship stuff? And, the idea of young kids being smarter about business than adults is so 1998.


Well, Jack Welch has a new book out, called Winning and you'd have to be living in a hole to have missed the massive press on the new leadership bible.

Since it's not REALLY available until April 5th, we wanted to note its eminent and imminent arrival, but save our critique until we've actually read it next week.

What Exactly Is A Brand?

On BusinessWeek Online, Christopher Kenton wrote this piece a few weeks back which seems to have had quite the blog half-life, getting picked up, picked apart, picked over and rehashed umpteen times.

Here's where it started:

"Your brand is your name, your logo, your trade dress. You own it. There are clearly written laws to protect it. It is tangible enough to put a price on it. And yet, an entire generation of marketers has found a way to obscure the obvious, to make the brand more fantastic, to make it hard enough to understand that you need consultants to help you figure it out."

Here's where it's going:

Let's step back and consider the concept of brand again. What is one the most fundamental attributes of a strong brand? Consistency. A consistent presentation across time and medium. So why are we so incapable of applying the same concept to our own profession?

Kenton's blog is Marketonomy: Unforgetting The Laws of Marketing.


How will business leaders measure Mark Hurd's success as CEO of HP?

What's your opinion? Analysts say Mark Hurd, the new CEO of HP, is known as an operational cost cutter ... but not [for] growing market share ... a mystery pick out of left field ... a strong contrast to Fiorina ... did a good job as CEO of NCR, a company that is not on the radar screen ... etc. Can he do it? Only time will tell.

Nobody is fully qualified for the HP job; there is none like it. What Hurd demonstrated at NCR is a canny mix of strategic vision and team management, coupled with hard-headed cost control. HP needs the first two like Apollo 13 needed Houston. How he will be measured will be based on the definition of "it."

According to Tom, a great leader will have passion, a great imagination, understand the role of culture in a company's success, act with entrepreneurship in making and executing decisions, engage the customers, hire and develop great people to be greater, have personal integrity and an ability to embrace the ongoing business disruptions. The nominating committee had these criteria in their position specification, and for Mark, put check marks next to them. (Add "risk taker" and "money maker.")

Will Mark Hurd be measured on these criteria or on the stock price and profits? What's your vote on this week's CEO poll?

Juli Ann Reynolds posted this on March 30, 2005, in News.
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Extreme Open Houses

Okay, maybe extreme is the most overused word around these days, but the point of this article from the Boston Globe is that when it comes to selling a house these days, the experience is where it's at. But then, we all knew that anyway, right?


Do you find the style of reporting in this Reuters wire story different from the style in this AP wire story?

Event Slides: NZ

Tom is speaking again on March 30th at the Better by Design 2005 Conference in Auckland, and since it is already tomorrow there, the slides are up at our site now for the convenience of our friends halfway around the world. Tom's really getting into the topic of design, so he's produced three presentations for one appearance: Keynote Two, The Design49 (a subset of Keynote Two), and The Power Is the Story (a variation on a special presentation posted on 15 October 2004).

Hello, New Zealand! You rock! (As all film fans found out by seeing Lord of the Rings.)

Orange is the New Pink

Finally! Dan Pink's new web site has gone live. He's got a blog there and info about the new book, A Whole New Mind. And it's got a bright orange cover. Orange is hot! I just spoke with Dan yesterday, so we'll be posting a Cool Friend interview soon.

Tom's jacket blurb reads, "This book is a miracle. On the one hand, it provides a completely original and profound analysis of the most pressing personal and economic issue of the days ahead—how the gargantuan changes wrought by technology and globalization are going to impact the way we live and work and imagine our world. Then Dan Pink provides an equally original and profound and practical guidebook for survival—and joy—in this topsy-turvy environment. I was moved and disturbed and exhilarated all at once. A few years ago, Peter Drucker wondered whether the modern economy would ever find its Copernicus. With this remarkable book, we just may have discovered our Copernicus for the brave new age that's accelerating into being."

Design is Hot in New Zealand

Tom's in New Zealand, kicking off a three-day national design boot camp.

Event Slides: New Zealand

Tom is giving a keynote for the Better by Design 2005 Conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Get the slides here.