Monthly Archives: September 2008

The bailout package equals terrible marketing

It doesn’t really matter what you think about the credit crunch, financial crisis and bailout package. What has become very clear is that we’ve experienced the worst marketing campaign since Coke tried to sell us the New Coke.

Let’s start with the name of the campaign: Bailout package. This evokes emotions in regular people that resulted in endless phone calls to Senators and members of the Congress. The proposed package was never meant to bail out Wall Street, it was meant to stabilize the economy, ease the credit crunch and instill confidence in the US economy. Naming it ‘Economy Recovery Act’ or ‘Economy Stabilization Act’ would have immediately changed the conversation and allowed people to talk about this package without negative emotions.

Secondly, Bernanke and Paulson might be the worst sales people I’ve ever seen. During the hearing, they never explained in layman’s terms the consequences of a credit market freeze. They used banker language, feeding suspicion that the package might just help the big wigs, not the common people. Both showed no energy, no passion about what they are trying to accomplish. Politicians from both parties gave them ample opportunity to explain to Main Street the ramifications a credit freeze. Instead, they reverted back to their comfort level of bank speech, not willing or able to connect with people.It would have helped to recruit a pitch person that people admire. Warren Buffett comes to mind.

Last but not least, Bernanke and Paulson should have used conversational marketing techniques to spread the word about the necessity of this package: Invite influential bloggers to the Capitol, explain to them the situation, allow them to market your package for you. Build web pages explaining the situation, allow people to vent, answer them, connect with them.

We’re all in this together. This is not a situation where people should play to win (money, elections, reputation, etc.), this is a situation where we all have to win. Because we have nothing to lose.

It’s the small things that count

I’m an avid coffee drinker and I try to stop by Intelligentsia on Sunset at least once a week. Yes, the coffee is the best I’ve ever had but that’s not the reason why I feel obliged to pay a visit as often as I can: Intelligentsia is a coffee temple, a worshiping ground for the art of making a good coffee. In everything they do, you can feel the passion for a good cup of coffee. You can tell them what kind of coffee you like and they will make you the perfect cup. With a heart on top. Just like in french bistros, they have pastries and free water but it doesn’t deter you from the real focus of the company.

This passion for coffee is the whole brand. It might not be important for the average visitor but it makes me want to return: The care, the attention to detail and the passion makes me forget that I pay a bit more for a latte than in other places.

I don’t think they ever advertised their product or even have a marketing department. They use their passion and a good eye for design to let others spread the gospel to the world. People often don’t care about lofty marketing goals. They care about the small things.