Distinction vs. Differentiation: It’s Time to Stop Asking for the Impossible

(This article previously appeared on LinkedIn.)

Last weekend, the American Quilter’s Society displayed hundreds of hand-made quilts at the Lancaster County Convention Center. The show was visually overwhelming, featuring craftsmen (actually, mostly craftswomen) from around the U.S. and abroad.

Each of these artists could rightfully claim their works were one-of-a-kind – yet, that distinction alone carries no financial value. All handmade items are unique. It is the level of craftsmanship that differentiates one quilt from another, and the details of that craftsmanship can raise the value of a quilt by thousands of dollars.

Though the words “hand-made” and “one-of-a-kind” will be spoken innumerable times at such an event, they do not constitute a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Read more

crowdsourcing graphic

Frustrated by Crowdsourcing? Get Used to It.

Recently, I came across a LinkedIn post that railed against crowdsourcing and its negative impact on freelance design, in particular. The author’s point was simple enough: Crowdsourcing sites (like DesignCrowd, Crowdspring, 99designs, and countless others) run contests in which graphic designers compete by submitting what they believe is the best design solution to a challenge brought by a client. The winner gets paid; the losers usually get nothing. This exploits those who participate and are not chosen and drives down the market price of design projects for all designers.

He’s right, but shortsighted.

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George Wurzel, blind carpenter, stars in Subaru ad

Advertisers Awaken to Blindness: Audio Description in Advertising

George Wurtzel is blind. But that doesn’t stop him from teaching woodworking at Lighthouse San Francisco and Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind. And why should it?

“Just because you can’t do it doesn’t mean that I can’t do it,” laughs George. “I can’t run a four-minute mile. There are some people who can, but don’t tell me that I can’t do it. Give me the tools. Give me the opportunities. Give me the education. Give me the accommodation that I need and let me try and fail on my own.”

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Thank You

The 2018 MarketPoint Thanksgiving Quiz

Saying “please” and “thank you” seems to be a lost art. At least that’s the conclusion you might have drawn, had you joined us for Halloween. Children wandered up and down the sidewalks, barely making eye contact with one another – some talking on their smartphones, some listening to music through their earbuds – and as they stuffed treats into their plastic pumpkins and trick-or-treat bags, less than half bothered to say, “thank you.” Read more

2018 Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen’s New Brand Strategy: “Becoming Less German”

Writing for Campaign Magazine, Simon Gwynn revealed, today, Volkswagen’s new brand strategy: to become “less German.”

On the surface, one might wonder whether being perceived as “less German” is, as far as strategies go, about 73 years behind history. Let’s not forget that Volkswagen once made the transition from “the German people’s car” to a friendly global brand in the wake of Adolf Hitler’s demise. Read more

Colorful recycling bins floating in a promising sky

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Finding Fresh Material for Social Media

Customers sometimes ask, “How can organizations like mine keep coming up with fresh material to share on social media?”

Well, here’s a very short answer that might make it easier to find material. And the best part is you already know the mnemonic. Read more

Motocross racek doing extreme jump

Our Extreme Culture: Is There a Way Back?

The language of extremes has become commonplace.

How many times can we be told a movie is “the most poignant drama of our time” or an actor has given “the best performance of his life”? Is there any reason to believe people who tell us an event is “unprecedented,” or a tennis exhibition features the “perfect match-up,” or a piece of jewelry is “one-of-a-kind?” What turned frisbee into “extreme frisbee,” and what distinguishes kickboxing from “ultimate” kickboxing”?

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Old Banking 100-key Adding Machine Net Promoter Scores

Banks Still Suffer Low Net Promoter Scores

According to leading Net Promoter Score® Software-as-a-Service provider CustomerGauge, the banking industry still has a long way to go in the Customer Satisfaction department. A relatively new industry commonly known as FinTech (Financial Technology companies) is giving the banking industry a real run for the money. Read more

Gravel Path through a Cornfield represents the customer journey

Maintaining Contact throughout the Customer Journey

We all know why it’s important to stay close to our customers throughout their customer journeys. So, I’ll leave the obvious to another blogger. But how do you go about it? And just whose responsibility is it? Those are entirely different questions.

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