Power To The Peeps

Over the past week, we witnessed two distinct but related uprisings of customers voicing their opinions and companies backing down. It started with the Facebook Terms of Service fiasco, where FB made subtle but significant changes to their ToS such that there were questions over who owned the data that you have put on the social networking site. Eventually, Facebook backed off but the damage was done. This is a poster child for how NOT to handle this sort of change.

Then this week, Tropicana did an about face on a much more costlier change they made. Recently they released a new design platform for their brand and packaging and it was widely lambasted by critics and, most importantly, its customers. Today they announced that they would revert back to their more popular and pedestrian “orange with a straw in it” package design. On a side note, I don’t know who is advising or making the package design decisions over at Pepsi, but man, they are getting hammered.

These are again two very different but still clear demonstrations of how word of mouth and the power of customers coming together, rising up, and providing a big single fingered salute to companies will drive positive change.

San Francisco

I spent the majority of this past week out in beautiful San Francisco, CA attending the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s (yes it exists) WOM Basic Training conference. At its most basic level, Word of Mouth Marketing is defined as giving people a reason to talk about your products and services, and making it easier for that conversation to take place.

Overall, I found the conference very eye opening and enlightening. There were some very compelling presentations and they far outnumbered the poor presentations (including the pathetic disappointing keynote from Robert Scoble). What I found most fun were the stories and examples of different people rallying around a specific cause or passion, including www.savesurge.org, www.snakesonablog.com, iPod Battery Replacement, and the Chevy Tahoe “make your own ad” fiasco.

I also met some great people, including the fine folks from Brains on Fire from down in Greenville, SC (thanks Spike, Robbin for dinner on Wednesday evening! It was fantastic!).

I could write for pages the things I learned and the background on the previously mentioned examples, but I think I’ll just add them sporadically to the blog as time goes on. It will make for some interesting and diverse reading.

I look forward to attending future conferences like this and I can only hope they are as informative and enlightening as this one!

Political Humor A Few Months Old

Back in November during Election season, I am sure everyone saw the This Land is Your Land animation spoof of John Kerry and Dubya from JibJab. They have now come out with a couple more including a hysterical one called Good to Be in DC and the newest, Second Term. The guys who created these spoofs were even honored by ABC News as one of their “People of the Year” at the end of 2004. This is very good humor, although I must admit that the Good to be in DC one is by far the funniest.