Sizzle Is Not Steak

There was an interesting quote in the Wall Street Journal the other day.


It was about how the stock brokers all too often hawked hot stocks to their unsuspecting and foolish clients:

You sold the sizzle, not the steak!


Wow, isn’t this all too often what happens with products and services in the marketplace?


People get you hyped up on all the excitement of something.


The latest and greatest widget or whatever. 


It’s gonna revolutionize the world!


Even when the thing itself may not be all that it’s cracked up to be.


Or in fact, it may be a complete dud!


But whatever sells goes, unfortunately, whether it’s right or wrong


Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle. 


Doesn’t that sizzle really make you want to buy the steak?


The Greater Fool Theory in full blossom. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Capital One Cafe Catastrophe

So I’ve seen the advertisement for Capital One (Bank) Cafes on TV for some time now.


Well I saw my first real one in Fort Lauderdale this week.


It was big, bright, comfortable and had children’s games and a host of meeting and breakout rooms. 


They even gave us two cards for some free coffee at the embedded Pete’s Coffee.


It was a corner store in a large, expensive space. 


It was great place to get some work done or relax. 


But aside for a cash machine or so, there was nothing that I could see having to do with banking in this place. 


Also, there were also almost no customers for the coffee.


Basically, it is totally confusing idea from a marketing and branding perspective–Is it a bank or a coffee house?  And why would I go to Capital One to get coffee or to Pete’s Coffee to do my banking????


While I think that Capital One has literally outdone Starbucks in building a great cafe space, I don’t think anyone will actually get what this is or why it is!


My guess is that whoever came up with this idea is going to be looking for a job within about 6 big money-losing months. 😉


(Credit Photo:  Andy Blumenthal)

Selling By Customer Stereotypes

Saw this displayed on the wall inside a Free People clothing store…


It categorizes their female shoppers into 4 types:


1. Candy (hearts): Sweet, girly, flirty, whimsy, and femme  


2. Ginger (cherries): Sexy, confident, edgy, attitude, and mysterious


3. Lou (baseball): Cool, tomboy, laid back, tough, minimal


4. Meadow (sunshine): Flowy, bohemian, embellished, pattern, worldly


So this is how they stereotype their customers “to be helpful”?


Interesting also that they don’t see that people can be complex with: multiple traits that cross categories or even in no category at all.


Moreover, people can have different sides to themselves and reflect these in different situations. 


Perhaps in an effort to market and sell more, what they’ve done is reduce people to these lowest common denominator of idiot categories.


And what makes this worse yet is that it seems to be based just on snap judgment of how someone looks coming into the store and all the biases that entails. 


How about we look at people a little more sophisticated than this and treat them as individuals, with real personalities, and not just as another empty label?  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Tie Dye Hammock

Loved this tie dye hammock by Enonation (Eno) from Australia that I saw at REI. 

 

It’s called “DoubleNest,” so I guess that means it fits 2 people. 


So open, colorful, and inviting to rest and relax in. 


Sillily, the store only carries the hammock and not the stand…so good luck with that. 


Also REI clumsily filled this gorgeous hammock with Nalgene bottles–on sale 30% off!


Uh, if you make even the nicest stuff look like junk for storage, you’re not gonna get the brand image you want. 


Anyway, the hammock was awesome!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Success Anchored in Function AND Beauty

Just a saying from Dr. Ferry Porsche (as in Porsche cars) that I liked:


“It has always been a principal of our company that function and beauty are inseparable.”


If you can make something useful and attractive–you have a real winner!


Companies like Porsche and Apple get it (many, many others are clueless).  


Product development is both art and science and therein lay the foundations of their success or failure. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Really Highest Quality


Just thought this was a funny, educational photo.


Vendor is selling jewelry on the corner (outside the Metro).


They’re advertising:

Products Of The Highest Quality


But would you even expect to get the highest quality jewelry off the street. 


As nice as these products may be (and he may be), I don’t think anyone would really believe this. 


So while the ad grabs your attention and makes you look, it doesn’t make you believe. 


Advertising and branding has to be credible to reach their intended audience or else it’ll just come off as fool’s gold. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

This Is What You Smell

Great sign at the nut stand at Sugarloaf Festival.

“This Is What You Smell!”


Hot cinnamon pecans or almonds. 


Wow, did that smell nice.


I got a tiny bag of the pecans, and when I opened it, the smell and taste that hot cinnamon really took over. 


Were there other smells present as well?


Probably, but I chose to focus on the cinnamon nuts. 


The other smells will have to wait for their special sign and appropriate attention to deal with it. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)