Shhhh… Don’t tell anyone it’s FREE.

Posted by John Park on Jul 31st, 2008
Jul 31

Google Alerts Logo


Are your ears burning?  There are over 120 Billion web pages on the Internet and that’s not even including the 75 million or so blogs that are independently publishing information every single day.
How can you keep up with all of this information?  I am going to let you in on a marketing, public relations and advertising industry secret.
Google has a little known free tool called Google Alerts.  It’s a simple idea really.  Just input the keywords or specific phrases you’re interested in and Google Alerts will send you an e-mail every time something is published on the Internet relevant to your keyword or phrase choices.
Before Google Alerts came along, this kind of technology-based business intelligence was only available to big companies willing to dish out big dollars.  Google has made this valuable tool available to anyone with an e-mail address.
- Use it to find out what is being published about you or your company.
- Use it to find out what your competitors are up to.
- Use it to stay at the cutting edge of your specific business or industry niche.
- Keep up with whatever interests you.
( Quick Tip )
When using a phrase, contain them in quotations.  For example Biz Crusader should be entered as “Biz Crusader”.  If you don’t do this, you’ll get top headlines and posts that include the word BIZ and CRUSADER.  This setup will inundate you with information you don’t want.



My Kitchen Sink Marketing Story

Posted by John Park on Jul 29th, 2008
Jul 29
Let me warn you in advance.  This blog post is about a clogged kitchen sink and what I learned from it.  Please proceed with caution.
A couple of weeks back, my wife summoned me to the kitchen to show me a completely clogged sink.  After quickly asserting that she had nothing to do with the clog and rejecting any notion that a sink can become clogged by “human error”, she asked if we should call a plumber.  Of course, this statement was pure horror to a “Man” who can easily fix anything… before paying to get it done right that is.  Never mind the so called “opportunity cost”.  I quickly got my car keys and headed to the store that solves ALL worldly problems–Home Depot.
Once there, I found myself in the kitchen sink isle staring at 20 different sink declogging solutions.  I should say sorry to my “green” friends.  Vinegar and hot water wasn’t going to solve this one.
After just a few seconds, one product caught my attention.  The bottle was a non-descriptive black and it didn’t have any fancy marketing language on it aside from a bold sticker that stated “Guaranteed to Work”.  What struck me was that the product was housed in a Ziploc-like clear plastic bag.  The implication was that it is so potent we’re adding this extra layer of protection for your safety.  I thought about it briefly in the moment and decided if it was that strong, I HAD TO HAVE IT.
When I arrived home with it, I proudly exclaimed “Look honey.  I got the strongest stuff I could find.  It’s so powerful that it comes in this bag!”.


As I was listening to my own words, that’s when it hit me!  Now, keep in mind that I am supposed to be a marketing expert and I shouldn’t be caught so easily–hook, line and sinker.  The good news is the product worked.  The real questions are…  Is it really more powerful than the 19 others on display?  Will it hurt my skin more than the 19 others if I had touched the liquid?  The answer is a resounding NO.  It’s true.  I fell for the marketing genius behind a sink declogger.  Somewhere out there is a genius sink declogger marketer.
So, let’s get back to the business marketing side of this story.  What did I learn from this?  These are lessons I’ve studied but they were reinforced again by this real life event.
1)  PACKAGING MATTERS.  A proper image for your product or service that delivers a powerful benefit in the quickest way possible is crucial and something all businesses should strive towards.
2)  BE DIFFERENT.  Throw “me too” marketing out the window.  Remember, the 19 others all looked essentially the same to me.  Differentiate your product or service from the competition.  Why are you different and how does this make you better?  Constantly ask this question of yourself, products, services and company.
3)  LEAD WITH THE BENEFIT.  First ask and identify what your prospects want from you.  Once you’ve done this, lead with these “wants” in all of your marketing efforts.  What did I want from the sink declogger?  I wanted the strongest declogger possible.  They led with this benefit through effective packaging.  Too often, businesses lead with Features (what is it?) and not the Benefit (how will it help me or solve my problem?).
Without further ado, I present the world’s best packaged sink declogger.
Packaging Matters



The Road Not Taken

Posted by John Park on Jul 27th, 2008
Jul 27

Young Robert Frost


I just finished reading “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki.  I considered the book an easy read and one of those you can read cover-to-cover in a few days.  There are many points in this New York Times Bestseller I found very interesting and the book did generate some “bulb lighting” moments for me.  In a later blog, I will analyze some of the highlights as it pertains to business and entrepreneurship.
For now and because it’s the weekend, I wanted to share with you something Robert Kiyosaki and I have in common.  We both have a deep fondness for a poem written by Robert Frost.  Many of you know of it.  For me, the beautifully written poem exemplifies entrepreneurship–the good, the bad and the ugly.
So, on this hot summer day in Southern California, I salute all entrepreneurs out there with these inspiring words.


The Road Not Taken


TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood, 
And sorry I could not travel both 
And be one traveler, long I stood 
And looked down one as far as I could 
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim, 
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; 
Though as for that the passing there 
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay 
In leaves no step had trodden black. 
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way, 
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh 
Somewhere ages and ages hence: 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.


Robert Frost / 1915



Better Than Expected Losses — Say What?

Posted by John Park on Jul 24th, 2008
Jul 24

Indymac Window Letter


Isn’t that a funny phrase?  You’re a loser but just not that much of a loser.  This is the new BUZZ phrase being utilized by analysts all over Wall Street.  As one major company after another reports their 2nd quarter earnings, it’s almost too frightening to watch.
The HITS keep on coming!

INDYMAC BANK — Read the letter in the window please.  Sorry… those of you who had more than 100K in this defunct bank.

WACHOVIA — $9 Billion Dollar Loss, WOW

WASHINGTON MUTUAL — $3.3 Billion Dollar Loss, CEO says give me another shot

NATIONAL CITY — $1.8 Billion Dollar Loss, Should have stayed in the Mid-West

MERRILL LYNCH — $4.9 Billion Dollar Loss, Got a stock tip?

FORD — $8.7 Billion Dollar Loss, Largest EVER in its history

GM — I am too scared to look.

Who is making money???
Don’t expect miracles from either Obama or McCain.  We’re in this for a while yet.
Thank GOD we still have small businesses holding up the U.S. Economy!


The “Kinder Gentler” Wal-Mart?

Posted by John Park on Jul 22nd, 2008
Jul 22

Wal-Mart's New Logo

If you haven’t seen it already, Wal-Mart has a new retail logo.  So, why do this now?  Here is my opinion on the new brand.
As everyone on earth witnessed over the past two decades, the phenomenal growth of the retail behemoth has been nothing less than astounding.  And like all battles won, there were more than a few casualties along the way as they became the world’s largest corporation.  The trail blazed by the original “Box Store” is filled with bankrupt small businesses, U.S. factory closings, denied unions and questionable employment practices.  To the chagrin of Wal-Mart executives, all of these real or alleged issues have led to a tremendous amount of negative press further fueling the anti-Wal-Mart public sentiment.  Not all of it is deserved by the way.  Before writing this piece, I spent some time at their corporate web site and was pleased to see all of the good they seem to be doing as a company.  The company has over 2 million employees (1.4 million in the U.S.).  With that many people on staff, I am not sure if it would be possible to avoid negative press.  It’s literally a numbers game at that point.
When you analyze their previous logo, it was incredibly befitting for who they were for the past decade or so.  The letters are big, block-shaped and have sharp corners representing the strength, power and maybe the “bully” in their corporate persona.  Add the star instead of a hyphen, color the whole thing in a conservative navy blue and you have the makings of “Wal-Mart The Conqueror”.
Before I get a letter in the mail from their legal team, let’s move on to the new logo.
The colors are not as cold or defined.  They are soft and warm.  The font choice is less “blocky” and the shape is slimmer.  There is also the proverbial “sun burst”.  When all else fails, add a sun burst.  Why not, it represents the source of all that is life.  It can also be used as a eureka-moment icon and it looks a lot like flower pedals.  Who doesn’t like flower pedals in their new logo especially when everything and anything ENVIRONMENTAL & GREEN sells in this economy.


The reasons for this transition from their previous logo to this new brand is so obvious that I just couldn’t resist blogging about it.  An image makeover was badly needed and of course the first place to rightfully start was the retail logo.
What do you think?  Will you see Wal-Mart in a new light?  Maybe, you are already a Wal-Mart fan and are blissfully hypnotized by their super low prices (made in China).
Amazing what a simple logo makeover can do, isn’t it?  What does your company logo say about you?


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