Relationships Drive Business

Strengthening Customer Engagement to Propel Your Business

Grabbing Your Community by the Heart July 19, 2011

There's nothing better than community.


Today is the final day of voting for American Express Open’s Facebook Big Break for Small Business. The clock stops ticking at midnight eastern time.


The tiny community of Dixon, Il and their neighbors are pulling out all the stops to help Bud and Jim at Distinctive Gardens win. You can vote here, if you haven’t already.


Here’s the comment stream on the pic. Would your neighbors do this for you? Just fantastic.


The Sea of Sameness January 21, 2011

Filed under: Ideas,Strategy — Carla Bobka @ 2:01 am
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Relationships and Instant Gratification October 25, 2010

Filed under: Ideas — Carla Bobka @ 12:14 pm
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A recent Brains on Fire blog covered a topic I’m passionate about – business relationships. One paragraph is particularly important, it speaks to the convergence of instant gratification, relationships and reality.

“The instantaneousness of technology gives you the feeling that you can get anything you want, right now. But that’s not how real life works, and it is definitely not how relationships work. They take time, hard work, and patience. Our desire for instant gratification is not neutral – it requires careful handling.”

Technology is changing many processes. Mostly, the steps in the process are rearranged because of what technology makes possible. Traditional step 4 may now be the new step 2. And it may occur much sooner than it used to after step 1. But that doesn’t mean there are fewer steps to take.

Do you believe in instant gratification in relationships? And if you do, are you a seeker of or a giver?


Spend Shift – the new consumer October 19, 2010

Consumers have changed. The economic crisis caused more than a gut-check, it has caused a cultural shift on how we perceive value.

Last Thursday (Oct. 14, 2020) The Archer Group brought John Gerzema, co-author of Spend Shift to Wilmington, DE.  Archer started doing a speaker series called “What’s Now, What’s Next.” Gerzema was the 1st presenter at the 2nd installment of the series.  The premise of  his session – the economic crisis and the shared experience of losing our security net has changed the consumer. It will likely be a generational change. Gerzema and his co-author dive into what has changed and what the consumer of now (and likely the future) look like.

Wall Street has been bemoaning the lack of “C” in the GDP equation. Gerzema spells out pretty clearly that they should quit holding their breath – things have changed, big time. If businesses continue waiting the by-product will be an even longer recovery. Gerzema and D’Antonio (his co-author) spell out what’s different.

The book is not about marketing. There’s a fundamental shift happening that business visionaries need to wrap their heads around. Read the book or get to a conference where he’s speaking so you can figure out how to reposition your value to today’s buyers. Waiting for “normal” to return will kill you.

Consumers are interested in being approached differently. They see value fundamentally differently than they did 2 years ago. And they are willing to pay a premium for value that resonates in their life.

Here are my notes from Gerzema’s session:

  • Shift from mindless > mindful spending.
  • Spend shift trends are evident in 55% of Americans; across all education, age and economic categories.
  • Shift is not limited to Americans.
  • Decrease in trust.
  • Increase in desire for leadership.
  • Consumers believe corporations need to make society better.
  • Downtown Detroit is a scary place and yet is teaming with entrepreneurship; there is local micro-funding bringing new businesses to life.
  • People are creating their own local, sustainable eco-systems.
  • 39% of people believe an individual business can compete with big business.
  • “Don’t fence me in” attitudes – self reliance, resourcefulness were imperative in the absence of institutional security; they are sticking around.
  • “the Badge of Awesomeness” – being nimble, adaptable and thrifty score big with the new consumer.
  • People are willing to pay a premium for products/services from companies that contribute to their (the consumers) local community
  • People are redefining “asset” – dead-heading trucks’ empty trailer space is an asset to be leveraged, empty lot is a garden waiting to feed a neighborhood and supply a restaurant where there is no grocery store.
  • Customers want to see the struggles a business goes through.

There’s a lot I missed, if you were there please add your take-aways in Comments. Here’s a PDF of the tweet stream. (It’s unabridged, so you’ll have to wade through the duplication and retweets to find the nuggets.)

How can your business adapt to this new consumer? What are your ideas, let us know in comments.

Personal note:  many of the topics Gerzema discussed hit close to home. Greg and I both lost our jobs within 2 weeks of each other during the Great Recession.  Our family is markedly changed from the experience, just ask my kids. His conversation pointed out “it’s not just us.”


Applebee’s Rocks Social September 28, 2010

From SocialPie videos

Snaps to my local Applebee’s. They are doing a great job promoting where customers can find them on the web.
These fliers were on the hostess desk when we walked in for dinner. They’re cheap and effective. They were printed on regular typing paper on somebody’s printer. They were very nicely cut, not at all sloppy. And that is a key indicator of how they view themselves. (Don’t mess that up.) I couldn’t tell they were thin paper until I touched it.

From SocialPie videos

When we got to the table this coaster sized card was in the table tent holder. Same info, reinforcing the stuff on the little flyer.
The other thing – notice the “text to 32665” “like applebeeskennettsquare.” What better way to get interaction from customers than to give them someway to do it while they wait for their food. Brilliant!


Twitter 101 for Business April 15, 2010

Filed under: Ideas,Resources — Carla Bobka @ 6:52 pm
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Twitter knows it’s really simple platform can be difficult to master. And they know that’s a problem that turns large number of businesses off.

Recipe for Quitting

Twitterettes would like businesses to use it, but know how tough it is to find the time to master something when you are already working half days (whichever 12 hrs you want.) Enter Twitter 101, specifically for business.  Take a look, what do you think. Is it persuasive, does it simplify the mastery? Does it make you want to try? Let me know what you think.