Seinfeld on Marketing: Yada, Yada

Hello one and all! Welcome once again to another episode of Seinfeld on Marketing. In this episode, we find our hero, Jerry, having a conversation with George and his girlfriend of the moment:

MARCY: You know, a friend of mine thought she got Legionnaires Disease from a hot tub.

GEORGE: Really? What happened?

MARCY: Oh…yada, yada, yada…just some bad egg salad. I’ll be right back. [She leaves]

JERRY: I noticed she’s big on the phrase “yada yada.”

GEORGE: Is “yada yada” bad?

JERRY: No, “yada yada” is good. She’s very succinct.

GEORGE: She is succinct.

JERRY: Yeah, it’s like you’re dating USA Today.

The “yada, yada” is simple and succinct. It cuts out the unnecessary leaving only the essential (Well okay. George’s girlfriend used “yada yada” to skip important story details, but stick with me here).

There are many ways we can harness the power of the “yada yada” in business. Here is a list of four “yada, yada” worthy areas for many companies today:

  1. Areas of focus. Unnecessary brand extensions that take you away from your core purpose.
  2. Rules. Excessive or ridiculous company policies. Instead, use more company principles that guide instead of mandate.
  3. Number of cooks in the kitchen. Upper-middle, middle-middle and lower-middle management – sometimes too much management only manages to stifle innovation, stagnate progress and blur the company vision.
  4. Words. When something goes wrong, don’t say “We regret any inconvenience that may have resulted from this unfortunate and unforeseen event.” Instead, simple say, “I sincerely apologize.”

What else could use a little “yada, yada” simplicity?

Happy Friday!!

This post is part of a weekly series, Seinfeld on Marketing.

[Side Note: I’m seeing Jerry’s standup live tonight. What could be more exciting?!]


Off topic rant: semi-professional rubberneckers

Every time traffic is backed up due to a minor fender bender, I come to the same conclusion – – we need to have a special, separate lane designated for those that feel compelled to gawk with wide-eyed stupidity at the dented doors and fallen fenders of a minor traffic accident so that the rest of us are not stuck in miles of backed up traffic.

I say let’s just give them some parking spaces on the side of the road where they can stop and take pictures. And while we’re at it, let’s throw in a roped off section where they can take up sides and debate the issue of who was truly at fault.

Just a thought. Now back to your regularly scheduled program…

The REAL power of a brand

I’ve been on sort of a branding kick lately so here we go….

A brand is a conduit to an expected emotional benefit we seek (to fit “in”, not to look stupid in front of our peers, moments of happiness to share with others, etc.). So the real power of a brand lies in its (perceived) ability to deliver on our expectations.

Or visually:

[Click to enlarge]

Flash insight: “No” thyself

A flash of insightThe more you “no” your customers, the more you “no” yourself.

Lame advice: Build brand loyalty

Lame advice: Build loyalty to your brand.

Not exactly. I may commit heresy as a brand/marketing guy, but here goes nothing. People are not loyal to brands. Before you threaten to take away my first born and pour lemon juice in my eyes (ouch!), please hear me out.

A brand is nothing more than a perceived expectation in an exchange of value. In other words, if you give me something that you value (your time or your money), than you expect something of value in return from me. The stronger the brand is, the greater the expectation that you have. But this expectation of yours goes much deeper than just my products or services.

You see, a brand is not just what you expect from my company; more importantly it is what you expect of yourself by choosing my brand. If you have an iPod, you expect to be (and probably see yourself as) a stylish person. If you buy a safe Volvo car, you expect to be a safe person. If you buy high-class jewelry from Tiffany & Co., you expect to be a high-class person. In other words, you expect to be what you expect of the brand.

But let’s say that Tiffany & Co. went out of business tomorrow. Since you could no longer buy their high-class jewelry, would you stop seeing yourself as a high-class person? Probably not. You’d simply fulfill your need to be a high-class person someplace else. And I’m not just talking about other jewelry stores. Even if every piece of jewelry ceased to exist in a blink of an eye (sorry Mr. T!), you would still seek out something that gives you the sense of high-class.

So you’re not really loyal to the brand, but to the underlining, emotional benefit. A brand is simply the best perceived conduit (at the moment) to the expectation you seek. So stop worrying about brand loyalty and start thinking about the best way your brand can help consumers get what they are truly after.

What are your thoughts?

Happy Monday!

Want to make a remarkable product? Listen for these 2 things

If you want to make a product that gets talked about, listen up for these 2 things:

  1. “This [blank] makes me so mad!” – Fill in the blank with any product. Some of the best products ever made solve a common frustration (the ones that make you say, “Why didn’t I think of that!”). For example, if 80% of all car seats are improperly installed, do we need more/better education on how to properly install them or a radically different approach to car seats? I choose the latter.
  2. “That’s the way everyone does it.” – You can’t make it big while living in the shadows or playing follow the leader. Make your earbuds white. Provide “Fanatical Support” in a tech world plagued with outsourced and non-human service. Go for the opposite and stand out.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Lame advice: spend more on ads

I decided to start another collection of posts inspired by my old landlord. When the toilet wouldn’t flush properly he would say, “You just need to jiggle the handle a little.” (He was also a “master” with duct tape – but that’s a story for another day).

So, without further ado, here is jiggle #1:

[Click to enlarge]