maximum potential

these are the thought starters, insights, and inspiration to get you, and the brands you manage, to reach your maximum potential

social media is not a replacement

today i am reminded of how important face to face interaction is and that, if not careful, we may let social media and other forms of technology replace much needed human interaction.

as the residential concierge manager called me today to talk about my post concerning my residential experience at the westin book cadillac, the strongest thought running through my mind was that i never gave him the opportunity to respond to my concerns, thoughts and ideas until after he saw the post (along w/ the rest of the world). i should have told him first.

would that have changed my post? probably not completely because i still carried 25 shirts and 2 pairs of pants to the dry cleaners at work instead of doing it at the hotel today. but maybe it would have altered some things. maybe had i known that the house accounts do work everywhere or that the wbc coffee shop has a great surprise for residents starting monday my post would have been a lot shorter. Of perhaps had I remembered that there are some great people there working on the residents’ behalf my tone would have been different.

the lesson: online relationships are important, but so are offline relationships. as marketers, consumers, people, and humans we must not allow email, text messaging, and social media to replace the offline human connection that it replicates so well (but not perfectly).

dentyne’s recent campaign around this idea is quite timely. thanks dentyne, for reminding me where it all started. (for an added surprise, go to their web site and see how long they let you stay on:

Filed under: business branding, lifemark, , , , , , ,

3 reminders of the power of social media

asocial media took power out of the hands of the giants and placed it in the hands of their consumer. although each voice wields different influence, we all now have a voice.  i am reminded of this because i was contacted by my hotel management today regarding this post.  although we have yet to talk, here are three lessons i learned already:

  • there will be reactions to what you or your brand says. and, although you must try to create as many positive reactions as possible, you cannot please everyone (so don’t attempt to do so).  
  • with all power comes responsibility.  commenting, blogging, tweeting, and the likes, are all forms of power and you must remember to be a responsible member of the community, which you are a part of
  • brands will be rewarded for their participation.  my respect for the westin book cadillac has increased today without even speaking to anyone.  why?  because, not only were they were listening for my voice, but they also acted.  someone was monitoring their brand and they chose to do something about what they saw.  i applaud you wbc!



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3 reminders of the power of social media:

Filed under: business branding, lifemark, , , , , , , , ,

why aren’t you discriminating against me?

at the end of 2008 i purchased my first place.  i now live in the westin book cadillac (i used to hide this fact, but now realize that i can’t be ashamed or hide God’s blessings).  i’m not quite sure how marketing works here, but sometimes i feel extremely ignored.  in noel capon’s book, marketing mavens, his second rule of marketing is “pick targets to dominate.”  although i live, eat, and sleep here everyday (along w/ several others), i don’t think they have determined in their minds that they will dominate the resident target and capture a tremendous share of wallet from me and that’s a problem.  i am also willing to bet that annual value of a resident is probably much higher than most any other target.  don’t get me wrong, i love where i live (in fact, everywhere i have gone in the hotel today they have told me happy birthday and treated me like a king…that’s nice) but there is so much left to be desired from the added amenities that are present at the hotel.  a few examples:


  • laundry.  resident discount = 15%.  now, while that may sound like a big double digit discount to them, it is no where near the normal prices that i pay (current price for a dress shirt = $1.20, hotel price before/after discount = $5.80/$4.93).  so i pay 4X to do dry cleaning at home and unless someone explains why their soap is so great, i will keep giving the dry cleaner at the office all of my money.  the problem is, they are treating me (a resident) like an out of towner with limited options.  score: westin book cadillac (wbc) = $0/mo, competition = $20-$50/mo
  • room service.   resident discount = 20% + delivery charge eliminated.  again, hotels tend to err on the expensive side, which means the food is pricey, there is still an 18% service charge, and taxes.  so everyday i decide between room service and several options including many that are no cost (cook) or low cost (McDonald’s).  i will be honest, i don’t know where the tipping point is but what i can be sure of is that there is a discount where i decide it’s better/easier to order room service than to cook or eat mcdonald’s every night.  right now, we are no where close to that.  consequently, room service is saved for special occassions only-like my birthday today.
  • roast.  roast is the gourmet restaurant of Michael Symon’s (2007 Iron Chef of America) located on the first floor.  resident discount = $0.  ’nuff said.
  • spa19 24grille.  it hasn’t opened yet, but i’m not feeling hopeful.
  • there is also no discount at motor bar, wbc coffee shop, nor the sundry shop.  
  • house account.  each resident has a house account and instead of pulling out a credit card to pay for our bill, we get to look cool as we get up to leave and just ask the waiter/waitress to put it on our house account.  i’m not quite sure why they created house accounts, but for me, it’s main benefit is to look/feel cool.  so why doesn’t it work everywhere in the hotel?  to date, i know it doesn’t work at roast, wbc, nor the sundry shop.  while this is not an issue about price discrimination, it is an issue of discrimination.  they should treat me differently.  and if the house account doesn’t work for technical reasons, then their waitress should call my concierge (who has access to my credit cards) and they should handle it between them.  like all luxury goods, part of the reason i pay the premium is because of how it makes me feel.  i don’t feel half as cool putting it on a credit card (which i can do anywhere) as i do putting it on my house account.  

Westin Book Cadillacfor those of you who are thinking i just want cheaper prices (who doesn’t everyone right now…it’s the economy stupid!) it’s not the only solution.  what about a loyalty program that incentivized (i know it’s not a word but we used it in bschool all of the time!) me to buy coffee downstairs 10 times a month, or do room service 5 times a month?


anyway, the point is, as marketers, we should pick targets to dominate.  part of dominating those targets means treating them differently.  treating them differently doesn’t always mean more money (most of my examples cost little to nothing) and will allow you to get more loyalty, more free marketing (via word of mouth), and ultimately, more share of wallet.  

who should you be discriminating against?

correction: as soon as I posted this i said something to the ladies in wbc coffee and i was informed that we do get a 20% discount.  this is excellent as their price are normal coffee shop prices ($2.50-$3.95) not astronomical hotel prices; consequently 20% actually means something.  they will get my business.  just cause…

also, i should be clear that the concierge is awesome!  no complaints.

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