Andrew Teman

Posts tagged digital
Service Review Behavior (A Quick Thought)

I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in my career, working on digital and brand strategies for service companies. And the one thing I hear from every single one at some point or another, is this:

We get a ton of awesome emails and letters from happy customers, but all of our online reviews skew negative. How can we get our happy customers to post their positive reviews online?

In fact, just in the past 48 hours alone, I received a frantic text from my brother-in-law (he runs marketing for a health club chain and was agonizing over a negative Facebook review), had a conversation with a client concerned with overcoming their 2-star Google rating, and then my wife forwarded me this gem.

These bad reviews, and company’s inability to surface the good ones more easily, is something that makes brand managers, marketers, and PR folks go insane. I’ve seen it and heard it dozens of times.

But while these brands are all looking for some technical fix (build me a system to make it better!), the problem isn’t a mechanical one, it’s a behavioral one. It has to do with motivation, and why people choose to review their experiences where they do.

Here is how I observe it.

People are compelled to post negative reviews online, publicly, because their motivation is to warn and help others (“beware of this company/product!”), and also (I’d imagine) to gain some level of retribution against the company they feel wronged by, through public shaming (“I really showed them!”). It’s one of the sharpest weapons an individual can wield against the big bad organization in the face of conflict.

People tend to send positive reviews directly to the people that they are praising (via email or postal mail), because their motivation is to show appreciation to the individual that helped them, by thanking them specifically. In many cases, the feeling tends to be that some single person at the big bad organization, stepped out and helped you. So the positive review becomes about repaying the good feeling to another human, that they gave to you. It’s a shared moment of two people helping and appreciating each other, and thus, doesn’t really need to be public.

Of course, every company wishes that this was reversed. They want the good reviews to be public and the negative ones to be private. Behaviorally though, it just doesn’t work that way.

This is merely an observation/pseudo-insight, and I am aware that I’m not offering a solution here. Just something I was thinking about this morning though and wanted to get down on “paper”

If anyone has any thoughts/expansions on this though, I’d love to add to it.

Re-Thinking 'Media'

I think a lot about what ‘media’ means, and what it will come to mean in the future. I don’t have the answers of course, but I do have some theories, and an extraordinary desire to think of ways in which my clients can spend their media dollars in the new world, that don’t rely exclusively on the old tricks (banners, static print inserts, etc).

Something I do know though, is that the old ways aren’t dying, they’re dead. Any brand or agency that is looking at media only in terms of dollars poured into a fixed digital square, and then counting the number of impressions that come out the other end, isn’t properly exploring the full range of opportunities that exist.

The responsibility of deciding how communications dollars are spent can no longer be the sole domain of the traditional media departments. The way brands communicate and people consume, is just no longer linear and fixed - no matter how many dollars people continue to pour into existing systems and spaces hoping that it is.

B. Bonin Bough had a thoughtful piece in AdAge today, and this particular passage stuck out for me:

It starts with seeing media as investment, not just inventory, with a focus on increasing overall ROI. By tracking how every touchpoint contributes to a growing communication mix across channels, including paid, owned and earned, we can better equip ourselves to deliver media at the most effective points in the consumer journey. We’re asking ourselves: Where do we have the most disruptive opportunities and how should we leverage them?

I love the idea of media as investment and not as inventory.

Media is content. Media is design. Media is experience. Media is your retail space and media is your product. Media is how you see, touch, smell and feel the brand, as much as it is how you hear its message.

'Media’ opportunities exist within every single possible touch between people and your brand, and not just within the pages of a magazine, or the 300x250 boxes on a website.


It may take a decade or more for Walmart to be a successful digital retailer. “Somebody at one of the board meetings asked me, ‘Neil, how long is this going to take, and how much is it going to cost?’” Ashe recalls. “And I said, ‘It’s going to take the rest of our careers, and it’s going to cost whatever it costs. Because this isn’t a project, this is the company.’”
Wal-Mart’s Digital Evolution
Andrew Temanwalmart, digital, quote
Long past its cool prime and far too large to be hip, Starbucks, by going all-in on digital, gets insight into the wants and needs of today’s connected consumers in a way that keeps the brand top of mind. What we have, then, is a technology-steeped version of Starbucks that’s equal parts power retailer and innovator.
Starbucks, the tech company
Nike Digital Sport

Traditional ad spend down, in favor of more digital innovation and tracking/use of consumer data. Love everything about this.

But Digital Sport is not just about creating must-have sports gadgets. Getting so close to its consumers’ data holds exceptional promise for one of the world’s greatest marketers: It means it can follow them, build an online community for them, and forge a tighter relationship with them than ever before. It’s part of a bigger, broader effort to shift the bulk of Nike’s marketing efforts into the digital realm – and it marks the biggest change in Beaverton since the creation of just do it, or even since a graphic design student at Portland State University put pen to paper and created the Swoosh.

Nike’s new marketing mojo.


There is a great scene in an old Seinfeld episode where Jerry is complaining that his dentist has converted to Judaism, just for access to the jokes. And when asked if this offends him as a Jew, Jerry quickly responds “no, it offends me as a comedian”.

Pinterest similarly, doesn’t offend me as a user. It offends me as a strategist.

As Adam Kmiec said in his Digiday talk (and I’m paraphrasing slightly here…), have we all lost our minds?

Pinterest is growing like a weed, and apparently it also drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn, and Youtube combined. Which by the way, doesn’t strike me as much of a feat. When you compare a site like Pinterest (whose structure and design is meant to drive traffic) with two networks that are not at all about driving traffic (YouTube and LinkedIn), and one that’s barely off the ground (Google+), it doesn’t seem that impressive.

But hey, who am I to rain on the parade? We’re just trying to get some twitter clicks here, amirite? READING the article, or god forbid questioning the soundbite is for SUCKAS!

Moving on…

So Pinterest is awesome for users. It totally is, and I get that. As soon as I introduced her to Pinterest, my girlfriend was hooked. And she is one of millions that fell into the same level of instant love with the platform.

However, we digital strategy types are losing our minds. We are losing our minds because we want so badly to weasel our way in there with brand messaging and contests and engagement. We want so badly to crack the code, and figure out how to leverage this platform for our brands. We want to have something new to talk about and sell and be experts on. God damn it, we need it. It’s our lifeblood.

To this end, and rather unsurprisingly so, smart men and women…good and respected digital strategy types, are being reduced to starry-eyed school girls fawning over the latest pop star. They’re creating pages, haphazardly throwing up images, and wedging “Pin It” buttons next to any piece of website content they have, all while mumbling words like “engagement” and “re-pin”.

Demographics, user-behaviors, fit with the brand, and general sensibilities be-damned. There is a hot new social network in town, and we’re getting on it. Giddyup.

Now to be fair, this is not to say that there isn’t fantastic potential for those whose brand align well with the Pinterest freight-train. CustomMade, where I am an advisor has gotten great results from pushing content into the system. And for eCommerce, food, art, and other similar sites/brands, Pinterest can be killer.

My problem isn’t with Pinterest specifically. My problem is with what Pinterest has revealed to be a rather sad truth; that we’ve become desperate as strategists, and that this desperation has caused us to lose our minds somewhere along the way. We aren’t thinking anymore, we’re just doing. We’re chasing our tails and each other, jumping on whatever pops up in Mashable as the next big thing.

Sometimes being a good strategist means saying “no” to a new platform if it doesn’t fit your client’s path. But at the very least, being a good strategist always means asking “why?” (and answering), before diving in headlong.

And lastly, if you don’t believe that it’s a monkey-see, monkey-do world out there in the social space, just remember that this hot new platform called Pinterest, has been around since mid-2010.