Luna Bar's Brilliant Corporate Sponsorship

April 5, 2015 View Comments

Every man knows that the only rule of pregnancy is: "when your wife has a craving, you do what you can to address it."

About 12 years ago, when my wife (aka the "NFO") was pregnant with our first child, she had only one craving...Luna Bars.

One night, around 8.30pm, she tells me "I really want a Luna bar."

"Where do you get them?"

"Well, you can usually go to store A, but they close at 8, so you need to go to store B..which is about 5 miles away."

Ugh, I thought, "you can make it," I said.  "You can get it tomorrow."

I didn't go.

Yeah, I know. Not a good way to score many points.

So, they next day, I decided to try and make it for her.

Keep in mind that this is pre-social media, but the following day, I decided to call the company.

I make my way to a Marketing person and say, "so, you guys market yourself as a nutrition bar for women, right?"

"Yes, we do," he answered.

"Well, you'll be glad to know that my wife's sole craving during her pregnancy is for Luna bars."

He chuckled.

"So, hey, I was wondering...would you guys like to be the official corporate sponsor of my wife's pregnancy?"

"Uh, we don't really have a program for that," the guy answered.

"Tell you what," I said. "How about you send a few Luna bars, a t-shirt or something, and I'll make you the official corporate sponsor."

"Sure, we can do that."

A few days later, I get a box with some Luna Bars, a few coupons, and whatever else. Great, I know.

But, here's the rub.

My wife is fiercely BRAND LOYAL to Luna Bars now. By my estimation, we have spent nearly $3000 on Luna bars (if not more) in the time since the they became corporate sponsors of my wife's pregnancy.

And my wife is a mega-brand evangelist...telling everyone how much she loves the product and creating additonal sales for them that way.

Bottom line: I think that the ROI on this particular sponsorship was very high for them ;-)

Now, I have to go back to them for her upcoming Bat Mitzvah!

Book Recommendation: Non-Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas, and Predict

February 11, 2015 View Comments

One of my great fear motivators is becoming irrelevant in a professional sense. When you can no longer add value, you are replaced. Whether by a machine or a lower cost option, it doesn’t matter, you’re done. And it’s hard to bounce back from that.

To combat that, I spent a lot of time thinking about macro trends and playing around with new technologies.

It’s why I bought BitCoin a while ago. It’s why my daughters and I play with TinkerCad and print 3D items. It’s why I watch documentaries on Netflix (ok, I binge on a lot of other stuff as well). It’s why I explored the Dark Web, got solar panels, was one of Vonage’s first 20,000 customers, bought a Nest, ordered an Amazon Echo and more.

It’s also why I love traveling and why I have a hard and fast business travel philosophy of “always doing something unique to the city” when I visit. Otherwise, it’s airport-office-hotel-airport. This way, your eyes are opened in some way.

You get the idea. Sure, some of it is “fun,” but a lot of it is…this is how I get my head around what is coming so I can be better prepared.

In fact, in a knowledge/information economy, being able to see things before others do and then prepare for them is a non-negotiable skill and will be the source of competitive advantage.

What I didn’t have, however, was a defined PROCESS for doing this.

And that’s exactly what my friend, Rohit Bhargava, has done for all of us in his new book (disclosure: I got a free copy) called “Non-Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas, and Predict the Future”.

It’s only 99 cents on Amazon now, so you can thank me later.

I read the whole book in one sitting while on a plane and like his previous books (all of which I enjoyed), the writing is very consumable, but more importantly, he combines theory with practicality.

You walk away with concrete steps to take so you can be a better, more sophisticated, curated trendspotter.

And that’s what you need.

Plus, he made me feel better about my fatherhood strategy (which, I admit, I got from my own dad). One of the key objectives of parenthood is to instill a sense of curiosity in your children. Help them learn how to ask questions and look at the world from a wide perspective.

Rohit confirms this approach and emphasizes that it’s important for adults (I would argue that in a world of radical transformation and disruption at lightning speed, that it’s more important than ever.

Two thumbs up on this one.

Book Recommendation: Hard Thing About Hard Things

February 2, 2015 View Comments

My wife had the good foresight to get me a copy of The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers  by Ben Horowitz.  Unlike most business books, it is very much a collection of straight shots, devoid of platitudes, and full of the emotional tumult that comes from making difficult decisions. There's a lot in here that feels like the world of Sprinklr now, making it particularly relevant for me.

Whatever size business you run (or wish to run) or even if it's just managing some people, Ben's perspective on the roller coaster ride that was his CEO career is going to both entertain and empower you.

As opposed to a consultant who, as he says "hasn't managed a fruit stand,"  Ben speaks from practical experience and recognizes that these things aren't easy. They're hard.

He helps you achieve the Zen of management--well, not really, but he gives you the comfort to know that you can't achieve it...which helps you achieve it, if you follow me.

If you are a "student of the game" of business, I believe you will enjoy this one.

Must Read Book: The Network Always Wins

November 30, 2014 View Comments

Nine out of 10 business books don't live up to the hype.  The Network Always Wins is not one of those. Pre-order it now.

Most of the time, they are very good articles and someone says "hey, you should write a book about that." In reality, they shouldn't.

I'm embarrassed to say that, until about 3 weeks ago, I had never heard of Peter Hinssen.  I was privileged to share a stage with him at the Microsoft CXO Next summit for 300 enterprise CIOs in Redmond, WA.

Man, I wish I had heard of him before.  I just finished devouring his book, The Network Always Wins: How to Influence Customers, Stay Relevant, and Transform Your Organization to Move Faster than the Market, which is EXCELLENT.

I often say that it's not about social media, it's about how social technologies transforms every part of business (and the world).  

Well, Peter gets all of that...and more. He clearly articulates how industries, paradigms, and organizations are going to be disrupted (and need to be) because of the arrival of highly connected, effective, costless (basically) networks. 

Hence the name.

If you are concerned about your own career (well, the idea of career is dead, according to Hinssen), the future competitiveness of your kids, your company, or your country...then you MUST read this book as soon as you can.

If you want to get laid off or stagnate, then skip it.

Encouraging Employee Advocates- United Airlines Case in Flight

November 11, 2014 View Comments

I'm actually a pretty big fan of United Airlines.  I find the service to be solid, reliable, and convenient.

One of my habits, perhaps not surprisingly, is talking to flight attendants. They are a wealth of information.

On my recent flight to Seattle, I met Leah and I was THRILLED to see that she had an apron with her name on it. Immediately, I thought..."Hey, United is really trying to live the values of 'Friendly' and taking it to the next level."

I asked her about it. Her response surprised me.

She had a name badge that was a pin, but it kept breaking, so she went out and WITH HER OWN MONEY, spent $40 to have her name embroidered on her apron. And she wasn't reimbursed.

In my mind, if you have a passionate employee who takes pride in her job and takes the initiative to create an even better customer experience, that's something you want to encourage and reward.

Here's to hoping that Leah (employee ID: N7699) gets the recognition she deserves.

Protect Your Phone: Get Lookout Now

September 30, 2014 View Comments

Oh man, this was just great.

I am in Switzerland now and I got a temporary SIM card.  Once I logged on, I received this (which would go to any account).  Just a great way to protect yourself from phone theft. www.lookout.com

Book Recommendations for Leaders

September 29, 2014 View Comments

Two books I just finished that I wanted to recommend.

Particularly relevant for anyone who has to lead a group or an organization.

The first is written by the CEO/Founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman. It’s called The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age and highlights how managing people has changed since the era of lifetime employment has come to an end.

They reframe a job as a “tour of duty” in which the company makes clear to the employee what s/he will get out of the next assignment while at the same time, the employee promises s/he will stick with the job until the end of the tour. They stay because reputational risk is too great to leave it.

It’s a quick read and a solid framework for thinking about developing talent in today’s networked age.

Meanwhile, you can always look to the military for inspiring stories of courage, bravery, and leadership. In Pegasus Bridge, the acclaimed historian Stephen E. Ambrose details the first invasion effort of D-Day and the strategic imperative of a group of British airborne troops of taking a canal bridge deep behind enemy lines.

This is a book about planning, preparation, team building, leadership, strategy, execution, and more.

You’ll appreciate the “Greatest Generation” more and hopefully you’ll never be in a life/death situation like this with the fate of the free world hanging in the balance.

However you will be in a position where you need to lead a group of people on a mission. Learn from the best.

Sleep Number Bed and the Connected and Empowered Customer

July 21, 2014 View Comments

You have probably been in hundreds of conversations like this. Either as a Screenshot_2014-07-14-05-41-49participant or the originator.

Someone asks a question. Others answer. A purchase decision is heavily influenced one way or the other.

And, as is more and more often the case, the company isn’t really involved in the process.

Look at this thread. Then, look at it through the eyes of a marketer.

You have:

  • one prospect asking a question.
  • another prospect asking for similar input.
  • a brand detractor
  • 2 brand promoters
  • a brand advocate

Now, if you are Sleep Number, you might like to

  1. know about this conversation (you need Social Listening)
  2. profile these people (Profiling)Screenshot_2014-07-14-05-41-34
  3. route people to various parts of the company for follow on action (Queues, Governance, Automated Rule Engine)
  4. understand just how valuable your promoters are (CRM Integration)
  5. reach out to the prospect (engagement)
  6. see how your efforts worked or not (reporting)
  7. put an offer in front of the prospect (paid ad)

and more.

You’ll probably want to also understand how it all works together, which is why you want all of these capabilities integrated natively.

In the Social@Scale Journal, we share how more and more of the buying journey is done before the customer ever even connects with a brand. We also share what some brands are doing about it.

Either way, this is the new normal. Empowered customers connecting with each other.

The opportunity for brands is to find, cultivate, and grow these relationships through experience management over time.

Maintaining the context and history of relationship is the first step. You need to know who your friends and fans are if you expect to have them help you. 

How to make someone excited about signing up for your newsletter…

June 2, 2014 View Comments

You know that I am always looking for remarkable touchpoints. Here’s one that came in from Michael Einbinder-Schatz of Jobecca.

He signed up for a newsletter…and look what he got. Definitely different!

Michael,

Thanks for signing up at MikeMichalowicz.com. If you didn't intend to sign up or someone else is playing a super dirty prank on you and registered your email without your permission, unsubscribe now. There is nothing I hate more than spam (except hangovers), so I want to be absolutely sure you want the knowledge I will share via email. Good? Good!
Now let's get to business. I would like to give you a huge, awkwardly long hugging, grand welcome! I am flattered you have decided to connect with me, and while this email is sent automatically, it is me writing this and every email I send. Before I provide you with anything else, I want you to know that you are part for a world changing (and saving) mission.


The Mission
"A mission!?!?! What the hell did I just sign up for?" you ask.
I kinda suspect you already know. Our mission is to foster success, happiness and wealth via entrepreneurship. But here is the deal... no egos are allowed! Jerks, "all-about-me's", dicks, divas, egomaniacs, narcissists, and "get-rich-quick folks" should go elsewhere, because you won't like me. I teach and share knowledge for life long entrepreneurs, regardless if you are just starting or have been it for years. Your mission is to become successful doing what you love to do and doing it for people you love doing it for. My mission is to share with you everything I know to make it a reality.

What's Next?
I have tons of stuff to share with you, but realize that if I dumped it all on you at once it will be too much, too fast. So I will send stuff to you in small bite size chunks (starting with series of archived articles I wrote for The Wall Street Journal). And, as much as I can, I will put the content in a PDF attachment so you can print it out and share it freely with your employees, colleagues and friends.

Book Sneak Peaks
If you want a sneak peak at my books, here are links to free chapters:
The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur -
Intro & 1st Chapter
The Pumpkin Plan - Intro & 1st Chapter
Profit First - (I should have this posted soon, and will email you when I do!)

Next Steps
I will email you about once a week with the best of what I know and find. Sometimes less often, rarely more. If you ever want to "undo" your sign-up, there is a one-click unsubscribe at the bottom of all my emails. But, I think you will want to be a lifer because I will be sending you cool stuff, and you are officially on a mission, and we kicked it all off with the hug and all that.
As always, I am wishing you tremendous entrepreneurial success.

P.S. I hope I didn't creep ya out with the long hug. It's all good. Not a perv. Just lovin' that you are an entrepreneur.

Mike Michalowicz
Author of
Profit First, The Pumpkin Plan, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur


email: mike@mikemichalowicz.com
phone: 888-244-2843
web:
http://www.mikemichalowicz.com

How to make people remember your story

May 13, 2014 View Comments

I actually had coffee with Joshua Foer a few years ago and found him to be engaging then. It was right before he published his book.

For people who want to become better storytellers (so that others remember) you might enjoy this one.