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Archive for the ‘Customer Relationship Management’ Category

A Matter of Perception

Monday, June 29th, 2015

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When driving through downtown I noticed a large sign that read “efficiency apartments here.”
Next the radio ad begins blurting out the great value of “pr-owned” vehicles. Continuing through the neighborhood I noticed the sign in front of the upscale home that read, “For lease.”

With all of this is a common thread about how a small name change for the same thing creates a different image.

Efficiency apartments use to be called Studio’s. But that alluded to perhaps more to – needing to be on a starving student on a budget instead of upscale, hipster and cool.
In zeroing into the increased value perception of apartments for rent, and the practical reason for charging tenants perhaps 30 – 50% more, apartment complexes began posting signs that say, “luxury apartments homes for lease!” Sounds more inviting – and no doubt more expensive doesn’t it?

Pr-owned originally meant “used”, but that alluded to old, dirty, stinky – and for the poor folks. So the term went to Pr-owned – representing a smart purchase by the “Millionaire next Door.” Sounds much more sophisticated doesn’t it? Finally, for lease, like pr-owned is simply a warmed over and updated version of “for rent.” Oh but the words leasing and pr-owned creates a more positive spin doesn’t it?

Words create a picture which motivates and prepares the buyer for whatever is being sold. It is a powerful way to enhance your advertising – but be sure that whoever is putting together your campaign truly understands the image the word is intended to create.

ARE YOU SERIOUS!? What’s the matter with this sign?

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

It looks like a Domino’s franchise near the UT campus has gone rogue. In their desperation to attract drivers, they have exposed themselves and their franchiser to massive liability and a public relations nightmare.

Consider this:
A high-school or college kid takes the job. Believing that he can make more money by driving fast until in a reckless tragedy, hits a pedestrian (someone else’s son or daughter) and kills them.

So what happens next?
The pedestrian’s family files and no doubt wins a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Domino’s.
The irresponsibly inspired delivery driver’s life is ruined and goes first to jail – and later, to be haunted with killing someone by accident simply to earn a few extra bucks.

On top of the lawsuit, Domino’s experiences a public relations nightmare.
Next time you advertise for new employees, remember that “what you advertise, could reap what you sow.” Be responsible.

Why GPS and Spellcheck can’t be counted on – and how it can get into a lot of trouble

Monday, October 20th, 2014

spell check copy

In today’s world of rushing from meeting to meeting many of us fall into the complacent trap of relying too much on technology to take care of us. Cars get lost in western deserts because their GPS sent them on an obsolete road. So there they are, stuck with no gas or water.

But our reliance on spellcheck can easily place our drive for customer acquisition in a desert as well – from bad PR stemming from a spelling error.

Below is an example if what I almost sent out as a follow-up to a meeting with a prospective client. I misspelled the word “obstacles.” Proof reading, I knew that it was misspelled – so I let spellcheck take care of it. Thank goodness, before sending it, I re-read the message one more time. Below is what almost got sent. Can you find what word obstacles was changed to by spellcheck?


Of course when I read what almost went out, I burst out in laughter. Then the fear set in as I began thinking to myself, what if this actually had gone out unchecked? What if the prospect lacked a sense of humor or worse, was offended? To mistakes, we all react differently. Sharing this story may save you, the reader future unnecessary grief. Next time you and your team start relying too much on Spellcheck or GPS take a pause and make sure that it really makes sense.


Monday, September 8th, 2014

It is no wonder that McDonald’s and the like continue to lose market share. Several days ago I thought I would grab a quick bite to hold me over until dinner. Typical of previous experiences, I was greeted by a barrage of irritating beepers and buzzers reminding the employees of various tasked that needed to be tended to. “Why don’t they use chimes or even more pleasant sounding bells I asked?”   “They want it to gnaw on our nerves the counter person replied as he shrugged his shoulders.”

I went ahead and ordered a chicken sandwich. When I sat down to bite into it, I discovered that there was not much there – just two buns, a slab of deep fried chicken breast and a pickle. When I brought it back to the counter and requested that they please add tomato and lettuce, and “hey, how ‘bout some mayonnaise? “He returned with it (now dressed as I had originally anticipated and then said “.30 cents please?”

Years ago the famous add for a competing chain had the little old lady asking “where’s the beef!?” Today, we are asking, “where’s the rest?!”

Between beepers, buzzers and substance-less sandwiches, I’m not planning to return anytime soon.

John Russell, the Principal of the Russell Consulting Group  seeks solutions for companies interested in retaining or growing market share with a combination of common sense corporate and management decisions intended to improving brand awareness.

Unintended advertising can occur with an act of goodwill

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Sweet Love 1

Every year businesses spend a significant amount of capital on advertising. This is generally a necessity if the business is going to grow and flourish. But how much of this investment could be saved by deeds of good will?

Recently I was lost trying to find a location which was not there. What started as a simple fifteen minute errand soon began devouring my days schedule like a wild pig.

Finally in desperation, I walked into Sweet Love and Sugar Britches, a cute store with lots of cool stuff. Walking through the door I noticed the great smell. Behind the counter, stood a pretty woman with a warm smile. “How may I help you she asked?” I explained my situation and with absolute perseverance she bravely launched into over thirty minutes of trouble shooting until she resolved my problem. “Ok, she said, holding up the map she had drawn, began to explain until I understood how to get there. Better yet, she had also ensured that when I arrived, a real person would be waiting to greet me!

She spent real time going on a mission to help me find my missing location. While she did, I was able to walk around her beautiful store and pick out Christmas presents for family members. I can honestly say that I will be back! In addition, I am excited about sharing my experience about finding a great place to purchase cool things with my friends and neighbors.

Next time you are in Round Rock Texas, go a block south east on Mays Street, just past Round Rock Avenue and check out Sweet Love and Sugar Britches. Inside you will meet a wonderful person who is the store’s owner. Bring your wallet because you will definitely end up purchasing something. Thirty minute of her pleasant time and assistance and look: “I am happy to share my story. How’s that for unintended advertising?”



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