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Showing posts from April, 2006

Fifteen Years of Brand Positioning Gone in an Instant

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From yesterday's Furniture Today:

The new executive team at United Sleep Products is rolling out a new flagship line here.

The Nature’s Dreams line of specialty and innerspring bedding retails from $799 to $4,999 and offers the strong values that dealers have come to expect from United Sleep, the company’s new leaders say.

The senior management team is in the United Sleep showroom at 114 N. Main St., showing the line to dealers and talking about their ambitious plans for the company, which they acquired in January.

Marc Werner, president and CEO, and Lisa Kaufman, chairman, are principals in Northlight Capital, a Chicago investment firm.

“We are repositioning the company,” said Werner. “We’ve come here with a new brand and a new product line. This isn’t your grandfather’s United Sleep.”

“We want to grow and become a national player,” said Kaufman.

The executives are getting involved in all the details of making mattresses. Kaufman, for example, picked the plush velour cover for the n…

My Favorite Headline of the Week

What Do The Stars Make To Sell You Crap?

1. Catherine Zeta-Jones (T-Mobile): $20 million
2. Angelina Jolie (St. John): $12+ million
3. Nicole Kidman (Chanel No. 5): $12 million
4. Jessica Simpson (Guthy-Renker): $7.5 million
5. Gwyneth Paltrow (Estee Lauder): $6+ million

Disclaimer: I once paid Zora Andrich $2,000 to pose for pictures for a futon advertising campaign.

Has Harry Called?

Viral marketing guru Seth Godin went mattress shopping this week:

It's an entire room filled with virtually identical objects, varying in price by as much as 2,000%. And while you can lie down on any of them, lying down on a mattress is totally different from sleeping on one over a decade.

All you can buy is the story.

Read how it all worked out here.

Frankly, I'm speechless.

As of this week, there are now one billion words in the English language.

In related news, my daughter can correctly spell 17 of any 20 given to her.

Finder's Instinct Dead-On This Time

As I was reading my copy of Business 2.0 last night, I stumbled across an article that quoted Joseph Finder, and I thought to myself, "Hey, I owe that guy a review."

Regular readers of my previous blog may recall that after Finder released Company Man, I gave it a somewhat ho-hum review, mainly because I read it on the heels of his sizzling Paranoia. A few months ago, Finder contacted me after my public yawning and told me.... that he wanted to send me an advance copy of his upcoming book, gratis. (!)

He did and I read it immediately. However, I didn't post a review on it for two reasons: a. The book arrived when I was in the middle of a job change - hence, a darkish period of this blog with low levels of posting and b. If it were my book, which didn't come out until May, I wouldn't really want a review out in February. So, I sat on it, until last night's article, which reminded that May is nearly here.

So this time around, the book is called Killer Instinct, an…

Quick: What Average American Candy Bar is #1 in Japan?

More importantly, how did they get there?

All Together Now: "Ohmmm."

The day I turned thirty changed my life. I was unemployed, I had no money, and I was struggling every month to come up with $65 to pay the rent on my one-room apartment in the slums of Oakland, California. I took out a sheet of paper and wrote down my “ideal scene” — the best life for myself I could possibly imagine at the time. Then I took out another sheet of paper and listed all the goals I’d need to reach to achieve that ideal scene. Then I listed each goal as an affirmation, as if it was coming into being in the present — “I am now creating a successful company…. I am now writing a successful book…. I am now creating a beautiful album of music…. I am now getting into real estate, and finding a starter house to buy….”

I began each affirmation with the words, “In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way….” And sometimes I’d add the words, “In its own perfect time, for the highest good of all….”

Over the years I came to realize that those four words — easy, relaxed, h…

Maybe This is the Government Version of a "Loss Leader."

Every time Uncle Sam makes a penny, he loses 50%.

E-mail Newsletter Services

For the past few weeks, I've been pushing a few commercial e-mail newsletters based on RSS feeds out via Zookoda, a nifty little service that I've been pretty impressed with. At least, until yesterday.

Yesterday, I attempted to upload an opt-in list of 860 names or so and got an error message that my list couldn't hold that many (There were only 130 or so in the list at the time.).

Now while I understand that spam is a dirty word, 1000 names is hardly an unreasonable number. More importantly, this isn't spam, but a list of people who wish to be contacted by my client (he publishes a newsletter).

Most annoying? I've been all over the Zookoda website and if there is a list restriction number, I'm stumped. Can't find it anywhere.

Even more annoying that that? Since my email to Zookoda 18 hours ago, I've heard nothing. Nada.

Light at the end of the tunnel? As of yesterday, I can pretty much do the same thing via Feedburner. While the Feedburner service isn't…

Why Technology Rocks

When the baby son of Charles Lindbergh was snatched from his crib on a March evening in 1932, the kidnapper left a ransom note demanding $50,000. Over the next several weeks, a dozen more ransom notes popped up, asking for bigger sums of money and telling the world-renowned aviator where to leave it.

A Virginia company thinks it may be able to solve some of the mystery for good. It is analyzing the ransom notes with new software that matches handwriting samples by creating statistical snapshots of each handwritten letter and digit.

Read more here.

Titanic Two Trailer Released...

Trust me, this film can't miss.

The Best Quote on Parenting I've Heard in a While...

When you have a kid, you see your life not as a winding road or journey or puzzle but as a block of time, separated by decades during which you will do the predictable things necessary to the raising of a kid.

I don't think my life is over. The most meaningful part has just begun. Plus, my family would make it possible even now for me to go to school, or publish books, or fight. Whatever I wanted, and probably more. But the needs of a baby break life down into such simple bullet points - eat, sleep, shit, laugh - that it loses much of its mystery. Where I felt myself flailing for meaning much of the time before, now it's all very simple: be born, give birth, die.

Read more here.

Today's Gamechanger

If you've wondered when Google would combine the features of Google Base & Google Maps so that people can search for real estate online, the answer is now. Click on the link to see what quite possibly may be the biggest new way to list homes, if you're a consumer or advertise them, if you're a Realtor.

Why Are You Writing THAT?

From Seth:

My health club has a huge sign designed to go by the heavily traveled railroad tracks next to my office.

"Exclusive Charter Memberships Available."

Well, of course they're not that exclusive, given that they're on a billboard. And does it matter that they're 'charter'?Of course they're memberships. All health clubs have memberships. Which leaves, 'available', and the fact that they've got a sign pretty much makes that clear.

It's like the apocryphal story about the fish store. "Well, of course the fish is fresh. You're not going to sell me old fish, are you?" and "Of course it's 'here'. Where else would you be selling the fish?" and finally, "We know it's fish. We can smell it!"

The worst thing you can do is be boring and vague.The second worst thing you can do is be boring and verbose and obvious.

The first goal of copy is to get you to read more copy.The second goal is to tell a …