Start Up Blog

They brand you

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 25, 2011

We are so busy building our brands that we often forget what are brands are supposed to do in the new world. But every now and again we are given a simple reminder on why we give our loyalty to certain companies:

They recognise our brand and self importance. They brand us, and not just themselves. Sometimes they do this via association, and sometimes they do it more directly like the picture above. My coffee custom could go to a lot of places, and call me old fashioned, but I do like it to go somewhere where they make the effort to learn and use my name.

Sometimes the simplest loyalty strategies are the most effective.

Which ones does your startup employ to recognise your early adoptors?

 

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Loyalty Schemes Vs Gamification

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on June 1, 2011

In many ways Gamification is an evolution of the long lived Loyalty Scheme. But so much better, and the evidence exists even at the simplest level – the words themselves.

Loyalty Scheme: Firstly the word loyalty seems very one way. It was / is as if the company expects us to be loyal to them. And although one might argue that loyalty is a two way street, the second word of the phrase is the giveaway – ‘Scheme’. Yep, sounds like some kind of a trick to me. A scheme to make us believe we are getting a good deal, when in truth we are just a number on some kind of cost / benefit analysis spreadsheet. Intuitively, schemes feel like there is a winner and a loser.

Gamificiation: Games are fun. We spend most of our childhood playing them and find as many excuses as possible to play them as adults. ‘Who wants to come to the football this Friday night?’ A game needs at least two willing parties or organisations to play. Sometimes we can collaborate and form teams and clubs and divisions and theme songs and have awards nights and weekend getaways. We can celebrate wins together and lament the losses, either way we like to return to the game and try and win, or even better our own score, although it’s collaborative, it’s also personal. The game is the ‘thing’, not the result of it. Games contrive all of the important human emotions that make our hearts beat.

Play is human. Great games even turn into industries.

Yep, it feels to me that gamification facilitated via Moore’s law is here to stay.

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Why geolocating is huge

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on March 22, 2011

Geo locating is getting big. Real big. Let’s take Four Square as an example; last year over 6 million people checked into over 380 million retail locations. Something is really happening here, yet the doubters are strong with their voices of incredulousness. They can’t understand why anyone cares where they are, or why they’d want to share such personal information publicly, or with their on-line friends.  Rather than argue, I thought it was worth posing some of the human reasons why geolocating might be so appealing, an anthropological journey if you like.

The web wants to replicate life – Because it is a form of life. It loves to get physical, real and human… because it’s made by humans for humans.

The 3 ‘human’ reasons why geo-locating will only get bigger are:

1. Who’s here?

People want to see who else is where they are. Are their friends here to? it’s a great way for us to cross the virtual chasm into a physical reality.

2. My life is cool – I’m cool.

See how cool I am being at this particular place. it’s so cool you don’t even know where it is, and here I am…. proven via my smart phone GPS. I’m so cool, I’m teaching you the cool places to be. And I’m showing you how mobile I am and all the cool places to go to – like SXSW.

3. Reward me.

Heck, If I’m going to get a takeaway coffee everyday, I might as well go to the place that gives their Four Square mayor a free espresso on Friday or rewards you after X check ins. You want me to be loyal? You better reward me.

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I feel like we are only just starting to see the potential of geo-locating in terms of startup and marketing. It really does feel like the missing link between the virtual and the physical. And for those who are concerned about privacy, like all technology, our choice is a simple one:

Embrace it, or miss out on the benefits.

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The worlds first disloyalty card

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on March 3, 2011

Prufrock coffee who created the worlds first disloyalty card.

The card to encourages their clients to sample the wares of quality coffee shops around their local region in London. Which is completely counter intuitive to sound business practice.

How does it work?

If a disloyalty member tries all 8 coffees on the above card , it will earn you a free coffee at your next visit to Prufrock Coffee. The interesting part is that it was conceived to keep ‘coffee customers’ out of the four walls of the ever encroaching Starbucks behemoth. The disloyalty card created a community of coffee lovers that could compete the ‘way of an artisan’. Something Starbucks could never do. It might just help keep them out.  In this instance the community matters more than the trader. This is the new collaborative world we are in transition towards. A community who vest their interests in each other.

What can your startup do to flip the rules and do what a bigger competitor never could?

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What we follow – AFL

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on September 21, 2010

If you’re in Australia you’d know it is AFL Grand Final week. In US terms its the Super Bowl for Aussie rules football.

One of the most popular teams, Collingwood Football club has made it to the final. They have many fanatical supporters. So it got me thinking about what we are really supporting when it comes to football:

The Location? No, they do not play their games or even train in their original location of the suburb of Collingwood.

The Players? No, they are also never from the location they actually play for, let alone the same state or even country. They also change teams frequenctly and we welcome new players from other teams with open arms (so long as they are good players)

Our Peers? No, often our best friends follow teams which are the arch enemy of ours. We do not switch teams to be accepted by anyone. We’ll attend the games with them, but barrack for our own team.

The Jumper? No, that changes frequently. It barely looks like the original from 100 years ago and we are often forced to change it if the opposing team has colours which are deemed to clash.

The Performance? No, success is tenuous at best. Systems have been built in AFL to ensure the a more equitable distribution of success (Salary caps, draft systems). 1 successful year in 10 is a great result. 1 in 20 is more frequent.

So what do we support? We support the idea of loyalty. A concept only humans can understand. Following a team allows us to live vicariously, and display loyalty no matter what in a non life threatening way. It allows us to be emotional in a world that attempts to demand only rational thought.

Football and sport in general is one way we can remain human without consequence. And when it comes to brands, or clubs in this case, people can only truly love those which feel human.

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Brand Trust

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 5, 2010

Apple Inc sold an amazing 700,000 ipads on launch day. That’s around $350 million in revenue in one day. Most of the eager purchasers didn’t have full knowledge of what the gadget was even capable of. Which makes me ask these simple questions:

(A) Is Apple the most trusted brand in the world with loyalists? (B) And if so what creates such zealotry?

Startup Blog Answers:

(A) Yes, I think so.

(B) Abridged answer: Over delivering to expectations on multiple occasions.

The only other brands I can even think of people buying into without knowing what they are actually getting is the ever lasting life that comes with most religions!

Startup blog says: Over deliver, be patient and get compound returns.

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