How Does Your Brand Surprise And Delight Your Customers?


Brands want people to share their story. How do you get someone to share? By inspiring them, surprising them and delighting them with your brand or product. There are many good examples out there and this recent WestJet video shows how they surprised a plane full of customers at the Christmas holidays. Obviously, capturing all of the video and posting it to YouTube has inspired and delighted many of us enough to share the story. My wife shared it with me after her co-workers shared it with her. See it below.

What makes someone want to share? In the book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” author Dr. Jonah Berger states: “Awe is the sense of wonder and amazement that occurs when someone is inspired by great knowledge, beauty, sublimity, or might. It’s the experience of confronting something greater than yourself. Awe expands ones frame of reference and drives self-transcendence. Awe is a complex motion and frequently involves a sense of surprise, unexpectedness or mystery.” Awe also inspires sharing. For example, Jonah and his team determined that awe-inspiring articles were 30% more likely to make the “Most Emailed” list.

As a developer of self service kiosks, interactive and mobile I especially enjoyed the “Santa Station” that WestJet setup in the terminal to allow customers to talk “Live” to Santa. Notice the carpet where people should stand to be in the full view of the camera. This illustrates that any sort of photobooth kiosk needs to be more than just the enclosure. A kiosk is the enclosure and everything around it used to draw attention to the kiosk including signage, floor branding, surrounding product, etc. Ensure your kiosk is not just a screen on a stick or on the wall. Think of your kiosk as the entire environment.

Writing Content For Mobile

mobile-application-development3While  discussing mobile marketing Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO)  states “The size of the audience makes this – the phone – a mass medium. It’s as important to a marketer as TV. This is as important – if not more important – than television.”  I couldn’t agree more.  As the mobile medium is so much more interactive and measurable. And the content written for mobile consumption must be tailored to that medium.

Intelligent marketers are paying attention to mobile as a highly effective medium for communicating to businesses as well as consumers. The demand to produce mobile content is increasing at an alarming pace. Is your business ready?

Here are some tips on providing the best written content designed for the mobile market:

  • Less is more – your message must be communicated in short blocks. You can apply the “Twitter rule” of 140 characters for each “paragraph.” This can be adjusted up or down slightly – but only slightly – depending on your particular type or style of content.
  • Headlines are king – your headline must grab attention. Make it bold and intriguing so the reader will take the next step.
  • Take some test laps – According to a recent Mashable article you can take an initial run at different techniques to determine what is most effective with your target audience. Note the responses and effectiveness through analytics and by reviewing feedback. If it works, try some other flavors and then rotate the approaches that are most effective.
  • Remember your message – keep your focus on your marketing message and make sure every word is used in the most effective manner to communicate that message.
  • Top down approach – the most important parts of your mobile content should be at the very beginning, which is the opposite of most other forms of writing. Because most mobile readers only spend a few seconds on each subject it is crucial to get the message across sooner rather than later.

The demand for mobile content writing will only escalate as mobile usage grows. Already we see a demand for mobile ready content in blogs, articles and web content for our customers as they recognize the mobile audience reading their sites.  And in our mobile app development we use the above methods to hone our messaging.  Now, put your pen to paper… er… or start typing!

Promoting your product on a budget

Occasionally I see a product promotion that strikes me as genius.  And this was one of those times.  In the local Cincinnati supermarket beer aisle there was a glaring hole of white shelving where beer cases should be.  And in place of the beer were signs telling shoppers that a new product was coming soon.  Just weeks away was the oldest brewery in America… Yuenling.

This beer has been popular with Ohioans and many others across the country but it has never been available for sale before.  We always enjoyed it when we were in Pittsburg, Philadelphia and many other east coast cities but it could not be sold in the midwest.  So on many of my four hour drives to Pittsburg I would bring home a case to use as gifts.  I can remember an employee of mine years ago who had family in Philadelphia brought cases of it back to me as a gift along with a t-shirt from the factory.   That’s how special this beer was.  And let’s face it… it’s good beer… but this is just beer.  A bottle of refreshment you consume in about 20 minutes.  And then it’s gone (unless you have a case).  Yet consumers loved the brand.  Cherished the heritage as the oldest American brewery and spread the word of this brand to other beer lovers.

The folks at Yeunling (or their agency) are pretty smart.  For years they used the marketing tactic of scarcity to drive demand.  This exclusive product that had to be “black market” smuggled into neighboring states.  They let their advocates and fans spread the word for them without the need for a national marketing budget.

And now they were using this low cost promotion to announce their wider distribution of their long sought after product.  A blank grocery shelf with a sign reading “Yeunling Lager – Available October 31st”.   In two weeks I can get my hands on this widely lauded brand without having to drive eight hours round trip.  I predict that after they load up these empty shelves with Yeunling they will soon have another empty spot in this aisle.  The stock boy had better be ready with another pallet of product in the back room.

And all they’ve done is used a $5 sign to drive awareness and demand.  It goes to show that in a time of a down economy there are creative ways to promote your product.  Yes, they have it easy because they have an existing brand with demand.   So perhaps they are just smart not to spend thousands of dollars on promotion and keep that marketing budget for other necessites like making more product!   But even a new or less known brand can be creative and use low cost guerilla marketing methods to drive awareness.  Consulting with an agency such as ourselves can open up the doors to many ways to promote online, digitally or using social media to let advocates tell your story for you.

So I raise a toast to you and your brand.  May the coming year bring you more sales and profit.  May your company be able to hire new employees and help turn this country’s economy around and make us the economy of envy that we’ve lost over the past decades.  Governments can not turn around a down economy, legislators can’t do it.  Businesses and consumers are the only force that can make that change.  So put on your marketing thinking caps and create something that people want, need or desire.

Electronic Art President Named Chair of PR & Marketing for Digital Signage Association

Tim Burke, Founder and President of Electronic Art, was named chair of the PR & Marketing Committee for the Digital Signage Association on May 5, in Las Vegas, during a board meeting prior to the 2009 KioskCom Self Service Expo.

In this role, Burke plans to provide marketing and PR guidance to promote the awareness of the industry association and increase membership. He expects to work with other association committees to help them achieve their missions as well.

“Marketing is one of my key strengths. I’ll help drive awareness through social media, trade shows and other events with attendees that consume digital signage,” Burke said.

Burke’s first goal is to get the DSA involved with the Cincinnati Digital Non-Conference to be held on Sept. 24 – 25, which provides a targeted audience for the DSA to provide education and drive awareness of the association. He will also encourage involvement in the Digital Signage Expo and other events that serve to educate agencies, media and IT professionals, architects, and property management firms about digital signage.

DSA members are some of the most prominent and respected suppliers in the digital signage industry. Other committee chairpersons were named at the board meeting, including Margot Myers of the Platt Retail Institute, the chair of the Education & Certification committee, and Greg Masingill of Seneca Data, the chair of the Membership committee.

“Our industry has grown tremendously in the past three years and is expected to double in size by 2012. I want to help lead the organization meet its mission and play a role in that industry growth,” Burke said.

For more information about Electronic Art, contact Tim Burke at (513) 321-1771 or, or visit

About the Digital Signage Association

The purpose of the Digital Signage Association (DSA) is to accelerate the growth and advance the excellence of digital signage deployments worldwide. The DSA strives to help those deploying digital signage solutions be as successful as possible. The Association is built on three pillars: advocacy, education and networking. For more information, visit

About Electronic Art

Electronic Art ( is a Cincinnati-based interactive agency specializing in kiosks and digital signage as well as many related online services. Originally founded in 1998 and incorporated in 2002, Electronic Art began primarily as a Web studio offering high end custom programming, ecommerce, and design. Electronic Art provides custom solutions for many industries in kiosks, digital signage and website development. Sales of kiosk and digital signage hardware allow for a complete solution from one vendor, and an onsite IT staff handles build, integration and support needs.

Purpose Driven Brands

This morning I attended a seminar on purpose driven brands that was put on by the University of Cincinnati college of business.  It had great speakers such as Dr. Nancy Zimpher, the president of UC, the Keynote speaker was Jim Stengel who is the Global Marketing Officer of P&G, and a panel discussion by Dr. Fritz Russ (Dept. of Marketing for UC), Ms. Kathy Selker, CEO of Northlich, Jim Sluzewski, VP for corporate communications for Macy’s, Walter Solomon, VP and CGO for Ashland, and finally Dr. Chris Allen, professor of marketing at UC.  I found Jim Stengel’s insights into creating a purpose driven brand to be refreshing, and well done.  It wasn’t earth shattering, as I have learned much of this before, but it did put in in perspective from P&G’s point of view by sharing anecdotal stories of P&G Brands.

Some of the main points from Jim included: Continue reading

A Fine Line, Indeed.

Musing late yesterday afternoon about some very interesting application possibilities involving geolocation technology (location-based services), and  I had that hair-raising moment when I realized how much creepy potential lies therein (hey, I read Orwell’s 1984…). There’s something comforting about being able to drop off of everyone’s radar if you choose to do so. So there it is: the line. That fine line between a super-useful and convenient technology, and a very disconcerting surrendering of privacy. But in reading today, maybe Yahoo has the answer to this conundrum in a little thing they call Fire Eagle. The difference is that Fire Eagle is permissions-based – giving your marketing efforts mobile accessibility while leaving your audience in control of their experience.   Check out the whole story.