Sunday, June 24, 2012

Share Life's Awesome Moments on the Fly with Burst

Westport, CT Dad and entrpereneur Paul Levy is our guest on this week's 10MinuteStrategy.  He's one of the co-founders of Burst, a mobile/cloud platform that helps families share the exciting or poignant moments of their lives -- only with the people who care most. Burst runs on the iPhone or Android devices.

Unlike sharing on Facebook where all of your friends will see a photo or video of events that they may or may not care about, Burst creates instant albums of video and still photo content that can be shared with pre-built groups or ad-hoc groups of fellow participants in that event -- for example the parents of the teammates on your kid's Little League team.  Out-of-state friends and relatives are e-mailed a link to the content that they can watch once, or if they join Burst, view as often as they like.  Clever stuff.



The team at Burst have thought of many scenarios for sharing, but have done a laudable job of focusing on delivering core functionality that meets a market need.  They have upcoming features that they will add once they see the adoption of the core Burst platform.  One of them is a group sharing function called a Burst  Bubble that allows for multiple contributors to capture and share content from an event.

For now the core Burst app delivers plenty of value to Moms and Dads looking to selectively share those special childhood moments with the people who care.



Peter Propp is a strategy and marketing consultant based in Westport, CT.   He helps a wide variety of startups and established companies address growth opportunities with marketing and business development approaches.  He has interviewed dozens of business leaders on his video blog, 10MinuteStrategy, and is the co-founder of the FairCo TEEM Meetup Group, which is focused on providing a platform for shared learning by and for the many business leaders who reside in the greater New York region.  Peter can be reached at ppropp <at> shore.com

Monday, May 14, 2012

BluhmOnFallon, a Live Social Media Case Study

In this episode of 10MinuteStrategy, I’m bringing back Jack Campisi, who was one of the first people I interviewed when I started this video blog a few years back.  Jack has become a highly regarded social media consultant and has a few projects he is working on to develop his own personal brand. We’ll talk about those on a future episode.

But this week’s episode is on a much more pressing topic – we want to recruit you and your friends to join a movement to get Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers on the Jimmy Fallon show.  Nicki Bluhm has an amazing voice, and her band is just awesome.  They have put out several albums and play all over California.  Somewhere along the way, they decided to start recording dashboard videos of the band playing cover songs of favorite tunes – while they are driving in their tour van.

I’m most impressed with their covers of Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That,” and Linda Ronstadt’s “You’re No Good” – I know there are others out there who love their covers of the Grateful Dead’s “Deal.” There are songs by Madonna, Dolly Parton, Lionel Ritchie, etc. 

I’m a big fan of Jimmy Fallon and I know that he would love the music that Nicki is playing.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s seen the videos they’ve been posting to YouTube and Facebook.  All we want to do is give him a push to invite Nicki and the Gramblers (what is a Grambler, anyway?) on the show.  It is an obvious fit.  I’m pretty sure it is going to happen.  But Betty White would never have performed on SNL without a push from the Internet, and we’re going for the same sort of movement.

So take a look at the video below, join our FB group, and send out the following tweet: Hey @jimmyfallon, why don't you have @nickibluhm on your show? She's awesome! #bluhmonfallon




Peter Propp is a strategy and marketing consultant based in Westport, CT.   He helps a wide variety of startups and established companies address growth opportunities with marketing and business development approaches.  He has interviewed dozens of business leaders on his video blog, 10MinuteStrategy, and is the co-founder of the FairCo TEEM Meetup Group, which is focused on providing a platform for shared learning by and for the many business leaders who reside in the greater New York region.  Peter can be reached at ppropp <at> shore.com









Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Three CEO Tools for Running your Startup or Mid-Tier Business

In part II of my interview with Just Run It author and turnaround CEO Dick Cross, we take a look at 3 crucial tools he uses to help companies develop strategies that start with an analysis of customer needs. Dick believes that one way to improve the US economy is to reduce the number of failed companies. It doesn't matter if they are a mobile startup or a vacuum cleaner repair shop -- small companies need help running their business and Just Run It is full of insightful ways for a CEO to better understand the needs of customer s and make sure those needs are being met.


The Back of the Envelope – using the four triangles on the back of an envelope, Dick focuses on three key questions –
  • Who are my Customers?
  • What do my Customers want?
  • What positioning do I need to sell what they need?
  • What are the competencies we need to achieve success?
When Dick was the CEO of CarStar, a US and Canada-based collision repair chain, research showed that customers were very concerned with the disruption the car repair process would cause to their everyday lives. When the company promoted the idea that CarStar would help with non-repair needs like "how do I get to work?" and "how do I get my kids to their activities?" -- temporary transportation -- business went up. So in this case, focus on positioning that was largely unrelated to the core service allowed CarStar to grow.






The Renewal Curve – The renewal curve is important for companies who determine they need to make a significant change in their business. The CEO must plan for change and expect that revenues will be lower in the period directly following a change in direction. Having the guts to stick with a necessary change is a critical skill for a CEO. In Startup world we often talk about the pivot. The Renewal Curve is what happens to a startup after the pivot. If you are prepared for a short or medium length downturn, your startup or mid-tier business can get over your pivot and back into growth.


Tri-Focal Lenses – The Tri-Focal lens depicts three lenses that a CEO must always be looking through while running the business. The first lens is Vision – where do we want the company to be? The second lens is Strategy – what do we need to do to achieve the vision? And the third lens is Execution – are we executing the strategy with a focus on quality and consistency? If the CEO can look through all three lenses at the same time, they can build and grow a successful business, full of happy customers.


So, CEO – Put on your Tri-Focal Lenses, turn over an envelope and try to figure out how you can help your customers understand how your product will meet their needs. And don’t forget that when you implement your new strategy, success is only likely to come after a downturn called the Renewal Curve. And before you do any of these things, go get a copy of  Just Run It at a bookstore near you.


Here's a link to Part I of my interview with Dick Cross.


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Peter Propp is a strategy and marketing consultant based in Westport, CT.   He helps a wide variety of startups and established companies address growth opportunities with marketing and business development approaches.  He has interviewed dozens of business leaders on his video blog, 10MinuteStrategy, and is the co-founder of the FairCo TEEM Meetup Group, which is focused on providing a platform for shared learning by and for the many business leaders who reside in the greater New York region.  Peter can be reached at ppropp <at> shore.com

Monday, May 7, 2012

How to be a CEO -- with Dick Cross, Author, Just Run It


Dick Cross is an eight time turnaround CEO and consultant to mid-tier, "mainstream businesses" who has codified his consulting knowledge into a short and insightful book called Just Run It. As a hands-on Chairman and consultant he has helped more than one hundred mid-tier, mainstream companies understand and achieve their goals.


Dick created The Mid-Tier Presidents Course in the Harvard GSD Executive Program, which he led for 5 years. Through his teaching and consulting, Dick realized that there really is no curriculum at any business school that helps CEO s actually run their companies on a day to day basis. Just Run It is a guide for mid-tier, mainstream and startup CEO s to take a step back and make sure they stay focused on customer needs and are always operating a strategy that is informed by customer needs and aligned with the mainstream companies goals. Sometimes the model and goals need to be refreshed and the Just Run It model is intended to help CEO s drive continual change to meet market needs.


This is part I of our discussion.  I will post part I shortly. 







Peter Propp is a strategy and marketing consultant based in Westport, CT.   He helps a wide variety of startups and established companies address growth opportunities with marketing and business development approaches.  He has interviewed dozens of business leaders on his video blog, 10MinuteStrategy, and is the co-founder of the FairCo TEEM Meetup Group, which is focused on providing a platform for shared learning by and for the many business leaders who reside in the greater New York region.  Peter can be reached at ppropp <at> shore.com

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Shopper Media Case Studies -- Interview with Ted Rubin, Collective Bias

Ted Rubin is back on 10MinuteStrategy with case studies from Collective Bias engagements with 3 great consumer brands: Glidden Paints, Nestle Ice Cream Brands (Dreyer’s, Edy’s and Drumstick ), and Elmers Glue.  In each of these cases, Collective Bias went to their blogger community with an idea of what the client was trying to achieve and then built the details of the program strategy based on that feedback. A select set of Collective Bias bloggers were paid to participate in each of these activities – I hope they were paid well because these results are outstanding!

Glidden – Promoted use of small $1 “tester” cans to figure out what color to paint a room.  Program resulted in 15M in impressions, 67% increase in awareness and the Glidden’s first  $1M weekend at WalMart across the US.

Nestle  -- The Walmart Ice Cream Social (self explanatory, right?) resulted in 32M impressions and achieved 37% Sustained Sales Lift.

Elmers Glue – Community created a DIY concept called Glue and Glitter – now the 2nd largest driver of creativity to the Elmers Web property.  They have created tremendous energy, activity, awareness and sales for Elmers and they have posted some amazing activity on Pinterest.

Soon after Pinterest launched, the Collective Bias bloggers discovered how great Pinterest is to tell a story visually and it became part of many of their programs.  According to Ted,  Pinterest is powerful place for visual interaction --  “Facebook without the whining” -- and is a great place to show things you love and drive traffic.  I agree with Ted that Pinterest is a powerful platform for visual sharing that allows marketers and bloggers to continually manage what people see.  And while Pinterest is highly complementary to Facebook and other social networking sites, it does not really promote relationship creation and management.  View Pinterest as another powerful, visual tool in the social marketing quiver.




Peter Propp is a strategy and marketing consultant based in Westport, CT.   He helps a wide variety of startups and established companies address growth opportunities with marketing and business development approaches.  He has interviewed dozens of business leaders on his video blog, 10MinuteStrategy, and is the co-founder of the FairCo TEEM Meetup Group, which is focused on providing a platform for shared learning by and for the many business leaders who reside in the greater New York region.  Peter can be reached at ppropp <at> shore.com.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

How To Startup -- Bob Dorf and the Startup Owners Manual

I met Bob Dorf at Startup Weekend Stamford a few weeks back.  He gave a fantastic talk based on his experience and The Startup Owners Manual, the new book he’s co-written with Steven Blank.  The startup weekend attendees were taking copious notes as Bob shared his insights.  Bob and Steven have broken down the startup process into core concepts that will help any entrepreneur make smarter decisions at every step of the process.

In this discussion Bob and I talk about two of the fundamental topics in the Owner’s Manual:
  1. Startups are not smaller version of big companies – sounds obvious but it’s not.
  2. Embracing the Pivot – startups who Pivot are often viewed as close to failure – but Bob and Steven contend that a mature approach to startup development requires many pivots to discover a business model that can ultimately be successful.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ted Rubin -- Harnessing The Power of the Crowd for successful Social Marketing

I'm happy to have Ted Rubin back on 10MinuteStrategy.  Ted is the Chief Social Marketing Officer for a very cool "Shopper Media" firm called Collective Bias.  And he's been on the forefront of social media and in deploying the strategies necessary for businesses to gain value  from social media.

Nestle recently hired Collective Bias to drive awareness and action around their ice cream brands in a promotion they were running with WalMart.  The results are worth noting.  Watch the video for more detail.



Ted will be back on Skype with me next week to provide some more meaty detail on what's going on in social marketing.