Worthwhile Reading – Week Ending 04/27/2008

Here are some topics of interest I’ve read in the past week. Definitely worth your time to read. Read more


Iconoclast posted this interesting quote:

“Since I’ve been blogging, morning shows feel like they’re staged, whereas the mommy blogs are pretty authentic — to the point of being almost too honest sometimes. It’s a way to get fresh information from other moms, like a virtual moms group. I don’t see a need to watch the morning shows.
Beth Blecherman, a former Today viewer and mother of three, Los Angeles Times | 2.9.07”

Brand loyalty and influence

Media Post reported the results of a new study: Some 13-34s Show High Brand Loyalty

A new study of 10,000 respondents confirmed that a portion of the 13-34 age group are opinionated and passionate to the point of influencing friends and family.

15-20% of the respondents fell into a category dubbed “Brand Sirens.”

“Those sirens have a profound network effect on marketing through their ability to influence friends and family via word-of-mouth, viral video and applications such as instant messaging and blogs, among other media.”

Here are a few other key insights confirmed in the research:

  • 2 in 3 “Brand Sirens” care about the brands they use
  • 7 in 10 say they love some brands
  • 43% of the Brand Sirens wish they could find brands they could stick with and more than 40 percent would switch brands if another brand came onto the market that seemed more enticing.
  • 82% indicated that they talk about brands with their friends.
  • 70% of those surveyed send e-mails to friends about products and services
  • 77% post reviews and product feedback online

One of the most surprising findings of the research is that while Brand Sirens are skeptical about corporations and marketing, they can also serve as a marketer’s strongest advocate via blogs, word-of-mouth, social networks, and other largely consumer-generated new media platforms. “There is this juxtaposition between skepticism and advocacy.”

DVR viewer behavior

For those following Digital Video Recorder (DVR) usage with interest, Mediamark Research Inc. (MRI) released results of their Spring 2006 Research study and suggests that adults in households that have digital video recorders watch less TV than adults in the general population.


“More Than 11% of Adults Live in Households That Have DVR’s.”

“U.S. adults whose households have a digital video recorder (DVR) are more upscale than those that do not and are more likely to be heavy readers of magazines and newspapers.”

“20% of all adults who watch 44.5 or more hours of television per week.”

“15.7% of adults in DVR-owning households who watch that many hours.”

“36.8% of adults with DVR’s have a college education and 17.1% have average household income exceeding $150,000.”

“Of adults with DVR’s in the household, 15.7% have home values exceeding $500,000.”

In-home interviews conducted by Mediamark with 26,000 adults between March 2005 and May 2006.

Advertisers worry about viewers time shifting/skipping past commercials.

Researchers for the major networks told advertisers in November that people in households with a DVR watched 12% more hours of TV a day than those without.

CBS says the Mediamark numbers were unreliable, because they were derived from people’s often-low reports of their own TV watching. The figures suggesting that adults who use a DVR watch more television come from Arbitron’s 2,000-person machine-recorded survey in the spring of 2005, but it covered only the Houston market.

CBS further maintains that their own research indicates that whatever their level of TV viewing, viewers tend to watch more television after getting the devices than before.


Article: Basic Computer Classes Near Extinction

Interesting comment…

InformationWeek: Basic Computer Classes Near Extinction

“Because today’s students are already so tech-savvy, educators are using computers to teach other subjects instead of needing to teach basic computer literacy.”

“The days of basic computer classes are nearly over,” … “Today’s students already know how to operate computers. They blog; they text message; they have their own Web sites. We want to help students and teachers see technology as a means to improve learning and performance.”

“Sixty-three percent of teachers reported having “somewhat advanced” to “advanced” technology skills and three-fourths consider themselves competent or highly competent when using technology for student assessments, evaluations and developing critical thinking skills.”

Back around 1980-81, my elementary school began it’s computer science program. I think I was in 8th grade at the time. A teacher would go to computer class on Wednesday night and on Thursday morning try to teach us to program “For-Next” loops in BASIC on a Tandy TRS-80. We’d make the word “DOG” run down the page repeatedly, then step by increments of 1 to the right, then fill the entire screen with the word.

Now, at age 4, my kids started turning the computer on, loading CDs and running their favorite education games.

What was your first introduction to computers? Please post your comments. Thanks.

Love the brand, not just the product

I heard an interesting quote recently:
“Consumers want to fall in love with your brand, not only your product.”

The context is marketers often fail to take consumers to the next level of a relationship with the brand.

Apple is an often-cited example of how consumers fall in love with the entire brand. In recent years, the iPod has become responsible for introducing consumers to the brand, gaining trust and hooking them in. “Land and expand.” In a recent list of the most significant products by Apple in the past 30 years, a senior editor at made a great observation:

Apple Multi-Color Logo DecalThe Apple decal:
In addition to their primary purpose, certain places have been deemed worthy for the display of
hallowed images--the battered case of a well-loved guitar, the outside of 7th grader’s binder, and the rear window of just about any automobile. When was the last time a [Microsoft] Windows sticker adorned any of these spaces? Often passed over as nothing more than a tschochke slipped into the packaging of every new Macintosh, the Apple decal represents the spirit of and the enthusiasm for Apple and its products. It’s the rare company (and machine) that can boast the kind of loyalty that builds communities. –CHRISTOPHER BREEN

ADDENDUM: As luck should have it, hours after I posted this message I came across a similar themed article in USA Today. Check this out:
Automakers hope love for car equals love for brand

So how about your brand? Is there a reason to love it beyond one cool product?

What do you think? Please post your comments. Thanks.

Know your customer: Wal-Mart reconfigures stores to demographics

Check out this posting at Wal-Mart Re-Vamps Store Concepts

Retail chains often present the same goods across markets, with subtle variations to localize. The article says they are reconfiguring 1,300 stores to deploy the 5 store formats:
– Suburban affluent
– Urban multicultural
– Hispanic
– Baby boomers
– Rural markets

These formats are “meant to better serve customers based on demographics and locations.”

It is not a new concept to tailor to your audience. It will be interesting to see how significantly different the designs, offerings and employee training may be.

What do you think? Please post your comments below. Thanks.

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