Archive for August, 2012


The end of an era

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No more daily blog posts?!?!?

Yes, my friends, we’ve hit the end of an era. I’ve found an area where I’d like to devote a little more focus, so, as my time is not unlimited, I’m going to have to back down from my current post-a-day pattern.

Rest assured I’ll still be posting as I come across interesting things, but I just can’t keep the same regularity and pursue my other passions.

Thanks for all of the continued support with my wacky endeavors, and I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop with all of my future adventures (I’ll also be opening up a support group for those of you who may begin to suffer from withdrawals)!

Thanks again!

-Jim

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WARNING?

Let’s be clear: This is not how you make a warning label when you want it to be followed; this is how you make a warning label when you’re trying to avoid a lawsuit without regard to the well being of your users (or maybe if a government agency is requiring it).

There is a warning label similar to this on my son’s Graco combination changing table/playpen. I was looking for the safe load weight (to ensure that the changing table would not give out below him), and, much to my dismay, this information was not provided on the warning label.

What was present on this warning label, however, was a warning to parents to not leave their kid in the play pen with the changing table attached or else the child could strangle themselves. Now, let’s examine the steps needed for a child to strangle themselves in this manner…The child would have to:

  1. Stand in the playpen
  2. Reach outside of the playpen, and depress the two locking pins on the changing table supports (which is difficult for me to do)
  3. Lift the posts of the changing table portion out of the holes in the playpen
  4. Place their head over the edge of the playpen
  5. Replace the changing table portion poles into the corresponding holes in the playpen

Compare that to the steps needed to exceed the weight limit:

  1. Place a kid who is too heavy onto the changing table

When creating warnings, companies need to figure out what questions the customers have and what actions the customers are likely to perform incorrectly (which cannot be corrected with design).

Safety is too important to leave to poorly formatted warning labels.

Marketing the Fringe

Here is a picture of my trusty bag of protein powder; what is the first thing you notice?

What really stands out to me (as they’re in bright bold colors and big font) are the “5lb. value size” and the “New & Improved Flavor” banners…even before I realize that it’s protein powder!

Actually, if you scan the bag, there are many references to the flavor (The top of the bag says “New & Improved BETTER TASTE!”, and, if you look closely, that medal at the bottom is also referring to the taste).

So, why so much hype about the taste? After all, the main point of the protein powder are the nutrients which cause the results, not the taste…

The answer is simple: because protein powder is protein powder. If you want people to buy yours vs. the other guy’s, you need to market the fringe.

If you walked into a store and had to choose between several identical containers of protein powder, each from different manufacturers, and they all only boasted about the nutrients in their protein formula and not about any of their peripheral traits, you’d be much more hard pressed to make a decision as to which one you would buy.

Now, the beauty here is that this same principal can be applied to a plethora of other situations:

  • What makes your fertilizer better than the competitors’ fertilizer? People expect fertilizer to be fertilizer, so saying “our fertilizer makes your lawn greener” is often a futile attempt. Is your fertilizer safer for the environment, your kids, or your pets?
  • What makes your restaurant better than your competitors’ restaurant? Again, folks expect your food to be good, so “our food is better” is seldom effective. Is your theme or atmosphere better? Is your method or approach to service better?
  • …and what makes you better than your co-workers? Your boss still expects you to get your work done, so what is it that really makes you different? Do you have a positive attitude that can’t be defeated? Do you have a knack for drawing people together? 

What is your fringe that needs to be moved to your advertising forefront?

…pretty please make it this one!!!

So I’m hijacking my own blog a little bit because I thought I’d have some fun:

A couple of days ago, I discovered Quirky.com.

Basically, you can submit an idea to Quriky, with a 140 character tagline and a bunch of pictures/drawings, and, if you get enough votes within 30 days and they like your idea, they’ll actually produce it (and you can get some royalties)!

 

 

Well, it sounded like fun, so I submitted my Flexible Spatula!

So, here’s my CALL TO ACTION: Please go to this link: http://www.quirky.com/ideations/275496 , and vote for my idea!!!

Now, let’s be clear about somethings before you all think I’m delusional:

I know that I will not get rich off of this idea. I also know that, if this idea is chosen for production, Quirky will get a little richer off of it…and that’s all fine to me.

I love the idea of their site because it brings to market a bunch of products that would otherwise not see the light of day: I didn’t mind devoting the ~40 minutes to draw my design or the ~20 minutes to submit it to Quirky, but I would mind the huge monetary investment into developing materials, creating mold plates, and establishing a good working relationship with China!

Also, they do well playing on the fact that most people are good initiators (they can come up with a plethora of great ideas), but most are awful ‘finishers’ (as this is the part of the job that takes MUCH more work).

On top of all of that, I could, and may, also do a separate post on their website design because it really is top notch (it’s easy to use and it even has a countdown clock for your 30 days that gets as detailed as the seconds until your idea is closed for voting to add to the sense of urgency)!

So, are you feeling inventive? Submit something to Quirky!!!