Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.
August 2nd, 2006
I recently became aware of the inspiring story of Fiskars, you know, the company that makes the orange handled scissors. When started learning about Fiskars I thought, “What marketing insight could be gleaned from a company that makes such a boring commodity?” I was soon to learn that it’s the commonness of their product that makes the Fiskars story so inspiring.
Imagine being handed the job as the marketing director for Fiskars–a successful international corporation with a legacy dating from 1649. You’ve been given the world wide marketing responsibility for….long pause….scissors.
I’m sure it’s out there, but I can’t imagine a product that would be more dull (not literally of course) and more resigned to the classification of “commodity pumped out of China for a few cents each.”
Just for fun, here’s part of the provocative description of scissors from Wikipedia:
Scissors are a tool used for cutting thin material which requires little force. They are used for cutting, for example, paper, cardboard, metal foil, thin plastic, food, cloth, rope and wire. They are also used for cutting hair and nails.
So, given this bleak scenario what has Fiskars done? They’ve taken one of the toughest products imaginable and perfected the basic essences of marketing by:
- Identifying the real need behind why their customers buy their product.
- Branding themselves around those needs (not around their product).
- Creating strong emotional bonds with their customers.
- Creating an online community offering real extended value.
- Embracing Customer Evangelism Marketing.
It’s not necessary for me to explain Fiskars’ near-perfect emotional branding, they’ve done such a great job it’s apparent just by visiting their website.
The story of Fiskars can be a big downer too. When I absorb the marketing masterpiece they’ve created out of such a ubiquitous product, it takes away all excuses for why any other product would be difficult to successfully differentiate. Almost anything, compared to scissors, would be better positioned to achieve marketing success. If you’ve been using that type of excuse, just imagine what the marketing leadership of Fiskars would do if they were at your company selling your product.
Fiskars deserves high honor for their leadership in quality consumer evangelism marketing, and for the inspiration they provide to the rest of us.
Posted in Misc | Comments Off on Fiskars: Cutting-Edge Customer Evangelism
February 1st, 2006
Today’s post is the last in a series of four. In Part 1 we reviewed the strategy of having two identical synchronized hard drives, in Part 2 we talked about the importance segregating the data on your hard drive, and Part 3 covered external hard drives.
This concluding post emphasizes archiving your vital data. I recommend creating a special folder within your data folder hierarchy that contains your most important data – something akin to the type of important information you would store physically in a safe deposit box. I protect this data two ways:
- First, I periodically burn it on a DVD and keep it in a safe deposit box.
- Second I use an encrypted automated FTP backup service that automatically updates my critical files every evening. My company sells this service for less than $30 per year. Search for “online file folder” at RisingLineWeb.com.
These are worst case scenario precautions, if my office burns down my most important data is still secure.
So, in conclusion, you’ve got to have the mindset that your system will crash. So many people who’s life and livelihood are based in the millions of 0’s and 1’s that they’ve created on their PC’s fail to realize the likelihood of a catastrophic system failure and the impact it will have on their lives.
The strategies I mentioned are the only solutions, or even necessarily the best, but if you implement them you will have a multiple redundant system in place to recover your most important data.
Posted in Tech Notes | Comments Off on Easy Inexpensive Ways to Protect Your Data-Part 4
January 28th, 2006
In Part 1 we reviewed the strategy of having two identical synchronized hard drives. In Part 2 we talked about the importance segregating the data on your hard drive.
This weeks strategy is about using an external hard drive for data backup. There are numerous options for dedicated external hard drives designed specifically for small office backup solutions, many that feature automated backup software. There are lots of good products on the market, but some of the better values I’ve found are from SimpleTech:
- 160GB External USB 2.0 with backup software, 1 yr warranty ($96 at Costco.com at the time of this posting).
- 500GB External USB 2.0 with 1 touch backup software, 3 yr warranty, Kensington lock bracket.($219 from Costco.com at the time of this posting).
- 400GB SimpleShare Wireless NAS. It doesn’t seem to be listed on Costco.com but I saw this recently at a Costco store…it featured a 802.11 Network Attached Storage unit that could accept additional external hard drives, was
priced at Costco at $389.00. More info can be found at simpletech.com
(Costco is one of my preferred suppliers for computer hardware peripherals because they have the most liberal return policy for computer hardware of any supplier of which I’m aware.)
Buying a dedicated hard drive backup solution allows most users to back up an entire drive, but really the critical files you want backed up are your data files. So, depending on how much data you actually have, a large external drive that backs up your whole drive (operating system, application files, and data files) might be overkill, especially if your already replicating your hard drives internally as mentioned in part 1 of this series.
Another, less expensive option, is to buy an external hard drive enclosure ($20-$40) in which you can mount a extra hard drive. If you’re like most small businesses, you probably have accumulated a small stack of these extra hard drives…just make sure the hard drive you pick was not orphaned because it had potential technical issues. External hard drive enclosures connect to your PC via USB or Firewire cable, and you can buy a software utility to automatically backup or just back up manually on a regular basis. As long as you’re not relying on this as your only backup it’s an inexpensive and effective option.
Ideally, you should physically move your external hard drive backup to a safe, or at least another room, when you’re away; or buy one with a Kensignton lock bracket (you’ll have to buy the Kensington cable lock separately). That way you’ll be more likely to retain your data backup if your PC is stolen.
Try searching for “hard drive enclosure” at Tiger Direct, or CDW.
Next weeks post: Remote data archiving for disaster recovery.
Posted in Tech Notes | Comments Off on Easy Inexpensive Ways to Protect Your Data-Part 3
January 14th, 2006
In part 1, we reviewed the strategy of having two identical synchronized hard drives.
Today’s strategy is segregating the data on your hard drive. By keeping all your important data in a primary folder hierarchy you’ll be able to manage your important files more efficiently and reduce the risk of overlooking important
information that needs backed up.
You’ll want to make sure that your data is organized in under a single folder (like My Documents) and organize within that folder. For those who don’t know, there are three basic types of software on your computer: the operating system (e.g. Windows), application software (e.g. Word), and data files (the files that that you’ve created and want to protect).
You’ll need to take a look at your application software settings and insure that your data files created in those programs are stored in the folder you want, examples include your Outlook pst file, other Office applications, and your accounting software.
Next weeks post: Using an external hard drive backup.
Posted in Tech Notes | Comments Off on Easy Inexpensive Ways to Protect Your Data-Part 2