Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Dell has made over $3m from Twitter

Between starting in June 2007 and June 2009, promotions on @DellOutlet have result in sales of $2m. Tracking people who have clicked on a link and then made a purchase elsewhere on the site reveals another $1m sales.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Pizza Hut employee blog

A British Pizza Hut 'team member' keeps a blog here.

Most interesting tit-bit I noticed: this post says about 50% of customers will order a side (e.g. garlic bread with a pizza or muffin with a coffee) if offered one. It's called a 'related sale'. Upselling works remarkably well.

Also an alarming incident here, where children were about to stick their hands under hot water from the coffee machine, thinking it was the Ice Cream Factory.

Argos Employee blog - shut down but still out there

An employee was blogging fairly frankly about Argos at It was even mentioned in The FT. The blog has disappeared, though this doesn't seem to have made the news.

Fortunately on the internet you can't really delete anything, and old posts are still available on the Internet Archive here.

In related news, in 2007 Argos sacked an employee for posting insulting remarks on Facebook.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Doughnuts and BlackBerrys

Research in Motion (RIM), maker of the BlackBerry, takes great pains to distance itself from a focus on shareholder value. Just after the firm's IPO in 1997 the founders made a rule that any manager who talked about the share price at work had to buy a doughnut for every person in the company.

Early infractions were not terribly painful, but that changed as the company grew. In 2001, the COO mentioned RIM's surging stock prince in the wake of a call with analysts and was saddled with the task of delivering more than 800 doughnuts to the next weekly meeting of employees. He even had to make special arrangements with local doughnut shops to get enough.

There hasn't been a recorded infraction of the doughnut rule since.

Source: 'The Age of Customer Capitalism', HBR, Jan-Feb 2010

Monday, 11 January 2010

John Lewis, Bluewater

A few interesting notes from my visit some time ago (2007?):
  • Their biggest issues on the staff survey was people ticking 'neither agree no disagree'. So they removed that box!
  • They voted to stay shut on New Year's Day.
  • They have a 'PCP Chain' - partner, customer, profit
  • Committee of Partners monitor and change agreed uniform options.

Rating teachers

A number of systems exist for rating teacher.

According to an article in The Times a German system call was unsuccessfully sued by a teacher. operates a similar system in English-language countries, even covering my alma mater King Alfred School.

Lululemon - highest sales per square foot

According to retail analyst ThinkEquity, cult 'yoga-inspired athletic apparel' retailer Lululemon have the highest retail sales [presumably in the US] at $1,800 per square foot. J.Crew and Abercrombie & Fitch come in at $600/sq ft.

In the UK, that distinction used to go to Richer Sound, don't know if that's still true.

Osram Sylvania's skunkworks

Lighting manufacturer Osram Sylvania has a skunkworks called the New Ventures Group. They have created new products like the popular Dot-It stick-ups.

For more info see Fast Company, Apr 09

Business model innovation from Bon Jovi

In 2007 Bon Jovi released their album Lost Highway. To get a presale ticket to seem them play their classic hits in concert, you had a buy a download copy of the album.

Lost Highway sold 291,000 copies in its first week, the band's best ever one-week total.

No Doubt went one step further - fans buying a full price concert ticket got a digital copy of their entire music back-catalogue.

In summer 2007, Prince gave away three million copies of his latest disc, "Planet Earth," in a U.K. newspaper. Soon after, 15 of his 21 shows at London's O2 Arena sold out within an hour.

- Dan & Chip Heath in Fast Company, Apr 09
- Billboard site
- Fast Company site

Apple's App Store - an accidental innovation

When it first released the iPhone Apple prohibited third-party programs from running on the device. But hackers easily broke through that restriction, and customers began downloading apps in droves. At first Apple tried to block this movement, but in short order, it relented. This proved wise - its App Store became an instant hit.

Source: Fast Company, Sep 09


Despite Apple's best efforts to stop it, some users are creating a 'hackintosh' by tricking Mac OS into running on a PC. Is this a forerunner to Apple finally releasing a cheaper laptop?

Source: Fast Company, Sep 09

Friday, 8 January 2010


Spain's 7th largest company is a co-operative.

- Guardian article, 7/1/09
- Wikipedia article

DuPont's green metric

DuPont have a metric which encourages them to create more business value with fewer materials - shareholder value added per pound (SVA/lb).

In part because of such approaches, DuPont managed to save $3bn in energy costs from 1990 to 2005, using 6% less energy even as it raised production by 40%.

- Fortune magazine, 2 Apr 07
- And for example this book found on a quick Google

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Edison's phonographs for a paperless office

Edison launched his first phonograph company within months of his invention: he never questioned the need. He had invented the paperless office, he announced, and launched his product.

The notion that the phonograph was better suited for playing back pre-recorded music came much later, and from Emile Berliner, a competitor (whose company morphed into RCA Victor and succeeded whereas Edison's several attempts all failed).

-Don Norman's blog
-The Invisible Computer (book)

Mutual Social Responsibility

We are now entering a new era of Mutual Social Responsibility, in which consumers (or 'people') contribute partners with businesses, as well as governments and NGOs, to deliver their sustainability aims.

See for example: this blog

Samsung Mobile Travel centres, US airports

While at Dallas Fort Worth airport I noticed Samsung's Mobile Travel Centres. These very from a complete room to a charging station. They also have some in a few other US airports.

More info:

P&G's Charmin toilets, Times Square, NYC

In Dec 2009 the fourth consecutive year, Procter & Gamble has brought Charmin-branded public bathrooms back to New York's Times Square for the holiday season.

Source: DM News article.

LG Wash Bar, Paris

Do your washing for free while also trying out other LG products!
Source and lots more examples of branded spaces:

IKEA Sleep Hotel (Sovhotell)

An IKEA in a downtown shopping centre in Stockholm was offering tired shoppers a 15 minute snooze at the Sovhotell (Sleep Hotel). Guests were given special pillows to suit their sleeping style along with sleeping masks and headphones, all set against a soothing faux landscape.
The inspiration for the Sovhotell came when IKEA noticed some of the shoppers taking quick naps in the bedroom section of their stores. IKEA is providing single, double and even a bridal suite in its offering.


Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Starbucks' selling music - an accidental innovation

From a 2004 article in Fortune:

As crazy as it sounds, music has become one of Starbucks' zingiest brand extensions. [But it happened more or less by accident.] Music at Starbucks began when a store manager named Timothy Jones made tapes for his store, which proved so popular that the company licensed compilations for sale. "I had to get talked into this one," says Schultz. "But then I began to understand that our customers looked to Starbucks as a kind of editor. It was like, 'We trust you. Help us choose.'" In 1999, Schultz bought Hear Music of Cambridge, Mass., run by Don MacKinnon, who was putting together albums of cool music, both old and new, that wasn't getting played on the radio. Since then Hear has released about 100 albums and sold about five million CDs, including the Artist Choice series, in which performers like the Rolling Stones and Ray Charles pick their favorite tracks by other artists.


Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Five Disruptive Customer Experience Strategies

Interesting blog post from Bruce Temkin at Forrester. 5 ways to differentiate your brand through customer experience:

  1. Ultrasimplicity: stripping away features to better meet the needs of customers. [examples: ING Direct and JetBlue]
  2. Online infusion: integrating online features into core offerings. [examples: Netflix and Disney Mobile]
  3. Service infusion: integrating service features into core offerings. [examples: iPod/iTunes and Panasonic Plasma Concierge program]
  4. Service amplification: investing in distinctly high levels of service. [examples: Mandarin Oriental hotels and The Container Store]
  5. Value repositioning: offering a radically different value proposition. [examples: Starbucks and Umpqua Bank]

See full article and comments for more info and examples: