Friday, April 27, 2007

Let the People Speak: Customer input

Dell wants to know what you and I and other PC buyers want (and don't want). At Dell IdeaStorm, you can add your thoughts about new features or extras, comment on what others have suggested, and basically help design Dell's new products. The day I visited, one idea (for which I voted) is "To have Firefox pre-installed as default browser." Why not take a moment and tell Dell what you think?

The current BusinessWeek has an excellent story about how Xerox uncovered surprising insights by listening to its customers--before building a prototype. Customer-driven marketing works.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hello Kitty Goth, Hello Kitty Lolita

Sanrio, which markets the Hello Kitty line, offers the tamest goth/Lolita stuff on the planet. Here are a few of the items, as seen on Amazon UK. These are cell phone/USB key charms, the kind seen dangling from gadgets held by men, women, and children all over Japan. How counterculture can Hello Kitty be? Not!

Take a look at the official Sanrio site for the latest Hello Kitty permutations :)

Update on April 28: BusinessWeek noticed the Goth/Loli phenomenon and reported on how fashion marketers are testing new items on Tokyo's stylish Harajuku teens before ramping up production.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Retail marketing in Japan

Service is alive and well in Japanese department stores, where merchandise is impeccably displayed and priced to reflect the special attention. Behind the scenes, a lot is going on. For example:
  • Customers of the Seibu department store in Japan can use their cell phones to check the store's fashion and beauty news, as you can see here.
  • Shoppers have lots of payment options at Takashimaya, one of the leading department stores.
  • Directions on how to use Mitsukoshi's digital catalogue, which is filled with thousands of items for men, women, children, and home.
  • Read the blog from Hankyu department store here.
  • At Sogo department store, the information desk staffers really do provide multilingual service with a smile.
  • Finally, Isetan extends a warm welcome to foreign shoppers here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Captain Santa Revisited

Captain Santa has a longer history than I thought. When singer Bobby Helms released his hit single Jingle Bell Rock in 1957, the B side was Captain Santa Claus and His Reindeer Space Patrol. Here's a link to a website where you can hear the song in all its glory. There's no marketing mystery about why this was the B side . . .

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Marketing in Japan

I just got back from Japan, where many ads feature movie stars or other celebrity opinion leaders. Tommy Lee Jones is the face of "Boss" beverages on vending machines all over Tokyo, for example.

Then there's Santa Claus, the brand--instant recognition for the Captain Santa Club, a store in the middle of the busy Hiroshima shopping district. Check out the company's website. The positioning seems to be preppy clothes for active people, or at least those who like to look like they sail or play golf. Now this is one brand name that should get high recall, wouldn't you agree?