QR This!

Earlier this week, I purchased a new wheel barrel.  Though this may not sound exciting, I was surprised when I opened the box and noticed the instruction manual had a QR Code.

When scanned, a step-by-step instructional video pops-up

Again, not exciting, but useful.  Which should be the main focus when using QR codes.

When QR codes first exploded onto the scene, everyone wanted to use them, but not everyone used them effectively.  About a year ago, I had a co-worker question why we were not using a QR Code in our newspaper advertisement.  The advertisement in question had a call to action that focused on opening a checking account.  When I asked him, “Where should the QR Code take somebody?” he answered, “Our website!”

Don’t get me wrong, I applaud this person for wanting to try a new, measurable advertising component, but this isn’t the best way to use it.  Consider these three steps when using a QR Code.

  • Choose the right media: Who reads the newspaper, sees an advertisement and wants to scan a QR Code?  Typical smartphone and tablet owners are reading their news on their smartphones and tablets, not looking at print.
  • Relevance: QR technically stands for Quick Response, but needs to be seen as Quality Relevance. If someone is going to take the time to scan a QR Code, then it should be relevant.  That is what I like about the above Wheel Barrel example.
  • Mobile Friendliness: If you’re going to set up a QR Code, please make sure it is compatible with a smartphone and/or tablet.  A link to a video or to a dedicated mobile website.  Does it make sense to have a QR Code link to a traditional index page?

It comes down to this, many people see QR Codes as a nifty marketing tool that is high tech, and flashy.  But if those same people would use it as a communication tool, they could build a better experience for their customers and prospects.

Just to clarify, I didn’t need the video to put together the wheel barrel, but I hope there is a QR Code/video package for the Pack ‘N Play I am putting together this summer 🙂

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Manning’s Business Decision

Manning Elway DenverLiving in Tennessee and being a football fan, of course, I have an opinion of Peyton Manning’s recent career decision. But instead of laying out my thoughts and opinions, let’s consider the business decision this Manning made.

  • Increase Market Share (Moving to Denver): By accepting the position in Denver, the Manning Family can now add another franchise/city to their list. The Manning Family is loved in New Orleans, New York, Tennessee, and Indianapolis. If Peyton would have chosen Tennessee, he would have increased The Titans’ fan base, but would not have increased his fan base. In addition to that, hardcore Colts fans would have turned their backs on Manning if he would have signed with a division rival; thus decreasing his personal fan base.
  • Overshadowed by Expectations (Not choosing The Titans): In addition to losing the love of die-hard Colts fans, think about the pressure to perform in Tennessee. Bud Adams literally offered the company to Peyton and UT fans have been waiting for “their favorite quarterback” to return to Tennessee. With all due respect to Peyton, how many Super Bowls has he won? One in 14 seasons. Let’s take it a step further.  How many National Championships did he win when he played in Tennessee?  None.  Based on those statistics, do you think he would win a Superbowl for Tennessee in his first year? Second year?  No offense, but Peyton + Tennessee doesn’t always equal Championship.
  • Conflict of Interest (Not going to the NFC): What writes a better story; two brothers fighting it out in the Super Bowl or two brothers fighting it out in the NFC Playoffs?  Having a Manning vs. Manning NFC Championship does have an interesting sound to it, but Manning vs. Manning in the Super Bowl definitely adds some excitement.
  • Mentor (working with John Elway): If you’re a traditional throwing quarterback, wouldn’t you love the opportunity to learn from John Elway?  ‘Nuff said.

The decision has been made.  Now who’s ready for some football?

Accountability: Double Dose

A fellow coworker (for the sake of keeping this semi-anonymous, let’s call this person Larry) has decided to run a marathon this year.  Not just any particular marathon, he is participating in the Knoxville Manathon, which is held on April 1st.  When Larry first told me about this, I was excited for him and immediately shared this information with other coworkers bragging about his decision to commit to this great challenge.

A few days later Larry showed a level of discomfort when we started discussing his plans in front of a business associate.  When I asked why he had and issue with it, he said:

I would prefer to mention it a day or two before the race.  That way people are surprised.  Plus if I don’t run….

I stopped him mid sentence asked, “What do you mean if you don’t run?”

If this would have been anybody else, I would have cared less; but this guy was different.  For about a year now Larry has started exercising more and has even motivated me to increase my workout regimen.  Without knowing it, Larry had been inspiring me to do better and I wanted to help keep him on track.

I reminded him that when you mentally commit to something, it is vital to verbally recognize it to an audience.

  • You have openly acknowledged what you plan on doing, which lays the mental groundwork.
  • Openly expressing it creates a bond with those you share your plan with and thus establishes a level of accountability.

Now that said, here’s the problem, I was out of line.  I tried so hard to keep someone else accountable that I overstepped my boundaries.

If Larry didn’t want to share this information with fellow co-workers, that was Larry’s decision, NOT mine.  For all I know, Larry could have told his friends and family about his decision to run the Knoxville Marathon and they are keeping him motivated.  This was a bad move on my end and I am sorry for how I acted.

Now apply this level of accountability to business.  When you and your company creates a strategic plan, what happens?  Does the plan get created just to keep the Board of Directors off your back for another year, or do you share the plan with those within your organization?  If you choose the latter, then you are starting on the right path, but how are you communicating it in your organization?  Is it positive or is it negative?  Are you openly sharing information that you should be communicating or are you stealing somebody’s thunder?

Since I have given Larry such a hard time, I will share a commitment I have made this year.  In May, I will cycle from Knoxville to Chattanooga in one day.  Larry has been a strong motivator and I am sure he will continue to keep me in check and hold me accountable.

Man Up on The Shelf

Earlier in the month, MillerCoors decided to call in an old standby in regard to branding Miller Lite.  Miller Time, which was introduced back in 1971, will be relaunched later this year. This decision was made in hopes of increasing sales which, as of late, have been an issue with this light beer.

Miller Time is not only one of the most memorable taglines in the beer industry, it is actually one of the most memorable in advertising in general.  Though the brewer has been on a start-stop with this catchphrase, has it ever really gone away?

Think about it.  Just about anybody you know with the first or last name of Miller certainly makes sure to mention this phrase…especially over a few beers.  The tagline itself has been applied to more than just the “Triple Hops Brewed®” beer.

  • Sports commentators around the US shouted “Miller Time” back when NBA Superstar Reggie Miller would light up the basketball court with his wild jump shots.
  • Comedian Dennis Miller has a segment on The O’Reilly Factor called Miller Time
  • Countless movies, including The Kentucky Fried Movie, paid homage to Miller Time by either referencing or spoofing it.

What other tagline in the beer industry has that much strength?  The only one that is remotely close is “This Bud’s for you” and that one does not have the pop culture strength of Miller Time.

As previously mentioned, the advertising revival of Miller Time, is part of the overall goal to increase sales.  Other than the “Man Up” campaign, Miller Light’s advertising has been more fact based than emotional based.  The emphasis on how the beer is made, the recent beer awards won and their vortex bottles have all been the focus of several advertisements.

But does fact based advertising work?  Apparently not with Miller Light.  I have two friends that are raving fans of Miller Light.  Neither one of them drinks the beer for the fact based reasons.

That is why I’m happy to see they are shifting back to a more emotional based campaign.  I really hope it works out for Miller Light.  Now where’s my beer?

Lord Chesterfield

Recently, friends and acquaintances have asked for my opinion when it comes to beer.  With that in mind, I have decided to craft a monthly post dedicated to brews that hit the spot.  This month’s brew: Lord Chesterfield Ale.

March seems like a great month for Lord Chesterfield Ale.  This American Pale Ale is balanced enough to pair with crisp windy weather and is a great way to quench a heavy thirst during warm spring days.

Back Story

Lord Chesterfield Ale is a pale ale beer produced by Yuengling.  This ale is one of Yuengling’s oldest beers and production was started back in 1829.  Lord Chesterfield has gained so much popularity that it has its own social club: The Chesterfield Society.

Taste

The bite this beer carries is fit for royalty.  It has a true “Pale Ale” bite that grabs your taste buds with the first sip you take.  Lord Chesterfield’s taste is versatile, which makes it a classy choice when dining at an upscale steak house or a great selection to have with buffalo wings.  In fact, the only limitation I have come across with Lord Chesterfield has been with Italian dinners.

Locally, Lord Chesterfield Ale is distributed by Eagle Distributing Company (@EagleDist) and can usually be found in places that carry other Yuengling beers.

Lord Chesterfield himself can be found on Twitter (@LrdChesterfield) and his knowledgeable advice can be found on youtube.

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