Showing posts with label pepsi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pepsi. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 13

Looking For Roots: Pepsi Skinny To Go Retro

PepsiSo what do you do after your latest campaign riles eating disorder groups because of the skinny can? To borrow from an old Coke tagline, take the pause that refreshes and look back to the days when your brand meant something.

Pepsi recently approved a line of retro T-shirts to bring back memorable Diet Pepsi and Ray Charles' ads for "You Got the Right One Baby, Uh-Huh!" The campaign was launched in the early 1990s and included 11 commercials over the span of three years.

"Mr. Charles stated that the Diet Pepsi campaign was one of the highlights of his career and that 'You've Got The Right One Baby, Uh-Huh!' was one of his most popular songs," said Valerie Ervin, president of the Ray Charles Foundation.''

The nostalgic appeal of the shirts aligns with the current Pepsi Throwback beverage line. It features Pepsi packaging from the 70s and 80s. So much for change.

The campaign, a conservative move compared to its progressive backfires, returns Pepsi to an arena it plays well in — piggybacking on pop culture. At least it did back then.

While it will receive a boost for the retro branding, it might be too late for retro novelty alone. Earlier this year, Diet Coke unseated Pepsi as the second most popular carbonated soft drink.

In fact, since ushering in its new logo and turning to social media, Pepsi endured a 4.8 percent decrease in sales volume. Total volume has been declining since 2004. Some of the decline is related to soft drinks; the rest is consumer choice.

The Curious Casuality Of One-Off Connections.

Pepsi initially launched its first throwback campaign about three years ago. And each time it toys around with the idea, it sees some gains. And then the retro campaigns end, creating another quandary.

The retro campaigns indirectly undermine the decades that Pepsi spent trying to bolster its youthful underdog appeal as a pop culture promoter (a role it seems to have forgotten for almost a decade). That's not to say Pepsi doesn't have any other good ideas. It does from time to time, including Pepsi Refresh.

But good ideas and brand connections are different things. You can like Pepsi Refresh and never drink it. Simply put, the connection is to the cause, not the beverage. So chalk up that good idea to drinking too much social media Kool-Aid.

You cannot simply connect to the current culture by signing on. Lesson learned: People DO NOT connect to social media. They connect via social media. And once there, they connect with some brands, ideas, and people.

A few years ago, some of the people the public connected with were Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, and Cindy Crawford. And, any brand could leverage such notoriety for a price.

What was the price for Pepsi? For about two decades, Pepsi relied so much on other people that it forgot to make a connection between the consumer and the product. So, it continually benefitted from great short-term sales and dour long-term prospects. Unfortunately, it forgot to leapfrog to the next pop hero.

Since nobody really knows what Pepsi stands for anymore, the only way to regain any footing is to give up on introspection. Ergo, they don't need retro as much as they need Justin Bieber.

Unfortunately for Pepsi, they don't have him. Bieber has been spotted on more than one occasion drinking Coke without the need for an endorsement deal.

Monday, December 20

Counting Outcomes: Pepsi Refresh Project

Pepsi Refresh OutcomesWhen people ask about social media outcomes, one of the best examples comes from Pepsi Refresh. In 2010, the Pepsi Refresh Project directly impacted the lives of 73,000 people and will complete 360 projects that will reach more than 1.1 million.

Better than a "viral video," the company's contributions have sustainability. For an investment of $20 million, it will fund 400 ideas in 2010. Just a few of the outcomes that Pepsi has every right to be proud of...

• 26 parks and playgrounds that have been built or improved
• 54 public and private schools that have been improved
• 3,800 animals that have been saved or treated
• 23,000 volunteers involved in the project
• $3.2 million dollars of additional funding has been leveraged and secured

These numbers only scratch the surface of what the project has helped accomplish. For more ideas, visit Pepsi Refresh Project.

"We’re looking forward to continuing and expanding the Pepsi Refresh Project in new directions," said said Jill Beraud, chief marketing officer of PepsiCo Americas Beverages. "We’ve asked all our fans on Facebook to share their thoughts on what matters most and to provide us with ideas on how to improve the program for 2011. These insights have helped us shape the program next year."

While many companies might look at the total amount of funding and shrug at the deep pockets, it's always best to remember that scale is relative. In 2009, the company's revenues were $43.23 billion with a net income of $5.95 billion. The point?

Every company generating a profit might ask what it could accomplish with a fraction of a percent of its gross profit. With proper planning and direction, it could generate sustainable outcomes, it could engage people within their communities, and it could leave an imprint on everyone involved. In some cases, it might lead back to sales. But more importantly, it will likely do something even more substantial. There are some things people don't forget.

Monday, January 11

Looking For Up: Public Optimism

Americans might be less optimistic now than they were six months ago, but an overwhelming majority (94 percent) believe that optimism is the most important attribute in creating new ideas that can have a positive impact on the world. And a majority (66-70 percent) now believe that such ideas will not come from public figures but everyday people "like you and me."

Those were among the findings from a new survey conducted by StrategyOne, a full-service independent research firm, for the Pepsi Optimism Project. The project aims to track the national level of optimism based on a composite score.

Highlights from Pepsi Optimism Project Survey

• 72 percent said that the best is yet to happen despite uncertain times.
• 60 percent believe the best ideas come from family and friends over public figures and managers.
• 70 percent believe that ideas from everyday people will become more meaningful in the next decade.
• Two percent believe that the best ideas will come from authority figures, perhaps the lowest score in history.

The survey strikes at one of several reasons social media has become increasingly important for marketers despite marketers not necessarily becoming more important to the general public. People are looking for answers and ideas, but they are no longer looking to authority figures within their companies or public figures outside their companies.

Of course, this is not to say that social media has caused the shift in sentiment. The general concept that leadership can come from anyone has been around for some time. It's a concept shared by diverse people that have included Steve Jobs, Oscar Wilde, Albert Einstein, Lao Tzu, John Maxwell, Ayn Rand, Donald McGannon, Max Depree, and a host of others.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams

What social media has changed is increasing the potential for good ideas from everyday people to reach more people. It also presents a more challenging environment for companies and organizations to communicate with credibility.

For communicators, it means people are influenced by ideas over authorities. For marketers, it means their message and/or method of delivery needs to change. For public relations, it means less reliance on third party endorsements from "experts."

Pepsi seems to have adopted this mode of thinking as a mantra for marketing. It seems to be the cornerstone of a new campaign to help regular people put ideas into action though the Pepsi Refresh Project. The refresh project awards millions of dollars in the form of grants to help fund ideas submitted by everyday people, businesses, and non-profit organizations. Will it work?

As much as we love the campaign — empowering regular people to submit ideas for grants (with the grants being awarded by public vote) — we're less certain it will raise soda sales or improve soda market share. We're not even convinced that it will help Pepsi meet its long-term objective to reposition its identity as an innovative manufacturer or optimistic soft drink.

Contrary, it seems likely to prove that Pepsi is still overdosing on crowd sourcing. But at least in this case, the experiment might produce something positive even if it doesn't boost the always number two carbonated beverage brand.

It also provides something for marketers and public policy makers to consider. Americans are convinced that the ladder hoisted up by their leaders is leaning against the wrong wall. And, you know, they are probably right.

Thursday, November 5

Crowd-Sourcing Responsibility: Pepsi

As a marketer, PepsiCo appears lost. As a company, it might be in trouble.

While there is something to be said for experimentation, PepsiCo has canned more marketing misses than hits in the last year. In an effort to continually target the next generation, it seems to have forgotten how to be a business. In fact, if it wasn't for its salty snack holdings being considered a staple, we suspect its fizzy drink section might start to dry up.

In some ways, it has. In October, PepsiCo Americas Beverages unit reported a 6 percent drop in volume and a 9 percent revenue decline. According to some analysts, the result reflects a change in buying habits as consumers shifted toward juices and teas and away from soft drinks. That might be true, but 6 percent is twice the drop experienced by Coca-Cola.

Marketing Mistakes Are Clubbing PepsiCo

In most circumstances, we think it's great when companies turn to crowd-sourcing for a single campaign. It helps many of them steer clear of isolated creative ideas that don't resonate with consumers.

PepsiCo has had its fair share of those: identity redesign, election revolution, Tropicana rebrand, iPhone app, and, well, you get the idea. (All of it might not be so bad if it wasn't for its negative publicity, but there has been some of that too.)

So, in an effort to put its product marketing back on track, Pepsi is pushing to try something new. It will put the reigns of creative control in the hands of consumers who will be charged in choosing which advertising agencies will handle three product launches. Say what?

In a contest beginning this month, Mtn Dew (Montain Dew for those unimpressed with the stylized abbreviation) will hand off marketing duties, at least temporarily, for a $100 million-plus business to several potentially unknown players selected by consumers. The concept, if you can call it that, is an extension of DEWmocracy, which allowed consumers to determine the flavor, color, packaging, and names of the new products.

"If we're going to have a dialogue with consumers and have consumers play a role in dictating the future of our brand, they've got to play a role in all aspects of it," Brett O'Brien, Mtn Dew's director of marketing, told AdAge. (One commenter on the article suggested they open up marketing director recruitment to crowd-sourcing too.)

Crowd-sourcing Runs Amuck With Pepsi

While Mtn Dew will retain BBDO Worldwide, which was part of DEWmocracy from the beginning, the agency will not comment on the process. For the efforts of DEWmocracy, Beverage Digest reports Mtn Dew is one of the few soft-drink successes, with a volume increase of 1 percent. However, it's unclear if DEWmocracy had much to do with it despite what's being said.

In some cases, DEWmocracy consumers seem to be experiencing brand fatigue, with drop off at each stage of the contest concept. (Some people even speculate that Pepsi stacked the odds for the company favorite.) On Facebook, every few posts also contain consumer comments that lament over the loss of their top choice. ("Any chance to bring Pitch Black back?"). And like many social media efforts, the fans are mostly left on their own, which is usually a mistake.

That's not to say that outsourcing the creative selection process to consumers is all bad. It clearly makes the marketing department not responsible for the $100 million decision. It truly leaves the consumers in control of the product, which means their relationship to the contest and each other may supersede any relationship with the product. It also places an emphasis on "I like it" advertising, which is best described as a three-second knee jerk reaction, without considering things like, er, sales.

Of course, there is always the chance that the finalists will not only be good, but be better than a one hit wonder. They'll almost have to be better once Pepsi funds the three finalists to produce a :15 TV DEW spot (assuming oversight doesn't dampen their spirits). And, they might also do better than what pushed Mtn Dew to this point before settling on Distortion, WhiteOut, and Typhoon as product names.

Anything is possible, right? We'll see. If nothing else, DEWmocracy makes for an interesting case study in consumer crowd-sourcing despite its similarity to gambling at a roulette wheel. Then again, we suppose it couldn't get any worse compared to some of the other company's marketing mishaps of late.

Thursday, October 29

Finding Funny: Six Guidelines For Humor In Advertising

Earlier this year, Adam Ferrier, consumer psychologist and a founding partner of Naked Communications, wrote a post that claimed humor in advertising doesn't work. Looking at the recent gaffes by, Pepsi, and Toyota, we draw a different conclusion. Most advertising humor isn't funny.

“It is a curious fact that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves seriously.” — Oscar Wilde

In truth, there have been scores of studies conducted on humor in advertising over the past 25 years. One of the most famous was conducted by Paul Speck back in 1987. He found that humorous ads increased initial attention, sustained attention, and retention. (You can find his dissertation here.)

Add to this early work: a Clear Channel presentation about outdoor advertising that revealed humor outperformed straightforward by as much as 3:1; most estimates suggest 80 percent of viral success stories include humor; and a new study conducted by Madelijn Strick from the Radboud University in Nijmegen, Holland that concludes comedy is important to have a positive impact on customers. There are hundreds more.

So, if the problem isn't funny, what is the problem with funny? The problem seems to be that funny has to be funny to work. Unfunny, on the other hand, only creates negative impressions. And unfortunately, unfunny is much more commonplace as advertising writers seem to have forgotten that marketing humor doesn't enjoy the same liberties as entertainment writing.

Six Guidelines To Finding Funny For Advertising

The first rule of advertising is that there are no rules. Divergent thinking has always sold and will continue to sell. However, there are guidelines that can help reduce the risk of producing an unfunny campaign that backfires like those mentioned yesterday.

Guideline 1: Funny Is Inclusive, Not Exclusionary
All three backfires have an exclusionary construct. They attempt to be funny at the expense of others. Marketing humor works best when it's inclusive — when we laugh at ourselves or with a group we belong to. (If Motrin made baby carriers, they may have escaped the wrath of angry moms).

Guideline 2: Funny Rolls Uphill, Not Downhill
Two of the backfires make fun of stereotypes that are perceived to be "inferior" to the position of the teller. For advertising, comedy is better positioned to roll uphill. Illegal aliens can make fun of lawyers, but lawyers cannot make fun of Illegal aliens.

Guideline 3: Funny Is Contextual
Context isn't everything, but it always counts. There have been several people making the context case lately, but the idea has been around awhile. The message, medium, and moment are all important when it comes to funny. Two of the backfires miss this idea entirely.

Guideline 4: Funny Is Situational
When people make mistakes, making fun of the mistake might be funny. For example, making fun of United Airlines' mistake is funny. Political gaffes are funny. Big business missteps are funny. However, always keep in mind that what is funny today may not be funny tomorrow. One backfire, for example, tried a joke two years too late.

Guideline 5: Funny Is Relative
When a character that people can relate to becomes the brunt of the joke, it might be funny. That's why marketing that makes fun of office settings tend to work. No one is really singled out, and many of us can relate as an audience. All three backfires never consider their relation to the audience. The humor might make them laugh, but nobody else is really laughing.

Guideline 6: Funny Is About Constraint
Advertising humor also works best when it shows some constraint. If people talk about a joke but cannot remember the product or service, you lose. All three backfires seem to disassociate themselves from the humor. In fact, one backfire does it so well that most of their gags were passed over by consumers. (Nobody really friended their fake MySpace accounts.)

But beyond all that, humorists also need to remember that funny is hard work. Off-the-cuff quips that come up in a creative session seldom make the cut. They have to be worked, reworked, and worked again. That said, here are three five-second solutions that my have played better than what those unfunny writers cooked up (because that's all the time we had).

Legal Advice Without An Argument? There's An App For That.

Or, related in subject matter. We Won't Chase You For A Change. Immigration Advice.

Lesson: Making fun of clients is not funny. Making fun of your profession might be funny.

Play A Prank On Toyota. The Matrix

Lesson: A car company playing pranks on people is not funny. Playing pranks on a car company might be funny.

Life's Too Short. Amp Up When They Shoot You Down. Pepsi

Lesson: Taking advantage of a nerdy girl is not funny. Being shot down by one might be funny.

Get it? Sure, humor is subjective, which is why it can be risky. But when writers consider a few simple guidelines, smart and unexpected humor in advertising can potentially be successful, sustainable, and have a shot at going viral.

Wednesday, October 28

Failing At Funny:, Pepsi, and Toyota

In the quest for attention, it seems more and more marketing teams are opting into comedic routines. And, more and more, most of them are only creating their own public relations nightmares. Here are three recent favorites before an explanation that pinpoints why advertisers seem to be missing the mark. Yanks Ad That Jabs At Illegal Immigration recently created an ad for a fictitious iPhone “app” ad called iCoyote. The app supposedly packed “all of the features of a real immigrant smuggler into the iPhone. Using GPS, navigate through the patrol packed desert without worrying about that pesky Border Patrol.”

After the ad earned attention from Adam Ostrow at Mashable, the creative that was attributed to "the tasteless sense of humor of two employees that are likely to be fired” was taken down. In its place, posted a half-hearted apology.

We regret posting the iCoyote social media experiment. Obviously, this campaign did not hit the mark and we apologize to anyone who was offended by the content. Our mission is to help consumers find legal information, and if necessary, with legal counsel and we're continually striving to find creative ways to introduce people to

Toyota Earns Negative Impressions Over Lawsuit

Toyota, with some help from ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, hit "publicity pay dirt" after its faux-stalker campaign landed the company in a lawsuit. Right. It seems someone forgot to tell Amber Duick that she had agreed to be the brunt of the joke as she believed someone really was stalking her.

The prank, covered by Techdirt and the Consumerist, may cost the company as much as $10 million after Duick "had difficulty eating, sleeping and going to work" because she believed a "lunatic" stranger was planning to visit.

According to the coverage, she even received a bill from a hotel that the stranger supposedly "trashed." So far, Toyota is standing firm on its commitment to comedy, saying Duick opted in via a disclaimer.

That excuse is about as funny as hiding evidence from plaintiffs in cases stemming from highway deaths and injuries across the U.S.

Pepsi Pushes Feminist Buttons Over iPhone App

Another "app" accident (and this one is real) comes from the same people who approved the defacing of the Tropicana brand. PepsiCo Inc. promised to help men "score" with two dozen stereotypes of women. The apps give participants pickup lines and a scoreboard. Well, sort of.

Nancy Johnston, columnist for The Baltimore Sun, hit upon some of the "humorous" anecdotes in her column: "Meet a girl who's gone through a bad breakup? Pepsi will help you find an ice cream parlor to take her to, so she feels you really care. Want to convince twin sisters to get a little romantic (and incestuous)? The application thoughtfully supplies groin, hip and back exercises, so you don't pull any muscles during your conquest."

Pepsi has since apologized, but the apology seems to have picked up on the pat "poke fun at yourself" exercise that has crept into the public relations playbook. The apology reads: "Amp tweeted, “Our app tried 2 show the humorous lengths guys go 2 pick up women. We apologize if it’s in bad taste & appreciate your feedback” and then adds its own “pepsifail” hashtag (#).

So What Have Advertisers Forgotten About Funny?

There is no question that "funny" ads attract more attention than straightforward advertising. When done right, consumers forget the pitch and then run off to share the punchline with family and friends. I even have a few studies for students that reveal funny can increase retention and response rates by as much as 300 percent over not-funny advertisements.

So what's going wrong?

Some claim that Americans are losing their sense of humor. There is certainly some truth to the theory, and anyone can make an adequate case (I've even made this case in past case studies). However, the real culprit isn't the public. The real failure seems to be too much cheap shot comedy.

Cheap shot comedy includes all those lovable little quips that occur all the time in entertainment. It's top of mind and off the cuff that is funny in the moment or given a specific situation. Otherwise, it wouldn't be funny at all.

Stand-up comedians and late night talk show hosts rely on an ample supply of cheap shot comedy. And, some of it works in sitcoms too, because the context is expansive and fictional. So why doesn't it work for advertisers?

Since companies are not comedians and advertising is more contextually inclusive than situational, writing funny advertisements seldom includes shooting from the hip. In fact, most funny lines bounced around during a creative brainstorming session are supposed to be burned up and forgotten because they are not funny outside the moment.

Don't misunderstand me. Humor works for advertising. It's also hard work. Hard enough that you'll have to come back tomorrow if you want some tips in how to make it work. I might toss up a few solutions for the three "funny fail" ads above or I might make fun of them instead. I haven't decided.

Thursday, February 26

Rebranding Blunder: Tropicana Orange Juice

Watching Peter Arnell, founder and chief creative officer of Arnell Group, explain the rationale behind the branding change of Pepscio's Tropicana package redesign is almost painful to watch. The clip from a press conference held five weeks ago is now archived at AdvertisingAge.

"Emotionally, it was very, very difficult, and it still remains difficult, for everyone to grasp the importance of that change because it so dramatic," said Arnell. "Of course, historically, we always showed the outside of the orange. Um, what was fascinating was that we had never shown the product called the juice."

Does he mean like EVERYBODY else?

Arnell, who suffers his own brand paradox, seems to have made a fatal mistake. Perhaps swept up by the bizarre sea of change occurring at PepsiCo, the redesign scheme for Tropicana Orange Juice was doomed from the start. Why? Because the concept was driven by an introspective redesign.

As consumers pointed out to The New York Times, the new packaging was “ugly” or “stupid,” resembling “a generic bargain brand” or a “store brand.” In fact, even after hearing Arnell's explanation, it's difficult to understand the logic behind a redesign that makes the product look like everybody else because the company had never tried that before.

Change For The Sake Of Change Is Naughty.

This isn't the first time marketers and consumers have questioned agency recommendations to embrace identity redesigns that don't hinge on the five best reasons to consider change. It won't be the last either. You see, the reality is that rebranding, especially when it's built on some guy's imagination without significant consideration of the external market, is an easy way to own an organization while the rebranding occurs and squeeze out some extra billing too.

During those relatively rare occurrences when rebranding makes sense, it's important to factor in what changes have occurred in the marketplace over what the company has done before. In other words, redesigning away from existing identity doesn't make any sense whatsoever if the creative only delivers a contrast to past creative instead of a contrast to competing products.

In the case of Tropicana, PepsiCo is now bowing to public demand and scrapping the changes and sticking the straw back in the orange, an image that was smart because it stuck with the consumer. While some might argue that the publicity might pad the price tag of the redesign, I disagree. The last impression you want attached to your brand is "stupid." Ironically, Tropicana orange juice will retain the "squeeze cap" concept, which makes you work a little bit harder to enjoy the product and makes me happy that my daughter prefers apple juice.

The bottom line: when agencies "sell" rebranding concepts, make sure the rebranding is market driven and not agency "sales" driven. Otherwise, the only thing your company will be stuck with is the bill.

Tuesday, January 13

Commercializing The President: Everybody

First it was Ben and Jerry's "Yes Pecan,” and then it was Pepsi. And now, according to Brandweek, Ikea is jumping on the Obama brand wagon too.

Ikea's newest campaign includes out-of-home billboards featuring the "Embrace Change ‘09" slogan on local buses and trains. Ikea is also holding a "mock motorcade," touring the D.C. area Jan. 15-16, which includes strapping "furniture fit for a president" on top of vehicles. From Ikea's point of view, it's simply a good branding opportunity.

"We have never had an opportunity to do anything surrounding the message of change from a national standpoint," Marty Marston, public relations manager for Ikea told Brandweek. "[Obama's] notion of change and his commitment to fiscal responsibility match the Ikea philosophy of practical and affordable home furnishings for all."

But is it really a good branding strategy? Marvel Comics seems to think it's smart for Spiderman. And although BlackBerry didn't ask for an endorsement, it sure did appreciate it. But is it really a good thing? If you consider the fragile brand theory, then only if the original brand holds.

Thursday, October 30

Avoiding Echoes: Beware The Bubble

"My idea is fabulous!"

"Your idea is fabulous!"

"He said her idea is fabulous!"

"She said he said her idea is fabulous!"

"See ... they all said my idea is fabulous!"

Yes, yes, but what if it's not? What if the idea isn't so fabulous as is often the case in politics, public relations, public perception, and social media?

After all, echo chambers sometimes promote the silliest of notions, especially when it starts from its central most people, without much thought to what is said or where those messages might go or how they might be interpreted. It's not just social media. It's everywhere.

The messages, both good and bad, bounce around from one "influencer" to another with no real consideration for the customer, client, intended audience, or outcome. However, some of them are heavily promoted with that sometimes unspoken/spoken rule to "always elevate our peers," as if the world really works according to Warren Buffett.

While sometimes it is easy to miss in the world of social media, we all know it exists. Anyone who has served on a professional or non-profit board can tell you that the world works differently when echo chambers take hold. It goes something like this:

The lead influencer proposes that the organization's luncheon (or whatever) be changed to breakfast, based on a successful case study conducted by another organization about 400 miles away. Once proposed, two or three enablers will quickly support the idea simply because of who proposed it.

Sometimes, there might be one lone dissenter; someone who suggests there is no evidence to support a breakfast will be better attended. The criticism is then quickly slapped down by another influencer, who suddenly and casually proclaims they will be the first to reserve a seat after the meeting, which prompts the remaining six board members to look up from their phones and hypnotically nod in agreement. Meeting adjourned.

Two weeks later, just days before the actual event, the organization learns the horrible truth. Only three people reserved seats: the speaker, the initial influencer, and the dissenter.

Sometimes it happens just like that. In fact, for all we know, echoes might have led Edelman to select 25 bloggers to debut Pepsi’s new can design. It makes sense because Edleman, like many social media experts, tends to overstate the role of influencers (probably because they are one). Yet, for all the limited buzz about the Pepsi identity change, it just doesn't strike me like the real thing.

Conversations have outcomes, but outcomes are not conversations.

Greg Ippolito recently wrote an article for Adweek about something similar. He called it "the psychology of sameness" among creative professionals who start to convince themselves to be part of the herd. The end result is a whole lot of non-thinking that he illustrated with this quick two quote story:

"OK," I started, "explain to me why our customers should go to their dealerships for service. Why would that be good for them?"

The AE stared at me with a deer-in-headlights look. "Bee-cause ... " she searched her brain for an answer, "our clients are looking to increase their parts and service revenue?"

Ho hum.

Look, I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with peer participation (assuming you save time for client industry-specific associations), but it never pays to operate exclusively in any industry bubble or you might get stuck in the rut.

And then, before you even know it, your desire to become a "thought leader" leads you to become a "cheer leader" for someone else who is only guessing at echoes too. That would be too bad. The best innovations occur outside the bubbles.


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