Archive for April, 2006

Office Prank

Check out what happened to the cubicle of my fellow co-worker. This is what happens when you have too much shredded paper lying around the office!


Starbucks Case Study: Great Customer Relations + Good Coffee = Success!

I was studying at my local Starbucks (I have about three in my immediate area) the other day and I overheard a unique conversation. This conversation took place between a patron and a barrista. The patron, obviously a regular customer due to his reception at the bar, was commenting on how he did not understand the success of Starbucks. “How can a company be so successful by charging three dollars for a cup of coffee when a person can buy the same drink for seventy-nine cents from the convenience store,” he asked. The barrista warmly smiled back and said, “I don’t know.” After a few more minutes of conversation, the two waved to each other and said their good-byes. It was at this moment that I started to smile because the answer to the patron’s question was staring him in the face, he was just too blind (or too close) to see it. The answer is great customer relations.

An old girlfriend of mine, who worked at Starbucks, told me that employees are instructed during training to remember the regulars’ names and to be friendly and energetic towards everyone. Thus the employees help produce a friendly, casual atmosphere. So friendly that many people rather meet their friends at Starbucks than at their own homes!

Starbucks employees are generally very helpful as well. I have seen customer after customer ask barristas how to make their favorite drink at home. Every barrista asked has always taken the time to thoroughly describe the process and has never said, “Sorry, I’m too busy.” I have even seen barristas give free drinks and various drink related trinkets to regular customers.

Starbucks obviously values great customer relations. Unlike many companies who claim that good customer relations is priority-one but often fail to prove it, Starbucks continually lives up to this claim. That is why they are successful. Well, that and good coffee!

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Your Copy Sucks When…

Jonathan Kranz of Kranz Communications says your copy sucks when you use…

  • Ridiculous, pretentious language that has absolutely no meaning for your customers.
  • Lots of superlatives such as “excellence,” “cutting-edge” and “innovative.”

Also you know your copy sucks when you have a…

  • Shortage of tangible, meaty specifics.
  • Presence of self-congratulatory chest beating, i.e., “We’re the world leader in . . . “
  • Reliance on jargon and business babble.
  • “Me too” positioning that’s similar to your competitors’ messaging.

All of this can be avoided by focusing your writing toward your customers. Highlight how you can help your customers and write from a customer-centric perspective. And remember, do not use meaningless industry buzz words.

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More Inspiration

Matt Williamson, director of sales for Bronto Software, was honored by the Triangle Business Journal in their 40 Under 40 Leadership Awards gala. In an interview published in Bronto’s newsletter, Mr. Williamson had this to say:

Bronto: What is your favorite word?

Williamson: Relentless.

Bronto: What is your least favorite word?

Williamson: Deserve. The notion that anyone thinks that they ‘deserve’ anything in this life aggravates me. Nothing, not even our freedom or our right to exist is owed to us. It’s up to us to earn those things.

Bronto: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Williamson: The underdog story. There’s nothing that fires me up more — in a positive sense — than overcoming the odds and winning in the face of adversity.

Bronto: What turns you off?

Williamson: The sense of entitlement I mentioned, and a sense of apathy. If you don’t care enough about something to immerse yourself entirely in it, then go find something else to do. Life is too short to not be completely passionate about what you are doing in the present.

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Public Relations Inspiration

I came across a very inspiring post at the Creative Concepts blog. Valorie Luthor has definitely pinpointed the type of attitude that defines a great public relations professional. The great thing is that this attitude can be applied to everyone, not just public relations employees. Read the entire post by clicking here. Below, I have posted an excerpt of the part that motivated me. Thank you for this Valorie.

Successful people and businesses never turn away from their responsibilities. Beyond not turning away from their responsibilities, they go above and beyond to complete their job and help others so the whole organization succeeds. There is no place for defensiveness, for the words “”I can’’t do it” or the word ““no.”” It’’s about jumping in and doing no matter how fearful you are, no matter how many times people say no… just do it.

One day the hard working people with the service first business will succeed. The employees with the best attitudes, the true team players who also think out of the box will be able to walk around with their heads held high and be proud that their best made a difference.

Success comes from lots of hard work and the ability to say what did I do wrong, what did I do right and how can I help whether it be a public relations job or not!!!

I look at the successful people around me and wonder how they got to their present position or status. The one thing they all have in common is that all of them are never lazy and are always proactive.

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It’s This Type of Garbage That Makes Me Mad!

Have you seen the Dodge commercial with the little fairy? I did and I thought it was hilarious. But, as usual, someone has been offended by it. Read Bob Garfield’s review of the ad at

I am completely dumbfounded by his comments. I hate the fact that we live in a society that tries to make everything “hate speech.” So now we cannot show preppy, white men in commercials because someone will get offended.

This is completely ridiculous! Garfield’s review is an example of political correctness going too far!

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Agency & Client Relationships

What do you need to successfully serve your client? The answer is a relationship.

My company has turned away many agencies because they lacked the initiative to establish a relationship with us. Sure these agencies were friendly and had excellent portfolios. Not only that, they had giant, mega-corporations as clients. They were obviously capable of producing quality work and results. So what was the problem?

The problem is that most of these agencies did not take the time to adequately research our company. We are an IT company that deals with very technical information. Agencies cannot come into our board room, give us a generic pitch and expect us to be blown away. Agencies need to research our company, the industry and the constituencies we serve before they sit at the table. Not doing so shows us a lack of initiative and the agency comes off as not valuing any sort of relationship with us.

Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

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Who am I ?

My name is Michael Morton. I believe in bringing energy and professionalism into the office, that knowledge is power, that leadership trumps management, that customers are more influential than advertisements, that content is king, and that two heads are better than one. I currently lead the marketing efforts of the Strategic Alliances department of my company. Let’s talk marketing!

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