Showing posts from February, 2011

Border-line Crazy

The news today that Borders Books will close their doors has particular poignancy to me.


At its peak, Borders was seen as the more brainy and cool of the large book chains, holding onto the college-town culture of its roots. In the 1990s, that image began to fade as the chain expanded wildly and helped snuff out many mom-and-pop independent stores.

The company’s troubles can be traced to a series of strategic missteps, executive turnover and a general failure to keep up with an evolving retail climate. Borders was hurt by pressure from, Barnes & Noble and big-box stores likeWal-Mart that began selling large numbers of best sellers.

As a student at the University of Michigan School of Art in Ann Arbor, I frequented the original Borders on State Street. It really was the quintessential college experience: A quiet, woody-shelved place where there were stools for reaching high shelves or sitting for hours to read, uninterrupted by staff. This was the 80s, s…

Four Emerging B2B Brand-Building Technologies


In the report, “Emerging Technologies B2B CMOs Should Watch in 2011,” Forrester analyst Jeff Ernst recommended CMOs explore online content curation to bolster thought leadership; listening platforms to gauge customer sentiment; brand advocate platforms for spurring word-of-mouth; and appointment scheduling applications to engage potential customers who are ready to buy.

Even though only the third item is identified with branding, I believe all four of these tactics can be part of a comprehensive strategy for brand leadership in the online and social media spaces. 

Especially interesting is the last entry – appointment scheduling apps – as it gives prospects a significant feeling of control over the sales process. This alleviates some of the friction that naturally results when a sales call is received at an inopportune time. 

Even if the prospect may be interested in the product or service, poor timing of such a call can not only negate the sale, but damage the brand …