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December 20, 2007

Favorite Posts from 2007

As in past years, I've decided to compile a list of my favorite Brand Autopsy posts from 2007. (You can also read my favorite posts from 2006, 2005, and 2004.) Enjoy.

1 | Google Truths | Jan. 17, 2007

I re-read Google’s manifesto from the early 2000s which shares “Ten Things Google has Found to be True.” It’s chock-full of smart business musings, some of which I shared in this post.

2 | McDonald’s Inside/Out Success | Jan. 31, 2007

McDonald’s began 2007 on a major roll—comparable store sales were up 6.9% and it stock price was at an all-time high. Instead of solely relying on outside advertising to drive sales, McDonald’s has driven sales by improving its inside approaches of store operations, product offerings, and customer experiences. (Hmm, wonder if Starbucks execs read this?)

3 | Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s Book of Lists | Feb. 8, 2007

In the book EXCEEDING CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS, the author details the success blueprint Enterprise Rent-A-Car has followed. The checklists in the book make for worthwhile reading. Checklists in this post include: 12-Steps to Building Relationships with Customers; 8-Steps to Dealing with Angry Customers; Eight Core Values; Top Reasons Employees Choose to Work at Enterprise. (Also read this checklist: Critical Customer Service Skills.)

4 | The “Would You Miss ... ?" series

If the Gap went out of business tomorrow, would any of us care? How about Subaru? Sears? Wells Fargo? Chilis? Eddie Bauer? Throughout 2007, I asked if you would miss a variety of businesses if they suddenly went out of business tomorrow. Lots of chatter ensued. Subaru evangelists hopped on and proselytized. Wells Fargo detractors chimed as well. All this makes for interesting reading.

5 | No Business is Perfect | Feb. 21, 2007

In response to the JetBlue “Valentine’s Day Massacre” where hundreds of flights were cancelled and thousands of travelers were left scrambling, I was inspired to write this post. It’s my take on how business is a game of progress, not perfection. No business will be perfect. It's an impossibly unattainable goal. But while that goal is unattainable, the most endearing and enduring businesses seem to always aspire to reach perfection.

6 | Whole Foods/Wild Oats Merger series

I was all over this with first-reaction implications, the tussle with the FTC, why Trader Joe’s (and not Wild Oats) is Whole Foods biggest competitor, and Mackey’s “Kinky Business Behavior” (The “rahodeb” fiasco).

7 | Solving Starbucks Problems | Mar. 5, 2007

In response to the leaked Howard Schultz internal memo where he questioned decisions Starbucks has made as it has grown, Paul Williams and I offered up strategies and tactics Starbucks could follow to become the company it once was. WARNING, this is a deep-dive look into the world of Starbucks marketing and operations. It gets wonky. You’ve been warned.

8 | What Must Starbucks Do? | April 5, 2007

Back in February, I asked Brand Autopsy readers for their ideas on what Starbucks must do to reclaim its uniqueness ... to better connect with customers ... and to become the coffee company it once was. Their ideas, along with a few of mine, were turned into a ChangeThis! Manifesto. Good stuff.

9 | Ad Agency Hires Ad Agency | May 21, 2007

I still get a kick outta this … a Minneapolis-based advertising agency that’s been around since the 1930s hired another ad agency to solve its branding/positioning issues. Ironically delicious.

10 | The Wal-Mart and Dell Relationship | May 31, 2007

Dell began selling computers in Wal-Mart this year. I didn’t think it was a smart move because Dell is an “AND” company and Wal-Mart is an “OR” company. When given the choice between offering low prices OR high-customer service, Wal-Mart has chosen to offer low prices. Dell tries to do both low prices AND high-customer service.

11 | Marketing to Employees | June 29, 2007

It's rather simple … astonish employees and they will, in turn, astonish customers. Some companies get it, some don’t. Apple gets it. In conjunction with the launch of the iPhone, Apple gave everyone of its full-time employee an iPhone. Yep, Apple gets it.

12 | Glenna Moore, My Mother | June 27, 2007

My mother passed away this year from ALS. Thanks to easy-to-use online tools, a website exists sharing stories from her life and these two videos can be widely shared with others. The first video was put together as a Mother’s Day gift. The second video, "The Summer of '62," is a poem my Father wrote many years ago which I sync’d with family photos. (This video was played at my Mother’s funeral.)

13 | Espresso Shots of Business Wisdom series

Using SlideShare’s “SlideCast” app, I made some snappy presentations sharing business lessons I have learned. Five lessons are included in this batch. I’ll probably do a few more in 2008.

14 | Pricing Tells a Story | Aug. 23, 2007

While reading the August issue of Inc. Magazine, I ran across the line you read in subject header: PRICING TELLS A STORY. Per Sjofors, managing partner at Atenga, is credited with saying that chewy line. He's right ... every price has a story. In this post, I riff on that chewy line.

15 | The New Complete Marketer | Aug. 31, 2007

The autumn issue of Strategy+Business shared six themes that separate under-performing CMOs from out-performing CMOs. In this post, I share tasty snippets from each of the six themes the authors contend CMOs must have to out-perform their peers.

16 | Kevin Carroll Quote | Sept. 11, 2007

“Put a dream in front of people, not a mission. Missions are finite. Dreams are forever.” An amazing quote spoken by Kevin Carroll from a conference I spoke at.

17 | Skyon’s MARKETING IS PICK-UP series

While I was out-of-town, a friend of mine, Skyon, shared his unique twist on marketing. Skyon fancies himself as a Marketing Pick-Up Artist. He said some smart things in odd ways in this series of posts. Expect Skyon to make another appearance on the Brand Autopsy blog.

18 | Whole Foods “Markets as Non-Conversation" | Nov. 14, 2007

The fall-out from John Mackey’s “Kinky Business Behavior” was Whole Foods has barred its executives from participating in online conversations outside of its own website. I breakdown Whole Foods decision and why it is inconsistent with the company’s Libertarian leanings. I also propose a solution that fits within the company’s culture so that executives can participate in online conversations.

19 | Starbucks Television Advertising | Nov. 18, 2007

Starbucks began its first national television advertising campaign this year. Big news. Too bad their first commercial fails “The Logo Test” and works better as a commercial for Caribou Coffee.

20 | Alex Frankel, Undercover Marketer series

In this three part series, Alex shares insight into his book, PUNCHING IN: The Unauthorized Adventures of a Front-Line Employee. In Part One and Part Two, Alex answers a few questions about his takeaways from working as a Gap, Apple, Starbucks, UPS, and Apple front-line employee. He also shares thoughts on how the Container Store has the best interview process which helps them to hire the most appropriate and passionate front-line employee. In Part Three, I share five lessons business geeks, like us, can implement in order to better connect with employees, who in turn, will better connect with customers.

21 | No Photos Allowed | Dec. 7, 2007

It’s common practice for retailers to discourage and or outright prohibit photography inside their stores. Doesn’t make it a best practice though. This post explains why Competitive Intent and Criminal Intent are to blame for why companies like Whole Foods Market can get testy when customers snap photos in the store.

22 | It’s Performing, Not Presenting | Dec. 13, 2007

Steve Martin’s memoir about the rise of his stand-up comedy career sparked a EUREKA-like moment for me. When giving presentations, I need to stop acting like a “presenter” and start being more like a “performer.”


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Thanks for the year


Looking this over, I am amazed at the great content that you have produced. Here's to another great year!

I loved all of them, John. What a great year! Maybe one day I shall be lucky enough to experience your stand up performance in first person. Until then, I remain a loyal reader ;-) The gesture does feel bigger from the inside yet sometimes is not big enough from the audience. Here's to an outstanding 2008!

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