Startups

#EpicFail  ? | The New Uber Logo 

Not to hate on something new, but there were so many things that were right about the old Uber logo.

I keep remembering all the times I was waiting for my Uber and seeing the old “U” emblem on the dash of the car approaching the curb and feeling really happy that my ride had arrived.

With so many people being exposed to this piece of sophisticated, artful, dare I say Iconic branding, what would prompt Uber to change it?

Could it be an erroneous need to be able to ‘Google’ their logo for different times of the year, or customize by geography?

The video Uber sent me via email right after I downloaded the app update with the new icon said the changes they made revolved around the atom and the bit, and how Uber is about creating services the way humans look at things.

Here’s the thing, that’s not what humans appreciate.  Most humans value brands that have a decent corporate culture…how they treat employees & customers, how they treat women, and most importantly how they offer a fantastic service or product (which Uber does).  Maybe even how the company gives back to society. They don’t give a crap about bits and atoms.

The dictionary definition of Uber is “Outstanding” or “Super.”  If the company wants to be more than about ride sharing and wants to take a Google / Alphabet approach, the name Uber has that built into it already.  No need to go into atoms & bits.

As it relates to looking good in the media, let’s face it- Uber has stuck their foot in their mouth a couple of times. The Uber brand has always been an unapologetically ‘good at what they do’ brand that brought utility, affordability, convenience and a bit of style to getting around town.  But the ‘unapologetically’ part doesn’t always do them any favors. Another company (Airbnb) just got burned taking a dig at libraries.   Hey I get these companies are worth a lot of money, but here’s where it becomes an issue.

The problem at Uber like at many companies starts when a senior executive (usually a tech) fails to recognize their own limitations and the expertise and talents of the creative team around him or her.  Not everyone is a Steve Jobs (and don’t forget he had Jony Ive).

You don’t see great brands like Apple, Coca-Cola or Facebook doing this.  Why? Because by consistently being about something over a long period of time has its benefits.  When other companies catch up in terms of technology and price, it’s your brand (and how it resonates across all customer touch-points, along with the quality of your product) that distinguishes you in the market.  This is why it’s so important to know early what your brand is about and stick with it.

There are some tech CEO’s who recognize their own limitations and trust the instincts of the genius design & creative teams they went to painstaking lengths to hire. Then there others who think they know better themselves.

Which one do you think Uber’s is?

Startup Marketing Mistakes | Ignoring Brand

So I’ve worked at my fair share of startups.

I’ve worked at a lot of people’s fair share of startups.

That’s why we created a web series called The Startup.

One of the more recent ones that I worked at was an app startup that was really ahead of its game about 5 years ago, but not so much anymore.

To be fair, this Startup was run by a young engineer fresh out of school.  I should have known there would be stormy waters ahead when he spewed off nuggets like ” Marketing is not Brand” or “Marketing should not control the website”.

No real thought had been put into the brand as evidenced by the name of the company or its products.  All creative had to come from the design team whose time was tightly managed by the CEO, who was the SME on marketing.  Sometimes getting a piece of creative would take weeks, maybe even months.

Fun times.

So when I recently saw this interesting Infographic on ‘Types of Marketing’ by a company named SideQik it reminded me of that startup experience.  Most startups and businesses think of marketing in these terms…but at the same time they miss the one key ingredient that glues it all together…

This ingredient is what Media 11:11 is all about… Crystalizing a company’s brand promise & value proposition.

A well thought out brand, cascaded down to comm strategy, product development, pricing & customer care becomes relevant and creates emotion in the desired target audience.  Companies need to make sure that all 4 P’s are tightly aligned with the brand promise & positioning.  Otherwise, what the heck are you going to say in the vehicles listed in the infographic below?

Infographic | SideQik | 1 of 4Infographic | SideQik 2 of 4Infographic | SideQik 3 of 4Infographic | Sideqik 4 of 4

This is a problem with many of The Startups we’ve come across recently.  By solely focusing on ROI, CPI and CPA and not giving proper thought and resource on what you want to say, how you say it, what customer problem your brand solves or even how use of your product or service will improve the customer’s life, you’re never going to hit optimum numbers for those KPI’s.

A very wise man once told me that the role of marketing is to sell hope.

If you don’t have your brand message nailed down before you go to market, you are going to fail when the going gets tough.  People need to understand what you’re about, what end-benefits your brand delivers from the very beginning.

Good examples in market today…

  • T-Mobile positions itself as the “Un-Carrier”… every product, service, communication they launch supports this notion.
  • Verizon is the network.
  • Facebook connects you to what matters.
  • Apple is at the intersection of Technology  & Arts to unlock their customers’ creativity.

Focusing on brand at the beginning will keep you in the game when the novelty of what you do wears out and the competition catches up.

 

 

Episode 4 of The Startup on FunnyOrDie.com is here!

The 4th episode of The Startup is now on FunnyOrDie.com.  In this episode, the employees of Pump’d Entertainment find out that there’s nothing like a little Weed to liven up a Startup.  

The series is headlined by  Parvesh Cheena from Outsourced & A to Z as well as Peter Shinkoda from Marvel’s Daredevil & Falling Skies and also stars Aureli Scheppers, Zabeth Russell, Linc Hand, James Kyson, Sonal Shah, Bryan Coffee & K. Harrison Sweeney. Check it out!

Birthday Bash

  

Birthday Bash

 

Episode 3 of The Startup is coming next Tuesday!!

If you haven’t already and you have a few minutes to spare, watch The Startup Webseries on FunnyOrDie.com. 



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Also, follow The Startup on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram 

Actors are artists at their core. When you ask them to be creative, the results can be magical, funny & persuasive. This is The Startup’s Peter Shinkoda persuading everyone to watch Episode 2 with a picture of swimsuit model and co-star Aurelia Scheppers.

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If you look at the analytics at precisely that moment, you’ll see an uptick in link clicks & video views. Let your talent use their talent and you won’t be disappointed. YMMV

#TakeABreak ! Episode #2 of The Startup is on FunnyOrDie.com

Hi everyone! We’re proud to announce that the 2nd episode of The Startup is now on FunnyOrDie.com The Startup.

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The Startup features Parvesh Cheena from Outsourced and A to Z, Peter Shinkoda from Falling Skies, Sonal Shah from Scrubs, James Kyson from Heroes, Aurelia Scheppers, Linc Hand, Bryan Coffee, K. Harrison Sweeney, Zabeth Russell, Christopher Meehan and Eric Mark.

Watch Episode # 2 of The Startup today! Check it out! http://bit.ly/TSUEP2

DogEaters Manga goes out the gate in Digital first!

Los Angeles, April 7th 2014- DogEaters Manga, an original comic series created by Malcolm Wong is now available EXCLUSIVELY on the iBookstore. Originally based on an award winning story that was adapted for comics by the Dabel brothers & beautifully brought to life by Guillermo Angel, DogEaters was intended for print release as a single graphic novel. However, it is now being released in advance on the iBookstore platform in e-book format as a six issue limited series. This is part of an emerging trend that is seeing independent creators decide to release first digitally to maximize brand reach, creating a premium print version later for rabid fans.

“DogEaters is set 175 years after the Die Off. We’re not sure of exactly all the details, but mankind’s failure to transcend the Petroleum Age is not just because we run out of gas.” says Malcolm Wong. “The over-arching reason for the end of civilization is because the power elite makes unethical, selfish, and unsafe decisions in order to continue to reap insane profits. Agribusiness uses methods that could arguably be said to cause food allergies, autism, ADD, etc.  I extrapolated from this to include a catastrophic Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE -commonly known as mad cow disease), which wipes out the domestic hoofed animals. Feral dogs were plentiful and become a major food source. And I thought it made a catchy title.”-

Doesn’t sound that far fetched, does it?

“It’s encouraging to see creators like Malcolm embrace the possibilities of digital” explains Manoj Rao, Founder of Media 11:11. “There will always be a place for physical books, but the reach of digital offers intriguing possibilities for independent digital creators to get their brands out there.”

To download the series, please visit the iBookstore- http://bit.ly/1g8f4QT

DogEaters_Manga

About Media 11:11

Media 11:11 is a different kind of publishing company focused on the creator and taking the pain out of self-publishing. Visit media1111.com for more details.

Digital Dread and unplugging.

iPad_MeBuilding a digital business can be rewarding and sometimes stressful.  The weird path of building revenue, getting customers, finding investors, working on product development, finding good people and trying to make ends meet is in and of itself a daunting set of tasks.  Add to that the innate bi-polar nature of being an entrepreneur and artist and this weird compulsion to constantly check your email & socials and it makes for some roller coaster days, where even waking up can be dreadful.

My formula for dealing with this stuff is a carefully measured recipe consisting largely of distraction and denial.  I go see things & do things that make me happy and when I’ve regained perspective and a smile,  I come back to deal with these daily challenges.  And you know what? It’s never as bad when I come back.

What makes it even better is meeting up with people IN PERSON and UNPLUGGING from digital for a bit.  Not in an irresponsible way, but once in a  while just going an hour or two talking to people in your life without constantly checking your iPhone.   Sometimes, it even leads to making a meaningful connection with great possibilities for the future.

My 2 cents.

Here’s a teaser of a big project we just put together for Viva Movil, Jennifer Lopez & Verizon. Check it out.