23 Jan

American Express OPEN Forum – A Small Biz Community Case Study

Neat visual case study about American Express OPEN’s social media approach at the OPEN Forum — the following presentation by VizEdu does a nice job capturing it: 

The idea is to provide information and strike up a conversation with small business owners, on a special conversational site that American Express OPEN has set up (separate and apart from its corporate website).  Among the benefits to American Express OPEN from the OPEN Forum initiative are: building brand equity, acquiring new customers, and building loyalty of existing customers.

Of course, I am one of the people involved with the OPEN Forum — yep, that’s me on that slide of the presentation. I was one of the original blogger-commentators in the blog portion of the site, from the very beginning. After a while, American Express OPEN gave approval and even encouraged me to involve the talented network of contributing Experts from Small Business Trends in writing at the site — widening the circle of conversation.

It’s a fun project and a testament to the open-mindedness and creativity of the American Express OPEN staff, their agency Digitas, and Federated Media. Collectively Read More

18 Jan

FedEx Kinko’s Gets a New Name, New Website – And Offers a Quick Lesson in Launch

Kinko’s, acquired by FedEx a few years back, was rebranded as FedEx Office in 2008.  As a media backgrounder points out, the name is a play on the idea of FedEx Office being the Back Office for America’s Small Businesses.

It’s kind of a bland name.  Kinko’s was such a … distinctive …. name that you didn’t have trouble remembering it.  But I guess they’re banking on the FedEx brand being able to draw in small business owners, with Office being secondary. 

Up until now their website was just as bland, too…  sort of a plain-Jane corporate site.  Here it is:

 old FedEx Office website


Luckily they’re launching a new website and it’s got more excitement to it. One of the highlights:  it has a horizontal scroll of the main products and services that FedEx Office offers.  Now, a horizontal scroll of images is quite the website design trend at the moment.  But this one is different — it  actually scrolls in a horizontal circle, like a circular carousel.  Neat.   Read More

11 Jan

Ingenious Way to get Twitter Followers and Advertise Your Business

Upon checking into my hotel room at the Rio in Las Vegas, where I am attending the Affiliate Summit for a few days, I received what appeared to be a typical hotel room key — plastic, about the size of a credit card.

When I arrived at my door, I examined the key more closely so that I could see which end to insert in the door lock.  It was then I noticed something different.

It turns out, it was a key branded with the logo of one of the sponsors of the Affiliate Summit event, which is being held in the Rio’s convention center.  But I’ve actually seen that before.  So while I was impressed with the sponsor’s marketing savvy, I wasn’t exactly surprised.

No, what REALLY surprised me was that the sponsor’s Twitter address was also printed on the key.  I was so taken with this, that I actually snapped a photograph:

Get Twitter followers by sponsoring hotel room key and printing Twitter handle on it

In the photograph, you see both the front side of the room key, and the back side. (I received 2 keycards, so I was able to show front and back in one photo.)  At the bottom you see where it says “Follow us on Twitter.com/ShareASale.”

Now any of you wondering what all the hubbub is about with Twitter, need to recognize this for the watershed moment it is. Read More

07 Jan

ADP Jobs Report Shows Why Small Biz Will Be the Innovators Coming out of This Recession

The ADP Small Business Report shows that the job losses among small businesses were steep during December 2008.  Small businesses lost 281.000 jobs during December. 

Note that small businesses have not lost as many jobs as larger companies. As the above chart shows, in December some 693,000 jobs were lost at all company sizes.  Roughly 60% of the job losses were at medium to large businesses (the green line) as compared with job losses in small businesses (the blue line).

This is why I think small businesses have a good shot at getting ahead during this slow economic period compared with their larger brethren (assuming they have the free cash flows to get through it). 

The big companies are reeling from job losses and expense reductions.  Positions are being cut and corporate employees are distracted and fearful they will be next.  Employees will be afraid to step out of line and takes risks on anything unproven or new in that kind of environment. Read More

04 Jan

Dell Does Year-End Reorganization – Don’t Expect Much Change for SMB

Dell reorgOn December 31, 2008 Dell announced it was organizing itself globally around 4 customer segments, instead of regionally.  CEO Michael Dell says the reorg is to respond better to customer needs which are “increasingly being defined by how they use technology rather than where they use it.”

The company has 4 business groups, as it calls them:  enterprise; public; small and medium business; and consumer.

The small and medium sized business, or SMB, group will now be run by Steve Felice, based in Singapore, who is currently president of Dell Asia-Pacific and Japan. According to the Dell announcement: “The new organization will accelerate creation and delivery of SMB-specific solutions and technology to the more than 72 million small and medium-sized businesses worldwide.” Read More

23 Dec

US and European Entrepreneurs – More Than an Ocean Divides Them

You have to watch this video to get an idea of the gulf in attitudes between American and European entrepreneurs.  The world may be flattening, but not everyone in Silicon Valley has heard the news.

It’s a panel discussion that took place at a Paris Web conference called LeWeb.  As a panel discussion it’s a complete train wreck — unscripted and out of control with boorish people patronizing the mostly European audience.  At around the 14 minute mark is when things heat up, and at one point one of the speakers was jeered.


But what’s revealing is the attitudes of the Americans and Europeans about startups.  Read More

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