Archive for the 'branding' Category

Canon, a new service standard

We’ve all read the horror stories; bad-tempted service people, insane refund requirements, etc. We quickly spread the word over the net partly to get even with the companies that screw us and partly to help our fellow consumers avoid that same situation we just endured. 

But how often do we take the time to write about a company that quietly goes out of its way to give excellent service or is so forward thinking and logical that their entire systems and procedures are designed to delight the consumer? Not very often unfortunately.

So here’s one.

I’ve been a loyal Canon consumer for 15+ years; i’ve purchased everything from printers to cameras and everything in between. The products have always been top notch in quality and compatibility. But they do wear out and break after years of use and that’s when the service organization either gives us reasons to continue our loyalty or move elsewhere.

So how did Canon react when my camcorder that was over 2 years old developed a nagging case of zoomitis?? 

I’ll tell you but a few details are in order.

First, the problem seemed to be epidemic; a quick google search confirmed that many consumers who had a similar camcorder experienced this problem. 

Second, no recall was every issued nor were any service bulletins published. It was one of those quite problems that plague most CE manufacturers. 

So with that said, i went online and submitted a repair request using a very convenient and logical web system. I then printed out the appropriate forms, threw it in a box with the camcorder and shipped it to Canon fully expecting them to contact me and tell me it would cost $100+ for repair since it was out of warranty. Expecting the worse i was prepared to point out they had a design flaw and even though this product was out of warranty i expected them to stand by their products. If that wasn’t successful i was prepared to drop it as the camcorder had done its duty rather well over the years and i had already purchased a new HD Canon camcorder. 

I then went on vacation. I checked email occasionally and never saw anything from Canon. I figured they had probably sent a letter to my home or worse sent the entire camorder back to me with a note saying “sorry”.

To my very pleasant surprise I found a freshly repaired camcorder sitting in my house at zero cost to me!

So why is this important? 

It’s not that i got something that i shouldn’t have or i got something for free. What i got was respect. Canon basically said to me “even though we don’t have any responsibility to fix this, we’re going to anyway because we beleive this is the best way to build loyalty”. And we’re they ever right in my case.

We’re all individual consumers and have unique ideas and needs when it comes to these types of issues. I hope Canon realizes that there are in fact many of us out here that are legit consumers who simply want to keep buying their products as long as we’re treated fairly. 

All i can say is Canon has my business both now and in the future as long as they keep showing me that they care enough to do the right thing, which in this case was good for me and great for them. 


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viewsonic: a dying brand

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yet another company slowly draws to an end.

i spent hours on what should have been an empowering and customer creating event with viewsonic only to walk away feeling like i had been at war. a needless war considering i had purchased an extended warranty.

i’ll spare you the details but here’s a summary: it took 45 days , 32 email exchanges, 3 faxes, 2 phone calls, $25 in shipping charges and about 5 hours of my time for them to acknowledge i had a valid claim and to ship a replacement.

how do companies design customer care services to be so inefficient? I don’t know but i do intend to find out.

I plan on interviewing serveral companies over the next few months to see if there’s a common set of variables that emerge which lead to poor customer service practices.

stay tuned….

YACHT – laptop music

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Vanderkitten – breaking brand alert

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So what makes a brand unique? Scott Bedbury’s book says that is really comes down to the promise; Nike is about genuine athletics, Starbucks is about consistent, community-based coffee, Phatfarm is about being urban. Or, going negative, American Airlines is about being too big to care, Verizon being barely ‘good enough’ and GM being able to “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory”.

Enter Vanderkitten. Yet another young womens clothing company or more? While it’s hard to get the entire story from their web site (horrible!), if you dig there’s a really interesting vibe and….promise to young women. Vanderkitten says its OK to get dirty AND be sexy; and they seem to attract women with street cred to back up the claim. Check out Liz Hatch, a rider for team Vanderkitten.

So will this brand create a new wave of Vanderkittens; young women that identify with their strength, femininity and athleticism – young women that play soccer, ride motor-cross, wake-board and kick-ass in general? Christine “Peanut” Vardaros, a top cyclocross rider for Team Vanderkitten talks about what its like to walk-the-walk in this interview.

While the verdict is still out on if Vanderkitten will appear on coolhunting.com anytime soon, I like what i see and read. The vibe is dead-on and it’s a brand that empowers; heavy stuff for sure. If they can break through, they could be an awesome company and brand and do a lot of good for young women everywhere. It’s true, honest and unique – what more can a marketer hope for?


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