BLOG ARCHIVE FOR: October, 2006

Oct.26
2006

Finding your voice

Over the past few years we’ve launched a number of new brands at Quixtar.  And a discussion about what a brand will be always includes a discussion about the look and feel.  Our beauty art director and editor call this giving the brand a face (look) and voice (feel) – perfect language for the women who define the design and copy for Artistry and NAO!

As Quixtar learns to blog, we’ve been talking a bit about a brand voice versus an individual voice.  A brand is something specific that has a particular history, background, elements, and story.  The way the brand looks and sounds won’t differ much from interaction to interaction — from a video to a Web page to an ad.  A blog voice needs to be the voice of an individual rather than an entity; while an individual can talk about a brand in a blog it should be a personal reflection rather than a corporate one.

I can give you the brand language and the compelling selling proposition behind Nutrilite Double X.  I can quote chapter and verse on Artistry’s new Time Defiance line.  But that isn’t what should be happening in a blog.

What I can tell you as an individual is that I need to take Double X after a meal or I feel nauseous.  But I take Double X because there’s just so much good in it that I feel like it’s restitution for my scattered eating habits.    I can tell you that after years of not being able to use Time Defiance (felt too greasy) I like the lighter look and feel of the new daytime protection lotion and I love the smell.    Is that brand language or marketing-speak?  Hardly.  If I were doing marketing speak I’d talk about digestive tolerance, light feel and enhanced fragrance.   Blogs are a place to share personal experience, thoughts, ideas, and opinions.

And few people have personal experiences that read like catalog copy.

Oct.16
2006

National Boss Day

My boss didn’t realize it was National Boss Day (the official term) until he found my card this morning.  That’s because Bosses Day (or Boss’ Day or Boss’s Day, depending on which card you choose!) is one of those Hallmark holidays…like Grandparent’s Day.  I don’t remember that being around when I was a kid either, but it’s now a huge event at my children’s elementary school.  And of course there’s a card for these and dozens of other holidays you may not recognize or celebrate.

I’ve had bosses at both ends of the spectrum — some of the best and some of the worst.   The worst?  The boss who had me call her the night before meetings or travel to tell her what I was wearing — so she could either OK it or veto it based on what she planned to wear.  This was after an unfortunate incident where we both wore purple suits with white blouses to a meeting in D.C.  We were walking through National (before it was Reagan)  and some people thought we were flight attendants.  The same boss also yelled at a new staff member for “outdressing” her at an event.   The message was you needed to look good, but not too good!   She also yelled at me for kicking my shoes off in the office — at 9 p.m., because she said you never knew who might come into the office.  I’m sure the buildings and grounds crew there to empty the trash was shocked by my lack of professionalism!

And the best?  The bosses who were or are supportive but not smothering, straightforward and direct, and as generous with praise as they are with feedback.  Above all, my favorites have been those who are serious about their work but don’t take themselves too seriously.  Someone who can learn from, and then laugh about, their mistakes.  Someone who expects the best of themselves and those around them. And someone who knows how to bring out the best in others.

One of my worst bosses was at the newspaper I worked at right out of college.  He had what was in essence a shaming system for his reporters.  Each week you received a ranking based on the number of stories you produced — with 100 percent being his estimation that you were earning your keep.   The whole purpose of the system was to embarrass a few low performers into action.  But what happened, instead, is the aggressive overachievers fought each other for the top spot.  So you have a handful of people regularly getting rankings of between 150 to 200 percent – my personal best was a 225 — while the underachievers never cracked 100.  Instead of getting more out of the underachievers they pushed people who were already doing more than their share to do more.  I guess the outcome was that he got the amount of work he needed out of his staff — but by basically overworking some and allowing others to coast.

But this is a day for celebrating, not complaining.  Happy bosses day to all my bosses at Quixtar and Alticor!

Oct.13
2006

I don’t know what I don’t know

Several comments and posts to other blogs recently have pointed out that I’ve left questions unanswered in posts and haven’t addressed questions asked in comments to posts.

I haven’t answered because I don’t know what I don’t know.  Some questions I can easily respond to because I know the answers . Some questions I don’t.

My southern father used to say there are three questions you never ask someone: how old they are, how much money they make, and how much they weigh. I added never ask if that’s someone’s real hair color (because if you have to ask, it probably isn’t!) I don’t know how much money IBO leaders make from the sale of BSMs. I don’t know what the markup is on BSMs.  Those and others are questions I can’t answer because I don’t have that information.  Those questions can only be answered by those IBOs and LOAs that produce BSMs. I know this isn’t the answer many of those watching this blog want. But my job isn’t to track down that kind of personal income information from IBOs…I’m not inclined to ask any more than I’m inclined to answer questions about my earnings or net worth.

We’ve acknowledged that there have been issues with the sale of BSMs in the past. We’ve detailed the implementation of rules and consumer protections regarding the sale of BSMs. We recently launched the Quixtar Professional Development Accreditation Program to recognize organizations that are standard bearers in the production and sale of BSMs. We’ve taken every step of every change in cooperation with IBO leaders instead of working against them. Is there more work to be done in this area? Yes, and as changes continue to be made, we’ll be communicating them here and elsewhere.

For every person who complains about BSMs there’s an IBO who claims they wouldn’t have built a successful business without them. But for those who feel they made investments in BSMs that weren’t of value, there are remedies like customer satisfaction policies that I’ve detailed on this blog and that are more fully explained at www.quixtar.com.

One of our biggest frustrations is to find out someone has had an issue but didn’t seek resolution — especially when we find out because they’ve posted to a blog or done a media interview. We’d much rather they contact their upline for a refund on BSMs or the company regarding an issue with a product or service and get a refund or some other form of satisfaction.

I know this post will unleash some criticism. There are some who won’t be satisfied with any corporate response or any answer (or in this case, non-answer.) So it goes. And to those who suggest that we’re still sitting on the bleachers instead of getting in the game….we’re on the field, but we’re just not swinging at every pitch.

Oct.09
2006

Coming this week to a TV screen near you

Tune into Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals tonight at 6:24 p.m. (EST) on Food TV to get ideas for quick and yum-o dinners and see Quixtar’s advertising.  Can’t make it?  Watch Rachael Ray on Tuesday, October 10 at 2:46 p.m. (EST).

You’ll also see the ads at 1:50 p.m. (again, EST) on October 14 on TLC’s “Trading Spaces”,  and during the broadcast of ABC’s “Extreme Home Makeover” on October 15.

Oct.02
2006

Tune in and see for yourselves

Here’s the schedule for the Quixtar spots airing this week…

NETWORK

PROGRAM

DATE

TIME

LENGTH

FOX NEWS

Fox Report ADU

10/3/2006

8:10 PM

:30

FOX NEWS

O’Reilly Factor ADU

10/4/2006

8:29 PM

:30

TLC

What Not to Wear

10/6/2006

9:23 PM

:30

FOOD NETWORK

Everyday Italian Combo

10/5/2006

1:42 PM

:30

FOOD NETWORK

Everyday Italian

10/5/2006

4:45 PM

:30

FOOD NETWORK

Emeril Live

10/6/2006

8:07 PM

:30

Oct.01
2006

Now playing….

Quixtar’s first-ever advertising campaign is now on the air…earlier than expected.  the television buy was to start today but FOX aired the spots on Tuesday evening for reasons I still don’t quite understand, and in apology is giving us two airings free.  No harm done.  The complete schedule is at www.quixtar.com and there’s a nifty rollover schedule designed by Dave Snyder on my team.

There are several components to the broadcast campaign.  There are several cuts of “The Land of Will”, which captures the hope and optimism that drives IBOs and suggests that collectively they create a unique place of opportunity.  “Won’t Becomes Will” has a similar tone but on an individual rather than collective basis.

The Nutrilite spots gracefully show two reasons why Nutrilite is unlike any other brand.  One showcases how we distill the goodness of hundreds of plant extracts into a very convenient package.  Another highlights a ”company tour” where you see a ladybug protecting tender plants from other insect predators and other ways Nutrilite’s farms and facilities aren’t like any competitor.  These simple spots have no voiceover narration, just words and pictures and a bit of animation to tell a  simple story.

Nutrilite print ads will begin appearing in the U.S. in Newsweek and in Canada in Maclean’s magazine shortly.

The campaign was created by Element 79, the agency we hired last fall to help us venture into advertising.   Element is the creative force behind Gatorade, Propel Fitness Water, Quaker, and other brands.  To check out their work, visit www.element79.com.