Tuesday, January 10, 2006

It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it

I may have to reinstate that Newsweek sub; it has proven a rich seam. 

I hadn't noticed before, but inside the front cover there's an ad from Chevron (strapline 'Human Energy'), headlined 'The World consumes two barrels of oil for every barrel discovered', and then poses the question: 'So is this something you should be worried about?'.

I have to say my first thought was that I'm a tad more worried the world is still rushing around devoting so much effort finding more of the stuff that is causing global warming, and not leaving it where it can do no more harm. 

But while reading on (who the heck reads body copy anyway?) they do sort of acknowledge the environmental side of things, though there's also still a fair bit on finding and burning the stuff as well. It's the economy, stupid!

Ho Hum. Anyway, they have a website where you can go to join in the discussion. Maybe I will.


Meanwhile, I read something interesting about our own homegrown biofuels as worthy alternatives, under the heading 'Energy expert says crops seen inefficient as biofuel'

Seems Lord Oxburgh, a former Shell Chairman, reckons waste products make a better biofuel than traditional British crops such as rapeseed and grain because of the energy it takes to grow them.

He made a few other interesting points, not least that the US is using maize for their efforts, which is the least efficient bio crop of the lot. No change there then. Hummm..er.

A stitch in time saves... a heck of a lot

I'm going to miss Newsweek. It provided a valuable insight into at
least what one section of another culture thinks about world events.
Sadly, it is the latest victim of our cost cutting measures, and
subscriptions are high on the 'but do we really need them?' list.
Well I suppose I could argue yes, as it, or at least its content
inspired this blog, which in turn filled some space on Junkk.com and
maybe even gave a person who reads it a reason to return. Hmmn. Tough

Anyway, the story that inspired me was the fallout, if I can call it
that, from Mr. Sharon being struck down. What got me was how
everyone, from the rabbi next door in downtown Tel Aviv to the US
sate Department, were running around like headless chickens.
Derailing the peace process and lord knows what else being bandied
about amongst the wailing and moaning, with earnest Middle East hacks
looking to camera and sharing the shock of the moment.

For crying out loud. The guy was almost 80 and more than a few kilos
above the ideal. You might also suspect that his lifestyle may on
occasion have been a tad stressful. Did no one have a contingency in
mind for when (I'm pretty sure death still ranks as a sure bet, along
with taxes) this happened?

I'm starting to wonder. There used to be a sense that folk much
smarter than we were figuring out all sorts of 'what ifs' and putting
in place all the necessary 'what we do is's', and doing it with
decades in hand to plan and prepare. Now I'm not so sure. It seems
like we're seeing 'just in time' government in much the same way as
just in tin time car assembly, with all the ability to cope when part
of the chain breaks. And it's all for the same reasons, to save a
penny now and let someone else's career deal with the consequences.

I am not encouraged.

ps: In the same edition there was a feature, not exactly critical, on
how Scooters (you know, the kind battery-powered jobs that
predominantly senior folk race around shopping centres) have evolved
from medical need to lifestyle choice are now the new walking in the
US. As Charlie Brown would say: 'Good Grief!'.

Hitting the target gets tricky when there isn't one

I have used this blog before to express a certain... frustration... with the fact that, in getting our message across to potential business partners, it's not so much a problem what the message is, or when and how it is sent, but to whom it could and should be directed.

Only last week OLOV (Our Ladies Of Vision) sat us down and asked when was the last time we actually told our potential paying clients (big eco-aware brands, at least to start) what we're up to.

On hearing that we'd kind of busied ourselves in more fun, creative areas they kicked us in the financially most sensitive part of our pants and set us a short-term focussed task directed, much as with the Xmas major media campaign (results pending... fingers crossed) directed at six of the most promising brands across various target categories (fmcg, transport, energy, etc), plus their relevant support suppliers (ad & PR agencies, etc).

It's quite a task, but we have the bit between our teeth and are on the case of the 10-15 most relevant folk we believe can see the value of Junkk.com in complementing their efforts to reach and profit from selling to the consumer.

No one said it would be easy, but by golly these brands themselves do make it hard. We've lost count of the number of times our best laid plans get an unwelcome shock to the programme.

For instance,  one high on our list was of course Honda, being just down the road and with a major commitment to the cause. We don't know the reasons behind it all, but:

Even if the link doesn't work, the end part of the URL above kinda shows our dilemma. 

Simon was the Marketing Director. So I guess we'll be putting them on the back-burner for a while.

Or... maybe I'll drop him a line. We could do with a innovative top-line MD at Junkk.com. There is the small matter of salary, but if he's reviewing his options for a while, maybe a bit of still-on-salary gardening leave saving the planet may appeal?

Anyone got his number?

Customer Care

In the course of our research, we have signed up to literally hundreds of email newsletters. Most are of continual use, even when they come in daily, and we do make the effort to scope them out for those nuggets we can use and pass on with the site. These include specialist enviro/re:sites, news, some (but not all) marketing and IT-related ones.

Many, however, a re just a whopping great yawn, and simply fill up my in-box until I send them to my 'pending box', which I then usually purge unread each month. And almost all are to do with business. Big business. Small business. Start-up business. How tos. My Guide tos. 

It's a shame, because there are a few nuggets still to be had, which Business Bricks  http://www.businessbricks.co.uk/ and a few others I do read (though in posting that link to BB I did get reminded that his going to a 'come2mysite' vs. 'postaneletter2u' model is not working at keeping me in touch with him as it used to; a lesson to learn for Junkk.com and our proposed newsletters soon) will pretty much catch. 

Anyway, the reason is that they are all starting to sound the same and rehash the same old stuff. If you don't know it by now; you never will.

Which brings me to my blog. One of the truest maxims you will read is that the customer who cares enough to complain is the most valuable of all, and should be treated as such.

We are lucky to have such folk who use Junkk.com, but think it could be better. And then take the time to write and say so. 

For now I am flattered and pleased that there are more and more of them. Because, if we agree with them, it is no major effort on our part to respond; not just with a reply, but also by making the necessary changes. And with luck, as time goes by we'll see the proportion evolve more from problems that need solving to enhancements or additions that can be made.

Keep 'em coming, guys! And thank you.