Packaging is Worth a Thousand Words

Tonx ships freshly roasted coffee beans to your door. I recently signed up for a sample, and before I even brewed the first cup, I knew it was going to be good quality. How? The packaging.

Tonx Shipment

First of all, the coffee itself was in a sexy-looking silver airtight package that you could imagine being on the International Space Station.

It also came with three small but perfectly-formed pieces of card.

1) Greetings Fellow Coffee Achiever! The implied message – “You’re a smart person. And you’re part of a club“. It goes on to tell you how excited they are about the beans they have just shipped you.

2) The Beans. An evocative description of the origins of the beans (with a photo on the other side).

Tonx coffee brew graphic“The San Ignacio Cooperative is made up hundreds of producers near Puntina Punco in the Sandia Valley of Peru. With exceptional soil and great shade, mostly Caturra and Typica coffee varieties make up the crop. With farms averaging 2.5 hectares, most of the farmers pick their own coffee before hand-crank pulping and fermenting in concrete tanks. Some even have channels for density sorting after washing the coffee. While the cooperative offers centralized drying for the smallholder producers, the majority dry their own on covered beds. San Ignacio is a complex, balanced cup, and performs great across many brew methods. A fragrance of clove and cinnamon paves the way for a creamy cup with flavors of milk chocolate, red delicious apple, and toasted walnut.”

3) The Brew.  An eye-catching graphic with seven ways to create that cup of coffee – and on the back some “Brew Basics” for those who are looking for guidance.

So here’s the thing. Before I even brewed the first cup, I was hooked. I knew it was a quality product, created by people who care, with a story behind it. And I knew I wanted to sign up for their bi-weekly subscription plan.

Of course, the coffee was delicious, once I finally stopped taking photos of the packaging long enough to grind the beans and put it in the french press.

So, if you love good coffee, if you love good product design or you love good marketing, Tonx is a must-try (and for me,that’s a trifecta!).


5 Ways to #Fail with a Survey

Thanks to Amtrak, I was treated to a great example of how NOT to survey your customers.

A few days ago, a plain white envelope, looking a little bill-like, appeared in my mail box. Normally, I take the time to complete these surveys – call it a professional courtesy from one Marketer to another. But this one left me scratching my head.

Here are the five #fails:

Amtrak customer service survey

1) Too Late. I took the trip on September 25th. The survey arrived on November 5th. Six weeks after the service – how valid will my comments be?

2) Too Long. 55 questions. 3 pages. Seriously? We’re in the Twitter age. You can never assume you have that much attention from a customer.

3) Too Old.  No online option. “Please return in the pre-addressed, postage paid envelope”. Hmm.

4)  Too Many. I received two of them, identical, on the same day. Never a good idea to look disorganized and incompetent at the moment you’re asking for feedback.

5) Too Late (#2). I was booked on the non-stop Acela Express from Newark to Boston, a 4 hr trip. In reality, I had to change at New York, sat on the floor until a seat opened up, was stuck in Connecticut for an hour plus, and finally got to Boston 2.5 hrs late. And the first communication I had from Amtrak was a satisfaction survey. I’m not suggesting that you exclude known bad experiences from your survey. But at least acknowledge the issue before you ask for feedback.

So, there you have it. The 5 things Amtrak should do to fix their survey?

Be timely; Be brief; Be mobile; Be smart; Be…well, smart

What’s the worst survey you’ve seen recently?

Are PCs Dead?

It’s not a new discussion. In fact, it may be a little tired. But I was asked to comment on the subject for InformationWeek recently. The assertion, which I agree with, was that tablets aren’t really a replacement for PCs – at least not in every case.

Tablets can’t – and won’t – replace personal computers inside most small and midsize businesses” was the sub-head for the article. That matches my personal experience as I look to integrate tablets in to certain aspects of our business at Dittman Incentive Marketing.

There are many instances where the tablet performs a function that is not well suited to a PC or laptop, and is therefore creating a new category, not replacing the PC. Similarly, in some situations a PC is still the preferred tool due to stability, flexibility or just plain familiarity.

Read the full article on the site

The Tsunami Test (or Keeping it Simple)

Sometimes we get caught up in being too clever.

A witty tag line…

… a 3D-rendered image..

… a QR code leading to a cartoon video….

… or one of a hundred other “clever” marketing tricks.

But I was reminded of the power of a simple, understandable image recently  when I traveled down the coast of Oregon.

Tsunami Warning – Keep it Simple

Wherever we went, we saw these ubiquitous signs. Most of them simply had the image and an arrow – the obvious message

“If you see a tsunami, run this way“!  

[The one shown above was "OK, you should be safe here"]


So the next time you design a banner ad or a tradeshow booth, try the Tsunami Test. Ask yourself “If I had 5 seconds to read this and act, would I know what to do”?

Do You Live Up To Your Brand Promise?

Shanghai Jazz is a Chinese restaurant in Madison NJ, but not your everyday Chinese joint. As the name suggests, they pride themselves on bring live Jazz to suburban New Jersey – and top quality Jazz at that. Their philosophy is “warm hospitality, gourmet Asian cuisine inspired by the seasons…” per their website, and I’ve always felt they’re on a mission to provide top quality service and a memorable evening. The owners, David and Martha, are always visible, and are polite and friendly hosts.Martini

Last night was a classic example of a company living up to their Brand Promise. I was half way through my martini (my first one, honestly…), when the waiter pointed out a fly in the drink, whisked it away and replaced it with a fresh drink within a minute. Impressive!

And that’s it. I just love it when a company lives what they do.

Any examples you’d like to share?