Sometimes the brand is the person.

Confessions of a Brand Evangelist has a post about an excellent dining experience they had, based on the excellent service the received from one young waiter.

I’m surprised they didn’t mention the young lady’s name. Usually when I have that kind of service I remember the waiter’s name.

That made me think about the fact that every time I’ve ever dealt with a customer they have always asked me how their account rep or contact is doing. They ask how Jennifer is, or what Dan is up to. These customers have had good, or even excellent service from these people and have developed a personal relationship with them.

To these customers, those people are the brand. They are living examples of what the customer perceives the company to be.

Of course, when these people leave the company, the customer no longer gets the service level they are used to, and their perception often takes a turn for the worse.

Gay is the new cousin.

Last Sunday’s New York Times had a humorous yet poignant article entitled A Prince Charming for the Prom (Not Ever After Though), about how gay men have replaced cousins as prom dates:

LATELY I’ve become wary of the question “Frank, what are you doing next Saturday night?” In the month of May it can only mean one thing: I’m going to yet another prom. And no, I’m not doing a favor for a cousin. Cousins are out. I’m this century’s new answer to the last-minute prom date: the gay best friend.

[...]

And unlike the goofy cousin who might arrive in a ruffled, powder-blue tux and tell embarrassing stories about computer camp, I’m a safe, chic choice. Neither of us will blush with sexual tension when it comes time to attach corsage to bosom. I won’t make a fool of my date or myself with awkward straight-boy dancing. And I’ll help her figure out the details of her dress and hairstyle. After all, we wouldn’t want anyone committing social suicide on the biggest night of our tender young lives.

As the gay date, I also make one of the evening’s most unpleasant moments a breeze. I have no problem meeting the girl’s parents, a typical sticking point for most guys, because I know that wise and open-minded parents are smart enough to realize that a gay guy is their daughter’s best and safest prom bet.

If I were a worried mother of a dateless daughter, I would scour the hip coffee shops of my town waving a rainbow flag in search of recruits. It might cause my daughter to die of embarrassment, but at least she would have a fabulous night out and wouldn’t make me a grandmother anytime soon.

Actually I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner. After all, my kids have often told me that gay guys get the best girls.

The author does wonder how some of these women end up without dates for the prom:

The one thing I can’t understand is why many of my female friends, who are charming, attractive and fun to be with, don’t have straight male suitors to accompany them. Surely the school halls aren’t filled with date-snatching floozies offering the one thing no teenage guy, except the gay best friend, can say no to. So I’ve got to believe I see things in these girls that straight guys can’t because with me the element of sexual attraction was never there to begin with.

Maybe when it comes to women, gay men are just smarter that straight men.

Make money fast!

ionrss warns that RSS infomercials are here. You too can make money with the SuperFeedSystem. Just don’t mention it to the rightful owners of the content you are benefitting from:

When you see little buttons like these …

(This is what an invitation to make money looks like!)

… it means that the owners of the content are inviting you to use what they’ve written.

Put blogs, articles, news, sports scores, humor – most anything you can think of on your site. It’s free and there are hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) of feeds available right this minute. And it’s growing wildly with thousands more every week. There are giant search engines and directories with all kinds of free RSS feeds.

And the best thing about feeds is …

SEARCH ENGINES LOVE THEM!

Unlike politics, blogging isn’t local.

Paul at Marketing Begins at Home makes an excellent observation:

Alain Jourdier brought me back to earth with a great reality check on how traditional marketing is still with us and isnt going anywhere soon.

In communities like Alains and mine, we live or die by the Pennysaver and the local weekly and monthly rags. To a lot of very sophisticated, technically literate people in my community, The Patent Trader is still an important source of news and information about whats going on in our backyard.

And the Pennysaver – the best place to find just about anything – isnt blogging anytime soon.

A blog seems far more likely to be read by someone far away rather than local. Mine certainly is. It is not ideal method to reach local people. And it’s a downright horrible method to reach people who are not as attached to their computer as I am. So yes the Pennysaver is still the best local marketing tool when you want to reach people in your area.

What surprises me though is that most newspapers don’t seem to understand that they could be the bridge between the Pennysaver consumers and blog consumers. Yet they seem content to let craigslist and the Pennysaver own those niches.

What’s mine is yours.

Paul at a crank’s progress notes that Microsoft is doing away with the “My” prefix:

Those folders on your Windows desktop will still be yours — but in the future you’ll need to figure that out on your own.

Ending a longstanding tradition, Microsoft Corp. plans to stop using the word “my” as the default prefix for such folders as “My Documents,” “My Music,” “My Pictures” and others along those lines. Starting in the next Windows version, due out next year, folders will be known simply as “Documents,” “Music,” and so on.

He suggests that it will seem a lot more like Apple.

Or it could be that once Microsoft includes DRM in Office 12, the word “My” would be false advertising because your documents will now belong to Microsoft Office.

Gripe of the day.

Lately I’ve been noticing an increasing number of people who seem unable to park within the lines of a parking space. Is it really that difficult, or are these people just that inconsiderate?