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Dave’s blog

Brand is Still About Customer Success

Peloton’s New Fitness Challenge

In my perception, Peloton has built one of the most admired high-end consumer brands ever.  Its users have been described as a “cult.” I’m a proud and concerned member.

Wall Street demands growth and to please investors, public company Peloton has been talking as much about how it can return to growth and profitability as it does about its customers.  Peloton got tripped up during Covid –Peloton struggled to meet surging demand and keep market share, investing a fortune in ramping up capacity and logistics.  It seems obvious now (and maybe should have then), that demand would ease when life as we knew it returned.

It’s the choice about the BRAND of Peloton that, as a member, concerns me.  Peloton leadership is weakening my connection with the brand by talking about money over the mission.  I know, I know: I’m naïve – but I want to keep loving Peloton.  I want its leaders to tell Wall Street: “We made some expensive mistakes as we tried to serve everyone who needed us.  Ultimately, we’re here for our members – to the extent members use and rely on our products to improve their lives, Peloton will be successful.  That’s what we’re focused on.”  Customer success before investors.


The Marketing Blunder That Makes My Head Explode

What’s critical to a SELLER in a competitive market?  DIFFERENTIATION that a customer recognizes.   

What do many companies do poorly?  Help a customer understand what makes them different.   

As I search for guests for the ProCO360 podcast, I look for COMPELLING DIFFERENTIATION – that’s what is intriguing and critical their success.  Campminder – software for camps.  AgentSync – software that solves a painful problem for the insurance industry.  Sheets & Giggles – bedding for the environmentally conscience who love humor.  Nite Ize – reliable, simple tools that solve everyday problems.   

Here’s a screenshot from a PUBLIC RELATIONS FIRM’s website: 

In case you can’t see it, this PR firm touts five ways it is different:  Industry Veterans, Distinct Expertise: Healthcare and Health IT, Award-Winning, Traditional & New Media, Engagement in Your Success. FOUR of these ANY AND EVERY OTHER FIRM says.   

Industry Veterans – every other firm.  Award-winning – they all are.  Traditional and New Media – everyone still in business.  Engagement in your success – anyone not say that?   

Of the five above, REALLY ONLY ONE is a differentiator: Healthcare and Health IT focus.  This is what I think the content of the page should contain, in a visually effective way: 

If this firm really DOES focus on Healthcare and Health IT, then an unambiguous variation of this focus will work better.  For those of you who are also fans of Donald Miller’s book, Building a StoryBrand, you’ll notice a bit of his “the Customer is the Hero” philosophy too in the line I wrote: “Out clients make the world better through…” 

Not sure if the saying “there’s no such thing as bad PR” holds true here – but I’ve withheld the name of the firm.  We need to be brave enough to carve out a niche and then scream it to the world. 

My Vacation, Their Trip of a Lifetime

Returning from a relaxing vacation to Costa Rica, I noticed this group.  “Wow, that’s a lot of luggage,” I thought, before realizing that this was a group of people immigrating to the U.S. (from Somalia) – this was everything they had. I was struck by the contrast of our travels, feeling very fortunate for the cards I’ve been dealt and wishing them better lives going forward. 

Fresh Solo Tracks

Sometimes I just need time alone in nature, with a chill in the air.  With music or an audible book, or with silence, it’s cathartic.  After a snowshoe with Cheryl and friends Tom and Cathy and the dogs, I took an evening solo for about 45 mins.  Making fresh tracks clears my head and I feel grateful. 

“This Isn’t Fair” Rolls Right Into Me

Lots of reports have been published about how the population has become angrier during COVID.  I tend to get resentful and indignant too.  In fact, my original draft of this post was going to blast a well-know brand for its frustrating service policies.  I’ve decided against that. 

A couple of days ago a weird thing happened to me.  As I was stopped at a light, a pickup pulling a trailer with a car on it turned next to me.  As it passed, the car on its trailer rolled off and into my car, pinning my door shut.  Clearly, the car had been improperly secured. 

Then it got even stranger: I decided not to get mad.  I took a deep breath and got out.  I was pleasant, and matter of fact, patient while we waited for the police to do their work.  

Objectively, resolving this matter puts an unfair burden on me.  It involves a 7-week wait to get my car repaired, lack of availability and adequate coverage for a rental car for that period of time, the at-fault driver’s insurance company deciding whether they are responsible to pay.  And all this falling on me to manage… I was just sitting in my car, not moving.  It ISN’T FAIR that the incompetence of someone else put all this on me.   

No, it’s not. And inevitably one day it will be ME causing this unfair burden for someone else.  Now that I’m thinking about it, my mistakes of inexperience and incompetence have hurt others plenty in the past.  Reflecting on my young self – learning how to do a new job, I made the lives of others around me unpleasant and worse.  Those pains I’ve caused were much more “unfair” to others than the experience I’m having with my car.   

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