Incorporating video into emails

Email Becomes “Me-Mail”

Gee Ranasinha Marketing

Integrating video into your sales and marketing messaging, collateral and customer engagement activities is taking on ever-greater importance. Video captivates audience attention far better than text and/or images alone, and also helps differentiate your company.

reusing old templates in business marketing

Trash The Template

Gee Ranasinha Business

Are you re-using the same old sales proposal that you’ve used for the past three years? Copying and pasting the content and simply changing some details to fit? It’s important to break your business out of its routine now and again.

customer feedback isn't true

Don’t Listen To Your Customers

Gee Ranasinha Business, Marketing

If you keep giving your customers what they want, they’ll keep buying whatever it is you’re selling. Wrong. To find out what new product / service your company should be offering in the future, your first point of call should be getting feedback and opinion your existing customers. After all, they’re the ones that bought from you in the first place, right? Wrong. The fact is, most customers don’t know what they want. Or rather, they don’t know what they want until it’s too late – for you to offer it to them, that is. Ask a customer what their pain-point is today and they’ll give you their answer. However if you ask them again tomorrow there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the same response. Or a similar response. Or any response. If you’re a small business owner or product manager solely reliant on customer feedback for product development, this puts you in a real bind. By the time you can offer the new, improved version of ‘your thing’, your customers will have moved on. They will want something else. So what’s going on? Why can’t customers just tell the truth and stick to their guns? Why can’t they just …

Flash in the pan

Flash? In The Pan

Gee Ranasinha Communications

I’ve written about my dislike for Flash-driven websites before, but in the last few months I have noticed a definite shift in the way companies of all sizes are creating and distributing their web content. In light of the new-found strategy of communicating with your customers instead of at them, Flash-driven websites are losing ground in favor of websites where content is again the paramount criterion. And thank goodness for that. Regardless of company size, many organizations seem to have realized that ‘it’s all about the content’ and, as a result, are moving away from Flash to sites driven by content-management-systems such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. Add some so-called “Web 2.0” features – dissolves, fades, animations, etc – that can now be integrated into a standard website using JavaScript-based tools such as jQuery, and even the most media-hungry marketing director can be persuaded to ditch that old Flash-driven website. Flash-based websites take more effort to update regularly, often force the user to sit through “loading” progress bars (even more annoying when you’ve just clicked on the wrong menu item) and make it virtually impossible to bookmark an interesting item of content. Conventional websites are more user-friendly (menus are where …

corporate gilded cage

The Danger Of The Gilded Cage

Gee Ranasinha Business, Communications, Marketing

The higher up that you progress on the corporate ladder, the more insulated you become from your business – and, by association, your customers. Sometimes keeping close to the coalface is better than getting a key to the executive washroom. Let me explain. Every executive believes promotion gets them closer to their goals. But maybe – just maybe – those goals aren’t the ones you imagined Most C-Suite executives may have a passing understanding of what happens at ground level. But after a while, all those meetings, corporate lunches and golf club meetings take their toll. After a short time, the peers you had when you were cutting your teeth on the corporate merry-go-round see you as “one of them” rather than “one of us”. You’re no longer to be trusted with certain gossip, information, or insight. And that’s exactly when the rot sets in. Now you’re in the executive club, you’re playing a different game. By the time you make it to the upper echelons, you’re almost encased in a corporate-created bubble. You’re in a cage – even if it’s a gilded one. How do you know if you’re in a gilded cage? Your calls and letters are screened. …

old cash register

The Price Of Free

Gee Ranasinha Business

Unless you have a truly unique product, it’s difficult to compete with ‘free.’ Internet consumers today have grown up with the ability to access content without cost – be it news, music, films, TV or whatever. As a consequence, content providers such as film studios, record companies and newspaper and magazine publishers have suddenly found that their business model needs some serious work if they’re to make money in the internet economy. It’s as though the web has forced through a ‘no cost’ expectation before anyone has had the chance to develop a way to sustain a business from it. The publishing industry is hurting more than most. Since you can read most magazines and newspapers online for free, why should you purchase one from a newstand? Publishers have been trying for years to find a way of making money from the internet. First they tried using it as a loss-leader for their printed editions. Then they tried making certain content available to subscribers only. However, today most of them have made all their content freely available for all, and hoping that they can still make the advertising numbers that they need to survive. The problem is that they’re not. …

value of creativity

What Value Do You Put On Creativity?

Gee Ranasinha Presentations

Most people think of creativity as being something to do with art, literature or music. But without creativity, business today wouldn’t exist. You can call it innovation, ingenuity, talent or even vision. Regardless, one of the most prized traits in business is an individual’s creativity. Think of any successful business entrepreneur and you’d be hard pushed to find one without personal characteristics that, collectively, would be interpreted as creativity. Creativity means coming up with a new idea, or a new approach to an old idea. It’s having the guts to think different. Many individuals that we associate with being creative were not seen as such: Einstein was four years old before he could speak and seven before he could read. Walt Disney was fired from his job at a newspaper because he had “no good ideas.” Louis Pasteur was rated ‘mediocre’ in chemistry when he attended the Royal College. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard, Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed, Michael Dell dropped out of University of Texas, and Larry Ellison dropped out of University of Chicago. So if creativity is held in such high regard today, then why do the world’s education systems place such low importance on …

Business Innovation “Ora ilLegale” clock design

The Second Mouse Gets The Cheese

Gee Ranasinha Marketing

I saw this fantastic idea and piece of design on the Yanko Design website recently. It’s a clock that you simply tilt on order to change to – or from – Daylight Savings time. No need to fiddle with a tiny wheel at the back, or buy one of those ugly-looking clocks that automatically adjust their time from a radio signal. A wonderful example of User Experience. Clearly someone took the time to think about the problem, and proposed a solution that’s both elegant and novel. It’s a great application of adding a new twist to everyday object. Or should that be ’tilt’ instead of ‘twist’… Innovation in business can be seen as the ultimate goal, or the road to failure. There’s a saying in business: “The early bird may catch the worm, but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese.” The concept of taking someone else’s idea and refining it further is the mainstay of business. There’s often little profit in being first. Why? Because being first means creating a market for something that currently doesn’t have one. It requires the audience already be aware, and educated to the problem the innovation is designed to address. A problem …

"Mother and Son" Microsoft Commercial

Hidden Message

Gee Ranasinha Advertising, Marketing

The advertising battle between Microsoft and Apple moved up a gear recently, with Redmond’s latest campaign to encourage consumers to buy Windows. In the ads, that you can see here, various ‘real people’ are filmed documentary-style going through the process of buying a PC. The subjects are shown weighing up the pros and cons of Windows-driven hardware against Macs. In the end the subject walks away with a Windows machine, and explains their purchasing decision to the camera based upon the price of the machine when compared to a Mac. Doesn’t this seem a little weird? Microsoft is a software company. OK, they make hardware in the form of computer peripherals and the XBOX, but they don’t make computers. Third-party hardware manufacturers buy and install their software and resell the result. Apple is a software company that, in order to sell their software, have chosen to also manufacture the supporting hardware in order to better control the user experience. So, from a business value communication standpoint, we have a software company basing their campaign on how cheap the third-party host hardware is. There is no messaging about Windows versus the Mac OS X operating system. It’s just a straight features …

better presentations by using Post-It notes

A Simple Tip For Better Business Presentations

Gee Ranasinha Business

Delivering business presentations – perhaps to prospects, colleagues, partners, or investors – has become a critical aspect of business value communication. You can be a start-up or small business, or a billion-dollar multinational. Business presentations can be used as a sales tool, for training/education, or to motivate, inspire, or take action. So why are the majority of corporate presentations boring, too long and badly presented? It doesn’t matter if your company/product/service/message is fantastic. If you cannot fire-up your audience through great content and delivery, then you’re probably better off not using presentation software at all. While there are certainly individuals who shouldn’t be getting up and speaking in public under any circumstances, I’m still firmly of the belief that the vast majority of people can carry off a stunning business presentation. It may not end up being TED Talk quality, but it’ll be good enough to maintain audience interest and effectively convey the particular message. I’m going to reveal to you the single biggest improvement that you can make when planning your next business presentation: Don’t use your computer. At least, not yet. When you need to create a presentation, the first thing that most people do is fire up …

why should customers choose you

Why Should Customers Choose You?

Gee Ranasinha Business, Communications, Customer Service

From 1987 to 1992 I founded and ran a media production company. Primarily focused on commercial and advertising photography, we mainly did press and billboard ads, calendars, annual reports and a bit of TV commercial stuff. We worked with big-name clients such as Nestlé, BAT, Proctor and Gamble and Ford Motor Company. The company was pretty successful – the last year that I was involved the business had a turnover of more than $1m. And that was with just four of us. We worked, in the majority of cases, with advertising agencies. Over the course of those five years I did some crazy stuff. Dangling 10 feet out of helicopters, manually retouching each frame of motion picture film to create a special effect because it couldn’t be done in software at the time, stuff like that. I photographed fashion models, titans of business, and even the occasional movie star. I was happiest in the studio, rather than on location. Being able to control light and shadow, set design, and so on. My ‘weapon of choice’ was most often 5×4 or 10×8 view cameras, like the one at the top of this page. My Sinar P2 was one of my most …