Does one bad product taint the brand?

Yesterday I purchased a Blue Snowball Snowflake USB microphone. I was going to use it to record some voice-overs for an upcoming Empire Avenue overview video, but as you can guess by my use of the word ‘was’ in this sentence, it didn’t happen.

The Flaw
You see, the mic was bad. DOA. Toast.

This was a new mic, in a sealed box, not a reconditioned one (don’t get me started on my experience with reconditioned Apple and Microsoft hardware).

Maybe it was a driver issue, but I doubt that. I tested it on two different hardware platforms with 3 different OS versions. Heck, my Guitar Hero USB mic was recognized by these systems so this ‘quasi-pro’ mic should have been easily. No, it was a bad unit from the factory. Which is where my problem begins.

The Perception
In the 21st century, I have the expectation that when I buy something it should work. Modern manufacturing methods and quality assurance processes have kept me safe from many many dud hardware items over the years. Until now, it seems.

Sure, some things don’t always work as well as you expect, or need a lot of setup and configuring to get them to work optimally, but I do at least, expect something on the unit to work.

And when it doesn’t at least partially work out of the box, it instantly alters my perception of the brand. In this case, I was seriously disappointed. And, since I purposely bought this item for an immediate use, the brand let me down — Blue’s microphone couldn’t fulfill the brand promise at all.

My expectation, based on marketing material and online reviews, led me to believe that this mic was the solution best matched to my need. I needed a good mic. I needed it yesterday. And I needed it to work.

Not only that, but the failure in brand promise forced me to find another way to solve my immediate problem – laying down the voice-over track.

Failure in the brand promise actually caused me more work. Now I’m disappointed and frustrated.

The Trust
So the mic didn’t work. You may say; Get over it and get on with things. Well, it’s not that simple. You see, the next time I look at a Blue product, any Blue product, I’ll be thinking ‘Hey, that one mic didn’t work out of the box, will this thing?’

That one bad experience, because of an unfulfilled brand promise, has cause me to change my initial position of brand trust — that this item will work out of the box — to one of doubt; this item ‘may’ work out of the box. In my mind, the brand is tainted.

The Recovery
But is it permanently tainted? Frankly, in my case, I’m not sure what would cause me to reconsider my thinking about Blue mics, perhaps a good experience with another mic? I don’t want to spend money and take another chance.

How ’bout reading more positive reviews and buzz? Perhaps, but I’d come at them skeptically.

So what’s the answer? How would Blue rebuild my trust in their brand — having been burned in this instance? I can’t think of one off the top of my head…can you?

Still wondering why people follow me on Twitter

Last year, I wrote a couple of posts exploring the reasons why people follow me on Twitter:

Well a year has passed since I did that basic research, and Twitter has been ‘improved’ in the meantime – revised ReTweet function, Lists, new desktop and mobile application, etc.

So it’s time to ask that question again. In the last year, I’ve doubled the number of followers, but since I did my last bit of research, I’ve not asked them why they follow. Time to rectify that.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll go back to the process I used to gather the first bit of data — a return follow and DM to my new followers — something like this:

“thanks for following me. This is NOT an auto-DM, I’m live :)and tracking ‘reach’ and was wondering why you ‘follow’ me in Twitter?”

I’ll let it run for a few months, and come March, I’ll analyse the data again, and contrast the results with last year’s.

But in the meantime, if you already follow me on Twitter, please feel free to send me a DM with your answer to the question “Why do you follow me in Twitter?”

Blogging is nothing to be afraid of

Though the name Blog sounds horrible; perhaps the name of a large pool of dank, dark, brackish water that eventually spawns a monster so horrible, only the most stalwart of cleft-chinned heroes could possibly defeat it, Blogging really is nothing to fear. Really… …more

This post is an excerpt from one of my weekly posts on the Future Shop Techblog. Check out the full post here.

The reasons why people follow me on Twitter

In the previous post, I started to answer the question “Why people follow me on Twitter.” I went through some background, reviewed my tweet history, and wrote a bit about my experience using Twitter’s Direct Message (DM) to ask the question.

This follow-on post gets into the actual reasons and numbers.

Over the three months I conducted my highly informal research,  I’d asked new followers the following question:

Hi (follower name here), thanks for following me. This is NOT an auto-DM, I’m live :)and tracking ‘reach’ and was wondering how you ‘found’ me in Twitter?

Over that time, I’d gained about 300 followers, many of them ‘business‘ accounts with ‘great money making opportunities‘ or people looking for ‘others who are motivated to be successful‘.

Other were the gems I was hoping for. These new followers add value daily, offering new and insightful opinions. They’re the reason I check ever new follower, reading their profile and reviewing their tweets. I want to be exposed to this new perspective or new information, who wouldn’t?

But enough background and preamble, on to the data 🙂

Continue reading “The reasons why people follow me on Twitter”

Wondering why people follow me on Twitter?

About 6 months ago I got curious as to why people were following me on Twitter. Basically I asked them… and then found out some rather interesting things, both about why they were following me and also about the evolving etiquette around Twitter interactions.

This has turned into a two-part post. Initially I was going to address both the process I used, and the results, but once I writing about the process, I realized the post was  too long to digest at once. So, I’ll get to the numbers in the next post.

On to the process.

How do I know when someone’s following me?
If you look under the Notices tab on your Twitter Settings page you’ll see the checkbox beside ‘New Follower Emails:’. Check it and you’ll be automagically emailed every time someone starts following. Simple ‘eh? Without this feature, knowing when someone started following me would have been much more difficult.

Asking the question…it’s all in the question.

Initially, I thought a simple DM (Twitter Direct Message) along the lines of ‘hey, thanks for following me, how’d you find me?‘ would suffice. But no, it’s too simple, and didn’t really get much of a response. I think it tended to put people off by it’s brevity, and it was generic; it looked like the DM could have been generated by an Auto-DM script.

Auto-DM is currently considered bad form as many people interpret the Twitter to be at its best with live interaction, and the DM channel to be reserved for interaction that may not be of interest to all of  your followers.

So, I settled on this process to review candidates to survey:

  • Click on the link to the new follower’s profile in the New Follower Email.
  • Check out the followers details: location (if any), interests, web page, tweeting history and content to see if they’re interesting to me.
  • Look for a ‘message follower‘ link under the Actions section of their profile. If it’s not there,  they don’t want to be sociable, so I won’t bother them by following them back. In my case, when I follow you, it’ll say ‘message bgrier’ as indicated in the image to the right.
  • If the profile or a quick review of recent tweets reveals that all this follower is writing about is a ‘new moneymaking system’ or ‘SEO secrets’, then I’ll use the link on the line below it and block them from receiving my updates. I effectively vanish from their ‘following’ list. I have no time for these type of spam accounts.

Over the period of my informal survey, both my ‘tweet’ frequency and my follower counts have increased. I don’t think one is a significant result of the other, as during this period, Twitter has gained a lot more publicity, and spam-follower activity has increased. The tweet frequency may have had a small impact.

Regardless, it’s interesting data and is displayed in cool charts 🙂 As you can see in the TweetStats chart below, I have been increasing my online activity.

And my follower count has also grown, as indicated in this TwitterCounter chart.

All right. I’ve seen significant growth of followers over the last few months, and of those, a pretty good segment of people have taken a moment or two to explain why they followed me. Digging into those details will be the subject of my next post, but in the meantime, let me ask you a question.

Why do you think people are following YOU on Twitter? Post your answeres in the comments below.