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?”

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.