Goofus & Gallant: Business Ideas

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Seth Godin’s book, Free Prize Inside, looks at creating “ideas that make our products and services remarkable.”

This Goofus & Gallant unwraps a free prize and a booby prize.

Free Prize, Free Coffee As Starbucks grows exponentially, their cool factor is being called into question and Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s are taking aim at the Jolly Green Siren.

To keep things interesting, the highly-caffeinated brand held a National Coffee Break. For two hours, Starbucks served free coffee. Did this win over new customers? Did this increase sales? Dunno, but the buzz keeps “brand fans” excited, reinforces a Starbuck’s experience and differentiates them from competitors. They’ve since announced other efforts with similar goals in mind.

Into the Black, $15 at a Time? The airline industry is hemorrhaging money. Chief among the bleeders is bankrupt Northwest Airlines. They’re “testing a $15 fee for customers who want to reserve aisle and exit-row seats on U.S. flightsto increase revenue.”

Which employee of the month decided to start charging customers for something that’s always been free? You can change customer habits, Delta’s self-check in kiosks are a blessing, even though they make you do the work. It’s a small trade off to avoid the line hassle, making this small use of smart technology a big plus for time-starved business travelers. But Northwest isn’t testing a trade off here, they’re testing a turn off.

If the only idea Northwest has to emerge from bankruptcy is finding ways to charge us more money, they’re sunk. Northwest takes home the Goofus, but we’re charging a new fee for the award. Great idea, huh?

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Kevin Dugan is the author of the popular Strategic Public Relations blog. Kevin is Director of Marketing Communications for FRCH Design Worldwide.

Visit Kevin’s blog: Strategic Public Relations.

Goofus & Gallant: Business Ideas
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