Awhile back I read a book that made me realize that commerce doesn’t have to be about making money. It doesn’t have to be about profits or sales or annual reports or anything like that. Don’t get me wrong, those things are necessary to maintain a thriving business, but they’re not what’s really important. People are what’s important. I’ve always believed that, but until I read this book, I wasn’t sure if anyone else did, too.
The Lovemarks Effect by Kevin Roberts is the second book about Lovemarks. The first book, Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands, was a smash hit. Most smash hits get rave reviews in the Times. Lovemarks got such enthusiastic feedback that author Kevin Roberts published a book, this book, dedicated entirely to how much people love his awesome idea.
I read this book thoroughly and glossed over the first. I like this one much better because it’s better written, better designed, and its interviews have a lot more impact.
But let’s get right to it. What the heck’s a Lovemark?
One of my nearest and dearest mentors recommended this book to me a few semesters ago, but the title sounded weird so I didn’t read it. What the hell’s a Whipple anyway? If I had only picked up a copy and read the first paragraph I would have known, but to save you from falling victim to the same stigma, I’m going to educate you.
Mr. Whipple was the star in Charmin’s “Don’t Squeeze the Charmin” campaign that began in 1964 and ran for TWENTY ONE YEARS. That campaign was old enough to drink. Most, like our good friend Luke Sullivan, thought the commercials were absolutely horrid, but Charmin was makin’ money so the Whipple ads kept runnin’ until 1985. And then, according to Mr. Whipple’s own personal Wikipedia article, he came back in 1999 before finally surrendering to the cuddly, still-annoying-but-less-intrusive Charmin bears.
The first (and long-overdue) installment in my series of book reports is an ingenious marketing book by prolific author Seth Godin. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve read all of his books, but I’ll certainly say I intend to. His writing is conversational, memorable, and easy to understand. He’s one of those rare writers who can be irreverent without being tacky.
This book is based on the idea that the easiest way to make a product (or service) more interesting is to provide a free prize. What’s a free prize? Godin equates the free prize to the cheap-o toy in the cereal box (the first edition of his book was even packaged in a cereal box). The free prize is that little bit of something that makes your product/service better than all the others.
In case you guys haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a student, and, like most of my peers, I’ve been a student for the last 15 years of my life. I still have three semesters left before graduation, but this summer I was lucky enough to take my first step into “the real world,” for lack of a better term.
A favorite professor (and awesome mentor) of mine found out that the former owner of a national photography representing firm (e.g. HUGE STUFF HERE) was looking for an assistant for the summer to help her get her visual consulting business organized, and he tossed out my name. Melanie called me up and, well, I guess she liked me ’cause here we are, two months later and about three years wiser (at least on my part, that is).
Organizing photo shoots, talking to clients, going through Melanie’s old invoices, learning what it takes to run your own business, and frankly, just being around Melanie herself has taught me that I know next to nothing about the industry I’m going in to. Sure, I know some techniques and terms and I have good time management skills, but when it comes down to it, I understand why employers hesitate to hire kids fresh out of college. Sadly, that phrase used to be “fresh out of high school,” but that’s another can of worms entirely.