Insights from Nebo

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January 19, 2010

How a Fire Truck Manufacturer Stands Out from the Crowd

Small companies have to differentiate. One way to do so is by creating marketing tools that get noticed. That's why a boutique fire truck manufacturer in Atlanta decided that they could no longer afford to play it safe. They had to innovate.

The first step was building a website that lived up to their brand's potential (http://www.foutsfire.com/). It wasn't easy. They needed to get professional quality photography of all their trucks, they had to rework their messaging from the ground up, and rethink the way they thought about their customers. It was an expensive step for a small company, but it was necessary.

The second step was to develop something that would help them get noticed at trade shows. How do you get noticed at a fire truck convention? You do something innovative. In this case, you build a custom touch screen application that let's fire chiefs interact with your products in a way that they've never experienced before. It might not be the same as going for a test drive, but we feel like it's the next best thing.

Check out the demo below:

January 15, 2010

Four Reasons Why People Turn to Fiction (Marketers Pay Attention)

books

For many of us, reading a work of good fiction is more than just a way to pass the time. It's a window into other people and places, an emotional catharsis, and a framework upon which to build our understanding of the world around us. In this post, Rob Parnell of  Easy Way to Write explains fiction for those who don't understand its value. Fiction, like film, is simply another medium for stories, he says. People enjoy stories for four reasons:

  1. Entertainment
  2. Enlightenment
  3. Validation
  4. Hope and Salvation

In the ongoing discussion around branding, brands are frequently compared to stories. Is this comparison accurate? We believe it is. A brand that entertains, enlightens, validates, or offers hope to its customers is likely to grow in the right direction. People will turn to the brand in the same way that they turn to their favorite stories.

Do marketers need to read fiction? Probably not, but they do need to be in touch with the world of stories. Having an understanding of stories -- why people enjoy them and hold on to them -- will help you understand how to create content, messaging, and engagements that are effective. If you don't feel like losing yourself in One Hundred Years of Solitude, you can still benefit from movies, plays, standup comedians, and magazine articles, which are all great places to connect with the world of stories.

Do you have a story of your own? Share it in the comments or send us a tweet.

image via http://www.flickr.com/photos/the8rgrl/2949316275/sizes/m/

January 14, 2010

The Secret to Enjoying Your Work

Boring work is bad work. It's bad for the company and for the employee. When people get bored, they dream about the grass on the other side. Their productivity decreases; they become dissatisfied with their work, and things start to spiral steadily downward. Today, people stay at jobs for less time than ever, and more of them are dissatisfied with their work than they have been since 1987. You can wager, too, that they're more bored than ever. What's the cure for this boredom?

"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity." -Dorothy Parker

Being curious isn't just the cure for boredom, it's the antithesis of boredom. You cannot be curiously bored. But how do you stay curious? What if you're the type of person who craves change, but you've been in the same job for ten years? If you're struggling with boredom, here are five tips to keep you curiously engaged in your workplace:

  1. Learn how to do what a colleague does. You'll become more valuable, and you'll have something besides your normal tasks to think about.
  2. If you have a routine, change it. Throw a kink in the machine. Get up earlier. Take a different route to work. Go somewhere new on the weekend.
  3. Read blogs and books by the respected leaders in your industry. Along the way, you'll find yourself more interested in what you're doing. It's always surprising and refreshing to have your eyes opened.
  4. Ask your boss what you can do to improve or contribute. The chances are good you'll be assigned new tasks and forced to adapt.
  5. Cultivate energy. Energy helps you stay positive and plow through tedious tasks. Try eating healthier, getting some exercise, sleeping appropriate amounts, and taking breaks for fresh air and sunshine.

At NeboWeb we love what we do, largely because we try to stay curious. If you have any other tips for staying curious, drop them in the comments or send us a tweet.

January 11, 2010

The Simple Reason Most Vision Statements Suck

Most vision statements are useless. It's not because vision statements are "bad." Instead it's because they rarely stand for anything. Where most vision statements fail is that they don't acknowledge a basic rule of writing. They rely on worn out cliches and phrases. They feel generic and insipid. In short, they're the epitome of bad writing.

George Orwell once described the first rule of writing as:

Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

This is easier said then done. Cliches are easy to come up with, familiar and safe, but they're not helpful. What does "leading edge" mean? How does the goal of becoming a "thought leader" help you decide if a feature should be included/excluded?

If you can't make your vision statement concise and meaningful, then you're better off not having one.