Smartphones, Netbooks & Aspirin

Because turnabout is fair play, I figure the consumer electronics shop can sell Aspirin if the drugstore can sell netbooks. Crazy idea? Crazier than asking the consumer, or heaven forbid, the stockboy to be informed about products being introduced virtually every hour in the Technology-on-Steroids era? According to an InformationWeek article, CVS began selling a $99 Sylvania netbook over the Labor Day weekend – and quickly sold out in many locations. The 7-inch-display netbook features 128 MB of internal memory and 2 GB of NAND flash. The computer runs Internet Explorer on Windows CE 6.0. Let us pause here. If you walked down the street, or into your CVS – otherwise known as your consumer electronics destination of choice – do you think more than three in 100 could tell you the upside and downside of 128MB of memory and 2GB of NAND Flash? What the heck is NAND Flash anyway? Consumers were driven to CVS by Sunday circulars that proclaimed the "New Netbook ... Wow! $99.99". InformationWeek reported that “several users said they hoped to find a way to eventually download some Android apps to the netbook.” Yeah, you get all sorts of flexibility for $99. Other users said they bought the netbook for their children while others said they would give the machines as holiday presents. Should this treatment of children not be illegal? The netbook cannot run Microsoft Office 2007 but gives lucky buyers Wordpad, docviewer, pdfviewer and xlsviewer. Not to mention the headache that can be treated by that Aspirin.

Smartphone. Feature phone.

I call them all megaphones. And, as brand marketers, they are tools to hurt us – or make us. According to eMarketer, social networks are becoming the primary way mobile users exchange information. As of summer 2010, 63 percent of Twitter users posted via a mobile device. They instantly – and undoubtedly impulsively -- told us when a car salesperson pulled a bait and switch. And that their friends should get to the store quickly before the “must have” sold out. And that there was a cockroach crawling up the restaurant wall and you would be insane to ever go there. And don’t forget to tell your friends. This is a blog about the intersection between personal technology and what I call Moments of Trust, those critical touchpoints between a brand and a consumer that make or break businesses and impact sales and loyalty. We’ll examine the importance of customer service and integrity in business. We’ll salute some brands and chastise others for taking Moments of Trust for granted. It used to be that you could lose the battle for public opinion in two hours. Now it takes two minutes in an era where, according to comScore, 65 percent of the nearly 300 million mobile subscribers in the United States use text messaging. Without even making a call, those voices are being heard. This blog is intended to create a dialogue. Your megaphone is likely no more than four feet away at any time day or night. Use it. And hang on - my 80-year-old mother-in-law reads on a Kindle and she is eying my iPhone. The corner drug store is soon to carry a netbook and e-reader. Interactions with brands have never been so interesting.