The “Friendly” Skys

There are few more cathartic consumer experiences than writing a hostile, customer complaint letter to a large corporation.  I had the pleasure of United Airlines providing me with the glorious opportunity to wage war with my pen.  My letter below to the CEO, Oscar Munoz,  did not earn me a free ticket, but it earned me a few extra miles for the effort and simply felt great.

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To: <>,
Cc: <>
Subject: Ua84r ewr to tlv 

Dear Oscar,

I know it’s been a rough time lately at United, but you really have issues if my Tel-Aviv flight today is typical (and you know as well as I that bad product is usually system wide and not one off.) You can change the name of your Business First service to Polaris as many times as you want along with the new Saks blankets,  but the service on this flight was more business “Last” than Polaris. If you have bedding, should they not be offered? If you have coffee in the AM, should it not be offered? Never mind a refill. Are bathrooms (note plural) without trash spilling out too much to ask? Do you ever fly Delta or even Emirates business to learn a trick or two? Lufthansa? Not a people known for bedside manner, but they’ve clearly been ordered to smile! Ever eat in a good French restaurant where staff ask you if you need anything or are proactive?  Maybe you are having a labor slow down? I would fire this cabin crew or drop them in the polar ice for a week to contemplate the word service or that misnomer for service called Polaris. Anyway thanks for reminding me why marketing without great product is simply fraud. Regards. Fred Horowitz. Seat 11e.




Big Brands Fight Small Batch in 2018

If you can’t beat them join them (or buy them) is the mantra of the largest consumer product companies for the upcoming year. With minimal entry costs due to the low costs of digital media, combined with easy to find quality contract manufacturing, little brands have spent the past few years getting big fast and causing real pain to the largest companies. With consumers in the mood to spend up for (perceived) quality, it’s easier than ever to get consumer trial for a new brand because price is not the driving consumer focus.

The Wall Street Journal started 2018 with a great piece on Unilever and how they’ve adjusted their global branding to meet the challenges of these fast paced “ankle biters”. As someone who was once called an ankle biter by a dear wall street friend (oxymoron), I can think of no better compliment or sign that larger companies never see the train in the tunnel until it’s too late.

We who disrupt are not ankle biters. We are going right for the jugular of their business models, but it takes time for those companies to feel the cut until it’s too late. Read the WSJ piece here: Outfoxed by Small – Batch Upstarts, Unilever Decides to Imitate Them, as a great primer on one of the key battles that will be fought in 2018.

Merchandising Design; Role in Brand Storytelling & Customer Experience

Merchandising and package design of products
Photo Cred:

I recently visited NUTS.COM and had a phenominal customer experience. But the highlight, for this consumer product fanatic, was the product packaging design of both the nuts and the shipping box. If you want to see great marketing and merchandising design, place an order (we don’t get commission) and enjoy the taste of brilliant customer touch from box to package.

At Power Stick, we think merchandising design plays a huge role in customer experience and brand storytelling.  We can all learn a little something about telling the story of our brands from the nuts at NUTS.COM.