Archive for the ‘Brand Cross-Pollenation’ Category

Do You Stand Behind Your Products?

warranty.jpg

Most consumer products come with some sort of limited warranty. Once the warranty runs out, the customer has the burden of paying for repairs. If the product is not designed and built well, then you are probably in for a repair bill; usually soon after the warranty runs out. Otherwise, you should get many years of service out of it before this becomes an issue.

I had a great experience last week with United States Thermoamp, a small company that manufactures a special heat pump for pools and spas. I bought one of their products six years ago. Last week, the fan motor went bad. I had failed to lubricate it as specified in the owner’s manual and the bearings seized up. I called the company to inquire about how to get service. Sue, the technical support person replied by telling me that she would send me a new motor free of charge that I could easily install myself or contract a local service technician. and the two year warranty .

Free? Really? The warranty on that component expired four years ago, but you are just going to give me a new one??? Wow, that’s what I call standing behind your product.

If you build a great product that typically lasts much longer than the warranty period, is there any value to be gained in solving your customers’ problems on your dime after the warranty is up? You bet there is. A great experience helps drive customer retention and a great experience shared leads to new customers.

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Cingular Integrates XM into it’s Music Service

cingular_xm.jpgCingular announced it’s Music Service yesterday. Gizmodo covered it and conducted a poll to get reader’s perspective on the value of Sprint & Verizon’s music services. I personally don’t understand why people would pay the overly inflated prices that the carriers charge and apparently, Gizmodo’s readers are in my camp. The results (here) say that only 1.2% of responders use the service frequently or all the time. So what makes Cingular thing their service will be more attractive? How about XM Satellite Radio.

Cingular will also be teaming up with XM satellite radio to offer streaming satellite radio content on mobile phones beginning November 6.  Now that’s cool!  I have a Pioneer Inno portable and I love it, but I hate having to carry multiple devices around. Bear in mind that the Cingular service will be a condensed version of XM (no Fred), for $8.99 per month.  Not sure if you can get a lower rate is part of an XM family plan.  The PAD data will be available on the phone, so users will be able to see what songs they are listening to.

<image via Gizmodo>

Sony, Matsushita and others plan to create standard for Internet TVs

Just saw this story on Engadget, that says Sony, Matsushita, Sharp, Toshiba, and Hitachi have joined forces to create a standard for Internet-connected televisions. The alliance has come together under the TV Portal Service Corp banner which is apparently as stealth organization. Sony and Matsushita look to be the major players in the new consortium, with a 35% share each. Engadget says that the Internet TVs will be Linux-based and will be operated just with a remote control instead of a keyboard. Despite the lack of details, it appears that things are progressing pretty quickly, with the first Internet TVs expected to go on sale as early as next year, and with sales projected to reach 10 to 20 million units by the year 2011. All of this is in Japan only, of course — hope you didn’t get your hopes up too much…. 

Mobile Becomes Increasingly Social

Over the next few years, social networking on cell phones is poised to go from being the latest mobile trend to becoming the mainstream standard. BusinessWeek published an article on Saturday worth reading, but here are a few key points:

– MySpace is aiming to offer its service through all major U.S. mobile carriers by 2007.
– 33.2% of 18-24 year-olds post photos from their phones to Web sites, almost double the number that download mobile games.
– 45% of “active” Web users have visited social networking sites.
– Nokia is planning to have Flickr integration, letting users post photos to the Web from their phones.
– Mobile-only networking sites like Dodgeball are partnering with Web sites like Orkut.com to gain greater relevance.

AppleBerry

CNET suggests that the partnership between Blackberry maker Research In Motion and Intel may provide a future opportunity for that other Intel partner – Apple. Peter Misek, an analyst with Canaccord Capital, has suggested two possible outcomes: a BlackBerry embedded with Apple's iTunes software, or an iPod with integrated RIM wireless technology.

CNET

Panasonic Teams Up With YouTube For User Created Film Contest

Panasonic In yet another example of the growing popularity of User Generated Content, Panasonic has partnered with video kingpin YouTube for a contest where users submit their own short videos. The prizes include a 50 inch plasma television (which is sure to take up a lot of room in a 10×10 dorm room) and digital cameras. The cool thing about the contest is the fact that you don't have to submit a video in order to be eligible to win a prize. Just for reviewing one of the short video submissions, users have the opportunity to win a Panasonic digital camera. How much do you want to bet than some 18 year old ends up with the grand prize?

iPod Nike Training System

Nikeplus

We read amazing news every day, – but this one will make you say "Wow!!".  Apple and Nike have got together to create a system where your sneakers talk to your iPod Nano and your iPod Nano talks to a website that monitors your fitness regime.

Not only that but your iPod Nano talks to you as you go for your run to let you know how your progress is – and by the click of a button, you can get your "Power Song" on to make sure you get a personal best on this run.

The system includes an attachment for your iPod Nano, a number of smart sneakers and clothing that integrate your player and phones.  Check out the link to see a video ad for the product…Nikeplus

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