Category Archives: TV & Music

How Grey’s Anatomy Has Created A Successful Brand Experience — And Why It Matters

The behind-the-scenes people at Grey’s Anatomy have created an online wedding page on The Knot — which I would argue is the champion of the wedding planning website industry in popularity, recognition and, simply put, market share — for the upcoming wedding of Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd (the show’s main characters’). The page resembles that of any other couple. Visitors can leave their congratulatory notes on the “Guest Book” and can even RSVP to attend the “wedding”.

This is a prime example of a Marketing team getting it right. They have created a new portal that extends the Grey’s Anatomy experience and allows fans to become active participants. Marketing students (and veterans), repeat after me: The key to a brand’s success lies in creating memorable, engaging experiences for users. That is what builds community, improves brand loyalty, and cultivates vocal advocates.

Starbucks is the classic example. Some would argue that the products sold are comparable, if not inferior, to those found elsewhere. So why has Starbucks seen such success? It’s because it’s more than the (expensive) cup of coffee you’re getting, it’s the user experience the company has created through its emphasis on local events and overlooked music as well as the overall atmosphere of each store, where you can stay as long as you like.

So, kudos, Grey’s Anatomy Marketing team. It’s (almost) always good to be placed in the same category as Starbucks, even if it’s on a small blog like mine. 🙂

PS Grey’s Anatomy is set in the city where Starbucks was created – Seattle. Coincidence? I’ll let you decide.

The Changing of Human Society

On Tuesday, I attended a discussion hosted by Media Future Now (at Google’s DC headquarters!) that focused on the diversity (or lack thereof) in print and broadcast journalism.

The conversation covered a large array of topics including the inability of the newsroom to fulfill its original purpose of serving the community, the difficulty for smaller organizations to attract and keep diverse talent and the necessity to understand a person’s being deeper than just demographic categories.

However, one of the most interesting peripheral points that was made is how the decline of the newspaper (and the rise of online news) will change our society as a whole.

One of the internet’s biggest advantages – the ability to cater to niche markets and audiences – is also potentially one of its greatest dangers.

When people received their news through newspapers, it was much more likely that they would wander and read articles in sections other than those in which they were interested. (For example, even if they were primarily a Business section reader, they would read the Arts section as well.) 

Now, because it’s possible to completely customize the news experiences online — by only reading entirely Business-focused publications or searching specifically for Business articles, for instance — we settle into exploring only the familiar.

This has astronomically dangerous implications for our society as the barrier to receive information has increased. (You need to actively seek out information which may not be readily available through these narrow information streams.)

The same scenario has already played out with the advent of cable television. When individuals could only receive their TV through three major networks, they were very likely to end up watching programs that they may have not otherwise actively sought out (but just happened to be on at the time). Now, with cable programming — and DVRs! — it’s very easy to ONLY watch SPECIFICALLY those shows that we are interested in.

The issue is that there’s something to be said about the loss of receving unintentional information. I may really enjoy the History Channel, but if I’ve never stumpled across it and taken the time to see if I like it, that’s a lost opportunity for personal enhancement – and at an aggregate level, a lost opportunity for society as a whole.

Progress, both individually and collectively, can’t take place if we stop learning. And the increased ability to block (or simply not actively look for) additional information through modern technology makes me wonder how our society will develop in the future…

(The whole thing would make for a great Vonnegut story, wouldn’t it?)

Day 144: A Favorite, A New Discovery, & A Return to Roots

  
Sara Bareilles in Concert

Sara Bareilles in Concert

Last night I attended the Sara Bareilles concert at The Birchmere, which was quite appropriate for Valentine’s Week. She is one of my favorite singers because of her powerful voice, abilty to play both piano and guitar, the fact that she writes all her own songs and, above all, because her lyrics speak to me.

The opening act was Tony Lucca, who I had never heard of prior to last night, but whose music I really enjoyed. His music seems very similar to Sara’s (yes, we are on a first name basis) and he was such a good performer that he won over the crowd and recruited some new fans.

Sara was amazing, like I knew she would be. She added personality to the show, talking about her experience at the Grammy’s (where she swears Bono intended to throw his sunglasses to her even though the women sitting behind her caught them), joking about herself and her band, and explaing the stories behind the lyrics. She played her “well-known hits” (Love Song, Bottle It Up, Gravity) and some lesser-known favorites of yours truly (Vegas, Fairytale) as well as some completely new music.

Here’s about a minute of her live performance for those that may be unfamiliar with her music:

What I kept thinking throughout the concert (I blame the Blue Moon for these deep thoughts) was how full circle my music taste has come. Russian music is famous – well at least to me – for its use of piano / guitar and folk feel. These artists who I’ve discovered in recent years seem to all have those two aspects in common in their music.

When I was young, a favorite musical talent in my household of two (my mother and me) was Sergey and Tatyana Nikitin. I’ve included one of their most famous songs below, and even though most of you won’t understand the words and even though it does sound a little cheesy, I do think there are definitive similarities with the music I listened to in my youth and the music that I connect with currently.

The song is “Alexandra” from the movie Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears which was one of my favorite movies when I was little. (It’s actually a very acclaimed film and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1980.) The story is of a single woman and her daughter who find great success in life even without a father figure in the family. (As a five year with divorced parents, this was quite a comfort to me.)

The lyrics begin:
Everything wasn’t built right away, Moscow wasn’t built right away
Moscow didn’t believe words, but believed love…
… Alexandra, this town is yours and mine…