Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ask Those Stupid Questions

Whether it was from school or from parents, we have heard the following phrase before.

“There is no such thing as a stupid question.” Right?

Unfortunately, most people don’t take heed to that phrase. Often times, people do not ask questions because they truly feel it may sound silly or pointless. Which isn't an issue most of the time as one can live perfectly fine without asking questions they assume will sound stupid. However, when it comes to your professional career, not asking those questions can adversely affect your learning curves, advancement, and professional growth throughout your career.

Faster Learning Curves

When learning a new product, a newly implemented system, or new software, ask all the questions you can. This is especially important when starting a new position within an organization. You will get a better understanding on how things work, what to do, and how to do it a lot quicker. You will still learn without asking, just not as quickly. So ask questions to learn faster!

Professional Growth

Truth is, people tend to stay very focused in their positions, doing the same thing for years at a time. While this ok, you will not grow as much professionally.  Asking “stupid” questions can change this. Next time you’re in the office, ask your manager or director to tell you about something you don’t know. You will get an understanding of something new that you will most likely remember for the rest of your professional career. Regardless of if you were doing the same thing for years at a time, you will have grown within that time if you asked the questions.


It doesn't matter if you’re starting your first job out of college or further in your career with several more years of experience, asking questions will allow managers, directors, vice president, etc. to see how interested you are about the organization. True leaders within that organization will see your genuine interest and eagerness to grow and learn. They will not only answer your questions, but support you in your advancement.  If you don’t ask those “stupid” questions, it may be harder for them to realize how interested and invested you truly are.

Long story short, if you have a genuine professional question, it's answer will help you gain new insight. Essentially, you will get educated on something you did not know about.  You will quickly gain knowledge. You will get noticed. You will advance your career.  The more questions, the better.  So ask those “stupid” questions!

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Is GEICO Risking Brand Confusion?

GEICO is a well-known organization within the insurance industry. In fact, it’s the 3rd largest private auto insurance company in the nation. Every company brands their self in a certain way. Often times, an animal or character is used to represent their brand identity. It's something identifiable to the public other than a logo.  Most companies only have one brand identity. For example, Aflac uses a duck. Frosted Flakes uses a tiger.  In essence, it's their mascots. However when it comes to GEICO, do they have one or several? Several of their commercials with different "mascots" probably popped up in your head. Right? Brand confusion anybody? or No?

There’s the Gecko

Need I elaborate on the gecko? If you have never seen the gecko, you've either never watched television or seen a GEICO billboard. The gecko has been used in their marketing tactics for many years if not decades. Everyone knows about the gecko.

There’s the Caveman

The caveman was a great marketing choice. “It’s so easy switching to GEICO that even a caveman could do it.”  How can we forget that statement or this character?  Just as every other GEICO commercial, the humor appeal was used. Every commercial that included the caveman was successful.

There’s the Talking Stack of Money

The stack of money has done its job. Essentially, it is supposed to be the money that you would save by switching. You know! The infamous “15 percent in 15 minutes”.  GEICO ran with the idea that if you see what you can save, you will be more likely to switch.

   There’s the Pig

The pig was actually a shock to me because Bottom Dollar Food uses a pig as well. However, Bottom Dollar Food is neither a competitor or as large in regard to its reach (its only located NJ, OH, and PA). Using the pig is probably more of an issue for Bottom Dollar Food than it is for GEICO. In other words, Bottom Dollar Food may not be running any of its pig campaigns until GEICO stops using theirs. At least I haven’t seen any recently.

There’s the Camel

Last but not least, the camel. This has been another one of their recent choices. The camel has become very popular on social networking too. I’m pretty sure you've seen someone post an image of it on a Wednesday at least one time.
There are probably more "mascots" but I think you get what I’m trying to say here.

Surprisingly, GEICO has been able to successfully advertise with all these "mascots" over the past (months) years. Yet they still have been able to keep their superstar gecko at the front-line as their official brand identity. It's genius! But it's also risky. I've asked many people “what’s the GEICO mascot?” and they always say “the gecko right?” with hesitation as if they know but they are not too sure.  This is where it gets risky. Consumers should be able to easily understand an organization's branded character and brand identity with confidence.  As GEICO creates so many branded characters, consumers can become confused.

In all actuality, the gecko is the ONLY "mascot" for this organization. The others (thought to be brand identities) are simply marketing campaigns that temporarily run for about 3 months or so. You will probably never see the caveman, stack of money, or others (once their campaigns are over) more than you see the gecko. Running those campaigns just once or twice is enough time to bring in something fresh and regain consumer attention. However, running a campaign too many times will definitely cause brand confusion and pretty soon no one will be able to know for sure what the GEICO "mascot" really is. Once or twice is just enough to grab your attention. Then back to the all-star, the gecko.

Which is your favorite GEICO “mascot” or commercial? I think the Camel has become a bit of star, almost as popular as the gecko. “Guess what time it is? Hump day!!!”

What do you think? Risky or Genius?
Let me know your thoughts and comment below.
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