Thursday, September 22, 2011

Can I pay for that with my phone?

By: Amanda Rich

Very soon, we’re all going to be asking restaurants and retail stores if they accept phones for payment, instead of cash or credit. That day is just around the corner for Sprint customers. As you may have heard, Google has unveiled a new app called Google Wallet that is actually intended to replace our wallets and everything inside.

Currently, the app only works on Sprint’s Google Nexus S phone but the company says that it’s in talks with every major Android phone maker. Imagine…using your phone to pay for items at CVS or RadioShack. It’s not that unbelievable, right? In coming weeks, Google says more companies will be added including Subway, Macy’s, Walgreens and Bloomingdale’s.

Hearing this news, it makes me think more about how important advanced technology is to the future of business. Here’s my prediction. I think that consumers are going to come to expect businesses to be up-to-date with their tech. And the ones that are not will lose customers.

“What? No online ordering? Forget it. I’m not waiting in line.”

“What do you mean I have to print out the coupon? Can’t I just show you on my phone?”

And soon…

“You don’t accept Google Wallet? I thought you would...”

We’re already hearing these kinds of comments now. Consumers have certain expectations when it comes to tech and they’re only going to get higher. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Put on Your Thinking Caps

One of my favorite things about my job is brainstorming new ideas with my colleagues. I may sound like a total geek… but the creativity that results in carving out a solid hour to put our heads together and share our unique ideas can be incredible. Whether it’s to develop a new marketing campaign for a client or a clever social media promotion, a brainstorm done right can lead to business innovation.

Here are some of my top tips on how to hold a successful brainstorm.

1. Designate a leader. This person will be in charge of explaining the mission at hand and making sure the conversation stays on track.

2. Send background information on the project and the brand to your team in advance; however don’t fret if not everyone reads it.

3. Have a budget in mind if possible. While all ideas are welcomed and encouraged, it’s good to know from the start if there’s a lack of funds or not. (This 4D light show to mark the 10th Anniversary of could not have been produced on a shoestring budget!)

4. Keep it light. Brainstorms should be fun. A relaxed, informal approach works best.

5. Time it right. Goes without saying that Friday at 4:00pm is not a good time to hold a brainstorm.

6. Bring brain food. Who can think on an empty stomach?

7. Have more than one person take notes. It’s easy to miss things when the discussion gets heated.

8. Feel like you’ve hit a wall? Don’t force it. Take a break or regroup another day. Your big idea may come to you in the shower or while you’re driving to work.