Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic October 2, 2000

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:00 AM): Hey, everyone! Good morning.....

Terri Robinson ( (10/2/2000 9:00 AM): Greetings, Rob and everyone!

DaveL (10/2/2000 9:01 AM): Entered the room.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:01 AM): Erik, Singles, and koshka, we let the new people go first, so just take it one at a time....

DaveL (10/2/2000 9:02 AM): Good morning all, I will just go into osmosis mode :-)

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:02 AM): No, problem, Dave....

Erik ( (10/2/2000 9:02 AM): Rob, is Blockbuster Video a big time brand? If so, what can we learn (copy) from their branding strategy?

Clay Nichols ( (10/2/2000 9:03 AM): Entered the room.

Peter ( (10/2/2000 9:03 AM): Entered the room.

Patti_AppleDesign (10/2/2000 9:04 AM): morning all.. sorry was watching coverage of the Trudeau stuff

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:04 AM): Blockbuster? I would answer "no"'s why: If Hollywood Video offers you tape rentals for less, are you still going to rent at Blockbuster's to keep you at Blockbuster?

Clay Nichols ( (10/2/2000 9:05 AM): Is it even possible to be a Big Time Brand selling such a commodity? If so, how?

Erik ( (10/2/2000 9:05 AM): Valid point. However, what would you do to make Blockbuster Video a big time brand?

Terri Robinson ( (10/2/2000 9:05 AM): What could they do to BE a big time brand then, Rob?

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:05 AM): Of course! The trick of Big Time branding is building value around the commodity. It can be service, customer programs -- stuff you're doing for THEM that makes their lives easier.

Clay Nichols ( (10/2/2000 9:06 AM): They do offer some "membership" programs where you pay $12.00 then get 12 rentals.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:06 AM): The first thing I'd do is send Sumner Redstone a copy of my book, The Revenge of Brand X!

Terri Robinson ( (10/2/2000 9:07 AM): like maybe having a hot-line that they can phone in and renew a video if they want to keep it a bit longer?

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:07 AM): Blockbuster is typical of a company that has grown too much to want to invest in branding. They are another company that essentially bought their way into the marketplace.

weber (10/2/2000 9:08 AM): Entered the room.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:08 AM): Blockbuster isn't alone in this, but they are typical in simply promoting who they are and what they do. They're totally out of synch with their customer base.

Clay Nichols ( (10/2/2000 9:08 AM): They could offer a free video of movie clips by topic "western" "drama" ,etc. Cheap, easy way to provide more info about their product and help you find more movies to rent (win win)

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:08 AM): Their idea of "brand extension" is selling candy and popcorn at the checkout line.

Steve ( (10/2/2000 9:09 AM): Entered the room.

Steve ( (10/2/2000 9:09 AM): Two weeks without the Clinic... Hello, all.

Terri Robinson ( (10/2/2000 9:09 AM): for sure they don't care about their customer's experience there - try renting a video on a Saturday night and stand in line for an hour! Sheesh!

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:09 AM): No, Clay, that's simply promoting more Blockbuster. More promotion that' self-serving, of no real value to the consumer.

Erik ( (10/2/2000 9:10 AM): Still, I go to Blockbuster every time I rent a video. I don't even care about price. It's automatic...

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:10 AM): It's interesting that you should bring this up, because soooo many of my clients start out by saying, "here's what we're doing for our customers", which is really "here's more stuff we're trying to sell our customers."

Clay Nichols ( (10/2/2000 9:11 AM): How about including customer feedback on movies? You watch a movie and then vote on it. You can read other's opinions.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:11 AM): Yes, Erik I go there, too...but only because they're a half block down the street. Trust me, if it were Hollywood that were half a block, I'd go there.

DaveL (10/2/2000 9:12 AM): Sounds like an idea for a web site, Clay - the customer feedback

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:12 AM): Clay, you'd have to get down to the real core consumer issues before we could answer those questions. Try looking at it this way: "What would turn Blockbuster user into evangelists?" It's gotta be something wholly OUTSIDE the realm of video, because the products themselves (tape) are pure commodity.

Terri Robinson ( (10/2/2000 9:12 AM): If they had drive-through where I could pick up a movie I phoned in to reserve, I'd never go anywhere else!

Erik ( (10/2/2000 9:13 AM): Blockbuster should make it possible to browse through their selection. pick a movie or three and then pick up the tape at a drive-through window. That would make it easier for the consumer and they would rent out more tapes.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:13 AM): Blockbuster is REALLY being a blockhead when you think about all that customer data they have and not doing ANYTHING relevant with it.....

Terri Robinson ( (10/2/2000 9:14 AM): okay Erik, quit reading my mind! *grin*

Clay Nichols ( (10/2/2000 9:14 AM): Rob, I think that's exactly the problem: no matter what you do, the customer KNOWS the tape is a commodity.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:14 AM): Erik, that's not bad. Delivery is okay, too. But I think what you want to do is sit down and think hard about what Blockbuster could do that could NOT be easily replicated by its competition.

ventureconsult (10/2/2000 9:14 AM): Entered the room.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:15 AM): Exactly, Clay, which is why you can see that Blockbuster is no big time brand at all. It warehouses the same stuff that everyone else does.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:16 AM): Now, some of what Blockbuster MUST have is hidden deep within its own organization. There's probably some great source of untapped wealth that they don't even see. This is the DIY corollary a work....

weber (10/2/2000 9:16 AM): Entered the room.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:16 AM): Companies like Blockbuster will try to solve this kind of problem themselves, but because they're in the business of renting tapes, renting tapes is ALL they're capable of seeing.

Terri Robinson ( (10/2/2000 9:17 AM): Rob, they also will rent the video players and games too

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:17 AM): Entered the room.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:18 AM): Anyway, the trick to building them into a Big Time Brand is found as much in their customer base, as in their corporate vaults.

weber (10/2/2000 9:18 AM): But, because they are in the commodity business can't their competition replicate virtually anything they do?

ventureconsult (10/2/2000 9:18 AM): a big part of Blockbuster's problem is that when Viacom bought it, they didn't "get" it. They were losing money, had to take a huge inventory markdown. Returning it to profitability put the accountants in charge, and their promotion is outward directed. Customer service is an afterthought.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:18 AM): So does their competition, Terri.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:18 AM): Yeah, Joel, I pretty much think that the brand is in trouble....

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:19 AM): Singlesball you still there? Want to jump in?

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:19 AM): Koshka?

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:22 AM): Okay....anyone else?

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:22 AM): Or you wanna stay on Blockbuster?

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:23 AM): Rob, I've been selling an e-book at and buying traffic from and any advice on other pay for performance areas to get traffic

weber (10/2/2000 9:23 AM): I have a question on cost of redesign of a product label

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:23 AM): How are they performing for you, Dean?

Marty Foley ( (10/2/2000 9:24 AM): Entered the room.

Dave (10/2/2000 9:24 AM): Entered the room.

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:24 AM): I'm getting about 40-60 clicks a day from goto...selling 5 -7 books

koshka (10/2/2000 9:25 AM): I was selling chocolate and candies online and bought traffic form go to, but I didn't get any sales out of it.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:25 AM): What kind of rate you paying per click? And what's your click to close ratio?

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:26 AM): Koshka, I'm glad you chimed in, because I firmly do not believe in the GoTo model. When I tested it, it did nothing for me. Plus, I believe they have a credibility problem that's inherent in their brand.

koshka (10/2/2000 9:26 AM): I paid between 32-50 c per click and no result

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:26 AM): I just did my stats for September...1138 clicks for a total cost of $298 with 55 sales of the book

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:27 AM): Are you satisfied with that? How much does your book sell for?

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:28 AM): book sells for $29.99 ...those stats are just for

koshka (10/2/2000 9:28 AM): I had bad result with banner ads too. Rob, What do you suggest in terms of getting traffic and advertising

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:28 AM): I'd pay that amount all day long if I could find other sources.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:29 AM): Dean, are you listed on Amazon?

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:29 AM): no...can you list E-books?

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:30 AM): it's download only.

Terri Robinson ( (10/2/2000 9:31 AM): Or how about e-bay or commission junction, Dean?

Clay Nichols ( (10/2/2000 9:31 AM): Question Dean: have you considered having a paper version at a higher price? (as an "upgrade" option)?

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:31 AM): Well, here's my point: programs like Amazon Advantage are fabulous for book-selling, because Amazon uses a "suggestive selling" in all their search results. Which means that when people search for popular titles, they list your book, too.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:32 AM): Fatbrain and those types are becoming known for e-books, but the problem there is that they eat up a big chunk of your profit.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:33 AM): Do you have a dedicated site just for the book?

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:33 AM): Thanks Terri, Clay...I haven't looked into e-bay or Commission junction...and I'd rather not get into printing and fulfillment...the e-book model is just so clean.

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:34 AM): I have a dedicated site at -- all you can do is buy the book...or not buy the book

koshka (10/2/2000 9:34 AM): Rob, did you have good experience with EBay?

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:35 AM): I have had good experiences with EBay, but I don't sell my books there.

koshka (10/2/2000 9:35 AM): Why?

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:36 AM): It takes too much effort, koshka. I have my book listed on the Amazon Advantage program, and that's been #1 for me. Although I don't publicize it, Amazon cranks out cases of my book every month. it's clean, easy and very reliable.

Dave- (10/2/2000 9:37 AM): Entered the room.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:37 AM): Dean, I personally list my site on the free engines. cranks good sales just based on those.

Dave- (10/2/2000 9:37 AM): Yo, dudes

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:38 AM): does amazon allow e-books...or will they allow you to sell disks

koshka (10/2/2000 9:39 AM): How long did you wait until you got into the search engine?

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:39 AM): And I kid you not, the very best way to get people there is still a hyperlink in your sig line when you post to discussion groups. They really do work. Unless you're looking for ways to spend money, in which case I would put it into PR on sites that are skewed to your audience. For example, I'd bet the i-village, and the like would be pretty good sources.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:40 AM): Dean, I don't want to steer you wrong. I don't know if they sell e-books,, but you can see at Look for the "Advantage" program.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:40 AM): Koshka, I had everything listed and ready to go a month or so before the book even got on to the presses.

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:40 AM): can you buy listings on I-village or etc?

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:42 AM): Dean, I have a feeling that you'd be well-served to create a good press release and pitch them on a story. I get a lot of sales that way. If you can get reviewed in magazines, that's great, too. Last month, UPSIDE magazine reviewed the Revenge of Brand X -- raved about it -- and sales shot through the roof. More importantly, they shot through the roof from people who are recommending the book to others.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:43 AM): The trick to promoting on a shoestring is taking rifle shots at the targeted audiences. Buying clicks is tougher.

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:43 AM): do you know any pay for performance PR type people?

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:44 AM): By the way, to whom ARE you targeting the book?

Dave- (10/2/2000 9:45 AM): How long have you had the book out, Rob.... before UPSIDE reviewed it?

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:45 AM): Dean, NOBODY worth their salt performs on a pay per performance basis, because A. it's unprofessional B. there's absolutely no way to track it efficiently

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:45 AM): that's the tough thing...they're basically a "hidden" audience until 30-seconds AFTER their spouse tells them they want a divorce...this book is a CURE.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:46 AM): Revenge came out in May, 2000. Mediaweek Magazine excerpted in June, UPSIDE reviewed it their September issue

Terri Robinson ( (10/2/2000 9:46 AM): Dean, there is a site with hundreds of magazine contacts listed where you can submit your press release yourself free at

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:46 AM): 1.2 million divorces a year...but you can't identify them in advance...they're not on any list :)

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:46 AM): Dean, who asks for the divorce first? I'm going to bet that you sell to more women than men.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:47 AM): (Anyone else have an issue here? Let me know...)

Erik ( (10/2/2000 9:47 AM): Ok, I have another question Rob. In your book you state that a big time brand should be created before you write the business plan. I write 5 business plans for every start-up that I get off the ground (4 are up and flying so far...) and another 5 that ends up in the trashcan because the business model was flawed. (I usually find out when I write the plan and do the numbers, not before...) How can I work with a branding expert like yourself, even before I know if my concept is a valid business?

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:47 AM): actually 70% of divorces are initiated by women...and our customers are 60% men

Dave- (10/2/2000 9:47 AM): Yea. I am interested in what is happening to online advertising

weber (10/2/2000 9:48 AM): I have questions about redesign of a product label

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:48 AM): Okay, Dean, there you may want to target men lifestyle PRINT as well as online.

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:49 AM): great idea!

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:49 AM): Erik, I charge a fee to consult on business plans. Usually they're a custom arrangement, based on the prospective client's plan and budget. But it's critically important, because VC's and investors MUST become evangelists or there's no funding....

Dave (10/2/2000 9:49 AM): Or figure out why the women aren't biting, Dean ...

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:49 AM): Go Weber.....

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:50 AM): Erik, just e-mail me and we can talk

Erik ( (10/2/2000 9:50 AM): Do you accept stock options?

weber (10/2/2000 9:50 AM): We are thinking of hiring a firm to completely redesign our product labels so they all have a matching theme

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:50 AM): Dean, it's a very hot story for men. And I kid you not, print and offline stuff works better than anything.....

Patti_AppleDesign (10/2/2000 9:50 AM): or women may be more determined once they go to the point of asking for divorce... maybe you need to approach women more during their deliberating and decision making than at the point of wanting a divorce

Clay Nichols ( (10/2/2000 9:50 AM): Dean, have you ever considered repositioning the book as "relationship enhancement" instead of "divorce prevention", i.e., more of a "before your infected" inoculation than an "after you've got it" cure.?

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:50 AM): Erik, I do when they're warranted. But I never do pure stock deals.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:51 AM): (TEN MINUTE WARNING) Keep going weber....what's the question?

weber (10/2/2000 9:51 AM): The idea is basically to be able to plug in the product name but we have traditional and modern products

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:52 AM): Men seem to have zero interest in prevention...but would do anything for the cure...i think the women are the ones who are silently working on improving the relationship in the months before they finally decide to divorce.

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:52 AM): Actually, Clay, I like Dean's position -- it's a rescue in the nick of time" Very impulsive. Very fast acting. A quick solution which is how men think.

weber (10/2/2000 9:52 AM): What should something like that cost? Also is it advisable?

weber (10/2/2000 9:52 AM): For example we sell a calcium powder that is flavored called Calsense(tm)

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:53 AM): weber, a project like this could run anywhere, depending on how many products you're talking about. The project should divide into two parts: concept/design and production. One is for the overall look, the other is a "per package" fee.

weber (10/2/2000 9:53 AM): We also have traditional ginseng, stevia, and are coming out with some modern food items

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:53 AM): And yes, I do think that standardized packaging helps to sell continuity for your brand.

Clay Nichols ( (10/2/2000 9:53 AM): Dean, that's what I meant, targeting women with the "prevention" and men with the "cure". They may be two different "markets" and may need different messages (and product positioning)

weber (10/2/2000 9:54 AM): When you say per package fee do you mean based on each size of product?

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:54 AM): Yes, Clay, I think that's a really neat way of looking at this....

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:55 AM): No, Weber, each product gets its own package produced mechanically before it goes to press. But the overall product line gets a look, which is a design fee.

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:55 AM): great idea again! I think I'll test some prevention slanted listings at as a test

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:56 AM): Dean, there are also lots of resource sites for women, including Webgrrls, spiderwoman, MizBiz just launched, tons of 'em.

weber (10/2/2000 9:56 AM): OK, so if we are settled on our packaging (bottles) then we would need to change the overall label design to plug in product names, spec, etc?

Dean Jackson (10/2/2000 9:56 AM): Thanks for all your help rob et al...

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:57 AM): Yeah, Weber, that's the basic idea. Of course, that's the ideal. You may run into products whose packaging won't port completely to their specific container.

weber (10/2/2000 9:57 AM): What would you recommend we should budget for the overall design

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:58 AM): weber, how many items?

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 9:58 AM): (TWO MINUTES)

weber (10/2/2000 9:58 AM): Right now 10 but going up

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 10:00 AM): I'd say that a complete package -- through mechanical printer ready files -- would be a steal $20K .

Rob Frankel ( (10/2/2000 10:00 AM): Wow, that session went fast! Thanks everyone....I'll see you online!

weber (10/2/2000 10:01 AM): OK. We would most likely do our printing in China where we have been doing most of our work, so just the labeling is the concern

Marty Foley ( (10/2/2000 10:01 AM): Thanks, Rob.

Terri Robinson ( (10/2/2000 10:01 AM): thanks Rob and everyone - this was a fascinating session!

weber (10/2/2000 10:02 AM): Thanks Rob, You have been a tremendous help in clarifying this as usual!

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