Thoughts on the new Lotus Knows campaign...
Much to my dismay, I wasn't able to free up the time and resources to make it to St. Louis for the highly successful IamLUG meeting that just wrapped up today. It sounds like everyone had a fantastic time, and I can imagine there was the vibe that exists at other conferences I've attended, like Lotusphere and ILUG. It's amazing what can be put together when everyone pitches in to make it a success.
One of the big news items coming from IBM/Lotus was the launching of a new advertising campaign with the tag line "Lotus Knows." It will span different forms of media, will be much more visible to IT and non-IT personnel alike, and will actually move past the "IBM image branding" advertising that we normally see on TV. Many of us have complained that the IBM ads are not effective in promoting the Lotus brand, and as such leaves the partner community struggling to overturn perceptions in the market left by competitors. It's also encouraging to see that rather than being on the outside looking in, there is an effort to include the Lotus community in the message, thereby playing to one of the strengths of the Lotus software... those of us who use it day in and day out.
I'm at a bit of a disadvantage, as I wasn't able to see the cab examples and some of the other items talked about at the Opening General Session, so I have to go on impressions. But having been part of the Lotus community for over a dozen years, I think this *should* be one of the higher points of getting back to a more overall awareness of Lotus Notes and what it can do in today's business.
Having said that, I'm curious to see if the traditional emotional "dip" occurs within the first month. Here's my observation... In most Lotusphere OGS talks, there's a stream of news on what's coming, what's planned, and what's happening. We're excited for news, and generally speaking there's often a positive spin coming from the press and the Lotus community. And in some cases, we're of the mindset that "this will change EVERYTHING." Yes, we're drinking the koolaid. But a strange thing happens within the first two to four weeks afterwards. The dust settles, the reality sets back in, and people start nitpicking the message and offerings. This commentary spreads just like the LS hype, and pretty soon you wonder if you all attended the same meeting just one month before.
Sometimes this is a case of "we just can't make you happy, can we?", in that whatever IBM/Lotus does, we want something different/more. Doesn't matter if what they delivered is what we were clamoring for only six months before... it's just not enough or quite right. In other cases, details come out that weren't available during LS, and the offering as announced has some considerable drawbacks or isn't quite ready for prime time. In either case, the Lotus community temperature starts to swing wildly, people line up on either side, and general grumpiness occurs. And in a few cases, it's not even grumpiness, it's downright hostility and open warfare.
So having said all that, how do I think this will play out? My opinion and $5 will get you a decent latte at Starbucks (or a couple of cans of Booty Sweat, apparently...)
It's my hope and opinion that this ad campaign will turn out positive. Some will hate it, some will say it doesn't go far enough, but it's going much further than we've had in the past five to seven years. That's a good thing. And so long as IBM/Lotus continues to listen to those on the front lines as they've started to do, there's no reason to believe that things can't continue to improve.
And in about six months, we'll have a very good indication of how it's playing out...