Saturday, November 28, 2009

On the Road: California & Stevie D.

Stevie D. died a couple of weeks ago. Unless you've been a regular a The Fillmore in San Francisco in recent years (and even if you have been) you probably don't know Stevie D. I know him because he was my son Brian's roommate for two years when Brian's band OM Trio relocated from Talent, OR to the City by the Bay. They shared what was ambitiously referred to as a one-bedroom apartment in The Mission but the 'bedroom' was actually a closet with no window (which Stevie D had) and Brian slept in a part of the living room. The whole place wasn't any bigger than 1/3 of a NY subway car. But Bri was on the road a lot anyway in those days. Stevie D. was a hard worker who took interesting jobs because he liked them. He was huge into music and was a loyal friend to OM Trio. He was always upbeat and enjoying whatever moment he was in. I saw him over the years at various venues where we had a 'shot' tradition whenever we saw each other. It was always just a question of who was buying. When I heard the news I was frozen. Here's a kid (probably 30ish) who no one had ever seen down or sad and no one believed he was a closet depressed type of guy. No one yet knows if there was ever a history of suicide in his family and no one knows if there were any drugs involved (although he was not known as a user). No one seems to know much other than Stevie took his own life but we don't know if he was in his right mind at the time. Why do these kinds of things happen? He was so happy working The Fillmore. It's very, very sad. I'll be having a shot and toasting Stevie D.'s life. It's all so precious.

Will somebody please tell me what's going on? A friend of mine told me this week that she has tried to buy three properties from three different lenders and none of them have even returned her calls! These are (a) properties that have already been foreclosed on, (b) are in markets where the it will take a month of Sundays for the market to come back and (c) are residential (in a market where there are now and going to be more residential units on the market than there are corn stalks in a Kearney, Nebraska cornfield). So I don't get it. Something seems terribly wrong.

I found an article that gave me a great marketing idea. The article, It’s the Scent That Tickles the Memory, reports that only recently companies have begun assigning smells to everyday products: frangipani-scented sewing threads, tires that smell like roses. A paper soon to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research confirms the wisdom of this tactic, finding that scented products linger in the memory.

“The human memory for smell is very strong, and researchers have known all along that people remember smell. What we’re saying is, it’s not just the smell that people remember. It’s other things associated with the smell: the brand name, or the shape of the product’s box.” Maybe this can work with service marketing as well. So what I'm going to do is decide on a scent that I would like to be associated with. Not something where people will say, "You smell" or worse, "He smells" (or even worse not say something period) but rather something subtle, that doesn't get mentioned but could help me differentiate myself, in a positive way, from others in my field. Of course, the key is what scent will I be? So next time we run into each other, while I won't encourage a sniff test, you may find something about me that will make me unforgettable (for a reason other than some I've been unforgettable about in the past). Pretty interesting isn't it; human senses; human behavior.

Thank you: So many of you sent me beautiful emails about my Dad's death; I can't begin to tell you how much that meant to me. Thank you all for your support.

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