An article in today’s New York Times announced a new partnership between Foursquare (the growing, location-based online game) and Bravo TV. According to the article, the partnership, which begins tomorrow, will allow Foursquare players to receive Bravo badges after checking in at any of the 500 plus Bravo locations.

Potential pros and cons:

Pros

  • How cool would it be to get a Top Chef badge?
  • The partnership will raise awareness for Foursquare and increase users.
  • It could create more brand evangelists for Bravo as long as the badges are closely tied to specific shows.

Cons

  • What kind of badge could The Real Housewives offer?
  • For some reason the idea of a TV network partnering with Foursquare rubs me the wrong way. I'd rather see a company like TGI Friday's, Target, Chase or Southwest Airlines partner. I can visit a restaurant, retail outlet, bank or airline. A TV network? Not so much.


What do you think? Is this a good move for Bravo and Foursquare? Do you want a Bravo TV badge?

UPDATE: Mashable has posted an article on the partnership that outlines a few more specifics.

As some of you may know, the company I work for hosted Chris Brogan at a tweet-up yesterday, and I was fortunate enough to spend some time with him.

Naturally he spoke about building relationships, but he also demonstrated the importance of making people feel comfortable and important. (Note: I do not mean important in an ego-boosting way. I mean important as in feeling like you matter, like you are someone worth getting to know.)

How many business opportunities are blown each day by people acting rude, dismissive and cold? How many times would a simple smile and “How are you?” be enough to have a lasting positive impact?

I was reminded of this while touring Bally Total Fitness on Milwaukee’s lower east side tonight. I walked in with my boyfriend for our 6 p.m. appointment and asked for Derrick (who I had spoken to Monday). Derrick did not seem to remember our conversation, but he was happy to show us around.

The tour ended and we went upstairs to talk about rates. Here’s where the relationship started to deteriorate. Derrick brings out his fancy, lamented pricing sheet and shows us the options. It’s going to cost over $70/person upfront and $23/month after that.

Now $23/month isn’t bad considering the place has a pool, sauna, racquet ball court and classes that are included with your membership. However, it’s a tad more than I wanted to spend, so I mention other gyms are offering lower rates and I have a few friends with better rates at Bally. Any chance he would be willing to work with us? Here’s where it turned ugly.

“We don’t negotiate rates. We’re a national chain. Anyone who told you they got a deal is lying.”

Whoa. Calm down Voldermort. I’m suddenly rethinking our friendship.

Instead of getting defensive Derrick should have said, “I’m sorry. We are a national chain, so I am not able to negotiate rates. However, we do run promotions from time to time. In fact, next month we are introducing “X” promotion."

If the conversation had gone that way I would not have walked away feeling cheap and unimportant. I would have felt valued, and there’s a real possibility I would have signed up for the full rate.

Long story short, I might join Bally, but I will look at other fitness centers too. Maybe I will have a more positive experience. I’ll see you Saturday, Snap Fitness.

What kinds of relationship building experiences have influenced your buying decisions? Have you chosen a product or service based on how the company made you feel?

Young Pros Need Love Too

If you're a recent college grad (read: out of school for five years or less) there's a good chance that you're broke, living with mom and dad or both. Unless you had the foresight to major in engineering, computer science, economics or finance you've probably been left to wonder, "Aren't I supposed to be making the big bucks now? I could make almost as much as I do now at my 9-to-5 bartending, and I wouldn't have to wake up till noon!".

Most of us understand that our measly salaries will not always be so meager, and our education will soon pay off once we are promoted and have paid our dues. After all, America can't afford millionaire CEOs if they are paying the grunts more than $30K a year, but I digress...

To help young professionals in their first few years I'm proposing brands acknowledge this economic hardship. I ask you, where is our Young Professional discount? Seniors get them. Students get them. Why not us?

It's no secret that many young pros are already taking advantage of some of these discounts by way of our old student IDs, but not all of us feel great about it.

Offering a young pro discount is a great way to encourage young pros to become brand advocates early on. While many 20-somethings are already brand loyal to Coke versus Pepsi and Apple versus PC, we don't hold many loyalties to banks, health care organizations or accountants. We are just starting to figure these things out, and a brand that talks directly to us will certainly become a winner. For instance, banks could offer young pros a slightly better rate on savings accounts, credit cards and/or loans. A bank that is willing to work with me, is a bank I'm going to stick with for a very long time.

This approach would also work well for the arts community. In college I had some money to burn. It was enough that I was able to see a couple shows at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts each year. Now that I'm a working gal I can't afford that luxury, but I get a call each year asking if I'd like to purchase a pack of tickets. If the Marcus Center offered a discounted package for young pros I would be much more likely to return, recruit friends, promote events and become a lifetime supporter. In short, the Marcus Center would become my performance venue of choice. Professional organizations are another group that could really benefit from this idea.

What do you think? Do you see the value in providing young pros with special discounts? Young pros, is this something you would be interested in?

Everyone has a different policy about "friending" people online. Some will accept any request, while others are a bit more selective. The duck in this video reminds us to take a second to think before we hit "accept."



What is your policy on following, fanning and friending online?

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