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Coldwell's Tuesday talks just got a whole lot cuter

By Erika Engle

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 01:48 a.m. HST, Mar 28, 2011


Quick, think "Peeps." You probably either thought about your crew, your posse, your friends or those neon-yellow chick- and bunny-shaped marshmallow sweets popular at Easter. If the latter popped into your mind's eye, you likely also thought about how much you love or hate said Peeps and maybe about what happens to them in a microwave, courtesy of countless YouTube videos.

On the 'Net:

>> www.cbpacific.com/
>> www.peepsandcompany.com/

For agents at Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, the word "peeps" is not just slang for clients, but the fun theme of a training program for the company's new customer relationship management software.

Attendance at the company's Tech Tuesdays training sessions for the new CRM software "was definitely optional, so what we wanted to do was give people a little more incentive and make it fun" to learn about increasing contacts with, and staying in touch with, their clients, said Lori McCarney, Coldwell senior vice president.

The company pledged a box of Peeps to each attending agent, and from some agents they heard a "keep your Peeps" response but wait, there was more.

As the CRM software is designed to serve as a sort of personal assistant to the agents, automatically sending the company's email updates on the housing market to their clients under the agents' names, the agents were given another incentive to enter contact information into the software.

Big, soft, fluffy, plushie Peeps would be given to the first 100 agents to input 10 clients' contact details. The company spent roughly $600 on the birdie-buddies at local Safeway stores.

"As soon as they saw them, the whole idea of Peeps for peeps ... became fun, and I think that was the big trick," McCarney said. "I don't think you can underestimate the value of fun when you're marketing something."

The cute plushies "are certainly not a rational benefit, but it was a cute, fun way to do something."

"They went really fast," McCarney said, adding, "The Peeps were flying out the door," laughing about additional avian analogies including "flocks" and "hatching" that had been bandied about the office.

Lest readers equate the Peeps Project with company clients getting spam in email in-boxes, McCarney noted that the agents develop relationships with clients who want to know "what's up with the market, and every month we look at stats and send out quick updates." Previously agents had to send the updates out themselves, but these will be distributed automatically with each agent's email address in the "reply to" field, should the client want to further engage.

KIMO call letters could come home

The call letters KIMO, which would be a natural fit for a Hawaii broadcast station, are available.

The so-called "calls" used to belong to Channel 12 in Anchorage, Alaska. The station relinquished KIMO and adopted KYUR as its call letters earlier this year, according to a recent dispatch from the Federal Communications Commission.

"Those are phenomenal call letters for Hawaii," said Jeff Coelho, general manager of Salem Media Hawaii's stable of five radio stations. One of them, KGU-FM 99.5, changed its call letters from KHUI-FM in connection with a format change on Dec. 26.

Three-letter call signs are prized, as they are assigned to the first radio station to be licensed in a market. Stations that change three-letter call signs cannot choose another three-letter arrangement, and other stations cannot adopt the cast-off three-letter call sign it disappears from the market forever. "Would Coca-Cola ever get rid of its name ... or McDonald's?" Coelho asked rhetorically.

Salem owns KGU-AM 760 and was therefore able to request approval for assignment of the three-letter call sign to another of its stations on the FM band.

The KIMO call letters would present a local station with "a great local identity, great local branding" possibilities, Coelho said. A station seeking to re-brand itself "would grab those call letters in a heartbeat," he said, positing that nimble neighbor island-based broadcasters that are not part of a corporate chain would be likely candidates.

"My prediction is that within 72 hours somebody will be applying for 'em."

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Advertiser. Reach her by e-mail at erika@staradvertiser.com.






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