18 September 2012

Free For All Tuesday No. 85

Tuesdays are your chance to ask any Filofax related questions you might have.

So fire away and we will collectively try to answer your questions or offer opinions.


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54 comments:

  1. Apparently it's national Cheeseburger day!

    http://quovadisblog.com/2012/09/17/national-cheeseburger-day/

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    Replies
    1. when is national Filofax day?

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    2. The rate things are going it could be today!

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    3. Darn!!! And I missed that on the Each Shining Hour dates!!! Actually... call me weird, but I am only really keen on the gherkins, salad and relish bits!!!

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  2. Just read two very incisive post by two of our fellow philofaxy members regarding our preferred manufacturer and their PR agency.

    You can find both here.
    http://www.plannerisms.com/2012/09/open-letter-to-slampr.html

    What do you think it will happen next?
    (a) Manufacturer will ignore the posts
    (b) PR firm will ignore the posts
    (c) Either Manufacturer or PR firm will issue a statement
    (d) They will do what is suggested in the posts
    (e) Something else

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    Replies
    1. Judging by prior form I going for a :o)

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    2. Excellent material - my only question would be - who is briefing whom here - have Filofax briefed SLAM to do the more fashion focused PR, or are SLAM advising Filofax on the way forward? It is normal practice for a company to decide on strategy and advise the PR agency.

      Also is anyone referring to this on twitter and facebook? Hopefully each blogger will so that both SLAM and Filofax can see how widespread the opinions are. A wave of publicity about this initiative is probably the only chance of a response we will get!

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    3. Hi Alison, I have posted this letter on my blog and linked it on my Facebook. I don´t do Twitter so haven´t put anything on there. :o)

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    4. I've linked on Twitter to my own posting of the letter. My betting is on a) for FF themselves (they don't care about their customers so why should they bother?), c) for Slam (standard PR practice. Something bland, followed by the usual silence.

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    5. He he, looking at twitter feeds, it looks like they are trying to take it out of the public domain asking people to DM them and get into an email discussion!

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    6. The PR firm is indeed doing that.

      Apparently, they are going for (e) above ...

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    7. I do wonder if due to some contractual arrangement that Filofax UK do not talk at all to the 'great unwashed public' ie us... the people that pay their salaries through sales of their products.

      From previous episodes with Filofax UK, it seems that Slam PR try to keep the peace and Filofax UK don't get involved at all... those of you who will remember the Filofax CEO's daughters outburst on Twitter earlier in the year. It was Slam PR that sorted out the mess/distaste that that left behind. We never got a direct apology from her at all. Although I hope she was told to keep quiet in future. Her Twitter output with regards to 'Daddies' business has been below the noise floor to use a radio term!

      Both Laurie and I have had recent dealings with Letts Group, and I had an attempt to get some form of discussion going with them over some of the topics raised in David's letter.

      The response.... We will pass it on to Filofax... result nothing heard. Is it that hard to talk to people? To people that are passionate and enthusiastic about your products.

      If David's Open Letter doesn't get any response then we are going to have to take a different approach and start contacting the media ourselves I think...

      I'm watching with interest.

      Regards
      Steve

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    8. The last filofax customer flare up on Twitter ended up with people's telephone numbers being solicited to receive calls from a SLAM PR representative, who was able to deftly quiet the troubled waters... I'm sure they want to get this out of the public domain.

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    9. To be completely honest I haven't bought a new Filofax ever since that rudeness from the CEO's daughter to those of us who blog about Filofax, and I don't plan to. I can't stand the thought of any of my hard-earned money ending up in her pockets. I enjoy this community too much to quit Philofaxy, but I have already quit Filofax.

      It should NOT be this difficult to get a brand to listen to its customers!

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    10. Sounds like I missed out on the issue re the CEO's daughter. I guess that's because I don't do Twitter... does anyone have a link to what was said?

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    11. Yes - I missed that one too. I gather she was rude to us?

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    12. Oh my word!!! Clearly I wasn´t paying enough attention when I read her interview the previous two times...

      "What is special about the agency’s approach to PR?

      The most successful brands no longer think only in terms of ‘customers’ – the relationship goes much deeper. In this ever changing environment, it’s important for consumers to feel like a brand belongs to them, so our approach is to develop PR campaigns which bind people to our client’s brands – we always want them to feel like they’re part of a movement."

      Seriously!!! Well they seem to have failed remarkably well on all counts so far then...

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    13. http://musingsofmax.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/filofax-woes-an-open-letter-to-slam-pr-agency-regarding-their-perceptions-of-the-filofax-brand-and-its-customer-base/

      Also posted, as agreed with David, but just missed Grommet's deadline.

      Delete
    14. I also missed this about the CEO's daughter. What did she say?

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    15. Wow... just learned about all this. I belong on the cat walk! Fancy that. And all this time it's been the other way around: cats walking on me.

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    16. It didn't even occur to me until later yesterday, but this is London Fashion Week so I'm guessing Filofax and SlamPR are busy promoting their products like crazy to the fashion bloggers right now.

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  3. The Manufacturer is, at the moment, doing (a) above ...

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. 'BTW who pays £400 for a handwritten note from Alice Temperly ?! '

      Very few people it seems.... rumour has it it was a commercial disaster from a sales point of view...

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    2. Not me - I was almost tempted by the guinea because it is really nice to the touch, but after hearing all kinds of bad things regarding quality (and not really being quite crazy enough to spend that much on it) it just wasn't going to happen. And to be honest, I don't think too much of the latest Temperley offerings either...

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  5. A while back there was a Pocket Domino Baroque for sale on ebay and i lost the sale, i was gutted!
    And i really want one? Does anyone have one? Did anyone here get said pocket on ebay? When did they bring them out? Why does no-one ever mention them?
    Thanks everyone!

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    Replies
    1. Alice - have you thought about putting a wanted notice on the adspot? There may be someone out there who wants to part with one.

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    2. I did actually put one up for a few months for that and a baroque in any colour...but seen as my pink pocket baroque floated along it has been removed!
      I may ask Steve to pop one back up for me :)

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  6. I'm currently on a promise of a meeting with Slam and that meeting *will* both take place *and* be followed through on. Slam passing my/our comments on to FF to ignore will not be allowed to stand.

    Good suggestion Steve, I'll start compiling a list of likely media contacts, although I would rather have the meeting first in the interests of fairness, which won't happen for 2-3 weeks, and I'll have to come to London for it. But I *will* see this through to a conclusion.

    For now, it's important that I have a list of those who are 'on board' with the letter (it's interesting to see the people who haven't published the letter themselves but still want t be on board....what are you about, folks?!). Could people please email me if you want to stay informed and to have an input into the meeting (even if you've already been heavily involved another email would help), and yes, let's please keep this in the public domain via Twitter for as long as it takes. Slam are trying to play PR games....let's not let them, for now...

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    1. I am sorry David, but I don't have a suitable blog to place this on - however I am willing to provide whatever support I can. The point hopefully is that they will listen because they have no choice (now it is in the public domain), but whether they do anything about it is another matter. It may just be that Filofax are the sort of business that just doesn't listen, or perhaps they need to be more imaginative about the service they provide. They could easily have provided a similar service to Ray and Steve (printing on demand diaries) if printing inserts on better quality paper themselves is not cost efficient, but they chose not to.

      At the end of the day this is about them treating their customers with respect. None of their products are particularly cheap for what they are - buying a leather binder and/or some time manager inserts can represent a good chunk of someone's disposable income in these difficult times.

      It was interesting to note this week that John Lewis and Waitrose (co-owned by it's employees) although top of the range have bucked the trend and posted genuinely raised profits this quarter. Now, I wonder why this is? Would it be anything to do with selling good quality products and having exceptional customer services? I believe it is. When I am treated as a valued customer - regardless of the amount of the order or item - then I want to go back and repeat the experience.

      I think that rather than flirting with new markets all the time, Filofax would do well to attend to it's core customers and treat them with respect and intelligence (i.e. tell us why if things can't be done) and also to their quality control so we don't have to send binder back because of poor workmanship. They could even try asking us what we want. I'd love to be able to order a binder and have it customised a bit - for example a choice of ring colour, one or two pens loops etc. They could even have provided a pack where you buy the filofax paper (in different colours) and download and print your own calendar. If I was advising them I would also set up focus groups and invite people from here and other blogs to represent users and get customer feedback.

      I'm looking forward to hearing how this pans out. My advise would also be to not let this drop off the radar until after the meeting - so keep the pressure on for more than a morning. I'm happy to support this on twitter and facebook in the mean time.

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    2. Oh and one more thing - they would do well to get and keep their website up-to-date. For example there are no compacts listed from the menu so unless you do a search you can't find them. Also TM inserts are not showing. There are probably lost of other website issues, but I can't be bothered to list them all for them! They should be doing this themselves!

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    3. David, just working my way down the page, so FYI, also posted on http://musingsofmax.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/filofax-woes-an-open-letter-to-slam-pr-agency-regarding-their-perceptions-of-the-filofax-brand-and-its-customer-base/

      I was in their Focus Group, and was on my way to my first meeting, having travelled back from Afghanistan via Dubai to London, and missed it because of a "person under the train" while on the tube. Never heard from them again and never invited back. It seems like I didn't miss much

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    4. David - as you know, I share your views but, like Alison (and others) I don't have a blog that covers Filofax issues. I'm happy to send a letter/ email to anyone you suggest.

      Like Laurie, I'm voting with my wallet and not purchasing Filofax products.

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    5. David - I'm in the same boat as Tim. Please keep us up to date on developments.

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    6. David you're an accountant you deal with Hmrc on a daily basis and we both know they don't know what their doing so your used to dealing with numpties..I have faith, good luck in the meeting...Yes I would love to blog and yes I do have one ..fledging stages at zero followers..a bit like talking to oneself....yeah, ok talking to filofax is like talking to yourself, but I have shared on fb book and tweeted...I also appreciate you feel a bit on your own and yes it easy to say a lot of things. I understand now is the time for the rest of us to put our money where our mouth is and take the window of opportunity because this maybe the only window we get...

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    7. David,
      Please count me in I'm in full support. I'll send an email to you

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    8. Me too, David. I am trying to set up a second blog to devote to organizers. I will write you email; that way we can also put it on mine, that already has followers.
      I am also getting some support from a few suppliers that are licensed distributors - that might be some thing that the big boys might listen to--it means $$$ to them.
      I'm 100 % behind y'all!
      By the way,I just received a new Franklin Covey catalog--and they are now selling quality, leather binders. Their compact is exactly the size of Filofaxes personal size. Plus some of their fillers aren't all bad. So I think it's worth a look.
      I think a little competition would be a good thing!

      Delete
  7. Is there supposed to be a Moo.com advert in the middle of my Philofaxy page?

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    Replies
    1. At the bottom of the page yes... they have a 25% sale on.

      Steve

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    2. Thanks, Steve. Didn't realize they were one of "our" suppliers.

      And not sure why my post doubled up. Apologies.

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    3. Here is the front of the cards I got made:

      http://philofaxy.com/Moocard.jpeg

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  8. Sorry deleted and reposted as I used an old account that I don't usually use!

    I've been following this with interest since I saw Laurie's post on Plannerisms. I've still got my first filofax soft black leather, bought in 1986. I'd just left university and earned £5K per annum - it was a big chunk out of my weekly income! Despite some "attention" by a teething puppy it is has never broken. But poor fillers and discontinuation of some of my favourite lines lead me away. Now I can use the ones here or create my own I may come back to the loose leaf system. But would I come back to Filofax other than for project planners? Hmm that remains to be seen. Good luck. Will watch with interest. BTW who pays £400 for a handwritten note from Alice Temperly ?!

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    Replies
    1. I only buy vintage ones now, upto the late 80s. I'd never buy another new one, until they visibly sort out the quality control issues. A 30 year old Winchester has les problems than a 1 week old Temperley. Ridiculous, when they cost just south of £400. I come back to the same conclusion again and again. they don't deserve our business.

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    2. Paul B - I agree with you that the vintage ones are much better in quality. I use a personal Hampshire and although I like some of the newer designs, I have no plans to discontinue with the Hampshire. It has stood the test of time - the leather and stitching are still A1 and I have never had a problem with the ring mechanism. It is beautifully made, and it and I have bonded!

      I read the open letter and then went on to read Bloomer's interview. What a jaw dropping read. I think that Filofax have forgotten that what they are producing is a functional product, not a designer accessory.

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  9. About a month ago, I "rumbled" ...

    "Rebranding, when successful, results in higher sales, profits, and cash flow. You compare before and after figures and verify, easily, whether the rebranding move is correct. If the business results have improved, it is nearly impossible to convince management that 'quality' is better than 'fashion'.

    If the business results have not improved, it may be easier to 'open the discussion with management', depending on quality of management. If quality of management is average (low), even when results suggest strategy is not correct, change in strategy takes long ..."

    I wonder if business results have improved, perhaps?
    What do you think?

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    Replies
    1. I think they tell themselves that so they can justify their wages and dividends dear..call me synical perhaps...

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    2. I would suspect this to be true short term but will not be the case long term. Brands typically retain longevity by their quality. Despite the sensory appeal of their planners I believe that in the long term customers will bow out because of seriously declining quality, ever rising prices, and the realization that the product did not stand the test of time.

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  10. Can anyone tell me what I might do to organize a meet-up for Filofax planner users in Chicago at the end of this month? I will be traveling there with my husband and son and would love to get together to share. I have posted it on Flickr and here but have had no response.

    I would love to schedule it for Saturday September 29 at say 10 or 11 in the morning.

    Any ideas?

    Thank you.

    Debbie

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  11. I wish we weren't do spread out---well I'm not close, but I am in the same Chicago time zone!

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  12. OK one more time...... have now emailed everyone I *think* needs to be in on the Slam R/Flofax meeting preparation dialogue. If you *haven't* got that email, please can you *email* me (not Twitter, not responses here, not Facebook - I just don't have time to trawl all the channels and my BlackBerry is chirruping like a cricket in a hedge at midnight with all the DMs!), and I'll put you on the list when I get your *email* (geddit?!) :) Thank you......

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  13. David don't forget to breathe....peace...

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  14. Hi,

    In the beginning, it seemed Filofax was taking the 'Apple approach' ("We don't ask people what they want. They don't know what they want, we do ...").

    On the contrary ... Filofax posted on David's blog, asking him to meet the PR firm ...
    An intermediate approach, perhaps?
    So, it is apparently letter (e) above, for the moment.

    ReplyDelete

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