Brand Spot

Here's hoping for a better tomorrow ... better products, better services, better experiences, BETTER BRANDS! A blog for ranting and raving about the stuff around us.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Under construction



Watch this space...

Friday, February 03, 2006

Happy Blog

A friend of mine suggested that I should break away from winging about something on the blog.

So here goes...

Bakerzin!

My recent discovery of the most delicious brand of desserts.

And guess where that brand is from?

Singapore!

Here's a pix.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

If only our country managed its brand image as well as the Europeans have

Whenever I think of Europe, it conjuers images of rich culture, history, art, fine-dining, free-flowing wine...an expensive world where infinite beauty distracts you from the banalities of life.

When it comes to business, we tend to expect better quality products from Europe. We expect to meet highly qualified people. And we often do.

(Except at Carrefour in Sri Petaling and Mid Valley that sell defective electronic power cables as a way of generating recurring revenue.)

Conversely, what comes to mind when you think of Malaysia? ...We have good food? But even that is debatable these days with Singapore perfecting our local recipes and touting them as their own. Ok, what about people are nice and friendly? But the customer service counter staff at the hypermarkets are more hostile than fish mongers at the wet market. And...and...what about we are the multimedia hub of Asia? But only a fraction of our population has 512 or 1MB broadband connections that hover around 300 on a good day?

The ministry of tourism should change their tagline from Malaysia, truly Asia to Malaysia, but of Asia.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Jackie Chan needs to kick some ass

If you have been contemplating joining Jackie Chan Sport, DON'T!

Service is poor. They are constantly out of towels. The yoga mats are few and tattered. Their shower stalls run out of water in the middle of your shower or the water turns from lukewarm to cold. Shower stalls and locker changing areas are usually littered with rubbish. Dirty cotton buds, used tissue everywhere, strands of hair...you get the pix.

The only thing they care about and do well is selling as many memberships as they can.

Beware the fine print in their membership contract

One of the clauses reads,
"...the agreement authorizes California Fitness to make Direct Debit withdrawals...equal to at least two months' subscription...to allow California Fitness to make periodic increases and/or to collect late charges and other costs...without any additional authorization requirement from this member..."


If you sign the contract without reading, you will be in for big trouble.

I recently had a bad experience with them where the imbecile criminals in their accounting department billed over RM800 to my account. No discussion. No explanation. No alert. I discovered it on my credit card statement.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Making every moment count for...?

Now you might think I'm being a cynic. But I was just innocently going about my business this morning when I got hit by yet another brand with a meaningless tagline!

Maybank's electronic banking hall. 2nd November 2005 @ 9.30am.

AS EXPECTED, there were long queues of people waiting to withdraw their pay from the ATM and deposit their cheques before the rush home to their families for the Deeparaya.

When I arrived at the hall, only one out of the three ATM machines was working. (Incidentally, one seems to be permanently out of service at this branch. Do you see an uncanny resemblance to old government office counters?) After the 3rd person in the queue withdrew his share, the last machine standing went down! And the remaining 10 or so patient Malaysian customers filed out in quiet disappointment of having wasted the last 20 minutes standing in the ugly cramped hall.

Maybe somebody at Maybank should wake up from sleep walking and start counting the moments when their customers need to use the machines! How hard is it to figure out that festive season is here, customers tend to withdraw more for the festivities?

You would think that by now, they would have figured out the peak moments when the machines get used and when the cash would run out! But no! Of course not. That would be asking for too much. Sigh.

Making every moment count...yea right!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

TMNet leading cyber brand Malaysia

Another great example of a leading Malaysian brand living up to its promises!

For the last 3 days, we have been experiencing slow Streamyx connections. Or should I say slower? Anyway, let me not be cynical. Like a good Malaysian, I should be thankful that I HAVE a connection in land of the Multimedia Super Corridor.

After waiting 3 days to give TM time to sort out its issues (here I go again, the hopeful Malaysian) and seeing no improvement, I finally called up customer service.

Oh...and it wasn't that easy ok? Pick up the phone and just call? No, I had to hunt down their customer service number which was so deeply buried within their convoluted website that I finally went to google to find it on Jeff Ooi's site!

(1-300-88-9515 for those of you may need it)

After sitting through 2 minutes of TM's interactive voice system, hearing an announcement about poor connection to overseas websites due to some maintenance work on US links that didn't explain why I couldn't connect to Maybank's website for 2 days, from a voice that sounded like she just started learning English a week ago, I finally reached a customer service technician.

And here is the set of instructions he gave me upon hearing the problem:

1/ Bypass splitter
2/ Make a direct connection to one computer
3/ Flash your DNS
4/ Switch off the modem and unplug all cables
5/ Replug the cables
6/ Check all settings including DNS entry
7/ Restart computer
8/ Do a bandwidth test

Apart from restart computer, I pretty much didn't understand anything else he said. And I'm expected to troubleshoot all this myself!

Only after this troubleshooting is done and I call them again with the results, will 'a case' be opened for a possible visit from a technician to check the exchange. And this could take anywhere between 24 to 36 working hours (translates to over 3 days of waiting time if you should be so unlucky as to have a problem with your Streamyx connection). In this day and age, waiting an hour is already an eternity let alone waiting a few days to get connected.

"How la?", I wonder, "are we going to compete with the rest of the world?"

Friday, October 21, 2005

Fitfor2

Interesting name that some people don't fully understand. But the concept is well positioned to meet the needs of an untapped market of willing spenders in KL. For the body conscious, health conscious, baby conscious pregnant women who want to prepare themselves well for birth and childcare, there are exercise and pregnancy/childcare classes to enrol for. For sociable young mothers who don't really have a place to go where they can have a chat with friends and feel comfortable with their children around, there's the cafe and a half hour break during music classes for babies and toddlers.

Went for brunch at Fitfor2 this morning. It turned out to be a tiny cosy cafe with a small studio on the first floor of a shophouse in Bangsar. (A little tricky to find coz they only have a small easel placed at the base of the stairs leading to their place to indicate their location.)

The food was ok la but the ambience was very warm and welcoming. The cafe offers a safe place for toddlers to play with kids their own age while mothers relax for a minute with friends, without worrying if their children are going to upset anyone around them, get lost or hurt themselves. Every diner is in the same predicament, lots of smiles and understanding nods instead of the usual frowns from the neighbouring tables.

The best representation of the Fitfor2 brand is on the walls of the cafe. Beautiful candid portraits projecting wholesome happy parenting gives a finishing touch to this well conceptualized place. If you want to get similar portraits taken for yourself, you may contact a lady by the name of Sarah Grasset who specializes in portrait photography covering subjects like maternity, family and children. You can reach her on sgrasset@rocketmail.com or take a look at her work on display at Fitfor2.