Friday, April 29, 2011

Is it going to be as bad as you think?

When you fail to execute the ideas you have and a million reasons why you cannot and should not execute it? Are they backed by rational reasons or emotional excuses?

What if people think lesser of our brand if we did this? How will we find the resources to launch this? This isn’t really our target is it? Should we revisit the objective?

You can cook up a million excuses. But your lovely competitor who is winning his battle with resistance is shipping. With it, she will have a ton of learning she will use to better her next course of action.

What are you afraid of exactly? Losing your job? Losing market share? Well, if you continue with this inaction – losing your job and market share is a sure thing. Perhaps if you tried some risk, the upside may just surprise you.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

What have you created?

Take that space between perceiving something and letting the words come out from your mouth to criticize and make it more productive. Create something. 

Give yourself reasons to make something. Even if it is something small. Everything big usually comes from something small. It’s easy to say, “This is not nice, it is not tasty, it is not right.” 

What is difficult is to say, “This is what I did, how do you like it?” and be vulnerable. Ignore the need to pretend you are adding value by criticizing. Instead pick up a pen and start writing. Or a brush and start painting. Or some money and start a business. 

Create don’t criticize.

Where can we see your art?

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What are you singing today?

Old can be outstanding.
Mundane can be magnificent.
Expected can be exceptional.

(Courage + Effort + Talent) x Imagination = Astonishing

What’s your twist?

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What’s going to make you change?

Death is usually a wake up call for a lot of people. I know when my Pa passed away a little more than a year ago; it was a big wake up call for me. 

I was just thinking. It’s the same for brands too. Brands come and go. Brands are born, they grow old, they grow big and they die. That’s why, one of my favorite exercise for brainstorming session is writing the brand’s obituary. It really forces you to think what will be the cause of the brand’s death.

Death is a good awakening for a lot of people. But you don’t need for it to happen to you before you do something. It’s the same for the brand you handle, you don’t need for it to show signs of dying before you do something about it. 

What you did yesterday or a few years ago that propelled it to where it is today? May not be what will work anymore.

Are you waiting for death to be a wake up call?

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Is the brand award going to do you any good?

Awards are good. It is an affirmation for the hard work the team has put in. Especially if the award is results based. Brands who win awards must think and introspect. When is an award not good for your brand? 

It is when the award breeds complacency within your team. Thinking they have arrived. Whether won or bought or scammed. If the award is easily obtainable, does it still carry any prestige? I am not sure. Some people like to be associated with these. Are people capable of being proud of something so easily obtainable? Do they not feel empty when you win it?

The race should always start from within - doing the best that you can do for the brand and for the company. If you can beat your own weaknesses, and beating your competitors along the way, great. If you can’t even overcome your own weaknesses, what’s the point of an externally given award?

What ghost are you confronting today?

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Are you looking at social media like a magic potion?

Social media isn’t your secret potion that will help you save more from your advertising budget and spend less on marketing. It is part of the bigger picture and it will gain importance. But you need to remember it is not the secret sauce to your cost cutting measures. 

It’s relationship rather than advertising. Do not look at these networks like it’s your daily ad insertions. If you look at it as an ad, then it stops working. Social media works best when you make friends fans.

If you believe social media=viral=sales. Then you are in for a big shock. Social media can go viral but social media isn’t about a viral campaign. It is about engaging people. 

To engage, you need a story. You need to figure out what you stand for. Nope. That positioning statement of yours won’t work. Burn it. Get someone to help you figure out what you stand for and create a story around it. 

What’s your story? 

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Story breeds content and engaging content goes viral easier.

Are you drinking that cocktail some guru told you to?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Social media isn’t free?

Most clients get excited about social media because they have heard two things. One, it’s free. Two, it’s easy.

Nope. That’s not true. Just because you have a Facebook account and a Twitter doesn’t mean it is easy for your company.

Social media isn’t free. And it’s not cheap. Consider these – social media takes a lot of time. Planning takes time and specialist to help you takes fees. It takes commitment of resources behind the plan. It also means financial commitment for personnel – internal and external to manage it.

Management, maintenance, moderation. Who’s going to devise the strategy? Managing the plans and strategy takes time, money and effort. That sounds like a lot of money to me. You need to maintain the hardware and the heart ware. Social media is about relationships, so you will need people to moderate the conversations. Sounds like head count to me.

How much are you willing to pay?

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Is social media counter intuitive to you?

Probably. If you aren’t very used to be being authentic. Authenticity builds credibility. Social media allows your company to bare naked in front of your fans. But how much will you take off? Especially when you are a big company? What’s your social media policy? How will you engage your fans?

Social media used right is about one on one conversation. So, you may have a big problem trying to figure out how to have one on one conversation if you have never done that before. Whether you are big or small. 

I reckon it is more difficult if you are a big company.

You are probably too used to starting a project and ending it. Once you start on social media, there is no finishing line. 

What is your commitment on your social media strategy?

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Do you have permission to move?

Poor slave. You refuse to cut the chains that shackles you. Waiting for permission as if anyone is going to give it to you.

Meanwhile, you use management sound bites to impress. You laugh and pretend you are networking and all these buddies of yours will give you business and orchestrate the world for you. In the shape and form you want and need.

That somehow, you will be paid good money. And go home early. And love your job. But deep down you don’t love your job. You hate it but you don’t know what else you love.

You think you have good job prospects. You worry one day you will have to retire and how long will you need to live this lie.

You think cheating on someone is bad? Cheating on yourself is worse. But you already know that. At about this time, you are probably angry at me or you are angry at yourself.

But you don’t need permission from me to be angry. You don’t need permission from me to leave. The seal is not with me. It’s in your box called ‘Dream’.

Unless you take it out and stamp it on your nose, the stamp has no value.

You don’t need to know where. You just need to walk out the door.

Why are you fearful of uncertainties?

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Why are you not getting behind the cause?

Everything you do at work has an objective. There is a cause. There is, usually also a course that everyone has agreed to take.

If you are part of the team, you need to get behind the cause. It’s your duty.

To not do that is to point the gun at your friends. People who help you stay afloat in the sea of business. 

You need to see how you define your role. Let’s say we are all doing a campaign as a team. And in this team is the media owner, and the media independent (or in some cases “media dependent on who I work with”), ad agency and the client – you need to know the cause is the campaign objective. The course is the strategy. Being part of the team, you are an important element to deliver the cause. So you owe the team. You owe the cause your very best.

In this case the spirit of doing business matters. This means to deliver nothing short of your very best. The soul of ensuring you have delivered your best matters. The satisfaction of a job well done delivers more joy than the decimal point in your pay cheque.

To get a great campaign going only ONE thing makes a difference between an excellent campaign and a good one. What you OWE the cause. Your soul.

What are you doing for Good. Old. Fashion. Honest. Work?

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Friday, April 15, 2011

How do you add value?

If you are on a team devising and executing a campaign. Ask yourself, how can you add value? Otherwise, you should not waste your team member’s time. No, sorry. You are a waste to the world’s resources. Here are some questions you should ask yourself. 

How can I do better? It’s not for anyone else. It’s for you. Your reputation. Your promotion. You pay raise. 

What else is needed? After everything is done, there will be things to tidy. Things that you can do to make it shine. Leo Burnett called these people the “lonely man” in his December 1st, 1967 speech “When to Take My Name off The Door.” 

What is my cause? Understand the objective and get behind it. If you don’t buy into it, do everyone a favour. Get off the team. 

What can I champion? Own a piece of the potential failure. Everything worth fighting for has a chance of failure. It makes success smells better. Champion a potential failure. So, when it succeeds you can have a bigger share. You smell better too after.

How do I define success? If you do know what success looks like to you, chances are you know your role in this world. It gives you the answers to what will you add to make a better version of the world you want to see.

How great do I want to be? Assuming Mr. Maslow is right. You will surely want to be the best that you can be. You cannot be great without adding your value to this world.

How will it implicate my team? If you do not give it your best, you are murdering your team mate’s career. 

If you do not add value and expect remuneration. Be it in the form of fame or fortune, then you are a con man. You are cheating for a living.

Add value or go home.

Why are you here?

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

What is this blog about?

It is about creativity. It is about productivity. It is about stupidity. It is about idiosyncrasies. It is self-criticism. It’s about saying things from 18 years of frustrations and wanting to change the world.

It is about DOing. There is too much talk. Too much BS. It is about showing that it is possible. It is about making things possible even if you lack resources. 

It is about shutting some people up. So if you have to criticize, make sure you can do better.

Suggestions are welcomed. But I will ask you, what have you created today? How many dreams of yours are dead? Buried? What angst has it created you?

Why aren’t you starting something yet?

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Can you keep up?

Usually money is the key motivator for someone to copy something.

Good luck to you if you are copying someone especially because the idea she has executed is making her money. 

Before I copy someone, I think I will ask myself if I can keep up. How can I keep up? I will ask myself if I have more passion. Well, if I have more passion, I would have started on the idea already anyway. I would not have to copy, would I?

So before you copy something, ask yourself if you can be consistent. Even when there is nothing to sustain you except for passion. No one to proof anything to, just you and your art.

What if there is no finish line?

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

If ideas are expensive, execution is priceless?

Robert Sutton in his blog wrote about the 17 things he believes. In number 13, he wrote what he calls the Sutton's Law: “If you think that you have a new idea, you are wrong. Someone else probably already had it. This idea isn’t original either; I stole it from someone else.”

And I agree. Too often you feel your ideas are so great and it will make you so much money. Give you fame. But you are wrong. Someone else has probably thought about it first. 

The easiest thing to see if some one else has thought about it? Google it up. See how people have already talked about it and maybe even executed that idea. 

Once, a very experienced ad man told me ideas are expensive. We are in the business of selling ideas. I bought into it. Now? I am not so sure. 

I think ideas are cheap. Everyone has an idea for something. I am sure if I asked you for a restaurant concept you would like to start, you could rattle on for hours. Someone else probably has the same idea.

The difference ideas will make in your life is that you see that idea to fruition. You don’t put those words into action? It doesn’t make a difference.

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You can talk till the lambs go to sleep. You can convince me that ideas are expensive. Still, you have to pepper your sweat all over it.

Ideas are cheap. Action is priceless.

What are you creating today?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Can people take you bona fide?

What does it take to do business with you? I am not talking about convenience and such. I am talking about trust. One basic element that allows society to function at its very best. Everyday, when I get into my car, I trust that all other road users will abide the rules and laws that govern the safety of our roads.

When we do business with each other, we take it in good faith (Latin - bona fide. I am sure you have seen it in legal documents) you will abide by the same principles. That of trust. 

When you betray that trust via some technical legalities or loose definition of the terms I signed on then there is no good faith. This is fine. We are all only suckers once. 

Let me give you an example, let’s just say, let’s just say I booked a spot in your station and you told me that my ad will appear after a certain time and technically it does. But it’s a good hour after the said program, is that a trick or what? Of course, legally there is nothing wrong. Terms like “in good faith” – bona fide mean you take the spirit of the agreement. 

People doing business with you should not feel like they have been tricked. It leaves a bad taste in the experience. People remember how you make them feel. That’s not very good for business.

How sincere are you?

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Is it your chance at stardom?

When you sit in your chair behind a table and we are presenting? Remember, you are not Jennifer Lopez, Simon Cowell or Mary Murphy. You are there to see if the solutions we are presenting works. There are challenges that your brand or company is facing and we are there to offer help.

So don’t throw us any of the questions and comments like the judges in a reality show. That is a show. It’s for entertainment value. We are not there to entertain you. We are there as your equal partner sharing with you potential solutions to the best of our knowledge will work to overcome your brand’s challenges. We are there to enlighten you.

You want self gratification? Go to a karaoke.

Trying to prove us wrong doesn’t make you right.

Why are you hiding your cowardice?

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

What are you scribbling?

It’s easy to see what we are doing and think – I can do that. So when we present, you can scribble all you want and copy every idea we presented. 

But you forget one thing, what we do is like a chef. Everyone thinks they can cook fried rice. You can see us cook, and even attempt every step on your own. But it will never taste the same as what we cooked. Why?

Because it takes expertise. Power and precision that comes with years of practice just like the karateka executing a gyaku-zuki. When the karateka does it, it’s full of grace and rhythm of a ballerina that packs the power of a raging elephant. It looks so simple but when you do it, you end up looking like a bull dancing on a lily pod.


Because it has soul. We put soul into what we do. That is the competitive advantage we sell. It’s the same thing that propels the yellow jersey rider on a Tour De France. The thing that makes Yo-Yo Ma, Yo-Yo Ma.

But you won’t understand. You can only copy.

What is it you do best?

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Are risks helping you make a better jump?

If you don’t push the boundaries you will always be lamenting how you are stuck and stagnating. Sales aren’t moving. Things are the same. It used to work before. Now it is not. Of course it is not. You cannot expect to do the same things over and over again and expect different results. Because things change, circumstances change. What you apply has to change.

You need to take risks. Attempt the scary and with it come off with some bruises and scars. But having attempted, you will jump farther. That makes you excel. Gain knowledge and insight. And new sales.

Which edge are you leaping from today?

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Are you proud of what you are selling?

If I won’t have my kids eat it, I won’t sell it. If I won’t advise my mom to use it, I won’t sell it. If I won’t tell my wife to slap that cream on her face, I won’t sell it.

It’s not about having the market decide. 

You must surely believe in the role that you play. The power in your hands to change perception and affect action. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be selling your skills. If you don’t believe in your skills, you are lying to your client. Selling them quack. They pay you good money for your expertise to affect action and manage perception.

If you believe in your skills to manage perception and affect action, then you must believe there are moral responsibilities that come with it. 

Either way, you need to decide.

Are you selling what you are proud of?

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Why aren’t apple chips selling better than potato chips?

If you are in the snacks business and believe what consumers tell you then you should be selling apple chips. But apple chips don’t sell as well as potato chips. 

I know if I order my favorite colonel recipe, I want it with the skin and all. Even when I know it’s not as healthy a choice. Do I know that it is unhealthy? Do I know how to make a better choice? What am I using to make this choice? My brain or my tongue?

Is it better to listen or observe?

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Friday, April 1, 2011

How do you create conversations?

How does a brand create great conversations with its consumers?

Be a good listener. While you want to sell, people only buy when they trust you. That trust comes in the long term when you listen to what your consumers are saying. Whether through your FGDs, quantitative research, observations, feedback or your customer service hotlines. 

Prepare for conversations. To prepare for conversations means you need to know who you are talking to. To understand that respect is gained when you know the innuendos, subtleties, interests, fears and everything that makes your consumers human and individuals rather than the demographic and psychographic you defined them.  

Ask questions that allow people to reveal themselves. Then you are allowing people to talk to you. You have an open invitation to their minds and behavior. 

Conversations aren’t the statements being articulated. They are the space and pauses between the questions and statements.

What chat starters have you seeded today?

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