Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why don’t you have enough time?

Because you are full of excuses. You choose the things you like to do first and you pursue the hell out of them. Whether they are important or otherwise. 

Because you refuse to confront the fact that you are lazy. You choose to do all self gratifying activities and say you deserve it. Who decides you deserve it? You? Good. Then it is you who decides how much time you have too. Fair?

Everyone has 24 hours in a day. Everyone is busy. Some are more productive than others because they know what to do when the pillars of excuses appear. They have learned how to ignore them.

What are you doing with the hidden minutes?

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Monday, May 30, 2011

What ingredients are you mixing?

It’s not that analysis is not important. Synthesis could be more important to you. To analyze is to break data down. To synthesize is to combine data and create some useful information from which you can plan and act.

Yes, I know we need to analyze. You use the word analyze like it will make you sound smarter. But all your analysis will not bring any worthwhile information until you combine it with other pieces of information you have.

Stop separating and start mixing already.

When will you be kneading the dough?

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Friday, May 27, 2011

What is worth going to the gulag for?

Ideas come and go. Everyone has ideas. Being able to execute it is what makes a difference. Forget about asking for opinions. No one knows your dreams and fears. Only you know what you want to pursue. Only you know what matters to you. 

How are you chasing it?

You walk into a restaurant, it kicks off an idea in your mind how to make one like that and make it better. You think that idea is going to bring you fame and fortune. It stays an idea.

You buy a great product and think, “Wow, if I put this into a different packaging, I probably can make barrel loads of cash.” It stays and idea.

You go overseas and see nice little trinkets that you can probably sell for 100 times the price. You think, “Hey I can bring this in and sell it at the malls.” It stays and idea.

It’s not how many ideas you have. It’s deciding which ones you will feed with your blood and sweat and anxiety.

Which ones are you willing to die for?

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

What are people saying about you?

When was the last time you googled your brand name followed by the word “sucks”? Like this - (brand name) sucks. Try a few variations too. Like “I hate (brand name),” “Boycott (brand name)”, “I will never buy (brand name) again.” 

Ignore your sweaty palms. Go on. Yes, now.

What did you find?

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What rituals do you have for your clan?

Rituals formalize important events in clans and tribes. It adds meaning to the status of the member in the clan or tribe.

In some parts of the world, the coming of age means the teenage boy has to tie vines to his ankle and jump off tall trees, head down first. We pay to do this. But for the boy, once he succeeds, he is considered an adult. And with it all the rights and privileges that comes with being an adult.

Weddings and funerals are also rituals to signify certain journey in one’s life witnessed by the clan. These rituals are important as a form of recognition and as a rites of passage.

The clan that you are building via your social media efforts - what rituals are you using to welcome members? What rituals to recognize effort to help you propagate your brand?

How are you formalizing inclusion?

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What is your Dunbar’s Number?

people standing near building

Robert Dunbar, British anthropologist proposed that there is a cognitive limit to the number of people we as humans can maintain a stable social relationship with. Meaning we know each other well and how each of us are related to one another. I suppose you can say, ‘hold a meaningful relationship.’ That’s my way of interpreting it.

That number he proposed based on his research is 150. Other anthropologists like H. Russell Bernard and Peter Killworth have suggested the number can get up to 290. 

How does that relate to your social marketing efforts? There is no point in having lots of fans and likes when it is not meaningful. If a tribe that has meaningful relationship is about the size of 150-290, would that be an ideal number to have on your Facebook page? Or your Twitter following? One that allows meaningful relationships. 

What’s the point of numbers when numbers do not mean anything?

How many meaningful relationships do you have?

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Monday, May 23, 2011

What if Facebook has a “Love” Button?

Let’s just say Facebook now has a “Love” button, will people click your brand’s “Love” button just as much as they “Like” it? It’s easy to ‘like’ something. For like, people do not jump in head and heels into you. 

Love is different. Love is asking for a dedication. Like? That’s just something that delights.

There is no need for a relationship with you just to like you. To love you, that is different. It’s nice to have a lot of likes. It’s great to have a lot of love. Facebook or not.

What will make people click your “Love” button?

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Friday, May 20, 2011

How are you using limitations?

My late Pa used to say "穷则变,变则通” (Qiong Zhe Bian, Bian Zhe Tong). It is to mean, being poor forces you to change, by changing you find solutions.

But I would translate it this way, "Poverty forces creativity, creativity builds solution."

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Are these statements stopping your learning?

Ya, it’s a different category.
Times are different.
If we are in the (x) segments, that’s what we will do, but I am selling (y).
But that’s in a different country.
We have done that before. It didn’t work the last time.
You are crazy for suggesting that.
I buy into it, but my colleagues/boss/management/BOD won’t. No point. Let’s not waste our time.

If you do not try, how would you know? Oh, wait. Because you just know. Yup, I understand.

Lucky for us, Christopher Columbus didn’t say he just knew. Leonardo Da Vinci didn’t say he just knew. Louis Pasteur didn’t say he just knew.

What wisdom are your statements revealing today?

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How are you welcoming constraints?

My kids now have toys bought from hyper huge toy shops. He has toy guns that looks and functions like real guns equipped with magazines and reloads and all. Wow. If only I had those when I was younger, I would not have to make what looked like guns from wood and berries for bullets. Our ‘grenade’ was made from mud. It hurts like mad when it landed on you in close distance. Sure, my parents could have bought us the plastic cowboy six shooters. But they were considered a luxury then.

Surprisingly, when there is water rationing. We all seem to be able to make do with a bucket of water. We could wash our hair, shower and still stay clean. We would have our navy shower and it will be OK. But when our water is in its full gush and ‘free flow’ we would use ten times more water than needed. We tend to be more creative with our use of water when we have less.

In the Apollo 13 mission 40 years ago, the crew in space and mission specialist on ground dealt with every constraints they have to safely bring back the astronauts. And they did. It’s now made famous in the movie Apollo 13.

When you are asked to do something with your hands tight? It may be your finest moment.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

What are you coding today?

Loyalty can only be earned. It is not a card. It is not a membership. It is definitely not a program. A loyalty program may in fact detract your team from building brand loyalty. 

Loyalty involves delighting consumers with your brand experience, earning their trust and gaining their respect in the way you treat them and do business with them. You forge a relationship and you work hard at keeping it. Like any relationship.

Most loyalty programs out there seem to me more like discount plans, points collection system and “here let me bribe you” scheme. To use the word “loyalty” in such a way is really to dishonor the word.

Can your loyalty be programmed?

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

What’s your inclusivity plan?

Cards are supposed to make us feel exclusive. Some where in a time past, it stopped being exclusive anymore. Everyone is giving everyone a card. A membership card, a discount card, a “I don’t really feel exclusive” card but let’s just do it because everyone's doing it. And it seems even some marketers are still doing it for the sake of giving a card. 

If the idea is to make your consumers feel exclusive, why can’t you do something inclusive? Which means something simple that your consumers enjoy without having to climb a hill of sword and down a sea of fire?

No need for a card. Based on whatever information you have from your data? Just give that discount, that free room, the free air ticket or birthday cake. No need for a card.

Exclusivity via inclusivity. Inclusive means making easier for me as your consumer. Then, I will feel exclusive. 

Where would they put your card?
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What joy have you brought?

We have all heard of share of wallet, share of stomach, share of throat, share of cabinet even. I am sure your brand has its own version of share you measure.

How many brands measure share of smiles? How much joy have you brought your fans?
Share of tears? Were you there when they needed you most? How can our brand be there in times of need? No, no, it’s not about replacement card in 24 hours. Think harder. 

Share of faith? How much do people trust us versus the newspaper man?

What share are you measuring?

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Are you leveraging on 30,000 brand names?

What if you have got it all wrong? All this while you thought you have been branding your products or services. You did everything right. Your brand image is spick-and-span. Your brand values are immaculate. Your brand identity is spot on. Gosh, everything is so right. People dream of being you.

But in fact, 30,000 (or whatever the number may be) people are branding you. These 30,000 people are helping you brand your brand. You see, when they put you on, use you, drive you, drink you, slap you on their faces, make a call on you, etc. They are allowing their brand to be used by you. It gives others a composite picture of who and what is your brand. A lot more than all the ads you can run. And the CRM you can send.

How much are you paying your loyal fans?

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Please explain to me why can’t you do this?

There was a time when companies put in policies in order to safe guard the interests of the company. Most notably these policies are put in because it needed to ‘protect’ itself. From what, sometimes as consumers we do not know. I guess it could be from being exploited by a group of consumers. You know those who make use of the no questions asked refund policy?

But as competition grows and your services and products become comodified, policies like that can be detrimental to your company building a relationship with your consumers. Are your policies defined by how easy you want customers to do business with you? Or are your policies defined by how easy you want to do business with your customers?

May be the next time you craft a business policy that affects people who part with their hard earned money, time and effort with you, you should ask yourself these questions. Am I making friends with this policy? A whisper of “Sorry, this is company policy” is a yell of “Go, F*** off” in your customers ears. It’s a no win. 

How will it help my brand sell more? Vs how much will I lose if I do not have this policy? Is my brand transactional or relational? Are your consumers saying, “Please don’t give me discounts, just make it easy for me.”

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Should your customers send you a “Thank you” card for being allowed to do business with you?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Why are you not reflecting?

Or introspecting? How much time do you need to pause, introspect and think what worked for you and what didn’t?

It’s the easiest way to learn. You do not need a lot of time. All you need is five to ten minutes, ideally at the end of the day. Just to ask yourself a few questions. What did I do that worked? What shouldn’t I have done? Who helped me and I should thank and show gratitude? 

A sort of Naikan Therapy if you will. It will help you learn and improve tremendously when done consistently. 

Everyday you are walking miles and miles. When you come upon a stream or a pond, stop and allow the water to reflect your image. If you do not stop, your mind cannot reflect. How can you improve?

All learning needs reflection, introspection and feedback. Stop and think how you can be a better you versus the you of yesterday. It will do all of us immense good.

When do you plan to pause?

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

It is OK to fail?

Of course it is. Who’s going to remember? So what if they remember? What do you have to lose? Even if you lose what do you lose?

The price of success is the risk of failing. It is OK to fail. 

I can give you a lot of quotes about failing. Stories about people who failed and became successful later. You will say you believe in it. But you won’t embrace it. You risk your ego being bruised. That’s why you fear failing. 

You will say it is OK, you will speak like a hero but you won’t believe it. But it’s OK.

Whether you are successful now or not is immaterial. It’s still OK to fail.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How do you capitalize on opportunities?

By curing you and your organization Can’t-Do-titis. It’s a huge disease that infects CEOs all the way down to product executives. You know the people who see the gas tank as being half empty instead of being half full? The one that says, cannot, should not and would not? 

Yea, that disease. The chronic inflammation of the Can-Do attitude. No COX-2 inhibitor is ever going to help this condition.

Opportunities knock every time. It wants you to be the hero. The richest person. The Idol. But each time it knocks, your can’t-do-titis answers the door. How?

Who’s answering the door to opportunity today?

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Can you measure the commitment?

I don’t know. My pea brain is trying to think how does one measure commitment? Doesn’t matter if it is the measurement of your commitment to your goals or your brand’s commitment to its consumers. How do you do that? Quite logically you may suggest some kind of scale to measure – time and effort. But how do you measure things like Soul? Authenticity? Laughter?  Care? Such things that makes you, you. Such things that makes your brand more loved than the brand that sits next to yours on the shelf? 

How do you measure these things that turn evangelists into zealots? You can try to measure it or you can just BE.

Why aren’t people loving you yet?

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