Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why would you give something for free?

Sampling can be used for many reasons. You want someone to try your brand. You are new and you want to introduce yourself to potential customers. You want people to get used to whatever your product is. Be it something people ingest, something people slap on their face, gel their hair or add to their food.

Problem is when you sample, how many are you giving away for free? Is it in enough frequency that it creates a habit? Is it in enough quantity that your brand starts to wedge itself into the life of your potential customer?

Free samples maybe the one way you can be openly covert in seeping into your customers life.

Are you using free as your new Trojan horse?

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Which script are you reading?

You can do what you love so long as you also play the role you are supposed to play. 

If you are a CEO then be sure that you know what the role of the CEO is. If you love fishing more than being a father, so long as you play the role of a father, you can fish all you want.

We all have major roles in our lives. We have to play those roles and play it well. Otherwise the system falls apart.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why is it that others can pull it off?

When we see people doing something like this, we say “wow!”

Now imagine a similar idea were to be presented to you and your company.
Let me guess, here will be some of the excuses why it cannot/won’t work.

We will get sued if the kids fell.
No one will ever climb up there.
It’s too risky.
Can you guarantee the ROI on this?
Our production people will not be able to pull it off.
The logistics to pull this off takes too much time.
Operations will not agree.
Legal needs to approve this.
I don’t think it will work.
I checked with my teenage daughter, she said she did not like the idea.
Region needs to approve.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

What are you seeing?

Someone once told me, “We do all the thinking, you just need to execute”.

Wow. Such bold words. But I did not dare to challenge him in terms of quality of thinking. After all, he is by societal standards a successful businessman. Whether it was built on solid thinking or not, I am not sure. 

One thing I do have expertise though is that he doesn’t have very strong brands. So, he may be proud to have a solid business, he is far from having solid brands. And maybe, just maybe it’s this ‘thinking’ he is so proud of that makes his brands suffer.

I wonder if this successful man’s ‘thinking’ refers to ‘self talk’. After all, when we say we are thinking really what we are doing is talking to ourselves. 

Goethe said, “We see only what we know”. If that is the case, what is it that he sees in his mind? Only what he knows. 

Thinking is about unearthing what is unknown. If someone says, “I do all the thinking” then it is a pretty sad day for him. He does not realize the benefits of the cross fertilization of ideas and more importantly being exposed to what he does not know.

When you know what you do not know, then you start to learn.

Are you wise or are you intelligent?

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Where is our common ground?

It is easy to oppose things. All you have to say is you disagree and bring to boil some facts to back up what you think is correct. For plans to make a splash there must be a common platform we can all spring board from. 

We can make splashes by struggling in water. But one of us will drown. We need to find a common platform we can both dive in synchronicity. Perhaps even afford a perfect 10 in that attempt.

Are you tearing my truth to live your lie?

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Do you know how it came about?

One day my colleague and I were at the reception of a company. After waiting for our appointment for 15 minutes of so, we were told by the receptionist that we were not allowed to sit there. Surprised, we asked where else can we sit then? 

She politely told us she has two meeting cubicles she can settle us. Interestingly, these cubicles are situated at a very important department. Within our earshot we can hear people discussing prices of goods, ETA of containers and discussions I would consider confidential.

What shocked us was we witnessed a shouting match between two colleagues! 

When peace returned to the space, we were discussing why would a company have such a policy? One, exposing potentially confidential information to outsiders. Two, exposing the type of working culture to strangers.

Our conclusion was this; the boss probably started the policy of not allowing your guest to wait for more than 15 minutes. Hence, we were hurried into another room so the boss would not see.

But in implementing it, they have just exposed us to a less than pleasant experience.

A sage once said something to this effect, “Do not do because it has been acquired by repeated practice nor upon tradition…”

What history have you understood?

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Are you hiding behind perfection?

When you do not start to execute your plans, it could be you are too frightened.

You need to have a healthy balance of enthusiasm and risk. Otherwise, you start to create excuses why you cannot ship. You will always need the extra information. You will never be ready.

To be ready – do, feel, and apply. Which means to execute, learn and reapply – that’s the one way your small company can grow.

I am frightened to give you this advice too. But I will do it anyway. It’s the only way we can sail new lands.

The map is not the terrain.

Are you getting out of your tent or not?

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Why is your map?

You plan for your brand. But what are you planning for yourself? It is easy to do a brand plan. Any fool can do one. 

But to do a life plan? That’s a scary one.

Maybe you don’t need a life plan. What you need is a “why” plan. 

Plans are for the faint hearted. Why is for the bold.

It’s easy to create a plan and hide behind it, but frightening to find out why.

What is your why?

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Are you too left?

It allows us to feel our vulnerability. Plus it allows us to leave some space for learning. And some space to make mistakes we can correct. 

When you are too right, too experienced, too smart, that’s when you do not make any mistakes. Hence, miss a good learning opportunity. But someone who is too whatever has no need for this learning.

Add too rich, too easy, and too visionary. You miss an opportunity to see how close you are to building six sides of a coffin you live in.

Do you feel safe in your sarcophagus tonight?

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Are we there yet?

To reach your destination your desire has to be bigger than your goal.

If you aren’t there, you really need to review your desire. How much fire in the belly do you have? Is your mouth louder than your mind?

Commitment isn’t a word. It’s a vow. One grows out of eye-bags soaked with tears, drenched with sweat and signed in blood. 

Here’s the thing, your desire cannot be the sole focus of your life. Otherwise, you bleed to death.

How loud is your mind talking?

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Do you only have one interest?

People often ask me why is this blog not just about marketing and branding since Roar Point is a branding consultancy?

The obvious answer is that wouldn’t it be utterly boring if it were just to be about branding and marketing. That’s one.

Secondly, branding and marketing is about people and people are interesting. What we do touches life and we should be rich like life too.

You don’t need to be obsessed with your work to be an expert. I doubt a solid tumor oncologist is obsessed with sarcomas, carcinomas and lymphomas only. He may actually like wine, be interested in existential philosophies and poetry too.

A brand expert that talks nothing but branding is poor at his work.

What are your multiple obsessions?
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What did your competitors just do?

Whatever that they are doing, do you have to do something in response? That’s the natural reaction isn’t it? Someone does something especially an adversary; we are programmed to do something. 

Perhaps the wisest thing to do is to follow the plan you have put forth. A focused and disciplined trudging of the march may yield you more distance than chasing after the little mosquito that bit you.

The closest a brand can get to the concept of “wu wei” is to stick to your orbit.

What is the nothing that you are doing?

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What is your ratio?

Does balance always have to mean 50:50? 

How then do you measure work-life balance? Some people are willing to pay the price of career success – whatever that means to each individual - by putting in the hours. They may not seem to have work-life balance, to you. But that is the price they are willing to pay.

To accuse your boss of not providing you work-life balance is highly unfair. Bosses are not here to provide work-life balance. For one simple reason, bosses don’t know what is your balance. And your balance may not be the same as the colleague in your department. 

So, what does it mean? Your boss has to customize a work-life balance for everyone?

Don’t get me wrong. Do I believe in work-life balance? Of course I do. I know my balance. I know when I tip to spending more time at work and what are the hours I would like to spend with my family.  But that’s me. Not you. What is balance to you may be different from everyone else. 

If you feel you are overworked for long periods of time, quit. But don’t blame your boss for the lack of work-life balance. 

If you decide to talk about work-life balance, you better know what your ratio is. Find work that fits that ratio.

You can’t quantify the qualitative. It’s against logic.

What time are you going home today?

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Monday, June 13, 2011

What is the colour of your extinguisher?

Very often you get into a meeting and someone comes out with a brilliant idea. Everyone will agree that it is a good idea to pursue and make it happen.

Then what happens? People who are more enthusiastic about the idea will usually run and get everything ready. They will look for wood; they will search for the matches. All ready to start a fire. The rest stands and watch. Which is nothing wrong, really.

What makes it not so right is when decision makers back down, not knowing how to balance enthusiasm and risk. Unsure of the future, they prefer to think of what may go wrong instead of what may go right. Unable to balance assumed risks and rewards that awaits pioneers.

Have you peeped outside your tent?

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Friday, June 10, 2011

How do you discipline your inspiration to appear?

By getting out from the pillars of mediocrity.
By stealing time from hidden minutes.
By sacrificing near term gratification.
By audacious faith in your dreams.
By focusing on the next step regardless of how tedious.

Inspiration doesn’t appear. You find it in discipline.

Have you been waiting in vain?

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

How good is your work?

Stop creating excuses for your mediocrity.

I am overworked. I don’t have enough time. My work-life balance sucks. I need some rest. I hate my job. I am not doing what I love. I don’t know what I want. I hope my boss understands me. I wish I have more money to pursue my dreams. This is not easy. You don’t lead my life. My situation is different. There are too many demands on my life. I am stretched beyond my limits. I wish I can quit now but I need this job. I am just buying time. If only I went to a better school. If only I went to school. If only I was born in a better family. 

You can add to the list.

Or you can start writing a list on here’s how I can do better. Here’s what is working for me. 

Are you better with excuses or reasons?

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What is the raison d’ĂȘtre of your determination?

No one cares about the cost, the course and the craze you may have in your concern. To get them on the road with you, hop on your wagon of destiny, they must understand your cause.

If they understand the cause, they will cycle, walk and run along if they have to. You won’t need to provide the wagon.

What are you transporting with today?

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

So what if you know?

You cannot be asking for more and more information and just feel good about it. People will think that you are an information junkie. Addicted to figures but not action. 

Unless you are doing something with the information, don’t bother asking for it. Figures, data, market intelligence only means something if you act upon that information. 

What are you going to do with the data?

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Monday, June 6, 2011

How are you brutalizing it?

Is your positioning statement more a statement than a position? How are you taking that position? Why are you taking that position? What adjustments are you making on that position?

Interesting isn’t it? You write a positioning statement and suddenly when you are asked to take a position - which means to tattoo your chest with your cause and climb to the top of Vinson Massif and shout it out – you hide behind the statement.

And you churn out the banal and mediocre.

Dump that GPS. Take a position and defend it with excellence.

When are you revealing your cause?

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Friday, June 3, 2011

How are you revealing yourself?

Of course, some brands want to own a word. Some brands want to own a statement. Others a phrase.

Some look at successful brands and think I want to be like them. Nothing wrong with that so long as you continuously reveal yourself. What does that one word, phrase or statement mean to your brand?

Then what does that one word or phrase or statement mean to your consumers? How will it transform their lives? What does it say about them when they associate with you?

How will people justify their social intercourse with you? 

Is your positioning statement more a statement than a position?

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Can you manufacture a conversation?

I suppose you can. Just that it won’t be much of a conversation. There won’t be any depth in it. According to, a conversation is an “association or social intercourse; intimate acquaintance.”

Quite intrinsically, to have an “intimate acquaintance” you will need to undress your superficiality, and practice a nudity of honesty. 

I met someone who introduced himself as a “Conversation Strategist.” That kind of translated into “manufactured social intercourse” to me.

How enjoyable is your brand’s fellowship with its consumers?

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What is a heartbeat to your brand?

You can think of a heartbeat as life. You can think of a heartbeat as time. Brands touch lives. Some are more evident. If you are a medical or nutritional brand it is clear the impact you make. If you are an automotive brake pad manufacturer, it’s clear to you but it may not be for the end user. 

In fact, brands change lives. Then what does life mean to your brand?

When you define that, will it add more depth to your brand's personality? Your brand's tone and manner? Add authenticity?

What difference will your brand make?

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