Monday, April 30, 2012

What do they care?

When you want your fans (consumers) to advocate you, do you really think they care how big you are? The most ardent fans are those who are with the band when they did pub gigs. The most loyal fans are those who supported the team when the team was playing in division two or on the verge of relegation.

Fans don’t care how big you are. They care how you connect with them.

How big are you in their heart?

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Friday, April 27, 2012

When will they ignore you?

Sticking to your success formula in any of your campaigns can actually be a formula for failure. Why?

For one thing, competitors start copying you.

You lose the element of surprise – to your consumers and to your competitors.

Why is an element of surprise to your consumers important? It makes you stand out.

Why is an element of surprise to your competitors important? It strikes them when they least expect it.

When you stick to a particular formula for an amount of time, your way of communicating becomes a blind spot.

When people don’t see, read and listen to your communication, where can your brand be?

How will they notice you next?

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

How extraordinary does your brand want to be?

Doing ordinary things to achieve a great brand, is there really such a thing? 

Every other prospect we meet seems to want us to develop that one killer marketing idea for them. So that their brand can become the next great brand. But great brands do not all become great by doing extraordinary things all the time. In fact, they do ordinary things extraordinarily well. 

Really, look at your marketing plans now. If you are launching a product do you have everything buttoned down? Your distribution strategy is in line with your goals and target consumers. Bare basics, you would say. But you will be surprised how many marketers out there that does not even get this right. 

They seem to think, I just need to get this onto the shelves, buy some ad space then my brand will fly. Nope, doesn’t work that way.

Go back to the ordinary things. Like getting your distribution strategy, your pricing, your brand positioning right. 

Sometimes, great things happen to your brand because you do ordinary things extraordinarily well. 

What’s your definition of ordinary?

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It’s not called commercial media is it?

When your consumers get on social media they want to – yes, socialize. They likely want to get to know your brand better. Perhaps, they expect some form of customer service from your favourite social media channel. Even if you did not set it up to make it a customer service platform. 

Your consumers who likes you on your brand’s Facebook wants to connect. They do not want to be shoved promotions and they sure do not want to be asked to participate in the multitudes of contest you have for them. 

That’s not to say you should not do all these. Go ahead and do it. But first remember, they are there to connect first. To connect you need to be personable. Not commercial. Otherwise, it would have been called commercial media.

There is a reason it’s called social media, no?

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Is your brain working alone?

There must always be a solid next step. A next course of action that is in essence implementing the plan. Especially, after a meeting. Particularly, after a brainstorm.

Some people are in love with brainstorms. And why not? Brainstorms give a semblance of work. After all, it happens during work time. So it’s got to be work. It’s also the perfect escape from the real work that is waiting for you. It allows you to feel smart, vomit some management sound bites and regurgitate some marketing gibberish. Plus after the havoc from the brainstorm, no one is clear what needs to be done anyway.

I am sure it is not you. 

Brainstorms are done to solve a problem. Come out with new solutions. Create new ways of doing things. 

There needs to be clear next course of action after a brainstorm. Otherwise, non action after a brainstorm is what will take you into a storm.

Are you getting your hands and legs involved?

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Monday, April 23, 2012

What is the one thing that kills productivity in your office?

Internet procrastination.

Don’t pretend. You know what it means.
Don’t believe? Spy on yourself and your colleagues.

How much time do you really spend on work?

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Are you in love with the past?

You did a very successful campaign. In fact, you did many successful campaigns. They were all good and sales were great. You wished you could repeat the same every year and with different products.

But in marketing it doesn’t happen that way. Because situation changes, consumers change, the competitive landscape changes. 

Can you still make it work? Yes, but with changes. You need to move on, evolve and embrace the future now before the future becomes your past.

What’s your next success?

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Is small the new big?

One small drop in the ocean won’t create much of a ripple, but one small drop in a cup can make it overflow.

A small sampling campaign can give you a leap in sales in one outlet. But that’s not enough to contribute to the national sales figure. You would need a lot of small sampling “campaigns” to get to nationwide and make an impact.

Why not work a plan that can get you the bigger ocean than a splash in a cup?

Where’s your next impact?

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Can the market feel it?

Can Newton’s Second Law of Motion F=ma be applied to your marketing campaign?

If F= Force, m=mass and a=acceleration then can we assume:

That F is the impact of your marketing. Hence it is dependent on m= the mass of your campaign. How big it is.

And a= the speed in which you execute it.

So to have your campaign make an impact, either increase your marketing mass i.e., m or increase it’s a i.e., acceleration - the speed in which you execute your plans. Or better yet – both m and a.

What’s your marketing force?

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What do your eyes hear?

It’s not that you are not creative. In this hyper-speed world of information, you tend to add and multiply things instead of subtracting and dividing things.
You want new ideas to pop into your head?
  1. Get as much silence as possible.
  2. Practice meditation if you can. Watch yourself breathe.
  3. Know that a little is a lot.
  4. Music is beautiful, movies are great, but silence is magical.
  5. Say nothing. Listen earnestly. Contemplate fully.
  6. Stay silent so that ideas can roar at you.
What do your ears see?

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Monday, April 16, 2012

What answers do you have?

Better to pause then to rattle. Especially, if you are trying to convince someone of your point.

It gives you focus. Ever attended a meeting where everyone just jumps in to give their point of view? Ever presented and have someone in the audience saying one point after another and before you can complete your sentence, she is at it again? As if rattling her submachine gun mouth will kill the idea that she does not like.

Better yet, I think is to pause. Breathe. Filter all the useless bullets and use one. Just like the snipers. Breathe. Focus. Pull the trigger.

Sometimes they are known to have two kills with one shot too.

What do you want to shoot down today?

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Why don’t you have enough time at work?

Because you:

1.    Check personal email, Facebook, news, Youtube.
2.    You lie to yourself that you can multitask.
3.    You are on your mobile phone with sms, whatsapp, and whatever else. Stock prices?
4.    Feel anxious when you turn off these things. So you leave them on thinking it’s only a few seconds here and there.
5.    Stay on the phone too long than you need to with someone. Especially a personal call.
6.    Take lunch longer than you should. Your justification is – “I need the break”.
7.    Allow yourself to be distracted each time you need to start on the boring assignment. Like “Oh, I need to reply this email about lunch tomorrow first.”
I am sure you will say I am wrong. You need all these.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Can I poke you?

Why do you want me in the room if you are not going to listen? Never mind if you are not going to accept my idea. But listen. Accepting and listening are very different things.

You can listen and learn something even when you do not accept it. But if you refuse to listen, then there is no way to accept. 

One has to come before the other. 

Want to learn something new?

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What questions do you ask?

I get a lot of emails forwarded to me and I forward some. Things I find interesting and things I think may benefit others. I even curate some of the things that get popped into my mail box and I keep them aside. Sort of like a hobby. Collecting interesting topics that I then send out as a newsletter called “Because Tomorrow's Friday”. 

(Sidebar - I send it out on Thursday reasoning that people have more time to read them on Friday – they are more relaxed. If you want to receive a copy of this irregular newsletter send us an email at shout(at)

Curating is important especially with the junk that gets popped into your mailbox daily. One of the most important things when curating is to ask questions. Especially critical questions like, is this real? How can I test if this is a good case? What is my point of view? Are there better cases than this?

Curating is as much about what not to put up on the wall of a gallery as what to put up. And to decide, you need to ask a lot of questions. 

It’s the same as what you decide to put in your ad. What do you leave out so people may get a better picture of what you put on display?

Are you removing for clarity?

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Monday, April 9, 2012

What healthy shot do you need?

If you think your consumers are stupid, perhaps it is time to talk to them. Really. No need for any focus groups no need for any quantitative research.

Just walk the trade and show your ad or whatever to whoever your consumer is. Just talk. Tell them who you are and speak away.

Sometimes, when you trap yourself in the title you carry and the nice office you have, you lose track of who you are. You become cocky.

A healthy dose of respect for your consumers will bring immense rewards. Like your brand gets bought. Before your consumers get bored.

How do you know you are not too full of yourself?

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Are you a branding monomaniac?

I get really tired when people talk and talk all day about branding and marketing. 

What am I talking about? Especially, when this blog is about marketing and yet I say I am tired and bored when people talk about branding and marketing all day?

Well, yes. Point is this. Marketing and branding touches people’s lives. It affects the company. What you say and do needs to touch people. Otherwise, no one buys anything from you.

That being the case, should you not read a lot more than just branding and marketing? Should you not concern yourself with psychology, sociology, anthropology and whatever else that touches human lives? Music, religion, arts, law and science? 

That’s why in this blog, you see other entries too.

Are you boring the company you are in?

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

What will make your marketing special?

Plant humanity in your marketing.

You talk about being authentic all day and being real. That you want your consumers to take you for who you are and what you stand for. But yet, but yet you lack humanity in what you do. Because behind your mind, you are driven by profit. The argument of course is that, who’s not? True.

But understand that purpose builds profit. What is the fundamental purpose of what you are delivering to your consumers? That purpose cannot be profit. That purpose has to have humanity embedded in it.

When you have humanity embedded in your purpose and is defined by humanity. You, your brand and marketing activities become real.

Are you the title you carry? 

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How do you choose what to decline?

Between principle and practicality, is there an in-between?

Survival (or success), we were told is living between principle and practicality. This was when we mentioned hundreds of times to potential clients that we do not pitch.

You usually get a very blank stare when you tell people that you are turning down their business. In practicality, we do need the money (I mean even if you have a lot of money, you will still want more money.) If you do not pitch you are losing out on a lot of potential profits.

Well, true. 

But what do we believe in? A pitch process is a very bad way to find a long term partner. And that’s that. And if it costs us a lot of money, well OK that’s the cost we are willing to pay to stand on our principles.

After all, all brands are defined by what they stand for. 
What are you standing on?

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How do you use numbers?

Numbers dictate the way we make decisions. Some people call it statistics. 

In marketing, you use lots of numbers. You make decisions based on chances of success or avoidance of failure. Whether you are approving an ad or deciding which market to go for. You make decisions based on the profit you will make. 

Again, numbers. I would argue that you make arguments for your plans and profits based on large numbers.

Even when you are going after a niche market, you will compare all the niches and you are likely to go for the biggest amongst the smallest. Or highest chances of success amongst the smallest if that is your decision.

Here’s the funny thing, why do you like to quote the anomaly, the outlier when you want to reject something? 

Let me give you a non-marketing example, if you say to a smoker that the chances of getting lung cancer is x% more than a non-smoker, chances are you will hear the smoker quote you an example of a cousin’s grandaunt’s mother-in-law who smoked 3 packs a day and lived till 96 years old. Oh wow. Evidence to continue smoking.

And a marketing example, if you presented an ad based on an insight you found out from research that 78% of your consumers do a certain action and featured that for good reason. Inevitably, some smart ass marketer sitting across the table will tell you, “ Well, my __________ (insert closest relative here or the tea lady) is a consumer of this but she does not do this.”

Add to the conversation in order that we tighten our decision making. Using anecdotal evidence like that in the face of statistics and numbers does not sharpen our thinking as a group. It takes discussions off-tangent.

When are you discarding anecdotal evidence?

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Is this made by hand?

Some of us decided to expire our past lives and rebirth again as craftsmen we were destined to be.

So we can use our hands and make something we are proud of. Sweat our blood into it. Bleed our soul into our craft. And use our name as the guarantee for our art.

Just like Brad Estabrooke of Breuckelen Distilling Company and Joel Bukiewicz of Cut Brooklyn.

The Distiller

It’s time our craft is hand made again.

Here in Kuala Lumpur, you can call Choe Chee Sun, Mun Tuck Wai or us if you appreciate your marketing communications being hand-crafted.

Is that mass produced?

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