Thursday, August 30, 2012

What do you do with your time?

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – Gandalf in The Fellowship of the Ring.

What good have you done?

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Who’s provoking you?

If you are in a position of power say for example being a client or a boss. Pray that you are blessed with people who would provoke you into thought. Especially, people who would ask you the right questions.

Because no amount of success you have now guarantees success in the future. When being questioned makes you uncomfortable remind yourself - comfort breeds complacency.

Discomfort tells you something is wrong, whether physically or mentally.

What’s the source of your comfort?

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What have you not seen?

You are an old soldier.

What have you not seen, heard and experienced? So, why the drama when something happens? No amount of unreasonable requests, stupid remarks, arrogant whoever should entice the negativity out from you.

You are an old soldier. Approach every event with Zen-like calmness. Otherwise, you are just a rookie.

What have you not heard?

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Monday, August 27, 2012

How do you value your contribution?

By now, most of us would have known that Mr. Neil Armstrong passed away on Saturday.

In a statement issued by the family after his death, his family “hope that it (his life) serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves. For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."

Simple words for concepts you probably already know; ones that take more than a few small steps with yourself.

Maybe it is a good time to ask of ourselves; what is my service to the world in this little satellite of a universe called life? We don’t all have to fly into space to be seen as contributing. In the little sphere we call work, perhaps we can be the best damn whatever that we do.

It is a interesting to know, Mr. Armstrong never capitalized on his fame and popularity. And as we strive to have our career take-off and reach for the skies, perhaps think how we can be modest and humble, to only take credit when we truly worked for it.

We all may not quite get to the moon, but we can all be reaching for the stars of our dreams. And while we all cannot make that giant leap for mankind, we can all take small daily steps that makes a difference in our lives and those that we touch.

Who will give you a wink?

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Friday, August 17, 2012

How did you map it?

It always amazes me whenever someone (doesn’t matter who – it can be a brand planner or client) does a brand mapping involving their brands and competitive brands on a x and y axis with 4 attributes and find an area that is absolutely unoccupied. Like the example above.

Really? Wow.

After all these years, who would have thought none of your competitors or any of the other players in the category did not figure that one out?

Please, do everyone a favour when that happens – work harder, think better, relook into the variables you are measuring. Something is not quite right there.

What space do you truly occupy?

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

What do you believe?

I tend to believe clients' and agencies' practice of branding is very much like people’s practice of religion. Pick any religion. It doesn’t really matter.

Some will say they practice a particular religion. But they talk more than practice.
Some will practice certain parts of the religion but neglect others.
Some will be very myopic in their interpretation of practices.
Others will practice but fail to understand why they do it.
Yet others will do because others are doing it.
Some question too much instead of understanding and experiencing.

How do you practice?

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What’s your definition?

Whatever business you are in, you should have a definition of that. I don’t mean a vision or a mission type. Or some swanky terms like “your field of competence”. What I am referring to is something even simpler.

For example, if you are in the beauty business – what is your definition of beauty? If you are in the health care business – what is health to you? If you are in the branding business – what is branding to you? If you are in the education business, what is education to you? Something you and your people can understand and repeat to outsiders. So everyone can speak the same language, so to speak.

If you cannot even articulate what it means, how can you even expect others to understand you?

What does it mean?

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Where is the Olympian in you?

“Citius, Altius, Fortius.” Faster, Higher, Stronger. The Olympic motto.

Whether you look at it from a business or personal stand point, we can always be better. But saying you will be better and actually putting action behind those words is a big difference. If it takes 10,000 hours to truly become an expert, how much time do you spend behind your expertise?

The Olympians you cheer now spent countless hours to be the best in their fields. Unquantifiable personal sacrifices where no medals are given.

The next time you say you want to be better, make sure you don’t insult the word “better”. Being “better” is backed by actions. Not words.

And the only competitor to beat is inside you.

Where’s your medal?

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Monday, August 13, 2012

How should you proceed?

Take credit for what you have done and how far you have come. But to go further, give credit to people who have contributed to your life - good and bad.

To move on with full of greatness, you must first be filled with gratefulness.

Who are those who got you here?

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Friday, August 10, 2012

What do you give your customers?

I mentioned this before - reward your top 2% consumers. Your true loyalist who not only spends a huge amount with you but promotes you willingly. Of course it is tough to pin-point these people. But when you do, there’s your pot of gold at the end of the marketing rainbow.

I am starting to keep track of what my bank sends me via sms. This is what my bank sent me in the past nine days - spend x amount and get a free coffee maker, 15% off ala carte menu of a certain restaurant very far from my house and office, convert my retail purchases of RM500 or more to some flexi paying scheme at X% interest rate and 15% off ala carte menu at a certain Japanese restaurant in a famous mall.

Four smses in nine days. One every other day for things I really don’t want, don’t need and discounts I feel are non-discounts.

Can we try harder to try to please our loyal customers?

What do they really want?

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Have you heard yourself lately?

Recently the head of a company (a client of ours who built one of the biggest company in its category here), told his people, “If everything is a “no” what is a “yes”?

So refreshing because if it came from us, we would have been labeled an “arrogant” or “rude” agency.

Who do you want to hear it from?

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What’s your plan?

A communication plan is not a marketing plan. A marketing plan is conceived first. Then a communication plan is mapped out based on the challenges of the marketing plan that communication can help address.

You don’t ask for a communication plan when you don’t have a marketing plan. It doesn’t work that way. How else do you want me to say it?

Why the lack of a plan?

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

When was your last dialogue?

The spirit of Koinonia practiced by the ancient Greeks is a system of dialogue that allows for the free flow of the collaborative spirit. Even Einstein is said to have engaged in this free spirited exchange of ideas where each party seeks to expound on their ideas without trying to change the other parties. They also freely state their idea no matter how controversial it is. The rules are simple, don’t argue, don’t interrupt and listen intently.

What is wonderful about the spirit of Koinonia is that it allows the participants to talk through their ideas while the others suspend their assumptions. When you suspend your assumption, you truly listen and not discount someone else’s idea or give it too much credit. You accept it for what it is. This in turn allows you to clarify your thoughts. Out of this, everyone improves and ideas flourish.

I think client and agencies can do with a lot more of the koinonia spirit.

Do you really listen?

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Friday, August 3, 2012

What do you want to do?

Whatever you want to do with your brand is fine. Eventually, you have to ask – will it make your consumers happy. As difficult as it may be and no matter how tied down are you to your marketing dogma – the last question you should ask is – will it make my consumers happy?

What decisions will you make?

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

What are you obsessed with?

Obsessing with something does not necessarily make it better. Sometimes you need to relax and let go. Passion, tenacity, focus. These are very good words. But they aren’t the same as obsession.

Give some space in your mind and whatever challenge you are feeling with what your ad agency gave you. The solution will arise. Don’t like the new brand name that was proposed? Let it go. Don't agree with the design your freelancer proposed? Let it sit for a while, say a day or two. No matter how impatient you feel. 

Obsessing over something you have no solution for is like staring at the plant you are nurturing. No amount of staring, watering and fiddling will make it grow any faster than it can.

Give it time. With space, answers appear.

Do you get it?

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How strong are you?

People try to be environmental. Save a piece of paper here. Recycle a bottle there. But they do not even bother to take navy showers.

There are some who fights for world peace. Champions all sorts of causes. But they do not bother to even let the car in front an inch of space in a traffic gridlock. So much for peace.

Then there are those who scream that others are so stupid. Naïve. Ignorant. Spoils their day. As if the world owes them their peace.

When there is a piece of treasure at the top of a tall mountain and you can’t reach it, most people will say the mountain is too high. Very few will say, “I am too weak, I am too frighten, I am too lazy.”

Where is the insurmountable mountain? In your heart or in your eyes?

Where should you start?

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