Thursday, January 31, 2013

Who is giving input?

When asking for input to decisions, try asking from those whom you don’t know so well. Try asking those whose answer will make you feel a little more uncomfortable. 

Most times, when you ask for input there is a tendency to ask only from those you are most comfortable with. It’s only natural. You are pulled to like-minded people. So when you need a diversity of viewpoints, it only stands to reason you should pull in people that differ from what you think. 

Who would you like to hear from?

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What would you do differently?

If you are too jaded with your job, if you don’t feel excitement anymore with your work, if you don’t know the answer, fire yourself.

Do it as an exercise. Go for a long lunch today. When you get back, imagine today is your first day at work. 

Are you doing the same things?

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Do you like surprises?

To prepare for unexpected events, question the things that you take for granted.  

You know things like the sales person that always delivers his figures, the supplier that is never late, the law that is never enforced and the competitor that is sleeping.

The things that surprises (and may I add - shocks) us are changes that occur on things we take for granted.

What will shock you?

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Is that really good?

“Ninety percent of everything is crap.” – Sturgeon’s Law (actually Sturgeon’s revelation. Read more here).


How many bad ones are there?

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Can we go now?

You will always be caught between doubt and decision. There will never be complete information for you to decide. That’s why you are paid to do what you do. Decide.

The faster you decide the more consequences your decision carries. Yes, both negative and positive. When there is complete knowledge – assuming that is even possible – what’s there left to decide?
Implicit in decision-making is risk and reward. Make up your mind already.

What would it be?

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Can you be interesting?

You want your marketing to be interesting; you have to be interesting yourself.

You cannot be a one dimensional person and hope for what you conjure in your marketing plan to be interesting.

What interests you?

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Monday, January 21, 2013

How do you apologize?

Use the word “Sorry.” Not “we apologize”. Not “we apologize for any inconvenience caused.”

You define your brand like it is alive like a human. You use terms like “Brand Personality”, “Character”, “Tone and manner” but when it comes to your brand talking, it speaks like a machine?

Never mind. Yea, your brand is not human. But IT IS talking to humans, no?

Are you truly sorry?

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Friday, January 18, 2013

What’s blocking you?

I drifted away in a meeting the other day. One of those tedious meeting trying to persuade a junior client that there is a better way to the marketing challenge she is facing.

3 things that were blocking her mind that day. 

The Right Answer. Sometimes in marketing there are no right answers. No matter how much you dig. Many marketing issues reside in the deep recesses of greyness. Looking for the right answer can paralyze you. 

Marketing is Emotional. The only logic you will find is in your Principles of Marketing book. Once you know your 4Ps and whatever, and you have a name card that says “marketing” on it - you are dealing with emotions. And when you deal with emotions, logic isn’t the best solution. 

Bend the Rules. Sure, I subscribe to the fact that there are principles and rules to follow. But there are times when rules should be bent, principles broken. It’s called wisdom. It comes with experience. If you do not have it, let time teach you. Take some risks and learn. Even bad decisions teach you something.

What will set you free?

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

When was the last time you wrote?

No, not type. Write. 

Write as in write with a pen and paper. And when was the last time you wrote a good old fashion letter, put it in an envelope, paste a stamp on it and post it?  

I have a deep suspicion letter writing is a lost skill. Or rather good letter writing – those that even in the absence of the writer seems like a cozy visit to your home. 

Here, write a letter today. See how far you can do that.

Why would you not?

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How negative can you be?

In Malaysia, you are not allowed to do comparative advertising. So any reference to the competitors is always “Brand X.” Naming your competitor is not allowed. 

So marketers use different ways
. Using various innuendos from colours to shapes to name or acronyms that connotes the competitors.  

The challenge with comparing your own brand to the competitor is this. It cannot be ad hoc. You do not run an ad to say how lousy your competitor is and hope to succeed. You only win if you reframe your competitor. A negative campaign on your competitor can work when used as a more strategic move to further your own brand story. Like all good campaigns, it should be integrated (not just by using various mediums but by contextualizing the message according to the strength of the medium).

Some questions to answer before you start on a negative campaign – which competitor should you choose? How will you reframe the competitor? Who will benefit most from this campaign? How will it further your brand story? What is the alternative to a negative campaign against a competitor?

Can the positive push you further?

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What is your core competence?

You can hire your own graphic designer, copywriter, or whoever - rather than pay the professionals to do it. Sometimes the fee you pay makes you wonder if you should hire on your own. That’s fair.

But you have to ask yourself – what is your field of competence? Do you have the expertise to do it? Will it take up too much resources and detract you from your core business?

A client of ours recently started a plan to outsource what the previous generation did internally for years.


Because the internal people providing the services and products to the core business is becoming fat, insulated, well-fed. It’s beginning to be a liability. What was previously a competitive advantage i.e. “we do everything internally, we are self-sufficient” is now a competitor’s advantage.

Where should you focus?

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