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November 4, 2016

Are you a miser?

I can understand. Every business wants to invest the least but reap the most benefits. But there comes a time where you NEED. TO. SPEND. THE. MONEY. Can it be done cheaper? Is there a better way? Sure there are. But wait. What’s your objective? Answer that and then find the most cost efficient and effective way to reach that destination. Always weigh the price you enjoy and the cost you will suffer. Are you spending wisely?
November 3, 2016

Did you sleep enough?

A good sleep can change the way you look at things. I am no scientist and you are smart enough to google it. What I know is this, get enough sleep and that huge thing that’s stressing you out suddenly isn’t as stressful anymore. Sleep melts stress. Skip that beer, turn off that TV, fling the book across the room and throw away that smart phone. Make love to your bed for 8 hours. What’s stressing you out?
November 2, 2016

How hard can it be?

Perhaps this is more for the newbies in life. Life is hard. Adversity builds character. If you don’t already know this, read it again. These are good things. If you respond to them in a positive manner, life gets easier as you develop more skills to deal and navigate the tough spots in life. Adversity develops your grit. With grit, your endurance gets better. It makes challenges easier to overcome. But no one can teach you these things. How tough are you?
November 1, 2016

Who are you watching?

I once attended a talk and the sifu said, “When amongst others, watch your mouth. When alone, watch your mind.” Who were you with?
October 31, 2016

Which path are you taking?

“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.” – Paulo Coelho I think it applies not just on the spiritual road. Do you have the courage?
October 28, 2016

What gets you going?

The negatives can motivate you or they can discourage you. There is fuel in the rejections, the frustrations, the disappointments and the resentments. Dig deep to find it. It that can set your ember ablaze. Is it still burning?
October 27, 2016

How about a product that stands out?

It’s almost funny that clients create me-too products and expect the ads to make the difference. It’s even funnier that millions go into producing me-too products, and they expect to spend only a few hundred thousand in advertising to make a difference in sales. Perhaps you got it wrong?
October 26, 2016

Do you know what it is?

There is a difference between knowing something by its name and understanding it. I didn’t say this, Richard Feynman did. This happens a lot in the marketing communications industry. Just watch up for the person who peppers his conversation with marketing sound bites. These are also the very people that drive up frustrations because they hide behind terms they themselves do not understand. The perfect example of it is the client who says, “This is not what I want” but can’t go on to explain and give examples of what he wants. It demonstrates a lack of understanding in the […]
October 25, 2016

Is it plain vanilla?

Don’t forget, sometimes what works aren’t the most creative, out-of-the-box ideas. What works are things that adhere to tried and true principles. Don’t shun the run-of-the-mill in pursuit of your fantasies. Simple doesn’t mean lousy. Do you know what is needed?
October 24, 2016

What dogmas do you hold on to?

It’s OK to say you “don’t know”. You need not have an opinion on everything. Building your opinion on a cursory reading of materials and a rudimentary understanding of the topic will confuse you more. It’s better to say “I don’t know.” Then invest time and effort into the topic. Study in-depth on the subject. Then form your own opinion. Before that, be ready to change your mind as new information presents itself. Are you ready to change your mind?
October 21, 2016

How do you surge ahead?

You want to be better than your peers? The secret is in the DO. If you take action on your plans? You are already better than a majority of people. No matter how simple some things are, people are often afraid, lazy, question too much, think too much, and procrastinate.  That’s how they fall off. That’s where you come in. Action sprints ahead. It’s that simple, but not easy. Are you one of them?
October 20, 2016

Can you recognize it?

It takes a good client to recognize a great ad. It takes a great client not to meddle with one. Can you resist?
October 19, 2016

What’s affecting you?

Your brand is one piece. That means, it is connected to every component of your company. You can’t think about branding in isolation. You need to think about your operations, your distribution, your customer service, your financials. It is like your body. It is one piece. You cannot just think about your face. You need good a diet, rest, exercise to look good. You can’t look very good when you have diarrhea. Yeah, it’s a stupid example, but you get the idea. Are you missing the bigger picture?
October 18, 2016

How do you write better?

Step 1. Read more. The more you read the better you are at writing. Step 2. Write more. Write every day. Step 1 is a must. What do you read?
October 17, 2016

What are the tough questions?

Tough questions make you better IF you take up the challenge to answer the question earnestly. Think about all the tough questions you have answered in your life so far. From when you were in school to when you joined the society as a worker ant. The more tough questions you tackle, the better you get at solving them. Some questions will remain hard to answer, but you will be less afraid of answering them. I think the rewards from getting good at answering tough questions are worth it. Why are you afraid?
October 14, 2016

Whose idea was it?

I once heard a professor say, “Success has many parents, failure is an orphan.” Get it right and everyone will say it was their idea, they had a say in it, and they contributed to it. Get it wrong and you will die of loneliness. Did you make that call?
October 13, 2016

How’s your delivery?

Your user’s experience must reflect the story that you tell. If you say you are a 5-star hotel, then deliver on the 5-star service. If you say you deliver 10mb of bandwidth, then deliver an experience that reflects that 10mb. There is no point in arguing with the user. The user experience is a rating that happens on a daily basis. And you better make sure you meet those expectations. Because perception shapes reality. One might even argue, perception is reality. How good is your service?
October 12, 2016

Are you ready for the pain?

“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand, and walk, and run, and climb and dance. One cannot fly into flying,” said Nietzsche. Patience is a necessity for most skills. Patience itself is a skill. You can learn it. Some people become very good at it, others not so. But it can be learned. Do you have the patience?
October 11, 2016

How do dreams come true?

Dream a little. Do a lot. A whole lot more. What’s your fantasy?
October 10, 2016

Should you imitate?

Don’t look at what the big brands are doing now. Look at what they did to get where they are now. What should you do now?
October 7, 2016

Are you ready?

Once, a brand owner approached an advertising wizard (no, it’s not me; this one lives in the mountains) and asked how fast the wizard could make his brand well-known. The wizard thought for a while and murmured, “Ten years.” The brand owner then said he was willing to work twice as hard and invest twice the money. “How long would that take?” he asked. The wizard said, “Twenty years.” It’s a joke, of course. One I paraphrased from a scenario about a kung-fu master and a student. But you get the idea. Often times, you worry about the things too […]
October 6, 2016

Why would your clients stick to you?

Consistency – in your words, your thoughts and your actions and the quality of your work. Commitment – doing what you say you will do and when you can’t always give an alternative solution. I am sure there are a lot more. For now, work on these two. Why are your clients frustrated?
October 5, 2016

Why did people choose to buy from you?

You should find out so you don’t screw up. A collection of feedback from your customers and clients will give you a pretty good idea of what your unique advantage is. One you may never have figured out but has always been there. How valuable are you to them?
October 4, 2016

How good are you at your work?

Learn to be good at your work; aim to be the most competent. Someone your boss relies on to complete the task; an indispensable member of the team. Be all these before you decide whether you love your job or not. Your relationship with your work is a lot like building any relationship. You need time to forge that relationship before you know if it will develop into love. First learn to be good at it. Then decide if you love it. Are you even competent?
September 30, 2016

When are you stable?

There is no stability at work. Don’t hope for that peaceful week. It never happens. Your job will always be to solve crises – big and small. In any given week, month or year, if you have more stable time than rocky time, consider yourself successful. The trick is to aim to have more stable time than rocky time. The aim is to beat your own record from the previous week, month and year. Hopefully, in a year you can attain more stable time than rocky time. If you do, consider yourself successful. What’s part of the package?
September 29, 2016

Found your shortcut yet?

There are no shortcuts. Yeah, I am an idiot. I know. The shortest cut is the long cut – the hard way. All the time you spent trying to find the easy way is better spent on carving a path through the long cut. Learn to navigate your way through it. In the process, creating your own sense of direction and developing your own set of skills to navigate the industry you chose. In the end, you will have a very saleable set of skills. How about taking the long way?
September 28, 2016

How did he do it?

If you want to know the successful entrepreneur’s secret, ask for what is not written. The things he laments to his wife/girlfriend/best friend, the thoughts that keep him awake, words he speaks in his prayers, the  tears he secretly sheds in the shower – the thoughts and actions that triggers those tears, what makes his heart drop to his gut, the tempers that he throws and why, when he almost lost it and said this is it. Those unsexy things, those are the things that will teach you valuable lessons. And perhaps get you prepared for your own success. What […]
September 27, 2016

What do they expect to see?

Everything seems to be casual nowadays. Every other person wants to dress casually for work. First impression matters. I am sure you have heard, you only have one chance at making a good first impression. Dress for your role. You work attire should fulfill the worldview of the people dealing with you for the first time. Yes, your skills should speak for themselves but before your skills can, you attire is doing a lot of the talking. What are you wearing today?
September 26, 2016

Is it time to start a SOP?

Most mini-crises that your company has to navigate can be overcome with standard operating procedures. One that is very detailed. Then you need those involved to have a checklist. They should internalize this. They should also have the desire, discipline, and determination to follow it in a bid to avoid these mini-crises. Do you have checklists?
September 23, 2016

Should you start a business?

Entrepreneurialism is not for everyone. But everyone can benefit from being an entrepreneur some time in their life. You want adventure? Screw travelling. Try running your own business. What should you do?
September 22, 2016

Are you always in crisis?

Do it right the first time. When things are not done right the first time, many things have to be done to make it right. Do you also procrastinate?
September 21, 2016

How do you start the day right?

Prepare for it the night before. Make a list of things and clear all emails (yeah some will come in the night, but you will end up with lesser emails the next morning.) Start early. Hit your list. It’s not rocket science. But you do need discipline. What do you do the night before?
September 20, 2016

Hey you, wanna change?

Don’t worry about big plans. Big change can come with just small investments and long commitments. Small actions over a long period i.e., consistency can bring more change. How about a small step?
September 19, 2016

How about doing it better?

In a world of “more” and “faster”, doing less but doing it better seems to have been forgotten. You reap more if you do less but do it better. Why would you do more?
September 15, 2016

What value do you deliver?

If you delivered value and were sincere in your dealings, you will be rewarded in the end. One way or another. My friend Derek Sivers got dissed by Steve Jobs but because he had always delivered value and had his customers’ interests at heart, eventually he succeeded. Deliver value and be sincere is the lesson I learned from that story. Do you have their interests at heart?
September 14, 2016

Do what you love?

First identify what you love. Then identify the sacrifices you need to take in order to do what you love. Are you ready to make those sacrifices? No? You are not ready to do what you love. You really think it’s that easy?
September 13, 2016

Are you hungry?

People who are hungry work differently. They do more, work harder, press like their life depends on it. Actually, when you are hungry your life depends on what you do and how well you do it. If you aren’t as successful as you feel you should be, ask yourself if you are hungry. Are you satiated?
September 9, 2016

What challenge can you create?

Every now and then you should give yourself some challenge. Then train for that challenge, if that’s what is needed. Obviously for some you don’t need training. For example, read 24 books in 6 months. You will, however, needtraining if you were to run a marathon for the first time. Best way to get you out of the comfort zone. You can, of course, do this for your marketing plan as well. How about a blitz on your weakest competitor to grab their market share? Perhaps, that’s a jolt your team needs. Is it warm in there?
September 8, 2016

Are you executing the plan?

Sadly, there are marketers that plan all year. That’s the truth. They execute perhaps 3 tiny campaigns, if you can even call them that – in a year. The rest of the plans are just never good enough, never too sure. These people are better off executing all the plans they have written, making some mistakes, collecting the learnings and making new plans for the next year. Sometimes executing the marketing plan for the year is like turning up for work every morning. You just turn up. You don’t think too much. Is thinking hurting you?
September 7, 2016

Has it been a bad day?

Take note of the signs and keep adjusting. No, that doesn’t mean reading your horoscope daily. It means to look out for the patterns in a bad day. At least some can be traced back to you. You can make those adjustments. Those adjustments made frequent enough will minimize the frequency of bad days. Really. How many good days do you have?
September 6, 2016

What do you want to achieve?

Be intentional about each and every one of your marketing activities. What is it supposed to achieve as a primary objective and perhaps a secondary objective. Then evaluate based on that. All else is a bonus. If you got your primary objective, it is a success. Even if you didn’t achieve the rest, it is not a disaster. Create another plan that can achieve the objectives you did not get to. How do you get more?
September 5, 2016

Do you know what it takes?

Seasoned marketers love the process of building a brand. They know it takes time and some missteps. They look at the short term, make adjustments and plan long term. It’s not going to happen overnight. How much time do you have?
September 2, 2016

How about earning the day?

You are given a new day every day. Whether you choose to earn it or waste it depends on your discipline. Nothing more or less than that. Do you get distracted easily?
September 1, 2016

Are you that soft?

Hard work in the office is discomfort, not pain. Work stress is discomfort, not pain. Learn to deal with it. Grow up. Don’t give up. Stop ranting, stop quitting. Stop being a softie. Work stress is not real stress when compared to other stress you will be exposed to in life. A loved one being diagnosed with cancer is real stress. Your mortgage payment is late is real stress. Medical, education and food bills to pay and holding two jobs to afford to pay those bills is real stress. Learn to grind. Toughen up before life gives you real lessons. […]
August 30, 2016

What is dead?

The TV is dead. Blogs are dead. Long articles are dead. Email marketing is dead. Everything is dead to the uninformed. Everything is dead to the ignorant. Everything is dead to the closed-minded. Everything has a role. Each role can help attain a certain objective. Have you even tried?
August 29, 2016

Have you grown up?

Most people think once you are a grown up and join the workforce, you can make your own choices. Part of those choices includes not doing the things you don’t like. Working life is stress and anxiety laden – loads of it, on a daily basis. Being a grown-up is a skill no one told you about. Yes, it is a skill and you have to learn it. Learn to be a grown up. Being a grown up means learning to do things you don’t like. That’s why you grudgingly file the tax return, tolerate the dinners with in-laws and […]
August 26, 2016

What are your plans?

Your plans are only as good as your assumptions. Considering that your assumptions can be dead wrong, make plans for that too. Which route should we take?
August 25, 2016

Does your passion pay?

Good. Then pursue it. You will probably be rich doing that. No? Keep it as a hobby. Should you work on what you love?
August 24, 2016

When do you say no?

When opportunities exceed capacity, this works for life as well as business. What is a yes?
August 23, 2016

What do you do now?

How you feel is not important. How you act will determine the next phase. What’s it gonna be?
August 22, 2016

What if you don’t listen?

Well, things still happen. They take their natural course. It’s neither good nor bad. What you are being told isn’t the only way. What if you listened?
August 19, 2016

What happens when you disconnect?

No mobile phones. No internet. One day, a weekend, a week. You may be surprised. Do you really need all that?
August 18, 2016

Are you really going to respond?

When you are impatient, angry, frustrated, disappointed. Take a deep breath, go for a walk, distract yourself, and think about the repercussions. You know this already. Just a friendly reminder. There is no need to make that phone call, respond to the Whatsapp group, that FB post, show that middle finger to the driver in front, reply that email. It’s not worth your time. Choose your battles. Your energy is finite. Is it really that important?
August 17, 2016

What happens when you listen?

A prospect from a huge conglomerate called recently. They asked if we were willing to pitch for a project even though they knew we do not pitch. After a few phone calls and explanations, they understood why we took the stance. We gave them an alternative and asked for them to try it. 20 minutes of credentials, 30-40 minutes of discussion (get-to-know-you and how the agency and client can work together in the project, perspectives from both sides). One hour tops. They were great listeners. They took the suggestion. Today we counted at least 4 agencies there. Showing what they […]
August 16, 2016

Who are you?

People carry their credentials with them everywhere they go. Sometimes out of necessity for example when trying to establish credibility. Other times, it is not very necessary, it’s just plain old ego trying to manifest itself. So long as you still carry those credentials and are hard at work at it, then fine. Use it. But be very careful about using them if you aren’t ‘at it’ anymore. For example, you cannot tell your friends at a party that you are a martial artist just because you earned a black belt in ‘whatever-do’ 20 years ago and have not since […]
August 15, 2016

Are you a marketer?

“Everybody lives by selling something” – Robert Louis Stevenson What do you sell daily?
August 12, 2016

Are you working smart?

To work smart you first need to work hard. Gems of wisdom and short cuts only appear for people who have been hard at work in their art. But I am a struggling entrepreneur. Don’t listen to me. Got to go, have to work harder to put bread on the table. How hard do you work?
August 11, 2016

Why isn’t it working?

There are many reasons why your advertising isn’t working. Perhaps it isbudget. Like medication, there is a minimum effective dose you need to take to recover. For advertising, there is a minimum level of spend before your brand is discovered. Are you compliant?
August 10, 2016

Getting any better?

Every action has a cost. Not every action brings benefits. Be economical with your actions. Choose well. What costs you the most?
August 9, 2016

What do you strive for?

When you strive for comfort and contentment, remember that comfort and contentment may be the most dangerous situation you put yourself in. Change at the right moment. That’s the only antidote for comfort and contentment. What will kill you?