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October 18, 2013

Have they shut up?

In the late Dr. Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture, he told of a story when he got it really bad from his football coach in a practice when he was nine. The story went like this: “You are doing this wrong, you are doing this wrong, go back and do this again, you owe me, you are doing push-ups after practice. And when it was all over, one of the other assistant coaches came over and said, yeah, Coach Graham rode you pretty hard, didn’t he? I said yeah. He said, that’s a good thing. He said, when you are screwing […]
October 17, 2013

What is your fitness level?

If we have a fitness test for our competency as communicators and marketers, what would be on it? I think we should have one. All professionals have competency tests and some even require that they do it annually. The number of people in the industry will likely drop and maybe that is a good thing. Soldiers have their annual physical fitness test to ensure that they are combat ready. Why do we assume that we are combat ready for our industry? Will you pass?
October 16, 2013

What is the objective of the feedback?

Many marketers like to ask for feedback for their communication pieces – for example an ad – internally. This is done either amongst their marketing colleagues or colleagues from other departments. It’s a dangerous exercise even though the intention is to be safe. “I asked around before this was signed off.” “The consensus was this.” The people you asked? They want the safe, the tried and the tested. They don’t want to stand out. They want to be the masses. Why? They don’t want to be blamed. Neither will they get the credit if it worked. It’s dangerous because, you […]
October 14, 2013

Are you paying attention?

You want people to pay attention. But what do you pay to get their attention? Sometimes, it is not just about relevance. It is also about attention. Attention is time. Time is finite and priceless. When you want their attention, sometimes it is going beyond their imagination. How good is your imagination?
October 11, 2013

What are you going to do?

There will always be incompetent people. There will always be decisions against what you feel should be the right decisions. You can complain, whine and get angry. In fact, that’s what most people usually do. If it is going to affect the output of your work, doing any of that will not help further your cause. You cannot be responsible for incompetent people; neither can you be responsible for decisions where you have spoken your mind. But you can take responsibility for yourself.  You can make yourself better, better prepared, more educated for the same situation in the future. Far […]
October 10, 2013

How do you look?

Appreciate the mirrors in front of you. Mirrors can come in the form of friends. Sometimes these friends can be your consultants. They tell you how you look – whether you like your look or not. They become your tool of reflection. But reflection can only happen when you reflect upon what you say, your opinions and decisions. And only if you see with your mind. You may not like them, but they are good for you. If you keep breaking the mirrors then one day you won’t know how you look like. What do you see?
October 9, 2013

Who did you judge this for?

I didn’t do this for you. I did it for the people you are reaching out to. You shouldn’t do this for you. You should do this for the people you are trying to convince. To follow you. To buy your product. That is why, when you judge a piece of artwork, a visual, you say “Will my tribe like this?” If that is so, build an internal siren that goes off when your inner chatter says, “Hmmm, I don’t like this.” Or “I like this.” Because it is not about you. It’s about your tribe. For those of you […]
October 8, 2013

What is your stance?

The challenge with most people is that once they have decided they will take a certain stance, they tend to get so fearful of the repercussions that they compromise. Compromising takes you away from the stance you have taken. Now you have a new stance. One that is neither your choice nor that of the people you want to please. You end up standing for nothing and you wonder why you aren’t that convincing. We are only convinced by people who are convicted by what they believe. Not someone who has compromised. Where do you stand?
October 7, 2013

How does your brand talk?

It’s always a good idea – important even – to cross check your brand’s personality and the tone and manner in which the language in your communications uses – be it an ad or wobblers. Hugh MacLeod drew a piece with this quote back in 2006, “If you talked to people the way advertising talked to people, they’d punch you in the face.” In my opinion, it is still a very relevant quote to a lot of marketers. Are you offending people?
October 4, 2013

What do you want to solve?

“Without changing our patterns of thought, we will not be able to solve the problems that we created with our current patterns of thought.”  – Albert Einstein You will agree. But you will continue to think in your current pattern of thought. What is the problem?
October 3, 2013

Is it easy?

For heaven’s sake it is not rocket science. Yeah, sure. A lot of things aren’t rocket science. But that does not mean it is easy. Frying a perfect sunny side up egg isn’t rocket science but that does not mean you don’t need expertise. Whether it is rocket science or not depends on who is doing it. How difficult can it be?
October 2, 2013

Why can’t you make it?

Do you have a friend that always makes an appointment and later on cancels that appointment because something else came up? Some of us have friends like that. There is never time to meet because something just happened. In fact, I am sure you have clients and colleagues like these too in your work life. The reason people – and this might be you – can’t make an appointment or a meet or to be present at a dinner or attend church is because these things aren’t their priority. People MAKE TIME for things that takes priority. When they override […]
October 1, 2013

Why would I want to listen?

I was walking pass one of these booth manned by people raising funds for a charity – the sort that gets you to pledge a certain amount each month for a year. I breezed through them trying to avoid eye contact. I was after all in a rush. The lady, obviously well trained asked for a minute of my time. I declined with a polite, “No, I am in a rush.” She must have heard that as an excuse a million times. Except mine wasn’t an excuse. I was rushing. On my way back, I passed by the booth again. […]
September 30, 2013

What do you know?

I am sure you know a marketer who reads all the marketing, branding, advertising books that was ever published. And I am pretty sure, you know a marketer who can tell you all the techniques and case studies there are in order for your brand to be successful. Knowing is the beginning, doing gets you there. Knowing what to ignore focuses you. “The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore.” – Rumi What should you ignore?
September 27, 2013

How much do you do?

September 26, 2013

What are you going after?

While I agree that you should not take your competitors for granted, it is also true that you should not be distracted by each and everything your competitor does. Truly understand your marketing objectives and how you will get there. Take into consideration things your competitors does that will throw you off your target. And this obviously doesn’t mean everything. So have a way of analyzing things your competitor does. Make a decision and move on. “When you are hunting elephants, don’t get distracted chasing rabbits.” – T. Boone Pickens Are you easily distracted?
September 25, 2013

How much can you learn?

Depends on you, really. You know that already but worth repeating. Doesn’t matter what line you are in – if you want to be a professional, you need to learn to be self-taught. That means taking the initiative to learn things on your own. You have left school. You cannot be spoon-fed anymore. Even more so if there are training programs where you are and you have a mentor-protégé relationshipwhere you are working now (and consider yourself lucky). If you are the unlucky one, then you are forced to self-learn – which will lead you to be lucky in getting […]
September 24, 2013

Is this serious business?

Anytime you pay someone for an opinion, you have to take it seriously. As in decide if it is worth it to pay money for the expert advice. Otherwise, it is better to rethink. Not just for communications consultant or brand consultants or your ad agency. Think doctors, tax consultants, engineers and the experts you know. If you are willing to part good money to get the opinion, it would stand to reason that it is serious business. If it is serious business then think about the things you want to do when the advice is given. Not brush it […]
September 23, 2013

What if you listened?

Here’s a thought – if you have not already thought about it. What if you listened to all the complaints about your competitors and structure a plan to address those complains with your brand? After all, it’s all free for you to access on social media to mine. You will know what their frustrations are and if your competitor even cares about them. Maybe you will find some treasure there?
September 20, 2013

What do you do well?

Nowadays you hear more clients starting their own in-house design team or “internal agencies”. Some could be due to cost and others probably because they feel it is faster. Cheaper and faster doesn’t mean better. That we all know. Is it even strategic for your business? You should focus on your business and let the experts help you focus on your business. Like help you strategize and conceptualize. Starting to do everything in-house may give you a sense of control but I liken it to the entrepreneur who wears all the hats in order to save cost. Is It going […]
September 19, 2013

What did you do recently?

Doesn’t really matter what is it that you want to measure, choose something to measure. If you can choose an aspect of your life to measure some form of achievement, what would it be? You are forced to do an evaluation every year on your work and you likely struggled through it, thinking of words to use so that it does not sound like last year’s evaluation. Now imagine you have to do one for other parts of your life. Like physically, how have you made yourself healthier? Emotionally and spiritually, how’s that area been lately? Chase something that has […]
September 18, 2013

Are you going to be a monk?

There will come a time when you will devour every book on managing skills and leadership principles. Or your time may have passed. You will try to practice everything and get sucked into mindless debates about the differences between a manager and a leader. Chances are it is all in vain to improve your skills as a manager and/or a leader. I believe regardless of what you want to be or improve, the key is being mindful. Mindful of the “whys” you do the things you do and be truthful to yourself. Mindfulness is the seed of change. Then be […]
September 17, 2013

Is your story still good enough?

I am talking about your personal story. Not the story you carve for your brand. We all have our own story. Stories we sell to our peers, bosses, staff and the industry. The story you told and we bought brought you here. Will it bring you where you want to be? I think beyond that you need to look at your own narrative and what is it that you don’t like about it. Or better yet, even your personal evangelist do not like about it. There is an opportunity to write a better part of the story there. That’s your […]
September 13, 2013

Who do you want to please?

You can’t please everyone – whether you are selling a product, convincing someone with your idea, or spreading your religion. Knowing this you should know to ignore those who do not matter. Picking those who matter is sometimes challenging, but you will learn once you decide to start choosing some to ignore. Ignoring them is pain relief. When will the fun begin?
September 12, 2013

How hungry are you?

A friend of mine who is a medical professor posted the other day that curiosity is the key to a successful medical career. I suspect it works for other fields too. Curiosity should be your intellectual hunger and thirst. You just have to keep on looking for its food to satisfy that pang. You will be fat with knowledge and experience. How do you feed your brain?
September 11, 2013

Who are you talking to?

Sometimes you don’t need focus groups. You just need to focus on a particular group. Choose a group, make a decision about it and dig every damn insight you can find. Focus groups or otherwise, focus on a particular group first. How do you get to know them?
September 10, 2013

How much do they love you?

September 9, 2013

Who’s teaching you?

What new things are you learning lately? I mean purposeful learning of something you are interested, could help in your work or make you a more interesting person. Not the “Oh, I learned something new today.” What should you learn?
September 6, 2013

What diet are you on?

I have a nagging suspicion that if you limit your information diet that seeps in through your email and snakes their way through your social networking sites, you will be a lot more productive. You. Don’t. Need. To. Know. Everything. They are useless in helping you complete your work. Really. Is information overload weighing you down?
September 5, 2013

What colors do you like?

Knowing that I was in advertising, my friend commented on a particular ad that used certain colors that reminded him of other brands. His point was, why use colors that are associated with other brands? I said, “Kinda warm today isn’t it?” Some colors are going to remind some people of certain brands. It depends on many factors. If your brand uses primary colors, you can be pretty certain that other brands would have used it and spent more money trying to associate their brands with those colors. Unless the colors used is central to the idea, then let the […]
September 4, 2013

Did you hear what they say?

“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.” – Chinese proverb. Ignore the critics. If there is a path, you are merely following what others have carved out. Nothing wrong with that if that’s what you are comfortable with doing. The reason they criticize you is because there is no path, they don’t see possibilities. You do. The reason they criticize you is because they don’t see themselves carving out a path, and they think you are lesser than them. If they can’t do it neither will you be able to do it. […]
September 3, 2013

What if you grow slow?

We tell clients to grow slow on social media. Ya, we are crazy like that. Especially when everyone wants fast, viral and mass now. If that’s what you want you don’t need any of these social media. Go sponsor a concert for a famous band. Fast takes your attention away from what matters. You are so focus on speed, you forget relevance. We prefer to get the real people who want to opt in to be connected with the brands. We give them what is relevant, if they like it, they will tell their friends, and then these friends tell […]
September 2, 2013

Where do you want to go?

Earlier this year we resigned a client after months of ding-donging on the communications plan. We had failed to get the clients to understand that a communications plan is mapped against a marketing plan. If the marketing plan is non-existent then it is difficult to have a good communications plan. It’s like asking for directions when you don’t know where you want to go. How are you ever going to get there?
August 30, 2013

Who do you work with?

We are all someone’s clients and someone’s suppliers. Knowing that should remind us that there is a real person that is serving us. They have a life similar to ours, they ache, laugh and fall sick too. Ever since I read Derek Siver’s post “A real person, alot like you” I try to be aware of my own feelings and words when dealing with a sales person, a telemarketer (especially a telemarketer) and suppliers. You should too. Thanks, Derek. Who do you serve?
August 29, 2013

How much reading do you need?

If you want to pursue what you love, you need to start running. Start chasing already. You have enough reading, more than enough research and search for the elusive inspiration. What you need is to pursue.  Which means to run, like run a business. All the reading and researching won’t take you anywhere unless you apply it. To apply, you have to execute. When do you start chasing?
August 28, 2013

Do you enjoy what you do?

August 27, 2013

What are you waiting for?

You don’t need permission I would add, what you need is a mission and action. If that is the case, don’t run around looking for permission. Find out what you truly want to do and do it already. No one can say no to you. Do you know what you want to do?
August 26, 2013

Do you have an apple?

I thought bait and switch techniques only happen during a sales process. And to defend against that is easy because you expect it. You can see it coming. But what happens when it happens to doing favours? For example, client whoasks for a favour to reduce a cost on such and such a service or items you provided. When you agree, they proceed to ask for the same reduction on other items at hand. Hey, I promised you an apple. Not the orchard. Would you give me your orchard?
August 23, 2013

Why do you want money?

The quest for wealth and the pursuit of happiness do not reside in the same locus. Some will agree. The rest will have a lot of “yes, but” and “it all depends”. Doesn’t matter, really. If trying to conquer one does not bring the other, maybe it is time to rethink. Where do you find happiness?
August 22, 2013

Do you need a hero?

Be the person you wish others would be. For example, if you wished someone had chipped in some money for the personal project of yours. Be that person for someone’s project. If you wished someone had helped you when you were starting out, there are plenty of people who are starting out on something right now. They would like you to chip in. Be that person. The next time you wished for someone to help you, that someone will appear. No, I am lying. I don’t know. But appearing for someone else when they are in need pays dividends that […]
August 21, 2013

How long should we walk?

If your brand wants an enduring relationship with your consumers then you need to approach it just like how you build relationships with friends. You reveal aspects of yourself to them as the relationship progresses. Yes,stand for something. But don’t stop there. Reveal other aspects and side stories about your brand that is congruent with your main story aka what you stand for. That’s how your relationship with your consumers will grow to be more enduring. What do I know about you?
August 20, 2013

How to stay happy?

Don’t decide too early whether this is a good situation or not. Don’t get excited too early when you get good news. Don’t get too sad when you get bad news. Why? Because things are ever changing. And if you decide that you will be happy and excited anyway – then don’t get too sad when the situation turns for the worse. For example, if the happiness does not lasts as long as you had expected. Your mindfulness of change probably gives you more happiness than your definition of happiness and seeking to check those boxes on your happiness list. […]
August 19, 2013

What books did you read today?

Books influences the way we think. One way or another. If you want your marketing to be interesting, read interesting books. Stop reading marketing books. For example, read books about creativity instead. Develop an interest for other things besides marketing. All that boring marketing guru, ninja, guerilla, laws and principles crap will numb your skull and dull your marketing plans. Be your own guru. What other books can you read?
August 16, 2013

Where did your name come from?

August 15, 2013

Can you do me a viral video?

Nope. We can’t. We are looking for someone that can make that for us too. If you know such a person, please recommend them to us. We would like to meet the person or company with a check list of what makes a viral video, then have that person meet that checklist and guarantees it will be viral. Viral videos don’t get cultured in a Petri dish. Do you know the formula?
August 14, 2013

Are you testing their patience?

August 13, 2013

What matters in your marketing?

August 12, 2013

Where is your stress coming from?

August 7, 2013

Do we look like a hawker stall to you?

August 6, 2013

What did you kill today?

August 5, 2013

What did you do at work today?

August 2, 2013

Which leads you?

August 1, 2013

Why do you struggle?

The day we were born we struggle. Every day is a challenge. Your dreams have to be fought with hoe, sickle, axe and spade. Stop bitching and start being. What is your challenge?
July 31, 2013

Why do you fail?

July 30, 2013

What have excuses done for you?

July 29, 2013

Why should you be worried your competitor will beat you at your game?

If your competitor is better, then it should push you to be better. If you have no confidence, then it is destined that you will lose anyway. If you plan to better yourself all the time, then chances of your competitor being better than you should not be a concern. Unless, of course – who you are really afraid of is – yourself. You know you will be lazy. You know you will rest on your laurels. You know your passion doesn’t last. In which case, you should be worried about you. Not the competitor. Who do you see in […]
July 25, 2013

Where is your attention?

Sometimes there is a tendency to get distracted by what the sales people says or suggest. At other times, it may be a competitor’s ad that took a dig at your brand. Yet another time, you could pay too much attention to details firmly believing that, “It’s all in the details.” Everything that you are paying attention to is taking your attention from other things. Those other things maybe more important. You have finite time and energy. Choose wisely. Are you focusing on the right things?
July 24, 2013

How will you grow?

To be a giant quickly, you need to eat like a giant. It may be more than you can digest. Plus, you seduce the giant’s attention in the process. Eat the giant’s crumbs for lunch – for now. When you get stronger you can think bigger. What do you eat?
July 23, 2013

Which is better?

July 22, 2013

Do you need to learn?

I have met many marketers in my 20 years in the industry. Inevitably, in those years you will meet people in marketing departments playing a marketers’ role even when they know nothing about marketing. That’s OK so long as they are willing to learn. The real challenge is when non-marketer’s think they can do marketing. Marketing is easy to them. They think because they are consumers themselves – that naturally makes them understand how to be good marketers. Marketing is simple, to them. Here’s the thing if you are one of these people. EVEN if marketing is simple, you need […]
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