July 19, 2013

Should I believe you?

Facts and figures are open to interpretation. You may think otherwise. But it’s true. Humans see the world in the view they have experienced. Experience is emotional. Not logical. Facts and figures do not travel on the same track as emotions. If people can be convinced easily with facts and figures then there will be no smokers in this world, no binge drinkers, less obese citizenry, cleaner air…you get the point. If you are not my friend why should I believe you? If you don’t know how I feel emotionally, why should I believe you regardless of your facts and […]
July 18, 2013

What does your culture do?

July 17, 2013

What do you want to do?

You can do whatever you want to do. Pursue what you love. Explore what you have always liked. You don’t need permission from anyone. Not in this day and age. If you think you do, you are likely confusing ‘permission’ with the ‘price of admission’. To be admitted into the field you choose, there is a price. Usually the price is discipline, commitment, perseverance, persistence and the likes. You get the idea. If you call it YOUR dream; then you don’t need anybody else’s permission. And no one can pay for the admission ticket for you. Only you can. How […]
July 16, 2013

Do you hate selling?

The young chap behind me at the coffee shop was telling his friend how he hates selling. You probably know where this is going. Yeah, selling is what propels marketing. You cannot hate selling whether you are in the marketing world or not; sales department or service center. You are involved in selling. You have heard this before, everything is selling. Having to convince your boss that your plan is better than his IS selling him an idea. If you hate selling, do yourself a favour, learn to love it. In fact, take a course in selling and salesmanship. Read […]
July 15, 2013

Who would you blame?

You did not get here all by yourself. Everyone you came in contact with contributed to it. While you are tempted totake all credit for all your successes, and blame others for all your faults and failures – don’t. A good number of people injected their inspiration into you. Good and bad. Good or bad. Who should you thank?
July 12, 2013

Are you sliding back?

Think about it – what got you here can hold you back. If you sit in your position today because you are a very confident person, then that very confidence may now shut you off precious opinions from others. The precise opinions you need to hear in order to progress faster and further. Can you move forward?
July 11, 2013

What are your basics?

There is so much emphasis on being an effective marketer that people tend to forget the basics. What are the marketing basics you need to know? Sorry, no answers here. Either you know or you will have to look it up. Oh, and while you are at it, check if what you know is right. Can you write down five basic marketing tenets which guides the way you think and decide? What can you master?
July 10, 2013

What should you be worried about?

There are many things we are worried about. No one can stop us from worrying. But we can train ourselves in worrying better (if there is even such a term.) To worry better means to do something about it so that the worry doesn’t become a reality. In reality, we all know some of these things we worry about will happen and sometimes it is our ego that blinds us. Or the emotional price that we refuse to pay in order to give the worry its due attention. Today give that one worry the attention it needs. Once you work […]
July 9, 2013

Can you defend yourself?

A client was telling me about her boxing class the other day. In the banter I told her that amongst southern Chinese martial artists especially in Canton; there is a saying – 一,胆.  二,力. 三,功夫. When translated, it means – “First, courage. Second, strength. Third, kung fu. It means to be proficient in defending yourself you must firstly have courage, then strength and then only comes your kung fu. Another client heard and commented that it’s very much like promoting one’s brand as well if you equate courage to the willingness to invest, strength to the financial resources and product […]
July 8, 2013

How do you drive?

Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. If you know your guiding principles and you use that as your marketing compass then you truly free yourself to explore the consumer’s terrain. Some marketer’s waver too easily by what others are doing; so much so that they lose their own directions. Marketing can be like driving down a highway. You spend some attention on the cars to your left and right. A little bit of attention on the car behind you. But majority of the time, you are focused on what is in front of you, you current speed, your […]
July 5, 2013

How much can you do?

Loving your undone. Does your stress levels go higher as the number of chores pile higher? Why is it that the undone creates so much stress in us? Unless you have not met your deadlines or won’t meet your deadline, there is no stress in it. To prevent that from happening, there are a few things you can do. One, learn to say “no”. Two, learn to ask for help. Three, learn to manage your energy and discipline. Work will never be done. Personal or professional. There will always be work, just as there will always be the 57,000 things […]
July 4, 2013

When do you hit the mute button?

The art of strategic silence. There comes a point where nothing you say will make a difference. Especially when confronted by a very opinionated person, someone with an inflated ego, someone who wants to be right regardless. You know the type. People don’t want to listen. They want to be right. That’s when you ask yourself if it is worth it. When is the best time to turn on the volume?
July 3, 2013

When do you stop?

This is for the disillusioned account management people. Especially newbies. When faced with a tough sell, learn to see from the client’s perspective. Your view will change quickly. I know, your argument is to state that your job is to bring a different view point to the client. It’s true. That’s why I say “tough sell”. There must be a reason for it. The client’s job is one that is very different from yours. They have a different set of rules and they play a different game from you. Some things the client just won’t buy. No matter how good. […]
July 2, 2013

What is the key to your marketing?

July 1, 2013

Why should people share their ideas?

Some people are so dogmatic with their thinking, approach and viewpoints that it clouds their decision. Those “some people” are you and I. I think it is a good practice to allow people to prove us wrong. It’s how wepollinate our ideas, sweeten our soup and broaden our views. When you want to be right all the time, all it does is train people around you to shut-up. Utterly OK if that’s what you want. Why should people open their mouth?
June 28, 2013

Do they care as much as you do?

My heart goes out to my colleagues working in the marketing department. I believe they have one of the toughest jobs on the client side. There are some lessons I think newbie marketers should know and learn before you become disillusioned. After years of working with some of the best marketing people in this market, planning, sweating and bleeding marketing strategies and plans and executing them, here are something you should know: No one cares about marketing as much as you do. You may know marketing is what sells and long term branding is important, the rest of the departments […]
June 27, 2013

How big is the digital world?

Very often when you present something digitally oriented, inevitably someone will act as a detractor. “Oh, my target market isn’t there.” “They don’t use it.” And you will hear a cacophony of reasons why digital should not be deployed. One does not need to go very far for lessons on when to use digital. When mobile phones first became mass, many marketers shun even simple “sms marketing”. We had clients that ignored us when we said the senior citizens then were reading sms-es and sending them. Well, that has come to pass. You now know your grandma and old aunt […]
June 26, 2013

How big is the analog world?

Everything seems to be related to the digital world now. Everything. Before anyone accuses us of being against using digital medium – remember you are reading a blog entry now. A tiny evidence that we do subscribe to the digital world amongst the other thigs we do digitally. Challenge is when people swing to extremes and ignore the analog world – if there is such a thing as the analog world. The analog world – the world we created and where our lives anchor upon. What we do and how we use digital must be evaluated based on what happens […]
June 25, 2013

What if tomorrow this happened?

Your nearest competitor launched a similar product to your best seller with double the A&P budget. An ingredient in your product is now deemed dangerous. Someone called in a hoax to the authorities and they raided your factory. Now it’s all over the social media. Of course it doesn’t always happen. Or the chances of it happening is remote. But a plan for your most at risk product and service? Maybe, just maybe it’s a prudent exercise to do? Is it still a crisis if it can be managed?
June 24, 2013

Are you all in?

Not everything is an “all or nothing” situation. For example, saving money. Some savings is better than no savings. Or exercise, a little exercise a day has cumulative effects on the body. Might even spur you to do more as you keep on doing what you are doing. Reading is another example, a chapter today, another next week, soon you finished a book.A little more knowledgeable perhaps by the end of the year. Sometimes the bravado you hear, “I rather go big than to …” is an excuse. Are you using it as a cop out?
June 21, 2013

Will you let your brand choose itself?

It’s funny or should I say interesting. There are clients who are still wishy-washy when it comes to using social media or the digital world to spread their brand name. They aren’t too sure. These are the same clients who get all excited when they find that their brand has been mentioned favorably in some blogs or forums. Here, let your brand choose itself. Let it build authenticity and trust via the digital world. A fan at a time; over time it builds a lot of goodwill. And that will spread. Slowly but surely. What are you depriving your brand?
June 20, 2013

Which passionate idea is still sitting on the shelf?

If you need to choose a day to implement that idea you are so passionate aboutand work on it? Choose today. Today is as good as any other day to put that idea on paper. It is a good day to pull it out from the shelf or from your computer files to speak to the boss again. Push it through. The only reason you have started the business, become the artist or push through the new product is because you waited for permission. You don’t need permission. You need action. Whether you work for yourself or if you have […]
June 19, 2013

What have you been doing so far?

It’s always tough to plan ahead; especially when the boss asks you for a five year plan. What about a one year plan? How difficult would that be? Just assume the same thing, use a safe percentage of growth, assume your competitors are not going to do anything out of the usual, get some growth from launching new products. You are done. You may think that’s not you. But I say, “It is precisely what you do.” What are you doing next year?
June 18, 2013

What would they tell you?

Ask them why they left. Ask them what pissed them off. Ask them how long have they been angry before they decided to say, “Screw this.” I am not sure if you have the courage. But I think it’s worth it. What if you can track down all your unhappy customers?
June 17, 2013

Do clients want to learn?

Truth is, they don’t. They THINK they do. But they already have their own viewpoints. Trying to prove them wrong isn’t going to work. They will still be right. They have two exits. One, “I am the client.” Two, they can always blame you. Say what you need to say and move on. Persistence is futile in this case. How is your time better spent?
June 14, 2013

Is your brand worth reading?

From your paid advertisements to stories you paid your PR agencies to shove down the editor’s throat. Why would people want to read about it? Make it worth their while to read whatever you want to say. Do something worth writing about that people want to read. What should you write about?
June 13, 2013

When do you stay the course?

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin. How will you adapt?
June 12, 2013

What can we do better?

Maybe that’s a better question to ask your consumer. I know, your retort will likely be, “we already do that.” Good for you. You can stop reading then. Trying to market better to your consumers isn’t just about asking them what new things they would like. It could very well be asking them what is wrong with your product or service. A slight improvement to delight your current consumers and make them loyal maybe better than coming up with a new product or service. What’s wrong with our product?
June 11, 2013

What fieldwork have you done?

We have seen this with not just newbie marketers but veterans as well – marketers making far too many assumptions about their consumers. The newbie don’t know any better. The veteran just thinks what they need to know, they already know. A marketer should be out there in the market, understanding the market. Not in the boardroom. What makes a marketer?
June 10, 2013

Are you making assumptions or asking questions?

If you take notice during your marketing meetings, chances are you hear a lot of words and phrases in reference to how to make your brand a success. Very rarely will you hear “this is how we will add value to the consumer.” The reason is likely that everyone on the team just assumes that the product at hand is already of value to the consumer. That’s why it was passed on to the marketing team to sell it and bring in the cash for the company. That may not be the truth, though. Lots of crappy products get sent […]
June 7, 2013

When are your plans unimportant?

When you don’t plan to execute your plans, your plans are unimportant. We see it all the time. Plans after plans are being devised and revised. But it sits in the boardroom chatted and deliberated away. Never executed. Sure, some argue that planning is everything. I will add that planning is everything only when the doing is done. How do you make your plans work?
June 6, 2013

Why should you repeat?

June 5, 2013

Why do you resist?

June 4, 2013

Looking for your pot of gold?

June 3, 2013

Why should you help?

May 31, 2013

What choices are you giving?

May 30, 2013

So what if you know?

May 29, 2013

Why did you say it?

May 28, 2013

What’s in a name?

May 27, 2013

What are you denying?

May 23, 2013

What’s so good about you?

May 22, 2013

Can you include this shot?

May 21, 2013

Do they have to believe it?

May 20, 2013

What did you promise?

May 17, 2013

How attached are you?

We are all attached to predictability. Because it gives us stability, it assures us what we assume to be true. Tomorrow will be a lot like today. That’s good. My schedule will not be disturbed. My sales will be well, predictable. To stand out and to sell more, you need to take risks. You want to sell a lot, you want to be picked by the consumers, you need to be well, a little unpredictable. That’s risky. So you fall back into the line. And you still expect to sell a lot. When do you let go?
May 16, 2013

How much courage do you have?

It’s interesting. Most brand owners know that they need to be different from their competitors to win. They start by creating very differentiated products. But once they start marketing and branding, they look at what everyone else is doing and they want to do exactly that. It’s the differentiation that made you stood out, boss. Continued differentiation will make you win. Don’t change the course now. How much creativity do you have?
May 15, 2013

Which part of marketing is hard?

I think every brand owner, and I mean owner. Not the marketing manager working for the owner, needs to identify what is the most difficult part of marketing is to him (or her). Once you identify what is the most difficult part,you focus on it. That is, of course, if you agree with me that the most difficult part deserves the most focus. In our experience meeting with brand owners, the biggest challenge is to guide them to see their most difficult parts. For most, it is the levels of investments they need to invest. It’s difficult to part with […]
May 14, 2013

Do you know about the Streisand Effect?

I didn’t until I read it at The Economist. Briefly, The Streisand Effect refers to an action you take to suppress a piece of information online that in effect makes it worse and gets spread around even more than if you did nothing. What are you trying to hide?
May 13, 2013

Can you just listen?

Even if you disagree or you have made up your mind, it’s ok to just listen. It’s the mark of an educated man. “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle. How educated are you?
May 10, 2013

What miracle are you looking for?

A brand can do this. When you have a strong brand it can do that. Brand drives everything. Please, don’t be a brand extremist. A brand can be a powerful thing when used correctly in the right context. But branding won’t solve your business problems caused by operational issues, financial incompetency or management idiosyncrasies. Volvptates commendat rarior vsvs (In all things moderation). Can your brand cure you?
May 9, 2013

How do you market a commodity?

When cheap gets cheaper, whatever you sell eventually becomes a commodity. How do you sell a brand?
May 8, 2013

What are you good at?

Are you good because of your size or because of your skills? Then why equate how big you are to how good you are? And when choosing a business partner of any kind, should skills come before size? Be size blind and skills sensitive when making a choice. How big do you want to be?
May 7, 2013

Who do you know?

It’s who you know, not what you do. It’s who knows you, not who you know. The sad part is you are busy getting to know people instead of getting good at what you do. Eventually who you know and who knows you must know you are good at what you do. What are you good at?
May 3, 2013

What does your name mean?

Having a name and a logo doesn’t mean you have a brand. When that name and logo means something to someone, then you have a brand. And the stronger that meaning is to them and the stronger the link of that meaning is to innate human impulses, the stronger your brand. What does your logo symbolizes?
May 2, 2013

Where’s your battle field?

If you are going to equate marketing to the art of war, you are going to be missing out on a lot of things. Are the lessons there in the art of war books? Well, if you look hard enough, I am sure there are also marketing lessons in Barney the Dinosaur videos. Seeing things through the right lenses at the right time is important. You know that already. But worth reminding. What colour is your binoculars?
April 30, 2013

How to avoid being crushed?

I pity my marketing colleagues. They are always under tremendous pressure from all sides – production, sales, finance, legal and risk, and you name it. The worst thing we have seen happen is when the head of the company jumps in to stomp on them even when the fault is not entirely caused by the marketing department. We recently witnessed the head of a company pulled the plug on a perfectly executed communication which on the long term would bring immense returns. But sales jumped in to say they see no effect, sensing blood finance jumped in to say it […]
April 29, 2013

What ideas do you have?

As a marketer, you should not relegate the role of idea generation to your agency alone. Ideas generation is really the most fun part of marketing. To relegate ideas generation to your agency is to give up the best part to someone else. Try ideas generation yourself. Even if you don’t think it is very good. An idea builds on another and many times, it is the seed for huge idea tree capable of producing many juicy idea fruits. To generate ideas, just ask good questions, observe people in action like when they are shopping, listen to people when they […]
April 26, 2013

Who do you serve?

In common marketing speak, who is your target market? Spoken and written to death is the fact that you need to focus on a segment of people you would like to serve. No not everybody, not just homemakers (what sort of homemakers), not just youths (but youths that loves to do what?), not just women who wants to be beautiful (but what sort of beauty do they seek?). Well, you may snigger. But after 20 years in this industry, we still get briefs with these words written on it. What are you serving today?
April 25, 2013

Who is propelling your company’s marketing?

There must be the thrust and drive within your company to ensure that marketing and branding is going in the right direction. And also given the right attention. Someone has to do it. Ideally it is the CEO. When the CEO puts focus on marketing and branding, you can be sure the company will be driven that way. If marketing and branding is new to your company, this thrust and drive is what is needed to punch through the doubts and fears associated with doing new things. Who’s providing the propulsion to your marketing thrust?
April 24, 2013

What’s your focus?

Why would you spend millions of dollars building a plant to manufacture goods your distant cousin in China and Indonesia can make for far cheaper? Eventually you have to ask what is your key differentiating factor. Increasingly, a brand is what will differentiate you from your competitors. If you accept this fact, then you need to put more focus on it. To focus on something means to give it your undivided attention. Put your best sweat, blood and flesh into it. Oh yes, money too. The companies that became the saints in branding focused on it. Do you suffer from […]
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