April 23, 2013

How hard do you train?

Derek Sivers wrote the other day that, “A hidden world opens up to you when you dive deep into an art form. Years of studying jazz at Berklee School of Music opened up that world to me. Art is so much deeper when you get the contexts and references.” One could argue that marketing and branding is an art. If you agree to that, how have you deep dived into the subject? Nothing replaces practice, practice, practice or effortful study (as I like to call it) in any art form. Why aren’t you as good as you want to be?
April 22, 2013

Can you work at it?

It takes effort to become really good at what you do. The challenge with some SME bosses and marketing teams is that they think they are good at marketing. When you think you are good and do not work at it, that’s when you stunt your own growth It’s precisely because marketing challenges do not have a “yes” or “no” answer, that you have to keep doing and doing. It’s hard work so you have to work hard. It creates a database of experience for you so you get better and better at what you do. Branding nirvana is achievable […]
April 19, 2013

Do you love it?

In my twenty years in this industry I see all kinds of marketing people. Some of them make you feel like it is school and they hate school. They would rather be out there filling your gas tank than be in here stewing a marketing plan with you. My point is, to be good in marketing (or anything else for that matter) you need to love what you do. If you don’t love what you do, then do your company a favour. Abdicate. Let someone else who can contribute take over. What can you do better?
April 18, 2013

What are you feeding them?

Complimenting mediocre work is like fertilizing a parasitic plant. Eventually it kills the tree. What kind of growth do you want?
April 17, 2013

What is it that you want to know?

To those who know, a simple explanation is enough. To those who do not know, no explanation is ever enough. How do you understand?
April 16, 2013

What media should you choose?

Choose what works. How do you know what works? By looking at what others in your category has done. What works may not be sexy and overly creative. But it’s what works. And that is important. You need to get started with what works first. Then you can start experimenting. Choose what will meet your objectives. Even if it is traditional and conventional. You can start experimenting when sales come in and you have proven you can make things work. First, do the tried and tested. Then, the new and novel. Especially, if you are a newbie. What are your […]
April 15, 2013

How do you keep up?

By: Knowing your priorities. Keeping to your commitments. Knowing your importants. Not allowing someone make their important your urgent. Recognizing resistance dressed as opportunities. Your turn. Do you fear losing out?
April 12, 2013

When did opportunity knock on your door?

Opportunities. They are the enemy of your commitment and conviction. And they are also the test. When you decide you want to pursue something, there will be countless opportunities that looks tastier and sexier than what you chose to commit to earlier. The trick is to remind yourself, what you have chosen is real business. These supposed opportunities are just things that add to the busy-ness. Best to ignore them and keep slogging at your field. Have you seen a masked opportunity?
April 11, 2013

Are you the devil that we know?

Here’s a thought. The “devil’s advocate” is not the advocate. He (and she) is the devil. Not the advocate. Notice people who always use the term as a caveat to throw an opinion usually does not offer any solutions? Be an “angelic proponent”. Bring solutions. Make things work. It’s far more effective than the devil. Where should devil’s advocate go?
April 10, 2013

Who do you learn from?

Finding a good mentor is tough. Finding a good protégé is even tougher. Who do you teach?
April 9, 2013

Why are you so convinced?

What is worst than not knowing what you don’t know? Believing what you know to be correct when it is actually wrong. I don’t know if these are mutually exclusive. Or if one is the cause of another. But you do meet people like that very often. What if you are a little more open minded?
April 8, 2013

Are you delaying for a good reason?

April 5, 2013

What books do you read?

Marketing books often appeals to marketers (and they should) but reading a marketing book doesn’t make you a marketer. What do you want to be?
April 4, 2013

Who are you trying to reach?

You already know this. But worth repeating because we still hear some marketers say, “What I used to do is no longer working.” Of course it is not. Times have changed. Used to be, if you bought into 2 TV channels and 3 newspapers you would get everyone. Now everyone is everywhere. Running an ad no longer works. What works is running after them. Once you know who they are (and truly know what they do and what you want them to do), it gets immensely easier. But easier comes after you bring your stamina and brain power. Do you […]
April 3, 2013

What’s the price of what you love?

It’s so romantic to say you want to do what you love. But most times, people don’t want to pay the price of doing what they love. You want to start a business but you refuse to put in the capital. You want to be a writer but refuse to give up spare time to sit on your ass to just – write. You want to be an artist but is too afraid of criticisms. There is a price for e.very.thing. Especially expensive is pursuing what you love. It costs you blood, sweat and guts. Is it more than you […]
April 2, 2013

Is this perfect?

For some perfection is a predetermined number of boxes to check. If they go through the boxes and they can all be checked then that’s perfection. Problem is assumptions were made when these boxes were defined. When new information and knowledge appears, they are not adapted and adopted into new boxes. So, perfection is not visible even when all the boxes are checked. What is perfect?
April 1, 2013

Are you paying the right attention?

One of the toughest job as a consultant is telling your counterpart sitting on the other side of the table that he is paying the wrong attention to the problem. Sometimes it is a challenge to tell him, what he is paying attention to is what will make him look good. Not what will deliver positive results to his company. Sometimes, the two things are mutually exclusive. How should we put this?
March 29, 2013

So when?

March 28, 2013

What is the nature of your relationship?

Learn to be a team player with your agency and consultant. Try not to say, “Here, solve my problem.” Well, you can. But that may not be the best way to get the best out of your agency. Working with an agency is a lot like seeing a doctor. When you see a doctor, you discuss with the doctor your condition, how you feel and what may possibly lead you to feel this way. The more details you can give to describe your condition, the better the doctor can diagnose. The more active your participationin your recovery the more enthusiastic […]
March 27, 2013

This is expensive as compared to?

“The campaign budget you proposed is too high.” Perhaps. Is the machine you bought to make your gadget expensive? The challenge for brand owners especially those with a dream to build a brand but has no clue that it does cost to invest in branding should ask themselves what are their end objectives. If you just want to make a product and sell, then produce, get it into distribution and sell. There is no need to build brand and the ‘heavy’ investments it takes.But if you want to build a brand, then it takes money. Just as if you want […]
March 26, 2013

Who was that again?

March 25, 2013

How big is your ego?

March 22, 2013

How much did you do?

March 21, 2013

What would you leave behind?

That is when you are gone. I believe one of the most precious things someone can leave behind is lessonsyou paid with your experience so others can learn for free. And things you teach by showing through your actions where the price is mockery by others. Like picking up rubbish from the junction of your school all the way to the school gate everyday. Or visiting your brother who dislikes you year-after-year-after-year. These actions become images that lasts a lifetime, even after you are gone. What else can you teach?
March 20, 2013

Who is talking?

If the ‘big you’ can shut the ‘little you’ from speaking up too much and too loudly, you would find more peace in your life. How happy do you want to be?
March 19, 2013

Which one best describes you?

Discuss. Deliberate. Defer. Discuss. Decide. Deliver. How would your life change?
March 18, 2013

Are you hitting your targets?

When you aren’t hitting your financial figures, no amount of slicing and dicing your Excel sheets will help you meet those figures. I am not saying you should not analyze where to cut and make those strategic decisions. What I am saying is that, eventually those revenue figures on the Excel sheets comes from selling something – whatever it is that your company sells. Nothing moves until someone sells something, including those numbers on your Excel sheets. Go sell something. How are your figures looking?
March 15, 2013

What would you do if you had no money?

For some people, even when budgets are tight they fail to set their priorities right. One would think that the lack of financial resources would force you to think and consolidate. The lack of resources should theoretically force you to think harder. But as we discovered, thinking harder does not equate to thinking better. What would you do if money isn’t a problem?
March 14, 2013

A penny for your thoughts?

Inner chatter, the talks you have with yourself when you are driving or showering. Those are not strategic thoughts. They are thoughts, yes. But they aren’t things you make big decisions on. They can spark ideas and hypothesis. But to give these thoughts the rigors of good thinking, write it down, have a structured way of asking strategic questions, bounce them off trusted aides (non “yes-man” is best). Otherwise, they are just thoughts that are not thought through. What ideas do you have?
March 13, 2013

Should you take a break?

When rushing to get something out like launch a campaign, stop to catch your breath. Breathe. The reason you do this is to make sure you are mindful, thinking clearly and not just reacting. Especially when questions keep popping up if this is right and if that is thought through. That’s a signal to stop. Breathe. Otherwise, down the road you may be panting from the lack of pacing well early on. How’s your heart rate?
March 12, 2013

How much time do you have?

March 11, 2013

What are the terms and conditions?

When you run a consumer promotion or contest, changes sometimes happens. Perhaps some prizes run out far too early or certain conditions changed forcingsome adjustments. Changes are expected. And consumers are usually very forgiving especially when they know the real reason behind it and explained thoroughly. When a change in prizes or mechanics needs to be implemented, make sure the consumers are not short changed. Even when the terms and conditions covers your behind. It’s just the right thing to do. Should they be wary of your fine print?
March 8, 2013

When are you proposing?

The easiest way out of not wanting to think is to say, “Agency please propose.” It’s not wrong. In fact, it’s your right as the client to say that. But don’t abuse it. Help your business partners out by giving guidelines, ideas, some things you are looking at. That way, when your agency proposes they come back with something richer. When can they say yes?
March 7, 2013

When is it important?

We refuted someone’s point in a presentation the other day with a fact. The retort we got was “is it really that important.” Well it is. It’s important when someone passes off fiction for fact and fantasy for reality. There is a huge difference. Why present it when it is not important?
March 6, 2013

Who will read the instructions?

If you apply the Pareto Principle, then 20% will read your instructions. Not many, really. If you think about it, only 2 out of 10 of your consumers. But it’s also going to be true that the 20% will give you 80% of your headache (assuming you can quantify headaches, that is.) That’s why, it is important to get your instructions manual, your contest rules and regulations, your terms and conditions right and precise. Once it is published, reaching out for the paracetamol maybe too late. Did you read it thoroughly?
March 5, 2013

Does your brand have something to prove?

To the world, to your consumers. Yes? What is it that your brand wants to prove? No? Why not? You tell me why it’s important to answer this question. Sorry. No answers today. How would you show the world?
March 4, 2013

What’s the closest to what you like?

One of the worst client comments an agency can get is this, “I know what I want when I see it.” Here’s what you can do as a client and avoid saying that. Show your agency what’s the closest to what you have in mind. Point to a certain direction, show some pictures, describe the feelings, pull out what others have done that is close to what you have in mind. Yes, work is involved. Yes, clients have to work too. Do you know what you want?
March 1, 2013

What can you share?

Brands with Facebook presence often attempt to be funny or to put simply attempt to be ‘viral’. But sometimes all it takes for the brand to generate conversation is to say what is it that the brand finds easy to do and your consumers may find tough. Share that. What do they want to hear?
February 28, 2013

Are you willing to cannibalize?

February 27, 2013

What did you solder today?

Sometimes finding the solution to a challenge isn’t just about analyzing the data. When you analyze, you break the data down. Sometimes what it takes is synthesizing. When you synthesize data or information from different sources, you combine them and make sense of them. That, could be a better way to a solution than just analyzing. When do you break things down?
February 26, 2013

What’s the value of 1% more?

February 25, 2013

What did you learn?

We label things based on our previous experiences. That’s why we can both look at something and have very different interpretations of it. But when you hear a proposal and it sounds like something you have done before and did not have a very good experience with, don’t label your previous experience as “bad.” Because when you do that, you will stop listening. Instead, ask “what did I learn from the previous experience?” When you do this, there is no label of good and bad. There is only learning. And with learnings, you can improve. Good or bad. What will […]
February 22, 2013

Are you in the creative industry?

Marketing is creative work but many marketers do not think that way. They think that marketing is a logical liner path. Far from it, for your brand to stand out from the crowd it has to be different. A different product, a different offering, a different market, a different price, a different way of distributing – all these before we even talk about the branding process and its expression often called advertising. Most times, when marketers talk about creativity in marketing – the first thought that comes to mind is advertising. Which part of your work is creative?
February 21, 2013

Do you think you can escape?

February 20, 2013

Will you step into my parlour?

February 19, 2013

Why are you using it?

February 18, 2013

Who are you?

If you keep saying you want to stay true to yourself, then how can you also say you want to be better? I bet the people who say these sorts of statements almost certainly do not think about them deep enough. First they will have to sit and define who they really are. Then they say, based on the list they have come up about themselves – “I have to stay true to this. Good or bad.” They use it to defend their bad behavior and lie about their actions. Who’s the true you?
February 8, 2013

How have you cared?

When customers complain, it is obvious that they care enough to make that call or email that grouse. You could argue they only care about themselves. And that is precisely why you should care and use that as an opportunity to out-care them than your competitors. Make your apology real. Say, “We are sorry.” Make the compensation worth it. Be generous with it. I know, the common fear is, “what if every customer did the same and take advantage of us? The answer is this, when customers make complains they first want to be heard. They could be angry, frustrated, […]
February 7, 2013

What did you plant?

f you lament that you do so much work and never see the fruits of your labour, perhaps it isn’t because the fruits aren’t there. Sometimes it is a matter of knowing what you sowed. At other times, it could be because you under estimated the time it takes to bear fruits. Maybe you have pre-conceived notions of how the fruits should look. You always reap what you sow. Sometimes the toughest part isn’t sowing. It’srecognising the fruits. Can you recognise its fruits?
February 6, 2013

Do you have the credibility?

Before you recommend me something, you must first know if you carry some credibility with me. That there is some form of trust. Intrinsic in a recommendation is credibility and trust. Without them, you can use the word “recommend” all you want but no one will take it up. How are you building trust?
February 5, 2013

Do you care how it is done?

If you don’t, perhaps you should. You often hear bosses saying to their subordinates “I don’t care how it’s done so long as it is done.” Somehow people feel it sounds damn cool when yelled out loud. But is it? I think it should be “I care that it is done and done the right way.” Saying not to care how it is done is a permission to trash your ethics out to crumbs, that it is OK to bastardize good old values like integrity and honesty. When more and more people get things done without caring how it is […]
February 4, 2013

Do you resist or embrace?

We are faced with situations that demands for change from our comfortable ways. We can choose to ignore or embrace the challenge for the better. The senior citizens that takes on digital despite the fear. What about you?
February 1, 2013

Did you hear that?

Feedback. They can come as suggestions, criticisms, advice and compliments. Distinguishing what the feedback is and knowing what to do about it opens up a little hole for the light to shine in. It maybe all your seed needs to grow. Do you comprehend?
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?
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?
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?
January 25, 2013

Is that really good?

“Ninety percent of everything is crap.” – Sturgeon’s Law (actually Sturgeon’s revelation. Read more here). Ouch. How many bad ones are there?
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?
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?
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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