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October 22, 2015

Did you pace yourself?

Brand building especially when viewed from an advertising lens is a long term commitment. If your company is new to advertising and you aren’t the boss, make your boss understand that she has to commit to advertising every year and not go full on one year and skip the next. Many small medium enterprise brands are so gung-ho one year spending full on and is totally silent the next. Such behavior isn’t sustainable. It’s better to have a 3 to 5 year plan. Take a long term view and build slowly. Did you sprint too early?
October 21, 2015

Is budget perhaps the issue?

Sometimes you may have got everything right but the ad campaign does not seem to be working. Have a look at your budget. If you did not advertise intensely enough meaning you compromised on the basic reach and frequency, took too long a hiatus between campaigns and did barely enough, you didn’t do enough. Budget is a big factor behind the success of advertising campaigns. People who tell you otherwise are lying. What did they tell you?
October 20, 2015

What are you comfortable with?

Never get too comfortable with your plans that have worked year in year out. Everything your brand is exposed to, from consumers to media to competitors changes all the time. Your plans, needless to say should be sensitive to these changes. Crisis awaits those who are comfortable. What gives you anxiety?
October 19, 2015

Did you abandon the basics?

Never abandon the basics. For example, which media gives you the most reach and frequency? Don’t throw stuff like these away and get caught up with the new fancy stuff. But neither should you ignore the new fancy stuff when the data shows you otherwise. How do you decide?
October 16, 2015

Is your advertising working?

Some brands do not advertise intensely enough to see the difference advertising makes. They conclude that advertising doesn’t work. Advertising is like lifting weights in this sense; you need to lift heavy enough, intensely enough to stimulate muscle growth. Is your workout working?
October 15, 2015

How do you get results?

If you do the simple and important things consistently, you will get results. I don’t know how it works but it does. What results do you want?
October 13, 2015

How big is your company?

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” – Mark Twain How courageous is your company?
October 12, 2015

What do you practice?

“Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.” ― Ludwig van Beethoven Do you know its secrets?
October 9, 2015

What do you want to learn?

If you don’t know something, you hire someone who knows. This can be a coach. There are many coaches for different fields. If you are the right type of student i.e., works hard, commits, has a good learning attitude and puts in effort; a good coach who knows her stuff can bring you very far. One of the best ways to learn is to learn it from people who have been there and brought many others there. Learn from others with experience willing to teach you and put in your own effort. I think it works the same way if you have the […]
October 8, 2015

Do you really know your problem?

Doesn’t really matter – it can be your personal problem or your brand’s problem. It works the same way. Most people know what their problems are, but they choose not to do anything to it. They bury it under rubble of talk and messiness. They likely play to their strength so their weakness doesn’t show. It works for awhile. Like most things. You show your stronger side, but you are still weak. If you worked on your weak spots, you will be stronger overall. Of course, doing that takes time and effort and people don’t like to do those. You […]
October 7, 2015

Are you a slave?

Don’t be a subservient to dogmas. Follow those who encourage you to step out of the line and try new things. That way you will find new paths for your own challenges. What theories do you subscribe to?
October 6, 2015

Is it too late?

No, it’s never too late to fight against resistance. Haven’t started on the New Year resolution from nine months ago? Start now. Haven’t put into action the promise you made three months ago? Start now. Motivation starts when you start. You don’t start because you are motivated. You fight against resistance and when resistance loses, motivation wins. Who will win?
October 5, 2015

Will you get the same result?

Sometimes you are so used to the way you do things that even the way you react to bad news and crisis is the same. It is as if, if you shout at more people, curse more at the situation and bang on more tables you would get better results or results you want. In fact, you are so attached to it that you refuse to change. Even if I am here to tell you, relax. Change the way you react to ‘bad’ situations. There is no need to raise your voice or throw out the chair. If you respond […]
October 2, 2015

What did you tell the doctor?

“I won’t show you this because I don’t want to cloud your opinion.” “I won’t tell you everything so I can see what creative ideas you can come out with.” You don’t say these to the doctor attending to your venereal disease because you want her to diagnose accurately and give you the best treatment possible. So, why did you let the disease infect your brain so much that you withhold information from your agency when briefing them? It works the same way. Let the experts decide what to focus and what to throw out. You do your job by […]
October 1, 2015

Does it matter?

I don’t care what you do, but I care if you want good results. Results you can be proud of; you have to make it matter. You need to make it matter to your brain, you need to make it matter to your heart, you need to make it matter to your gut. When you make it matter, we can feel your art, your heart and your soul. The results will not matter anymore because we know you gave it your all. What matters to you?
September 30, 2015

What do you do now?

If you keep doing what you know, then you will have very minimal tools in your box. But if you do what you don’t know, you risk failing. Whatever failing means to you. I won’t discard what  I know, but I will always play with what I don’t know. That’s the only way to know. Now do you know?
September 29, 2015

What did you start?

If you start it, finish it. Doesn’t matter if you know it isn’t going to be a success. So long as you start and you bring it to an end. The first does not have to be successful. Often it is not. But you will build confidence and you will learn from your mistakes. Did you finish it?
September 28, 2015

How did you learn marketing?

“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.” — Friedrich Nietzsche What do you know about marketing communications?
September 23, 2015

What does your name card say?

Now at a tender-ish age of 40 some, I have the privilege to walk into meetings with talented youngsters from big name agencies. I know these sorts of agencies well; you know those that have dead founder names on their door? I know how their inner workings well. After all, I spent a good part of my career in that ecology. Just a word of advice from a naïve, low-life, struggling, hungry entrepreneur to these young talented managers – the business card you carry and what it says about you? It’s all an illusion, really. It’s OK to fake it […]
September 22, 2015

Are you a genius?

When you look at someone whom you think is a genius, don’t just focus on the talent. Look at the discipline and stamina. It’s easy to forget the not so sexy stuff. What do you have?  
September 21, 2015

How far can you go?

It’s OK to hold down a day job and worry about rent. There is some form of practical lifelong lesson in this not so sexy way of life. Worrying about not living the life and jumping into it now maybe fun, but carries the risk of holding you back later in life. How far do you want to go?
September 18, 2015

Who is in your inner circle?

Consistently ask this “Is my inner circle qualified to give me the advice I am looking for?” Go ahead; ask your inner circle if this question is worth asking. I am not in there, so may be I am wrong. What answers do you want?
September 17, 2015

How long can you stay in the game?

Eventually it all boils down to mental stamina. I am sure you have your favorite term for it. An often forgotten point is that you need this mental stamina to stay in the game long enough for wisdom and courage to develop. Together, these help you decide to throw in the towel or to keep grinding. Do you stay long enough?
September 15, 2015

What difference does it make?

Just because you want to make a difference doesn’t mean others have to accept it or understand you. It’s a tough positive attitude to embrace – which is why ‘wanting to make a difference’ attitude is a rare commodity. Most people give up. You shouldn’t. How badly do you want it?
September 14, 2015

How much do they cost?

Do business with companies who espouse the values you cherish. Not because they are cheap. Unless, of course, cheap is the value you cherish. Who do you do business with?
September 11, 2015

What is the timeline?

All discussions must arrive at a solution in the given time. Don’t push the deadline, don’t give excuses. Stay within the parameters and deliver. What are the deliverables?
September 10, 2015

Did you think about this?

Most people don’t think. They dig into their library of existing opinions and present them to you in the most articulate way. Thinking involves being objective and critical about their own opinions. That’s way too difficult for many people. What’s your opinion on this?
September 9, 2015

What do you want me to hear?

If you want me to sit up and pay attention, say something that I want to hear. Things I want to hear aligns with my world view, is relevant to me and doesn’t goes against my beliefs. So, you may want to educate me, but if I see that the lessons are against what I belief then I am just going to shut off. Stop saying you want to educate me. Am I even listening?
September 8, 2015

Are you trying?

Don’t try to be in control. Be in the flow. Love messiness. That’s the Zen. No one says it’s easy. What do you want to control?
September 7, 2015

Are you breeding ideas?

No? One reason could be you do not allow yourself to be bored. Create some “I am bored” time. Is your mind fertile?
September 4, 2015

Why are you resisting?

Accept that certain changes are permanent. That’s the new normal. The faster you accept, the more productive you will be and happier too. What’s the cost of accepting?
September 3, 2015

What is your training?

“What all of these jobs taught me is that you have to be willing to tolerate some shit you don’t like — at least for a while. This is what my parents’ generation would call ‘character building,’ but I prefer to call it ‘#GIRLBOSS training.’ I didn’t expect to love any of these jobs, but I learned a lot because I worked hard and grew to love things about them.” – Sophia Amoruso What shit are you willing to tolerate?
September 1, 2015

Did you change the goal post?

When a client briefs you, they will tell you the goal – increase sales, generate excitement, etc. You get the idea. If you are lucky, they tell you a budget. If you aren’t lucky, they say “Let me know how much it costs.” But each time you get back to the client, the question almost always becomes, “Is there a cheaper way of doing this?” The answer is “no.” If there is, we would have shown you. This is where you want to go, this is the most efficient way to get there, and this is how much it costs. […]
August 28, 2015

Are you riding on that energy?

When your manager comes to you excited and enthusiastic for a budget to execute a campaign, ride on that energy. If it is a sound plan and the manager has enough experience in delivering successful campaign, ride on that enthusiasm. You may save some money by not supporting that idea. But you would lose the chance to make lasting changes for your organization. Oh, of course, seeking a budget from you is just an example. But you already know that. Can you create enthusiasm?
August 27, 2015

What is the goal?

If you want your brand to be big, plan and act like one from day one. Do not say, “When I am bigger, I will do like them.” No, you start now. What you do now will determine how you become big. If you act small and do what small brands do, you will be small. I am not saying spend like the big boys. Scale it to your size. You have to act like the big boys scaled to your size. Otherwise, you will never grow big. How do you act?
August 26, 2015

Are you courageous?

If it takes more resources than you are willing to commit to tackle the issue and all you can afford is, “Let’s take this slowly and be patient.” Then you are just a coward. Sometimes, it’s not because you cannot afford the resources behind it. It’s because you fear failure. Failing to commit the right resources promises failure anyway. So your cowardice will forever be the source of failure.   Stop hiding behind ‘patience’, ‘slow and steady.’ Are you a coward?
August 25, 2015

What do you know?

You don’t know what you don’t know. That is one of the toughest challenges to deal with especially when it is a client. Might be easier to swim in a sea of fire and climb a mountain of swords than to ‘educate’ someone who doesn’t know that he doesn’t know. You can’t really educate someone unless the person wants to learn. You can’t tell this person, “You don’t know this” because this person thinks he knows already. The teacher appears when the student is ready. It’s true. How do you overcome ignorance?
August 24, 2015

How’s it working?

Everything works. But don’t do everything because you (and your team) cannot handle everything. Focus on a few things and be damn good at it. Focus on a few things – a few campaigns, a few mediums, a few promotions. Choose wisely. More doesn’t mean better. More just means more. Doing everything without the right impact achieves nothing. What’s the goal?
August 21, 2015

What did you truly learn?

It’s easy to say you are open-minded and that you believe in learning new things. To get to your next breakthrough sometimes takes some guts to experiment. Do new things, explore new concepts. No one said abandon what you already know. Just add on to it by doing. Do you have guts for experiments?
August 20, 2015

How can my brand get stronger?

Progressively up your branding budget. Let’s say you do two campaigns a year. That’s one every six months. Next year, ask for enough money to do three. That’s one every four months. In the third year, up it by another campaign. That’s one every three months. You get where this is going. Low risk for your management and assuming you did your job right, asking for more budgets will get easier each year. This plan works. It’s whether you stay long enough in your company. Have the decision maker or owner read this. It’s a simple plan but it works. […]
August 19, 2015

Is this how you talk?

3 minutes watch. How often do you listen to yourself?
August 18, 2015

Did you underestimate patience?

Patience isn’t weak. It isn’t doing nothing. It isn’t an excuse. Patience has power. It is staying the course and believing in your actions. It is focused on the goal. What’s powering you?
August 17, 2015

How much do you take?

Give and take. You are allowed to give up when you have taken enough initiative that is unappreciated. Move on to the next person, give your effort to those who appreciate it instead. How much should you give?
August 14, 2015

How do you measure your progress?

You have metrics for measuring your brand’s progress. How do you measure your own progress as a marketer? What metrics would you give yourself? Using your yearly evaluation with your boss is a lazy way out, if that’s your answer. Are you getting better?
August 13, 2015

What should you master?

The experts do the basics better. Did you think it was going to be some big secret?
August 12, 2015

What is it about?

It’s about how you execute your plan given the limitations. At the end of the day, we all have limitations whether it is budgets or products or distribution channels. How you do it makes the difference. That’s the secret sauce. How are you going to do it?
August 11, 2015

Can you say something new?

There are some statements that you can use only so often. Say it often enough, you will eventually you lose the right to say it. You may not notice it, but if you keep saying it, what you lose is respect You know things like, “I am disorganized”, “We don’t have budgets like the big brands”, “We have never established a process for this.” When you keep repeating, what we are thinking is “So, what have you done about it?” Are you just all talk?
August 10, 2015

What do you want to master?

“I don’t fear the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks. I fear the man who practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee Even in marketing, there are things you need to practice for many many many times to be good in it. What are you really good at?
August 7, 2015

Do you want a miracle?

“The difficult takes time, the impossible just takes a little longer.” – Takumi* saying. *Takumi is a Japanese master craftsman who has painstakingly honed their skills through years of hard work and dedication. What did you just order?
August 6, 2015

How strong is your dream?

If you can put it off, then it is not a compelling dream. At least not for now. When will you ever do it?
August 5, 2015

Are you ignoring the right people?

Unless you have infinite time and stamina, learn to ignore certain people. It’s liberating. Try it some time. Of course, learning to ignore the right type of people takes time. But it’s time well spent. Who are the assholes in your life?
August 4, 2015

Do you have many headaches?

I am a big advocate of taking initiatives, going the extra mile, being the competitive advantage in your team. All these come with a huge price – the price of heartaches. Choose carefully what you want to put your heart in and with whom and on what. Your resources are limited. Learn to pick occasions where you say – NOT MY JOB. There will be times when you need not be noble because it ain’t worth your time. It’s NOT YOUR JOB. Are heartaches killing you?
August 3, 2015

Which will serve you better?

Cautiously optimistic or pragmatically pessimistic. How do you view the future?
July 31, 2015

How much did they charge you?

If you are willing to buy from someone with the lowest price, just remember they will be trying very hard to figure out how to make a profit from you. You will get what you bargained for. What was the price you paid?
July 30, 2015

Why should they pay attention to you?

You aren’t even speaking their language. In your mind, you are educating them. In their minds, I don’t need to know or learn this. How can you do better?
July 29, 2015

Are you selling what you believe?

If you want to sell something, you have to believe in it wholeheartedly. If you don’t, do us all a favour. Get out of the way. One of the worst things to do is to get a brief from a marketer who does not believe in his product. Stop living a lie and stop lying to the market. Can you find a better job?
July 28, 2015

How much time do you have?

We need to educate the consumer. Increasingly I am beginning to dislike the word “educate” especially when used in the context of a marketing and communications meeting about getting the consumer to buy a certain service and or product. Come on, educate? Do you know how long it takes? How much budget do you have? It is now your job as marketers to teach now? Here’s your challenge today. Find a better word to replace the word “educate”. You would probably stumble on a better process and way to get your consumer to give you their money. How much money […]
July 27, 2015

Do you really need to crack your head?

Come on. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Everything that works in sales and marketing has been done before one way or another. Pick the right ones and execute the hell out of it. Ok, maybe crack your head picking the right ones. Does it have to be so difficult?
July 24, 2015

What is your choice?

You can choose not to work with people you don’t like. Believing this statement takes courage. But it doesn’t mean it cannot be done. Like everything else, once you realize it, it’s liberating. What really matters?
July 23, 2015

Have you got it all figured out?

Probably not. And for many things. Why then do you fear being wrong when it is by far one of the best ways to learn? About yourself, about the situation. How often do you admit it is a mistake?
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