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July 22, 2015

Can you convince them?

Very rarely are you able to convince a successful businessman that he is wrong or that certain things can be improved when people continue to buy their service and products. They can say they want to improve and they have open ears. But you should know the truth, no business person will fix the formula when it still works. What does ‘still works’ mean? It means they are still making good money. We have developed a sense of who these people are, you should too. Spend your time elsewhere. Is it your job to educate them?
July 21, 2015

Do you really care about what they say?

Well, sometimes you should. At other times, you just have to keep walking your path. If you have a goal and you have done everything necessary to get closer to your goal, then keep doing what will get you closer. Caring too much what others say or feel detracts you from doing what you do best. Did you pay attention to your heart?
July 20, 2015

What does failure mean to you?

When you do not fail enough, you often associate failure with shame. Once you have failed enough, you would realize that the shame associated with failure is just your ego talking. Leap and let failure flow. How do you get to success?
July 16, 2015

Do you stick to deadlines?

One thing that propagates indecision is the ability (read authority) to move deadlines. If you are already an indecisive person, try some form of discipline. Stick to the deadlines you have set. You don’t need more time, more data, better crafted copy, the perfect timing, (and whatever else is your excuse, please add here.) You need to decide based on the information you have, the experience you have and execute the hell out of it. How more perfect will it be?
July 15, 2015

When is the best time?

Now. If you don’t know how to begin, start with a pencil and paper. Start writing what’s on your mind. What you write does not even have to make sense. Just scribble away. It works for writing articles, writing marketing plans, financial goals, who you want to marry and stuff that is bothering you. Something magical happens when pencil meets paper. How do you start?
July 14, 2015

Are you human?

It’s OK to be wrong. You already know that. Admitting that you are wrong is perhaps difficult. But it’s OK. It tells us that you are human. Oh, and say you are sorry. Actually use the word “sorry.” I am sure your mom taught you manners. Can your ego talk?
July 13, 2015

What can you offer at work?

A lot. Look around you, there are a lot of problem areas that can be solved. Look for solutions and share these ideas. Yes, it means more work. Yes, it can mean being criticized. Yes, it also can mean you become a competitive advantage of the company (and usually that means a better pay scale.) How much do you want to be paid?
July 10, 2015

Do you want to be a millionaire?

“You can’t have a million-dollar dream with a minimum-wage work ethic.” – Stephen C. Hogan How is your work ethic?
July 9, 2015

How’s your marketing campaign doing?

Not very well? Ok. Checked everything? Good. Now objectively review your own personal effort prior to the campaign. I did say, “objectively.” Who did you blame?
July 8, 2015

How are things moving?

Too many hurdles you say? Love them. Yeah, love those hurdles. Those are the very things that force you to push your envelope. They make you think deeper, work harder. What’s not to like about hurdles?
July 7, 2015

Did you reach your goals?

If you did, what do you think will help you reach your next goal? If you didn’t, what do you think will help you reach your next goal? What did you learn?
July 6, 2015

What should you forget?

Stuff that bug you from years ago, months ago, weeks ago or even a few days ago. You know those stuff of who said what to you that offended you, did or did not do something for you or to you that rubbed you the wrong way. Yeah, those stuff. Forget it. What’s worth remembering?
July 3, 2015

Are you pushing the envelope?

If you truly say you are pushing hard, then you should be trying new things. Are you pushing the wrong things?
July 2, 2015

Are you achieving your goal?

Perhaps what is missing is discipline. Try mixing a good dose of discipline into your desire. Drink it. That concoction should give you some progress. Why aren’t you moving?
July 1, 2015

When was the last time you asked for feedback?

On things you should continue doing; on things you can improve; on things you should stop doing. Can you take it?
June 29, 2015

Who did you inspire today?

It’s so easy to tell someone off, to criticize, to mock and make fun of someone. To inspire? That’s a whole different world. Do you know how to do it?
June 26, 2015

How much can you tolerate?

“For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.” – Margaret Heffernan Can your idea survive?
June 25, 2015

What is your issue?

If you are selling tons of your gadgets, widgets or whatever it is, and no one can recall your brand name, sales isn’t your issue. Your brand awareness is an issue. If most people know your brand but you aren’t selling much, then brand awareness isn’t an issue. Sales is an issue. If you are out of stocks most of the time, perhaps production scheduling is an issue. A lot of the time, making good improvements depends on the person in charge admitting to the weakness at hand and working hard to improve the areas that are a challenge. Sure, […]
June 24, 2015

Is it a religion?

Your belief in marketing and all the principles that you hold about it are not religious tenets. If you treat marketing like a religion, you will feel like a fool when it fails you. And at some point some of the things you belief will fail you. Be constantly open to ideas. Will it save your life?
June 23, 2015

Are you being too careful?

Being careful with your costs and investing behind your brand aren’t mutually exclusive behavior. You can be meticulous and still do well in investing in your brand. The conscientiousness that comes with doing your homework thoroughly and not over analyzing will serve your company well. Are you being neurotic?
June 22, 2015

How do you gain long term benefit?

Doing a redemption campaign here, a price-off promotion there for your brand is like exercising once a month hoping to reap the benefits of exercising. Like working out, to gain the benefits of branding activities, you need to be disciplined to do it consistently. You need to invest some time, money and effort. Any other way, you are doing it wrong. How committed are you?
June 19, 2015

Who do you work for?

Keep your sanity. Work for someone that is self-assured, not self-obsessed. Who should you quit on?
June 18, 2015

What helps you decide?

When you can’t quite decide, don’t say, “No harm trying.” Look instead for “There is benefit in trying.” Why would you do it?
June 17, 2015

How are you hacking it?

The only way to get through hard work is through heart work. Can you change your perspective?
June 16, 2015

What if you don’t have a choice?

Choose to do the right thing anyway. It’s only right. What principles do you hold?
June 15, 2015

What can you do?

Observe. Reflect. Act. It can work for your personal life. It can work for your marketing plan as well. How can you be better?
June 12, 2015

Why do you say “no”?

Because I have a business to run. And I like to run it my way. Why can’t I say “no”?
June 11, 2015

What have you tried?

All new ideas have gestation period. Some are longer some are shorter. But if you pregnant enough with ideas, eventually you will give birth to some new ones. You will want to do something about it. When is it due?
June 10, 2015

Who do you ignore?

Get yourself a compass for life. Well, actually you can’t really get one. You build an internal one. You build one through pain and years of learning to be self-aware. Years of learning to be responsible for yourself will help you with the nuts and bolts of the compass. As you develop one inside you, you will know who to ignore. Who are the assholes?
June 9, 2015

Do you know what you want?

If you know what you want, saying “no” isn’t difficult. It’s the most liberating feeling you can get. Do you want what you want?
June 8, 2015

Who gave them power over you?

You. They know what you want and they likely know you need it badly. Decide if you can really do without it. If you can’t really do without it, then are there other ways to get it? Very likely there countless other ways. Do not sell out. Especially if the other party tramples on your core principles. How do you make them abdicate?
June 5, 2015

What are you willing to give up?

The journey to excellence is a long one. That journey is filled with pain. Excellence is not easy. You already know that. But worth repeating. If you decide that excellence is what you seek, then first understand the standards for excellence in the field that you choose. Otherwise, you may think your shitty standard is a standard for excellence. Learn from the veterans. Listen and do. Most people who are excellent at what they do have been doing it for a long time. They learned it from years of error. Do you know the standards of excellence?
June 4, 2015

Do you have any idea?

Let’s say you are writing a new marketing plan and it all seems pretty mundane. You have no idea what to do. You may decide to add in the fancy stuff. You know, the things you read in glossy marketing magazines that feature your peers holding beer glasses, or stuff you read in your favourite brand book by that branding guru that wrote the other 50 branding books you bought and read, and things that speaker at that hyper cool marketing seminar you paid your whole marketing budget to attend says you “gotta do, otherwise you are so nineteen eighties.” […]
June 3, 2015

Is this a drill?

This is a not a drill. And you know it is not a drill. Whatever mess you are facing now is real and you have to clean it up. If you have no experience, well dig deep into whatever experience you have to try to solve it. Get help. Someone somewhere knows how to do this stuff. If you have experience, have done a couple of tours of duty, well then, what have you not seen? Don’t panic, don’t shout, and don’t need to get all agitated. It’s just another day in the trenches. The experiences should have taught you […]
June 2, 2015

Are you doing it every day?

Dan Gable said, “If it is important, do it every day. If it isn’t, don’t do it at all.” Pretty simple. You don’t know the good important stuff to do every day. Yet. Choose one thing you know you have to start doing and another you have to stop doing. What do you choose to stop today?
June 1, 2015

Why don’t you do it yourself?

Most people who do things themselves think they can do it cheaper, faster, nicer, whatever. For whatever you are doing yourself, for whatever reason, do yourself a favour. Remember this, you need a level of honesty that will deliver work that is better than the work someone else can do for you. It’s easy to see what is wrong and the issues and think you have the solutions. It is quite different to have the courage to face it and fix it. That is why when some people do things themselves, it doesn’t work. And I am not even talking […]
May 29, 2015

Are things going wrong?

We are all guilty of this, when things go wrong we add more solutions to get it right. Often times, when something is not working it may mean taking something out of the equation. Simplify. It’s that simple. Do less instead of doing more. Learn to isolate the main contributing factor and attack that with one main solution that matters. Can you simplify?
May 28, 2015

Are you competing?

You got to compete as if you want to compete. When you finally decided to invest (ok, spend) on advertising, make sure it is a substantial figure. You can work out that substantial figure or get someone who knows how to set it teach you. Look out there in the field and see what your competition is doing and go race with them. What you are doing when you do an ad here or there and that one off promotion a year and a press release every six months is akin to warm ups. It reminds me of the guy […]
May 27, 2015

Are you overwhelmed?

Toss out the extras. Be it in life or in your marketing plan, there are bound to be little “nice-to-haves”, little “I must have this or else my life is boring” crap. You know you won’t die if you toss it out but you refuse. The best things in life (and for your brand) come when you toss out the extras. Can your ego recognize the extras?
May 26, 2015

What did you learn today?

Every now and then we need to educate some people about certain new processes or medium or whatever. Inevitably, you will get a lot of objections and resistance even if you are just there to inform and no money ever enters my pocket from theirs. What I suspect is this; their ego is telling them to resist and object because to accept requires some form of confession that they did not know this, what they knew was wrong, they have to change (and we all know change isn’t comfortable), and perhaps even how little they knew. Demand that your ego […]
May 25, 2015

What else do you care about?

If your packaging design sucks, and you don’t have a unique story to tell about your product; please don’t tell me that advertising doesn’t work. How do you think it works?
May 22, 2015

What do you need to love?

Know and love your brand. Everything about it. If you don’t know it, and love it well enough you can’t sell a story about it. How deep is your love?
May 21, 2015

What should you strive for?

Reach as many people as you can, as many times as you can. How basic can it be?
May 20, 2015

Is there any other way?

You have to commit. Put money in for it. Get the right people. Listen to what they tell you to do. Let me know when you find a shortcut. Do you know a shortcut?
May 19, 2015

How do you advertise?

Find out what media your consumers use. List them out. Use the ones they use most often that your budget can afford. Advertise a bunch of ways in various media as long as you can find a big group of your consumers are using that medium. Spend enough and consistently enough, you should see results. Can it be that simple?
May 18, 2015

What do they know?

They, your competitors probably know more about you than you think they know about you. They probably found the information about you and your campaign and insights into how you think from your retailers, wholesalers, suppliers, disgruntled employees. These are of course, on top of the desktop research on you from the net and the information they can buy from research houses and the likes. I am not saying you need not guard your confidentiality. Just don’t be so paranoid that it hampers your movement. What don’t they know?
May 15, 2015

What will make my brand grow?

Advertising. It’s the best thing to introduce to your brand especially if it’s not been done before. What else did you expect to hear?
May 14, 2015

How good do you expect it to be?

Some marketers tend to expect every campaign that they execute to be successful. Every. Single. One. Not every date is a nice one. Not every assignment you handed in got an “A.” Not every conversation is an enjoyable one. Not every movie you watched is a fantastic one. Why would you expect every campaign that you run to be a great one? In my experience, every five campaigns (even if you got everything right) you will likely have one great one, one that sucked and three that, well aren’t too bad, but you can’t say they were great either. Ok, […]
May 13, 2015

Are you willing to invest?

If you are not willing to spend money to build your brand, don’t ask me about how to make your brand big. What’s your commitment?
May 12, 2015

How can I improve what I am doing now?

Consistently add more money to your A&P budget. And oh yes, do things faster too. Don’t over analyze it. Don’t make decisions based on the committee, if you can help it. Is there something simple I can do?
May 11, 2015

Do you do isolation exercises?

Your brand is one. The way your brand communicates is as a whole. Look at the way your brand communicates as one piece of work. Not separate pieces of work. Stop doing one or two activities you call a campaign, here and there. Start looking at your brand activities as one huge piece of communication that is related to each other. Do you know what are compound exercises?
May 8, 2015

How do you change?

The art of progress is to preserve order amid change, and to preserve change amid order. – Alfred North Whitehead. How do you maintain order?
May 7, 2015

What else can you cut?

Cutting the A&P budget may make you look like you made a profit. But it will also make your brand weaker. Being weak, not connecting with your consumers and not being at the top of your consumers’ minds can sometimes bring your brand on a downward spiral. Will it make your business stagnate?
May 6, 2015

What did you expect?

“Don’t ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance, or my kindness for weakness.” – Author Unknown Should I say something?
May 5, 2015

What if you don’t know?

Simple. Ask. What do you have to lose? Almost nothing. Almost because I know you think you will lose face. You will make a mockery of yourself. But I assure you none of these are real. It’s only real in your head. The rest of us actually appreciate the fact that you asked. It makes us feel good that we can teach you something. Asking questions is crucial to learning. Ask, learn and be better. What did you learn today?
April 30, 2015

Are you making money?

You can think about your A&P budget as a cost and cut that out. You may find that by cutting that out you are actually making money. Cuts that cut into your brand are making you smaller not bigger. Have you cut the fat away or are you trimming the muscles? Are you cutting the right thing?
April 29, 2015

Which big brand do you work for?

That big brand is not you. You are your own brand. You are not who you work for, no matter how big and how difficult it is to get in. You will still be judged by the work that you do, the questions that you ask and the way you treat people. Some people care about the business card that you carry, other more mature business people have seen enough to not give a damn. So when you next trot your business card as if it is your branded bag or clothes, remember that it is only a reflection of […]
April 28, 2015

What is it that you don’t know?

One of the most difficult tasks in being a consultant is giving advice to successful business people. After all, they are successful and they have done many things right. You don’t have to tell them that. They know it themselves. So for many of them, when you advise them, they look at you as if it is nothing new or it is a criticism of their work, their intellect or their actions. Of course, some may argue that the way we put forth the advise may be wrong. But let’s park the delivery of the advice aside for a moment. […]
April 27, 2015

How are you fixing yourself?

Or your company or your company’s processes. A client us called us today and said an agency just resigned from one of their long term jobs and asked us if we would take over. To be sure, it’s a nice client. So we asked a few questions. Why did the other agency resign from the job? What is the budget? Who will we be working with on the project? Sometimes business partners can give you much needed feedback in their interactions with you. Especially when the action is a drastic one. What could be wrong internally?
April 24, 2015

What are you hiding from?

When someone we need an answer from does not reply our email, it is convenient to just wait for an answer. After all, we have it on black and white. It’s there in the cyber forest, somewhere. It’s the responsibility of the recipient to reply us. Meanwhile things get delayed. When that happens it does not matter if it is because you did not receive a reply, it is someone else’s fault. Your role is to keep the project moving. That’s your responsibility. Pick up the phone and call. Call till you get a firm answer to move your project […]
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