October 24, 2014

What did you do for the rest of the day?

If you engaged a personal trainer at the gym with the objective of helping you lose weight and at the end of the program you have not lost any weight, what do you do? Most people would blame the trainer or the program. Perhaps, the few almost extinct objective humans would sit back and say, “I workout 2 days a week for 1 hour with the trainer but for the rest of the 23 hours I eat crap, sleep late, down fermented hops drink that are laden with empty calories, surely it is not the program or the trainer’s fault.” So, […]
October 23, 2014

Is traditional media or social media better?

The right tool for the right job is the answer. The right tool is the one that will complete the task in the most effective and most efficient manner. Look at the campaign you are running, the objective you want to achieve, the budget you have, then consider the human resources that you can dispense. Even before all these, as a manager your question should be are you good with the fundamentals of these media? Unless you know what tool is best for which job, you will never know which tool is better. Because answering which tool is better depends […]
October 21, 2014

How many choices do you have?

The more variety you have, the more you should focus. Variety is seductive. It takes your eyes off the basic stuff that works. Too many varieties can mean losing focus. Focus on the fundamentals. They bring results. That’s why they are called fundamentals. What are the fundamentals?
October 20, 2014

Who screwed up?

We all did. All of us, one time or another. There is no need to be too upset. Some learn best by screwing up. Others need multiple screw-ups to learn. Just remind yourself, screw-ups are lessons. For you, for them, for everyone. It’s OK to make mistakes. Just make it a valuable lesson. Who learned something?
October 17, 2014

Do you have a marketing team?

A non-exhaustive list but you can start with these. A good marketing team should at the very least understand and apply these concepts: The brand, the process of branding, the business the company is in, the role a brand plays. The marketing 4Ps. Just four. I know there are a gazillion other Ps others will convince you is important. Let’s start with four; the rest will fall in place. We can add the QRSTUV…later. The category and what makes it tick. Key sales divers, key motivators of the consumers. The consumers and their various segments. What makes them buy this […]
October 16, 2014

Is it time to let go?

When you can’t pull them up, sometimes it is best to let go. You may risk letting them pull you down. How firmly are they holding on?
October 15, 2014

Who did you offend today?

This in my experience is true, in most organizations where branding is a new thing, which means investing talent, money and time behind the brand, there will be a group of Neanderthal business people within the organization who will remind you how they built a business without this branding crap. That much is true. They built a business. But in all certainty, they did not build a brand. If you are the guy in the company championing the need to brand and conduct branding building activities, ignore these buggers. They will find you offensive. Offend them anyway. They will say […]
October 14, 2014

When is the next service due?

“It is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary.” – Richard Whately Why wait till it is broken?
October 13, 2014

Are you the fittest?

The term “survival of the fittest” was used by Herbert Spencer to explain Darwin’s concept of “natural selection.” But to Darwin the term “fittest” means “better adapted for immediate, local environment”, and not what we understand as “in good physical shape.” So when you apply it to business, it doesn’t mean it is the survival of the best financial shape, although that would help. But it is more of the survival of the companies that can best adapt. Are you a natural selection?
October 10, 2014

How long will it take?

Spend big. Master marketing. Perfect social media skills. That seems to be what people are telling you if you are to be good with branding these days. Of course these are useful. But if you are small, then start small. Having all those does not mean you won’t fail. Knowing all these does not guarantee success. But if you start and not be afraid to spend even when you feel it hurts. Then that’s a good start. Treat it as an investment into the brand. Start understanding the basics of marketing and the consumer. Get a good grounding into your […]
October 9, 2014

What will work?

Have you ever written down all the things that has worked for you in your business? Well, you should. Keep a marketing journal. No, not the kind that says what you bought at the supermarket. The kind that says this is what I did for my marketing plan this month, this is what worked and why. This is what could have been better. Teach yourself. Are you learning your own lessons?
October 8, 2014

What’s your advertising style?

Huh? I don’t know. Whatever sells. What’s style?
October 7, 2014

Is it truth well told?

October 3, 2014

What can you do?

You can do a lot. The magic is in starting. What is in motion usually gains momentum. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe. When do you start?
October 2, 2014

What is the price of ignorance?

You won’t know when you are ignorant. It’s only when you get wiser and more experience that you see your own ignorance and the price you paid. Some people call that “school fees”. You then warn the others about their ignorance. But they won’t listen because they are ignorant. Everyone has to pay their dues. Some will pay more, some will pay less. Some don’t have to pay. But that’s few and far between. You should aim to be the rare few. How much have you paid?
October 1, 2014

What’s in your program?

“It’s vain to do with more what can be done with less.” – William of Occam. How much do you know?
September 30, 2014

Are you getting comfortable?

If you do not see any difference in your business after all the branding effort you put in, it could be because you are doing things that makes you comfortable. If you want to progress, you have to learn to be comfortable with what makes you uncomfortable. Then you are pushing and challenging yourself as a marketer, as a business owner. That’s how you make progress. What will bring progress?
September 29, 2014

How much do you work?

It’s good to take pride in your work. Heck, I am a huge proponent of it and even came up with a silly paper on how to do it. But it’s also important to watch your health. Sleep is an important component. My team and I have been there before – sleep deprivation in order to deliver work to the company. On hindsight perhaps some form of moderation of our work ethics would be better for our health – both physical and mental – then. I know it is difficult, but as a manager you can learn to assign to […]
September 26, 2014

Is there a cheaper way?

There are no cheap ways to build a brand especially if you want a big brand. Building a brand takes investment. You already know that but you refuse to believe it. How much do you need to build a big brand? A lot is an easy answer. But it wouldn’t be a lie even though it’s an easy answer. Huge investments in money, talent and time. You also know that already. How much is needed?
September 25, 2014

What are you looking at?

Management attention is a very expensive resource. That is why people in management must use their time wisely. If you sit in a management position in a company, please do not waste time on your small unilateral wet-dream project. Do not justify that it is big, that you will use it as an example of how it should work to other divisions. It distracts finite resources from the important things management and senior leaders need to look into. Do you know your job?
September 23, 2014

Why aren’t you getting results?

You can start with these two. One, you are not being effective, which means doing the right things. Two, you are not being efficient, which means doing things right. Seems obvious but not many people are willing to look into their own dirt. So, it’s not so obvious. If it is then we will all be doing great marketing. What are you looking into?
September 22, 2014

How did you build your customer base?

One at a time I am sure. That’s how you build your web visitors as well or your Facebook or whatever. One at a time. If you spend money expanding your customer base like with advertising and sales promotion, or improving your product, the same thing happens on the net. The speed may have changed but the principle is the same. How do you think you can build your visitors base?
September 19, 2014

How do you become big?

By being big with a small group of people at a time, that’s how you grow big. So do not underestimate the fifty people that consistently revisit your website every day. Yes it is only fifty. But if you consistently connect with them and listen to them, that is the first fifty in a lot of fifties to come. Do you underestimate small?
September 18, 2014

What is the market size?

The marketer’s first job is to create a market for the company. So regardless of market size, you can still create that market, whether it is to take market share from competitors or to create new users to the category with your brand as the first choice. When your company does not subscribe to any meaningful data, stop complaining that there is no data. That isn’t going to take you very far. You can still create a market when you don’t know the market size. What is the size of your ambition?
September 17, 2014

Can you change this?

Of course we can. Revision is part of the process. One of the things you need to be aware of when changing is that options leads to more options. Initially, you make small concessions in order to experiment and to see ‘how this works’. “Let’s use a similar colour to the brand’s green”, perhaps a green that does not follow the brand’s guidelines, maybe a shade lighter, a shade darker, whatever. Because you made this concession, you allow yourself and others to start drifting away from the guidelines and the original intention. In a company where there are many layers […]
September 15, 2014

Is this important?

A client was very irritated recently when we went on great lengths to convince her that what she was looking at wasn’t important and that she would be better off investing her time on something else. She would likely get better ROI on her time. When she failed to convince us that it IS important, she asked sternly in a challenging manner, “So, in your opinion this XXX is not important.” I said, “Yes, in our experience we know this to be unimportant.” What I wanted to say was really, “It is obviously important to your ego to have this XXX. That’s why […]
September 12, 2014

What is your biggest challenge at work?

Getting distracted by personal emails, calls, social media. Personal stuff. Sure, you can dispute this. If you can avoid not doing any of these for a day, I accept that your biggest challenge isn’t made up of one of these. Don’t lie to yourself that your biggest challenge is lousy clients and bad bosses. It’s distraction and the inability to focus on work. What’s your job?
September 11, 2014

How do you look without make-up?

Why spend money telling lies? Especially if deep down you believe that lies will eventually be unearthed. That the truth will find its way to float above all the bull shit. There must be some nice compelling truth to speak about your brand. Tell them. Even if you think you do not have that, then dig deep for your authenticity to surface. In a market of over masked, over made up brand faces, a natural authentic self actually looks better. Do you tell the truth?
September 10, 2014

Do you expect perfect execution?

You alone cannot control the outcome of your plans. It’s filled with variables because others are involved. So don’t expect a perfect outcome. But you can put in perfect effort. You own perfect effort. That is your responsibility. When you take responsibility for perfect effort, perfect outcome doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is personal perfect effort. Do you own perfect effort?
September 9, 2014

Who’s the chef?

In your organization, I would argue that it is your marketing manager. After all, she cooks all the ingredients put together to feed the market. Mise en place then doesn’t just apply in the kitchen. It is applicable in your organization too. When the respective department does not supply the necessary ingredient to get the dish on the table, then no matter how good your chef is, she can’t do much. Are your things in place?
September 8, 2014

How much time?

As in how much time do senior people on the agency side spend on your business? If they invest senior headcounts on your business, who do you put on your end to discuss the big picture with them? Assuming you work with the right agency and the right amount of senior involvement you are happy with, what’s next is – you need to make sure that the sparring partner on your side is on par. Otherwise, it is wasted time. What level are your people at?
September 5, 2014

What are we debating?

When someone says, “You have the right to your opinion and I have the right to mine” in a debate or discussion what that person has done is change the discussion to one about “rights.” It is no longer about the topic at hand which is being discussed or debated. Don’t let that happen. Of course everyone has their opinion, that’s the reason for the discussion. We debate to arrive at a better solution based on the merits of each one’s opinion. Let’s get that done, and then we can discuss about the “rights” of one’s opinion. They are separate […]
September 4, 2014

Who is right?

Sometimes when you get into a debate about marketing, some parties like to say, “Oh, there is no wrong or right in marketing.” If it was used to get out of a sticky political situation, perhaps that can be tolerated. But a good organization should fertilize such discussions. Even if you believe there is no wrong or right in marketing, you have to believe that there is “better”. So, your job as a boss is to determine, amongst all these “no wrong or right” plans, which is a better plan. Go with that one. You can only decide on the […]
September 3, 2014

What’s your size?

The size of your market share is more affected by the size of your marketing ambition and your marketing expertise than the size of your business. How much do you want it?
September 2, 2014

Do you overestimate success?

August 29, 2014

Why can’t it be faster?

Because selling takes time. Anyone of us who has sold something knows that. Have you sold something before?
August 28, 2014

How do you get results?

One proven way is compliance and consistency. Comply with what has been prescribed and do them consistently. Have you seen results?
August 27, 2014

Who do you want to be?

August 26, 2014

What will you rip out?

August 25, 2014

Why are they listening?

Not everyone listens to understand. Some people listen to rebut. They listen so they can tell you why you are wrong. To repeat what they already know to you. They are not there to listen and learn. They are there to lambaste. Why should you stop talking?
August 22, 2014

How hard is it?

It’s not hard if you have heart. Have a little faith, put in a little effort. Remember, risk you can measure. Anxiety you can’t. Ask, what’s really holding you back with the decision. Business or personal. How much heart do you have?
August 21, 2014

What did you do?

Work time is too short not to do something that truly matters to your business. Start with what can bring you the most results in the time you invested in the project, plan, meeting, email, _________ (fill in the blank). Do that first. How much is productive time?
August 20, 2014

When are you going to do it?

Taking a leap is always difficult because of the perceived risk. I call it “perceived” because it may not be real. Reality doesn’t happen until you have done it. Before taking the leap? That’s all perception. Talk yourself and your organization through the “We are not ready, this is not possible for us, we are different, it could cost us, too many people are doing this, it’s difficult to predict what will happen, we are ok why should we do this, let’s wait for the perfect opportunity…” If you can’t take the leap, at least make a small SIGNIFICANT step. […]
August 19, 2014

When do you want this?

Yesterday. Yes. Just do it. Impossible is nothing. It’s a challenge. It’s also true what Warren Buffett said, “You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.” Let’s scale the deliverable to the time you have. How much time do you have?
August 18, 2014

Why are you so afraid of being judged?

I have been seeing this quote being pasted and posted on friends’ social media – “Don’t judge my path if you haven’t walked my journey.” Obviously, based on the likes they got, the amount of shares and the comments that followed, I think many people liked it. It resonated with them. I am not so sure if it is a good quote or if it does anything positive. First question, how much equal experience and how exact does that experience have to be before someone can make a judgment? Can a billionaires’ father who was a pauper make judgment on […]
August 15, 2014

Do you have the courage?

August 14, 2014

What do you teach?

“As a leader, you have to have a teachable point of view.” – Jack Welch. Be willing to teach what you know. Hand that knowledge down. You have a moral obligation to do so. Are you a hoarder?
August 13, 2014

Why are you so sad?

Or angry, or frustrated? Remember, “And this, too, shall pass away.” Also, remember that it applies when you are happy too. Why are you so happy?
August 12, 2014

Is it part of the job description?

I think one of the toughest parts in the work world is being able to keep your mouth shut when people do things we disagree with and scream our opinion when it really matters. Finding that balance takes experience, that’s another tough part. What’s the toughest part?
August 11, 2014

How should we proceed from here?

Let’s make this better. That’s better than saying, “let’s make this more creative.” When you say, “Let’s make this better” we can argue about what is “better” and we would always point you to “does it achieve the objective”. So making it “better” means a better way of getting to the objective. Making it more creative may not get us there. How can we make this better?
August 8, 2014

What competence do you have?

Some incompetence is unconscious to you. This means you do not know what you are incompetent in. At work, some tasks may reveal this to you, which then turns it into a conscious incompetence. Meaning, you KNOW what you are not good at now. You are aware of your incompetence. When you know this, you have a moral obligation to fix your conscious incompetence for the sake of the people who work around you. Stop hiding behind excuses and start finding the moral courage to make a positive change. Get competent. There is no such thing as “Please accept me […]
August 7, 2014

What are you going to believe in?

Rich people wake up early. Rich people don’t wake up early. Intelligent people sleep late Intelligent people sleep early. Smart people organize their time. Smart people are disorganized. Successful people walk to work. Successful people don’t care how they get to work. The list goes on. Every. Single. Day. Someone posts one of these ‘researches’ and quotes one of these un-researched. I suspect you will be more successful if you actually just do the work than talk and post. Who do you want to be?
August 6, 2014

What’s your plan?

“Everyone has a plan until they have been hit.” It’s a quote credited to Joe Louis. Others credit Mike Tyson for it. Regardless, those who have been hit before, those who have gone into the ring know the brutal truth in that statement – doesn’t matter whether it is a sparring ring or the business ring. You want to destroy your competitor’s plan? Hit them where it hurts mortally. Then see how their plans crumble. Then it becomes a matter of survival, it’s no longer a competition. How hard can you hit?
August 5, 2014

Why are you uncomfortable?

Not all discomfort means you are sick. Some discomfort comes from doing things you are new to. New experiences bring discomfort. That’s just how things are. But once you get used to it – which is to say you have experience – you become comfortable. New experiences bring discomfort but new experiences also bring growth. You can call it growing pains or whatever you like. If you avoid doing new things that bring discomfort then you are blocking out an additional ray of light that can make you grow. Would you rather stop growing?
August 4, 2014

What is your discomfort?

Most people know when they are sick, the symptoms are not the disease. It points to the disease. And some diseases are difficult to diagnose. Most marketers know this when it comes to their physical illness. But when it comes to their marketing, they prefer to dispense symptomatic treatment. To be fair to marketers, not all problems felt at the marketing side of things originate from marketing. The pain radiates to marketing, but it could originate from production, management, logistics, even IT. For some management, as long as the fever is not there, we are OK, seems to be the […]
August 1, 2014

When should you walk away from the money?

Not exhaustive. Here’s a start. When the client… Blames you for everything and takes no responsibilities Is jealous of your business growth Is angry all the time regardless if it is your mistake Poisons you to his boss, colleagues, suppliers Makes promises he doesn’t keep big or small When is a good time for good bye?
July 31, 2014

How should you repay?

No you didn’t do it on your own. Yes, you put in your effort and sometimes it seemed you were the only one helping you. If you looked hard enough, you will realize someone helped you. In fact, many people helped you – one way or another. Some gave you second chances. Some coached you. Others taught you. Some were tougher, some were kind. Yet others offered words that needed to be heard. Regardless how you succeeded, pay it forward. And pay it forward nicely. Who helped you succeed?
July 30, 2014

How big are they?

July 25, 2014

Do you think you will ever hear it?

July 24, 2014

Who are you reasoning with?

There is a Chinese saying, “秀才遇到兵, 有理说不清” translated to loosely mean, it’s difficult for a scholar to reason with a soldier. Sometimes it’s better to just walk away. What do they listen to?
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