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Sometimes Love Means Having to Say "I'm Sorry"

In the past, I have discussed how important it is to say Thank-you. Whether the gratitude is directed to your customers, your clients, your co-workers, your friends, or a stranger sitting next to you, saying Thank-you goes a long way towards building a relationship, and building trust. All the social media tools in the world won't mean a thing if people aren't willing to say Thanks!

There is another important emotion that we should never forget to express.

I'm Sorry!

Images If a customer is unhappy, if a client thinks we have let them down, if we have wronged a co-worker, or hurt a friend's feelings, or simply treated a stranger poorly, saying I'm Sorry with conviction is another great relationship builder. 

Sometimes it is hard to say it, because our natural tendency is to defend our actions. But what's the point? If the person to whom the apology is directed feels that we are wrong, even if we think we aren't, it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is what the other person thinks. Its their perception of us.

Building a brand, building a business, building a relationship online or off; be willing to say I'm Sorry. Eventually it will help people love the brand, especially if the brand is You.

Play This Close to Your Chest

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know there are times when I am presented with a new product or service, and I find myself questioning whether the idea is genius, or simply crazy.

I have one of those products today.

Gold Have you seen The Racktrap? It is described as "an undetectable personal bra pocket that holds everyday essentials including cash, credit cards, and drivers license conveniently in your bra". You can purchase it as a single unit, or a set of 4 (I have to re-read my anatomy books. Why would you need 4?)

In the instructions, under How To Use the Racktrap, the instructional steps start with:

1. Locate your breasts. (ummmm, they were here a minute ago.)

2.
Decide what breast is most accessible. (how can one be more accessible than the other? What am I missing? I'm so bad at this.)

And there's a video if you are really confused, but it didn't help me answer the above questions.

Okay, maybe it is a good product. They certainly have received a fair amount of press. But here's a quick recommendation from a confused guy. Ladies, if you do purchase this, I recommend against carrying a lot of change for the parking meter. The jingling that would be emanating from just one side of your... well, it would simply be strange.

Thanks for letting me rant about this one. I just had to get it off of my chest!


Easy to be Hard

A hard thing to do is to ask people to honestly share with you their opinion of your skills.

A harder thing to do is to listen, without being defensive.

The hardest thing to do after listening, is to change and improve.

Its hard, but I like the challenge. Striving to be New & Improved should never end! I'm working on it. How about you?

Images

I Don't Need No Stinkin' Conversation!

Aren't you getting tired of people calling themselves Social Media experts!

Images-1 First of all, the concept of Social Media, and the accompanying technologies and platforms, are all relatively new. Anyone who claims that they are an expert simply is over-stating their experience. They might know a lot about Social Media, but no one is really an expert. You read articles all of the time as to how marketers are still trying to figure how Social Media fits into the overall integrated marketing strategy. The key phrase here is "trying to figure it out." We all are.  None of us are "experts". Some of us simply get it more than others.

Allow me to give you a great "case in point" about one of the so-called experts.

There is someone who is connected to me via my Facebook site. I have never met him in person, but we have corresponded a couple of times. He asked if he could friend me, and I accepted. He lists as his occupation that he is a Social Media Expert.

The other day, I noticed that he was posting a tremendous amount of times on his own Facebook page, a combination of Status Updates and Tweets from his Twitter feed. The postings had grown in number so significantly, that it had become annoying.

Listen to these stats. In the period from June 4 to June 8, he had 139 posts on his Facebook wall that he had posted himself. And, get this, not one comment from any of his "friends". Not one! Zero. No comments. No conversation.

He boasts that he has 1200 friends.

This person calls himself a social media expert, but no one is being social with him. He somehow has gathered 1200 friends, people who probably don't really know him, or don't want a whole lot to do with him. Out of these 1200 friends, in a four day period, and 139 posts, nothing he had to say in his posts elicited one comment. Not one comment. Not from one friend. NOTHING!!! It wasn't a conversation. It was simply a broadcast, like a television channel that no one cares to watch.

If all you do is talk, and absolutely no one responds, ever, maybe you aren't saying the right things. Maybe you don't get the whole social media thing.  Maybe you're not really an expert. Maybe its harder than you think. Maybe you should start to listen more, and talk a bit less. Maybe. Think about it....

Learning from the Tonys

Did you watch the Tony Awards last night?

Because my mind sometimes works in mysterious ways, I tend to look at most things through my slightly skewed vision, and relate everything back to business and marketing. Here are some quick observations.

Marketing

No matter how well known your brand might be, you should never stop marketing. And if brand recognition starts to drop off, you need to market in new ways and new channels. Case in point is Neil Patrick Harris. He did a great job as host of the Tonys, but more important is to think about where his career had been, and where it is today.

Images Neil (can I call him Neil or do I have to say Neil Patrick), for us "older" folk, will always be Doogie Howser M.D.. He was a young teen actor in a major network weekly show, playing a young teen medical doctor who had a genius IQ. The problem was, after the show ended in 1993, he had been typecast. Sure, he would appear in single episodes of other shows as a character actor, or he did voice work for animated series, but he wasn't gaining any traction. The NPH brand wasn't selling. So he looked at the potential target markets, figured out that his old fans weren't buying, and he decided he needed to introduce his product to a new target market. 

In 2004 he appeared in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. By no means a classic, but who am I to judge. In the film, Harris mocked himself, and his Doogie role. In my opinion, it is no coincidence that in 2005 he became the star of How I Met Your Mother, a sitcom still on the air today. 

Nice job of rebranding. From Harold & Kumar, to host of the Tony Awards, in 5 short years. Amazing!

Gratitude

I'm big on saying thank-you. I think there is nothing worse than having people do things for you, and then not thanking them. It can be a simple email, a note, a call, an instant message, it doesn't matter. Thank-yous are meaningful, and people appreciate them.

I also believe that you have to thank your customers, your clients, your employees, your employer, your network. Just say thanks. People appreciate it. Sometimes it is great to show gratitude for not particular reason simply because it indicates that you appreciate the people around you.

Angela Lansbury is going to be 84 years old this year, and last night she won a Tony, her fifth. With the poise of a star who has had a long career, she showed heartfelt gratitude to her fans, her fellow actors in her current play, and most importantly to the theater community for allowing her to work at her age. Out of all of the speeches, hers was the most heartfelt. You truly believed that she appreciated everything about her career, and the fact that she hasn't been forgotten.

When was the last time you thanked someone with that type of heartfelt appreciation? I think it makes both parties (you and the thankee) feel great.

Accepting Change

Jane Fonda is 71 years old. She has had an interesting career. An actress, a political activist, a fitness expert, a wife of a billionaire, and now back to acting again. Love her or dislike her, she has been around a long  time and manages to remain in the public eye.

Last night at the Tonys, she was updating her Twitter feed live, from her seat. In addition, she was uploading backstage photos to Twitpics. Talk about willing to accept change!

Fonda, at age 71, is doing things that we can't seem to get our clients to do because they find it too difficult. She isn't asking if Twitter is going to be around in five years. She isn't questioning their business model. She has realized that if she wants to continue growing "Brand Fonda", she has to connect with a new market, and she is using her Twitter feed and her website to do just that.

I give her a lot of credit. By the way, her Tweets were pretty insightful, and personal. They allowed us to see into her head, which is the best type of brand transparency. Nice job!

Final Thoughts

Broadway continues to struggle during this economy. Ticket prices are high, and the number of tourists visiting New York is down substantially. If I were a Broadway producer, or theater owner, I would allow people to sign up to follow a Twitter feed for the show in my theater, and beginning 15 minutes before the curtain goes up, I'd start to Tweet about how many seats I had left for that evening's shows, and start to sell seats at a discount. Once that curtain goes up, and the seat is empty, that's it. You'll never get revenue for that seat, that evening. Aren't you better off filling that seat with a body willing to pay? What if someone waited until the last minute, and was willing to pay $25. Should you take it? It will go right to the bottom line, right?

How can that same concept work for your business?

Wow! I never thought I could ramble on so long about the Tony Awards and Broadway. I must be getting really sophisticated and cultured. But I have to run. I have to rent Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.

They Can Hear You Now

Today's message is for all of those people who are involved in any, some, or all of the following endeavors:

  • You post on a blog
  • You tweet on Twitter
  • You update your status on Facebook
  • You upload your video on YouTube
  • You post on someone else's Facebook wall

Here is my message to you: Don't Stop!

  • Don't stop thinking.
  • Don't stop writing.
  • Don't stop creating.
  • Don't stop sharing.
  • Don't stop projecting.
  • Don't stop talking.

Images People really do care to hear what you have to say. I promise! You may sit and wonder if all of your hard work to be interesting is worth it. You may wonder if anyone is listening.

It is and they are!

Today, a friend of mine told me that she liked my blog post, and further, because she enjoyed it, she told me that she shared it with others. My day was made! She could not have given me a better gift. Knowing that something that I write is interesting enough that someone not only enjoys it, but shares it, well how can I ask for anything more than that?

Guess what. People are doing the same thing for you. They're sharing, they're reposting, they're Digging, they're bookmarking, they're retweeting, they're enjoying. Trust me. It's all worth it.

You may think it is all too hard, too lonely, too non-gratifying, too time-consuming, to write without knowing if anyone is reading. But believe me, they are reading. They are listening to what you have to say.

Whatever you do, don't give up. Don't Stop! People want to know what you're thinking.

Its part of the "social" in social media.



Will Work for Change

Last week while in Amsterdam, I was involved in a conversation with some European business executives and we were discussing various business topics, including the fact that people in their twenties and early-thirties tend to change jobs more often than we did when we were their age. Surprising to my colleagues, I defended the phenomenon, and explained that it did not have to do with the fact that this generation were less career-minded, but in fact it was due to how quickly the world is changing around us. 

Images In the book, Grown Up Digital, Don Tapscott explains it best when he states that the Net Generation is simply different than previous generations. As he states in this highly recommended book, the NetGens' brains are wired differently than the brains of the previous generations. They work and live at different speeds, able to react to various stimuli at the same time. This allows the NetGens to be able to work on client presentations, while listening to music on their iPod, engaging with their friends in texting conversation, and monitoring their Twitter feed. 

The fact is, the NetGens change jobs not because they are unhappy, or because they are tired of their work, but instead they change jobs simply for the new experience. They are so used to living in a world of change, that without change in their personal and business lives, they feel as if they are missing out, that they are getting stale.

Face it! Change is Inevitable. People change brands, they change cars, they change cities in which they live, they change hair color, they change partners, and they change jobs. Not only did I defend the fact, I further pointed out that the world was changing so fast, that the NetGens who think that they "get it", won't understand the generation that is coming up behind them, because the speed in which change is happening for that generation is even greater than it was ten years ago; even five years ago.

Here is a great video that first appeared in November 2008 that is well worth watching if you don't believe that the speed in which things are changing is going to alter the way we live, work, communicate, survive, exist. If you do believe, this will simply provide you with some great conversation starters.

Share this video if you think the message is worth spreading. We can't bury our heads to the fact that Change is Occurring at a rate faster than we've ever experienced!


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