Blog

June 2012 - PS Insights

BEST

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Summer’s upon us and it’s time for State Fairs. Paul was reminded of his trip to the Wisconsin State Fair last year where he saw best-in-class for clydesdales, cows, chickens and all manner of livestock. He also experienced best creampuffs and the best macaroni and cheese on a stick. Who knew? Are you Best in Class in popular categories or unexpected, innovative ones?

MARKETABLE vs GOOD

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Is it our imagination or has a conflict developed between “marketable” and “good”? All you have to do is look at the past year’s theatrical movie releases or the past year’s video game releases. Many are okay and many made money. Perfectly marketable. Eminently…b-o-o-ring. Make sure that when you think of something marketable that it’s also, well, good. What a concept.

ZERO vs OH

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When you’re giving someone your phone number, do you use the word “zero” or “oh” for the number 0? We’ve noticed a regional preference the way Midwesterners call soda “pop” and Easterners think “regular coffee” means “cream and sugar.” What regional idiosyncrasies have you picked up in your travels?

WHO KNOWS?

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A great observation from Steve’s son, Dan: “Life is simple when you know who to ask.” It’s an often-forgotten gem of advice. Knowing whom to ask—and what you want to ask them—is key to getting the information, action and results you want. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point, he called them “Mavens.” Who are your mavens?

FACE TIME

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Steve was in Austin, Texas the other week moderating a panel on creativity at the AAF national convention. Club presidents, program directors and other officers from every part of the country. Cities large and small. Hawaii. Alaska. It was good to see old acquaintances and make new friends. Once again, a reminder of the value of “face time.” Yes, our schedules are busy; which makes it more important than ever to build in some face time with professional associates. When was the last time you attended a gathering of your peers?

THE 4A’s OF SOCIAL MEDIA

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At the AAF national convention in Austin, Steve Goldner of MediaWhiz had a smart thing to say about the role of social media in a company’s marketing mix. Goldner’s POV is that social media isn’t a sales medium, it’s an opportunity to connect with customers and move them through four stages: Attention (“I’m aware you’re here”); Affinity (“I relate to what you have to say”); Affection (“I like that you’re doing this”); and Advocacy (“I’m going to tell my friends about you”). That’s all—and it’s a lot. What’s your Social Media strategy—is it as smart as Steve’s?

WHAT’S GREAT WRITING?

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That’s a question Steve asks during his creativity workshop. As a test, he gives attendees eight choices: the lead paragraph from eight media sources covering the identical news story including The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. The paragraphs are presented without identifying where they’re from. Steve asks his attendees to pick what they think is “the best written paragraph.” 100% of the time, the majority of attendees pick The New York Post. And if you want proof, we offer the following: Mike Vaccaro’s sports editorial about Johan Santana’s no-hitter

COUGARS AND…

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We think it’s sexist and misogynistic that there’s a word for older women who are interested in younger men…but no word for the young men who go looking for them. With that in mind, as a public service to our loyal followers, we offer up the following:  Cub Scouts. What do you think?

BACK LASH

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Truth in advertising. It’s an age old issue. But the issue is heating up in the cosmetics industry where retouching virtually everything has obfuscated product performance. Used to be, people talked about selling the sizzle, not the steak-but it seems to us that the cosmetics industry has forgotten there has to be some steak to go with the sizzle.