Blog

October 2012 - PS Insights

TRICK OR TREAT

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Quick. Name a business that will grow 17% this year. (Don’t you wish it was yours?) Halloween is now an $8 billion industry with $370 million sales in pet costumes alone. More than 30% of adults will go to a Halloween party this year. What can you do to add fun, festivity and lots of additional sales to your business?

BEER HERE!

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The beer industry has taken a series of dramatic turns as we’ve all enjoyed local microbrews. Now it’s growlers. With refillable bottles that keep people coming back for more-at local breweries and even local chains and drug store locations such as Duane Reade! Fresh beer in big bottles has become the new badge value for the breweries and the customers who serve these heady brews. What have you done lately to change the game in your industry?

CONVENTIONS

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It’s time someone reinvented the convention. You all know the format: High-profile keynote speaker, breakout sessions, cocktail receptions and a convention floor where vendors seek new sales leads. We think there’s an opportunity for a different kind of model. It’s going to be interesting to see who figures that out first-and changes the way we gather with our peers

HYPHENATED PEOPLE

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Our late, great friend, Broadway composer Albert Hague, had a firm rule: “Never work with a hyphen.” When we asked him what he meant, he explained that he never worked with people who had more than one title. Such as “Writer-Director,” or “Director-Producer.” His reasoning is that the “hyphens” represent different jobs with different responsibilities, commitments and checks and balances.  Better to focus your team with people who have a singular function, commitment and expertise. How do you deal with the hyphens in your life?

COLLABORATION

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It’s a tricky word-and reflects a different operating philosophy between Paul and Steve. Paul is a great believer in consensus, collaboration and cooperation. Steve is more of a slash-and-burn kind of guy. (As he likes to say, “Isn’t collaboration what the Vichy French did with the Nazis in WWII?”) If you’re Pablo Picasso, you can probably get away with ignoring others’ input, but for us mere mortals, working as a team is probably the better and more profitable way to go.

THE NEW NORMAL

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We heard an interesting observation last week. One of our business associates said, “In case you didn’t notice, the global economy hit the “reset” button three years ago.” We keep recommending to clients that they recalibrate their business plans based on the idea that the way it is now is the way it’s going to be for the next few years. Even if we’re wrong, it’s probably a smart business strategy. Are you still operating like it’s 2007?

AGENCY ADVERTISING

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Most advertising agencies don’t advertise themselves. Well, actually they do. It’s called their Web site! Before you begin any agency review, start by reviewing their Web sites. Because if they can’t get their own site to give you a really good picture of who they are, what they do and what makes them powerfully special, they’re not going to do much better for your business, either.

“INSTITUTIONAL PARSIMONY”

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We were talking to a senior executive in an old media company and asked her why her company wasn’t experimenting with new business models. Her response was the quote above. How telling. Are you being “penny wise and pound foolish” in your business, as well?

ASPIRATION AND EMULATION

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Motivational guru Tony Robbins, author Steven Covey (“7 Habits of Highly Effective People”) and disciples of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) all preach the idea of modeling behavior and actions after people you want to emulate. However, you don’t have to dive deep into those beliefs to follow some simple rules: take a look around you and make sure you’re in sync with your corporate culture. No one with a beard? Maybe you should consider shaving yours. Everything you say, do and wear gets judged by the standards of the organization. Are you doing everything you can to demonstrate you’re a team player?

TIS THE SEASON???

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It’s October! OK, we understand the plethora of Halloween displays and product we’re seeing. But, Christmas? It used to be that Christmas season started Thanksgiving week. But now we’re already seeing Christmas promises and promotions. Not only do they step on the toes of Halloween and Thanksgiving, but they’re likely to alienate consumers who would like to celebrate the seasons and the holidays in their time, not in a commercial rush. Do you target your customers with what they want when they want it?