Blog

May 2013 - PS Insights

WHEN IN ROME (NEW YORK)

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Alas, stereotypes too often come to be for a reason. Paul’s International class of Norwegians, French and Spaniards has behaved in stereotypical fashion. The Norwegians arrive on time. The French are five to ten minutes late. The Spanish get to class ten to twenty minutes after it starts. All of them seem to be indifferent to the culture they’re in, which demands—and sometimes even rewards—promptness. When you’re in another culture, are you sensitive to and respect the practices of the place you’re visiting ?

GREAT MINDS

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A few weeks ago we mentioned that there was nothing like a deadline to sharpen your focus and get good work completed. One of our followers was reminded of a quote from Leonard Bernstein who, we admit, said it better than we did: “All you need is a plan—and not quite enough time to do it.” What’s your plan, and how much time have you given yourself to get it done?

THE AGE OF APPLE

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It was so long ago that Apple products were almost universally embraced as the coolest consumer electronics on the planet – whether you owned Apple or not. What a turn of events its been. First the Samsung assault and now Nokia. To wit: the Nokia wedding commercial that suggests (yet, again) that Apple owners are old and that the Nokia Lumia 920 Windows phone is now the next best thing. Another piece of evidence that we’ve got to earn our place every day. What do you do to stay current – both in product AND in perception?

BLOG CRITIQUE

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We got our first complaint about our blog last week. A friend we deeply respect criticized it for being incomplete. She felt we have more to say on these subjects. We said thank you, but short is appreciated and the lure for many of you who read our blog in the preview screens. We made a deal that whatever blog she wanted more content on, we’d follow up long-form just for her. Are you sometimes the victim of your successful idea?

WORSE THAN EXPECTED

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Steve recently went to Port Authority to buy a bus ticket. His expectations were low. His experience was worse. It’s like the furniture company that says you will have your new sofa in 16 weeks (which seems like a really long time to us) but, still hasn’t delivered it with 18 weeks and counting. If expectations are low, don’t make them any worse. Do you make certain you under-promise and over-deliver?

CONTENT CONTENT

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English is a tough language. We’re very content oriented. But we were struck recently when we were satisfied with some new content that we felt content with. To Paul’s Norwegian, French, Spanish and Japanese students it just doesn’t make sense that those two words have totally different meanings. Do you marvel at language? Or just try to make sense of it?

BOUNCE

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The best thing about partnerships is the bounce. Bill Bernbach understood this when he created the idea of creative teams—copywriters and art directors working together. It’s a 1+1=3 proposition. Bouncing ideas creates more of them. Two heads are better than one. And the critique from the team is lots easier than editing oneself. Do you partner up in your projects for bigger, better ideas for business—and other endeavors?

THE WEAKEST LINK

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Your team is only as strong as its weakest link. We’ve seen it time and again when making or judging new business pitches. There was one company we worked with where the weakest link—in that case the creative guy —stood up and said “and now the good part.” He not only submarined a brilliant strategic set up from the account planner, he also sunk the agency’s chances of winning the business. There’s an old poker expression that says, “If you can’t spot the turkey at the table in the first 15 minutes…it’s you.” How do you identify and manage your weakest links?

PERSONAL NETWORKS

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Not so long ago in the TV biz we talked about appointment viewing (i.e. tune in to Friends and Seinfeld on Thursday nights). But today, media is all about personal networks. Audiences can pretty much watch what they want when they want—on demand, on Hulu, Netflix and scores of other vehicles. When the burden on content is that the audience can opt-in, the content has got to be outstanding. The good news is there is lots of great content out there. The question is what do you program (regardless of the message or the medium) and how do you inspire your audience to select your content?

THE DAILY NY TIMES

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Steve’s on the road 70 days a year or so. He only needs two things to make his trips enjoyable: The daily NY Times and a movie theater that shows independent films. Those two criteria, however, separate the “nice, little towns” from the “small towns.” When last we checked, he was driving around the wilds of Arkansas and southern Missouri looking for both. What are your minimum standards?