December 16, 2010

Managers light a fire under people; leaders light the fire within them.

Thanks to Jeff Deckman for the essence of this great observation.


It all started in Miss Gershkoff’s typing class at Scituate High School. Carl Rossi and I would dream up products and ad campaigns, including our most famous: Nagilas. Nagilas were corn snacks shaped like gila monsters, formulated from corn (and whatever additional ingredients go into incredibly tasty corn snacks), and marketed in homes across America with TV spots anchored by the irresistible jingle, “Have a Nagila, have two Nagilas, have three Nagilas, they taste like corn.”

Now, with every project I take on involving Marketing, Advertising, Public relations, Creative direction, Copywriting, Brand building or Brand strategy and planning… I look back and thank Miss Gershkoff for the really handy typing skills and sweet teaching style, and thank Carl for the genius two-man ad agency that operated solely between practice sessions on those funky manual typewriters at SHS.


“What’s that? Look, your government leaders have more vital issues to work on, like extracting a big fine from you nice young people unless you buy health insurance. So stop this silly ‘job’ stuff. Just get ready to fork over some extra dough to us. And don’t tell me you can’t borrow from your parents; they’re loaded.”

The President

Check out INAFJ.ORG

I was poking around the Net and spied a great headline and story…

With a knowing grin and nod of my head,
This writing before me was clearly of gold and not made of lead.

The column by Jason Fried is at Inc. Magazine. The subject: B2B writing and how many companies squander communications opportunity on generic writing; while others, like woot.com run with the opportunity to shape a corporate personality that sets them apart, and that creates rapport with their customers.

Jump over to the article on Inc. and check it out.

The art of selling

April 30, 2010

Ultimately, the goal of any marketing communication is to sell something. Even Nike TV/web commercials sell — as barren as they are of any pitch, to the point of only flashing the familiar swoosh logo for a few seconds. In this case, it is the passion expressed for the product’s application (competitive sports and sports training, for example) that stirs viewers to positive feelings that transform into Nike sales. Features, benefits and claims are nowhere to be found.

Of course, it takes a lot of brand building to be able to do what Nike does. But the core lesson can apply to all marketers/advertisers who have intrinsically worthwhile products.

Before making a marketing peep, be sure you have a product that fills a need. It doesn’t matter if there are tons of competitors or you’re selling to a tiny niche market. You can’t sell junk (at least not for very long before being tarred and feathered).

If you have a product you believe in, you can sell it. So, believe in it. Expressing belief is the soul of selling. Understand how the product can made a difference in people’s lives and feel good about that fact. Develop a passion for solving people’s problems. Develop the point of view that this product is how problems are solved. Talking to potential customers then becomes authentic conversation with an audience made up of people who are friends who can benefit from your help. They are getting special advice and a special deal — and everything said in the advertising communication (whether a blurb on Facebook or a radio spot) is true.

People are starving for truth. Truth plus belief plus passion make the world’s most potent sales formula.

e.e. cummings

March 2, 2010

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginably You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)