Friday, August 29, 2008

On the way to Pocatello Half Marathon

Have a great Labor Day weekend. Jenny and I are heading to Pocatello, Idaho to run the half marathon. Remember my motto – “It’s only a half!?!?!”

Thursday, August 28, 2008

We didn’t.

My favorite quote of the month –

“We could have taken the safe route. We could have created a traditional production. We didn’t.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Great ideas DO come from anywhere

The reach of our company’s offices is something I’ve been contemplating lately.

I’m out in the Boise office this week. We’ve been talking about how to expand our Philadelphia presence. Our work with Rekmar in Istanbul, Turkey is growing.
And opportunities on the West Coast keep presenting themselves.

So it was timely that I read this from the AAF (American Advertising Federation):


They’re oblivious to their surroundings.

They resent the implication that they’d be better off if they lived in a major metropolitan area.

They refuse to believe the they’re any less important then ideas that reside in some ivory tower on the corner of Superior and Smug.

Great ideas are not impressed with an iconic skyline or a famous avenue.

They don’t care if they were born in a corner office or the corner of a cubicle.

Great ideas can come from anywhere.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A new favorite read – PORTFOLIO

For a while, I’ve counted WIRED and FAST COMPANY as my two top magazines for business and personal inspiration. Now, a newcomer is joining them as a must-read for me: Conde Nast PORTFOLIO.

According to its mission, PORTFOLIO fully engages business leaders with a big-picture perspective in print and a real time focus on the day's most compelling developments online.

I’m engaged indeed.

Sample it for yourself at

Monday, August 25, 2008

Start Living in Prime Time

One of the first business motivation tapes I bought was Denis Waitley.

He is one of the most respected authors, keynote lecturers, and productivity consultants on high performance human achievement. He has inspired, informed, challenged, and entertained audiences for over 25 years from the boardrooms of multi-national corporations to the control rooms of NASA's space program.

So when I read this email from him, I wanted to pass it along.

Prime time is that period between 6 and 10 p.m. during which most of the general public watches television. Commercials in prime time are the most expensive, approaching a million dollars per minute. Your real success in life will take a quantum leap when you stop watching other people making money in their professions performing in prime time, and start living your own dreams and goals in prime time. Time is the ultimate equal opportunity employer. Time never stops to rest, never hesitates, never looks forward or backward. Life's raw material spends itself in the now, this moment, which is why how you spend your time is far more important than all the material possessions you may own or positions you may obtain. Positions change, possessions come and go, you can earn more money. You can renew your supply of many things, but like good health, that other most precious resource, time spent is gone forever.

Each yesterday, and all of them together, are beyond your control. Literally all the money in the world can't undo or redo a single act you performed. You cannot erase a single word you said. You can't add an "I love you," "I'm sorry," or "I forgive you," not even a "thank you" you forgot to say. Each human being in every hemisphere and time zone has precisely 168 hours a week to spend. And some of the most precious hours occur in prime time.

Consider this: most of your daytime hours are spent helping other people solve their problems. The little time you have in the evenings and on weekends is all you have to spend on yourself, on your own dreams and goals, and personal development. Some thoughts to ponder:

* Have supper with your loved ones at least two to three times per week. It's the best time for casual conversation to listen to what those close to you feel is important in their lives. Mealtime is a time for dialogue.

* A television set is an appliance. It should be used, at most, for two hours at a time. It should be off, unless specific programs of interest are selected. It should not be used as a one-eyed babysitter. For the most part, TV exposes us to negative role models.

* Instead of watching television, why not read a good fiction or nonfiction book, write a letter, engage in a hobby or craft, call a friend or someone in need of encouragement on the phone, network on your computer, go out to an ethnic restaurant, a home show, an entrepreneurial show, a musical recital, a play, a fitness class, or cultural event? Take an art or photography class. Use prime time to live the kind of life others put on layaway.

Action Idea: If you and your family/friends watch TV, try not turning it on for one week. When you do watch TV, reduce by 50% the amount of time you spend watching it. Concentrate your evenings and free time engaged in hands-on, real-life experiences that you can touch, feel, smell, and engage all your senses in. Instead of virtual reality, insist on the real thing.

For more on Denis, visit

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A health science communications twist on “anchor-and-twist”

We’re constantly reminded that coming up with a creative brand idea is not enough. We also have to compel our health science technology customer to understand -- and care about -- the innovation.

This is an important premise of the best-selling book Made To Stick.

Recently, co-author Dan Heath was interviewed on XM Channel 157 about how the principles of Made to Stick can apply in a variety of medical settings. There was also a great example published in Fast Company magazine about an application of anchor-and-twist found in the American Heart Association’s new life-saving technique Hands-Only CPR. CPR serves as the anchor, and "hands only" is the twist.

You can hear the interview at

And read the article at

Saturday, August 23, 2008

On the path of champions. In the steps of heros. My weekend run at Valley Forge.

Last Saturday, I enjoyed a fantastic training hike/run in Valley Forge National Park. After all these years of going to work with clients in the area, I finally decided to stay over a weekend to take in the area.

The trails at Valley Forge are not only beautiful and challenging, but also allow you to see some of the monuments, sites, and buildings closer than you would driving.

In setting my course, I was energized to learn that Olympic medalist and 2-time world champion Catherine Ndereba trains in the Park, as do several other Kenyan runners.

Maybe it was their spirit that contributed to my excellent time that morning.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Successful webcast collaboration

I’m really proud of our team who helped develop and produce a webinar this week with Medical Marketing & Media, sponsored by our client ReachMD XM Channel 157.

The title of the webinar was “Overcoming The 6 Challenges of CME with Innovative Media.”

It proved to be a lively interactive panel discussion that tackled the relevant issues confronting CME planners and sponsors. It helped participants understand how they can apply best practice learning principles, as well as new media options, to achieve measurable results.

Here’s why I’m so pleased:
• It was the highest number of participants ever for an MM&M webcast – nearly 200 people.
• Nearly all those people stayed on the call the entire hour.
• The number of questions submitted in the webcast chat demonstrated high interest and interactivity.
• Our panel of experts was dynamite. Thanks Leslie, Linda, and Shawn.
• The promotional mix (direct mail, online, emails, and personal calls) worked.
• The folks at MM&M were good to work with. Thanks James, Eddie, and Shital.
• Most of all, our team really came together to make it successful for the client. Thanks Michelle, Melanie, Wayne, Katie, Melissa, and others who supported them. And thanks to Gary, Paul, Natalie, Julie, and everyone at ReachMD for being such terrific clients.

You can hear the webcast on-demand now at

Thursday, August 21, 2008

“Incredible” news

I wanted to share some exciting news. I was recently informed that I’d been selected to receive a Brand Leadership Award from the Asia Brand Congress.

I’ll be traveling to accept the award at an international conference in Mumbai, India. In addition, I will give a talk on “Communicating a Brand that Connects, Engages and Inspires Audiences.”

So I’ve been doing some research on India in preparation for my first trip there.

As a cultural symbol, the Taj Mahal is unparalleled. It took 20,000 workers, 1,000 elephants, and 17 years to build.

The Incredible India tourism campaign has its own YouTube channel. Join me in watching at

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Future of branding and advertising agencies.

“Lovemarks” is one of most creatively and conceptually stimulating books in our library.

In this interview from Tom Peters Company, Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, talks about his concept of “Lovemarks” and the future of branding and advertising agencies.

Download and read the article at

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rekindling Old Flames

On this date back in 1993, I bought a copy of Psychology Today magazine in the San Diego airport.

The article's opening line was "Lost loves. First loves. We all have them but, given the opportunity, what to do when the possibility of reunion comes up?"

Read the article that inspired a fresh start at

Then, call or email me to learn how this article (and a crock pot) changed my life.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Two-day Challenge to Start the Week

Here’s a challenge I received...and I thought I’d share it in case you’d like to join me.

It’s a simple challenge where everyone wins (you and those around you). No real risk exists and it requires no additional time.

Within the next three weeks, set a two-day period as your days to inspire others – two days where you'll put on blinders to anything negative and be the one in the office whom everyone else can count on for words and actions that inspire and encourage. Two days where you're the light for other people – your colleagues, your prospects, your customers.

Allow nothing negative and focus only on how to serve your prospects and customers.

Once you set your two days, fully commit to the effort regardless of the inevitable challenges, regardless of the weather (please... never the weather). Fall off the inspirational horse at 2:11 on the first day? Get back on at 2:12 – no excuses. Two days. Be tough.

My mentor, Ed Foreman, taught me years ago that you wake up every day with an choice for your daily attitude. Challenges will come up regardless.

Choose the positive attitude and formally commit to spreading it for two days. Not only will it be contagious, it might become a personal habit – a personal habit that motivates you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


In the August e-newletter from HSM Global, Philip Kotler shared five steps to marketing success.

Kotler has been Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management for over 20 years. He has been a consultant to companies such as GE, General Motors, IBM and AT&T, and has written some of the most important works in the area of marketing.

Here are his ideas – which could be coming to you at a very timely moment in your 2009 brand planning:

1 Come in under the radar.
The key to brand-building is to have something good that you roll out in a very intelligent way -- maybe even invisibly for a while because you want to be under the radar screen of competitors.

2 Know your customer.
You've got to understand and choose the customers you want to serve. Don't just go after everyone. Define the target market carefully through segmentation and then position yourself as different and as superior to that target market.

3 Own your branding.
We are not in a state of competition anymore; we're in a state of hyper-competition. So people are desperately looking for handles, such as functional features and emotional appeals, that will draw people to their product. We should think of owning a word or a phrase that helps to build customer retention and loyalty.

4 Stay ahead of the competition.
The worst thing is that if something works, your competitors are going to clone it and before you know it anything that you had as a differentiator is imitated by the others. So you're in the business of constant innovation. Constantly ask yourself, “three years from now, what is our differentiator?”

5 Make it an experience.
Once in a while we find someone having a whole new approach to a mature market. There's a big movement to say, “we're not just adding services to our business and our product, we're actually trying to design an experience.” We're in the experience design business.

Get more inspiration like this from

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

With Olympic campaigns, even B-to-B marketers go for gold

We all expect the big consumer companies to roll out great new campaigns during the Olympics. And these Games have certainly delivered.

• GE introduced 3 new commercials with its “ecomagination” platform. They use imagery and fanciful situations, such as a crane morphing into an airplane, to demonstrate GE products like fuel-efficient jet engines and wind turbines. Spots were developed by BBDO New York,

• AT&T debuted “We,” promoting the three screens on which viewers can watch the Olympics—TVs, PCs and mobile phones. Spots are created by BBDO New York and BBDO Atlanta.

• Visa is running a campaign called “Go World,” developed by TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles.

What stands out are the business-to-business marketers also debuting new ad campaigns as the 2008 Beijing Olympics got under way. The Beijing Olympics telecasts by NBC (and its several network channels) are expected to reach a global audience of more than 4 billion.

PC maker Lenovo, based in Beijing with U.S. headquarters in Raleigh, NC, introduced an extensive Olympic effort, with a total of 176 ad placements during the games.

Lenovo features the tagline “Exceptionally engineered PCs,” promoting features of its ThinkPad notebooks, as well as the North American launch of its IdeaPad consumer PC. The ads are from Ogilvy Worldwide offices in the US, Australia, and India.

One 60-second spot, called “Sumo,” features flying wrestlers to show how Lenovo’s x300 PC is heavy on features but light in weight.

Watch the Lenovo Olympic Spots at

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Retro Snickers wrapper

Have you seen this nostaligic packaging – harking back to the original 1930’s Snickers wrapper?


Monday, August 11, 2008

“Monday Morning Memo” on Customer Profiles

In the column to the right, I list some other blogs that may be of interest to you, as well.

Recently, Dave Young’s BRANDING BLOG had this provocative quote:

“I’ve never seen a business fail due to reaching the wrong people. But if you listen to advertising sales reps, “reaching the right people” will solve all your problems.

And guess who has exactly the right people for you?”

Read the answer and a lot more by clicking to his blog at

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Right place – at an early time.

I did a 16-mile long trail hike from Highland Park to Kenilworth and back today. How lucky to have such great weather.

But even better was the timing to pass Ravinia just as Sheryl Crow was doing a sound check for tonight’s show. Heard a wonderful acoustic test of “Are You Strong Enough?”

Having seen her twice before, I’m sure it will be a great night for her under the stars.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Nine Things More Important than Capital

A colleague of mine, David Riklan who founded sent me this wonderful article from Jim Rohn, America's foremost business philosopher.

As an independent, small, family businessman, this means a lot to me.

Nine Things More Important than Capital

When starting any enterprise or business, whether it is full-time or part-time, we all know the value of having plenty of capital (money). But I bet we both know or at least have heard of people who started with no capital who went on to make fortunes. How? You may ask.

Well, I believe there are actually some things that are more valuable than capital that can lead to your entrepreneurial success. Let me give you the list.

1. Time.

Time is more valuable than capital. The time you set aside not to be wasted, not to be given away. Time you set aside to invest in an enterprise that brings value to the marketplace with the hope of making a profit. Now we have capital time.

How valuable is time? Time properly invested is worth a fortune. Time wasted can be devastation. Time invested can perform miracles, so you invest your time.

2. Desperation.

I have a friend, Lydia, whose first major investment in her new enterprise was desperation. She said, "My kids are hungry, I gotta make this work. If this doesn't work, what will I do?" So she invested $1 in her enterprise selling a product she believed in. The $1 was to buy a few fliers so she could make a sale at retail, collect the money, and then buy the product wholesale to deliver back to the customer.

My friend Bill Bailey went to Chicago as a teenager after he got out of high school. And the first job he got was as a night janitor. Someone said, "Bill, why would you settle for night janitor?" He said, "Malnutrition." You work at whatever you can possibly get when you get hungry. You go to work somewhere -- night janitor; it doesn't matter where it is. Years later, now Bill is a recipient of the Horatio Alger award, rich and powerful, and one of the great examples of lifestyle that I know. But, his first job -- night janitor. Desperation can be a powerful incentive. When you say - I must.

3. Determination.

Determination says I will. First Lydia said, "I must find a customer." Desperation. Second, she said, "I will find someone before this first day is over." Sure enough, she found someone. She said, "If it works once, it will work again." But then the next person said, "No." Now what must you invest?

4. Courage.

Courage is more valuable than capital. If you've only got $1 and a lot of courage, I'm telling you, you've got a good future ahead of you. Courage in spite of the circumstances. Humans can do the most incredible things no matter what happens. Haven't we heard the stories? There are some ones from Kosovo that are some of the most classic, unbelievable stories of being in the depths of hell and finally making it out. It's humans. You can't sell humans short. Courage in spite of, not because of, but in spite of. Now once Lydia has made 3 or 4 sales and gotten going, here's what now takes over.

5. Ambition.

"Wow! If I can sell 3, I can sell 33. If I can sell 33, I can sell 103." Wow. Lydia is now dazzled by her own dreams of the future.

6. Faith.

Now she begins to believe she's got a good product. This is probably a good company. And she then starts to believe in herself. Lydia, single mother, 2 kids, no job. "My gosh, I'm going to pull it off!" Her self-esteem starts to soar. These are investments that are unmatched. Money can't touch it. What if you had a million dollars and no faith? You'd be poor. You wouldn't be rich. Now here is the next one, the reason why she's a millionaire today.

7. Ingenuity.

Putting your brains to work. Probably up until now, you've put about 1/10 of your brainpower to work. What if you employed the other 9/10? You can't believe what can happen. Humans can come up with the most intriguing things to do. Ingenuity. What's ingenuity worth? A fortune. It is more valuable than money. All you need is a $1 and plenty of ingenuity. Figuring out a way to make it work, make it work, make it work.

8. Heart and Soul.

What is a substitute for heart and soul? It's not money. Money can't buy heart and soul. Heart and soul is more valuable than a million dollars. A million dollars without heart and soul, you have no life. You are ineffective. But, heart and soul is like the unseen magic that moves people, moves people to buy, moves people to make decisions, moves people to act, moves people to respond.

9. Personality.

You've just got to spruce up and sharpen up your own personality. You've got plenty of personality. Just get it developed to where it is effective every day, it's effective no matter who you talk to -- whether it is a child or whether it is a business person -- whether it is a rich person or a poor person. A unique personality that is at home anywhere. One of my mentors, Bill Bailey, taught me, "You've got to learn to be just as comfortable, Mr. Rohn, whether it is in a little shack in Kentucky having a beer and watching the fights with Winfred, my old friend, or in a Georgian mansion in Washington, D.C. as the Senator's guest." Move with ease whether it is with the rich or whether it is with the poor. And it makes no difference to you who is rich or who is poor. A chance to have a unique relationship with whomever. The kind of personality that's comfortable. The kind of personality that's not bent out of shape.

And lastly, let's not forget charisma and sophistication. Charisma with a touch of humility. This entire list is more valuable than money. With one dollar and the list I just gave you, the world is yours. It belongs to you, whatever piece of it you desire, whatever development you wish for your life. I've given you the secret. Capital. The kind of capital that is more valuable than money and that can secure your future and fortune. Remember that you lack not the resources.

About the Author:

Jim Rohn is hailed as one of the most influential thinkers of our time and has helped motivate and train an entire generation of personal development trainers as well as hundreds of executives from America's top corporations. He is one of today's most sought-after success counselors and has addressed over 6,000 audiences and four million people over the past 39 years. Rohn is the author of over 30 best-selling audios, videos, and books and is the 1985 recipient of the National Speakers Association coveted CPAE Award. For more information on Jim Rohn, visit

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Today is my birthday and it marks the beginning of my 50th year!

It was an ideal occasion to review one of the books that has had the most impact on my life – Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman in the World.

Here’s an excerpt of a passage I’ve been thinking about lately:

“Live this day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find ''tomorrow'' on the calendars of fools. Forget yesterday's defeats and ignore the problems of tomorrow. This is it. Doomsday. All you have. Make it the best day of your year. The saddest words you can ever utter are, '’If I had my life to live over again.’ Take the baton, now. Run with it! This is your day! Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The anticipation of “Big Bertha”

I’m catching up on some personal marathon training blogs. On Saturday July 26 Jenny and I took on the Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10. And what an xperience!

The Xtreme 10 course went cross-country adjacent to the Argonne National Laboratory in Waterfall Glen. The course was mostly crushed limestone. The highlight (as advertised) was just before mile 3 – Big Bertha – offering a 125-foot climb in a half mile. I love “lactic acid.” Interesting though, that with all the build up I was actually expecting much worse. Funny how the mind works.

I send out a big thank you to the volunteers who called out split times and manned the water stations out on the rugged course. I know it’s not an easy job out there.

We also enjoyed the post-race party catered by all the Sam’s Club vendors and sponsors.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Could direct mail re-emerge as a medium of choice to reach physicians?

I had a fun lunch and compelling conversation with one of our collaborators the other day. As we were musing about the news of pharma promotion guidelines and new CME restrictions, he proposed that ol’ fashioned direct mail might re-emerge as the best way to get in a doctor’s office.

Coincidently, this report from SK&A landed in my in-box the same day.

“Completing its groundbreaking U.S. Physician Access study, SK&A has found a quarter of all office-based physicians require pharmaceutical or medical device sales representatives to make an appointment in order to see a physician to deliver sales and marketing promotion and other healthcare related services.

“The study also reveals the larger the size of the practice, the more likely an appointment is required. These findings are based on a comprehensive telephone survey of 230,000 medical practices representing 640,000 doctors.

“Most notably, the survey found physician access and appointment policies are largely influenced by the ownership, size and location of the physician’s practice. Physicians working in group practices that are owned by health systems or hospitals are less likely to see sales reps and more likely to require appointments than those who are working in independently owned practices. Physicians working in offices with 10 or more practicing physicians are more likely to restrict access than physicians working in smaller office sizes of 1 to 2 doctors.

Among the many insights from the six-month long study:
• 17% of physicians refuse to see sales reps at any time. Specialty physicians such as pathologists are much more likely to restrict access than general practitioners.
• 4% of physicians will visit with reps only on specific days of the week and 3% have restricted their access to specific times of the day.
• On the positive side, 76 % of physicians surveyed will take visits from reps at any time of day or any day of the week.
• 14% of group practices have a general policy to restrict access to physicians at all their office locations.”

Thoughtful stuff in these changing times.

Friday, August 01, 2008

I answered one of those survey calls tonight.

They wanted to know my opinion of ComEd, the electric utility. “On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst…” I said I’d rate them a -5.

Then I remembered the only reason that ComEd is my least favorite brand is because Ameritech was bought out. They were the absolute worst in service reliability and experience.