Friday, June 29, 2007

spritual goodness

stole this from a friend's blog but wanted to share it with readers of mine. most of you will be surprised to learn this exists in the state of Arkansas...yeah, really.

It's called the Thorncrown Chapel. Check it out here.

good service: happy customers

had one of thee best customer-service interactions EVER this morning (getting my hair done, so males, you might not understand this). what made it so special?

Communication. she listened. i was the customer and she listened to me explain in a very roundabout way "the process" i have accumulatively put together to make my hair what it is. I am not just a highlight or a lowlight or an all-over-color customer, I'm a this is sort of what i want and do you see the same thing in your head? type.

In a service industry, they're working for tips and as much as it's built into the American psyche that you naturally leave a tip, but it's also something to be used when the service goes above and beyond your original intentions or expectations. Define "above & beyond"
  • she was enthusiastic about the process
  • she listened to my suggestions and tried to work with them
  • she did not act rushed or hussied when it took longer than originally booked
  • she provided un-solicited feedback on "how good it looks" throughout
and she got a 20% tip and i would have left more if I'd had more. It will receive the most gratitude in the form of WOM.
I think this is the customer-service we should propagate and tip big for. and fyi, if i ever have my own agency, i'm going to work tips into the mix, like if someone brings me my mail or does something more service-oriented... Tips are grrreat! :)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

do you know your Meyers-Briggs typology?

I was asked this at an interview in New York and quite frankly, off the top of my head, No i don't.

I've taken a number of online quizzes, Meyers-Briggs being one of them, but damnit, it's not on my resume. thinking now...maybe it should be. I took the test when I got home. I am an "ENFJ."

Extraverted is an attitude. I draw energy from action. If I'm inactive, then my level of energy and motivation tends to decline.
Intuitive is an irrational/perceiving function. I trust information in a more abstract or theoretical sense, whether or not I can associate it with other information I have.
Feeling is a decision-making function. I prefer to come to decisions by associating or empathizing with the situation (i.e. putting myself in the other person's shoes).
Judging describes how I like to get things done. I prefer to have clear plans and do not like to be distracted.

The personality test I could recall I had taken was my personalDNA. From an earlier post, I am an Animated Creator and that's pretty cool.

Belbin (first name Meredith) has 9 team-playing roles you want want to be familiar with as well:
  • 3 Action oriented team roles – Shaper, Implementer and Completer Finisher
  • 3 People oriented team roles – Co-ordinator, Teamworker and Resource Investigator
  • 3 Cerebral oriented team roles – Plant, Monitor Evaluator and Specialist.
knowing who you are and what personality you bring to the table will benefit YOU and the company you're interviewing with. good luck!

interactive planners, where are you?

Interactive planning, throw it in the growing mix of "types of planners" along with connections planners, insights planners, communications planners, engagement planners, etc. It's here to stay. It seems to be a lot about the consumer's experience.

this blog's title came from a search led by john keehler (he blogs) with Click Here the interactive division of the Richards Group in Dallas. he posted his search on the plannersphere > one would guess (at least i did) that the response would be ginormous/endless/exhaustive...nope.

what's going on with the digital sphere? and why aren't more people grabbing at these opportunities? this is the future and if you can get yourself in, i say DO IT!

I talked with R/GA in New York and found that their planning department is only two years old. Wow, young blood with immense potential. "It's about showing people the value of planning and re-defining new places," said Anne Benvenuto. I was extremely impressed with their vision and energy for the future.

just reading the iPhone's latest press (thanks greg)- "a new media frenzy" needs planners to navigate virtual worlds, viral videos, content aggregation sites, blogs, changing search engines, etc.
Advice: educate yourself on digital strategy, have ideas, get your foot in the door. The future is now.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

feedback: to give or not to give

I've been working on some freelance projects here in Portland > great to get my hands on some "problems" and put to use some of the tools in my planning bag. It's appealing because it puts more experience on my resume; and mind you, when I was in New York spreading my brand, it was nice to say I was doing freelance work in Portland on the side.

After four completed projects, I would like some constructive criticism moving forward. I admire the nature of feedback > to make your work stronger. Feedback is to provide useful information for future decisions/development. Maybe it's just me, but it feels like a necessary part of the process that has been deemed "not a priority."

My roommate Alana says I should feel confident enough in my work and not to worry. She says most people will only give you feedback if it sucked. (Really?) I think that if it was good work, a short email saying "good work" is an easy thing to do. Hmmm....I'm left wondering...
i need a consultant.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

moving to New York

yeah, sorry for the long pause > i was gone for a week to walk the streets of NYC and talk to people about planning. it was super cool! Now I'm moving because I was "high on good conversations" there and i want more. :) Crossing my fingers that it's the right place to be with the passion and enthusiasm i've got. It's a costly move but I feel it needs to be done.

will post more info about the trip soon. I've got a lot of new information to share with you all about "getting a job" and "networking." But due to travel, i am sick! it totally sux. i hate being sick, yeah i used the word hate (which i never feel good about). if any of you are sick, maybe other people being sick with you will make it better...maybe not. but i know community helps when you feel low. :)

Friday, June 8, 2007

talking with a screenwriter...

about telling a [brand] story. Michael Hauge is super great and took time out of his busy L.A. life to tell me the art of a good story.
  • A story has three elements: a character (Hero); desire; and conflict. "You have someone who wants something and have to overcome certain obstacles."
  • A good story creates empathy with the Hero so then we (the audience) are experiencing the same emotion because it's happening to us. "You become the character."
  • There are five key ways to be relevant with an emotional/psychological connection.
    1. sympathy
    2. jeopardy
    3. humor
    4. power
    5. likability
Michael said they talk about ads all the time in their business; "they're like little movies. But, ads are different from a movie because the way to your goal is always through the use of the product." ok ok.
  • In every Nike ad, there is a character we identify with. The ad positions the product as helping the character achieve their goal. In this case, the product is Hero.
  • We identify with the goals of the character in the ad, and if we want to be like them, we need that product.
Ads offer empathy (this is where knowledge of the human condition comes in); they need to be relevant to the consumers' condition. This is where strategy and planning come in. It's all about knowing what's really going on with your audience so you can make a product pitch that they're likely to pick up on by making it relevant. So go find your emotion and then start telling a story.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

assignments on the web

if you surf, you will find.

Over at Influx just now, I found a sweet new way to get involved, network AND add some work to your portfolio along the way. It's by Wired (good job guys!) and it's called Assignment Zero, check out the newsroom for what's going on. This is a little bit about how it works:
  • "Once you've picked out the work you'd like to do, simply visit the assignment's reporting page by clicking on the assignment. The reporting page is your temporary workspace. There you'll find everything you need, including a way to save your draft or file your reporting; a collection of others' reporting; the option to check in with the editor; and a discussion thread about the assignment."
Another option for work online can be found at Russell Davies' blogsite. It's called the Account Planning School of the Web. He posts assignments and then gives feedback. Awesome! It's great because it's work that makes you think, and you get feedback to make it better AND you get to network via blog-style. With all-in-one you can't go wrong.

Monday, June 4, 2007

does sex still sell?

or rather, is a nude model really the ideal way to express a song via vh1? i think he could have done a lot more with this song than a naked woman.

an earlier post touched on where we'd come from with the notion of a cowboy selling cigarettes. so i ask now, does sex still sell product, aside from condoms, viagra, lubricant, and various other products that are actually used for the act?

Sunday, June 3, 2007

smart design

In an article titled Design for the unwealthiest 90%, so named because of an exhibit opening up at the Cooper-Hewitt in NYC, Alice Rawsthorn asks "Why are designers so focussed on designing for the wealthiest 10 percent? ...because that's where the money is. dar!
  • "It's a call to action," Cynthia Smith, the show's curator, explained. "There's a big interest among design students and design professionals in finding socially responsible design solutions to the underpinnings of poverty.
  • "I was stunned by how simple, simple solutions could have a direct impact on people's lives," said Smith.
here are some category names of design movements happening worldwide:
spread the word: sustainable is here to stay. be smart about it.


is the cowboy still considered the antithesis of our modern, go go go, slightly materialistic society? In an NPR (great station) story that covered breakaway advertising, the Marlboro Man was described as "his own man in a world he owned, a man whose environment was simplistic and relatively pressure-free."

my latest and greatest campaign for cigarettes goes something like this: Got the hiccups? Smoke a cigarette. came up with that one this weekend at a party. hiccups are a damn party ruiner...there's no pill, no exercise, no solution. Couldn't we change the image of cigarettes to a more solution-based positioning statement? i'm kidding.

the title of this blog is Americana. to my roomie, Americana means all things relating to our culture in very white-bread american terms: homecoming, BBQ, drinking beer, watching a game, etc. She brought this up after i told her about an endearing window onto human life i'd had: Picture a garage filled to the brim with tractor parts, a small tv screen in the back playing the latest, interesting sports-replay, and three men sitting with their beers/coffee mugs in hand. there's a girl, about 9, tap dancing, practicing her routine, showing off a little but concentrating like there's no tomorrow. the men share time watching her and watching the game. it's silent. it's genuine.

it was a moment i enjoyed for what it was. thank you.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Fad v. Trend

just curious how these two words are used in different situations...somebody already tackled this topic at wisegeek. This is my interpretation.

A fad refers to a fashion that becomes popular in a culture relatively quickly, but loses popularity dramatically. Some examples are: beanie babies (1990s), pet rocks (1970s), Rubik's cubes (1980s), and Pokemon (1998-2000). Fads tend to be short-term. For more fads, check out

A trend is a general direction in which something tends to move. Trends carry out over a longer period of time and have a greater influence on the future of a given market. This is what planners need to pay attention to in long-term brand development planning.

Fads seem more gimmicky -more product (not lifestyle/mindset) based. We can take advantage of these to gain and peak current interest, but need to watch trends to see where we can go with a particular movement of message.

just found and this search-worthy archive for "what is a trend at your school."
Go frolic and play, it's the weekend!

harnessing your chi

this post is inspired by Scott Goodson's Feng Shui Marketing. this would be considered a strand of that information. would the techys out there concur?

he emphasizes the essential balance between marketing elements so that energy flow is accentuated. This flow affects consumers and ultimately, he says, to engage in a full dialogue, consumers need to be rewarded with this energy.

i would like to add on to that with the notion of chi. Shoot, just checked wikipedia and i've been mis-spelling 'chi'. it's Qi for cryin out loud. :P Qi is a good term to use when describing how elements come together to produce a positive outcome. In a marketing/advertising sense it means that all the elements should work together > harmonize them.

1st - it's good to know what elements you need in the mix, just throwing random stuff in isn't going to help you organize how they should all interact. Focus.
2nd - prioritize. i think this is where media planning might come in...if a message needs more emphasis or play then make sure it's in the right medium.
3rd - think about the outcome; the feel; the big picture. what should the result of our efforts be? align the elements.

maybe this sounds hokey pokey (and it does, a little bit) but as i'm typing it, my chaotic brain is already feeling more relaxed about putting ideas into action. and isn't that what PLANNING is all about? oh yeah, and a little classical music now and then doesn't hurt. :)
for some more in-depth help harnessing your qi > whatever it be: more energy, desire to be happy, time management, etc > check out Steve Pavlina's blog and website. For a warm-up, ponder what he has to say about productivity:
  • The sad truth is that most people are so incredibly bad at managing their time that rock-bottom personal productivity is simply accepted as normal. (so is half-ass, bad advertising) So anyone who can consistently invest 80% of their time each day in intelligent, productive activities is going to look like an overachiever by comparison. The average college student in particular is probably operating at only 20-30% of their capacity.