Celebrating excellence, creativity, inspiration, and leadership in business with an eye for compelling marketing and communications.

Color: The Spark for Marketers, Leaders …and for Life

By Joanne Maly

October 16, 2009

Life can be gray. Our minds can feel gray. Our creativity can seem bland. Dead. Gray. Our imagination can just seem zapped. Gray. Our energy fizzled. Our motivation zero-ed. Gray.

Good marketers and good leaders know this. Smart marketers and smart leaders however, go beyond ‘just’ the knowledge of the impact of color in their campaigns and projects. Instead, they work tirelessly until they have found ‘just’ the right message, great graphics, the ideal team, and … the perfect… colors.

Photo from the excellent Flickr photostream of ahannink (Alyssa Hannink)

Photo from the excellent Flickr photostream of ahannink (Alyssa Hannink)

Exciting colors. Blends of colors. Exotic colors. Branded colors. Eye-popping colors. Soul-stirring colors. Product-identifying colors. Product-selling colors. Team-inspiring colors. Heart-moving colors.

Successful businesses capitalize on the knowledge that color is indeed a key element to customer response. Think for a second about Apple® brand. In addition to product innovation, the calways-creative company uses color to feed their product brand buzz. Take for instance, the ipod commercials.

Ipod commercial

Color – and the absence of it – affects not just business, but our own personal lives. Did anyone ever ask you if you were having one of those ‘gray days?’ Interpretation: an absence-of-energy-and-life-and-spirit-type of day? What better way to motivate ourselves than by adding color to our lives? Colorful activities? Colorful surroundings? Colorful people? Colorful ideas?

How can you add color to your own life? And to your own career? And to the task on your to-do list at the moment? And – which colors will you add?

©Dmitry Koksharov - Fotolia.com

Color inspires creativity. Adds fun. Creates pizazz (or maybe we should say, pez). Seriously. A dynamic viral marketing tool for the Pez® product has been the creation of popular, consumer-generated, colorful, edge-cutting Pez® videos. Pez fans seem to love the colors and the fun concept of the product.

PEZ fireworks video

Colors create a ‘blip’ in our radar from the time that we are in pre-school. At the earliest of ages, we learn our name, our ‘letters’ and… what else? Our colors. We learn those colors creatively – in books, through songs, and in artwork. The beloved children’s character Kermit sang his own identifying lullaby to our children for years, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” And to help stir your own colorful (creative) juices, I’ve included two more fun ‘color-themed’ videos.

\’I am Red\’ Video

\’Color Pants\’ Video

Personal and business inspiration can come from a potpourri of rainbow colors or from a single color treatment. Sometimes, it is the simplicity in a visual message that can produce the strongest response.

©glinn - Fotolia

Color branding is key for many of the world’s top-ranked products. The branded single color of red is unmistakable in many of Target®’s commercials. How often have we watched a one of that company’s TV spots, with nary a mention of Target® until the final slide? Yet, we knew from the outset, that this was going to be a Target® ad.

Target\’s \’You Say Good-buy\’ Commercial

Colors are sensitive. They are individual. They are chameleon-esque. While one shade of blue creates a feeling of calm in one person, that same color can spark energy in another. I once saw a tv documentary on the seemingly endless and ongoing consumer research and tweaking that is expended to find just the right color mix – and shades of that right color mix – for the inimitable – and immensely successful – iconic Google® logo.

(from the source: http://www.google.com/logos/logos09-1.html)

Color speaks across cultures. Its language is absolutely universal. Its allure crosses over generations. Across demographics. Through political barriers.  And color speaks to all of us.

\’Happy Birthday COLORS\’ by colorstv\’s

How have you seen color impact your life? Your business? Your marketing efforts? And again, how do you add color to your own life?

My wish for you is that you have days filled with colorful rainbows. May you appreciate the pallette of colorful personalities and ideas among your collegues. May your life path lead you on yellow-brick roads. May you heart be filled with blue-sky mornings and red-sky evenings. May your own imagination be sparked by autumn’s orange moons. May you find that even if you move to other countries, you find your way back to the green, green grass of home. May you dance through life with blue suede shoes, red dresses, and brightly-colored polka-dot ties. And may your challenges find solutions that bring each of you CANDY LAND®-colored successes.

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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And, I’d be honored if you would like to follow me on Twitter @JoanneMaly or visit the Lincoln Maly Marketing fan page.


Creativity: It can free you… from your head to your toes

By Joanne Maly

October 2, 2009

I love creativity. I thirst for examples of it. … just like some folks crave a concert with their favorite band, or yearn for an exciting football game, or can’t wait for their next vacation.

And, I find energy from creativity. In meetings. On billboards. In marketing campaigns. On palettes. In the board room. On the dance floor. In the studio.

©iStock_000001773981

I love the viral effects of creativity. One example spawns more inspiration.

More ideas. More excitement. More color to our worlds.

Imagination and originality can inspire even more inventiveness and an attitude of “We can do that.”

Here’s a thought. According to dictionary.com, the definition of begets, is to produce as an effect, for example, “A belief that power begets power.”

Yes, creativity ‘begets’ more creativity.

Creativity is freeing. Contagious. Explosive. Fun. Pulse-stirring. Mind-jogging. Finger-snapping. Smile-breaking.

And … as we see in the examples below… creativity can reach from your head to your toes. Indeed, it can be toe-tapping.

Splash Dance –

A spontaneous, fun, and very creative public dance on Cincinnati’s Fountain Square, organized by the Fine Arts Fund.

watch?v=EW58tCXeb80

White Nights –

A timeless example of creative genius by Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines.

watch?v=haBZCrBHMm4&feature=related

Lindy Dance Finals –

Some fast-moving, swinging-ly creative dance performance clips from the 2006 Lindy Dance Finals.

watch?v=myJj0mNNe1Y

Mozart –

A fun performance of a Mozart piece on a giant floor piano at a toy store.

watch?v=wxwgC8tSglk&feature=related

Michael Jackson –

What can I say? Plain awesome dance creativity and talent that has indeed spurred more creativity and originality.

watch?v=-tqYUTjQIc0

Flawless –

An original, finely-synchronized performance by the dance group, Flawless, during the finals of Britain’s You’ve Got Talent.

watch?v=dG8i9ymWaVQ

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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And, I’d be honored if you would like to follow me on Twitter @JoanneMaly or visit the Lincoln Maly Marketing fan page.



The Weather. Reflections on Inspiring Creativity in Business – despite the weather.

By Joanne Maly

September 26, 2009

Hmmm…. the weather…. and business.

©iStock_000002874016

How do these two apparently separate categories relate? And, how does the weather tie-into a blog post reflection on inspiration, innovation, and creativity?

 

The weather can of course provide us with an always-safe entry-point topic when we find ourselves at a networking meeting; when we are chatting with a potential customer; or, perhaps, when we need a buffer conversation before a meeting begins.

Actually though, the weather is a lot like business … and life.

Weather is global and multi-demographic. In fact, weather is possibly one of the purest examples of a multi-dimensional product. Weather transcends language, cultures, generational differences, sex, intellectual abilities, academic degrees, professions, left and right brains, and even Myers-Briggs personalities.

But, for a moment, I’d like to go one step deeper and explore how the weather resembles the challenges – and the rewards – of our own creative paths.

Would you agree that we all have droughts of energy, inspiration, motivation and direction?

©iStock_000005963156

 

And, then there are rainy days – or worse yet, a complete rainy week. These weather elements can indeed tax our patience and drain our creative juices.

©iStock_000005052095

On the flip-side though – if we think positively – these same rainy days can also offer a sense of quiet, rhythm, and calm that can be perfect for nurturing new life, new ideas, and fresh buds of creativity.

Can you recall one of those exciting, don’t-happen-often moments when you had a lightening-bolt, aha brainstorm thought. Or, better yet, a lightening-storm moment.

©iStock_000006903484

Seconds like that stand out in each of our memories. If we can capture the power of these episodes, they could perhaps result in the launching of an innovative new product, defining a new campaign, and even determining our own future.

No doubt too, we can all relate to those mornings that we walk outside to start our day and we abruptly face a sea of fog.

©TheCount88 - Fotolia.com

These days are not totally unlike those mornings when our brains seem filled with their own mental haze and, try as we may, we too have zero visibility and little direction. We persist though, knowing that we have to find a way to work through the grey mist. We’ll quickly grab an extra cup of cappucino with a dab of cinnamon and nutmeg, or (foregoing any diet resolutions) we munch on a rich, chewy, double-chocolate brownie before our first meeting (and yes, it is ok to have a brownie for breakfast.)

Then, there are of course rainbows – and rainbow moments.

©istockphoto.com

Have you ever been in a meeting when the ideas start percolating and then one suggestion literally feeds off the one before it? The energy can be so positive, that we could almost swear that we can taste ‘it’. Allowing and encouraging a full-color-spectrum of original ideas can, in fact, add to the very color of our company. Absolutely, creativity and positive energy is contagious. We can experience our own multi-colored, panoramic, inspired – and inspiring – creative phenomenon.

Many of us can relate as well, to those days when it seems that we have been dealt with a hurricane-force workload. We can begin our day with an organized, quiet schedule that then, quite literally, blows apart with unexpected tasks and must-do’s. We’re then confronting a tornadic force that needs to be reckoned with immediately.

©iStock_000007261061

We can be beaten-down by the forces of the winds upon us – or, we can choose to see these times as opportunities for more creative approaches to weathering the storm.

 

There are occasions, too, that I can remember in my own career and life where I ended the day with a complete brick wall – and, at the same time that I needed to be thinking of a ‘new and awesome idea’ for a client’s Marketing Plan. My brain cells might have been churning, but I was only ending up with a grey, blank night sky. However, after some sleep and brain cell ‘rest’, I would wake up at 4 a.m. with my own sunrise – fresh thoughts and new ideas.

©iStock_000000870428

Literally, it was a new day – filled with energy, vibrancy, and color. These sunrise mornings are a good reminder too – for business, and for life – that outstanding sunrises often follow dark, dreary evenings.

And, likewise, if we can continue to think positive, even bitter winter days filled with ice and snow don’t have to be negative, dead, non-motivated days. Instead, winter weather actually adds a crispness to our thinking.

©iStock_000001879307

Cold, challenging days demand an extra sharpness to our routine. They force us to tread carefully, to plan thoughtfully, and rise to the challenge.

So… how do you weather your own weather challenges? How have you encouraged creativity in yourself and your team despite the gray periods – the cloudy weeks? How has a storm within your own life resulted in new insights?

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

If you liked this post, please share it on Twitter, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, or Facebook. And, I’d be honored if you would like to follow me on Twitter @JoanneMaly or visit the Lincoln Maly Marketing fan page.

Today’s Simply Said blog post is dedicated to B and R.


In Business-We ‘Could’ Become Bloomin’ Good

By Joanne Maly

September 7, 2009

Many years ago, one of my sons had a colorful soccer coach who originally had hailed from England. With his decidedly British accent and the gift of a charismatic leader-type personality, this coach was a genius at inspiring a group of ‘ok’ high school soccer players to become better than ok – in fact, the team eventually became much better than even ‘good.’

When the coach was especially excited, you could hear his encouraging words clear across the field and far into the parent stands.

Well-done, lads!
Fine job, my boys!
Bloomin’ good run, Chad!
Well, that was bloomin’ awesome, Joe!
Why, what a bloomin’ fine goal, Bobby!
Bloomin’, bloody good, Tim!

Aaaah, the power of encouragement! And reinforcement! And telling others you believe in them! And really believing that yourself!

I’ve been thinking too about the word ‘bloomin. I like that word. Dictionary.com doesn’t agree with me. And Merriam-Webster.com doesn’t agree with me. Those websites want me to insert the word ‘blooming’ into my word search.

There is something though about the word bloomin that inspires fun, excitement, energy, and the thought that the unusual could be good.

Would I rather be my blooming best – or my bloomin’ best? Would I want my intern to give me a blooming first draft – or a bloomin’ good first-draft?

The basic point in this blog post though is deeper than a debate about bloomin’ vs. blooming. The idea is that a simple bud can become an amazing bloom. A simple idea could perhaps become an exciting new invention.

The bud.

The bud.

The bloom.

The bloom.

However, that idea, can just as easily be squelched at its own stage of inception if shot down with the many caveats we so typically hear: “Oh, we don’t do things like that in this company.” “Nice idea, but that would never fly.” “If you could apply as much energy to your workload as you do dreaming up new ideas, this company might actually be profitable.”

Yes, an inspired thought can go only as far as a bleep in our virtual air space… or it can be encouraged, explored, and tweaked. Originality and uniqueness can become extinct in a child as young as eight – or even perhaps in a new employee of only one week – if we don’t allow the freedom to ‘bloom.’

What innovations – what creativity – what excitement our businesses could show if we would allow and ‘cheer on’ our lads, our lasses and their ideas!

And what power and what beauty our own lives could have if we would listen to our own hearts and our ‘what if’s’. Why, perhaps we wouldn’t just become a bloom – we could blossom into a whole bouquet.

The bouquet.

The bouquet.

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

If you liked this post, please share it on Twitter, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

And, I’d be honored if you would like to follow me on Twitter @JoanneMaly or visit the Lincoln Maly Marketing fan page.


Six-year old Watercolorist Prodigy Inspires Spark of Wonder

By Joanne Maly

August 14, 2009

The social media universe and the art world are abuzz about the discovery of a six-year-old prodigy watercolorist living obscurely (up until now) in a small English town. I have been thinking about the universality of this enthusiasm – crossing over business interests; industries; age demographics; geographical boundaries; political platforms; and levels of art sophistication.

What is it about the story and the artist’s work that is so intriguing? The artwork is indeed wonderful. The talent in this young artist at this early age is incredible. And, the story is fascinating.

But … here’s another thought about our fascination with this new artist. We all (universally) yearn for fresh ingenuity, untainted talent, dreams, and excellence. There is a simple and unsullied beauty evidenced in this boy’s artwork.

Together, we are weary of the same ‘ol and the lifeless repetition of ideas, design, words, concepts. The young artist Kieron Williamson represents a new exciting future. He symbolizes: Originality. Purity. Innocence. Brilliance.

The youth’s story is inspiring and reminds me of the rarity of ‘genius’ artists. Additionally though, the story reinforces that collectively, we have the innate appreciation for, and need for, beauty, for the unique, for ideas that stand out above the crowd, for fresh and dynamic leaders, and for excellence. In art. In business. In life. In our cultures.

Thank you young Kieron Williamson for your inspiration.

Readers: what inspires you to be inventive, creative, excellent? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

You can read more about this young artist and view samples of his art at this dailymail.com story.

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

If you liked this post, please share it on Twitter, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

And, I’d be honored if you would like to follow me on Twitter @JoanneMaly or visit the Lincoln Maly Marketing fan page.


Creativity Stuck by Barnacles – Break Free

By Joanne Maly

August 5, 2009

Creativity is like juice. It can give you an inspiration buzz similar to drinking a 10 oz. glass of freshly-squeezed chilled, foamy orange juice on an empty stomach.

And yet….

Creative energy can be easily sucked out of us by our own and others’ negativism, woe-is me talk, and by focusing on the reasons ‘we can’t’ instead of focusing on the reasons ‘we can.’  Relentless talk about the downturn of the economy, disappointing political heroes, and business leader trust gone awry, can almost visibly drain the inspiration right out of us.

I have an image though that I’d like to share with you …. and together then, perhaps we can all … break free of the things that are holding us back from being all we can be, and start again to ‘think large’, and believe in the big picture and in fact, a bright picture.

Here is your picture for the day.

©iStock_000007006199

Barnacles.

Barnacles are an unattractive, pervasive crustacean. (My apologies to all barnacles.)

Instead of working hard and ‘crawling after their own food’ barnacles glue themselves to rocks and other living and non-living things and wait for food to wash by. (www.library.thinkquest.org). Once something alive, free-floating and yummy swims by, that’s when the barnacles reach out their barbed legs and grab onto whatever and absorbs or ‘sucks out’ the oxygen of its grabbed prey. Through adulthood, the barnacle species will remain in their ‘spot’, held permanently by one of the strongest-known natural adhesives.

Barnacles have ‘trap doors’ that rhythmically open and close. (www.chesapeakebay.net).

An unscientific, personal interpretation of the above description:

a)  Barnacles are lazy and are leeching off of the energy of others.

b)  Barnacles ‘stick’ onto unaware passers-by.

c)  Once grabbed, the passer-by is definitely ‘stuck’.

d)  If not alert, the unsuspecting can fall into the barnacle’s ‘trap door.’

A business and ‘real’ life interpretation of the barnacle saga:

a)  In our own worlds, both business and in our ‘real’ lives, we need to be wary of the lurking barnacles around us.

b)  Barnacles need our creativity and energy to feed themselves.

c)  Barnacles can be people, businesses climates, work settings, the news, ourselves …. anyone and anything that can suck our own oxygen or drink our creative juice.

d)  The barnacle folks will glue-us-back from being all that we can be.

e)  It’s easy to be unaware that we have even fallen into dangerous waters where our creativity and spirit are threatened. It can just ‘happen.’

My thought for the day then?

For me, I’m going to think about what lurking negativity is ‘out there’ and ‘within me’ – holding me back from all that I can be. And then, I’m going to go against the scientific theory of being stuck by ‘the strongest known naturally adhesive’. I then plan to break free of any barnacles that are holding me back.

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

If you liked this post, please share it on Twitter, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

And, I’d be honored if you would like to follow me on Twitter @JoanneMaly or visit the Lincoln Maly Marketing fan page.


Zappos Customer Service – The Benchmark Has Been Set for ‘Everyone Else’ … or … How amazing customer service has become ‘the product itself’

By Joanne Maly

July 29, 2009

Zappos.com sells shoes.

Well, actually, Zappos sells shoes … and backpacks … and purses … and jewelry … and housewares … and paraphernalia … and more.

Even prior to the July 22, 2009 purchase of Zappos by Amazon.com, there was a buzz about this company that defied the norm. As a person who loves to delve into the why’s of business success stories, I was curious about Zappos.

Note: I am apparently one of a few people out there who has never purchased anything from Zappos.com or ‘watched’ my new shoes’ hour-by-hour, animated delivery tracking visuals on the company’s website.

There are perhaps figuratively a ‘ga-zillion’ online stores and e-commerce sites. So then, why this ‘love-fest’ for Zappos? Is Zappos the Lance Armstrong of retail.com? And if you built a pyramid graphic representing online retail merchants’ customer popularity, would Zappos be at the top of that apex?

 

I visited the home page for www.Zappos.com, and at first glance, it appears to be just another ‘order-your-shoes-from-us’ site. Given the hype, I suppose that I expected to see a product inventory catalog page more like the bells-and-whistles-explosive-color-fun-to-use Disney.com site. Almost disappointingly, the Zappos.com landing page is plain, functional, and just ‘there.’

But the company’s bells and whistles come in another way. In fact, the company’s differentiating strengths practically shout once you navigate through Zappos.com.

A visit specifically to the Zappos customer comments page told me the real Zappos story. That’s where I found a literal litany of warm and fuzzy user comments. http://www.zappos.com/n/showtestimonials.cg

The Zappos magic is that they have blended the lessons that business owners in our grandparents’ days knew (the customer comes first) with trend-setting e-marketing and retail technology. The company works from a starting point and a basic philosophy that ‘our customers rule.’ From that philosophy, Zappos has shaped a business strategy that is creative and demanding. And, from that strategy, they have then developed an order and delivery operation that is best-in-class compared with their competitors. The company continues to deliver on their promise and wow the industry.

Customers gush over the service they have received. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos had some pretty effusive comments as well about his newly-purchased company. In a fun YouTube video, Bezos casually chatted about Amazon and his company’s new ‘toy’ (oops, I mean, his Zappos purchase).

Bezos said, “Zappos has a customer obsession that’s so easy for me to admire.”

He continued, “I get all weak-kneed when I see a customer-obsessed company, and Zappos certainly is that. Zappos also has a totally unique culture…and I’m super excited about that.”   Source: Los Angeles Times article: http://bit.ly/O6Q3h

I’m hooked on the Zappos concept and on their company goal for nothing-short-of-excellent-performance.

Now, the question is…. What kind of shoe do I want?

I’ve copied some of the Zappos.com customer comments below to give the readers of this Simply Said blog some ideas for implementation in your own business and life.

Zappos customer Margaret says:

I’m just writing to tell you how fantastic your customer service is! I am really impressed with the speed and accuracy of incoming orders as well as returns. …. Zappos is fantastic ….! We will continue to use Zappos in the future!

Zappos customer Amy says:

… I love shopping with you and will continue to do so. Your service is outstanding.

Zappos customer Elaine says:

… I just love Zappos. Your site is so easy … Your customer service is outstanding. It amazes me I can place an order one day and the next day it is sitting on my porch. … Great Job Everyone!

Zappos customer Alicia says:

… How cool! I was certain there was a mistake, I knew I had just ordered the shoes yesterday – and they were here today!

Zappos customer Brian says:

… There is NOTHING out there like your company. Everything about it is perfect. Awesome!

Zappos customer Denise H. says:

… Wow… I am very pleased to do business with a company that goes the extra mile and that truly understands the meaning of customer service.

Zappos YouTube video

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

If you liked this post, please share it on Twitter, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

And, I’d be honored if you would like to follow me on Twitter @JoanneMaly or visit the Lincoln Maly Marketing fan page.


07/08/09-A Creative Business Challenge… especially when the date comes along once in a century

By Joanne Maly

July 8, 2009

In America, at 12:34:56 a.m. today, July 8, 2009, the full numerical sequence was… 12345678909.

That daggoned ‘0’ before the ’9′ messes things up a bit… but nevertheless…..

Being a historical moment and all, perhaps it would be good to make a list of new intentions for the rest of your life (a little like a New Year’s list, but on a full-life-scope.) After all, it won’t be 07/08/09 again for another 100 years.
Picture 5

Short of that same ‘ol take-stock-of-your-life activity though, why not seize the moment – or at least the 07/08/09 day – to reflect on other out-of-the-ordinary natural occurrences that happen regularly, and think, now, how you and your business can capitalize on the opportunities that such events bring along with them.

By the way, if you missed celebrating the 12:34:56 a.m. time on Wednesday, you can always shoot for 12:34:56 p.m. time, when the phenomenon occurs again just after noon. And, if you are in the eastern time zone at that moment, you could perhaps board a jet flying west and then celebrate this numerical experience twice in your life.

How could a business have creatively capitalized on the 07/08/09 occasion?

Here are just a few thoughts:

1. Local TV Station or Local Online News Site: Viewer or reader voting poll for the favorite charity out of a selected organization list, with a donation of $7,809 going to the top three winning charities. Prizes would be awarded at 7 p.m., at 8 p.m.; and again, at 9 p.m. on 07/08/09.

2. Gas Station: $.07 cents lower than the competition on regular-grade gas; $.08 lower on super-grade gas; $.09 lower on premium-grade gas on 07/08/09.

3. Clothing Retail Store: Brightly-printed t-shirts commemorating the day; only available with a purchase on that day; at a cost of only $.07 for a small; $08 for a medium; and $09 for a large. (e.g., “I bought my shirt on 07/08/09 at Macy’s.”)

4. Mega  Stores like Target, Meijer, Wal-Mart, K-mart: Specific and different, super customer specials at each of these times: 7 a.m., 8 a.m., and 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on 07/08/09.

5. Online Merchandise Sites like ebay.com and amazon.com: Special discounts on 07/08/09 only, on items won or purchased or that have a 7, 8 or 9 as the first number in the product’s SKU.

6. Online Shoe Sales Sites like zappos.com: Special discounts for customers who order shoes in size 7, 8 or 9 on 07/08/09.

Through quick, free-flowing, idea-charged brainstorming, the sky is the limit on inspiration. Whether the day is 07/08/09 or 10/15/09, encouraging good ideas, fertilizing those ideas, looking for opportunities, and seizing special moments…  are some of the surest ways to achieve extra company and product exposure, create higher customer awareness, and build consumer and community loyalty.

Is it too early then to post an entry in our Covey Planners and Outlook Calendars for six months before 10/10/10?

And hopefully, we won’t wait that long for some blockbuster brainstorming sessions.

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

If you liked this post, please share it on Twitter, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, or Facebook. And, I’d be honored if you would like to follow me on Twitter @JoanneMaly or visit the Lincoln Maly Marketing fan page.


Road Runner Marketing and Communications – Stay a Step Ahead With Humor, Guile, Ingenuity, and Quick-wittedness

By Joanne Maly

July 6, 2009

This morning, I found myself working as fast as my brain could take me. At one point, I just stopped, took a breath, said ‘whew.’ It’s funny how that ‘whew’ sound, in fact, did remind me to stop ‘running’ and spend a few seconds instead stepping back, look at the project’s end-goals, and re-strategize.

Picture 8

This ‘whew’ moment reminded me of the old Warner Brothers Road Runner cartoons. Poor Wile E. Coyote tried every trick he could think of — and he fell for each quirky ad promise for a sure-fire end to his nemesis, the always-clever Road Runner.

In the 50’s cartoon version of the age-old David vs. Goliath story, despite the obvious odds and literal roadblocks, Road Runner wins the challenge in every episode. In spite of Wile E. Coyote’s never-ending pursuit of Road Runner, the sprightly, little bird outsmarts his ‘hungry’ competition through humorous antics time and time again. On a second-level though, Road Runner wins because of astute, crafty, clever ingenuity. He doesn’t just pursue or run, he strategizes and ‘tacticizes.’ (so, there’s a new word for you.)

roadrunner and wile e. coyote

Does this scenario remind you of business and marketing?

For the last few years, we business professionals are constantly being asked to do more; do ‘it’ with less, do ‘it’ faster; and then come back to the table with high-five-level ROI. Period.

In a world of ‘don’t-tell-me-how-just-tell-me-that-you-did-it’ mentality, there is an easy tendency to speed through the planning and strategic part of an initiative. Research is big. Operations – perhaps even bigger. But, without inspired and well-considered marketing and communications, we too can face our own roadblocks and the wrong results we had anticipated.

We could just speed faster like Wile E. Coyote, but it could ultimately take us to a dead-end. We could easily imitate leaders in our individual areas of business, duplicate what they are doing, or one-up their efforts.

Or…..

We could stop, take a breath, (say ‘whew’’) and ask what can I do differently? What idea hasn’t been tried yet? What is my instinct telling me – as well as – my experience and research?

I wrote myself a message on a Post-it-note today. It says simply: “Beep-Beep.” That Road Runner sound will be my own reminder message to ‘stop’ and creatively out-think the competition before I speed ahead.

To help you too think like a Road Runner — with ingenuity, guile, and quick-wittedness (and some humor), I encourage you to stop and say ‘whew’.

Perhaps, a visit to this fun link of some fun Road Runner vs. Wile E. Coyote cartoon clips from Warner Brothers will trigger some of your own creative ideas: Road Runner vs. Wile E. Coyote

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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Stuck in a Pumpkin Seat? Dunkin’ Run Sets the Bar High

By Joanne Maly

June 25, 2009

“Be excellent at what you do” — one of those six-word parent mantras we hear from the time we are sitting in a pumpkin seat observing the world around us.  I truly think that when we are six-months old, we do want to be ‘good’, be ‘great’, be ‘excellent.’

But, that is before we find out that it is just plain ‘hard’ to go the extra mile and work to get an “A”, be first in line, win the blue ribbon, go for the cum laude.

Super marketing ideas, ad campaigns and business plans start out in the same place that non-super ideas, campaigns and plans begin… in a pumpkin seat, if-you-will.

But it takes something special to get raw, undeveloped ideas to a point where they stand out in the pack. Something (or someone) special has to take a ‘little’ idea, think it through, give it life and juice, develop a team, win management buy-in, and turn the little ‘it’ idea into a WOW campaign.

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The new Dunkin’ Run promotion has given us just one of those ‘WOW-now-that-is-cool’ moments. http://www.dunkinrun.com/

The bottom line for the Dunkin’ Run concept itself is that we are asked to follow four simple steps to get some steaming hot Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee and chewy, icing-covered donuts for our office friends. Dunkin’ Donuts has come up with an out-of-the-box, fully-integrated marketing campaign encouraging us to Invite, Order, Run, and Enjoy. A fun, colorful, interactive, contemporary, user-friendly theme is pervasive throughout the program’s graphics, website and social media campaign. Dunkin’ Donuts deserves at least a blue ribbon for this marketing concept.

Ideas (and people) can get stuck in a pumpkin seat spot or they can take off and find their own ‘limitless’ future. With inspiration, freedom to be creative, and perhaps some magna cum laude execution, we can each reach one of our own WOW moments.

Please feel free to leave your comments in the space below. I look forward to reading your thoughts.

If you liked this post, please share it on Twitter, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, or Facebook. And, I’d be honored if you would like to follow me on Twitter @JoanneMaly or visit the Lincoln Maly Marketing fan page.