When Am I Suppose To Buy Halloween Candy

I was in a retail store last night getting a prescription filled. Halloween was almost non-existent in the store with Christmas already looming large. The Halloween candy selection was all but replaced with marshmallow Christmas trees and candy canes. I don’t know about you but I can’t buy my trick-or-treat stash before October 30th if I want to actually give it away October 31st. Even more frustrating is that I know Valentine’s Day will fill in behind the empty Christmas card pockets and candy shelves with Easter following closely behind. Last year I tried to buy a new winter coat at the end of January. Couldn’t find one but did find a number of bathing suits to take me through the summer. Need a wool sweater buy it in August. Back to school supplies actually begin showing up in large retailers in July. Heaven forbid you want to buy the … Continue reading

Friday Afternoons

Now that summer hours are over and the snow has started to fly (at least here in Chicago) I think it is time for marketing departments to try to infuse Friday with excitement and creativity. (Actually all departments should but I will talk to the marketing team for now.) Plan regular “events” to help keep ideas flowing and to go into the weekend with seeds planted in the mind of your team. Keep them fun and high-energy. They shouldn’t be “problem-solving sessions” but stretching out to new and interesting thoughts. How about spending an hour with a spread of Jumbo Shrimp, Oven-Fried Chicken, and a 12-oz pound cake and see how many oxymorons your team can identify. Then take 10 randomly and see if you can figure out how each one applies to your business. Every great idea starts somewhere, maybe they have been hiding in the quiet of the … Continue reading

And Innovation and Creativity Will Follow…

 stopped by Dr. Ellen Weber’s blog yesterday (www.brainbasedbusiness.com) and joined her discussion on “rewarding the high-performance mind.” A quote from her blog caught my attention as I realized she nailed one of the key challenges of today’s business world: “Most organizations knock out exuberance and annihilate curiosity, which is the heartbeat of talent.” (Dr. Ellen Weber, www.brainbasedbusiness.com) Innovation and creativity follow from “exuberance and…curiosity.” You cannot create new revenue streams, new products, new businesses, new processes (you get the idea) from the same old, same old. And, if the company culture (also known as senior management) is not willing to reward high-performance thinking, eventually mediocrity takes over. I know that it is easier to not upset the apple cart by encouraging employees to be innovative. I have actually had managers say to me that the cost of a bad idea is too high to encourage “out of the box” thinking. … Continue reading

Getting Ready for 2007

Wow! It is already October. Hard to believe 2006 is winding down. For all businesses the end of our fiscal year means turning your focus on the next year’s opportunities and challenges. Here are a couple of thoughts to help with this process: 1. If Marketing is responsible for writing the plan, who else is at the table? If you don’t have all of your business represented you are missing important insight. Remember marketing is about bringing all the spokes of the wheel together to present a solid product/service to your marketplace. 2. Remember you can’t create a brand only through messaging and creativity. A brand is developed over time by the complete relationship between customer and company. Too many businesses talk about “strengthening their brands” without ever looking at all of the pieces of the business. Xerox’s brand today comes from years of outstanding relationships, product and service to … Continue reading

Critical Thinking or “As Time Goes By”

I have come to the conclusion that one of the biggest challenges for today’s businesses is the lack of critical thinking time. No more do we have time to “chew” on a problem or “mull over” an idea. Words like cogitate and ruminate are almost extinct. Instead we are driven by a pace measured in nano-seconds and kilobytes. We are reachable everywhere — if you don’t believe me count the number of times you hear a phone conversation in the stall next to you — all the time. The expectation of receiving an instant answer, or decision is bolstered by our ability to text message, email, IM or track down our colleagues on any vacation. I’m not a neophyte that believes we need to abandon our technical progress of the past 20 years. Nor do I advocate abandoning the countless benefits the business world has experienced with the removal of … Continue reading