So, ready to get your graphics on?

 

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As anyone who’s ever seen me try to decorate a cake will tell you, I am not a graphic designer. At all. And if you’re wearing a lot of hats in your small- or medium-sized biz, I’m guessing you’re not a designer either (unless you run a design firm, in which case you don’t need this post). But not being a graphic guru is bad news for both of us, buddy, and I’ll tell you why.

Gmail grid view.

Now, I’m not saying that those three words should cause you a bowelquake of panic. But I am saying you should check it out.  Continue reading

So, what do you do when you really screw up?

 

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In my last couple of pieces, I’ve pointed out some examples of what not to do. Like, ever. Under any circumstances. There was a key and creepy difference between these two examples, though.

Both started out as honest, if incredibly short-sighted, mistakes. But one screw up was followed by a sincere apology. The other? Not so much.

It might be instructive to talk about how to say you’re sorry. Like all forms of communication, that’s storytelling. And because it deals with emotions and disappointment, it’s important that it be respectful storytelling.   Continue reading

So, why do we keep having this problem?

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Confession time, my little chinchillas. I’m a nerd. No. I mean, I’m a nerd. A D&D playing, glasses wearing, bad-horror-movie-quoting nerd. Need proof? Here’s one of my four embarrassingly overburdened comic book shelves.

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See? Nerd.

Which means, of course, I love Superman in any and all forms. Even the old TV show the Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves. But something has always bothered me about the show.

It’s the criminals. They’re stupid.   Continue reading

So, again with the creepy, Facebook?

 

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Facebook. Sweetie. Boychik. Come here. We have to have another chat. About the creepy.

You’re doing it again.

I know that you want to be all things to all people, and that now you have stockholders to earn for. And hey, new features build buzz and keep folks in the app, rather than zipping over to Yelp to find restaurants and reviews.

But you could maybe be not so stalker-y?  Continue reading

So, here’s Thought Experiment #11

Time for a Thought Experiment

There’s always time for lateral thinking.

You don’t have to be Lamont Cranston, who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men, in order to see if something’s wrong at work. If you have a business, or run a department, or supervise anyone or anything at all, you know that one of your responsibilities is to shore up the weak and make best use of the strong. That could mean people. That could mean processes. That could even mean weird directives handed down from the home office/upper levels that make no real-world sense. So here’s my question to you. Do you know what the weak parts are?

In other words, if you were the bad guy, all nefarious and mustache-twirling, how would your take down your own biz?

Maybe you’d approach a dissatisfied employee who’s vital but feels under appreciated and has been more negative than usual recently. Maybe you’d exploit a manufacturing inefficiency. Maybe you’d develop a social media strategy for your competing company that whupped the pants off what you’re currently rocking.

What’s really important is that you take stock. New year, new start, right? Like Peter Drucker said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

Why would I ask this?

Because as you let your inner evil genius out to play, it ought to occur to you, buddy, “Hey, now I know what parts of my sky-writing firm/jelly bean factory/envelope licking service need to be fixed!”

Go on. Take a look around. See what you find.

So, your free content: Use it or…um, don’t? I guess?

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My hiatus is about to come to an end. But before I return to serious social media-ing and bloggonating (Blogg O’Nating, by the way, is the worst leprechaun name ever), I thought I’d muse at you a little. Inspired by NASA.

Because seriously, this is beyond fantastic.

“But Steph,” you protest. “What does that disarmingly catchy parody have to do with my business? I’m not an astronaut!” You don’t have to be. You have content for days. Just gotta use what you’ve got.  Continue reading

So, here’s Thought Experiment #10

 

Time for a Thought Experiment

There’s always time for lateral thinking.

Philly’s favorite son John Wanamaker is one of the fathers of modern advertising. He was the first to buy a half-page newspaper ad, the first to buy a full-page newspaper ad, and — more near and dear to my heart as someone who thinks writing is an art, dammit — the first to hire a full time copywriter.

But maybe most famously, he’s the cat that said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

So here’s your task, my little tater tot. Let’s say your marketing budget gets slashed in half. Boom! 50% gone like Gone Girl. Pop quiz, hot shot. What do you do? What do you do?

Do you pull a stunt and try to go viral? Skywriting? Maybe a street campaign with clever flyers optimized for Instagram and reaching out to influencers on social media? Or do you whittle down and dig into data and try to figure out where each of your dollars really does the most good? Maybe both?

Why would I ask this?

Because you, buddy, should be considering how to blow past setbacks.

Wrap your brain around it. See what you get.

So, what are your competitors doing right?

 

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I know, pumpkin. I know. You don’t want to think about those big meanies. Or hey, maybe you work in one of those cool market segments where friendly competition is the norm, and you don’t need to dwell on those folks. But on the off chance you have competitors, and you want to make sure you’re meeting or exceeding their efforts, how do you do that voodoo you need to do so well?

I think it is time, padawan. I think you are ready. This is an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. This…is close reading.   Continue reading