Thursday, April 30, 2009

Guest Post: Another Rae of Insight



Steve knows a lot of stuff about business, branding and other stuff.

Since our chance meeting in April of 2006, this folksinging husband to Carolyn, and father to Kelsey and Graham, has proven he has has plenty to offer anyone serious about taking their business to another level.

Steve Rae is a veteran Wizard of Ads partner, a Troubadour for Truth in Advertising and today he makes another guest appearance on TSB. Steve, who also owns two radio stations in Ontario, is a gifted writer, facilitator and public speaker.

Today, we're delighted to share some of his latest "Raes of Insight".


SLOWDOWN OR SHUTOUT?

Do you want to sell me something or not?

In this land of so called economic slowdown, I think one of the main culprits may be the apathy of retail salespeople.

My wife and I want to purchase a compact sized washer and dryer for our cottage. We’d love to put in a full sized set, but there isn’t the space. You’d think that we were lepers or something. We’re willing to spend whatever it takes to get the best we can find which is probably about $2000 but we can’t find anyone who is deserving to take our money.

We have been to 4 stores so far, 5 if you count the store that was a minute or two from closing time and the sales lady said to my wife “We’re closed.” When asked if she could answer a quick question the sales lady said, “What about?” “Compact washers and dryers.” “No” she said and SHOOED my wife out the door. Whenever we mention that we need a compact set, the look of abject disappointment from every sales rep is palpable. Not one of them has questioned us about why, about our requirements, the reasoning behind our motivation or anything at all.

We have been the recipients of the half-hearted point, “They’re over there.” Or when led to the machines on display, “Here they are, I don’t know much about them, I guess they work okay.” No product knowledge, no evidence of anything resembling a pulse from any sales person.

What gives?

We feel like we’ve been shutout by these salespeople but I’ll be damned if I’m going to reward some lazy ass slob with the commission on $2000. I can’t be the only person in the world who feels this.

So, if you are in the retail business and you catch yourself or one of your sales staff treating customers with the kind of apathy we’ve been treated to, slap yourself or figuratively speaking, your staff and stop complaining about how bad business is.

If you can’t shake yourself or your staff out of this funk, there may indeed be hard times ahead. Steve Clark of New School Selling writes: “During the economic boom of the nineties, business was easy and few salespeople were really “put to the test.” Because the nineties were one of the most prosperous decades in our history most salespeople that have less than ten years experience have never experienced selling in a recession.”

You have a great opportunity ahead of you. Beat your competition to the business simply by showing you care.

Steve Rae
steverae@wizardofads.com
519-271-2450


Hmmm ... Beat your competition by showing you care.

Could it really be that simple?

Johnny was one of the few, who actually put this idea into practice. This young man knew nothing about internet attraction marketing and Web 2.0 Social Marketing but Johnny had heard someone speaking about doing something to show his customers that he cared.

What could he do?

How could he, of all people, come up with a creative way to give his customers more than they would normally expect?



"In marketing you must choose between boredom, shouting and seduction. Which do you want?" ROY H. WILLIAMS


p.s.... In late 2008, Steve and some of his Wizard of Ads Partners began to travel North America teaching 2-day marketing workshops to business owners. After sold-out crowds in Nashville and Denver, the WOA Partners are coming to Toronto on May 4th and 5th, bringing their love for the sticky impact and cost effectiveness of marketing properly in these rapidly changing times.

Topics to be covered include:

-Societal Shifts and how they are affecting today's market
-How to achieve Big results from small ad budgets
-How to build Word of Mouth
-Your website might be your least expensive marketing tool if done properly.
-12 most common causes of advertising failure

As you may know, tuition to events like these at Wizard Academy in Austin, Texas, runs well over $1000 or more, but they're only charging a $99 per person OOP fee (ounce of prevention) for the two day event. Click right here to “save me a spot”.

http://www.wizardsontheroad.com/has more of the pertinent information.Direct Booking Contact - Lindsay Harwood 519-271-2450

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Motorvationally Speaking": Roy's New Toy

Shawna is an entrepreneur who didn't think twice about making the leap.

At the of 54.

That's when she jumped into the deep end of uncertainty.

Owning and operating her own business.

Drawing on her past experiences, Shawna dove in and accepted the challenge of leading RE/MAX Group Four Realty in Fredericton, NB, recently recognized for their exceptional contribution to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Atlantic Chapter in 2008.

Ever since taking over the business, Shawna has felt like a kid with a new toy.

That's why it's no surprise to see Shawna and her team win the award for "Top Contributing Office in Atlantic Canada" at the RE/MAX gala held at the Marriott Hotel in Halifax. Her location generated close to $6,500 for the cause, with monies raised directed to research and prevention initiatives.

Today on TSB ... we get up close and personal with owner/broker Shawna Roy.


Shawna's team is raising money through various initiatives, including Sold on a Cure, a program that allows Realtors to make a donation every time they sell a home. Other events, include Run for the Cure led by team captain Bev Bennett, Yard Sale for the Cure, RE/MAX Relay for Life and a luncheon auction. RE/MAX Group Four has three offices in Fredericton with a total sales force of close to 60 agents and also support Children's Miracle Network and various cancer research charities.

"Motorvationally Speaking", on CHCD TV, is a weekly, internet-based show focused on people who embrace the power of positive thinking. The guests may not always be famous, but they are always enlightening, and each one of them has an interesting story to tell. You won’t see any advertising on this program. For Jim Gilbert, it's not about selling cars, it’s about motivating people with inspiring messages at a time when it’s most needed.


"Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new" BRIAN TRACY


http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Nuts, Bolts & a Few Loose Screws

L.T. has two university degrees.

A Bachelor of Science plus an MBA.

Cash flow projections, GANT charts and building operational plans are child's play for L.T. Few can play cerebral hopscotch the way L.T. can, analyzing sales volume, fixed and hidden costs, profit margins and inventory churn to reveal formulaic solutions for business success.

L.T. is a classic linear, logical, left-brained, nuts & bolts thinker, often regarded as the most smarticle person in the boardroom.

"I routinely rejected air-fairy, artsy-fartsy, blue-sky dreamers as unfocused, and without discipline. Grandiose thinkers without any hope of ever achieving anything real. That's why I favored methodical, strategic, logical, well thought out strategies to get things done in a timely, efficient, productive manner. My mantra for many years has been, 'If you can't measure it, don't bother doing it. That's why concepts like 'Pay it Forward' meant nothing to me. There was no way those initiatives could be quantified".

"But, one day I wake up to find myself pretty much the only left-brain thinker in the room, surrounded by creative types, spending hours in meetings that seemed to go nowhere. I used to sit there, look at my watch and wonder 'what's the point'? Arrogant when you consider the organization I'm part of has achieved more than most small businesses could ever hope to accomplish in a lifetime".

"Then one day, an idea fell on me like a ton of bricks".


What L.T. discovered is the essence of Nuts, Bolts & a Few Loose Screws. Phraseology that serves as a metaphorical dichotomy, describing how polar opposites mesh for optimal business, brand and team success.

met·a·phor - A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison. Ex: "All the world's a stage".

di·chot·o·my - A division of two mutually exclusive, opposed, or contradictory groups: a dichotomy between thought and action.

Dichotomies are common.

In" The Argument Culture", Deborah Tannen suggests Western society's cultural dialogue is characterized by a warlike atmosphere in which the winning side attempts to display truth as one would a trophy. Listen to everyday conversations unfolding around you and notice the debates triggered on any number of subjects:

- Men vs Women
- Love and Reason
- Good vs Evil
- Heaven and Hell
- Quality vs Quantity
- Tangible and Intangible
- Rational vs Holistic
- Body and Soul
- Justice vs Mercy
- Offense and Defense
- Leafs vs Canadiens
- Intellect and Intuition

Typically, opposing ideas produce either-or arguments with each side trying to prove the other wrong. Conceptually, Nuts, Bolts & a Few Loose Screws can be categorized in a similar fashion as you contemplate the people you interact with. In any business, left-brain, nuts & bolts thinkers tend to dwell and focus on areas such as:

- Key Performance Indicators
- Employee Turnover
- Strategic Planning
- Budgets & Forecasting
- Return on Investment
- Income Statements
- Balance Sheets

However, some companies are caging a different animal altogether. Often regarded as having a "few loose screws", these right-brainers relish chewing on abstract bones such as:

- Compelling Sagas
- Tribes
- Symbols & Rituals
- Character Diamonds
- Distinctive Design
- The Cool Factor
- Blue Oceans & Purple Cows

In most companies, there is a mix of left-brain intellects and right-brain intuitives which in itself presents an inherent problem or challenge.

Each side believes their way of thinking is the only path.

Our brains are divided into two hemispheres. The left hemisphere is linear, sequential, logical, and analytical. The right hemisphere is nonlinear, chaotic, intuitive, and holistic. F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote that one sign of a "first-rate intelligence" is the ability "to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still be able to function." And a sure sign of first-rate business intelligence is the ability to recognize two diametrically opposing ideas, weaving them into a new model superior to either.

Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management, argues that far too often, business leaders settle for simple tradeoffs. Products can be cheap or reliable, but not both. In his book, "The Opposable Mind", Martin contends the best thinkers are those who can transcend the either/or perspective and find new solutions. In a perfect world, we would all utilize what Martin calls "integrative thinking" to examine problems as a whole, embrace the tension between opposing ideas and create new alternatives.

Reality, however, has a way of intruding on what is ideal.

There aren't many integrated thinkers to begin with and since the left/right brain dichotomy is so pronounced, Nuts, Bolts & a Few Loose Screws might be the most practical alternative to recognize the value in embracing what the other side brings to the table. In other words, no one - not even you - has all the answers to the challenges your team faces each day. However, your ability to discover new ideas and skills escalates when a collaborative platform develops with those who are radically "different" from yourself in the way they view the business world.

This is precisely what happened to L.T.

"Usually its purely by accident that you stumble into a situation where you realize that collaboration with the opposite side actually produces an outcome far greater than either side could do on their own. It's like buried treasure and if you haven't discovered this 'secret', you could spend your entire career thinking your way is the only way and getting frustrated by the other side".

"A lot of my work depends on being able to deliver training presentations, often with team members more than a little on the screwy side. At first, it felt like I was working with children. They were loud. They played what I thought were silly games. We would constantly run over schedule without covering all the agenda topics. And if you're an organized person like me you tend to want to keep your world that way. I think our natural instinct is to fight to hold on to what we know and I wasn't buying all this free-flowing creativity and improvisation. With each session I was getting more and more pissed off and not enjoying it".

"One day, after a sobering evaluation from some training participants, I had an epiphany of sorts when I asked myself 'What if I could communicate my left-brain principles in a better way'? What if I could share some stories and use right-brain analogies, metaphors and music to drive home the points I was trying to make. And what if I stopped being the hero in my own movie and let the participants be the stars? This is not the type of thinking that comes naturally to a nuts & bolts type thinker, but if you haven't allowed yourself to slurp from the soup of intuition, you are not going to be able to access this. You will get trapped by the need to be accurate, proper, professional, superior and wind up trying to pretend you are smarter than everyone else. Two years ago, I never would have imagined that I would feel so comfortable in front of an audience that I could adlib, create new content on the spot and dance to the theme song of the Austin Powers movies. Yeah baby yeah"!

L.T.'s presentation skills have been elevated to the point where invitations have started rolling in to address many business seminars and international conferences. As a speaker, L.T. delights audiences with a unique combination of hard-core facts and humility, mixing wit with wisdom while generating rave reviews from attendees. Achieving that comfort level, however, proved to be impossible until L.T. was able to let go and mentally float. Release the need for control. Trust the input and perspectives of more 'screwy' collaborators.

Unfortunately, most business people do not seek out these types of collaborations. Hardly surprising when you consider the way hierarchical, command-and-control institutions promote self advancement, often at the expense of others. Real or imagined vertical, top-down structures called org charts frequently impede any coloring outside the lines that may cause career-limiting moves. However, flat, horizontally shaped, team-oriented seamless brands encourage experimentation, exploration and dabbling in the pool of collaboration without feeling the shock waves of repercussions when things don't go exactly as planned.

Nuts, Bolts & a Few Loose Screws collaborations hinge on unusually high levels of trust, not found in many business and professional relationships. Without the anchor of relationship, the "nuts & bolts" Intellectual finds the rants and ramblings of the Intuitive to be annoying, distracting and irrelevant. And as you might expect, the opposite is also true. Without feeling the presence of genuine mutual respect, the "few loose screws" Intuitive finds the bone-dry data of the Intellectual dull, restrictive and stodgy; restricting creativity with unbending, unforgiving emotional shackles and mental manacles.

Intellect is linear. Intuition is not.

Since intuition rarely depends on proof, evidence and statistics, the intellect can rarely be convinced of an idea's merits until much later - once all the facts are in. But, the greatest leaders, explorers, inventors and entrepreneurs never depended on facts alone to dictate what their intuition told them was the right thing to do. If that were so, Ghandi would have failed, Columbus would never have sailed, Edison would have stopped tinkering and Jobs would have quit thinkering.

Intellect is as important as it ever has been. Intuition alone won't launch a space shuttle or discover a cure for cancer. Without focus and structure, the intuitive often resembles an octopus on roller skates. But, that doesn't make the intellect superior. Left-brain logic alone no longer cuts the mustard for organizations sandwiched by unprecedented change, needing to intuitively detect underlying patterns that pinpoint threats and opportunities.

As a society, we as individuals are accumulating knowledge at an exponential rate, yet if you look around some companies are becoming dumb and dumber, clinging fiercely to hierarchical structures and traditional mindsets. Ideas and talents are hoarded in organizational silos, covering butts and protecting status quo. But, the moment a fusion of Nuts, Bolts & a Few Loose Screws transpires, a chain reaction of intellectual and intuitive knowledge is released; spiced with aptitudes and insights that can lift your business, brand and people to stratospheric levels.

Does your company's culture actively encourage you to connect with people who complement what you bring to the table?

Have you given any thought to the cost involved when a business fails to release the untapped potential of its people in the way they work together?

Is it time to re-thinker how your nuts & bolts people connect, collaborate and coexist with their screwy, frequently misunderstood, team mates?


"The future belongs to a different kind of person"
DAN PINK, A Whole New Mind


p.s... Roger Martin is an intellectual type who "gets it" as he addresses direct questions on strategy, innovation and what's wrong with business education



http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Business Book Jungle

With over 40 business books published each day, you and I can’t possibly keep up.

Strolling through business book sections at locales such as Chapters or Barnes & Noble and you quickly realize it is a jungle out there. You truly can't see the forest for all the trees piled on the shelves.

But, if you are unusually focused on building your personal and business brand, you need to know which are the best fountains of business knowledge to drink from. Because no matter how parched your business brain may be, you only have so much time to quench your insight thirst.

Today on TSB, we unveil our 2009 list for the Top Five Books for Seamless Branding in the 21st Century.

Our choices are based on three general criteria:

- Does the author make a good argument while presenting new material?
- Is the book’s premise relevant? Can it be applied to your business?
- Is the book well written? Easily digestible?

So here it goes ... TSB's Top Five Business Books:

#5. Purple Cow - By: Seth Godin

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

Author Seth Godin suggests marketing as we know it, dominated by the TV-Industrial Complex churning out products to meet the market's need, and television advertising directing people to these products, is broken. The book that we have now moved into an era where markets are largely satisfied, and to be noticed a product and its marketing need to be remarkable to be seen at all, let alone to sell. Godin argues your brand is either a Purple Cow or it is not; that if your brand is not remarkable, it's invisible.

#4. Made to Stick - By: Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

This book by brothers Chip and Dan Heath continues the idea of "stickiness" popularized by
Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point, seeking to explain what makes an idea or concept memorable or interesting. A similar style to Gladwell's is used, with a number of stories and case studies followed by principles that you can apply to your brand.


#3. Good to Great - By: Jim Collins

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't

Author
James C. Collins aims to describe how companies transition from being average companies to great companies . "Greatness" is defined as financial performance several multiples better than the market average over a sustained period of time. Collins finds the main factor for achieving the transition to be a narrow focusing of the company’s resources on their field of competence. Collins and his Stanford research team started with 1,435 good companies. Examined their performance over 40 years. And found the 11 companies that became great. How great? After the leap, a company had to generate cumulative stock returns that exceeded the general stock market by at least three times over 15 years -- and it had to be a leap independent of its industry. In fact, the 11 good-to-great companies averaged returns 6.9 times greater than the market's -- more than twice the performance rate of General Electric under the legendary Jack Welch.

#2. The Wizard of Ads Trilogy - By: Roy H. Williams

The Wizard of Ads: Turning Words into Magic and Dreamers into Millionaires
Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads: Turning Paupers into Princes and Lead into Gold

Magical Worlds of the Wizard of Ads: Tools and Techniques for Profitable Persuasion

All three books in the trilogy have been featured on the Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestsellers lists. Based on Roy's Monday Morning Memo, the trilogy offers timeless insight on the life of business and the business of life.

Enough said.


#1. E-Myth Revisited - By: Michael Gerber

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It"

Michael Gerber's masterpiece is currently number 10 on the New York Times Paperback Business Bestseller list. Originally published in 1986 (as "The E-Myth"), and fully revised in 1995, The E-Myth Revisited offers a radically fresh business perspective that has been fervently embraced by business owners, scholars and is still the only book to be backed by the TSB money-back guarantee.

At the heart of The E-Myth Revisited is the concept that businesses are not started by entrepreneurs. According to Gerber, technicians -- people with narrowly defined skill sets, such as plumbers, doctors, accountants, contractors, and so on -- are accountable for most small business startup activity, and wind up trapped working in their business as opposed to on it. Thanks to the E-Myth many business owners eventually realize that just as they had to learn their technical skills, they have to learn business growth and management skills.E-Myth is also used as a verb, i.e., to 'E-Myth your business' means to build internal systems that control processes so that results are predictable.


You already know leaders are readers. The more we learn, the more we earn.

And reading about work, business, or leadership can change you and your business. Absorbing the pearls of wisdom offered by these authors can change the way you see the world; change the way you think about your career and where your brand is headed. It is treasures like these that help you sift through a jungle of ideas as you track down specific pieces of the puzzle needed to complete what you've been picturing for your brand.

And how it becomes seamless.



"Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all"
HENRY DAVID THOREAU

p.s... The inclusion of "Made to Stick" on our list may have surprised some, so we thought you could watch these clips and understand where the brothers Heath are coming from.








www.seamlessbrand.com

Friday, April 24, 2009

In This Corner ... The Lanky Leisurologist!


In the beginning ... there was the Musicologist.

It was considered the original "official" title bestowed on someone who took more than a passing interest in their chosen hobby or interest. You know the type. The kind of person who could name the backing musicians on every Elvis recording made from his Sun record days in Memphis with Sam Phillips producing and guys like Scotty Moore picking the guitar and Bill Black slapping the bass.

As one might expect, the ologist floodgates opened. It wasn't long before you and I were being inundated by pseudo-intellectualism; flooded by a laundry list of social and pop culture experts, eager to cleanse our souls and brighten our minds with their peculiar knowledge and insight:

Appleologists
Barbecueologists
Batologists
Cheeseologists
iPodologists
Lego-oligists
Motorologists
Pac-Manologists
Sitcomologists
Trekologists
ZZTopologists

But, as you can imagine it's getting more and more difficult to separate pretenders from the contenders. After all, who can you really trust these days? Especially in the already overcrowded, bulging blogosphere with its cacophony of thoughts and opinions. Thankfully, you can be assured TSB has thoroughly verified the credentials and can vouch for the expertise behind this e-mail that tumbled into our inbox on March 24, 2009:

Gair,

I've finally decided to jump into the ring and start swinging my thoughts and images around, so I've started a blog at
http://www.theleisurologist.blogspot.com/. I've only tossed out a few exploratory jabs to start, barely more than shadow boxing. Circumstance will dictate whether I post flailing roundhouses or more conservative rope-a-dopes in the future. I prefer flailing roundhouses.

Like you, I'm using the blog as a way to stimulate writing. I'm also using it to share images that aren't too happy to sit in the corner, waiting for the bell to ring. I'm not sure where I'll take the blog, or where the blog will take me, as it's still somewhat undefined. In contrast, I see The Seamless Brand blog as well defined. Having said that, I'm often pleasantly blind-sided by your posts.

In this corner, weighing 192 kilobytes....EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAANNNNNNN VARTYYYYYY!

Ian



Want an injection of creative writing that will leave you wondering, "How does he come up with that stuff"?

Look no further.

Ian Varty is like an IV of lexiconic illumination.

A paladin of brilliant prose and postings.

No he doesn't swivel his hips, ride to Ann Margaret's rescue or croon ballads that make young girls weep, but even the most exaggerated Elvis impersonator would be impressed by his unique musings and phrasings. He found his Graceland several family albums ago in Cambridge Narrows, NB and Ian's blog will help even a career hound dog like you carve a leisure path of your own; one that suits the skin you're in - with or without blue suede shoes.

Where else you gonna turn to learn about The Allure Of The Italian Tomato?

Or, why CBC Radio is Alone In A Lemon Ocean?

Don't let the fiercely pugilistic tones of his introductory note fool you.

Ian's not a fighter.

In no particular order, he is a husband, father, writer, friend, photographer - and for my money the best damn leisurologist in the business.


"I was training to be an electrician. I suppose I got wired the wrong way round somewhere along the line" ELVIS PRESLEY

p.s ... I have a feeling Ian would be amused with the way we bring the house down on this post with a commercial reflecting his own eclectic views ...


WARNING: Shameless Plug Incoming!
If you need a real writer for a project you are working on ... go to http://www.ianvarty.com/

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sixth Sense About Twitter

Marriage proposals.

Suicide interventions.

Words from the womb.

Just several of the Ten Most Extraordinary Twitter updates generated thus far by the hypersocial media app that has given birth to a new way for humans to do what we have done for centuries.

Connect.

But, is it possible Twitter is merely foreshadowing an even bigger revolution on the horizon for real-time communication?

Perhaps it depends on how close we want those encounters to be.



Pattie Maes is an associate professor in MIT's Program in Media Arts and Sciences. Her areas of expertise are human-computer interaction, intelligent interfaces and ubiquitous computing and her work has been noticed. Newsweek selected Pattie as one of the "100 Americans to watch for" in the year 2000; TIME Digital selected her as a member of the Cyber-Elite, the top 50 technological pioneers of the high-tech world and the World Economic Forum honored her with the title "Global Leader for Tomorrow".

Some will take a look at Pattie's concept and decide it's impossible. However, innovators like Pattie and Jack Dorsey have heard arguments that have been waged for centuries about why their ideas won't work. Every creative genius from Einstein to Edison has heard why things will never work from people too afraid to have faith in an idea that extends beyond their current capacity to comprehend. The caveman who invented fire probably had naysayers as well. As Nobel Prize winner Max Planck once observed, "An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: What does happen is that the opponents gradually die out".

Twitter has become an app that many love to hate, often without fully understanding why. But, any web-based application that connects us in a way you and I could never have imagined, should be given the benefit of time and first-hand usage before fully forming an opinion on its long-term merits.

"Social Media" is going to disappear someday as a stand alone entity.

And so will social media "experts"

Sooner rather than later, "social media"will lose its new-kid-in-town status and evolve into just another normal way we seamlessly connect with those around us. As easily as millions once listened to the radio or talked on the telephone.

We will all become "experts".

At some point, enough human light bulbs will switch to the "ON" position. People will realize "social media" is far more than it's tools; that it reaches beyond the apps allowing us to blog, Twitter, Facebook and upload videos.

It will be the nameless, seamless, ubiquitous way we connect.


"I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all"
ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE (1805-1859)


http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Motorvationally Speaking": Musings About Muriel

Muriel was never one to sit back and say nothing when things didn't make sense.

After graduating from Mount Allison University in 1921, Muriel studied law at Dalhousie University, despite her mother's concern that it was an unnecessary expense for a young woman engaged to be married.

Muriel paid no attention and after her husband passed away in '42, she took over his law practice, gradually winning the confidence of a mostly male clientele, wary of dealing with a woman lawyer. Her first experience of sex discrimination occurred when her application for regional director of the Family Allowance program was turned down because only men were being considered. However, the native of Shediac, NB later went on to become the first director of Family Allowance and later, Old Age Security Programs in New Brunswick.

Committed to advancing women's rights, Muriel was the first woman elected to the Fredericton City Council and the first female Speaker of the Canadian Senate. Her values and vision for a better world for women live on to this day through the Foundation that bears her name ...and the people who continue to support what she started. In a way, Muriel proved her mother right. Women do belong in the house... and in the Senate!

Today on TSB, we chat with the Executive Director of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation ... Therese Murray.




The Muriel McQueen Fergusson Foundation is a charitable trust, established in 1985. All of the info is at http://www.mmff.ca/en/index.php

"Motorvationally Speaking", on CHCD TV, is a weekly, internet-based show focused on people who embrace the power of positive thinking. The guests may not always be famous, but they are always enlightening, and each one of them has an interesting story to tell. You won’t see any advertising on this program. For Jim Gilbert, it's not about selling cars, it’s about motivating people with inspiring messages at a time when it’s most needed.


"Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, 'She doesn't have what it takes.' They will say, Women don't have what it takes"
CLARE BOOTHE LUCE (1903-1987)


http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Keys to Gladwell's Apartment


Many people have heard about Malcolm Gladwell.

Not so many have heard about Mike Shanks.

Until now.

Gladwell is the best-selling author of works such as "The Tipping Point", "Blink" and most recently, "Outliers - The Story of Success". He is at the top of his professional heap, achieving rock-star status in the arena of publishing and public speaking. His publisher shelled out a cool $4 million advance for "Outliers" and he routinely addresses companies like Microsoft, HP or Intel, commanding fees in the range of $50,000 to $80,000. It's at gigs like these Gladwell gets to tell tight-assed executives why much of what they do is wrong, pronouncing focus groups as an absolute waste of time and money. He contends, "They have a conservative bias, and they are a tax on revolutionary ideas, which I think is foolish in this day and age."

Meanwhile, Shanks is every bit the business rocker as Gladwell, albeit currently playing on a smaller stage. The former car parts salesman is an Ontario franchisee with Canada's fastest growing franchise system, PropertyGuys.com. Father of two, Shanks is also a dedicated blogger, runner and has racked up some impressive numbers and awards in the PropertyGuys.com system, which now includes 116 locations stretching from Victoria BC to St John's NFLD. His accolades include:

Top Performer - Central Region PropertyGuys.com 2008
Most Listings - PropertyGuys.com 2008
Franchisee of the Year - PropertyGuys.com 2007
Top Marketing Concept - PropertyGuys.com 2007
Exceptional Customer Service Award Overall - WOWCambridge.com 2007

As fate would have it, Gladwell and Shanks just happened to have grown up in the same part of rural Ontario and share passions that revolve around reading, writing and running. A mutual friend (John Carson) was able to introduce the two as part of a project to promote the upcoming Festival of Excellence, a world class track and field meet at newly renovated Varsity Centre, University of Toronto. The world's fastest human, triple Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Usain Bolt will headline the June 11th event. Videographer Brian Mullins was on hand to capture Shanks and Gladwell, one-on-one.



A day after this interview was recorded, Shanks shared these tidbit with TSB about the Malcolm Gladwell most people never get to see:

"He is a very intellectual but approachable guy. I guess when you meet a famous person, it always floors you when you discover how normal they really are.He still hangs out with the same people and still sees his old friends. He has got this three-bedroom loft apartment in the west village, adorned with lots of books, dominated by a huge bookshelf. True to his Canadian roots and liberal views, as he looks up from the laptop that sits on his desk, there is a laminated poster of Pierre Trudeau".

"We headed out for a 5-mile run and I could only keep up for about the first mile through Battery Park before John and Malcolm took off. After we got back to the apartment and had showered and changed, it was time to leave. John Carson and I had about a 5-hour window with time to kill before our flight back home. Malcom asked about what we were going to in between time and at that point offered to let us leave his luggage at his place. He had to be somewhere else, but said not to worry handing me the keys to his apartment with instructions where to leave it. After he left, I turned to John, saying, I can't quite believe this but I am actually holding the keys to Gladwell's apartment".

For Mike Shanks, holding those apartment keys was symbolic. Representing an accomplishment, he once thought beyond his reach. Mike would be the first to tell you there were many moments of self-doubt, anxiety and worry as he navigated his way through the forest of obstacles standing in the way of every entrepreneurial start up.

Out·li·er: noun
1: something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body.
2: a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample.

Within the world of Canadian franchising and the rapidly shifting real estate industry, PropertyGuys.com is an Outlier. And within the ranks of its 116 franchisees, Mike Shanks often stands alone.

Some wonder why people like Shanks follow the path to success Gladwell has laid out in "Outliers". It's not difficult to understand if you have had a front row seat, watching this story unfold since October of 2006 when Shanks graduated from PropertyGuys.com University. That's when Mike decided to bet his future and that of his family, on a vision for something bigger than himself.

For starters, he has put himself in the right position, immersed with a dynamic group of renegade entrepreneurs who have achieved national recognition for the way they are revolutionizing a multi-billion dollar industry.

That was only the beginning.

In other words, it's one thing to buy into a franchise system ... it's another thing altogether to actually work the system.

And few work it like Shanks.

In the words of his business coach: "There isn't an hour or minute of the day when he is not focused on PropertyGuys.com. From taking calls from customers, visiting with clients, talking to the media, going to the corner store or crossing international borders, Mike is constantly bleeding the brand and living its values. He has zero gap between knowing and doing. The kind of guy who actually lives the Nike slogan. In other words, if you suggest Mike that he go out and do something, he is quick to jump into the rabbit hole without wasting a lot of time analyzing, fussing or second-guessing. He is one of the few who truly gets it when it comes to just making things happen, recognizing that growth and wisdom lies in embracing uncertainty - especially in these changing times when we all need to be more fluid in our thinking".

Mike Shanks of Cambridge, Ontario is squeezing every ounce of creative, emotional and intellectual gasoline out of a vehicle known as PropertyGuys.com. To do so, often means putting yourself out there, heading to the skinny part of the branch, tasting fruit that many desire but few dare reach for.

What about you?

Is there something you are burning to achieve?

Creatively?
Financially?
Socially?
Environmentally?
Intellectually?
Physically?
Emotionally?

You and I both own a Door Called Potential. Existing in our imagination, opening and closing with every thought and conversation. Serving as either a barrier or entry point to fulfilling potential waiting on the other side.

What is the equivalent in your life to being handed "The Keys to Gladwell's Apartment"?

Is there anything preventing you from unlocking that door?


"The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore" DALE CARNEGIE

http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Monday, April 20, 2009

Domino Effect Goes Digital

Could the actions of two, entry-level employees potentially sabotage the efforts of your brand, no matter how big and profitable it may be?

If there names are Michael and Kristy - and they work for you - it would appear the answer is an unequivocal yes.

These are two, self-identified, Dominos employees in Conover, North Carolina who thought it comical to disrespect their employer, their brand and the customers responsible for providing their paycheques, by posting a YouTube video of what really goes on in their kitchen.



As soon as the video was posted, it packed the punch of the most potent Alabama Slammer, taking on the life of a Carolina Hurricane. Within days, it had been viewed more than a million times on YouTube; references to the incident dominated the front page Google search for “Dominos,” and a tidal wave of opinions were surfing throughout Twitter.

As if we need more confirmation that the "challenge" of building a "seamless" brand in the Digital Age is a tall order. This incident, however isolated, does demonstrate how any crackpot with a camera and a web connection can jeopardize the reputation of a brand that's nearly half-a-century old, as well as the reputations of 125,000 hard-working men and women in 60 countries around the world.

Is your brand prepared to react the way Dominos has?

Domino's is getting top grades from crisis-management gurus on its handling of this firestorm. And readers like you are getting a huge heads on how to protect your brand in an online world where anyone with a video camera and a grudge can bring a company to its knees with lightning speed.

Here is how the President of Dominos Pizza, Patrick Doyle has responded.



Arrest warrants have been issued for the two employees; Michael Anthony Setzer, 32, of Conover, N.C., and Kristy Lynn Hammonds, 31, of Taylorsville, N.C., for food tampering which is a felony in North Carolina.

The lessons from this story will continue to unfold over the next few weeks, but already it seems foolhardy to build and manage a brand without plugging into social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. By doing so, you can respond quickly and extinguish fires in a hurry like Domino's, who responded within hours, posting the Doyle video and establishing a Twitter account.

This incident also underscores the need to educate front-line employees with respect to brand values, social-media awareness and the creation of a positive company culture, making it far less likely for workers to rip apart a company online. In this case, a company that began in 1960 when Tom Monaghan and his brother James bought a small pizzeria in Ypsilanti, Michigan, secured by a $75 down payment, with another $500 borrowed to pay for the store. Eight months later, James quit the partnership and traded his half of the business to Tom for a used Volkswagen Beetle. Headquartered just outside Ann Arbor, Michigan, Tom's hard work and sacrifices made by pioneering franchisees allowed Dominos to grow to about 8,500 corporate and franchised stores, providing countless opportunities along the way.

Building brand equity takes an enormous amount of time, effort and resources to build.

Only one mistake to destroy.

Unless you face the bastards head on.


"In a crisis, don't hide behind anything or anybody. They're going to find you anyway"
BEAR BRYANT





http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Friday, April 17, 2009

Playing for Change


Many of the performers have never met.

Their names are not well-known.

Most have never stepped foot in a recording studio. But through music, commonality emerges.

"Music is a universal enjoyment," according to film maker Mark Johnson, who has traveled the world over and recorded tracks in which solo performers are all performing together — despite being separated by continents. Johnson discovered musicians on street corners or in small clubs and in this case, you will see how 37 musicians from the Netherlands, Brazil, Spain and Russia, among other countries, collaborate on a classic.



This video has already been viewed more than 9 million times on YouTube since November.

How did Mark Johnson come up with the idea for "Playing for Change"?

It began to percolate while waiting one day for a New York subway, watching two monks performing as crowds of commuters huddled around. "One of them was playing a nylon guitar and the other one was singing in a language that I didn’t understand and I imagine most people didn’t understand. You know, there were about 200 people just stopped. Didn’t get on the train and started watching this music. And I looked around and I saw people with tears in their eyes. And I saw jaws dropping. It occurred to me that here is a group of people that would normally run by each other. And here they are, collectively coming together. And it’s the music that brought them together".

A few months later, Johnson was in Santa Monica when he heard the lyrics of "Stand by Me" drifting toward him. A street musician, Roger Ridley, was performing King's 1961 hit, and Johnson ran over to hear. When Ridley agreed to be recorded and filmed, Johnson's globe-trotting movie adventure was underway.

You can learn more at http://playingforchange.com/


"When you play on the streets, you don't have a particular audience. You have all the world coming to you"
CLARENCE BEKKER, Street Musician, The Netherlands



Thursday, April 16, 2009

NameTag TV


Scott has authored six business books.
The 29-year old Aquarian has also published hundreds of articles and has worked as a consultant for companies like Prudential, Hyatt Regency and STAPLES. He has been dubbed “The Authority on Approachability” in Cosmopolitan, FastCompany, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. Scott has also been featured on CNN Live, 20/20, Headline News and The CBS Early Show.

He’s also the only person in the zodiac who wears a nametag 24-7.

Few have taken personal branding to the level Scott has, and fewer still have done it with less in the way of resources.

Think about it.

Could a simple name badge be the ticket to an incredibly successful personal and business brand?




Video not working? Click here for Adobe Flash 9!


Scott Ginsberg is the only person on our planet, wearing a nametag 24-7-365 (since Nov. 2, 2000) to encourage people to become friendlier and more approachable. His adventures have earned him accolades as The World s Foremost Expert on Nametags and secured a spot in Ripley s Believe It Or Not! The Guinness Book of Records people have rejected him twice. When not traveling around the world giving speeches, Scott lives in St. Louis, where he usually works in his living room, while still wearing pajamas. You can watch Scott in action @ http://www.nametagtv.com/!

His daily habit of nametag wearing is merely a vehicle for Scott to live his life's purpose of helping people become more effective with approachability. In other words, he is doing this for reasons that go far beyond the act of putting bread on the table. Or as Woodrow Wilson once advised, "You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. You impoverish yourself if you forget this errand".

Here are some questions you could ask yourself to identify how you can amplify the world with what makes you and your brand unique:

What are you known for being an "expert"?
What is the #1 compliment people always give you?
What can you speak forever about at the drop of a hat?

For more than 3,000 consecutive days Scott has demonstrated the true grit of committment in being branded as an expert on approachability. Armed with nothing more than the courage to do so and wearing it like a badge of honor, Scott has inspired countless others to discover what sets them apart.

Is there a "nametag" in your world you could talk about on TV?

And will you stick yourself out there?



"Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway"
JOHN WAYNE



http://www.seamlessbrand.com/


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Man On a Mission



“Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and never succeed"
PROVERBS 12:24


He is the senior pastor at St. Paul's United Church as well as the founder and president of I AM Christian Ministries .

A graduate of Fredericton High, this man on a mission organizes Christian sporting events, speaking tours and television productions, including "Legends and Leaders", a TV series focused on leadership development for young people. His efforts also help promote St. Pauls' active participation in John C. Maxwell's semi annual simulcasts, giving the church a great opportunity to network with the Fredericton business community.

Today on TSB, we profile the Reverend Paul Ross.



"Motorvationally Speaking", on CHCD TV, is a weekly internet-based show focused on people who embrace the power of positive thinking. The guests may not always be famous, but they are always enlightening, and each one of them has an interesting story to tell. You won’t see any advertising on the program. For Jim Gilbert, this isn’t about selling cars, it’s about motivating people with a positive message at a time when it’s most needed.


"The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That's the day we truly grow up" JOHN C. MAXWELL


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Load Warriors

" My rigs a little old but that don't mean she's slow. There's a flame from her stack and the smoke's rolling black as coal. My home town's coming in sight, if you think I'm happy your right. Six days on the road and I'm gonna make it home tonight" DAVE DUDLEY

As you sip coffee from your cup this morning, have you ever stopped to contemplate the full extent of how the mug itself wound up in front of yours?

In other words, the process by which your cup left some factory and wound up on a shelf at a business somewhere, where cash could be exchanged for that item.

This thrill ride usually begins with a phone call to a guy like Norm.

Norm is in the sales department and on the other end of the line is a mug manufacturer, needing to ensure sure those cups wind up on those store shelves near you. On time and on budget. Depending on how Norm handles that conversation, the person on the other end of the line will move from being a prospect to becoming a paying customer, with a newly-created account ready to move your mug to the next fifteen steps of this process.

Julie will calculate the rates.
Ruth will input the billing.
Heather will ensure the bill gets paid.
Rod will involve his customer service people.
Larry will allocate operational resources.
Mike will assign the drivers.
Gary will determine what's needed at the terminal.
Marie will enter and code the shipment.
Wayne will dispatch the load.
Brad will decide how the account is handled on the dock.
Joey will check off rigs going through the gate.
Dean will make sure forklift drivers are ready.
Brian will cross reference the waybill numbers.
Andrew will inspect the load to ensure proper packing.

and George will review the manifest, complete a pre-trip inspection of the tractor as well as the trailer and confirm the trip with dispatch before hauling your mug and other freight through hundreds of miles of constantly changing weather and traffic conditions.

This is but a mere snapshot of what unfolds behind-the-curtain, managing just one of the more than 6,000 accounts serviced each day by Armour Transportation Systems. Headquartered in Moncton, NB, there are at least sixteen major links in the Armour customer fulfillment chain, supporting more than 7,000 daily shipments, through 23 terminals, achieving an on-time performance rating of more than 95%.

Most business models have no more than 4 or 5 major links involved in completing a customer transaction. What makes Armour and many other companies in the trucking industry stand out is the quietly effective manner in which they get the job done.

Quietly winning far more battles than they lose each day.

Without any fanfare or hype.

They are the Load Warriors of our economy; always on the front lines, working silently under the cultural and business radar.

Completing that volume of customer transactions in such a seamless manner would see most companies placed on a corporate pedestal in much the same fashion as Apple, Oracle or Virgin. But when was the last time you saw a guy like Wes Armour or any other trucking magnate splashed on the cover of major business magazines and idolized the same way as a Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison or Richard Branson? Chances are that won’t happen anytime soon since there aren’t many people in the transportation sector beating their chests about how great they are and how the rest of the world needs to know it. As a group, folks with diesel in their DNA don't have time or inclination to boast. It's just not in their blue collar genes.

People in trucking - on and off the road – tend to let their work speak for itself.

Some quickly dismiss trucking industry types as "rough around the edges" sorts who wound up where they are more by accident than by design. This, from a recent conversation, overheard at Starbucks:

"Well, ya know Joey could always get a get a job drivin' a truck. It's not like you need to be educated or nothin' and he'd fit right in. It's not like what you would call a professional environment where ya need a degree. Just gotta know how to drive and move shit around".

Many "educated" business professionals would be hard-pressed to duplicate the track record of efficiency established at Armour and many other companies in the transportation industry. The white collar world would also find it difficult to match the unique mix of, systemic sophistication, understated excellence as well as salt-of-the-earth humility you will in people involved in the trucking business. What you will discover is otherwise ordinary, everyday people doing extraordinary work.

Take a moment and look around at the items surrounding you right now in your home or office. Whether it's that cup you are holding, that chair you are sitting on or that computer you are staring at, it's fair to say ..."If you bought it, a truck brought it".

Our entire economy depends on a network of logistical, mechanical and human systems far more complex than a bunch of red neck, beer-bellied guys just jamming gears, driving steel horses from Point-A to Point-B.

Next time you pass a road hammer moving one of those 53-foot billboards, think about the team behind that driver making it all possible. Consider, if you will, the many hidden links in the chain supporting that load and the often thankless, far from glamorous jobs people do, making sure the wheels of commerce keep turning.

How does your customer fulfillment track record match up with what trucking professionals accomplish each day?

Is there something your business could learn from these heroes of the highway?




PRAYER OF A TRUCK DRIVER'S WIFE
"Please bless my husband while he's out on the road. Please protect him from the wind and rain and cold. Help him to keep that big rig between the white lines so he can make it to his destination on time. May he find his back-haul quickly and make it home soon. Please light his night on the road with your stars and moon. Let him rest peacefully in his sleeper's bed, and please let there be a good meal and fresh coffee at the truck stop ahead. Help me to keep the home fires burning while he's out there movin' on. And give me the strength and wisdom to take care of things while he's gone. May the road he travels be clear and dry, and may not temptation catch his eye. Help him remember when he's all alone that his loving wife and best friend is waiting for him here at home" LINDA SMITH


http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Angels. Less Broken.



Easter Monday, 2009.

Not a statutory holiday except in Quebec, where employers have a choice of giving employees a day off on either Good Friday or Easter Monday.

On TSB, it's kind of like a holiday, but not really as we get back to the work at hand, however, it is a day to reflect on some of the feedback generated by our previous post.

Typically, the growing legion of TSB readers don't post their comments here on the blog but do send plenty of e-mail and offer plenty of in-person commentary on the material being shared. Last Thursday's post seems to have touched a nerve.

Here is what some readers had to say:


Liked this line: Easter says truth can be buried in a grave, but it won't stay. Easter provides us yet another opportunity to rise again.

I love today’s message… very timely here in D2 as everyone is tired and ready for Easter.

Love the Emo quote!

Made me think about the song "Broken Man" on Matt Anderson’s ECMA-winning disc... Here is link to listen to it and words as well. http://cdbaby.com/cd/mattandersen


YOU CAN’T TAKE THE HOME FROM A HOMELESS MAN
YOU CAN’T TAKE AWAY HIS STREETS
YOU CAN’T THREATEN A MAN, WITH NOTHING TO LOSE
OR BRUISE HIM WHEN HE’S BEAT

YOU CAN’T TAKE MONEY FROM A POOR MAN
OR SCARE A MAN WITH NO FEAR
YOU CAN’T SHAME A MAN WITH NO PRIDE
OR FORCE A STONE TO TEARS

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO A BROKEN MAN?

YOU CAN’T CUT A MAN WHO’S BLEEDING
YOU CAN’T PUSH A MAN WHO’S DOWN
YOU CAN’T STARVE A MAN WHO’S HUNGRY
OR LOSE HIM WHEN HE’S FOUND

YOU CAN’T BREAK A MAN WHO’S BROKEN
OR CHEAT A MAN WHO KNOWS
OR KILL A DREAM THAT’S DEAD
AND CURSE IT WHEN IT GOES

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO A BROKEN MAN?

YOU CAN’T STRIP A MAN WHO’S NAKED
YOU CAN’T DEFEND A MAN WHO’S LIED
YOU CAN’T BELIEVE A MAN WHO’S LOST
YOU CAN’T ENVY A MAN THAT’S CRIED

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO A BROKEN MAN?

Hope you are doing well. I think of you often.



Another TSB follower confessed the April 9th posting made him reflect on the error of his ways with old flames, hoping those angels had mended by now. Over the weekend, another busted, bruised, but not yet broken man looked an elder square in the eye and said, "Thanks for the post on Thursday. It really helped me make sense of a difficult situation just as the divorce was being finalized that day. You can't believe how timely it was to read that".

Perhaps, it is still timely for someone else today.


www.seamlessbrand.com

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Angels. Broken.



"When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised God doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and prayed for forgiveness" EMO PHILLIPS


Have you ever noticed how relationships are like glass?

When fractured or broken, do you leave a relationship that way or risk hurting yourself in putting them back together?

This is complicated stuff that never concerned us when you and I were little kids; when skinned knees were easier to fix than broken hearts.

Today, TSB is focused on the painting at the top of this post.

Graffiti Angel. Broken.

The piece is a product of Banksy. He is a famous British graffiti master.

He is the kind of guy who was once quoted as saying "Think outside the box, collapse the box, and take a fucking sharp knife to it". Asked about his technique, Banksy explains, “I use whatever it takes. Sometimes that just means drawing a moustache on a girl's face on some billboard". His utter disregard for the conventional has him involved in a number of incidents including walking into the Louvre in Paris and hanging a portrait resembling the Mona Lisa but with a yellow smiley face.

The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.
BANKSY

Banksy has an edge. But if you study the painting above, he also has a heart.

Interpret what you want, but while heartache can be numbed by the old black rum, great works of art are like a shot glass for the soul; transcending pain for peace. Have you ever wondered what it is about the work of great artists, poets or musicians that can drill into the oil of our emotions, causing us to gush with feelings never otherwise expressed?

Study the painting again.

Take a good thirty seconds.

Allow yourself to see your own reflection and other angels encountered along the way.

Has Banksy captured a part of you that aches for a healing far too painful to attempt, lest the other person know the size of the hole in your world? Is there a darkness you constantly walk through in daylight and fall into at night?

Thankfully, there are artists among us that find a way to celebrate sorrow, yet somehow lift wuthering spirits to new heights.

We are all broken in some way.

Few knew it better than Ray.



Ray Charles was blinded at six, orphaned at fifteen before overcoming tragedy and poverty to achieve respect, fame and wealth. Although hugely successful in his professional life, Ray never hit the jackpot in a complicated private life marked by two divorces, and fathering twelve children with nine different women. Much of his music is thought to be a reflection of those broken shards of relationship glass.

Shortly before he died, Ray gathered his kids at a 2004 Christmas dinner, handing each of them a one million dollar check. One of his children recalled, "My dad talked about how they always wait until a person passes. He said, 'Why do that? I'll give it to you now so you can build on that now.' It wasn't publicized because he was a very private man."

Hopes and hearts are fragile.

Relationships and angels easily shattered.

Yet the artist demonstrates how pain converts into joy and darkness converts into light."

As the Easter weekend approaches, do you need to be more protective of angels that surround you? Is it possible you could let a broken one - the one you can't stop loving - know yet again, he or she is not alone? Perhaps now is a good as time as any to send distant angels a message; letting them know how high they were meant to fly.

Easter says truth can be buried in a grave, but it won't stay. Easter provides us yet another opportunity to rise again.

The only promise you and I can make this weekend is that we'll try our best to reach out to our angels with whatever means we have.

Does that sound fair?


"There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou - Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed"
EMILY BRONTE


p.s... Inspired by Ray, a couple of Dutch brothers - angels broken many times over - found a way to use their music help millions seeking "Balance".



www.seamlessbrand.com

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

"Motorvationally Speaking" - Business North Star

It has been used by lost campers to find their way back home.

Since the days of Columbus, mariners have relied on its presence to discover new continents.

For centuries, people have been fascinated with this star.

They wonder why it doesn't seem to move in the sky

The North Star has historically been used as a navigational tool, both to find the direction of north and to determine latitude. Over time many cultures have built folklore around the North Star and some have created stories explaining why it seemingly never moves.

People who own small businesses also rely on North Stars.

You will often find them in the form of business organizations such as Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade, where like-minded people come together under a common umbrella, fostering an environment that encourages growth and profitability for its members. These groups and the mentors you discover within them, frequently serve as a valued compass, should you attempt to navigate the sometimes choppy waters of commerce.

The City of Fredericton is no different from your town.

One of the organizations that business owners turn to for guidance in the New Brunswick capital is Business Fredericton North. Today on TSB, we get up close and personal with BFN's own North Star, Executive Director, Trina MacDonald.


If you want to get to know Trina and her BFN cohorts, drop by for the BFN After Hours event at Jim Gilbert's HugQuarters on Tuesday April 14 from 4:30pm - 6:00pm.

You could schmooze with Trina and other happy campers at Jim Gilbert's State of the Art Service Center while you can relax in their cozy waiting area, complete with free refreshments and big screen TVs with theatre-style seating. To register, contact BFN at (506) 459-8689.

"Motorvationally Speaking", on CHCD TV, is a weekly internet-based show focused on people who embrace the power of positive thinking. The guests may not always be famous, but they are always enlightening, and each one of them has an interesting story to tell. You won’t see any advertising on the program. For Jim Gilbert, this isn’t about selling cars, it’s about motivating people with a positive message in a time where it’s all too easy to only see the negative.

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes" WILLIAM JAMES (1842-1910)

http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

We Are The Web

Have you been listening lately to what is really being said amid the scuttlebutt on the social media sidelines?

"I can't be bothered with Facebook. I don't need the whole world know my life story".
"Twitter is such a waste of time. Who cares if and when I have a ham sandwich".

Listen long enough and you will pick up what's not being said.
Ask yourself this question:

Is ANY web application itself at fault for the way some people choose to apply it?

Are there not uses for Facebook, Twitter and other social media apps - when properly applied - that could enhance one's brand and/or career? Or ... are the apps themselves responsible for causing self-destructive, lemming-like behaviour?



Michael has another viewpoint.

One that brings clarity to the cacophony.

A professor from Kansas State University, his videos on culture, technology, education, and information have been viewed by millions, translated in over ten languages, and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major conferences worldwide. Looking at higher education as a whole, Professor Wesch argues we have had our “why’s,” “what’s” and “how’s” of teaching and learning turned upside down, and that the most compelling consequence of social media is that it has hurled us into a new “question-asking, bias-busting, assumption-exposing environment.”

It would appear in this video, Michael Wesch is challenging us to carefully weigh our options in terms of how we choose to participate in what happens in cyberspace each day.



"Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us." by Professor M. Wesch
Released on YouTube on January 31, 2007.
Viewed over 7 million times.


Listen closely.

Real close.

Here is the secret for successful brand-building in the 21st century.

Personal or business.

"It's NOT about the many ... it's about the ONE". JB GLOSSINGER Ph.D


Can you find three people who will trust, respect, listen to you and need what you have to offer? Will those three people be so wowed by what you've got they will convince another ten to twelve that THEY also need what you have? If THEY'RE truly SOLD, they'll each find you another dozen or so followers.

Before long you have a small tribe on your hands.

Keep repeating the process.

Your idea spreads.

Your brand grows as you no longer market to a crowd. You sell to your tribe.

It seems to be working for Demi.

And Seth.

In the hands of a skilled branding firestarter, correct use of web applications can create an inferno of opportunity for your business or career.

The apps themselves only spread the conversation like wildfire.

You still need to be the spark.

We are the web and the web is us.


“This is a social revolution, not a technological one, and its most revolutionary aspect may be the ways in which it empowers us to rethink education and the teacher-student relationship in an almost limitless variety of ways” MICHAEL WESCH

http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Monday, April 6, 2009

Brand Junkies 2009

More than 43 hundred people have had their say.

The results are now final.

And let the record show that Apple took the biggest bite from the 2009 "Brand Junkie" awards.

Brandchannel (brandchannel.com) is an editorially independent website produced by global branding agency Interbrand. It's annual "Brand Junkie" awards are designed to discover more about brands with the "it" factor.
Brands which provoke reactions that none other can. In other words, what people say about your brand when you’re not in the room.

As it turns out, 4,310 voters chose Apple as the top brand in several categories as it faced off against companies wsuch as IKEA, Starbucks and Walmart. All answers pertain to the 2008 calendar year. Survey comments are italicized as we recap some of the highlights.


Which brand provided the best retail environment?: APPLE











"It is the only brand that I know in which people take photographs of themselves after leaving the store when buying their iPod"







Which brand had the most successful viral marketing?:
FACEBOOK



"Because I'm not familiar with any paid advertising they've done. And the organization and the brand has grown like gang-busters through word of mouth"





Which brand produced the most innovative and enticing packaging for its products?: APPLE







"I like Apple's packaging. It’s sleek and minimalist. It is not cluttered by too much info. The main desire is to showcase the product. Apple carries this view through all that it does, from the way it designs the computers and Ipods to the way they design their stores. It is very iconic, and easily recognized even if in a new context. ie movies, TV and other media"




Which celebrity had the best relationship with a brand?: TIGER WOODS




"He has a spotless reputation and personifies all of the attributes that golf and his sponsors wish to communicate to their chosen target markets"






Which brand was the most controversial?: GENERAL MOTORS





"If a brand is (in part) its reputation, then GM has tarnished its brand through execs with private jets and showing that it is out of touch"







Much of the success in the branding arena enjoyed by Apple is due in large part to the vision inspired by Steve Jobs. However, with his recent health issues, there is a debate over which brand is stronger; Apple or Jobs?



For a complete rundown of the 2009 "Brand Junkie" awards visit: http://www.brandchannel.com/features_effect.asp?pf_id=470


"A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets" STEVE JOBS


Friday, April 3, 2009

Groovin' on the G-Word



We live in a world where we are told in many different ways to chase success.

That being said, any definition of success is a personal one.

Very personal.

So to, is the decision as to whether or not to pursue what you would consider to be success.

But, if you have made a decision that a certain level of success matters, you are probably aware by now that success is a byproduct of what many refer to as the Law of Attraction.

Dr. Deepak Chopra uncovered the "secret" in 1995 with "The 7 Spiritual Laws to Success", where he explains achieving success is governed by the same laws that govern all of nature; which is to judge nothing and be grateful for everything. As Chopra puts it, "I tell friends to just put your attention in your heart and think of all the things you're grateful for. If you just do that, you can't have ego and gratitude at the same time".

Could it be that simple?

Being grateful.

Feeling a sense of gratitude.

Does finding success go hand-in-hand with the G-Word?

Is it the ONE word that is key to unlocking the greatness existing within each of us?

If nothing else, a feeling of gratitude beats the hell out of feeling lousy. If you want to split hairs and get academic about it, there is no shortage of data to dig into. Research shows grateful people have, “higher reported levels of positive states of enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy ”. Psychologist Alice Isen of Cornell University adds, expressing gratitude triggers a release of dopamine, the chemical in the brain associated with happiness. “It activates the parts of the brain in which complex thinking and conflict resolution are thought to be headquartered.”

Today on TSB we are grateful to share several perspectives on the G-Word, beginning with best-selling author, Esther Hicks. She has co-authored nine books with her husband Jerry Hicks and presents workshops on the Law of Attraction based on translations of thought Esther channels from a source called "Abraham".



The essence of Abraham–Hicks' teachings since 1986 include:

- You are a physical extension of that which is non-physical.
- The basis of your life is freedom; the purpose of your life is joy.
- You are a creator; you create with your every thought.
- Anything that you can imagine is yours to be or do or have.
- Actions to be taken and money to be exchanged are by-products of your focus on joy.

And we're only scratching the surface. You could spend quite some time digging up even more dirt on the G-Word:

http://www.gratefulness.org/
http://www.acomplaintfreeworld.org/
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2007/01/gratitude/
http://www.lawofattractionbook.com.au/

It would appear Matt and Brad have taken the G-Word to heart.

And to their feet.

Out on the street.

Their high-energy, powerful teachings of “Living the GratiDude Way” have been sweeping the planet like wildfire. Matthew Ashdown and Brad Morris, otherwise known as, “The GratiDudes" believe the G-Word is the answer to creating SOUL-utions to ALL of our problems.



The GratiDudes have toured North America speaking to thousands of people, in classrooms and conferences. They’ve also appeared on "Good Morning America" and hosted one of the top online radio shows on Voice America in 2008, called “Manifesting Awesomeness”.

They made the video in the summer of 2007 in Victoria, B.C. How did they find the dancers? As Brad explains, “We told them it was International Gratitude Day so they would feel obligated”.

As it turned out, only half those asked felt “obligated.”

Millions are grateful that they did.

What has you feeling a sense of gratitude today?


“Of all the ‘attitudes’ we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing” ZIG ZIGLAR


p.s... Thanks to LT & TD for inspiring this post.

http://www.seamlessbrand.com/