Friday, July 31, 2009

The New Zeppelin?

Sammy has reportedly said "Chickenfoot could rival Led Zeppelin".

Hold on a second Sammy.

Not so fast.

What the hell is a Chickenfoot?

"When people hear the music, it's Led Zeppelin, I know that's a bold statement, but it's as good as that."

If it came from anyone else, you might think they were blowing heavy metal smoke but, Sammy could be considered an authority on this subject. A successful artist in his own right, Sammy fronted what was often referred to as the "American Zeppelin" during a decade-long stint with Van Halen. But, now Sammy Hagar has a new gig as the lead voice of Chickenfoot, a rock supergroup featuring bassist Michael Anthony (ex-Van Halen), virtuoso guitarist Joe Satriani and drummer Chad Smith (ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers).

Since its June 5, 2009 release, "Chickenfoot" is a hard rock album some critics and fans have already labeled a classic. It’s fun, ballsy, and kicks ass with honesty from four talented musicians - with nothing to prove - who have dropped ego at the door to create music that satisfies them. Another key to the studio project is producer Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones), with whom Hagar and Anthony first worked on Van Halen's 1991 set, "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge." As he did on that album, Johns has shaped "Chickenfoot" as a huge-sounding arena-rock monster, blending a fat low end from Anthony and Smith with over-the-top high spots from Hagar and Satriani.


The new Zeppelin?

See for yourself.

Chickenfoot has hit the road with a string of sold-out shows and will headline the first-ever Canadian Forces Rock Fest on Citadel Hill in Halifax, Nova Scotia on this Sunday, August 2.

Incidentally, Led Zeppelin was one of the first supergroups, rising from the ashes of the Yardbirds in 1968 when Jimmy Page brought Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones together to form a band that ruled the rock world. The English quartet meteorically soared to unimaginable heights and are regarded as primarily responsible for defining an entire genre called "classic rock".

Here is how it looked in 1970, when Led Zeppelin appeared for the first time on British television.

Will Zeppelin's history repeat itself with Chickenfoot?

Interestingly, Sammy Hagar has backed away from his earlier Zep comparison, saying he had been tipping the bottle and admitting it was “stupid” thing to say.

But, Sammy did say it and as such Hagar and his flock could not have set the bar any higher.

Will the "Red Rocker" and his crazy chicken pals get the Led out when they take this Hill this Sunday? Can Chickenfoot squeeze some fresh lemon and climb a new stairway to rock and roll heaven?

Or will this fresh, musical fowl be trampled underfoot, buried in a whole lotta hype?

Maritime rock fans will see for themselves if Chickenfoot can bring it on home.

"Old men do it better. We're not so sensitive in certain areas"

p.s. ... With a long weekend upon us, TSB resumes regular posting when business returns to normal on Tuesday.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Motorvationally Speaking": The Next Looneyspoons?

Is Canada - and the world - ready for the next wave in healthy eating?

When Aurélie was first challenged by her parents to learn how to cook, neither would have dreamed she would step up to the crazy plate and go on to write, publish and promote her own healthy eating cookbook.

Aurélie is not only a dreamer.

She is a doer.

And still too young to get her driver's license.

15-year old Aurélie has carefully crafted more than 80 recipes that are both nutrish and delish, self-publishing her culinary masterpieces in "The Healthaliciously Good Cookbook". In some respects, she is already being compared to the award-winning Podleski sisters from Ontario, who self-published "Looneyspoons" before going on to Food Network fame and best-selling status as authors of "Eat, Shrink and Be Merry!"

Today on TSB, we profile a rising star in Canadian cooking, the author of "The Healthaliciously Good Cookbook" ... Aurélie Paré!

"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. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome as we aim to inspire, educate and motivate.

"Aurélie Paré's is a great model for the Y generation who, too often, rely on processed, ready-to-eat foods. Her creativity and practical way of thinking let us discover foods from here and more exotic places"
LOUISE DESAULNIERS, co-author of "The Part-Time Vegetarian"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reality Guy

You can always count on this Guy to get you thinking first thing in the morning.

As a disruptive marketing maven, this Guy is in a class by himself.

In fact, he may be the Guy most responsible for creating the concept of customer evangelism when he helped computer customers understand the difference between Apples and oranges.

And now this Hawaiian hockey hotshot, Buffalo Sabres fan and Silicon Valley renegade is back to stir things up with his new book entitled "Reality Check".

Guy Kawasaki was one of the original Apple employees and a key player in the marketing of the MacIntosh in 1984. He is currently a Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures, a venture capital firm specializing in launching high-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley.

He is also the author of eight books including Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. He can be followed on Twitter, Facebook and at

Kawasaki has an intense belief that marketing should accurately reflect the products and services and that they bring real value to users. As he sees it, interactions with customers should be positive experiences for both parties. Described as a business legend many times, this Guy says that shouldn't be your goal in life. "What you should do is create a great product or service. The goal is to change the world. If you do that, maybe you’ll be a legend."

Is this Guy challenging any realities in your world?

"Leverage your brand. You shouldn't let two guys in a garage eat your shorts"

Originally posted December 4, 2008

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Shift Happens in 4:55

Crisis or Opportunity?

You decide.

In less than five minutes.

And join a select group of more than 10 million other viewers who are "up to speed" on what emerged from a Colorado "Fischbowl".

In the fall of 2006, Colorado high school teacher Karl Fisch was asked to speak at a beginning of the year faculty meeting. To kick start the conversation, he created a powerpoint presentation he posted on his blog known as "The Fischbowl". Karl thought it would be easier that way for other staff members to download it and who knows, maybe one or two other teachers outside the building might find it interesting.

By the end of August 2006, Karl's presentation is spreading, starting with education bloggers; many showing it in staff meetings or to other influential folks. Gradually, it begins to spill into places like area Chambers of Commerces, and some non-education specific bloggers also link to it.

By 2007, over 100,000 people had seen what Karl started.

On January 19, 2007, Dr. Scott McLeod of Iowa State University posts a remixed version adds a MySpace slide, and improves the look before it gets uploaded to YouTube.Since then, Did You Know? went over-the-top viral and continues to work its viral magic.

However, Karl worries part of the message may be taken out of context or used in ways that may not be helpful. He writes, "For example, most of those two million folks that have seen it haven’t read the original blog post, so they don’t know what its intended purpose and audience was (high school teachers thinking about the world our students are entering and wondering how best to help them prepare). Yes, I know I should’ve thought of that before I posted it, but I really, really, really had no idea it would spread like this. Now I know - pun intended".

Karl believes that only with context and conversation can anyone move past the “shock and awe” stage and into the, “Okay, this is also kind of exciting and invigorating. What are we going to do about this?!” stage. One of the problems with Did You Know? is that it doesn’t specifically ask the viewer to do anything at the end. For my intended audience – my staff – the last slide “Now you know . . . ” was an implied challenge.

TSB applauds Karl and his on-line colleagues for summarizing in less time than it takes to navigate a drive-thru, complex issues of globalization first raised in Thomas Friedman's book, The World is Flat. Hopefully, Did You Know? helps you digest what futurists Alvin and Heidi Toffler hinted at with Future Shock; the shattering stress and disorientation induced by subjecting people to too much change in too little time.

Shift happens.


1. How much longer will our world’s economy be managed by elected political leaders and appointed experts?
2. Will education systems re-tool fast enough from what is required for academic success ( largely solitary study - few distractions - single subject concentration - loads of written work) to what is essential for business success (working in teams - constant distractions -multi-disciplined - speaking skills)?
3. Will you and your organization keep up, despite the woeful inability of North American education systems to provide what is required to compete in a global economy?

Marketing guru Seth Godin of Purple Cow fame recently took the textbook industry to task for failing to recognize this shift. In a recent blog post, Seth contends assigning textbooks to college class is academic malpractice. He questions how a Toronto author can make enough money from his calculus textbook to afford a $20 million house, despite the lack of any serious insight or value produced from writing a standard textbook.

Godin goes on to explain, "They (textbooks) don't take you from a place of ignorance to a place of insight. They're out of date and don't match the course. The 2009-2010 edition of the MKTG textbook, which is the hippest I could find, has no entries in the index for Google, Twitter, or even Permission Marketing. They don't sell the topic. No one puts down a textbook and says, "yes, this is what I want to do!"

They are incredibly impractical. In a world of Wikipedia, where every definition is a click away, it's foolish to give me definitions to memorize. Any professor of intro marketing who is assigning a basic old-school textbook is guilty of theft or laziness. This industry deserves to die. It has extracted too much time and too much money and wasted too much potential".

Our planet is hurtling its way to an even more unpredictable, yet exciting future. But, can you already foresee, with the speed at which the world is changing, the growing need for even more decentralized, nimble and "seamless" organizations? Your future course for success hinges on how you and your brand can harness both speed and passion to outflank your oppenents in the quest for top talent and profitable customers. For centuries, faster armies with more spirit, have always defeated slower moving, low morale troops. And that is not about to change - no matter how much technology changes.

How is this shift impacting your world and your brand? Are you relying too heavily on "textbook wisdom" to stem the tide of sweeping change rushing towards you?

Are you seeing crisis or opportunity ahead?

Now you know.

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn"

Originally posted October 29, 2008

Monday, July 27, 2009

Checking the Surf

If you are on a traditional career path or starting a small business today, you’ve never been in more danger of drowning and going under. Unless, you are a little bit scared, slightly paranoid, and place a much higher priority on survival as opposed to success.

Here is why.

It has been well-documented about 80% of small businesses don’t survive their first two years of operation. They crash and burn for entirely predictable reasons, most of which Michael Gerber reveals in his smashingly remarkable best-seller “The E-Myth Revisited”. (See TSB's June 25, 2009 posting: Branding in a Brilliant Disguise)

However, my spider sense is telling me the 80% mortality rate has been climbing since the year 2000. Although quantifiable research to support me on this hasn't been uncovered (yet), first-hand observations from the foxholes of small business tell me the world has become a much different place for entrepreneurs, compared to the late 90’s.

I mention late 90’s because that’s when my business begin its first shaky steps along the bumpy, winding, rocky road to success. And, as I shared with a group of would-be entrepreneurs recently, I believe it was a lot easier to follow traditional career paths or get an infant company up and walking back then.

Back in the days before the World Went Flat.

Since the year 2000, the Industrial Revolution and the companies and thinking that emerged from it, has been rapidly steamrolled and flattened by the 21st century Digital Economy. Pulitzer Prize winner, Thomas Friedman contends in "The World is Flat", that traditional hierarchies and rules governing the way we lived for centuries have been "flattened" forever by technology; leveling the playing field not just for countries and corporations, but for individuals. Friedman also makes a compelling case that the year 2000 represented a “perfect storm” of change with a Triple Convergence of a new platform (the Internet), new work-flow processes that allowed for horizontal collaboration (which is why you can download your boarding pass at home) and about three billion new players (China, India, Eastern bloc etc.) entering the global marketplace, almost overnight, to compete and collaborate as never before.

Here is a short story Friedman shares to illustrate the point.

Newspapers represent one of the more glaring examples of an entire industry reeling from the aftershocks of Friedman's "flat world" and the 21st century Digital Economy.

At the end of 2008, print advertising sales in the U.S. had fallen by more than 25 percent industry wide in just three years. The first quarter of 2009 is reported to have been the worst one yet; a drop of 30 percent for many papers, with no end to this carnage in sight. As bottom lines bleed red, misguided leaders everywhere are begging for infusions of fresh capital and wage concessions from unions in attempts to save dying production facilities and jobs in businesses threatened with extinction.

Raise all the cash and roll back all the wages you want but, if fundamental, structural problems remain the patient is still going to die. That's why many men and women still working in the newspaper business are starting to feel like organisms inside a body felled by a fatal disease.

And all their doctors/leaders can do is prescribe is more poison.

I don't want the same fate to befell you.

Have you considered the implications Friedman's "flat world" has for your small business or career?

You already know business owners and shareholders are largely indifferent about where profits come from or where employment is created but, they still demand sustainable companies. Which means any job or career position needs to be justified more than ever in terms of the real value it represents and how it positively impacts results. Opportunities and threats are two sides of the same coin with respect to positions going to the best, smartest, fastest or cheapest – no matter where they reside.

Prior to the year 2000, owning a small business or setting out on the career journey was a lot like playing checkers. The patterns were predictable with few major surprises or variables. You enjoyed the benefit of a stable playing field with time to think and plan. You could actually see your opponent as both of you employed a limited number of options/tactics while operating in a confined, defined space. And even as we headed into the late ‘90’s, the world was a slower, more forgiving place with higher numbers of trusting and patient customers and employers.

But since 2000, and especially over the last 48 months, owning a small business or managing a career has become similar to riding a surfboard. The currents are more unpredictable. The recurring pattern is one of continual surprises and sudden shifts by the nano-second. The constantly shifting playing field demands you think quickly, on your feet with little or zero time to plan. There are unlimited options when it comes to your choice of equipment, who you buy it from and where you want to use it. And all of this is happening 24/7/365 in a cyberocean of unimagined space' jammed and crammed with invisible threats, and less trusting, hurried customers and employers.

Checker player or surfer?

Which one are you?

More importantly, which one do you need to be?

Sadly, there are too many people leading companies and managing careers still relying on conventional beliefs and wisdom about business based on outdated, Industrial Revolution thinking. It's even more unfortunate to see when timeless truths are revealed about how business operates in a new, flat world, many will cling desperately to mental checkerboards, hoping and praying the riptides of globally-influenced change from the Hang Ten crowd won’t wash over them. Avid surfers know that swell is generated when wind blows consistently over a large area of open water. Why would anyone expect the Sea of Commerce to react any differently to this tsunami of change?

It’s a new brand wave out there.

And only the most compelling and relevant brands will have the stamina to survive this upward pattern of economic upheaval.

Is it time you traded in one board for another?

"In surfing, coming to terms with death -- or at least the possibility -- is an ongoing crisis in big waves. The set is building outside, and it's so beautiful, aesthetically. People are watching in awe from the beach: the blue water, the stiff offshore winds, the 40-foot walls charging in from the open ocean. If you're out there with nothing but your body, your wits and a surfboard, that set can be your coffin” BRUCE JENKINS, North Shore Chronicles

Originally posted September 11, 2008

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hitting it Hard

Leaving the things that are real behind,
Leaving the things that you love from mind,
All of the things you learned from fears,
Nothing is left for the years

Have you ever had an unwelcome guest?

One that refuses to leave your home.

It's one thing when the guest is a real person who can be forcibly removed or escorted to the door, but another matter if the guest in question does not exist in a physical form.

Imagine, an invisible presence from the other side, insisting on lingering and occupying space that is yours alone.

And when tomorrow morning comes, your guest is there with the same old song and dance the moment you wake up.

Your guest is called Depression.

And he is an intangible, insidious, ruthless bastard wreaking havoc among millions daily. Depression doesn't just visit folks who always seem to be down and out, his devastating impact is felt by even the most accomplished among us. Depression routinely eats the rich for breakfast.

Voices scream,
Nothing's seen,
Real's the dream

In 1997, an otherwise ordinary Joe displayed extraordinary courage to drop the social mask and reveal his struggle in showing Depression the door. This all went down as Joe battled his inner demons in the midst of a sold out world tour and number-one album release.

Joe is now inviting you into his home to share his story and see the toys that were in his attic, in the hope others get back in the saddle and experience a permanent vacation from Depression.

If you have a friend living Joey's story, resist the urge to lecture them to just get a grip. Not everyone can recognize the difference between love and abuse, and rise to the level of self-acceptance and compassion that makes healthy relationships possible.

Joey Kramer has been rocking with Aerosmith since 1970, helping the "Bad Boys from Boston" sell over 150 million albums. In addition to a string of Grammys and twenty-one multi-platinum albums, Aerosmith was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

You can visit the author online at

"Every life has a measure of sorrow, and sometimes this is what awakens us"

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Great Scott

The moment he walked by, I knew it had to be HIM.

After all, how many others could there be?

Especially when you are one of a kind.

I had stumbled across his story in cyberspace about 6 months previously and now, out of nowhere, here he was, staying at the same hotel, just walking by minding his own business.

Immediately and instinctively, I knew, I had to make an approach and get the scoop on Scott.

He is the ONLY person in the world who wears a nametag all day.

Every day.

Not just at conventions and seminars. A nametag ... 24/7/365!

This nametag thing began as an experiment in November of 2000 following a college orientation event. Scott was looking at piles of discarded name tags sitting in garbage cans after the event and decided right then and there to keep his on. As he shared with me that day, "Some people see trash, others see treasure".

Scott never thought it would lead to this ...

Scott has transformed wearing a nametag into a successful business and is the author of seven books including HELLO, my name is Scott, The Power of Approachability, How to be That Guy and Make a Name for Yourself. In 2008, Scott launched his Online Training Network,, an interactive learning community that teaches approachability through video modules, message boards and other tools. As one of the youngest members of National Speakers Association, Scott delivers keynote speeches and seminars to tens of thousands of people each year and has shared the stage with bestselling authors/speakers like Jeffrey Gitomer and Jim Collins and has worked with a client base that includes Boeing, Staples and Verizon Wireless.

Originally, Scott just wanted to have a little fun with the nametag gimmick, but before long it became much more. Before he knew it, Scott was on a quest to change the way people interact with one another. Scott thinks people have lost the ability for simple interaction (like greeting one another in a grocery lineup), and has discovered a way he can he make himself more approachable while teaching others to do the same.

Scott Ginsberg has no trouble stating a case, of which he is certain. In any form of human endeavour, in any profession or discipline, there is no substitute for DOING.

If you get a great idea, BEGIN.

In other words, don't wait until conditions are perfect. Anything worth doing is worth doing badly, since doing it badly allows you the opportunity to get better as you go along. Once Scott sensed there might be a seed of opportunity with a 24/7/365 nametage, he planted his feet in the soil of commitment, learning as he went, making mistakes, screwing up, before finding himself in a garden of growth and prosperity.

As of this posting, a 29-year old from St. Louis has been wearing a name tag for 3,186 consecutive days.

"There is no reason to think that age is a barrier. I mean, I read five books a week. I write five hours a day. I ask a lot of questions. I have got a bunch of mentors. I mean, I am a lifelong learner, and I think that there is lot of stuff you can do, especially the young entrepreneur can make the learning curve nonexistent". SCOTT GINSBERG

Evidently, Scott Ginsberg has taken "personal branding" to an entirely new level but, does his insight into the way we interact with each other reveal much more?

Is there a larger lesson that speaks to the way we can remove invisible barriers with the people we meet each day? Has a guy with nametag discovered how to drop the shackles of conformity that prevent us from discovering authenticity?

Like Scott, you have something unique to offer.

Your challenge is pinpointing it, doing it and leveraging it so you can:

#1. Utilize your gift
#2. Validate your existence
#3. Make a few bucks
#4. Change the world.

Here are some questions to help get you started.

What are you KNOWN for?
• What is the #1 COMPLIMENT people always give you?
• What can you speak FOREVER about at the drop of a hat?
• Every time you _____________, people stop, listen and say "WOW"!
• If you gave a speech to 500 people and an audience member up and asked, “So, what was your speech ABOUT?” you would say " _______________".

Difference-makers like Scott Ginsberg make choices each day to blend in or break out.

Today, that choice is yours.

"For what is a man? What has he got? If not himself - Then he has naught. The record shows, I took the blows. And did it my way" PAUL ANKA

Originally posted September 10, 2008

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Motorvationally Speaking": Live. Love. Laugh.

You have an event that needs to staged.

An event that needs to impress.

And you're the one who said "I'll take care of it" at the meeting held to discuss the upcoming:

a) Wedding
b) Birthday
c) Corporate Function
d) Baby Shower
e) Themed Party
f) Anniversary
g) Over-the-Top Proposal
h) Any event intended to celebrate living, loving or laughing.

Victoria and Christina had so much fun planning these types of events, they decided one day to turn it into a business.

Today on TSB, we profile the owners of "Live, Love, Laugh" ...Victoria Hitchcock and Christina Nicoll ...

"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. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome as we aim to inspire, educate and motivate.

"Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Buying Gitomer

You are a salesperson.

Each day you are selling something.

Could be a product, service or an idea.

Just trying to make plans for dinner and a movie often has you trying to make a sale about where to go and what to watch.

Or you buy what someone else is selling.

As a salesperson by default, you now have a choice if you would prefer to operate as an amateur or as a professional when it comes to how you operate in the world of business. If you opt for the latter, there are two words you need to be intimately familiar with.


If you are genuinely serious about learning how to sell as a professional, Gitomer's "Little Red Book of Selling" is a must for your business library.

August 4, 2008.
The Marriot at Times Square.
New York, New York.

Watching Jeffrey inducted into The National Speakers Association’s Speaker Hall of Fame, one can't help but marvel at his 20-plus year journey as an industry expert. On that evening, Jeffrey Gitomer joined a a glittering speakers club that includes Ronald Reagan, Art Linkletter, Colin Powell, Norman Vincent Peale, Earl Nightingale, Brian Tracy and Zig Ziglar. Imagine, the value you would realize from investing several hours and a few bucks to learn about selling from someone who has "been there, done that" at a level known only to few.

For the record, this college dropout has written nine books, including New York Times best sellers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude and his most successful title, The Little Red Book of Selling, which has sold more than two million copies worldwide and has been translated into 14 languages. The Little Red Book of Selling was also chosen by business publishing experts Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten to be listed in their book of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, author David Dorsey comments: "What's especially solid about Mr. Gitomer's books is their grounding in ethics. Success, for him, comes from the heart. The Little Red Book of Selling is loaded with bite-sized nuggets of expert "how to sell" information and techniques that inspire and encourage you to become THE expert in the industry you sell for.

As a top sales professional, your job is to meet the right people and read the right books.

Your job is to learn how NOT to peddle and instead solve problems and put prospects at ease.

Your prospect will only become your customer once you have determined as a sales professional that what you have is something your prospect genuinely needs. The way Gitomer explains it, if you want to be the best salesperson, first you need to become the best person.

Otherwise, someone else will keep eating your lunch in their movie.

"When you begin to give value to the world, somehow the people you affect will find a way to tell you. Even if it takes a couple of years"

Originally posted August 20, 2008

Monday, July 20, 2009

That's the Way it Was

July 20, 1969.

Four decades have passed since an Eagle landed and America was on top of the world.

They may not have realized it back then, but Walter Cronkite and Neil Armstrong would be linked forever in more ways than one.

The lunar landing on this day 40 years ago, was but a single event that highlighted a lifetime of achievement from two of the very best their respective professions would ever know. Cronkite, the quintessential, straight shooting anchorman who passed away Friday at the age of 92 and Armstrong, the no-nonsense astronaut who helped his nation win a race through the blackness of space, 5 months before JFK's deadline.

If Walter Cronkite was TV's patron saint of objectivity and trustworthiness, Neil Armstrong has endured as NASA's poster child for humility. Both came from an era when those qualities were not only valued but, magnified in a three channel, pre-internet universe. And in a decade featuring a dizzying array of events that unfolded on TV screens - the Kennedy and King assassinations, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam and Woodstock - the crowning achievement of the 1960's was the moment Cronkite described the successful landing of the Apollo XI mission led by Armstrong.

Technology has changed many things about the way we live each day and other public figures may be better known and inspire more passion, devotion and intensity than Walter or Neil, however, trustworthiness and humility - milder but deeper sentiments - never seems to go out of style.

Walter and Neil own a legacy that has little to do with talking on television or walking on the moon.

Two lives and careers intertwined on a timeless journey that speaks to the limitless capacity of man's imagination and dedication to an idea larger than oneself.

"Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hottest Brand in the Land

October 29, 1976.

The Paul Lynde Halloween Special airs on ABC Television.

Watching on a newly-installed cable TV set, a Maritime teenager, two days shy of his 15th birthday; is awestruck by what appears on the screen.

This marked the first time KISS appeared on national TV and helped fuel their ultimate rocket ride to the top of rock and roll mountain.

33 years later, the KISS brand is still "alive" with “more than 2,500 licenses, a new coffeehouse chain, two reality shows, and numerous other ventures. A devout KISS Army of fans has licked up enough dolls, posters, mugs, lava lamps and whatever else they can get their hands on, placing these kings of the night time world in exclusive branding company. Few brands rival the the borderline religious fervor that KISS has generated for more than three decades.

Co-founder, guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley was once asked what the difference is between a band and a brand.

"A band is limited in its potential to diversify, by its lack of multidimensional appeal. If music is the sole connect a band makes with a fan, music is all the fan will buy. In the case of KISS, in addition to music and video, we can market the iconic images of the band through products that allow fans to show their affiliation and allegiance to the band’s music, image and philosophy. That said, for a band/brand to sustain, the band must remain viable and credible as a music entity to maintain the brand’s validity."

But wait!

There is more.

The KISS branding machine rolls into Halifax this weekend for another revival with the faithful. An expected congregation of more than 40,000 will be ready with open hearts and wallets to scoop up all the necessary accessories for their once-in-a-lifetime concert experience, thanks primarily to the vision established by the "God of Thunder" himself, KISS branding mastermind, Gene Simmons.

And that's not all!

Simmons, who never hesitates to offer an opinion, advises all entrepreneurs who are serious about success to be voracious readers. He also believes it's wise to be nice to rich people, failing to remember the last time a poor person gave anyone a job.

Music and makeup aside, what is it you respect about the KISS approach to branding?

Are there ideas shared today by Stanley and Simmons that you could apply to achieve an explosive level of brand success?

"I asked my daughter when she was 16, What's the buzz on the street with the kids? She's going, to be honest, Dad, most of my friends aren't into Kiss. But they've all been told that it's the greatest show on Earth" ACE FREHLEY

Originally posted December 5, 2008

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Timmins' Branding Terrorists

Don and Dave are now the second most famous act the world has ever known to hail from Timmins, Ontario.

It has taken a while - ten years or more - but, the pop-folk duo that started singing together in college has finally dropped comedian Derek Edwards into the #3 position on the revered "All-Time Timmins" list.

Don and Dave have paid their dues. These two otherwise ordinary volunteer firefighters have racked up an impressive stack of recordings and performed internationally to rave reviews, but this Halifax-based team that goes by the moniker "Sons of Maxwell" are now on the verge of becoming household names in more living rooms they can even imagine.

For over a decade, Don and Dave Carroll have toiled in relative obscurity, aside, of course, from their annual Christmas concert, each December back in that star-making town called Timmins.

Until now.

This song about one of the all-time great examples of brand disconnect has generated more than 3 million YouTube hits so far. And while the United Airlines brand takes a massive hit, fame and fortune for Dave and his band is about to skyrocket even further as mainstream media jumps all over this story:

Here is more on how the story went down as described by Dave Carroll on his MySpace page.

"In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and my Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. I discovered later that the $3500 guitar was severely damaged. They didn’t deny the experience occurred but for nine months the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss.

So after nine months it came down to a series of emails with Ms. Irlweg and, despite her refusal to introduce me to her supervisor, our conversations ended with her saying United would not be taking any responsibility for what had happened and that that would be the last email on the matter. My final offer of a settlement of $1200 in flight vouchers, to cover my salvage costs repairing the Taylor, was rejected.

At that moment it occurred to me that I had been fighting a losing battle all this time and that fighting over this at all was a waste of time. The system is designed to frustrate affected customers into giving up their claims and United is very good at it. However I realized then that as a songwriter and traveling musician I wasn’t without options. In my final reply to Ms. Irlweg I told her that I would be writing three songs about United Airlines and my experience in the whole matter. I would then make videos for these songs and offer them for free download online, inviting viewers to vote on their favourite United song. My goal: to get one million hits in one year.

United has demonstrated they know how to keep their airline in the forefront of their customer’s minds and I wanted this project to expand upon that satirically. I’ve been done “being angry” for quite some time and, if anything, I should thank United. They’ve given me a creative outlet that has brought people together from around the world. We had a pile of laughs making the recording and the video while the images are spinning on how to make “United: Song 2” even better than the first. So, thanks United! If my guitar had to be smashed due to extreme negligence I’m glad it was you that did it. Now sit back and enjoy the show".

We have been living in a world for some time now where any "David" with an ounce of guts, determination and creativity can slay any arrogant, bloated, corporate "Goliath" with nothing more than a social media slingshot. In other words, the marketing playing field has never been more level if you have a remarkable story to tell.

From the airline's perspective, Dave Carroll is like a branding terrorist, destroying millions of dollars in marketing efforts spent to portray the carrier in a favorable light. Meanwhile, legions of customers see Dave and his mates as branding heroes, standing up for what they feel their band and "brand" stands for.

Have you taken time to grasp the implications this "Sons of Maxwell" story has for your brand?

Do you have any idea about the power of the stones you may be carrying?

Or ones that may be aimed your way?

"It's important to give it all you have while you have the chance"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Motorvationally Speaking": Vacational Learning

Ernie takes thousands of people to treasure islands they can only imagine.

And he does it every day.

As co-host of the C-103 "Breakfast Club" in Moncton, NB, Ernie whisks legions of listeners to work each morning with a show he describes as being "spontaneous, irreverent with a demented stream of consciousness". In other words, Ernie and his morning mates are there to help you wake up from your dreams and into your car.

But, once that gig wraps up each morning at 10, Ernie is off to pursue his other passion, owning and operating a highly successful Cruise Ship Centers franchise. You might say, Ernie's mission is to help you avoid worrying about the potholes of life and discover joy in the journey - around the block or around the world.

His vocations really are vacations!

Today on TSB, we profile a popular broadcaster, business owner and since our paths first crossed 27 years ago, one of the "good guys" ... from Moncton's Classic Rock, C-103 ... Ernie Steeves!

"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. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome as we aim to inspire, educate and motivate.

"We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"Secret" Sourcing

A friend of mine returns from a 4-day retreat in California, designed for people who are shockingly serious about taking their personal and professional game to the next level.

"Fear does not exist in the present. Any fear, worry or anxiety you feel comes from thinking about what might or could happen. Staying in the present eliminates fear."

From across the dinner, table I feel as though my friend is bursting with more energy than any of AC/DC's highest voltage rock n' roll. His mind is incredibly focused. Never have I seen him more grounded in knowing who he is. And having confronted and slayed his deepest inner dragons, is back to the business of making his growing business reflect that sense of purpose and direction.

"How you do anything, is how you do everything"

Listening and absorbing this vivid display of human energy, I am reminded of the writings of Napoleon Hill, author of the monumental best-seller, "Think and Grow Rich". If Nap were alive today, and had joined us for dinner the other night, he could have been forgiven for nodding and saying "I told you so".

Nap "knew" it as far back as 1908.

It was Hill who was more responsible than any other single person, for uncovering the formulas for personal and professional success and sharing them with the rest of the world. A former small-town reporter out of Virginia , Nap was assigned to compose a series of articles on famous people when he "just happened" to have the opportunity to interview steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, who at the time, "just happened" to be one of the richest and most powerful men in the world. It was Carnegie who suggested his "secret" for attaining wealth could be duplicated by any average person who so desired, and if Hill wanted to find out for himself, he would help him do that.

Carnegie commissioned Hill (without pay and only offering to provide him with letters of reference) to interview over 500 successful men and women, including Ford, Rockefeller, Edison, Eastman and at at least three U.S. Presidents in order to discover and publish this formula for success.

Nap's "project" was completed and published by 1937.

"What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve" NAPOLEON HILL

Not only was he one of the wealthiest men on the planet, Hill's mentor enjoyed a cheerful disposition rivaled by few. In his book "Andrew Carnegie", biographer David Nasaw reveals the vertically challenged Scotsman was optimistic and outgoing. “Carnegie’s sunny personality radiated warmth and light,” recalled James Bridge, Carnegie’s assistant in the 1880’s. “He loved to find his own joy of living reflected by those about him. He was the most consistently happy man I ever knew.” Carnegie made friends easily and had a keen eye for which friends to make on the way up and who to teach when he himself had "made it". But making bucket loads of cash was not enough. Unlike many of his capitalist brethren of that era, Carnegie had an intense need to improve the world while he was at it.

Fear and selfishness had no part to play in the Carnegie "secret" and Hill considered them to be the source of failure for unsuccessful people. In his introduction, Hill calls this "secret" the foundation of all success and promises to indirectly describe it in every chapter, but never states it plainly. Napoleon believed that it is only available to those "students" who are are ready for their "teacher" to appear.

My friend who traveled thousands of miles westward to discover new teachers and absorb their "secrets" has been rewarded in many handsome ways. His journey has been an electrifying one, filled with many triumphs and even more future challenges.

Does this sound like a "source" you could plug into?

"Gettin' had. Gettin' took. I tell you folks, it's harder than it looks. It's a long way to the top, if you wanna rock 'n' roll" BON SCOTT

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Help!" for Halifax!

It is 11:53 p.m. on Saturday, July 11th.

Departing the Halifax Commons with more than 50,000 new friends, a single thought occurs.

Paul McCartney has made a habit of wowing stadium crowds such as these for ...are you ready for this ... more than 44 years!

You would have to "get back" to the summer of '65 when Paul and his Beatle buddies appeared at New York's Shea Stadium - the first time in music history a stadium was used for a rock concert.

Witnessed by 55,600 fans, the Shea Stadium show set new world records for attendance and gross revenues. Who would have "imagined" back then, that Paul McCartney would still bring it 44 years later with an epic performance in the Nova Scotia capital that proves this ex-Beatle still has the power to amaze.

Not just singing it. Bringing it.

With the greatest catalogue of songs in the world to draw on, McCartney and his ultra-tight backing band kicked off with "Drive My Car" and never looked back. Fuelled by a set list that included too many Beatles and Wings hits to mention, McCartney and his mates rocked up a storm with a 2 hour and 38 minute performance that included two encores. Joining Sir Paul for this musical day trip were guitarists Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray, drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and keyboardist Paul Wickens - a band on a terrific run with this show-stopping opening performance on their North American tour.

The best example of what this ensemble delivered in Halifax isn't up on YouTube yet, but if you watch this from their 2008 concert in Kiev, Russia before 350,000 fans, you will get the idea.

McCartney embraced his status as an ex-Beatle with heartfelt tributes to the late John Lennon and George Harrison, working gems like "Something" and "Give Peace a Chance" into the set. But the "moment" of moments may have been when many bluenose eyes turned a little misty during the encore of "Mull of Kintyre", as McCartney was joined by the 78th Highlanders pipes and drums, in front of a big screen Nova Scotian tartan backdrop. Often referred to as Holy Grail of the McCartney repertoire, it's a special treat he reserves for Scottish and Canadian audiences, and it was heartily appreciated.

At about 11:59 p.m., at the base of a Union Jack adorned Citadel Hill, our festive group encounters two of the pipers from the 78th Highlanders and asked "so what's it like being up there before 50,000 people with Paul McCartney"?

Wearing grins as long and wide as Barrington Street, the pipers let us know they could now "live and let die"in peace, knowing their long years of practice had taken them to a stage few ever grace.


"I used to think anyone doing anything weird was weird. Now I know that it is the people that call others weird that are weird"

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Next Step

The alarm clock reads 4:41 a.m.

Time to rise and digest what went down at Wizard Academy in Austin, Texas.

Sitting here in a motel room on I-35 South, the process to implement "Checklist For Your Journey of a Thousand Miles" begins now. This particular TSB journey was launched June 1, 2009 when best-selling author and Wizard Academy chancellor Roy H. Williams asked 43,000 subscribers "How Will You Measure Success?" in a Monday Morning Memo.

43,000 people were invited to answer each of these three questions in 12 words or less:

1. What are you trying to make happen?
2. How will you measure success?
3. What’s the first thing you need to do to get started?

Out of 43,000 MMM readers, 307 took time to answer the questions and e-mail them to

From that number, 38 made the trek to the heart of the Lone Star State to absorb first hand the singular secret to success shared by anyone who has ever made a mark on this planet. Statistically, these are the people who represent the less than one in a thousand who will actually stop talking long enough to actually DO something.

We're talking everyone from John Steinbeck to Sam Walton.

From Pablo Picasso to Paolo Freire.

Every John, Sam or Sally wants to be "normal" but no one wants to be average. Most people are unwilling to set themselves apart, except those on the short list of one in a thousand.

That list includes people like Jean who went from being an orphaned girl married by the time she was 14; a penniless single mother at 17 forced to give up her son for adoption to become one of the most successful, happily married business women in America with more than 2500 clients and a loving husband hanging on to her every professional and personal word. Jean, like any achiever, learned early that to accomplish anything of significance you will need to do what you can, with what you have, starting from right where you are.

On this Friday morning, I am starting from a cheap highway motel room in Buda, TX with a million and one thoughts swirling on how to best share this insight with you. However, some of things you need to take you to the next level will need to be experienced in person. You can't "read" your way into fitness or as the great sales trainer David Sandler once remarked, "You can't learn how to ride a bicycle at a seminar". And that's why, even before the sun comes up here in Central Texas, the words of Darren Sears still echo through my brain, when he said, "At least once in your life, everyone owes it to themselves to visit Wizard Academy".

Now you know.

How many people do you know right now looking back in the rear view mirror of life, wondering what could have been or they should have become?

Don't let that be you.

The greatest risk will always be the one you didn't take.

In the meantime, you might want to carefully review the current Monday Morning Memo and make the connections from what Roy articulates to what he is about to share the first of next week.

"A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams"

p.s... Located on a 30-acre campus, 20 minutes outside Austin, this non-traditional business school is focused on the study of intuition. In other words, how can you take what talented people like Picasso, Monet, Einstein, Hemingway, Hawking, Spielberg, Springsteen and Dr. Seuss do without thinking and apply it to your own field and circumstances. What you experience at Wizard Academy has the potential to take you places that exist beyond the realm of what you can imagine right now.

Right now, you might have an idea that you want to do something to actually make a difference.

Right now, the only thing standing in your way is not what you think it is.

Right now, we are in this together.

Right now, is the time to get started.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The First Step

The alarm clock reads 3:49 a.m.

Time to rise and shine this morning in Austin, Texas.

In the midst of a sweltering summer heat wave (are there any other kind?) with an anticipated high temperature of 107 degrees today, the Channel 8 News Team on local television is advising us to check in on relatives and neighbours.

But, its about to get hotter on the outskirts of town.

Sitting here in the hotel room, final preparations are being made to complete a "Checklist For Your Journey of a Thousand Miles". This particular TSB journey was launched June 1, 2009 with a provovative Monday Morning Memo from best-selling author and Wizard Academy chancellor Roy H. Williams.

Located on a 30-acre campus, 20 minutes outside Austin, this non-traditional business school is focused on the study of intuition. In other words, how can you take what talented people like Picasso, Monet, Einstein, Hemingway, Hawking, Spielberg, Springsteen and Dr. Seuss do without thinking and apply it to your own field and circumstances. What you experience at Wizard Academy has the potential to take you places that exist beyond the realm of what you can imagine right now. But, if you are curious to learn more, you can check out what these graduates of the "Magical Worlds Communication Workshop" had to say.

Wizard Academy attracts the most unique people you will ever hope to run into at this summer camp for adult dreamers.

At the "Oceans 11" class in August of 2007, Roland "Buddy" Huthmaker graced us with his prescence and on a later visit, shared his incredible talent with another class.

Those who were there will never forget what it felt like inside Tuscan Hall.

Several years ago, my business partner and friend Darren Sears remarked, "At least once in your life, everyone owes it to themselves to visit Wizard Academy".

Enough said.

We'll update tomorrow.

"Month after month, Wizard Academy equips people who want to make a difference. This is why journalists and scientists and artists and educators and business owners and advertising professionals and ministers are attracted to our little school.

Lives, like money are spent. What are you buying with yours?"


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Motorvationally Speaking: "All Betts are On!"

"This book is a great guide book to selling your home privately. As far as I am concerned, there is no other way"
YVETTE SHANKS, Cambridge, Ontario

Dale is the author of a Canadian real estate revolution.

As one of the principals behind, Dale took pen to paper, buried himself under a blanket of solitude and emerged with the company's manifesto for selling your home privately. In other words, how to sell your house and pay yourself.

Today on TSB, we profile the author of "The Wealthy Home Seller" , the Chief Operating Officer of ... Dale Betts!

"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. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome as we aim to inspire, educate and motivate.

"I bought properties inexpensively and made a lot of money. I began to think it was easy"

Jockeying with Camels


This is about to get controversial.

Especially if you are a data-worshipping, left-brained "suit" looking to make your mark as part of the "creative" process. Or, if you are a "designer" type being paid to compromise your artistic integrity in the name of a commercial objective.

See if you are one of the characters portrayed in this video, dedicated to exploring the deeper implications of how "a camel is a horse designed by a committee".

The origins of "a camel is a horse designed by committee" has been attributed to Vogue magazine, July 1958 and also to University of Wisconsin philosophy professor Lester Hunt. Essentially, this phrase condemns group decision-making, emphasizing the headache of incorporating too many conflicting opinions into a single project. In this figure of speech, the distinguishing features of a camel, (humps and cranky demeanour), are taken to be flaws that resulted from poor design.

The video illustrates not only the inherent flaw in a "design by committee" approach but also the "spine of a jellyfish" character of the designer. Do you think any designer or creative person worth their salt would permit that level of bastardization of their work? At what point does a professional speak up in an attempt to STOP the Insanity?

If you are that "creative" type (writer, videographer, sculptor etc.), it would appear that if "they" came up with the camel, then by default "you" have become its jockey. Yes it is against your better judgment, but it's your signature on the work.

If you are the "customer" in this scenario, remember this video the next time you are in a meeting with a "creative" type who defends their work with passion, disagreeing with the 47 "tweaks" you want to make. Perhaps it's because they DO know what they're doing, consider themselves to more than highly paid cake decorators and have the balls to back their work - even at the risk of insulting you or losing your business.

Maybe your designer can see a thoroughbred that you can't.

And hope to spare you from riding one of a million marketing camels.

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur"

Originally posted August 18, 2008

Monday, July 6, 2009

Standing on the Cliff of Belief

"All the breaks you need in life wait within your imagination, Imagination is the workshop of your mind, capable of turning mind energy into accomplishment and wealth"

For centuries, top achievers have known we are the sum total of what we believe.

Logically, you tend to nod and agree with that statement.

Except when you are the one teetering on a cliff called Decision.

Faced with the "no going back" consequences of that Decision, you struggle with the weight of self-doubt and begin to seriously question if you "have what it takes".

Alone, you finding yourself staring into a mirror of Belief.

Here is a powerful story "Chicken Soup" co-author Jack Canfield likes to share whenever a Decision is put to the test by Belief.

If you think Jack's story about Cliff is mere motivational
mythology, think again.

Cliff Young ran more than 20,000 kilometres during his running career. The "Young Shuffle" has been adopted by many ultra-marathon runners because it expends less energy. At least three winners of the Sydney to Melbourne race credit the "Young shuffle" for their victories.

Cliff may have been too busy with his craft to read the work of Napoleon Hill who advised, "Do not wait; the time will never be ''just right.'' Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. Action is the real measure of intelligence".

The definitive work that Canfield, Anthony Robbins, Bob Procter, Norman Vincent Peale and countless others in the motivational/success industry point to as their inspiration is a book written back in the 1930's. A journey through Napoleon Hill's masterpiece, "Think and Grow Rich" will reveal the secret that launched "The Secret".

Published in the 1930's, Hill maintained, "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve". However, indecision will often prove to be a seedling of fear, forcing you to retreat from that which you dream about.

In 1983, a 61-year old Australian potato farmer proved Nature cannot be tricked or cheated. She will only reward you with the object of your desires only after you have paid her price.

As you begin this week, what Decision is forcing you to stand on the Cliff of Belief?

Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.

"Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it"

Friday, July 3, 2009

Dream Driver

"Three workmen are standing at the edge of a busy construction site, taking a break from their heavy, dusty labor. A passer-by asks the first of the workmen, “What are you doing”? With sweat dripping from his brow, he barely looks up before grunting, “I’m busting rocks”. When the passer-by asks the second workman the same question, he shrugs, “I’m earning a living”. Walking a little further, the passer-by encounters the third member of the work crew and asks the same question, “What are you doing?” The third workman turns, smiles broadly and says,“I’m building a cathedral”.

Peter happens to believe that people who are working towards a shared objective will always outwork and outperform a bunch of wage-earning, rock busters. And the "job" of any leader is to get everyone on the team to see the cathedral.

Peter knows something about this subject.

Credited with sparking a dramatic turnaround at Porsche in the early 80s when the company doubled its sales over a 7-year period, Peter Schutz achieved organizational nirvana. His book, "Driving Force" offers a more detailed account of how building organizations of ordinary people, working together to build cathedrals. offer the only competitive edge capable of withstanding change.

As Peter puts it, Porsche is NOT in the automotive business. Porsche is selling memberships in a dream.

Slick TV spots and the packaging of a dream were a long way off in 1980 when Peter accepted the challenge of turning the company around. As Schutz sees it, "People buy other people before they buy the organization and the products and services it represents. You need to create a culture that bubbles with excitement so that people will dig in, spend their discretionary time and recruit more top talent".

When Schutz took over in 1980, Porsche had experienced its first money-losing year in company history. Morale was in the toilet and the race known as the 24 Hour of Le Mans race was on the horizon. Porsche was not expected to win; the company was broke and did not have a new car to showcase. Peter walked in one day and told told his staff, “We shall never enter a race we don’t intend to win.” And with that edict, the company rallied and ultimately won the race.

In Peter's opinion, "Cars don’t win races. People and the way they work together is what wins races”. Peter also maintains that winning a race depends on the dynamics of balancing democracy with a dictatorship. As he puts it, "They could operate like a dictatorship in the pit, in the heat of the moment, because they had spent months planning very democratically".

Plan like a democracy.

Execute like a dictatorship.

And a cathedral will begin to take shape.

"A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral."

Originally posted: August 21, 2008

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bad Medicine

Imagine selling a product or service that blatantly advertises its shortcomings.

Buckley's Mixture adopted that brand strategy more than two decades ago with its promise ...

"It tastes awful. And it works."

Buckley's Mixture has tasted horrible since it was developed by W.K. Buckley, a Toronto pharmacist, in 1919. He discovered several natural ingredients used in the treatment of coughs and colds (the recipe is a closely guarded company secret) combining them to create a signature product. By the mid-1980s, and with sales lagging Buckley's son, Frank, decided on a new campaign that trumpeted its truly awful taste and remarkable healing powers.The strategy worked as Buckley's won several advertising awards, gained significant market share as sales surged while lifting brand value with it.

Don't you feel admiration for brands that have no qualms about stating it the way it is? Buckley's isn't for everyone. And they have stuck to their guns even though there's been a lot of pressure to introduce a better tasting mixture.Of course, if Buckley's didn't work, all that taste-bud torture would be for naught and the product wouldn't sell. In other words, this brand delivers on its promise - warts and all.

And would you believe Buckley's customers don't mind one bit?

Another brand seeing the wisdom in keeping it real these days is Google. But not so much from their ads and what they say but more from what they actually DO in serving their customers. Here is part of an e-mail sent out to a friend of mine who happens to be a Google Apps customer.

We're committed to making Google Apps Premier Edition a service on which your organization can depend. During the first half of August, we didn't do this as well as we should have. We had three outages - on August 6, August 11, and August 15. The August 11 outage was experienced by nearly all Google Apps Premier users while the August 6 and 15 outages were minor and affected a very small number of Google Apps Premier users. As is typical of things associated with Google, these outages were the subject of much public commentary.Through this note, we want to assure you that system reliability is a top priority at Google. When outages occur, Google engineers around the world are immediately mobilized to resolve the issue. We made mistakes in August, and we're sorry. While we're passionate about excellence, we can't promise you a future that's completely free of system interruptions. Instead, we promise you rapid resolution of any production problem; and more importantly, we promise you focused discipline on preventing recurrence of the same problem. Given the production incidents that occurred in August, we'll be extending the full SLA credit to all Google Apps Premier customers for the month of August, which represents a 15-day extension of your service. SLA credits will be applied to the new service term for accounts with a renewal order pending. This credit will be applied to your account automatically so there's no action needed on your part.We've also heard your guidance around the need for better communication when outages occur. Here are three things that we're doing to make things better ....

Once again, thanks for you continued support and understanding.

The Google Apps Team

Legendary advertising guru Bill Bernbach captured it best when he opined, "Here is a great gimmick, let's tell the truth". Bernbach successfully applied that philosophy throughout his career which included award-winning campaigns such as Volkswagen's "Think Small" and "We Try Harder" from Avis. Bill felt that no matter how skillful you are, you can't invent a product advantage that doesn't exist. And if you do, and it's just a gimmick, it's going to fall apart anyway.

Bad medicine can be good business.

Are there other brands you've noticed that do a good job at delivering the unvarnished truth? Don't you admire people and brands a lot more when they give it to you straight, sparing you the candy-coated bulls&*%?

In what ways could your brand leverage good stuff that bad medicine brings?

"Your love is like bad medicine, bad medicine is what I need"

Originally posted September 2, 2008