Friday, October 30, 2009

War of the Words

You are sitting beside your radio in the comfort of your own home.

Relaxing after a long day on the job, you kick back with a drink in the easy chair of your choice before turning the dial to your favorite station.

It is Friday, October 30th.

You have no idea your world is about to come apart at the seams.

As the news trickles in, you sit spellbound.

You hear the strained, crackling voice of a reporter describing strange explosions and a cylindrical meteorite landing nearby.

Then, another bulletin, telling you about tentacled Martians incinerating an onlooking crowd with "Heat-Rays."

Regular programming breaks down.

You are now glued more than ever to the voices from the radio in your living room.

The station is struggling to keep up with casualty updates, firefighting developments, martial law has been declared and troops are now attacking the Martians. You can actually hear the roar of cannon and at times think you can smell the gunpowder as power plants are destroyed, bridges collapse and railroad tracks blown to bits.These updates are followed by evacuation instructions as millions of refugees clog the roads while others are running and diving into the East River "like rats", to escape the invaders.

The station goes off the air.

For what seems like hours.

Minutes later, a despairing ham radio operator is heard calling, "Isn't there anyone on the air? Isn't there anyone on the air? Isn't there.... anyone?"

Could the entire planet be in peril?

When Orson Welles took to the air with an adaptation of "War of the Worlds", on this day in 1938, he was well aware of how the vehicles of words transport energy from ourselves to another person or group of people. And not much has changed in the seven decades that has elapsed since this fascinating study on the impact of words on human behaviour.

You be speaking to your boss, best friend or an audience of 500 people.

You may be be writing a love letter, a work-related memo or advertising copy.

Whatever the case, each word we speak or write has a life of its own, vibratory signatures that create waves in much the same way as a note of music.

Some know this instinctively; others arrive at this understanding in a slower, more gradual fashion.

Many, however, speak without thinking or write without clarity, missing out on the opportunity to effectively convey feelings and thoughts with an appropriate selection of words.

Sartre compared words to "loaded pistols", more treacherous and powerful than we think. Kipling was fond of saying "words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." How we utilize words will determine whether we live in a dark and threatening world, a colorless and dreary mind-numbing existence or a bright, radiant planet, bursting with possibilities.

Your words create your world.

For your family and friends.

For your business and brand.

Only you know if your words are winning or losing your war.

"A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet"

p.s. ... Tomorrow is the deadline for "YPG" entries, the word-of-mouse, social media phenomenon that has inspired passionate words from some of Canada's most infected young entrepreneurs. Symptoms are still being analyzed and samples are being submitted right up until midnight, October 31st.

p.s.s. ... Eschewing the use of words, "The Story" is making its magic felt in another way. Jazz aficionados are flocking to catch this unique combo with recent sellout shows in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. Tonight, "The Story" adds another chapter to its repertoire with an appearance in TSB's hometown with an 8:00 show at Studio 700.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Small Business Branding

It's NOT just for Nike, BMW or Tide.

NOT the exclusive domain of Coke, Apple or Starbucks.

In other words, it doesn't mean squat if you are NOT a Fortune 500 player.

"Branding" is something ANY individual or small business can embrace.

But first, YOU will have to start wrapping your head around "branding".

And what it REALLY is.

About a week ago, TSB was jazzed hearing from a small business owner, positively GUSHING about the way a deliberate branding strategy helped a home basement operation, go from $300,000 in revenues to $1.2 million in about a year. But, as the conversation continued, it became clear this tangible financial growth was jump started with two intangibles: VISION and a DECISION.

Products and services are either manufactured or delivered; a brand is something BOUGHT by the customer.

Any product or service can be copied; a brand is UNIQUE.

Any product or service can be quickly outdated; a successful brand is TIMELESS.

Remember, "branding" is a DISCIPLINE. A well-conceived business STRATEGY.

What can you IMAGINE for your brand?

When will you decide to DO something about it?

"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart ... Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Motorvationally Speaking: "The Rickernator"

Have you ever noticed how one man's trash can be another man's treasure?

Tiny insects or small rodents might represent a giant nuisance to some, but the presence of those nasty bugs and critters actually guarantees the existence of an entire industry and the careers that go with it.

You will discover in this very post, that few embrace the pest control business with more passion than a veteran exterminator out of Fredericton, NB. Greg has spent a quarter of a century "Protecting Health, Food and Property", and you will quickly see how the owner of Excel Pest Control approaches his work and the customers he cares for.

Today, on TSB, we profile the self-styled "Rickernator" ... a man who can admire the beauty in bugs and the healing power of hugs ... the one, the only, Greg Ricker!

"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 motorvate.

"Help others and give something back. I guarantee you will discover that while public service improves the lives and the world around you, its greatest reward is the enrichment and new meaning it will bring your own life"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Story from Rory

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see"

How many of the problems you face in business and life can be solved by tinkering with your own perception?

In other words, how much of what you view as "reality" is nothing more than a heavily biased, self-created perspective projected onto the movie screen of your mind?

At a recent TED Talk, British advertising guru Rory Sutherland offered a new perspective on how to see value in things you might already have.

And who knows where that will take you.

The "perception vs reality" dilemma is one that wizards of wisdom have riffed on for centuries. Everyone from rocket scientists to rock stars have weighed in on this subject at one time or another:

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one"

"When the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems begin to resemble nails"

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way"

"A stumbling block to the pessimist is a stepping-stone to the optimist"

"I used to have a drug problem, now I make enough money"

"Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view"

We all get caught up in our stories.

And most of us think we are our stories.

But, when you hear from people like Rory, you are given yet another opportunity to change your story and alter your perceptions.

Can a different perspective enhance what you bring to the dance?

"Life is a dance you learn as you go. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow"

p.s... TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Beginning in 1984 as a conference focused on Technology, Entertainment, Design, it now includes the annual TED Conference in Long Beach, California and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Infection Detection

It would appear Dr. Emmett Y. Browne's "research" into the genetic properties of youth entrepreneurship has been validated.

The enigmatic rogue scientist from Cedar Crest, New Mexico challenged young Canadians and the business community with a fundamental question.

Is entrepreneurship in your genes?

That question, framed back in early September, helped launch a first-of-its kind national search for the "primary carriers" of the "YPreneurGene". This unique social media campaign (based on Dr. Browne's "research") saw and the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) join forces to increase awareness of youth entrepreneurship through a contest where the eventual winner will be awarded their own franchise and much of what is needed to launch their own business.

It is evident from recent submissions, that an entrepreneurial pandemic may be spreading among the 18-34 crowd.


If you are locked into a dead end job, that offers zero hope of escaping the cubicle ranch, clicking this link may be hazardous to your mental health.

Some of what Lisa shares from her attic is of a most "disturbing" nature.

It is abundantly clear that Lisa paid attention to the essence of the "YPG" message, which first broke about six weeks ago with news of a "scientific "discovery" from a most unlikely and unexpected source. Luckily, TSB - acting on a tip - was on the scene to bring you the story first.

Aspiring entrepreneurs have one week remaining to visit, and submit a video of themselves explaining why they should be the winner. The big prize, estimated to be worth about $100,000, is a franchise, a Moncton, NB-based company that brings private home sellers and buyers together.

As part of the final selection process, stars of CBC Television's "Dragons' Den" will help select the winner of the franchise and supplementary prize package worth close to $100,000 at an event held in the CBC Broadcast Centre, November 13th in Toronto.

What will this week bring in terms of similar "infection detections"?

Can the Canadian economy benefit from this type of "disease"?

And what does Lisa's heartfelt "confession" tell you about the effect this type of viral marketing can have?

"We're really looking for the go-getters and the people who bounce out of bed in the morning who have a lot of passion for owning their own business"
KEN LeBLANC, President & CEO

Friday, October 23, 2009

Vocals Without Lyrics?

What if you were asked to compose a hit song, instantly familiar to millions but it came with a catch?

Under no circumstances could you use any lyrics, but you would still be required to employ a lead singer and background vocalists.

In other words, an instrumental won't cut it.

Could you pull it off?

Write a song with vocals, but without using any dictionary-recognized words?

Not a single noun, verb, adverb or adjective can be used in your composition.

Nothing in the way of descriptive metaphors, word pictures or phrases embedded with deep lyrical meaning.

That would negate any tune with subtle or overt political or social messages and definitely rules out the rallying arena-rock anthems about booze, babes and weekend bashes.

Could you do it?

When you stop to pause and contemplate, what we're asking for is like a lake without water.

Hockey with no puck.

Country music minus the heartache.

But, what would it say about the creative genius of someone who could pull it off?

"Sesame Street is best known for the creative geniuses it attracted, people like Jim Henson and Joe Raposo and Frank Oz, who intuitively grasped what it takes to get through to children. They were television's answer to Beatrix Potter or L. Frank Baum or Dr. Seuss."

p.s... special thanks to Monique of the new Cora's in Moncton, NB who supplied the rays of human sunshine that inspired today's post.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The New "Jared"?

It began with a college newspaper article in April of 1999.

Writing for the Indiana Daily Student, Ryan Coleman pens an article about a former dorm mate he hardly recognizes after a 240-pound weight loss. A reporter for Men's Health stumbled on to the article and worked the "Subway Sandwich Diet" into a piece about "Crazy Diets that Work." This is what caught the eye of a Chicago-area Subway franchisee who took the idea to the creative director at Subway's Chicago advertising agency.

The agency dispatched an intern to Bloomington, Indiana to verify the identity of the "Subway Guy" and at the first location he walks into and describes who he is looking for, a counter worker exclaims, "Oh, that's Jared. He comes here every day."

The rest, as they say, is history.

The first "Jared" commercial aired January 1, 2000, introducing the slimmed down Mr. Fogle who rapidly became a poster child for healthy eating. Within days, Subway was getting calls from USA Today, ABC News, Fox News, and Oprah. Eventually, this most unlikely national campaign translated into hefty sales increases, with Subway reporting an 18% hike in the first year, followed by another 16% boost the next year.

Just as Jared Fogle became the "face" of eating right and exercising, young contenders across Canada are jockeying to become the person who symbolizes youth entrepreneurship. At stake is the prize of winning their own franchise, but the real story may be the spreading of the "YPG" spirit and the energy it creates in the face of economic doom and gloom.

Take Mallory MacDonald for example.

Go ahead, take a look.

And see if this Nova Scotia business student represents something more than just a contest.

Was there something in Mallory MacDonald's "YPG" submission that could strike a nerve with an increasing group of disenchanted young Canadians, stuck with hefty student loan bills to pay for empty promises? Is it possible that a spirit of Youth Entrepreneurship is needed now more than ever to address the current youth unemployment crisis in Canada?

The economic downturn has had a devastating impact on the jobless rate among Canada's youth, with one report indicating a 50% increase from the beginning of last year.

According to Canada's Vital Signs 2009, a quality-of-life report card, youth unemployment skyrocketed from 10.7 per cent in January of 2008 to 16.3 per cent as of August 2009 - a staggering figure which is expected to grow faster than unemployment in the general population. For those youth 15-24 who are employed, the average work hours per week, a meager 23.4, represent the lowest in more than 30 years. Meanwhile, in a recent Youth Dialogue on learning and work, more than 140 youth from across Canada told the Canadian Policy Research Network they did not have appropriate information about the array of careers open to them. They called for more, and better, information on both employment and educational opportunities, including entrepreneurial paths and the trades.

As jobs disappear at a record pace from “Generation-Y”, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) took matters into its own hands with a dynamic initiative designed to awaken entrepreneurial spirit within Canada’s youth. This social-media driven program is geared to 18-to-34 year olds who dream of owning their own business and gives deserving young entrepreneurs the opportunity to win a franchise contributed by CYBF spokesperson Katrina White explains, “We want to give worthy young entrepreneurs a hand up as opposed to a hand out. We thought a contest such as this helps create awareness of the value youth entrepreneurship plays in our economy. We believe youth entrepreneurship is an increasingly viable option for individuals to control their career paths”.

If Jared Fogle helped wage a war against obesity, are young, aspiring entrepreneurs like Mallory MacDonald trying to fight another battle altogether?

Perhaps its the ability to take control of your career path and start a business with little or no cash.

And who knows, maybe Cameron Johnson and Mallory MacDonald are just two example of a growing trend recently captured in a movie that speaks to the power of Y.E.S.

The Young Entrepreneur Society.

Who knows, maybe this is the blog post that does what a small town Indiana student newspaper did back in the late nineties. Could Mallory MacDonald's "YPG" submission evolve like a latter-day "Jared" and light the torch of a cause bigger than someone winning a contest?

Did you just a get a glimpse of the future "face" of youth entrepreneurship?

"It's not always easy. If all this can help one child, we are doing our job”

p.s. ... This first-of-its kind "YPG" campaign has contestants competing through social media channels and video submissions to determine eventual finalists for the grand prize. As part of the final selection process, Canada’s own CBC’s Dragons Den will award one lucky contestant with the franchise and supplementary prize package worth close to $100,000 in an available location of their choice. The winner will be selected in a special live edition of CBC’s “Dragons Den” scheduled for mid-November in Toronto, Ontario.

The contest closes at midnight on Saturday, October 31, 2009

For complete contest rules or to enter visit

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Motorvationally Speaking: "Coach Mac"

The mark of a great coach is someone who makes those he or she leads better than they thought they could be.

The man behind the bench of the UNB Varsity Reds falls into that category.

The man who attended ten of Roger Neilson's legendary coaching clinics as a delegate, wound up teaching the class this past summer, delivering an hour-long presentation at the University of Windsor to some 400 hockey coaches from across the continent on "Game Plans for Success."

"Coach Mac" has proven he is the man with such a plan.

Today on TSB, we head to the chalkboard with the head coach of the UNB Varsity Reds .... Gardiner MacDougall.

"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 motorvate.

"Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Portal For Your Thoughts

At the precise second you read this, you could become Alice, about to leap into a rabbit hole that leads to Wonderland.

Or you might feel like a latter-day Bruce Wayne, ready to dash from the office to the secret door and fireman's pole that descends to the Bat Cave.

A third option would be to imagine yourself as Neo, confronted by Morpheus and faced with a stark choice.

Will you choose the red pill and read further?

Your current position at this mental crossroad will be determined by the way you decipher an abstract concept through the 10,000 billion synaptic connections flowing through your brain space. But a lifetime of experiences inside traditional work environments compounded by factory models of education may leave you at a disadvantage.

In other words, will your neural pathways be sufficiently open to navigating the emotional barrier erected by two words.

Wizard Academy.

Well over 80% of any reading population will recoil at the thought of seriously exploring a non-traditional business school carrying such a cryptic and controversial handle. Only a minority will dare venture beyond their current box and follow a whisper of intuition, hinting of this unconventional and strangely exciting world.

You just never know who you will bump into at Wizard Academy.

One day, it might be the guy with a PhD who left a seven-figure lobbying job to follow his true passion for helping business people fling open doors to the corridors of power in Washington. Or you might wind up sitting for three days next to a classmate who just happens to be one of the most influential people in the world for setting the daily price of diamonds. Or it could be you cross paths with senior executives from perennial Fortune 500 companies such as Procter & Gamble, Best Buy, Hewlett-Packard, Kellogg's, Yahoo or others.

And perhaps one day you will wind up in a class taught by a Nobel Prize winner, NASA engineer or a million-selling author who make up just part of the eclectic faculty at a 30-acre campus located 20 minutes outside Austin, TX. For example, John Spoelstra, the man behind many blockbuster marketing campaigns in the NBA and NHL dropped by to teach a class last month and had a chance to describe the experience with Wizard of Ads blogmeister Dave Young.

The man you don't see on camera is Dave Young, the author of "Why We Blog" and his much anticipated next class at Wizard Academy is scheduled for late October. Another class to consider for your calendar is "Da Vinci and the 40 Answers", facilitated by Roy H. Williams and Mark Fox, (who knows a thing or two about space shuttles) and how some principles of rocket science can be applied to your business or brand.

Your business or brand will only ever grow and prosper relative to the size and scope of your imagination. And you will be hard-pressed to find a better place to give your imagination a blast and detonate real or perceived obstacles than Wizard Academy.

TSB first made the plunge in April of 2006, tumbling into a learning environment that allowed us to help clients and friends achieve substantial results in business and in life. Since then, the circle of Wizard Academy graduates from New Brunswick, Canada has steadily expanded with dozens or more making a 3,000 mile trek to Austin to get their world rocked. Some have even reported that learning what Alice in Wonderland, Batman and The Matrix share in common has allowed them to be much more creative when it comes to practicing the communication arts.

Granted, Wizard Academy is not for everyone.

It doesn't pretend to be.

But, it just might be the place for you.

"A portal is a transitionary device of sight or sound that functions as a sort of third gravitating body between the this and the that, pulling us toward itself, allowing us to bridge into the unknown from the known"

Monday, October 19, 2009

Appealing to the Core?

If you're a man, you might be able to picture yourself in a similar situation.

If you're a woman, you may be able to relate to that sinking feeling you get when you know the jig is up.

And, just to take gender out of the mix, see if you can relate to those moments in life when you are absolutely, positively ... busted.

With no way out.

Prepared to face the bitter truth.

Canal+ ("Canal Plus", "C+" meaning "Channel Plus/More" in French) is a French premium pay television channel launched in 1984.

However, the point of this post is not to extol the virtues of Canal+ as it is to illustrate the power of storytelling as it relates to your brand. Just as Hollywood screenwriters labor over their scripts to make magic happen in 1:17, great brand architects create similar results when composing copy for everything from websites and radio spots to brochures and business cards. But, a writer's brain is like a magician's hat. To get anything out of it, you have to put something in it first. Otherwise, you keep telling the same sad, small, ordinary story, confining your brand to the same sad, small, ordinary existence.

Years ago, one of the best examples of the strategic value of storytelling was a catalog that became as much fun to read as a gripping novel. This catalog vividly demonstrated that even a boring product could be brought to life with a little romance - so much so it became a part of pop culture.

It's a catalog you're probably familiar with, but the original source of this story may still surprise you.

Your brand is a story embedded in the mind of the market, and as such, the more riveting the story, the more it gets absorbed and remembered. When articulated clearly and persuasively, your brand drives the entire business, not just the image wrappers of copy and identity.

Keep in mind:

- New logos or taglines never cover up product or service shortcomings.
- Having a minuscule marketing budget can stimulate creativity.
- Copy offering emotional sizzle without product or service substance is little more than 'sponsored entertainment'. In other words, no core = zero bite.

Does your brand have a compelling story to share?

If so, has enough care and craftsmanship been invested in how that story is told?

"My stories sell these clothes"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Brothers With Arms

To fully appreciate the talent of a world-class performer it helps to see the performance first hand.

Sunday, September 20, 2009.

Arlington, Texas.

The Dallas Cowboys are scheduled to open their new $1.2 billion dollar stadium hosting NFC East rivals, the New York Giants.

Prior to kickoff, the new Cowboys Stadium is described in a spectacularly lavish video display as this century's answer to the Pyramids, the Parthenon, Great Wall of China and the Roman Colosseum all rolled up into one. Former U.S. President and Dallas resident George W. Bush and wife Laura are on hand for the official coin toss, before American Idol Jordin Sparks belts out a stirring rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" with the Stars and Stripes covering the entire dimensions of the football field.

You can't imagine more love over gold, blue or silver.

And a poised, professional gunslinger named Eli shows up to ruin the party at the Cowboys glittering pigskin palace. For the rest of the week, Dallas, TX is left in dire emotional straits.

Statistics show Eli Manning completed 25 of 38 passes for 330 yards and two TD's in a nail biting 33-31 New York victory. What they don't reveal is the deafening roar of an NFL record crowd of 105,121 doing everything they can to distract Manning and his Giants from the job at hand. The patient, methodical approach in which Eli carved up the Cowboys secondary that evening has left an indelible stamp on a Canadian visitor watching the drama unfold from the front row of the upper deck. Like his older brother, he got the action, he got the motion. Yeah, the boy can play.

Five weeks into the NFL season, and its no surprise to see Manning and the Giants as one of only four teams at 5-and-0. And maybe it's also no surprise that one of the other three teams has another Manning at the helm.

As far as NFL quarterbacks are concerned, these brothers with arms are the sultans of fling.

The Manning family's walk of life also transcends the gridiron.

During the off season the family got together to write a children's book about three young brothers learning to support and encourage each other.

This coming Sunday, Eli and the Giants visit the 4-and-0 Saints in New Orleans, while Peyton and the Colts enjoy a bye week. The other 5-0 teams, Minnesota and Denver will have their hands full with Brett Favre and the Vikings hosting a tough Baltimore team while the surprising Broncos are on the road visiting San Diego in the Monday Nighter.

Eli and Peyton already have one world championship each under their respective belts, but would it surprise anyone to see an All-Manning Super Bowl, February 7, 2010 in South Florida?

"If your team is going to win, you need to play better than the other quarterback"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Another Colonel of Truth

There are two types of TSB readers.

The first is the time-challenged, "gotta get shit done" type, focused on plowing through the daily task list. The goal? Make it to quitting time, hoping to survive to fight another day and do it all again tomorrow. This reader has so many important things on their plate, they sometimes miss opportunities to experience that which is truly important.

The second reader makes a more deliberate effort to close the door and shut the world off every once in a while. They also have stuff to do, but they're aware the real prize in this game of life rarely goes to the fastest hamster on the corporate wheel. Consequently, you will see this person make a conscious decision to disconnect and take time to absorb insight often missed by many.

Today, you have a choice.

Skim the copy in today's post (and there is not much here for the skimming) and risk denying yourself an opportunity to benefit from the wisdom of one who has accomplished much.

Or, do you invest 10:41 of your life and take a chance on learning from one of the more remarkable cats ever to prowl the business jungle?

Which type of reader are you?

Harland Sanders was 66 years old, on the brink of bankruptcy and refused to give up on his dream. When most are already enjoying retirement, the Colonel packed his gear and criss-crossed the country, searching for restaurateurs who would buy and believe in his secret recipe.

All told, he was rejected 1,009 times.

Few restaurant owners could see the Colonel's vision. Even Dave Thomas, future founder of Wendy’s, who became an early franchisee, wondered, "Why would we want to give a guy in a ‘Gone With The Wind’-type of suit a nickel per head”?

Sanders invested more than two years of driving and door knocking, trying to share his dream. Turned down too many times to count, with each rejection stinging as much as the last, the Colonel discovered a timeless truth.

How far will you journey to discover yours?

"No hours, nor amount of labour, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Personal Branding: The Original Recipe

Some might say David had a tougher upbringing than most.

When David was five, his father passed away and since his mother worked, he was required to cook for the family. After dropping out in seventh grade, David ran away from home when his stepfather started beating him. What followed was a nomadic career path with stints as a steamboat pilot, insurance salesman, railroad fireman, farmer and an Army tour that began at the age of 16 years when he lied about his age at the enlistment office.

A self-starter, David also tried his hand at law working in the Justice of the Peace courts in Little Rock, Arkansas. He ruined his legal career, however, by getting into a brawl with a client in the courtroom. Although found innocent, David was done as a lawyer. Trading in his legal robe for overalls and an apron, David opened a small gas station and restaurant in the small town of Corbin, Kentucky, specializing in Southern cooking such as pan fried chicken, ham, vegetables, and biscuits. And when the café with the homey atmosphere and good food was singled out by restaurant critic, Duncan Hines, its popularity increased. Eventually, Governor Laffoon was so impressed he made David an honorary Kentucky colonel for his contribution to state cuisine.

Rather than rest on his laurels, David kept working on an original recipe, devising a method to cook chicken quickly because customers wouldn't wait 45 minutes for a batch to be fried up in an iron pan. Instead, David discovered a pressure cooker could do the job in just nine minutes.

Throw in eleven herbs and spices and this recipe is still being used today.

But, if there was one thing David knew better than how to make a quick and mean fried chicken, it was how to sell himself. In the early days, he knew he would need something different from everyone else, something nobody else could possibly have.

The answer?


David became a master of personal branding early on in his culinary career. In 1949 he began using the title of "Colonel" and dressing in a white suit, white shirt, black string tie, black shoes, white mustache and goatee, complete with a cane. Ignoring sideways glances and voices of naysayers, David believed his unusual appearance would not only give customers something to identify the company with, but also bring greater legitimacy to it. After all, who else would know what good fried chicken was if not a southern colonel by the name of Harland David Sanders?

Soon, everything from eight-foot billboards to Kentucky Fried Chicken take-out buckets began to be plastered with Colonel Sanders’ image. Sanders understood the power of this image and which is why it has only been changed once each decade. Colonel Sanders was one of the first successful businessmen to teach the world about personal branding and how it could add more credibility to a company. And, who better to be the "face" than the most passionate person behind it?

Colonel Sanders’ undeniable love for his product (and his secret recipe) was not the only reason he put himself front and centre. Time and again, the results would speak for themselves. For instance, whenever Sanders personally appeared on television company-wide sales would jump by about ten percent. That success is why the Colonel's image continues to be an integral part of the KFC brand long after his passing. In fact, the Colonel became the world’s first brand to be visible from outer space with a 2006 "astrovertisement" in the Nevada desert.

Humans have been addicted to stories since we first started to use the cave as our canvas before moving on to plays, novels, movies and TV programs. And taking a cue from the pages of history, your story could be the foundation of a great personal brand when you distinguish its not about what you do; it's about what you do differently from everyone else. And in today's Digital Economy you either tell stories that spread, or you brand becomes irrelevant.

Martha Stewart, Mike Holmes and Madonna. Donald Trump and Dave Thomas. Paris Hilton and Prince. Is there a chance there are others in their fields just as talented, but not as well known? Like a self-styled Kentucky Colonel before them, the dreamers and achievers behind these personal brands know that when you buy their product, you first buy their story.

Back in the 40's, Colonel Sanders developed a personal brand strong enough to survive the closing of his original location when the construction of Interstate 75 reduced customer traffic, forcing 66-year old Harland to hit the road, using $105 from his first Social Security check to fund visits to potential Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisees.

A personal brand still going strong today, serving more than 12 million customers at more than 15,000 KFC restaurants in 109 countries around the world.

A personal brand worthy of a giant, 87,000-square foot version of it, identifiable from outer space.

There would have been no shortage of critics dismissing Harland David as a crazy chicken for having the bravado to wear a white suit and call himself Colonel. But, if you want your personal brand to be 'finger lickin' good' do you dare follow Sanders example and march to the beat of your own drumstick?

Is there a Colonel of Truth in this story that could serve as a launching pad to take your brand out of this world?

"You’ve got to like your work. You have got to like what you are doing, you have got to be doing something worthwhile so you can like it. There’s no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery. You can’t do any business from there"

Friday, October 9, 2009

Musical Melting Pot

Could this have been the preview of a future worldwide tour?

The possibilities are intriguing.

If nothing else, this potential chart-busting act does carry some impressive credentials.

One performer is a Paris-born American of Chinese descent who just happens to be a virtuoso cellist and winner of multiple Grammy Awards. The other is a Toronto-born, piano-playing political heavyweight out of Calgary who has been shaking things up in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre gala.

Recalling trails blazed by great musical duos such as Sam & Dave, Simon & Garfunkel, Sonny & Cher, Brooks & Dunn, Salt n' Pepa and others, musically-minded TSB fans will have the entire Thanksgiving weekend to grapple with this question:

Is the planet ready for "Yo Yo Steve"?

Special thanks to Danielle Leger, the networking rockstar from the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce for passing this link along. Friends, business partners and readers like D.L. are just one of the many reasons TSB is wrapping up the week with a Stephen Harper-Yo Yo Ma inspired, spirit of gratitude.

Hope you find plenty to be grateful for this holiday weekend.

Regular posting resumes on Tuesday.

"My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all"

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Building "YPG" Buzz

What happens when you combine a first-of-its kind national contest for young Canadian entrepreneurs with an American mad scientist and social media platforms like Facebook?

If the September media launch in Moncton, NB is any indication, the search for primary carriers of the "YPreneneurGene" will prove to be a hit with young entrepreneurs across the country eager to win their own franchise and be in business for themselves. Each day there are reports college and university marketing classes, Junior Achievement organizations and similar groups are rallying to submit video entries in an effort to win the "big prize": A franchise with seed capital and other goodies for a prize package valued at about $100,000, with the winner to be decided in mid-November by the stars of "Dragons Den".

When it comes to public relations, "YPG" is looking like a textbook case of knowing how to stir it, stump it and blow a lusty social media trumpet.

The "YPG" media launch has been described by many who were there as one of the most innovative of its kind, featuring live video feeds touting the arrival of the enigmatic Dr. Emmett Y. Browne. Despite having only three days notice of Dr. Browne's arrival from Albuquerque, New Mexico, "YPG" organizers were able to generate enough talk through social media networks to attract a crowd of nearly 400 to the Capitol Theatre.

With New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham, Canadian Youth Business Foundation chairman John Risley and the C-103 Breakfast Club on hand to lend their support, here is a sample of how the "YPG" buzz got started.

Only three weeks remain before the contest closes.

Open to all Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34, open to the spirit of entrepreneurship.

"If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Motorvationally Speaking: "Catering from the Heart"

You may not know it at first glance, but Edwina is a most formidable competitor.

Whether its running a successful catering business or hitting the pavement as a long-distance runner, Edwina knows something about what it takes to persevere in the pursuit of a worthy goal.

Winner of the 2006 Fredericton Chamber of Commerce Micro Business award, Edwina’s Catering has a small staff, but big hearts. Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Safe Grad programs, Business Fredericton North and CIBC Run for the Cure are just some that benefit from the countless fundraising and volunteer hours given back to the community.

Today on TSB, we get up close and personal with a woman who personifies the phrase "quiet determination" as we take care of business with Edwina Corey.

"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 motorvate.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Late Night Confession

Bill Clinton and Elliot Spitzer could learn a thing or two about media relations from Dave.

Faced with a potential public relations disaster over inappropriate conduct, Dave decided the best course of action was to come clean in the first place.

This is what "Late Show" viewers tuned in to see as David Letterman fessed up last week in a public confession of backstage sins.

By revealing that he had been blackmailed over sexual affairs, has David Letterman put the ordeal behind him?

As PR moves go, it was incredibly smooth. He tells his side of the story from the pulpit of his talk show to an audience naturally inclined to be on his side. The way the story plays out, Letterman is no longer the villain - his blackmailer is.

Has David Letterman showed everyone how all sex scandals should be handled? By admitting what he has done as soon as possible and getting back to the business at hand, will this confession protect his brand in the wake of the meaningless tabloid stories that eventually clog the media?

News of a sex scandal probably won't damage Letterman's career since it doesn't fall into the same category as a politician who abuses the public trust. In this day and age, few really care about what some famous comic does behind closed doors.

But, will they remember the seamless way in which Dave handled it?

“The word 'confession,' to me, means needing to be absolved, ... I'm not asking for forgiveness. I'm not asking people to understand. I'd like to think that I tell stories and sometimes my life weaves through it”

Monday, October 5, 2009

Moncton Honest

There are few cities on this or any other planet, that can make the claim Moncton can.

Over the last decade, Moncton, New Brunswick has proven to be the most honest city in North America, according to a research project conducted by Reader's Digest.

Back in the 1990's RD staffers "lost" wallets all over the world - wallets that came with a name, local address and phone number and $50 in cash. Moncton was one of only three cities to score a perfect record - 10-for-10 - with the wallets returned, money intact. The legend only enhanced with the story of lawyer Michel Cyr standing in the City Hall lobby, telling his colleagues, "I want you all to witness this. There's $50 inside. I'm going to call the telephone number on the ID card." True to his word, Cyr made the call and refused to accept the $50 as a reward.

Moncton, New Brunswick .

A city where even the lawyers are honest.

But, the story is about to get even better with this weeks, first-ever Intelligent Communities Summit, unfolding today through Wednesday and featuring an impeccable roster of thought leaders weighing in on subjects that focus on the marriage between leading edge technology and economic development.

Hardly surprising to see Moncton emerging as a globally-recognized "smart" city, considering where this town has been ... and where it is heading.

Imagine what it does for a city and its brand when the rest of the world begins to discover a wired and fired source offering such a unique mix of innovation and integrity.

If you were to ask them, most people in the majority of cities around the world consider themselves to be honest, but repeated surveys tell a different story.

There is honest and then there is "Moncton Honest".

Is it any wonder why Moncton is considered such a "smart" place to do business?

"Hey, it's great to be here in Moncton. But when you're a guy like me, it's great to be anywhere"
KEITH RICHARDS, Magnetic Hill, NB, September 3, 2005

p.s... The City of Moncton passed the integrity test again with the recent Ford World Curling Championship as Czech Republic team skip Jiri Snitil lost his wallet upon arrival at the Greater Moncton International Airport. After checking in to the Nor-West Motel, Snit suddenly realized he had left his wallet on the dashboard of the Air Cab he had hailed. Inside the wallet was all of the team's Canadian cash, insurance documents, credit cards, but fortunately Jiri and his comrades were in Moncton. No one knew the name or number of the cab the team had used but hotel staff gave Air Cab a call and 15 minutes later, the wallet was on its way back with everything in it still there.

p.s.s. ... The Reader's Digest Survey pegged Moncton as the most honest place in North America, since no U.S. location returned all ten wallets. There were two Scandinavian cities that matched Moncton in the integrity department: Oslo, Norway and Odense, Denmark.

p.s.s.s. ... Thanks to the magic worked by visionaries such as Ian Fowler, it's easy to see how a "Bigger Bang" continues to reverberate through Moncton long after the Stones have rolled on.

Friday, October 2, 2009

When Suzy Met Sally

It would be interesting to see how the authors of "The Soccer Mom Myth" would react to "Suzy Jenkins".

Michelle Miller and Holly Buchanan have made a persuasive case for helping marketers understand that women don't consider themselves part of any stereotypical group, like the aforementioned soccer moms. They contend that failure to speak to women on a personal level will doom a company's marketing plan or e-commerce website to disaster.

That being said, "Suzy Jenkins" is a character developed by comedian Sally Brooks who has used a certain female stereotype to lift her career from live stages to YouTube platforms. For those soccer moms who have ever driven a child to practice, secretly hoping it will get rained out or wishing that your kid’s team loses a playoff game so you won't have to schedule an out-of-town roadtrip, "Suzy Jenkins" is for you.

To better understand, what women really want, on-line and off in their marketing, look no further than Holly Buchanan's recent post on the vast difference in communication styles between GM and Toyota.

Just a hunch, but TSB thinks Michelle's and Holly's penchant for politically incorrect views, unladylike language and tequila stories will lead them to find a place in their hearts for "Suzy Jenkins".

"I think my Toyota minivan says I want to enjoy my kids and want them to be able to have friends. My husband and I have another sexy car, so when we go out at night we take the Beamer"

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Motorvationally Speaking" - "Y" Slay the Dragons?

"The best reason to start an organization is to make meaning - to create a product or service to make the world a better place"
GUY KAWASAKI, Entrepreneur, Investor, Author

Is entrepreneurship is in your genes?

In the end, the "Dragons" will have the final say.

And a young Canadian entrepreneur between the ages of 18-and-34 will be in business for themselves, thanks to a first-of-its kind national initiative.

Primary carriers of the "YPreneurGene" will head to Toronto in November to appear before CBC's "Dragons Den" and put their best foot forward in an attempt to demonstrate why they have been sufficiently "infected" as to warrant their own franchise. This unique opportunity will see the eventual winner walk away with a prize package worth about $100,000 in financial, instructional and material support, directed at helping them launch their own business.

The idea is to offer a hand up - not a hand out.

Interestingly enough, one of the key people driving this social media-driven cause is a young entrepreneur himself.

Today on TSB, we get up close and personal with the Project Manager behind ... the highly motorvated and dynamic, Dan Gillis!

This "YPG" contest coincides with Global Entrepreneurship Week in mid-November in Toronto and further details on contest rules on how to enter can be found by clicking here. Basically, contestants are being challenged to upload a 3-5 minute video about their "YPreneurGene" and how they would market a franchise for under $100. Why $100? Because, that's what Ken LeBlanc and Jeremy Demont, the original founders of got started with before growing a national system with more than 120 franchises, represented in more than 600 communities, creating more than 500 full and part-time jobs.

"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 motorvate.

"The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It's as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer"
NOLAN BUSHNELL, Founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese's

p.s. The way Ken LeBlanc sees it, entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won't, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can't.