After nearly 10 years in government I can think of five kinds of people who have helped me learn about leadership:
Tonight on the train I counted a good number of women, let’s say 10 because I stopped counting at 9 and there were more, wearing these cheap plastic excuses for shoes.
Here are 5 things I hate about them:
1. They are sold in bins.
2. No manicure. Bad manicure. Fading manicure.
3. Black toenail polish looks like fungus. Deep orange is not a color.
4. Gnarly toes, bunions, calluses. “Oh my.”
5. Once you start getting unkempt with the shoes…things can deteriorate pretty badly.
I understand that people want to keep cool. Did I say to wear stockings all the time? Heck no.
If people were to keep the flip-flops for the beach or even Sundays I could understand. But wearing them to work? What is the deal with that?
It’s not like these flip-flop wearers are impoverished.
They take these beautiful outfits, these carefully done “looks,” and then they trash it with the flips.
What are these workers saying?
I will tell you.
“I don’t really want to be here. My head is at the beach.”
Not the message you want to be sending.
Casual isn’t always bad. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg made a positive brand out of wearing casual, even shleppy T-shirts in that vomit color.
When I see someone who wears a T-shirt and a blazer to work, I get the sense that they are more focused on results than on appearance.
Flip-flop wearers don’t seem to want to be there.
And since the flip-flop-wearers are 100% female, in my experience – I have never once seen a man wear flip-flops to work, nor sandals, for that matter – is it really a good idea to be dressing so casually?
Is sexism really so over that we can act like we don’t care?
So – no matter how hot it gets – no matter how much you want to be in South Beach or Ocean City or wherever – please think twice before you put those flip-flops on your feet.
Especially if you are going to the office.
If you absolutely must wear them, at least get a manicure.
But then everyone is going to look at your feet - and not at your head - which is where your brain is. The thing you want to get credit for at work.
Think about it.
Have a great weekend everyone – and good luck!
Image source here.
Quickly: Look at these two.
Last night marked my return to the classroom. Adjunct assistant professor of marketing. A dream.
I’m going to leave the classroom discussion in the classroom. Let the energy stay there. Trust builds that way.
At the same time, some big ideas were shared, endorsed, chewed over.
Hope these are useful to you. Or that you have a comment, or would like to add to the conversation. What are the basics? What should everybody who wants to know about marketing, know right off the bat?
Here are last night’s 20:
1. We market, without realizing it, all the time.
2. Understand what the term “marketing” means to you upfront. Because if you don’t, you may find yourself talking past the other people in the room.
3. The key distinction to understand is between marketing and branding. (We didn’t talk about selling, but I’m throwing it in here, b/c I should have.) Branding is long-term image insurance, marketing is medium-to-short-term awareness-building, and selling is immediate term shouting designed to move merchandise. Think meat stew versus sautéing versus broiling.
4. Innovation is tough to do mainly because of social pressure. You have to train yourself to suggest things that others would find shocking.
5. Marketers must be ethical and tell the truth, but consumer insights cannot be based on political correctness. Only on what the marketer observes in an objective way.
6. Consider the regulatory environment and the client’s unique situation before suggesting solutions.
7. Exercise your marketing muscle by engaging people in conversation and then guessing what kind of brands they like, products they buy, etc.
8. It is not clear whether personality fundamentally changes over time, but life experiences do shape our thinking because we’ve gone through them.
9. To play defense is to be dead.
10. Emotion sells, but you have to control it so that you remain in touch with the customer and don’t seem like an out-of-control lunatic.
11. Usually it’s the throwaway insights that yield the most fruit.
12. You don’t always want the end user to know about your existence.
13. All publicity is good publicity. Usually.
14. The time to build a brand is way before you have a problem.
15. Rebranding is another way to say “failed brand.”
16. Ask stupid questions if you don’t know.
17. Refuse the conventional definition of the problem statement if it suits your purposes.
18. Marketing is a helmet that you can put on and take off. It’s important to become aware when you’re doing that, and do it consciously.
19. If nobody is listening then you haven’t accomplished anything. Stop thinking so much about your message and what you want to say. Think more about connecting with the customer.
20. Corporate culture is the most important aspect of the brand and the most neglected.
Finally, when in doubt, refer to Starbucks. I criticize abundantly, but it’s only out of respect. Howard Schultz & Co. more or less wrote the book on how to build an outstanding brand, market it, and sell its individual products successfully.
Have a good evening everyone. Let me know what you think. And good luck.