Showing posts from December, 2015

How To Reduce The High Cost Of Loneliness

We may live in a more connected world than ever, but in many ways it is also a lonelier one, too. And though isolation may feel like "an intensely personal, private problem," as Janet Choi notes in Lifehacker, the manifestation is both social and costly. She shares research published by Hakan Ozcelik and Sigal Barsade, documenting the link between loneliness and employee disengagement, as well as "weaker productivity, motivation, and performance."
At work, loneliness comes in many flavors.
Mismanagement: It could be that the company doesn't pay enough attention to the importance of real connectedness. Observes Choi: "Work is a social thing....when you’re not connecting with the people you spend so many hours a day with, you get lonely." Lack of Diversity: Writing at, Jennifer Thorpe-Moscon notes that "othered" employees don't get the same advancement opportunities as their peers. Potentially great contributors to the …

Some Thoughts On Religious Extremism

My side of an interchange today with a friend.
* * * 
The greatest threat to our planet is not climate change (!) but religious extremism of EVERY kind. 
Why do people fall for it? We underestimate the lure of being "chosen" "anointed" "appointed" "blessed" and "saved." There are a million hucksters all ready willing and able to "give away" their special brand of snake oil.
Here is a newsflash: G-d is automatically available for all to be close to, and loves us because we exist. We need not be "just like" anybody else in order to be "saved." 
Be a mensch. Most people cannot even manage that.
* * * 
To amplify this. I am old enough to remember when religion was not a big deal. Like my grandmother (a"h) used to say, "Don't make such an ISSUE out of everything." As religious Jews we went to synagogue, watched TV, had a tuna sandwich and ice cream at the diner, and mothers wore pants and mostly sho…

"Brand Audit" vs. "Product Review" [Case Study: Hotel]

A brand audit is not a product review and it is the single most important thing you can do to improve your brand. Yet most people aren't familiar with the term, or if they are, they don't understand how it differs from a product review. But it's actually very simple - exactly what it sounds like, actually. Just substitute some common words for the jargon: Brand = imageAudit = inspectionA brand audit is an inspection of your image. More concretely, it is a comparison of the image you wish to project to the world with the image that you actually do, as seen through the eyes of the auditor - usually, a brand consultant. This week we stayed at the Gallery One Doubletree Guest Suites by Hilton Hotels, in Ft. Lauderdale Beach, Florida. The visit provides an opportunity to illustrate what a brand audit is, and to situate a brand audit in the broader context of a review of a product (or service, or even an individual's performance on the job). Let's start with a review.Essentia…

The Hard-To-Kill Myth Of The Self-Made Man

To read most business magazines is to think that success is born mostly of hard work, a great attitude plus a spark of creative genius. But the reality is that wealth, at least in the United States, has historically come from standing with one foot planted very firmly on others' backs. You already know about the slave trade in the U.S. Did you know that slave traders covered men and women in iron chains, made them walk over raw terrain stretching not one mile, not ten, but hundreds? And sold them to other people who had little money themselves, but borrowed from the U.S. government to buy people and land, and lived off the loans and the labor to become extraordinarily rich.  Here is a picture of a group of "Breaker Boys," circa early 1900s, by Lewis Hine, a U.S. government photographer paid to document how children lived and worked at that time. Working in the coal mines, the kids were paid to pick out impurities from coal, one at a time, using only their hands.  Did you…

We Don't Do Branding On Shabbat

"The federal government does branding?" he said.
The congregant goes to this this synagogue we visit when we're on vacation in Florida.
He owns a billboard company and was president of an ad agency and is "retired, but retirement is boring."
"Yes, the federal government does branding," I said. "But not the kind of branding like they do in advertising."
The rabbi's wife interrupted us. "I brought you your gluten-free cake," she said with a smile, sailing the clear glass serving tray onto the table and eyeing his plate. "You can have it after you finish eating your bagel."
So obviously bagels have gluten and I turned to her, a guest in the house of worship she and her husband maintained, not sure if I should be a wiseass.
But she seemed very in on the joke and so I said, "consistent" and gave a little chuckle, as did she, but not the congregant who seemed a bit more focused on the fact that there was an entire choco…

CMO Jargon: 5 (Maybe 6) Words For That Elevator Ride

1. How do you define leadership in one sentence?Knowing what to do and doing it. 2. What Is CPE? CPE refers to cost per engagement. It is a fancy way of saying, how much money did it cost me per person who clicked on my commercial Tweet, or Facebook ad, etc. 3. What is crowdsourcing in terms of being able to define “crowdsourcing services” in a sales pitch? It means getting many people to contribute ideas or services for free. It’s like saying that you know how to popularize a brand on social media to such an extent that people would give away their time and expertise to be part of it. 4. What is gamification? Gamification is when you insert the characteristics of games into marketing activities. Examples:PointsMultiplayer competitionVirtual simulationMultiple levels (e.g. “expert”)AvatarsGamer namesThe converse is when you insert elements of marketing into a game, such as: Use of a celebrity brand (e.g. the Kardashians’ games)Sponsorship by a brand (e.g. Disney games)Product placement (like …

Against All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic

She'd gone up to him at a cocktail party and asked for a moment of his time. A powerful politician, he ordinarily might have brushed her off but this crowd was exclusive. "My son was sexually assaulted in high school, and all of them are covering up about it." She clasped one hand inside the other one. Her heartbeat was soaring. Her throat swelled up and it felt like she was choking. There was a beautiful, polished wooden staircase where they stood and she stood very close to the staircase so that she could clutch its polished rails quietly. He took her story in and looked at her intently. She felt a small wave of relief on the arid beach that was her body. Somebody is listening, she told herself. It does get better from the bottom.  But it was all in her mind. For he left her with this: "I hope you got yourself a really good lawyer." Then turned around, "as if he were fleeing a train wreck, where he'd been driving the train," she recalled later. …

The Unbearable Lightness of Freedom

I have decided to live my life. Really live it. At the ripe old age of 44.
Where was I before? I think I was sleeping.
“The universe will show you the way you need to go,” said a friend to me many years ago.
And it is true. The universe shows the way, and it blocks the way, and the whole time you think that it’s you.
But maybe I wouldn’t hear it.
For how many times did I bang my head against the wall?
I thought there was something wrong with me, when I failed at things I was supposed to master.
To understand, understand that I grew up with the Holocaust as though it were a sister.
Try to visualize this: A respected, well-educated woman, hauled into the town square and raped before the whole town, not once but in an orgy, not by a few lone wolves but by a mass of recruited participants, who included the priests; not in a single nightmare of a night but over the course of many.
That happened, and I only found out this year because somebody wrote a scholarly article about it and my cousin sent it…

Tortured By Your Gift

You may think brand people are a dime a dozen. But I would gladly pay that dime for a moment of their singular value. Which is this: A brand-minded person can tell you what it is about you, or your product, or your company that sells. It is shocking to me that people do not know this kind of thing about themselves. After all, don't we spend all of our time pretty much in our own heads? Haven't we grown up immersed in our own companionship? But settling on an elevator speech - which is to say, developing and implementing a brand strategy - is the single most difficult challenge you will ever face in your life. Which is why so many of us put it off. I put it off. I don't really like even thinking about it. But I do think about it, and when I look at you I can tell in less than five seconds who you are and what you are good at. Your gift, what it is you should be doing, in the limited time you have left on this planet. Don't think for a minute it's an easy thing. You…

Rule #1

It is the only rule that matters: You are the brand. You are always the brand. Whether you work for yourself, or somebody else, or you don’t work at all. Therefore, you should do the things that feel right for you. And you should not do things that feel wrong. No matter what anybody tells you. Make your own way in life. There is only one you. Think of it this way: All of us, no matter who we are, lose everything eventually. Money, health, looks, loved ones, and yes, life itself. But there is one thing that cannot be lost: Our legacy. The impact of our actions on others. No matter what you think, no matter what anyone has told you in the past, nobody else on the Planet Earth can control the choices you make in your life. So remember: Your personal brand is your personal choice. You have the right to seize it. Every minute, of every second, of every day.

You Don't Need To Be A Ruthless Jerk - Do You?

A colleague and I had disagreed many times, but on this point we both nodded: Most executives are ruthless. Statistics can't validate personal observations. But here is some data: A 2015 survey of consumer trust levels worldwide by the public relations firm Edelman found that "the number of trusting countries fell to the lowest level ever recorded."A 2015 study, "You Scratch His Back, He Scratches Mine and I'll Scratch Yours," out of the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University and University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management (reported in ScienceDaily) found that "although reciprocity fosters trust and cooperation it can also create an interlocked circle of deception." The real-world example: Executives who sit on each other's boards and overpay each other - regardless of the impact on shareholders.A 2015 survey by the U.S. government of all federal employees found that only 1 out of 2 employees believe "my organiz…