Month: July 2014

Is there a story, in a story, in a dream, in another telling?

Fire of Brand:

Is there a story, in a story, in a dream, in another telling?
Is there a story, in a story, in
a dream, in another telling?

Years ago I was talking to
a innovations forum,
a large confederated brand team at Procter & Gamble
about the layering of brand, in story —
this was downtown Cincinnati, Building One —
that grand Oz-like auditorium.

CEO Lafley was there, along with COO, Gilbert Cloyd. We talked about sequencing and layering. Stories have structure.

What is — in that telling — on the surface, and what lies beneath?

And these days, we all know that an engaged community will find out the truth, and what lies beneath. So in any telling, whether made, or found in the history of that narrative, truth be told.

Like the mythic odyssey that is parallel to the strictures of living — life’s journey — that a brand has a life, like a story — there is a beginning positioning, the foundation of the story’s background. There is the beginning of that flavor, the power of the voice — what style, that telling — and who’s that telling for, who’s listening? The point will be the drive to crescendo, the protagonist — that hero’s journeyer, that antagonist or the competitive player to the darker, shadowed side of the story.
Who in this telling is in the light?
And who is silent, hidden, operating on the unseen side?

Is there a story, in a story, in a dream, in another telling?

Words that are unforgettable are emotional. Emotion is motion. Motion is the call to recognition, unforgettability and concretion in re-collection. What might be told, however, is that the story is an unending one — stories emerge, they shine, they find a broad range of listeners, they quiet and dim — they are rewritten and polished to a new shine, they rise again.

In the allegory of light, learning and journey —
brands have a life that shows in their leanings, and learnings,
in the journey of exposure and discovery.

Is there a story, in a story, in a dream, in another telling?

Powerful stories are full of fire, miracle and spectacle, surprise and chance, joy and stumbles — in the broad range of their telling, and that promulgation of that narrative to their communities — they will thrive and be shared, or wither in the unhealthiness of dis-interest and irrelevance. Without the vibrational resonance of a synchronized listening and telling, aligned and magnetically enticing, it’s there, that the story will be shared. Grand brands thrive in the layering of their sharing.

People hold that brand in the context of tenet — it’s a principle from the origin of the word: tenetthe character of “holding.”

A brand well-loved will be held,
and told, bared clear and shared, built and reassembled
in the changing of the time, and language,
to those learned in their listening.

They, engaged, lean in to hear more.
As anyone knows, in the mechanics of attraction and human magnetics,
those that lean in,
do so to get closer to that telling.

Tim | Reykjavik, Iceland


Happiness experience design, storytelling + brand =

GIRVIN | Strategic Branding Blog

4 Ways to Increase Customer Conversions

If someone asks “Why should I buy from you?” what would you say?

It is a question I often ask at workshops and without fail the answers come back along the lines of…

We believe in quality

We understand your business better than our competitors

We are very customer focused.

Sound great answers….but then I ask “How?…..Tell me how you are different as many brands would say that to me?”

The silence is deafening. You see there is one fact that you need to recognise when it comes to getting a potential customer to choose you, one truth in increasing customer conversions and it is this….

All companies believe in quality. All people SAY they are better. All people SAY they are customer focused.

So the question for your brand today is simply this….How are you different? Why should I buy from you?

Tips on Converting Customerscustomer experience

There are various ways to improve customer conversions

  1. Can you demonstrate with an example?
  2. Can you show the customer in a risk free way?
  3. Can you define the difference in quality, the word ‘better’ or the customer experience?
  4. Do you have customer reviews to share?

Words are easy to say, actions are difficult to hide from. So you need to be able to back up the words with concrete examples of your unique way of doing business. It is the actions that you demonstrate that will increase your customer conversions NOT the words you say.

If I asked you what would you say? And even more telling, if someone asked one of your team, what would they say? And most critically and often most persuasive, what would your existing customers say?

If you want my exclusive to member’s weekly tip for better business growth then just enter your email address and I will send you my weekly letter…free and no spamming outside of it :)

The post 4 Ways to Increase Customer Conversions appeared first on The Engaging Brand.

The Engaging Brand

Your best customers are pure gold

best customersYou’ve heard it before — the top 20% of your customers, your very best customers, account for 80% of your profitability and referrals.  We intellectually know that and yet our behavior sure doesn’t show it.

We spend all kinds of dollars, time, energy and worry chasing after new customers and after someone starts to buy, the typical business sort of forgets all about them.  Much like people’s dating patterns — there’s a lot of wooing that goes on before the wedding but after the “I do’s” get said, the florist goes broke.

Our poor best customers get the same treatment from us and that needs to stop.  We need to shift a portion of our marketing focus away from prospects and invest even more in our best customers — the ones who have already proven that they’ll sing our praises, buy more and more and bring their friends along for the ride.

Fortunately, my friend Stan Phelps has written a book to help us all do just that.  This book, What’s Your Golden Goldfish, is the third book in a trilogy of marketing books that are all built around over 2,200 crowdsourced examples of real life marketing smarts.

This particular book shares over 100 examples of what leading brands like Starbucks, Doubletree, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Virgin Atlantic are doing differently to cater to their best customers and earn even more of their business and loyalty.

The book showcases nine different ways to let your best customers (and employees) know how much you value them. By doing those little extras, you will make your company even stronger.  You will differentiate yourself even more from your competitors, you’ll keep both your best customers and employees longer so they contribute to your success and with every little extra, you will create more word of mouth buzz.

The entire series of books is all built around the idea of lagniappe which is a creole word for “a little something extra.” In this edition — Stan helps his readers explore how organizations large and small can do a little something extra for their most loyal customers and employees.

You’ll love the storytelling but make sure you have a pen and paper handy because this book is going to spark so many ideas that you’ll never remember them all.  And as you implement them — your best customers will reward you with even more buzz, money and referrals.

Sounds like it is going to work out well for everyone, doesn’t it?

If you’re interested in Stan’s entire series, here’s how you can get them from Amazon.  If your an Amazon Unlimited customer, you can read the electronic version for free.  If you want the paperbacks, click on the links below:


Note:  If you click on one of the Amazon links, I get a few cents.

The post Your best customers are pure gold appeared first on Drew's Marketing Minute.

Drew’s Marketing Minute

Understanding the Hiring Manager Prior to the Interview

Interview photo from ShutterstockWho is the hiring manager? Who are they really?

You are scheduled for an interview with the hiring manager. Who is this person? What do you have in common?

The more you know about the hiring manager before the interview, the more you can do to work on building a relationship during the interview.

Remember — People hire people they like!

It is time to do some investigative work!


Check the hiring manager’s LinkedIn profile for the following:

  • Education – What schools did they attend and where? Did you attend a same school or a school from the same conference or even the same area? Do you have the same or similar degrees?
  • Work History – Did you work for the same company at any point in the past?
  • Check the LinkedIn groups that the hiring manager belongs to. If you have none in common, join some of the groups and check out their participation. What have they shared? Have they commented on posts?
  • Volunteering – What non-profit organizations are listed and how did the hiring manager participate?
  • Recommendations – Who has the hiring manager recommended and who has recommended the hiring manager? Have they written recommendations for current or former employees who worked for them?

Copy the entire LinkedIn profile, including the recommendations, and paste it into a Word Cloud tool like or TagCrowd.

You can then harvest the profile for keywords. You can read and view a video on how to do this on my Career Pivot blog post called Finding Keywords to Manage Your Career.

Look for keyword phrases that the hiring manager used. Create a list of these phrases and bring that list with you to the interview.


Check out their Facebook page. Look for the following:

  • Marital status
  • Children
  • Hobbies
  • Vacation photos

Look for anything that you might have in common.

The more you know about the hiring manager before the interview, the more you can do to work on building a relationship during the interview.

Remember — People hire people they like!


Take a look at their Twitter profile. What do they tweet? What do they retweet?

Have they tweeted out any pictures?

Who do they follow and who follows them?

Check out the Twitter lists that they subscribe to. Check out the Twitter lists that they belong to.

Look for patterns.

What do you have in common?

Create a list of items that you have in common, both personally and professionally. From that list, create questions that you can ask to start the conversation.

Remember — People hire people they like!

When you show an interest in the hiring manager and who they are, you are more likely to be perceived as likeable.

Remember — People hire people they like!

Marc MillerCareer Pivot

Check out my book Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

Do not forget to follow me on Twitter or FaceBook

Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career

Don’t Miss Out on These Simple Business Tricks

Strange question. You work hard, you work long hours so you want the answer to be yes or even yes but not enough of them!

Dad taught me these simple business tricks….so you get the customers that your business deserves.

Business tricks you into working harder rather than smarter and the truth is this…

You don’t deserve customers based on the long hours you work

You don’t deserve customers because of the effort that you put in.

You don’t deserve customers because YOU think you are great.

No. Unfortunately working hard doesn’t guarantee business success, it is working smarter that increases the chances of business success.

Yet how often do we here people comment on the number of hours spent working? How many times do we here about people who work so hard

The problem is that working on the business is totally different to working in the business.Business

You deserve the customers because you work hard on creatin marketing reasons.

You deserve the customers because you spend time promoting those reasons, checking they are the right reasons and keeping those reasons relevant to the market.

You deserve the customers because they don’t think you are great, they have proof…tangible proof.

So if you are working long hours for little or no effort ask yourself these 3 questions

How did I spend that time? Was it in meetings or making greatness?

Do I rely on others to think we are great or do we give reasons, social proof that we are?

Do I have a view on the customer that you deserve? And do we know who and where they are? Yes, good…then do we know how to engage and why they should be interested in us?

Only by knowing these answers, only by ensuring you are working towards these each day….will you achieve the customers that you truly deserve.

Want a quick ebook to read on a journey this summer? An ebook that provides 30 ways you can improve your business performance?

brand, social, ebook

The post Don’t Miss Out on These Simple Business Tricks appeared first on The Engaging Brand.

The Engaging Brand

Internet Hero Hunts Down All 74 Stickers From Apple’s New Ad

If you watched that new Apple ad with dozens of stickers adorning a MacBook Air and felt compelled to track down all 74 in real life, I have bad news and good news.

The bad news is, uh, that's a strange and unnatural compulsion you've got there. The good news? Someone already did it for you!

Mike Wehner at The Unofficial Apple Weblog sussed out all 74 stickers featured in the ad, and while several weren't actually available for purchase, he came up with some pretty good alternatives.

You'd think that a brand that built a commercial around customizing its product would have planned to offer all of its examples for easy purchase, but apparently not. Maybe Apple was hoping to target people who already own cool decals and convince them to buy a nice $ 1,000 computer or two to go with them.

Adweek : Advertising & Branding

7 Things to Maximize Your Return on Networking Events

Networking photo from ShutterstockLast week, I focused on the 5 Things You Need to Stop Doing Now to Make Strong Connections in 2015.  This week, I’m focusing on you busy professionals who are challenged by making time and maximizing the networking events you attend.

1. Build the conversation

A conversation can get rather dry if you don’t know what to say. Past the general pleasantries, you need to keep the conversation going. A good starting point is the other person’s interests so ask questions. Given an opportunity, few would turn down the chance to talk about themselves. Have a list of questions prepared beforehand so you can keep the conversation flowing.

The objective of having questions prepared is to provide direction to your conversation while also freeing you up to really listen to their responses.

2. Cut down on obligations

As a professional, you most likely are involved in a professional association related to your field. These associations enable you to meet industry and thought leaders, as well as peers from whom you can learn and bounce ideas. However, don’t join an association or group just for the sake. Take a cold hard look at the meetings you have attended and ask yourself, “Did I benefit from it? Was it worth the time and effort? Did I meet people who could be valuable to my career?”

While a single meeting can’t help you answer all these questions, since it takes time to nurture relationships and share information, after six months or so, you should be able to get a sense of whether the association is worth the effort. Don’t renew membership hoping things will change.

3. Meet more people at a single time

Get together as a group, rather than one-on-one meetings. The benefit to doing so is that you get to share with more people at the same time. Consider having after-work drinks where you invite some of your connections from the industry and introduce them to each other. You will be helping someone make a new connection, and in return, they will remember you as one who shares connections. They will be more likely to introduce you to their own circles, and voila, an opportunity to make new connections!

4. Make genuine connections

Networks are much stronger if the relationship between the members is genuine and real. It takes real commitment to be genuinely interested in the other person. People are more willing to go the extra mile for those they genuinely care about and have formed strong bonds with. You must be willing to be sincere if you expect them to do so with you. Being honest and genuine in concern with your connections is crucial to making the most of your networking efforts.

5. Participate in social events

Conferences, meetings and seminars are good places to start networking. A mistake that people make when trying to network is being passive at such events, especially if they think other activities on their schedules are more important or have limited time. By attending and participating, you make it easier for potential connections to see and remember you. This makes the next step of introductions and starting the relationship much easier to navigate. By participating, you learn from others’ opinions and thoughts as well.

As you build a base of connections, you can move away from social events and make networking intentional. [tweet this]

Rather than wait for the next event to meet someone, reach out intentionally to your list of connections and interact with them online. Respond to their blogs, comment on their tweets, and so on. If you are someone they benefit from knowing, they will have no problem appreciating your efforts and even introducing you to their networks should you ask.

6. Try to have fun

You may only have a few hours a week to network, so make them the most fun hours of the week. Instead of being all business, have fun and get to genuinely know the other person. Talk about the stuff that interests you, and ask questions that you validly want answers to. Find common ground and build on that.

7. Make good on follow-ups

Not everyone you meet will warrant a follow-up, but for those people where you feel you could be of benefit to them, make the effort to follow up. Perhaps when you were networking someone voiced a need or a concern they had that you could help them with by following up with information or assistance. Or, refer them to someone who can make use of their services. Following up is crucial if you are to build mutually beneficial relationships.

Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career

creative review

How we review creative is as valuable a part of the creative process as the creative itself. Yet the creative review is often overlooked and frequently misunderstood. The most talented designers in the world will create mediocre work if the creative review process is managed in a mediocre way.

I love the video that circulated a few years ago called “Microsoft Designs the iPod Package”. In several hysterically accurate minutes, the sleek Apple packaging design devolves into a cluttered mess because of creative feedback from the Microsoft marketing team. The fascinating epilogue is that it turns out the video was created by Microsoft designers to make a point to their own marketing colleagues.

As a Microsoft spokesperson said at the time, “It was an internal-only video clip commissioned by our packaging team to humorously highlight the challenges we have faced RE: packaging and to educate marketers here about the pitfalls of packaging and branding.”

Breakthrough creative only starts when we treat our creative partners as partners.

I’d love to hear your tips and recommendations on reviewing creative. Following is a cartoon I drew in 2006 on some of the pitfalls of critiquing creative.

(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed cartoon print. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post by 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)


Tom Fishburne: Marketoonist

The World of Books

The World of Books
The compulsion of building libraries — collections of books and the perpetual love of books, more books and books piled high — everywhere.

My daughter, Gabrielle, is the official library Matrix of GIRVIN. Since she’s been working there at our Pike Place Offices and it’s dramatically deepened and grown her understanding that my perennial drive for more content, more ideas, more inspiration still lives
in a foundation
that drives back
decades for me.

The touch, the feeling, the scent, the print, the heft
the portability, the legacy, their history. They’re live shareable.
The book:
it’s not a phone, it’s not a computer, it’s not a screen — it’s paper, made from fibers,
mulberry leaves and trees,
bound in cloth, leather, impressed plastics, shaved vellum, punch-cut woods and specially made flaxen linen threading. It’s a live touch, earth made, and a tradition only about 4400 years old.
Books, and library-building
what is the drive?

learning more,
exploring more,
seeing more,
sharing more.

I’m 60 now, and I started when I was 10.
That’s a lot of years and a lot of books.
Everywhere I’ve been, there are libraries that I’ve built.
Pike Place — there are two libraries; Spokane — another, now mostly transited to other locations;
I was one of the early buyers and list-builders for
the Evergreen State College Library.
I built libraries at
our former Madison Park / Flatiron offices in NYC, Queen Anne and Decatur Island.
What could that be, who thinks like that — buying books as a journey?

You do, and why?
What’s your telling, your relationship to books?
None? Or many?
And why?

Others talk,
like poet and novelist Louise Erdich — she’s just one year younger than I.
You can learn about her here.
She says, of books — “We have a lot of books in our house.
They are our primary decorative motif—books in piles on the coffee table, framed book covers, books sorted into stacks on every available surface, and of course books on shelves along most walls. Besides the visible books, there are the boxes waiting in the wings, the basement books, the garage books, the storage locker books. They are a sort of insulation, soundproofing some walls. They function as furniture, they prop up sagging fixtures and disguised by quilts function as tables. The quantities and types of books are fluid, arriving like hysterical cousins in overnight shipping envelopes only to languish near the overflowing mail bench. Advance Reading Copies collect at beside, to be dutifully examined—to ignore them and read Henry James or Barbara Pym instead becomes a guilty pleasure. I can’t imagine home without an overflow of books. The point of books is to have way too many but to always feel you never have enough, or the right one at the right moment, but then sometimes to find you’d longed to fall asleep reading The Aspern Papers, and there it is.”

The World of Books

Books talk — and take you — someplace different. Libraries are mystical storms of words, whorled in thousands of bound tablets, books — magical spells taking the reader to some other place — far and deep. In my earlier days of talking to Microsoft Tablet UI theorist, Bill Hill — since passed, or my earlier days hanging in the UK, around stonecutter Kindersley and the Rampant Lion’s print shop, with the Carter’s — or my Alphabet Odyssey in Europe and Russia, with Hermann Zapf in Darmstadt, Dr. Hans Halbey, at the Klingspor, Offenbach Am Main, off Frankfurt — I’ve studied the craft and engaged in the work of designing books, thinking about their journey, and mine, in their co-mingled pathways. The thinking way that they draw us all — off someplace different that Kindleized iPads or apps on our working screens.
It’s different.

Honestly, I do both —
digital and print.
But the book shall be a forever compulsion.

Read on –
write on:
your journey.

The World of Books

Tim | GIRVIN Decatur Island Studios


GIRVIN | Strategic Branding Blog