Monday, 28 December 2009

Pessimism? Choose not to participate!

As a media relations consultant, I sometimes face an internal struggle between my professional need to scour all types of media coverage and my personal need to shield myself from what can seem like a never-ending stream of bad news.

With 2010 rapidly approaching, it has been interesting to read the myriad predictions about business, the economy and public policy (not to mention public health, public education, and public menaces). Though the stories quote expert after expert with their glum predictions about prospects for the coming year, I choose not to participate in the pessimism.


For me, the new year is going to be better. Here’s why:

1) Lessons learned. After several years of smooth sailing, I – like many people – admittedly got a little too comfortable. While comfort is nice, it can trick us into growing complacent and taking good times for granted. If nothing else, I know 2009 has provided an injection of reality and a dose of humility that surely will benefit my long-term health and well being.

2) Priorities intact. Another risk of comfort and complacency is to lose sight of what’s important. While other sources of “security” may fall short, my real priorities – family, friends and faith – remain intact.

3) Ambition restored. Success can make us soft, while tough times can restore the grit that made us successful in the first place. I am starting 2010 with a renewed sense of ambition about the prospects that lie ahead. I’m prepared, focused and energized to make it a great year, both personally and professionally.

Pessimism for 2010? Bah humbug. Choose not to participate!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Ready for 2010

This has been a rather difficult year for my family: My husband missed two steps sneaking downstairs on Mothers' Day to make me breakfast in bed and broke both bones in his lower left leg. P.S. WORST MOTHERS' DAY EVER! Then my son broke his arm playing football last month. After the leg incident, the arm-breaking didn't seem like too big of a deal. Like most things, it's all about perception. In fact, the perception most of us have about 2009 is one of upheaval, fear and the fallout from economic recession. Some economists have tried to spin is as "market corrections," but that's just semantics.

But 2009 is nearly at an end, and 2010 is shaping up to be a bright, positive one. A fresh start and a new decade to look forward to. I was thinking about that this morning, as I looked at the Bradford pear tree in my backyard (pictured above, taken at 8 a.m.) and I was overwhelmed with joy and inspiration. That riot of color. That BrightBlue sky.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

BrightBlue Marketing Recommends

We’ve blogged about it before and we’ll blog about it again...What is "The Big So What"?

Before digging into event planning details, most people do themselves an injustice by forgetting to ask themselves “Who, What, Where, Why, When and How?” Who are you targeting, What is the event all about, What is the big so what? Why are you doing the event? Why will people care? When is the best time to ensure your intended attendees can be there (e.g. you wouldn't have an event for CPAs on April 14)? How will you divide up the to-do list?

Start with these important questions before you go forward with an event and you'll make a positive lasting impression with your contacts.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Take this time to r-e-a-d!

Don't you agree that the holidays are a perfect time to start reading all those great books you've been meaning to read?

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”
- Abigail Van Buren (but commonly misattributed to Mark Twain)

I don’t agree 100% with this quote, sometimes we need to escape from our work-life and relax with a light fluffy book. However, there still is that guilt for not reading the meaningful, educational material.

A very intelligent member of my Vistage Small Business Group inspired me to keep a yearly book list with the goal of reading all the books on that list. He brings a book with him wherever he goes and instead of wasting time waiting in lines, he reads while he waits. Brilliant use of time!

I decided I will switch off between a marketing / business and a leisure book each time. My goal is 2 books a month. Here is my list so far, not necessarily in this order. What do you suggest I add?

1. What Americans Really Want...Really: The Truth About Our Hopes, Dreams, and Fears. (Recommended by John Simonetta with Proforma Simonetta Freelance)
2. Eat, Love, Pray
3. Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys: An American Saga
4. No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt -- The Home Front in World War II: 1994
5. A Thousand Splendid Suns
6. The Accidental Billionaire (recommended by Chris May with CompTia)
7. The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
8. Tribes by Seth Godin
9 Hot Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman
10. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
11. Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin (recommended by Scott Levy with W3 Management)
12. Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin (Recommended by Scott Levy with W3 Management)

My top 3 favorites from this year:
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
  • Groundswell
  • The Last Lecture

I highly recommend This non-profit book store donates a portion of all book sales to education!

Stay tuned for the main takeaways from these books. Coming soon to a BrightBlue Blog!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Are you easy?

Yesterday I went to the bank and deposited four checks, for a total deposit of 31 cents. Yes, that’s right. Four checks from the same company, totaling less than a dollar.

When I first started receiving these checks, the result of a series of mergers affecting a stock I own, I felt guilty. I couldn’t believe that this company was spending more on postage than the check was worth, not to mention the cost of actually creating the check, stuffing it into an envelope and processing it.

The first check I received gave me instructions for setting up direct deposits. What a fine idea! Easier for the company, easier for me. So, I went to the website they provided and filled in the form. And got an error. So I did it again. And got an error. So I called the company. After holding for several minutes, I got a message telling me to use the website.

Every few months, I go back to that website and try to set up direct deposit. It has never worked. So I keep getting checks in the mail. I save them until I am making a trip to the bank anyway, and then I deposit them all. And each time I think about how wasteful it is.

In these challenging economic times, it is constructive for all of us to stop and consider how easy it is for our customers to deal with us. Before even providing a useful product or service, are you easy to work with? Can your customers reach you? Can they interact with you efficiently and effectively, painlessly? If your customer wanted to actually help you save money, do you make it easy for them?

When you are thinking about the Four P’s of Product, Price, Place and Promotion, don’t forget the Big E for Easy.