Done VS Perfect

The “perfect cast” when fly-fishing is something anglers strive for, talk up, and brag about for years. But there’s two things to note here.

The first is that thinking, seeing, and planning the perfect cast does not matter in the least until it’s executed. That’s when you’ll know if you actually completed a perfect cast, or what you intended at least.

The second is what we think is the perfect cast often doesn’t result in a strike. You might have thought it was a perfect cast, but the fish (your audience) disagree. Can it really be a perfect cast if it doesn’t produce a fish? Conversely, lots of fish are caught on less than perfect casts. I’d even guess that describes most of them.

Sandberg in Masters of Scale podcast hit on the idea of done is better than perfect. When it’s done, you can see the results, get feedback, learn, and try again.

It’s been my experience that most fish are caught in the water. Get your line wet and the lure in the water. Then you’ll know what works, perfect or not.

 

The Importance of Peer Feedback (Even from the Boss)

 

Even Grammy Award winners need feedback. Everybody needs and craves feedback, whether you think it or they admit it, regardless of their accomplishments and success. This point was reminded to me when I recently went to see Grammy Award-winning John Legend (Stephens), from my hometown of Springfield, play a homecoming show in support of his brother Vaughn’s “be about it” foundation. It was a great show.

For an hour, it was just John and his piano. Halfway through the show, John told a story. A while ago, Jimmie Fallon had a Bruce Springsteen tribute week. The show called and wanted John to do a tribute. He thought it was a little out of the expected. Most people, including John, didn’t link “the Boss” and “John Legend” together. (I think John might underestimate himself – my Pandora app pairs him with Ray LaMontage and Griffin House (another Springfielder – he literally goes with anything. But I digress).

They came up with a dark and jazzy take on Bruce’s 80’s pop hit “Dancing in the Dark.” It gave the song a completely different feel. And it  was completely awesome.

John hoped that Bruce would like it.

The Roots, the audience all seemed to like it. But nothing from the “Boss.” Not a note. Not an email from one manager to another. Not a tweet. Nothing. John was concerned. He really wanted him to like it, or at least to know that he didn’t hate it.

A week went by. A month. Then a year. Then there was another tribute to Bruce. He was being recognized as the 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year. John received a letter signed by the Boss. He had heard the version and really liked it. In fact, he wanted John to perform it at the ceremony.

Even Grammy Award-winning artists need feedback. More than just the acknowledgement, that he liked it meant a lot to the artist. It didn’t take a lot of time. But it would have meant a lot to the artist to have had it much earlier. But the important thing was that eventually came.

When people do things for your or produce things that you enjoy, recognize their efforts. It will be good for them and for you. You might be the spark that helps them create more of what you enjoyed in the first place.

Here is John’s rendition of the Boss’ Dancing in the Dark.

This entry was posted in Creative Marketing, High Bar Marketing and tagged Bruce Springsteen, feedback, John Legend on March 20, 2014 by Devin Meister.

Growing a New Audience

grown an audience - like bamboo

About three years ago, my next door neighbor planted a pot (pot, singular) of bamboo in the corner where our yards adjoin. The plan was for the bamboo to serve as a border. It quickly did that. Little did we expect that the bamboo had an ulterior motive: to take over the United States, starting in the Midwest. More specifically, our back yard. It’s now moving west and will arrive in Chicago in the near future.

Growing a new unintended audience - like bamboo

One morning last spring one of my kids looked out the window and asked “who’s that strange lady in our backyard?” Turns out, it was not just a lady, but several ladies from the local Chinese restaurant. They were cutting bags full of young bamboo shoots. My mother tutors at the local literacy center and the ladies were her students. This gets us 15-25% off an all ready ridiculously cheap order and a friendly “How your mommy?” when I visit (which makes me wonder about my mom’s teaching skills).

a new audience arrives to pick bamboo

Through their conversation, it came up that I had bamboo growing in my backyard. Apparently outside of our backyard, it’s hard to find fresh bamboo in our area, for now. From what I can see the situation is quickly changing. But every day for a couple of weeks afterwards, there were varying numbers of local people of chinese descent cutting bamboo. Bags and bags of bamboo left, without making any appreciable visual difference.

So, while the bamboo was intended as barrier, it found a completely different alternative use with a completely different audience through my “network.” The same thing can happen for you and your content if you follow the same steps.

Young Bamboo Shoots

  1. Plant new unique and original content in places where it can thrive.
  2. Let it grow. Watch over it, but don’t get in it’s way.
  3. Tell your network about it. While you might think you know your audience, don’t limit your thinking or assume that somebody might not be interested.
  4. Share it. When people are interested, be gracious and share. And thank them. Even when they block you in your own driveway.

Making your product and content, you might have an intended purpose. Your audience, intended or not, might discover it and take it in a whole new direction. You can learn and grow with it.

This entry was posted in Content Marketing, High Bar Marketing on November 4, 2013 by Devin Meister.

Don’t Call Me Francis

“Stripes” movie image from: https://www.democraticunderground.com/1018347426

Names stick. A classic scene from the movie Stripes is the introduction. One character introduces himself and says, “My name is Francis Soyer … but everybody calls me Psycho. Any of you guys call me Francis, and I’ll kill you.” After the rest of his rant, the drill sergeant quips, “Lighten up Francis.”

Anyone that has ever had a name or nickname that they didn’t like can relate. But whether you like it or not, name association can be powerful. That’s what Chrysler is experiencing with their truck line, and it doesn’t look like it is going to change anytime soon.

Read more about the challenges Chrysler and other top brands have faced in rebranding their companies and products here:

MY NAME IS RAM … FRIENDS CALL ME DODGE

What Would the ‘Mad Men’ Say Now?

EXACTLY WHAT THEY SAID THEN.

Every fan of Mad Men knows that the ’60s brought unprecedented transformation to the marketing world. 

Today, we’re experiencing a nearly identical marketing revolution driven by a plethora of maturing digital and social platforms, mobile, and changing habits.

The one thing that hasn’t changed for marketers is the need to grab the attention of the audience at the right time and place.

In 1965, Dennis Higgins interviewed five stalwarts of the marketing industry and compiled his findings in, The Art of Writing Advertising.  Check out  some excerpts that are relevant to the challenges marketers face today in the original post, Insights from the Real ‘Mad Men’, published Aug. 4, 2017 on http://www.wilsonadv.com/2017/08/insights-mad-men/.

YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYONE — AND SHOULDN’T TRY (ISN’T THAT A RELIEF?)

Everyone has a different personality. There are those you seek out at a dinner party and others you trust in a pinch. They are probably not the same person.

The same is true with brands. Every brand has a personality, but that doesn’t mean everyone will love it all of the time. In fact, if a brand tries to be all things to all people, chances are it won’t mean much to anyone. The middle has proven to be a less than ideal place to be for a number of brands recently, from J.C. Penney to the Gap. It’s better to have a strong core of supporters than a field full of passive bystanders that don’t actively dislike your brand, but don’t love it either.

Read the complete post, Why Brands Need to Sharpen Their Focus, published on June 22, 2017, here: http://www.wilsonadv.com/2017/06/brands-sharpen-focus/

 

Events and Scrappy Established Brands

How does a software company founded nearly 50 years ago compete with startups? One of the first software companies ever, Cincom®, competes every day in this era of startups and quick evolution. What’s their secret? They continue to connect with their audience on a personal level at every opportunity. And for one of their product groups, that means a variety of events.

Read the complete post, Events Keep a Fresh Face on an Established Brand, first published on May, 24, 2017 at http://www.wilsonadv.com/2017/05/events-established-brand/

Changing Brand Audiences—A Dilemma for the Circus and Every Brand

The fear of the millennial generation disappearing individually into their devices and a virtual world hasn’t materialized. Maybe because of the digital separation, they are much more willing to spend their income on experiences instead of things. Whether it is to fulfill a need for human interaction or just to have something to share later, American spending on events and experiences has been on the rise since the digital generation arrived.

In the face of overall category growth, how did the circus fail and what’s in store for other iconic events and their changing brand audience?

Read the complete post, Ladies and Gentlemen, Say Goodbye to the “Greatest Show on Earth“, published on May 21, 2017.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Say Goodbye to the “Greatest Show on Earth”

Ants, Twitter, and the Intelligence of the Masses

intelligence of masses - ants

If a collection of unbelievably individually stupid and irrational creatures can create something wonderful and self-sustaining – why do so many big businesses really, really, suck at doing either? By that I mean doing something wonderful or self-sustaining. That’s what I thought when listening toradiolab’s rebroadcast of emergence. Seriously. Certainly a collection of educated people should outperform a field full of fireflies, a bee-hive or colony of ants? But that’s not always the case.

The one glimmer of hope I took for humanity and the internet from this podcast was an example from Francis Galton’s observation at a county fair. In it, a collection of ordinary people generally presumed to be unfamiliar with the actual weight of oxen guessed at it’s weight. No single person was correct. However, the average of the all of the guesses was remarkably close.

It’s essentially how google works and part of what makes twitter so great. I believe and hope this is how democratic societies and the internet can work going forward. The collective of non-expert masses, or the wisdom of crowds, when applying themselves to do their best, can be collectively smarter than a small group of experts. The key is applying themselves to do their best.

So why do businesses fail? Sometimes while there may be collection of people, the actual decisions and action are only taken by a select few. Hence, it’s not really a crowd. It’s a few people with many underneath them. Another scenario is that often there are people at all levels doing less than their best, or working contrary to best interests of the organization. In either case, their colony – and their work – ultimately perishes. They get outworked by ants. Outsmarted by bees.

C’mon people, set a high bar for yourself, and your work.