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How Can I Help You?

April 7, 2008

One of the more commonly thrown around terms in business development is “networking.” What some business people see as water torture, others welcome as a necessary element to their professional growth.

One of our must-have, favorite books on the subject is by connectivity specialist Keith Ferrazzi and is called Never Eat Alone. You can also check out Keith’s blog.

Keith is passionate about helping people develop valuable relationships in and out of the office and his energy is contagious. Do you share the same excitement when you meet new people? Maybe you don’t, but that’s why Keith is regarded as an industry leader. But if you were asked to submit five professional references for a new job, have you established core contacts that you can rely on to speak highly of you?

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Say It To My Facebook

March 29, 2008

Mac guys gone wild

So you’ve certainly heard of Facebook and you may even have a profile of your own. But why?

Let’s be honest with each other. You use Facebook to brag. You post pictures of yourself on vacation. You update your job history so you look like an important player and you ask everyone you’ve ever met to be your friend. If you don’t see them quarterly or you don’t talk to them in person every few months, why do you want to “friend” them?

It’s not because you care. It’s because you want everyone who has ever known you to realize how cool you are now and what cool things you’ve been up to. It’s because you stood in front of a rock star last summer or posed with attractive people who’s names you don’t know during spring break. And hell, the more people are friends with you, the cooler you are. I bet you haven’t spoken to 75% of your “friends” in at least a year. I also bet you look at other people’s profiles just to compare your life progress to the kid’s you met in high school, college or the guy across the office.

Do you miss the good old days bad enough to reacquire cliques and gossip on walls and show off pictures like you were trading your wallet-sized class photos back in the late 80’s?

Wait… you do have a Facebook account? Sweet, because we want to be your friend.

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1 x 1 x 1 = 1

March 17, 2008

iPhone

So I, like many, own an iPod, but it took me a while. I didn’t jump on the first round of 5 or 10 gig devices, or even the 20 or 40 gig product. I wisely waited until the launch of the video iPod, enabling me to save both photos, videos and music on one device. Then, of course, came the iPhone. This device not only does what my video iPod can, but swiftly browses the internet, facilitates multiple email accounts and, of course, serves as a telephone. If I pull the trigger on an iPhone, my $300 video iPod will end up in a drawer. However, streamlining my phone, computer and music onto one super-device would make a lot of sense.

Detroit automaker Chrysler faces a similar dilemma. Their brand is struggling badly, showing a 2007 loss of just under $3 billion. New owners Cerberus Capital Management is looking to turn things around. With an incredible track record of acquisitions Cerberus is looking to trim the Chrysler fat, eliminating small dealers and creating a more advantageous shopping process for consumers.

Your town or a neighboring one may have a popular Jeep dealership. But two towns over, there may be another Jeep dealership and in the next town, a Dodge store. Rather than make three area dealers burn money marketing against one another, Cerberus is encouraging smaller dealers to sell to the larger ones and create strong, multi-brand destination centers.

The idea is costly and controversial. Smaller dealers will demand top dollar to forfeit their operations in favor a merger. Cerberus is counting on the larger stores to open their checkbooks, anticipating that the out of pocket expense today may be high, but the long-term benefits of choosing store quality over dealer quantity will pay off. With a slumping economy and increased gas prices, consumers prefer shopping multiple brands at a single location.

If we can withdraw cash, drop off a prescription and buy groceries under the same roof, our lives are made easier. Bundling our land line, internet and cable television certainly makes bill paying simpler. So maybe it’s time for me to pick up that iPhone…

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Your Digital Identity

March 8, 2008

MC Escher

What does your online image look like? If someone knew your name, but wanted to learn more about you through information found on the web, what could they dig up?

There are hundreds of ways to enhance your digital reputation. The most common is to operate your own web site. For about $20 per year, you can own “www.YourName.com,” assuming no one has already scooped it up. Even if you aren’t ready to manage a web page, “parking” your site is recommended. This limits other web browsers with the same name as you from launching a project that may misrepresent who you are.

Another simple way is with Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org is policed by its users and updated by tens of thousands of members each and every day. However, obtaining a Wikipedia account is not immediate. Programmers want to recognize that you are a trustworthy user and will not smear or negatively alter existing content on the site. Once your reputation is established, write a brief statement about yourself and submit it to the Wikipedia programmers. When approved, you’ll stamp your name into the Wiki world and provide web browsers with a viable resource for learning more about you.

If you have other suggestions, be it basic or advanced, simply let us know. We’re excited to hear how you’ve made out.

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Hey… it sells

February 29, 2008

So it’s Friday and we’re feeling wild. MikeyVeech, an EM.net regular, sent us along this ad campaign that media giant Ogilvy & Mather drew up for Corona’s marketing initiatives in Japan. We’ll credit Schema Magazine for posting the ads, since we’re passing them along.

As not to offend anyone, click here for photos. 

These images are probably too bold for a publicly displayed billboard, but may be tasteful enough for men’s magazines like Maxim or GQ. That said, you can be sure our grip will be clinging tightly to a cold Corona bottle at some point this weekend.

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Know Your Role

February 29, 2008

As business owners and brand managers, you constantly hear about successful companies changing their game plan as technology and client demands evolve. Newspapers, for example, have launched multi-layered digital web sites, featuring streaming video and access to free content, encouraging a younger audience to rely on them for current events, although they are losing subscribers each and every day.

Victoria Secret chief executive Sharen Turney spoke on an industry conference call about the direction that her brand has taken. She explained that the company has “so much gotten off (their) heritage,” in an effort to attract a younger group of consumers. She even went on to say the brand has gotten “too sexy.” For the record Sharen, we disagree.

But the ability for a company to think on it’s feet and motify its practices and strategies is of the essence. It is important that a company not lose site of its original vision and its goals. While Victoria Secret targeted college-aged buyers, they alienated loyal, existing clients who have a steadier income than the younger demographic. The solution? An active balance of new business development is just as important as retaining your core consumers.

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In Your Face

February 23, 2008

I’m sure you have personal goals. Some may be financial, some physical and some intellectual. Perhaps you want to buy a house this year, or get a Master’s degree or run a marathon. But what are you doing to accomplish them?

You’ll find it much easier to achieve your dreams when you carve out a step by step action plan. Let’s say you want to go back to school. Is tuition your primary concern or allocating the time? Have you selected a program or submitted an application? If tuition is a roadblock, start there. Does your employer have a reimbursement program? Maybe the school  where you want to enroll offers grants or scholarships for your particular industry or background. Is your schedule jammed, making night class an impossibility? Consider exploring a distance learning or online program that allows you to work from home, rather than burn time commuting to and from the classroom.

Simply hoping you’ll make a dream happen isn’t enough. Break down your aspirations, one small step at a time, and you’ll find your goals much more attainable.