The Concept

Social networking, leadership, & business strategies on a fundamental level, hand delivered with an edge. (With a heaping side of whatever I find interesting!)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Some Things Get Better With Age

Some things do get better with age, and my blog has matured.

I've moved The Catalyst For Change to a new home.

I'd love if you'd join the conversation there and see where the new version of my blog goes.


Monday, July 19, 2010


Yesterday I was sitting at Damons in Belden Village and I looked over to my left and took a long stare at the wall of stereos and tv box things that run the big screens and projectors and speakers. On the center of the wall was a little white note card with a message scribbled on it in sharpie. Upon closer inspection I found that it read as follows:

Never, Ever Ever Ever EVER EVER EVER Turn This Switch OFF!!! EVER EVER EVER!!!

To me this felt like overkill to me. Maybe instead of wasting the time to write this note card out and plaster it to the stereos you could have taken 5 mins and trained your entire staff on what that little switch does... why it's a bad thing to have it in the off position... and what the results of flipping the switch would be. Wouldn't that just make sense!?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Viral & Guerrilla Marketing In The Supermarket

While walking through Giant Eagle the other day I was hit with what I can only call a combination of Viral & Guerrilla Marketing. While walking down the isle next to the pharmacy I was met with a wall of little yellow tags! What you see is what I stood there dazed and confused, starring at. The entire isle was a wall of yellow stickers. Each of them jutting out into my field of vision.

Each tag was marked with, check this, the same sale price as the white tag on the shelf.... not a sale price, not a discounted members only price.... but the same price!

I was standing there being bombarded with little yellow attention grabbing tags that told me nothing useful at all! What's the point to all of this!? Well, I certainly stood there and took a few moments to analyze what I was looking at. Which potentially gave the brands on the shelf more time to gain exposure in my subconscious and make me more inclined to make a buying decision. But mostly it just made me laugh.... people text "LOL" all the time, I actually laughed out loud. And I got some STRANGE looks! The tactics at work here are lost on most people, but when you stop and look at this great version of small scale viral marketing and guerrilla advertising all at once.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Show Must Go On

Sometimes it is good to be reminded that even when you aren't on stage, that the show is still going on....

No matter what the situation, no matter how difficult the situation is, the show keeps on rolling even if you're in over your head. Sometimes it pays to realize that even in the worst of times, you have to keep on fighting.

Because the world stops for no one, and the show must go on!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Coaching By Relating

While reflecting on when one of my good friends and supervisor Roger Spencer was coaching me as a sales rep a few years ago, I realized he made it easy for me to learn how to sell by relating to my interests.

For some people that might seem elementary but it's such an effective method. I (as I'm sure you have by now figured out)am by the very definition of the word addict, am addicted to fis hi ng! So when I was trying (and failing) at becoming a sales rep on my own, Roger stepped in. He noticed my fishing magazine and instantly the gears started turning in his head. He talked in fishing terms, showing me how I could relate specific closes to fishing lures. He showed ,e how sometimes I had to power fish, just RIP the offer past the buyers face and let them hit on reaction and impulse alone! Or how sometimes I had to slow down and finesse fish them into biting despite their reluctance. And even how sometimes I needed to speed fish and probe the buyers lake to find that honey-hole where I could get the bite and close the sale.

I created this document back when Roger started coaching me and molding me all at the same time. And until I was cleaning up my hard drive recently, I thought I had deleted it along time ago..... It was a product of my brainstorming and me just trying to visualize how to convince a customer to bite on what I was selling.
The idea is that Roger came down to my interest level to find common ground, and more importantly, a common vocabulary that we could use to effectively communicate our thoughts about selling to one another.
Of course it helped that Roger is a huge fishing buff as well.... but it's the point. I've used this technique to coach and teach others myself. A few subjects I've used would include, MMA Fighting, Marching Band, Choir, Video Games, Nascar Racing, Soccer, Scrapbooking (that was an interesting one), and Driving a Car.
The idea is to just find that common ground that lets you put your coaching ideas into verbiage that makes it easy for the person you're coaching to understand and actually retain what you're saying.
Too often I watch a supervisor coach a rep, and the person being coached smiles and nods a lot.... often tossing in a little, "Yep.... Uh Huh.... or Oh Okay!" then the coach walks away and the rep goes right back to what they just corrected. It's all because they aren't retaining any of what you're saying because to be honest with you.... they don't care that much. What is important to each of us personally will of course take up more space in our minds than those things that aren't.
So break down that fence between Camp-Work-Too-Much and Happy Town by building a mental bridge between the two. Put what they thought was non-work knowledge to work for them on the job and your reps performance will improve because now they're engaging A LOT more of their mental power-house because it's interesting for them!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Organic Social Media"

While talking today in a meeting with Nate Riggs, the term "Organic Search" kept coming up with the subject being social media. This just kind of got my brain going....

Ask someone what the first thing that comes to mind of when they hear the word "organic" and most people would say something involving farming or food.

But in the context of the internet, organic takes on a whole new meaning.... just another great example of how social media and the internet have taken a word and made it into something altogether different!

Another example of the internets ability to change the context of a word: A few years ago this young kid named Mark Zuckerberg started a movement. He launched a project that started on a white board outside his dorm room in Harvard that we now know as Facebook. On February 4th, 2004 Zuckerberg turned the word "Friend" into a verb..... and I LOVE knowing that we each have the potential to make change happen like this.

Back on topic....
I couldn't help but start to doodle on my notepad in our meeting after hearing that term, "Organic Search" come up again and again. And that doodle turned into the picture featured on this post. I just couldn't get the image out of my mind of a little tree in the forest just off the Information Super Highway that had growing on it, all the magical fruits of the social media realm.

Who knows what we will change about our world next. But if anything is going to impact it.... It's Social Media!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Take Time To Think

I took time to think today. I haven't done it in a while and I really needed a way to convert some brain power into some physical energy.

I never knew how much I would love having the Cuyahoga Valley National Park as my backyard until this weekend. Tonight I loaded up my hiking gear and some fishing gear and headed out to explore. I ended up at Indigo Lake. And for the first time in months I found myself on a body of water where I couldn't find a person to look at other than my own reflection. Dave Matthews said it best in the song we sings with Kenny Chesney, "It's good for the soul when there's not a soul in sight." (Ironically he was talking about being on the water too!)

And even when I got up the top of the hill after a short hike and looked around all I saw was a fence, the lake, and the sunset. My mind was free to let go..... and I just converted a lot of the pent up brain power I'd been hanging onto go, and converted it into physical energy. I haven't hiked like that in a long time.

And when I came back from the lake I found myself smiling.....not just because I had enjoyed my time away from civilization, but because I had naturally worked through a few mental blocks I'd been fighting.
So what I'm saying is go do your thing..... for me it's fishing where no one else can find me. For my fiance it's spending time with the niece and nephew. My little brother would say it's kicking a soccer ball around the yard playing keep-away with Otis (out Westie). Whatever it is, go do it.... Just take some time today and think. You'll be pleasantly surprised what you might come up with when you aren't trying as hard.