Monday, November 30, 2015

#1277 concentrated

It used to be that the big shopping day was Black Friday, but then that extended into Thanksgiving Day and pre-Black Friday specials for the week or two preceding the holiday.

Today was commonly known as Cyber Monday, but yesterday's paper was full of flyers advertising bargains during "Cyber Week". The bottom line: if you pay full price for something between Halloween and Christmas, you are probably paying too much.

An article in yesterday's paper also noted that while overall spending is expected to grow, Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday sales were both down this year compared to last as the early sales have limited the impact of Black Friday specials.*

It is sad that marketers, retailers and many people in general like to take a good thing and extend it.  While that sounds good in theory, what it does is dilute the impact of the concentrated event.

Christmas magic is lost when department stores put up trees in October instead of unveiling the wonderland on the day after Thanksgiving. Back to school sales start practically before the kids are even out of school. Birthday presents spread throughout the week provide a more muted celebration than having friends and family all at one party with a pile of gifts on your special day.  

The next time you are tempted to extend something, instead ask yourself "What is the shortest timeframe in which we could do this?"  More isn't always merrier.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

*Source: Black Friday store sales fall; more go online by Christopher S. Rugaber for the Associated Press in the Telegraph Herald, November 29, 2015, p. A2




Sunday, November 29, 2015

#1276 holly

I received a free two-week subscription to Sirus XM radio, so thought I would give it a try.  I landed upon the "Holly" station and haven't left since.

Holly is a 24 hour channel with nothing but Christmas tunes.  I am amazed at the variety and quantity of the music available in this genre when it is only played for a month or two each year.  It seems that every artist has recorded a holiday album, and they all manage to find new songs to record on it.

I wonder what makes Christmas music so popular. Is it the fact that it has limited release so we aren't tired of hearing it over and over?  Perhaps it is because of the fond memories it engenders of holiday traditions?  Or maybe it is because we are generally in a festive mood and the music reflects that back to us?

I am unsure as to the fascination, but perhaps there is something to be learned from the carols.  Don't overexpose your customers to your product; offer it as part of a larger experience to gain some positive transference, and link new offerings with favored artists/traditions/products to broaden the reach.

Whether you just listen or whether you learn, I hope you'll enjoy singing along to your favorite holiday tunes as the season of celebration begins.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

Saturday, November 28, 2015

#1275 food rescue

So it is the day after the day after Thanksgiving and what are you doing besides shopping? If you are like many Americans, the answer is "throwing away some turkey."  The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that we will throw away more than 200 million pounds of edible turkey meat this Thanksgiving holiday!  What a shame.

Throwing away perfectly good food seems to be as much of an American tradition as apple pie and baseball, spawning a whole new movement called "food rescue."  With an so many going hungry, it seems even more egregious that 40% of food produced in the U.S. is wasted. This is edible food being tossed!  

Many have taken on this cause, including Boston's Ashley Stanley, a food rescue activist who started Lovin' Spoonfuls and has saved over 3 million pounds of fresh food from the trash. It is a triple win: the needy get healthier food, the donors would rather help others than toss it, and the landfills are saved from overgrowth.

As you sit today in the land of plenty, take a minute to learn more about food rescue and commit to a role you can play in it.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

Resources:
Lovin' Spoonful's video

Food Waste documentary (plot summary of Just Eat It)



Friday, November 27, 2015

#1274 opt outside

So by now you have likely heard about REI, the retailer who was closed not only yesterday, but today.  They are causing quite a media stir with their decision to forgo Black Friday sales as it is quite antithetical to the strategy of most major retailers.  REI is encouraging its customers and employees to "opt outside" instead of shopping and to share their experiences on social media. 

I wonder how many of their employees will do so.  Does the day off inspire them to take advantage of Black Friday sales since this may be the only chance for them to do so?  Or do they truly want as far away from retail madness as possible and the last place they'll be seen is near a store?

Either way, REI has garnered some great publicity and good will amongst its staff.  It was a bold move, one with unknown financial consequences, but the dollars they lost in impulse sales will likely be recouped by the free promotion it gained.  

How can you think outside of the box and look at the model differently?  Black Friday could mean frenzy, or having the store lights blacked out.  Maybe with #optoutside, REI is on to something.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

Thursday, November 26, 2015

#1273 Thanksgiving blessings

I will keep today simple and share a quote from a Hallmark Thanksgiving card I received:


If your blessing is wealth, share it.

If your blessing is health, take care of it.

If your blessing is talent, use it.

If your blessings are people, love them.


Perhaps you can use this at your Thanksgiving feast, whatever form that may take, but I hope your holiday does not involve shopping!

Thanks for being a leadershipdots reader.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

#1272 influence

This week, in the spirit of the holiday, I was thinking about who is deserving of thanks.  My answer is someone who passed away in 2009, but whose legacy impacts my work everyday: Claiborne Pell.

Senator Pell represented Rhode Island from 1961-1995.  During that time, he introduced legislation to create Basic Educational Opportunity Grants to provide access to higher education for students with financial need to attend college.  The grants, later renamed Pell Grants in honor of him, now represent $67 billion in aid and have helped over 100 million students.  Many students, myself included, could not have attended college without this help.

As monumental as the Pell Grant system is, it is not Senator Pell's only important work.  He was the main sponsor of the bill to establish the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  He also advocated for mass transportation and supported legislation which led to the formation of Amtrak.

Senator Pell was from an affluent family, attended Princeton and Columbia, and could have had many lucrative careers.  Instead he chose to serve his country in the Coast Guard, as a Foreign Service Officer and finally as Senator, and lend his stature and credibility to promoting causes that benefited the less fortunate.  

I believe America today is a better place because of him, and on this Thanksgiving Eve  I say Thank You Senator Pell for the work that influences us yet today.  

Who has left their mark on your work -- and what work are you doing that will benefit the next generation?

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

Sources:  Wikipedia, https://salve.edu/pell-center/about-sen-pell and Education Week 11-2-15

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

#1271 pairs

It is curious to me how some words appear so frequently with other words that the two almost become an inseparable pair.  

Fill in the blank for these words:

prolific __________

voracious ________

_________  prowess

shirk ______________


I'll venture a guess (which could be another pairing) that odds are good you filled in the blanks with prolific writer, voracious reader (or appetite), athletic prowess and shirk responsibility.  Are these words used to describe many other things?

If word pairings can become commonplace, think of how you can use this to your advantage in your organization. Can you find a descriptor that you use over and over so that the public thinks of you when they hear that word?  Maytag did it with dependable and Volvo did it with auto safety. 

What word will your organization own?

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

Monday, November 23, 2015

#1270 confounded

I spent most of yesterday afternoon running around town trying to find boys boots for our Christmas adopt-a-family.  Even though we just had our first snow, apparently everyone has cleared the shelves already.  The first four places we went were out of the size I needed, or out of boots completely.  (In November -- but that is for a different blog.)

I felt so out of my element; I was not even sure where to shop for little boy boots. And once I found them, for the life of me I couldn't understand kids' shoe sizing.  How can a 12 be for the little boy and a 2 be for the elder?

I am sure there is a logical method to the sizing madness, and I am also confident that mothers have this all figured out so they don't even think twice when shopping.  But I was a stranger in a foreign land.

Once again, the lesson was brought home that what you take for granted others find complex and confusing.  I try to be diligent about not using jargon in college admission and financial aid, but it applies to boot shopping and just about every other pursuit as well.  Those familiar with the experience find it so second nature that they never even give a second thought to the fact others may not understand.

It pays to walk a mile in someone else's boots and remember what it's like to experience something for the first time.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

Sunday, November 22, 2015

#1269 passed by

Our local Fazoli's restaurant has been heavily promoting their drive through service.  I frequent their dining room (only), but I didn't mind that they had ads about the other way you could order.

But the push to drive through has escalated.  First they offered a free cookie.  Then it was a free upgrade to a combo meal.  Then only drive through customers were entered into a drawing for Taylor Swift concert tickets, a $100 gas card and a free entree every week for a year!  Every time I go in there, it seems that there is a sign telling me about the rewards I could have if I had stayed in my car.

I really don't understand the drive to get me to stay curbside.

Companies are always using incentives to influence your behavior, but think about your loyal customers when you hatch a plan to woo new ones.  How will they feel?  Amazon offered discounted Prime memberships to newbies, but loyalists had to pay the full freight.  Magazines are notorious for first-time subscriber rates that are lower than renewals.  Those who use the ATMs pay a fee whereas those who go inside do not.

Don't run the risk that your growth strategy will cause customers to drive by instead of drive through.  

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com



Saturday, November 21, 2015

#1268 charmed

I never understood what the fascination was with the bracelets with beads that were added incrementally.  Brands like Persona or Pandora offer literally hundreds of interchangeable beads for women to create their own personalized jewelry.  It seemed to be an expensive way to add glitz to a bracelet.

And then I saw the collection for what it was:  the modern day equivalent of a charm bracelet.  Now I get it!

When I was a young girl, I had a bracelet with charms that adorned my wrist commemorating key events like graduation and places that I visited.  My low-rent-district-apartment was burglarized when I was in graduate school and it's the one thing they took that I really missed.  There would never be a way to replace the wristlet of memories.

Today's version is far more expensive, and prevalent, but nonetheless offers the same personalization experience.  In a 7-inch expanse, a women can have visual reminders of things that she holds near and dear.

Think of what your organization can do to create a lasting memory for those whose lives it touches.  It doesn't have to be a bead on a bracelet, but can you design a cumulative reminder of the experiences you have shared together?  A series of posters, a donor recognition item that creates a collection, or a class photo can all be sequential tributes and reminders of your experiences.

For someone to be charmed, it takes a repetition of beads.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com







Friday, November 20, 2015

#1267 fly

After you drive your car at night, your windshield is often coated with remains of bugs.  Annoying, to be sure, but it doesn't seem to warrant attention of serious science.  

But it does.  Not for car windshields, rather for the same problem on airline wings.  Those little critters increase the drag and reduce the fuel efficiency of the plane.  Consequently, NASA and Boeing, serious scientists to be sure, are testing non-stick wing components to thwart the bug problem.

Their hope is to reduce fuel consumption by 0.5%, which equates to $240 million/year for the U.S. airline industry.

What problem does your organization have that is equivalent to pesky bugs?  It may not seem like anything big when taken in isolation, but can add up to significant costs either in money or time as an aggregate.  

Chances are good that you have already implemented the big efficiencies and are now faced with the hard work of finding incremental gains that matter.  Don't let the solution fly right by you without considering it.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

Source:  Crackle, pop.  Squished bugs give airlines gas pains by Bart Jansen in USAToday, July 23, 2015, p. 1A.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

#1266 ANN1VERSARY

I received an anniversary card in the mail -- not for a marriage or any family event, rather from Acura on the one-year anniversary of owning my car.  I'm glad that they remembered the date because I did not!

The card read:  ANN1VERSARY: here's to fast starts, day trips and epic journeys.  Wishing you a Happy First Anniversary of Acura ownership.  May the years ahead with your TLX bring you even greater joy filled with precisely handled corners, 0-to-60 thrills and the satisfaction of Acura's driver-centric technology. 

What a sneaky way to make an ad not seem like an ad!

What I liked about it though was that they capitalized on an opportunity to keep in touch with me without sending me a direct sales message.  Chances are that I'm not in the market to buy another new car after just a year, but they want me to think Acura when I am.  

I'm sure that you have a host of data on your current clients.  How can you use a piece of it as an occasion to send a brand message or even thank you to those who have been loyal to you?  Of course there is the easy answer of sending a holiday card, but challenge yourself to make it more client-specific.  Is it one year since graduation?  Their birthday?  When they have reached a level of purchases/savings/hours with your organization?

Having lots of data doesn't matter if you don't use it.  Take advantage of the ease of pairing personalization with communication and send your clients an unexpected remembrance today.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com





Wednesday, November 18, 2015

#1265 paper

Yesterday, I wrote about 96 ways to share information electronically.  On the opposite side of that spectrum is communicating by handwritten notes.  An ad for one stationery firm calls paper "the original social media."

It seems that more than stationers who are promoting paper these days. The Paper and Packaging board has been running ads in major magazines reminding people that "life's greatest moments are celebrated with paper" (e.g.: birthdays and parties) and that "paper plays a key role in our education, right from the very start" (e.g.: flashcards, coloring, classroom aids).

Even a few years ago, who would have thought that paper would need to spend money (ironically in paper magazines) promoting the value of their product?  But apparently they felt the need to do so.

Is there something in your organization that you take for granted when you should be reminding people of its value?  Working in higher education, it feels like we should be running College Makes a Difference ads rather than assuming everyone still believes that. Do you have a product, service or core value that once was commonly accepted as the standard, but is now waning?  Think of all the products that were once packaged in glass that lost out to plastics. 

Spend some effort to identify the fundamental elements that you wish to preserve rather than assuming what is prevalent today will always remain so. Innovation is all around, thus you must also innovate to prevail.

Rock breaks scissors, but paper covers rock.


-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com


 



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

#1264 smoke signals

If I said "social media" to most people, a few sites would probably come to mind: maybe Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and Linked In.  If I asked you to think about it, maybe you could come up with a dozen ways to share information electronically.  

So I was quite surprised when I went to share a newsletter article and the menu popped up with 96 -- yes, ninety-six -- ways to do something with the piece. I am sure this is the popular list and there are exponentially more specialty sites available for use.

I'm not on Facebook so don't look for me there, and if you're not on Twitter you'll miss my tweets.  Maybe the medium we should be using for our organization is Plurk (one of the most popular social networking services in Asia), Wykop (social networking in Polish), Digg (delivering the most talked about stories on the Internet) or Fark (a way to customize your news and funny headlines).  

We tend to take the easier route -- which is sending our messages to the masses -- rather than taking the time to do research and segment to targeted audiences. We do this with marketing, but we also do it with our employees and err when we think one motivational message fits all.

The next time you need to communicate something, think not only about what you have to say, but how you are going to say it.  We've come a long way since smoke signals or pony express, but unless you are where your audience is it won't matter.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com



Monday, November 16, 2015

#1263 seeds of knowledge

A new colleague shared with us an item from the Internet that alleges you can predict the winter weather by the appearance of a persimmon seed.

According to this article, if the kernel is:
> spoon shaped, lots of snow will fall
> fork-shaped, there will be a mild winter
> knife-shaped, expect icy, cutting winds

It would have been easy for us to dismiss this and move on, but we needed to know.  First off, we needed to know what a persimmon was since no one was quite sure (looks like a tomato; but is hard and tastes like a pumpkin).  Then we needed to know where to buy one (answer:  Walmart, not either of the grocery store chains).

We gathered around for our grand experiment and what did we learn?  That the Fuyu persimmon we purchased is seedless!  AHHH!!!

But our colleague did learn that this is a metaphor for how we do things.  We share.  We ask questions.  We do research and learn more.  We don't give up when we can't find things the easy way.  We experiment.  We test hypotheses.  We help each other.  We fail.  And we try again.

I am not sure we would have learned anything new about the weather if the fruit actually bore a seed. But what we demonstrated about our culture was more valuable than knowing the forecast.

Is there a seed of knowledge in this lesson that you can apply in your office?

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

Source: http://www.almanac.com/content/predicting-weather-using-persimmon-seed



Sunday, November 15, 2015

#1262 take the pledge

For many, recycling cans or paper has become almost an instinctive reflex.  

But only about one-third of what could be recycled actually is.  To help increase participation in recycling, today has been designated as America Recycles Day.  

I don't expect you to become an environmentalist overnight, but I hope that you take five minutes today to explore the Keep America Beautiful website.  It is a centralized resource for recycling that tries to make things as easy as possible.  It won't put the can in the recycle bin for you, but it will use your location to tell you precisely where 26 items can be recycled nearby.  This includes clothes, rubber shoes, digital cameras, freezers and furniture.

There is a section on Recycling at Work and a Public Space Recycling Guide that includes academic resources and case studies.  The site has information on the K-12 Recycle Bowl competition and Recyclemania events to see who can reduce the most waste at home football games. You can even opt out of receiving phone books.

Celebrate America Recycles Day by signing the Pledge that you will do something to increase your level of participation in the solution.  Whether you reduce or you recycle, every little bit does matter.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

Saturday, November 14, 2015

#1261 expired

Last night (the 13th), I went to my nearby* HyVee grocery store to buy yogurt.  The ones in front expired on the 24th, short of the two-week supply I was planning to purchase.  I thought I would look in the back of the row to find some with a different expiration date.

I did.  

I found October 27th.  November 5th.  November 12th.  More than half of the row had expired already.

You can see the vicious cycle: they did not order more yogurt because they thought they had plenty; I did not buy more yogurt because in reality they had only a few.

It is not the first time I have found expired goods at this same store, nor was it the first time I shared my experience with a manager.  Yet the problem persists.  

The real problem, of course, is not the yogurt, but the employees who stock it and the manager who oversees them.  It is much easier to put the new supply in front on the shelf and shove the existing ones in the back.  I worked in a grocery store and know that rotating stock is a pain.  It seems that no one at this store cares enough to do it.

Do you have employees in your organization who don't care? More importantly, do you have systems in place to test that premise so you really know?  Do you truly take corrective action when someone points out a flaw?  

There is a short expiration date on customer satisfaction.  Don't push it to the back of the shelf.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

*in Asbury  Buyer Beware!

Friday, November 13, 2015

#1260 kindness

Today is World Kindness Day, a "global 24 hour celebration dedicated to paying-it-forward and focusing on the good."  I hope that all of you will participate!

The website provides several ideas to engage in this celebration, including sharing a kindness quote.  I'll start my day off by sharing one with you from a calendar hand-made by one of my favorite people:  "There is always something to be thankful for."  

As you go through today, make a conscious effort to recognize what you have to be thankful for and only focus on the positives.  For each lapse into the negative, vow to make amends by doing something that will brighten someone else's day.  

I'll bet that many people find that being kind to others is easier than to be kind to themselves.  If a negative thought crosses your brain about how you look, act, feel, etc. you need to counteract that with a positive gesture or affirmation to yourself as well.  Only allow good thoughts in your brain for 24 hours.

If you're reading this, you are literate, have access to technology and the skills to use it and are interested in self-improvement -- three legs up on much of the world's population already.  Pay all that richness forward and be kind to others and yourself today.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

#worldkindnessday




Thursday, November 12, 2015

#1259 salute

Yesterday was Veterans Day and I was surprised at what a marketing holiday it has become.  I have a friend who spent much of the day taking advantage of his free breakfast, free lunch, free car wash, free haircut and free dinner.  So many options and so little time!

Not that he, and all others who have served, did not earn these benefits.  They most certainly did. It's just that I don't remember Veterans Day taking on a life of its own until recently.  Now there are special sections in the newspaper listing all of the veterans celebrations and benefits.  Over 1000 people in our small city attended a veteran's service.  There were dozens of businesses that offered free meals.

And it isn't just on Veterans Day.  More and more businesses give military discounts all year round.  The military ID has become as valuable as a AAA card in providing on-going perks and bargains.

It seemed that many places were offering veterans promotions as a marketing tactic, rather than truly as a gesture of appreciation.  Those that went the extra step earned reciprocal appreciation by genuinely giving it.  (As an example, Texas Roadhouse's attentive service, generous meals including steaks and beer, and special hours just for this luncheon went a long way in making a statement to the vets.)

If you are going to jump on the Veterans Day bandwagon next year, make it an authentic celebration, not just a discount with business as usual otherwise.  True gestures, rather than gimmicks, are the only efforts worth saluting.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com




Wednesday, November 11, 2015

#1258 chunks

When I have the time or inspiration, I'll write several blogs in advance.  Often, I write them out of sequence on purpose.  Over the years I have found that it is daunting to have to write a full week's worth of blogs at once, but if I do a Saturday and a Wednesday first then it somehow seems easier to fill in the one or two days in between.  Pretty soon, several sets of two have been strung together to complete the week.

I think I learned this trick when writing my dissertation.  My advisor had us write chapter 1 first (what the study is about), but then he instructed us to write chapter 3 next (the shortest chapter -- methodology).  We skipped chapter 2 initially because it is the literature review (the longest, most boring and most time consuming chapter in the whole thing.)  Psyching ourselves out that we had chapters 1 and 3 done -- two out of five, it somehow made back-filling chapter 2 seem possible.

Think about how you can play this mind game yourself.  If you do all the envelopes first for your Christmas cards, it is easier to sign the cards and see real progress.  If you do the dusting in all the rooms, the cleaning comes easier.  If you reconcile your expense report for Monday and Wednesday, Tuesday is more likely to get done too.

Chunking out the tasks and creating smaller intervals makes the work seem much more achievable than staring at one large task.  Can you create some stepping stones today to help you cross the pond?

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com

@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

#1257 second string

At the last basketball game, the coach put in some second-string players with about 2 minutes before the half.  They got the job done, but were not as productive as those who had started.

I thought of this difference when I was looking at my eyeglasses.  I recently purchased two new pair of glasses* and it has occurred to me that I have a starter pair and a second stringer.  My previous two pair were interchangeable -- both first stringers that I could use depending on the color scheme of the day.  Not so much with these two.  One is practical; one is fun and I find that I have far more occasions to wear the serious-looking pair.  Inadvertently, I got a starter and a second-stringer.  Both are worthy of making the team, but perform different functions.

Don't expect that your whole team will always be versatile starters.  Most teams need a second string to relieve and to support the A players, to make practices workable and to allow for a few special teams. There is an appropriate role for the second string, and they can contribute much to the overall organization.

Think about this when you are hiring or purchasing something for your use.  There are certain items or positions that you need to fill with the very best you can afford, but you can  round that out with others and achieve your goals without hitting all three-pointers.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

*See Blog #1167






Monday, November 9, 2015

#1256 sound bites

Instead of being called the Millennial Generation, today's youth could instead own the moniker Sound Bite Generation.  

Think of how much information they receive in small bursts:
> the National Park Trading Cards that I wrote about yesterday (Blog #1255)
> Twitter
> Texts
> Q&A format of "articles" in magazines that are more bullet points instead of paragraphs
> Instagram, Pintrest, sites with visuals instead of words
> Infographics instead of explanations
> Video games instead of books
> Television shows (with commercials removed) instead of movies

We could lament how the shortened attention span has made it challenging for young people to sit through classes, speakers, church services and more...

...or we can acknowledge it and deliver our messages accordingly.  Let "drone" be something that flies in the sky, not something that you do.


-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

Sunday, November 8, 2015

#1255 trade 'ya

In addition to vast outdoor spaces, the National Park Service runs hundreds of museums and is a major storyteller of our country's history.  Someone there acknowledged the reality that young people were not reading the plaques and displays that accompany all of the artifacts, so they decided to share the message in a way that kids may find more appealing.

Thus, the creation of the National Park trading cards.  

The Martin Luther King Historical Site in Atlanta has been summarized on five cards, each with about two sentences of text.  I suspect the hope is that the junior visitors will at least capture the key points of the exhibit, and show less reluctance to visit all five facilities at the site.

Can you learn a lesson from the trading card concept?  I think there are plenty:  Not all of your messages have to be lofty.  It is important to appeal to your audience where they are.  A great visual is tantalizing and can draw people to your message.  Less is often more.  Great copy with a web link can inspire people to follow up and learn later.

Dr. King taught many lessons about justice and integration.  Perhaps his legacy can live on to teach your organization another lesson about sharing stories in modern ways.

Anyone have an Ebenezer Baptist Church card to trade?

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com




Saturday, November 7, 2015

#1254 pink or blue

I'll admit that I'm not up on all the latest trends involving pregnancies and parenthood, but it was a new one to me that someone was invited to a Gender Reveal Party.  I said "huh?" but apparently they are quite popular.  

If any others are in the dark, it is when families and friends gather to learn the gender of the baby-to-be.  This is done through a color-coded cake or cupcakes or I'm sure through a variety of surprises that are "revealed" at the gathering.  

As we got talking about this topic, I learned also about Push Presents -- usually jewels that the dad gives to the new mom as a reward?/thank you?/better you than me? acknowledgement for the effort involved in labor.  As if a baby wasn't enough?  

But just so dad isn't left out of the bounty, some couples are taking Babymoons -- a honeymoon-type vacation before the baby ties them down.  It is a last celebration with just the husband and wife before baby makes three. I don't understand any of this, but do accept that it is all a reality for some parents-to-be.  

Are you customers or clients engaged in rituals that you need to learn about?  Have traditions evolved into something entirely new all together?  Is something now a really big deal that you used to take for granted?

It doesn't matter if you like it, or even 'get it', but if something is important to your clients, it should become important to you.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

Friday, November 6, 2015

#1253 makeover

When I was in Sam's Club over the weekend, I was browsing through their book section.  It is a fairly limited display for them, and usually only carries the recent best sellers.  One particular book caught my attention, so I wrote down the title and author to reserve it at the library.

I was shocked to learn that the book I wanted was actually released in 1999.  Instead of being on a wait list for it (as is usually the case with anything current), the copy I checked out is tattered and torn.  The spine is so damaged that I had to check that all the pages were still there before I got 300 pages into a suspense novel only to be left hanging!

Apparently the publisher decided to do a new release with a new cover -- and it worked.  Same book inside, but a much more modern and appealing jacket to generate a new audience and attention.

What does your organization have that could use a new cover and fresh release?  Is there a treasure on your shelf that could see another life if it were given a graphic makeover?  

So much content from years ago is still highly relevant today -- whether it be to educate or to entertain.  Don't let the original release date keep you from sharing something good.  Dust off that dust cover and re-release it with a new look.

-- beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com