Tennis and the meaning of life

Good teamwork means cooperating and collaborating.

Good teamwork means cooperating and collaborating.

Growing up I remember every weekend watching ABC’s “The Wide World of Sports.” It was 1961 when Wimbledon was broadcast for the first time. I decided then tennis would be my sport. I’ve played since high school and have been playing competitive team tennis for the last 20-plus years. About a year ago I was given a book called “Tennis and the Meaning of Life.” It’s a literary anthology of the game, spanning many years, including short stories and poetry from the likes of Somerset Maugham and E.B. White. It got me thinking about what tennis has meant to me.Read full post...

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Death in a pretty package.

We all know that good advertising and branding are important parts of selling products. But did you ever wonder what that really fancy logo and packaging are hiding? I’m talking about the major brands we trust to feed ourselves and our children. They say they use all-natural ingredients: whole grains, organic vegetables — you know, the good-for-you stuff. But what most of us don’t know is that the main ingredients used in most foods are grown from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are now known to cause a slew of health problems and illnesses, including cancerand that’s just the beginning.Read full post...

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Oh, the humanity!

Bottom line: I feel better about the Walgreens brand based simply on this seemingly minor customer service tweak.

Bottom line: I feel better about the Walgreens brand based simply on this seemingly minor customer service tweak.

I’m about to place a national brand in a positive light. But in the interest of full disclosure, our agency has not, and never has had, any relationship with this brand. In other words, we have nothing to gain by pumping up this brand within the hallowed halls of the ab+c blog-a-teria. So now that we have that straight, let the games begin!

The other night, I visited my local Walgreen’s pharmacy. I bought two greeting cards and a gallon of 2% milk. As the clerk handed me my receipt she said, “Thanks — and be well.” On my way out I thought, “Did she just say ‘be well’?” Suddenly, a warm, life-affirming feeling washed over me — just as it does when those cute little yorkies scamper across the floor at the Westminster dog show. What happened to the standard “Have a nice day,” I thought. Or even the beloved “Take ‘er easy”?Read full post...

FOMO vs. JOMO

People will complain about privacy even as they don their Google glasses and other wearable computers.

People will complain about privacy even as they don their Google glasses and other wearable computers.

It’s January, and everyone’s fancy turns to predicting the future. Okay, maybe not everyone’s, but that’s what you’ll hear a lot about this time of year. December is for looking backwards and January is the forward-looking month.

JWT, a division WPP Group (formerly known as J. Walter Thompson), always makes predictions about marketing communications in the new year.

This year, JWT writes that people have been motivated by what’s called FOMO (fear of missing out). And it has been one of the main drivers (besides convenience) in our adoption of communications technology. We have also given up a great deal of privacy in exchange for always being in the know. It’s not that we wanted to give it up; it was just part of the bargain. JWT thinks this is the year we the consumers will take some of our privacy back. It’s what tech blogger Anil Dash calls JOMO (joy of missing out).Read full post...

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It’s all about the perks

Spending time with family and friends is the greatest perk of all.

Spending time with family and friends is the greatest perk of all.

Not so long ago, a company would lure a potential employee with a competitive salary and medical benefits. These days, companies have new ammunition — perks. Perks represent the “value” employers put on their employees. But they also have a potentially darker side.

Salary.com recently posted an article about 14 companies that offer incredible employee perks. At first blush, they all sounded amazing and of course my employer should adopt all of them immediately. But it became clear that these perks were about keeping the employee onsite. Free lunches and dinners, yoga, a playroom, childcare, on-site gyms, on-site concierges to handle life’s chores — everything a working stiff might need to get through the day, right outside his or her office door.Read full post...

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Are you engaged?

Where are our mobile manners?

Where are our mobile manners?

I worked in an advertising agency back in the early ‘90s when a new business win mushroomed into half of our agency business—cell phone advertising. I still remember a creative director asking me what it would take to get me to purchase a cell phone. He was looking for ad concept ideas. The big selling point at the time was “safety.” And I recall saying, “Why would I need one? I have AAA.”

It was the “in” thing then to have a cell phone. Now, 20 years later, it has become a necessity. According to a Synovate survey in 2011, “82% of Americans never leave home without their phones.”Read full post...

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Smile! You could be on camera!

Linda M Camera Lens

I’m all for target marketing, but this is a little invasive.

To anyone who’s faced with a cable bill in excess of $200 every month, news that Intel is planning on “blowing up the cable industry” with its own set-top box and unbundled cable service is big stuff. Instead of paying a fortune for 500 channels you rarely watch, Intel says they’ll allow you to subscribe to specific channels of your choosing. According to Intel, the set-top box will offer cable channels delivered “over the top” to televisions anywhere there is an Internet connection, regardless of provider. Consumers can subscribe to content per channel – maybe even by show. They even plan to enable consumers to use “Cloud DVR,” which would allow users to watch any past TV show at any time.Read full post...

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Cut the cord and go on a binge

Waiting an entire week to watch the next episode of your favorite TV show is beginning to seem as outdated as watching a show in real time. The DVR liberated millions of people from having to be in front of the television at a certain time on a certain day of the week. And now in an unprecedented move, Netflix recently released all 13 commercial-free episodes of its original show House of Cards – at the same time.Read full post...

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Give and get: how to negotiate better

Never make a concession without explaining it. If you change your position, you must be able to explain why or lose credibility.

We like to think of ourselves as excellent communicators; we’re in the business, right? But, according to a recent article in Ragan’s Health Care Communication News, we as communicators are really in sales. To be successful, we have to “focus on what [we] can give to others, and not what [we] can get.” Author Susan Young claims that an essential business skill is the art of silent listening – mentally slowing down and giving our undivided attention so that we are fully present and in the moment. In other words, don’t talk so much and really listen to what people are saying.Read full post...

Learning all we can — and must

Don’t empty the mailbox (electronic or otherwise) and never stop thinking about what areas of business you’d like to understand better.

I suspect many other people in business face in the same dilemma I face nearly every workday. My inbox is filled with opportunities to participate in classes, seminars, conferences, webinars and more.

Each of these is led by world-renowned experts, proven professionals in their field and industry-recognized leaders. Like me, you may find it very gratifying that these highly respected individuals want to share their latest thinking with you.Read full post...

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