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Archive for January, 2009

Read On And See What The Most Important Word For Me (And Maybe You) Will Be In 2009

Friday, January 30th, 2009

The English language has so many words. So many great words. So many powerful words. I believe the most important word to me and our company is an eight-letter word that starts with an "R". The word is "relevant".

With the economy being so challenging and lots of companies experiencing so many bad things, the companies that are the most relevant will have a strong 2009! And have the best chance to exceed their goals. As part of our core strategy we want and need to be relevant!

In recent company and Omnicom presentations, I stressed that there are four different groups with whom we need to be relevant:

  1. Clients
     
  2. Staff
     
  3. Industry
     
  4. Omnicom

Each of these groups are critical to our success.

With our clients we believe research is a critical component on the road to recovery. We need to be relevant with our clients and ensure our recommendations and insight are flawless.

We need to be relevant with our staff. We need to ensure that we give people the proper training, guidance and ability to do their job.

With the industry we really want to be relevant with articles, conference presentations and being part of committees to move the industry forward.

With Omnicom we want to be relevant and ensure that our company is integrated with the other 200 companies. In addition, we want to deliver insight and recommendations to our brother and sister agencies to put them in a position to be successful with their clients.

So for me, how relevant we are with those four groups will determine our success in 2009.

  • What is your single, most important word for 2009?
     
  • Have you communicated that word and strategy to the company?

I look forward to reading your comments.

How Easy Is Your Life? This Guy Was Very Easy!

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

A few weeks ago I was walking through LaGuardia Airport on my way to my gate when I stopped to get a shoeshine. I sat down and started to speak to this true New Yorker–he wore a Yankee hat, had a big accent and was very talkative (no disrespect to any New Yorkers reading this).

We were having this nice discussion when I asked him, "What time do you get here?" As most of you know I tend to take early flights and today was no different since I was at the Airport before 5am.

He said "I got here a few minutes ago since I live across the street." I was a little surprised and said, "Really…" and before I can say another word, he responded, "I like everything in my life to be easy."

I started to think about the different aspects of living in Dallas and really thinking about "Is it easy?"

Here are five things in my life that are really easy:

  • Traveling to/from work – only 12 miles away
     
  • Flying out of DFW Airport – my office and home are 10 minutes from the airport
     
  • Working out – I have a gym in my office and 1/4 from where I live
     
  • Going to sporting events – great access to/from all the Dallas Stadiums. Rarely have I run into a major traffic jam
     
  • Weather – Wow! How great is the weather without snow?

For me it was very interesting to think about.

  • What is easy in your life?
     
  • What isn’t easy that you would like to be?

I look forward to your comments.

Daddy’s Little Girl — Tell Me…How Much Trouble Am I In?

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Kids are the best. No I mean it. Yes, I realize that my kids will do things that I don’t appreciate like using a Swiffer to clean the outside of my car — nice idea but they left tons of scratches and frankly didn’t really clean the car.

A friend of ours (KW) came over for dinner Monday night and during the conversation said something very interesting. She said "just wait until Morgan is older. Let’s see how you handle that!" I thought about that for awhile and came to the realization that I might be in trouble.

Yes I love all my kids — a ton — but when she looks at me with those big blue eyes, I have this feeling I might give in more than I want to. I might just say yes a lot quicker than I will with her brothers. I wonder if I will dig a little deeper into my pocket for some money, give her the car keys or let her stay out later than her brothers.

I hope as the kids get older we have the same rules across the board, but I have no idea if that will really be the case. Because she is daddy’s little girl!

Even though she is too young to realize it, I am starting to feel it. As you are reading this you are probably understanding that I am the softy in the house. I think to some extent that is right. Maybe I will get a little tougher as I get older – ok probably not.

Ok help me out!

  • How much trouble am I in?
     
  • Do you give daddy’s little girl everything?
     
  • What special things do you do with your daddy’s little girl?

I look forward to reading your comments.

P.S. Do I have to play dolls?

Quiz Time — How Much Do You Know About Texas Stadium And The Dallas Cowboys? (** Contest Closed **)

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

This contest is now closed. Click here for the official leader board and quiz results!
 
As you know, I have gone to a lot of sporting events over the years. I enjoy everything about the experience–from the opening kickoff or pitch, to seeing kids laugh and smile during the game, to seeing a massive home run or slam dunk.

During the last four years I have been to Texas Stadium almost fifty times to see "America’s Team" play. During that time I have seen some amazing games. Last month I had the opportunity to watch the last game at Texas Stadium. The game featured the Dallas Cowboys and the Baltimore Ravens. I wish the outcome was different since the Cowboys didn’t win their last game at Texas stadium.

As a tribute to the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Stadium and their fans all over the world, today’s post is a quiz about the team and the stadium.

The quiz will be timed in case we have a tie. In addition, the questions will be randomly rotated so not everyone will get the same questions.

And who knows what the winner might get?

To take the quiz, click here.

The contest ends at 5:00 PM on February 10.

Good luck to all!

Need A Vacation Spot? How About Adventurous Places?

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

I am trying to figure out vacation spots for next year and stumbled across some wild places. Check these out!

New Beach in Japan:

 
Grand Canyon: THE NEW "Skywalk:"

 
Or rather a theme park?? Maybe in Las Vegas!

 
Or a tennis match in Dubai?

 
Is that too boring, then a mountain tour perhaps?

 
Nothing for you? Biking perhaps?

I apologize if you are a little queasy from looking at those spots. I can tell you I have been on the roller coaster in Las Vegas and without question it was the scariest thing I have ever done.

  • So which is your favorite?
     
  • Have you done any of these things?
     
  • What is the most adventurous vacation you have ever taken?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Attention Researchers: What Sites Do You Visit To Stay Up To Date?

Monday, January 19th, 2009

When I get to work in the morning I usually do the same things: I review my calendar to see what my day (or at least what I know about) has in store for me, I review our revenue and current pipeline and I go online. I will see if any of the Boston sports teams played and what the outcome was (most of the time a win!) Also I will visit a few websites–mostly research related. They include:

The MRGA

The MRA

Quirks

MrWeb

My goal is to stay up to date with happenings in the industry. Because things are changing so quickly these days, I feel this is critical to my job.

  • My question is what websites do you visit?
     
  • What sites give you the most up to date information about our industry?
     
  • What e-newsletters do you subscribe to?

With websites and newsletters popping up everywhere I want to make sure I am as tuned in as I can be and need your help.

I look forward to reading your comments.

No Matter What, Don’t Burn Any Bridges

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Unfortunately a day doesn’t go by where I don’t hear from a contact who is in transition. Because the company went through downsizing, rightsizing or whatever term we are using these days, they are out of a job. Yes those words are very painful to hear, very painful to accept and very scary, given where the economy is these days.

Every week my opinion is solicited from a number of people in transition. Some of my responses are customized and some are standard. The standard comments are: don’t look for a job when you are angry, and you have a right to be upset but you need to get that out of your system prior to looking for your next job. The other thing you need to do is don’t burn any bridges. Hopefully when you left the company you didn’t say anything you will regret later. Clearly going through this for most people is very hard and emotional but it won’t do you any good to trash your old boss or company. Remember this is a very, very small world and things have a way of getting back to people.

I have interviewed a number of people who are so upset and haven’t gotten through the healing process and unfortunately I didn’t really consider them for the position because emotionally they weren’t ready for a new job. I have also heard a number of stories where friends have interviewed people who talked about why they left their prior job and gave lots of negative comments about their boss. Unfortunately, the person conducting the interview knew the boss, which left a bad impression of the applicant, giving them no chance of securing the position.

If you are forced to leave a company, go out with dignity and class. No need to do things you will regret in a few weeks.

  • Have you seen this happen when you interview potential candidates?
     
  • What advice do you have for people who are in transition?

I look forward to your comments.

Taxi Drivers Do It…Do You?

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

A few weeks ago I was in NY and since it was freezing and I am lazy, I was in a number of taxi cabs. As I have mentioned in previous blogs I try and notice everything no matter where I am or what I am doing. This trip was no different. Every time I was in a cab and we were almost at my destination the cabbie asked,

"Would you like me to pick you up later?"

"Do you need a lift tomorrow?"

Since I still have my Boston accent the cabbie assumed at some point I would have a need to go to the airport and a few of them asked, "When are you leaving NY, and do you need a ride to the airport?"

I know many readers might be saying: "So what! What does that have to do with anything? Thanks for the nice boring story!" Well the question is, are any of us like a taxi driver? Think about what they all did. I am a customer of theirs, giving them money so they are generating revenue, and at the end of the trip they are asking for more business. I think it is great and probably works with a lot of customers.

  • When you are finishing up a project for a client do you ask for more business?
     
  • Have you had any success in doing this?
     
  • How proactive is your sales strategy with your current clients?
     
  • Is your company positioned to have more than just new business development people ask for/initiate new business?

I look forward to reading your comments

P.S. I called the taxi driver back on one trip so his strategy worked with me.

Which Company Really Made Their Point With You?

Monday, January 12th, 2009

I try and read USA Today every day. Over the past few months as the economy has been bouncing around from good to bad to real bad I have noticed more and more companies taking out full page ads in USA Today and trying hard to get their messages across. Most of the ads are playing off the economy. Over the past few weeks I began to save these ads and I thought I would share the headlines of the ads with you.

We can’t afford to do without the U.S Auto Industry. Here’s why. — GM

It’s hard for investors to trust anyone right now. So why are so many trusting Schwab? — Charles Schwab

There’s never been a better time for a second opinion. Or a better time to talk to Ameritrade. — Ameritrade

In these Challenging times, Merck is here to help. — Merck

Providing stability. Securing the future. — CITI

The faces you know. The service you trust. — Wachovia

Simplify your holiday travel life. — The Airport Valet

I will admit that some of these ad headlines don’t really work for me. I don’t like the GM ad. I realize the industry is hurting and needs some government help but I prefer positive ads rather than going negative. I really like the Wachovia message. For me it is short, to the point and focuses on service which I really look for in dealing with a company.

  • I am curious which ad really made a difference to you
     
  • Which ad got their message across?
     
  • Did any of the ads make you do something different with the company?
     
  • Which ad do you not like?

I look forward to reading your comments.

What Else Do You Have Names For?

Friday, January 9th, 2009

So there I am flying back to Dallas after an MRA conference and board meeting, minding my own business when this nice lady next to me asks if it is ok if Bertha stays there. Since I was in a row with just the two of us I wasn’t sure what she was talking about.

So I said, "Excuse me what do you mean?"

Again she asked, "Is it ok if Bertha stays there?"

I still wasn’t sure what she was referring to, but this time she points and says, "Oh! I am sorry. My purse, Bertha." After I responded with a hesitated "sure Bertha can stay there", I was wondering if there was a brand of purse named Bertha or did she actually name her purse Bertha? That is exactly what she did: she named her purse Bertha, and the nice lady said Bertha (named after a friend of hers) has traveled all over the world with her.

It gave me a little reason to pause and think about people naming things. Yes people name their stuffed animals or their dolls.

But what other things do people name?

  • Cars?
     
  • House?
     
  • Baseball bat?

What do you have names for?

What about your friends?

I look forward to reading your comments.