ABC, ESPN Sue Each Other for “Inane Infringement”

The traditional media world erupted into an “intellectual property food fight” today as sports network ESPN sued ABC for apparent infringement of its trade secrets.

Allegedly, a low-level staffer in ABC Sports hacked into the ESPN “dumbotron” sports figure interview teleprompter and made off with ESPN’s proprietary inane-answer algorithm for providing idiotic and vacuous answers for sports stars to use.

“We started hearing ‘our’ answers being given by important sports figures like Eli Manning, Alex Rodriguez, and even Elizabeth Cuthbert” (2005 Division IV-B Women’s Squash champion), according to ESPN President George Bodenheimer. “In fact, just last week, (former coach) Mike Shanahan said his team was going to ‘take it one game at a time,’ and that the season for the Denver Broncos was ‘one game long at this point.’ That ‘one game’ thingie is ours, and so is the phrase, ‘our best offense is a great offense’ which ABC shamelessly ripped off in an interview with (former) Detroit Lions coach Rod Marinelli last week.”

Chris BermanIn retaliation, ABC Sports counter-sued ESPN, claiming that its pool of shallow and purposeless interview questions was compromised through a devious plot by Chris Berman. “As much as I respect Chris, I just know he fed his fellow professional sportscasters our secret bank of questions such as, ‘How do you feel about winning against your former team today?’ and ‘What was it like out there?’” fumed George Bodenheimer, head of ABC Sports. “When that ditzy blonde chick asked LeBron, ‘Is winning against an inferior/superior opponent like (blank) a great feeling?’ it was a dead giveaway that they’d ripped us off big time.”

ABC lawyer Sam Berkowitz summed up the determination of the network to vanquish its rival by stating, “It’s all or nothing out there right now. We’re going to sue our hearts out and leave it all on the docket. This is our time, this is our courthouse, and we’re going to win it in the trenches. It’s going to be a team effort, and we’re going to take it to the next level.”

Mr. Bodenheimer appeared momentarily stunned in an interview when he was informed that ABC actually owns ESPN, and that he heads up both networks. “Heck, it’s a game of endurance, you know, and the best network is always the one that knows its opponent well. How do I feel about suing myself, and taking down 2 head coaches in the crossfire? Well, we got outplayed and outcoached out there. We’re just going to come back and sue another network next week. And…hey, that teleprompter’s out! Ummm…er…ah…no further comment…”

(Previous StickyFigure spoofs)

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Peace of Mind, Guaranteed

billsavittYesterday, for no apparent discernible reason, I said something to my wife about “P.O.M.G.”

For those of us who grew up in Central Connecticut a few decades back, that’s “Peace of Mind, Guaranteed.” A tagline and acronym relentlessly pounded into our impressionable little brains in the 60′s and 70′s by Savitt Jeweler’s in Hartford (hey! – Google has just helped me discover that they’re still around!)

Bill Savitt rode that expression on the radio and TV airwaves for years. And here, many decades later, never having gone to Savitt’s for anything, or thought about them in forever, the tagline still sticks.

Do you doubt the power of a great tagline, reinforced through repetition? Don’t. Put your creative juices to work trying to create a hook that will endure. You’ll gain a piece of mind. Guaranteed.

(Some interesting backstory on Bill Savitt, and image credit)

???? in the Morning – Year-end

sands-treeThe mostly-regular Five in the Morning posts which have populated this spot over the past few months and THRILLED readers with life-changing value and profound insights (while providing me with fame, fortune, and pre-carpal tunnel syndrome), will be somewhat irregular over the next couple of weeks whilst Christmas cheer and New Year’s observances are indulged.

In other words, you might see a few Fives, or you might not. It was nice sleeping in this morning…

From StickyFigure and his far better half with the far better figure, warm holiday wishes to you and yours!

Five in the Morning 121908

This week, I had the privilege of hanging out in Richmond for an evening with blogging co-conspirator Doug Meacham. He also agreed to be the first guest host for a Five in the Morning guest post, and you’ll like the result! So here is today’s Five in the Morning, over at the Doug’s Next Up blog!

Five in the Morning 121808

Blah blah blah Sponsored Blog Posts blah blah blah. OK, this horse has been flogged pretty heavily over the past week, but what I like most about this post by Ron Miller is the series of comments underneath. The discussion. And one important take-away is this: as we all learn, evolve, and try new things (like a fully-disclosed sponsored post) in social media, let’s allow our preconceived notions to be challenged a bit, instead of jumping down each others’ throats with knee-jerk Right/Wrong pronouncements…in this light, I also think Shannon Paul has some very interesting perspectives (The Tao of Social Media).

Peter Kim gives a very helpful 22-point list of social media tools (with usage examples for each), joined with an encouragement to just get started!

Speaking of tools, Jacob Morgan lists out Tools and Metrics for Monitoring Social Media Success. Nice.

Ten Advertising Words to Avoid. Actually, this is a very good reminder for a lot of writing, even blog posts. If you want to be free to be that which you really can be, take the opportunity to consider the synergy of drinkability and you’ll be a better writer, guaranteed!

Matt Dickman discusses a Best and a Worst new-ish Twitter service. I agree with his assessments.

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Five in the Morning 121708

Let’s go visual today:

Logo fan? I am – great logo design is wonderful (and awful logo design is…well, awful!). Vote for some faves here at LogoFaves.

CrazyLeaf Design Blog presents the Most Beautiful Websites of 2008. Some real tasty stuff here. Grab a cuppa joe and explore! Dara’s Garden is very sweet. Here’s an interesting one from a content perspective also: BlogSolid.

A tongue-in-cheek tagline for a company/website that works – Don’t Hire us if you Want Average. Nice.

Also from aforementioned CrazyLeaf folks – Best Design Resources of November 2008. Especially nice for you web/blog designer types.

Classic LIFE images hosted by Google. You’ll recognize some of these iconic photos. Neat old stuff included.

PLUS – Haven’t had the privilege of meeting Todd Defren yet. But my opinion of him just went up 5 notches. And of his wife…6 notches! Very touching post.

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Zero in the Morning

Sorry, folks. Feeling sick, and too many other demands, to put up a “Five in the Morning” post today. Hopefully be back tomorrow!

Five in the Morning 121508

5-lit-upSocial Media Predictions 2009 – a bunch of them from top bloggers, all consolidated in one free download! Cool. Thanks for the link, Joe Jaffe!

Writer’s Toolbox – 35 best tools for writing online. You’ll be familiar with a bunch in the top half of the list, but the second half has some less familiar resources.

Brands don’t belong on Twitter! Brands absolutely do belong on Twitter! Point – counterpoint, from the Mashable blog. What do you think?

ROI and Social Media. Here’s an interesting take, from the training world – a 4-point framework for measurement, based on Kirkpatrick (I’ve been involved in the training industry for years, so this is an interesting spin). From Mel Aclaro. Plus, is it easier to measure ROI from social media as opposed to traditional media? Thought-provoking post from Jacob Morgan.

Chris Brogan addresses the whole blow-up over sponsored advertising on a blog post. Really, folks, take a deep breath. The guy practices full disclosure, he experiments with new methods for advancing on-line business – what’s the problem here? Are we chasing some mythical ideal of the pure Oracle (sorry, Larry Ellison – not your Oracle) that will speak to us from on high with no taint of personal bias, no worldly interests, no brushes with the horrible and impure practice of commerce? If that’s what you’re looking for, then you’re after some Kool-Aid that you’re not going to find anywhere in the blogosphere – or on planet Earth, for that matter. Social media (or any type of media outlet) is not populated with angelic beings practicing “pure” journalism, “pure” conversation, or “pure” anything else. I have enough to keep busy striving toward some level of personal purity of heart, let alone imposing unrealistic expectations of “purity” on other bloggers. Sheesh…!

PLUS – an example of clear communications (under 140 characters!) from a 7-year old.

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Five in the Morning 121208

Story vs. Slogan. Some thoughts on the relative effectiveness of stories vs taglines, from Spike Jones (riffing off a recent Chip and Dan Heath article). Now I’m a both-and kinda guy. Both are potentially powerful ways to transmit and embed a message. A good story and (as Jay Ehret would say) a good tagline together.

OK, so keeping on that theme, David Reich asks if Rudeness is Good Marketing. Including story. Plus, here’s a nightmare customer “service” story for you – from Anne Simons at Brandeo. AT&T really doesn’t want you to leave, without more scars in more places! My tagline to sum it up: I’m in no mood for your rude. OK, so maybe the stories are more effective…

Most E-mailed News. All on one page. Pretty nifty. Hat tip: The Swiss Miss.

I know, I know…it’s so 3 weeks ago. But I figured I had one final word to put in on Personal Branding. Actually, two words. Can Personal Branding be summarized with only 2 words? Tell me what you think.

Using social media to put out the fire (with Scott Monty at Ford as an example). From Noah Mallin.

PLUS – some brief, straightforward common sense from John JantschSocial Media is a Tool, It’s not a Religion. Refreshing.

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You – Projected.

Over the past few weeks, there has been some blabbing going on over the social media networks about Personal Branding. I won’t attempt to re-hash it all here – a prior post on MarketingProfs Daily Fix gave a bit of a summary, with some of my thoughts on the subject.

I don’t question the concept of personal branding. I think the idea is valid and valuable. But semantics and varying definitions can confound the discussion.

projectorMy feeling is that if a concept is valid, we should be able to distill it down to a very few words that capture it well. So, with personal branding, here is my take. Two words. You – Projected.

Having narrowed it down, now let’s blow out each word a bit:

You – the real you. Not some faux image you want to project. Not some imitation. If it ain’t authentic, it’s worthless as a “personal brand.”

You – all of you. Not merely your words or pictures, but your personality, your tastes, your values, your thoughts, and your experiences. The most powerful personal brands create attachment because people gravitate toward whole people they can relate to.

You – unfolding over time. All brands take time to establish themselves, and there is an evolving process of growth and expression. The more that others see you over a long stretch of time, the more strongly your brand will make its imprint.

Projected – pro-actively. Personal brands can “just happen” I guess, but anyone involved in any kind of branding knows that you need to actively put forward your identity. I won’t go into the myriad of ways in which this is accomplished; just note that building a personal brand, like building anything, is not a passive endeavor.

Projected – accurately. If you’re a down-to-earth person, then writing blog posts with flowery Victorian language (even if well-crafted) will not be an accurate projection. The person you “see” in a picture, an avatar, a profile, a series of tweets, and on a blog must be the very person you meet in a restaurant.

Projected – by others. Here’s your reputation. Ultimately, the power of a personal brand multiplies when you have a great reputation among others. And when others actually do have an accurate knowledge of you, and word-of-mouth you to others, your brand is on its way to being well-established.

As simply as I can explain it, that’s a personal brand (at least from my perspective). What do you think?

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Five in the Morning 121108

John Moore (Brand Autopsy) begins a series sharing thoughts from Inside Drucker’s Brain (IDB Project). Intro here, first post here.

27 Practical Ideas that will Transform Every Organization. Distilled wisdom from Tom Peters.

The Catchup Lady breaks up with UmbrellaToday.com. Why? Well, you just gotta deliver the goods…

Kirsten Wright shares the ABCs of creativity. Well, 25 of them. Can anyone help her with “x”?

Blogger’s Choice winners for Open Web Awards. Actually, that post isn’t terribly interesting, now that I look at it. So why not visit Olivier Blanchard‘s rant on business cards?

PLUS – Are these folks just amazingly creative, or do they simply have too much time on their hands? Either way, it’s cute, and worth 1 minute and 20 seconds of your time! And while we’re at strange on-line holiday celebrations, have some fun Destroying a Fruitcake.

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Illinois: Blags-to-Riches FAIL

(Chicago, IL) The ongoing investigation of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich took a startling turn today, when it was revealed that his original intention was to “sell” Senator Barack Obama’s Senate seat to a prominent blogger, thereby creating the first “virtual senator” in American history.

Blagojevich Corruption Probe“I was jealous, OK?” snapped the Governor, when confronted about the Blags-to-Riches scheme. “Obama had so much success with social media, that I figured I’d one-up him by sending – well, sort of sending – the first virtual legislator to Washington.

“Who cares about Illinois? This is about legacy, man!”

Rumors circulated that Blago had narrowed his choices down to well-known liberal blogger Arianna Huffington, and Instapundit’s conservative Glenn Reynolds. Bidding was fierce for the seat, including Arianna’s Lear Jet, a llama farm, and the entire University of Tennessee system (excluding the football them, as that might be a conflict of interest with the Fighting Illini).

The scheme unravelled when spurned blogger Andrew Sullivan leaked word of the bidding after his PayPal account was maxed out and his candidacy fell by the wayside.

Informed by the Chicago Tribune (whose bid was also thwarted by a chapter 11 filing) that nominating a candidate from another state that would only cast votes via Twitter might actually be against the rules, the Governor looked back blankly and said, “Rules? You mean there are rules?”

(Previous StickyFigure spoofs)

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Five in the Morning 121008

Lists, lists, lists. It’s that time of year – lots of Top 10s. Louis Gray has a nice summary of Top 2008 web services (and their prognosis for 2009). Meanwhile, Rick Turoczy at ReadWriteWeb sums up the Top 10 Consumer web apps of 2008 (quite diff list from Louis’). And then, of course, there’s Time.com‘s Top 10 Everything of 2008. Plan on spending some time here…

Should bloggers/social media types self-promote? Mack Collier started up this discussion. I also chimed in, as did Lisa Hoffmann. Read the posts and the comments – what do you think?

Matt Dickman with some thoughts on HR in the age of Social Media.

Not Everyone likes Coffee. Consider your audience and their tastes as you serve “your stuff” up. Good thoughts from Jon Swanson over at Levite Chronicles. (Jon – strong! Cream and a little sugar…).

The Only Important Thing is….what??? You’ll have to let Doug Meacham tell you!

PLUS – Sarah sold me on Opera – sorta. How one voice can bring you into a new genre. AND – this Spouse 2.0 concept is just bizarre. Really. Don’t do it!

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Sarah Sold Me on Opera – Sorta

It was a business trip many years ago, at a conference in Denver. Having some downtime one evening, I wandered into a record store, and killed time scanning through various CDs that I had no intention of buying.

Then I heard it. Or rather, her. A voice that could stop a rampaging bull, and that absolutely stopped me in my tracks.

One of those young twenty-something clerks with odd hair and piercings fortuitously came up and asked if he could help. “Who is that??” I asked, pointing up toward unseen speakers.

sarah-brightman“Oh, that’s Sarah Brightman. She’s awesome – just saw her in concert recently.”

The album was Eden. The song was “Deliver Me.” And I did something I almost never do – just bought something spontaneously based on a very small “sample” of the goods.

Now the odd thing about Sarah Brightman is that she does stuff ranging from pop to semi-classical to opera – all jumbled together on the same disc. And I hate opera. Yet after one stroll through Eden, I was hooked – and I have quite a collection of Sarah’s music now. It was a pop song that got me started; then, having become a fan of Sarah, my mind slowly opened to a new form of music.

I’m still not that much into opera, but I enjoy it more than I used to. I needed to develop an attachment to an individual in order to start to appreciate a genre.

And that, I think, is how people will come to appreciate and use community networking approaches like social media tools. They will start with one person who impresses them, with one approach that appeals. Then the thing will open up over time. Your “voice” may well open up new worlds for others, one note at a time. Sing.

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“Why Don’t They Get It/Me/Us?”

Mack Collier has started a good discussion on his blog (The Viral Garden) about the use, or non-use, of self-promotion among social media types.

Now I’m against blatant, obnoxious, noisy self-promotion by any person or company. Hate it. But I’m all for prominent, “sticky”, clear, and repeated communications by any person or company about what they do. Because most of us are in business, and new business doesn’t happen if people don’t have a clear grasp of what you have to offer.

I’m going to use Mack as an example, because he’s a good sport, and by putting up this post, he’s “asking for it!” It takes 3 fairly involved clicks on Mack’s blog to get a grasp of what he does for his living, and even when you reach the post where he explains his social media consulting, it’s really not clear what types of companies he is aiming for, and what exact and tangible deliverables he has in mind.

Let’s just say (I’m making this up) that Mack was aiming to be the top social media we’ll-get-you-started-in-this-brave-new-world for, let’s say, retail organizations (I do believe in having a defined focus and niche whenever possible). Then it would be great if, prominent right on the sidebar as you come onto the Viral Garden, there was a summary paragraph such as: “Mack Collier helps retail organizations navigate the uncharted waters of social media by applying community-building strategies that lead to higher sales.” Or something like that. And then had it on his footer on blog posts. And on e-mails.

You see, it’s not enough to say you’re a _______ consultant. I’m a pharmaceutical consultant, but that could mean a lot of things. In particular, I have developed a unique network to help pharmaceutical training organizations find optimal suppliers for outsourced training development needs. But here is the ironic thing – though I have blogged about this for 2.5 years, sent out a weekly e-newsletter, sought to explain the business model numerous times through words, graphics, video, analogies (“I’m the living eHarmony of pharma training… I’m a matchmaker/broker…” etc.) …people STILL often don’t get it! I regularly have to explain it “live” before the light goes on. Why??

It’s because what I do doesn’t really matter to them, until it does. Our limited attention bandwidth is totally absorbed with the immediate and day-to-day. My business model is irrelevant to people 99.9% of the time. However, if I have self-promoted (or, if you prefer, self-explained) effectively, regularly, and added value without being obnoxious, enough of the message sinks through for that critical phone call, e-mail, or referral, when the time is ripe. We HAVE to promote ourselves effectively and winsomely in a very noisy market, and explain over and over again what we do and how we do it, if we want to gain business.

Of course, I’d be happy to refer Mack, or a bunch of the rest of you talented folks I’ve met via Twitter and blogging (my entire business is built on referrals) – but I can only do so if I have a clear grasp of what you do, so that if the need arose with one of my clients, your “metadata” is stored in my noggin. That’s effective marketing 101. That’s self-promotion. And it’s more than OK. It’s absolutely necessary!

Also see Lisa Hoffmann’s take here.

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Now on AllTop

alltop_125x1251StickyFigure has been added to the AllTop directory of sites, under the Social Media and Branding categories!

Thanks, Guy and Neenz!

Five in the Morning 120908

Negative PR in advertising travels fast! Just ask Dr. Pepper (from USA Today – hat tip to @prsarahevans)

Will MLM kill Twitter? What do you think so? I doubt it, but some interesting points made nonetheless. From Karl Long.

Fun - Superlist of what NOT to do in Social Media. Courtesy of Robin Broitman at IIG. On the flip side, Lee Odden shares 26 tips on being Social Media Smart.

Thank you very much for the link, Mike Sansone. Now THIS is how to search for that perfect image in Flickr!!!

How do you compare with other Twitter users? Jeremiah Owyang brings out some very interesting stats from HP Lab’s research on Twitter use.

BONUS – As a rule I don’t watch long videos on the web, in particular not 15-minute ones. Yet, very late one night, when unable to fall back asleep, I stumbled across this one on Cheryl Smith‘s site, and it captured my attention. The message continues to resonate in my mind and heart. It may seem hokey the first few minutes, but stick with it. You may need, as I did, a reminder about the importance of Validation.

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Five in the Morning 120808

green5Upgrade your brainstorming! Paul Williams over at MarketingProfs Daily Fix shows us how.

Does your brand pass the CUB test? From the good folks at Brand Aid.

Right on, Target. One smart little move by Target makes a better shopping experience – and earns them more cash.

Buyology. Ivana Taylor reviews an interesting-sounding book on why we buy.

You’re read about the Zappos (shoe retailer) social media success story. Now, take a pictorial tour of HQ, courtesy of Guy Kawasaki. Never seen nothin’ like this before!!

OVERDOSE ON WOODRUFF BONUS – if you missed it at the end of the last week, the latest StickyFigure spoof: Social Media Museum has Bloggers All A-Twitter. Plus, on my personal blog (Steve’s Leaves), a Sunday Muse: Finding Grace. (And, Ann Handley just told me that my new MarketingProfs Daily Fix post is up: I’M PURSUING (niche) DOMINATION! This is probably the only time you’ll have a “Five in the Morning” trifecta – Woodruff links on three different blogs…)

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Right on, Target

target-logo1I’m a guy, so understand that I can be dumb at times. Like, going into Target today to buy a couple of things. How ridiculous is that concept? Everyone knows that if you go to Target, you automatically have to count on buying at least 2, if not 3 times what you intended.

Anyway, intending to just pick up my couple of pre-planned items, I did not grab one of those hand-held shopping baskets (let alone a cart – guys don’t do carts for little runs like this!). Needless to day, before I ever got to the items I needed, I already had an arm full of two bulky things I didn’t know I needed, and my cash-and-carry bandwidth was about to be exceeded.

Here is where Target is very smart.

There, far away from the front or the registers, was one of those containers holding the shopping baskets! In fact, sprinkled throughout the store, just for dunces like me, were these handy outposts. A small touch. But very smart!

Why? Because now I could spend even more – and I did (yes, you can picture my wife rolling her eyes when I came in the door). More carry, more cash for Target – and I was happy too. Yet how many stores make you walk all the way back to get a basket or cart, putting up a barrier to extracting maximum dollars from you? Because I don’t believe I would have spent as much had that basket not been right where I needed it. Right on, Target. You know your shoppers.

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Social Media Museum has Bloggers all A-Twitter!

(Austin, TX) Today marks the opening of the long-awaited Social Media Museum (SoMeMe), a new mecca for worldwide networkers to come and gawk at really wOOty stuff that has fed into the historic Soc Med revolution.

conniereece1Curator Connie Reece, resplendent in a new pink-on-pink outfit financed by the Republican National Committee, cut a symbolic pink boa to mark the grand opening. Thousands of bloggers and tweeters attended virtually by watching a video stream from Jay Ehret‘s pate-mounted camera phone.

“This is a dream come true!” gushed Connie, fumbling with her smartphone to try to text message iJustine about the event. Matt Dickman quickly took over that task, with his patented “two-fisted Blackberry” technique, uploading a live HD podcast. “I can’t thank all the contributing bloggers enough, especially CB Whittemore, who picked out the carpet and cleaned the bathrooms, and Director Tom Clifford, who wore that cool beret, played 70′s rock tunes, and directed us while we did the work!”

“Wait ’til everyone sees what we’ve got here! In the Welcome Center, we have a continuous 45-second loop of Guy Kawasaki answering the question, ‘What is a blog?’, just the thing for nOObs stumbling in here with their postage stamps and FAX machines. Plus, we have a ‘Guess that blogger?’ Shel game for those who aren’t yet immersed in our superstar A-list rockstars.”

A continuous feed of Wine Library TV runs in the restrooms, with Gary Vaynerchuk bringing the thunder 24/7 to a captive audience. “And check this out over here!” Connie beamed. “It’s the Ike Pigott Personal Brand Exhibit, where visitors can assemble their own faux personal brand on-line and walk out with a keepsake avatar!”

soc-med-museumSpeaking of personal branding, the kids have not been neglected. In the Dan Schawbel Personal Branding nursery, young ones are schooled in the art of establishing their Generation-whatever brand right from the get-go, while toddler care in the Jibber-Jobber-Jr. room was designed by Jason Alba to help the little ones start planning their careers right away, complete with a complimentary on-line profile.

“And I’m so proud of ‘Shannon’s Slapshooters’, our special chick-blogger room featuring inspirational video-casts by Shannon Paul, Amanda Gravel, Beth Harte, Charissa Cowart, Lucretia Pruitt, and other luminaries of the fairer gender. We tried to get a wax statue of Arianna Huffington in here, but had to settle for the Ann Handley padded bench recliner.”

John Moore’s Brand Autopsy room promises to be a big draw, where John (and other guest bloggers) will dissect the branding and marketing efforts of various hapless organizations as a special hourly feature. In addition, Robert Scoble‘s upcoming trip to Mars to throw a blanket over the formerly-tweeting Phoenix explorer and mount a super-secret Nokia Nscoble camera phone on its robotic arm will be prominently featured, along with a 3-d hologram of the immortal Matt Bacak.

The Ancient History wing will feature such kewl exhibits as Jason Calcanis‘ blog, a life-sized Fail Whale, Mack Collier‘s modem (oh, wait – that’s contemporary), and a stuffed Pownce.

fail-whale-tshirtA final stop for visitors will be the Armano Blogger Wear and Hat shop, where the latest soc med fashions will be prominently displayed on life-sized avatars. A karaoke stage will also be set up in case the Catchup Lady ever visits.

For directions, just consult Douglas Karr‘s BrightKite posts.

———

(Previous StickyFigure spoofs)

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I am not a “Salesman”

For two decades, my primary professional role was Sales. Yes, I did marketing as well, and some biz dev strategic stuff, and some management, but my primary role was getting business.

I succeeded. And never felt comfortable doing it.

used-car-salesmanI’d see “real” salespeople – folks who could establish rapport at the drop of the hat, or relentlessly drive a deal to its conclusion, or blast past yearly quotas by July, and I’d feel thoroughly inferior. Yet there I was, in Sales (ummm…high-end healthcare stuff, not like the guy you see over to the right!)

Over time, I came to realize that my discomfort stemmed from a mis-match – pushing a product, or hitting numbers, or winning a deal, simply didn’t drive me. I want to help people. I want to think things through, and solve problems. I care more about telling the truth than making the sale. I am an analyzer, not a promoter; a native introvert, not a schmoozer.

But, people bought from me because they trusted me. So I succeeded anyway. Until hitting the wall and finally admitting to myself, “I’m not a Salesman.”

This was a liberating realization. Now I could be free to tap into what I truly was – a problem solver. A resource-finder. A connector. A consultant. And I decided to go off on my own and create my own job/role/company built around precisely those things.

Can I sell? Actually, yes. I can be very persuasive. People listen to me and follow my advice – not because I’m a promoter, but because I’m a listener and a problem-solver. And is there a place in this shark-infested business world for someone who wants to help other people, for someone who cares about doing what’s right, for someone who wants to build a network in order to do good?

Yes, there is. And that’s why I’m sharing this. Are you mis-matched in your role, driven by something other than what that job requires? Get honest – don’t be afraid to look in the mirror and say, “I’m not a….” Then work on identifying who/what you really are, what your value-add truly is.

Perhaps you can make a new professional life for yourself. It’s worth the effort, time, and risk. And if you do it, let me know if I’ve “sold” you!

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Five in the Morning 120508

The Brand Chef is a Jerk! Hey, I didn’t say it, Andrew Clark did – and he’s the Brand Chef! Making the best of an awkward networking reach-out…

When 2 companies merge that have disparate brands, does it make sense to smoosh them into one? Or is there a middle ground, preserving 2 brands within a company? The NameWire guys are wondering about Qantas and British Airways. My take – keep the two identities, but create a subtle “flag” identity that overarches both (“part of the Imperialistic Empire Airline Group…”)

Straight from the mind of Armano (sounds like an ad for and Italian suit designer, I know…). The Paradox of Please. Take 45 seconds and absorb. Brilliant.

As promised, CB Whittemore has launched a series on Bridging the Old and the New with Social Media. First up: Mack Collier. Having met both of these individuals, I wholeheartedly recommend that you follow them on their blogs and via Twitter. Good people.

Lead Yourself. Valeria Maltoni on Dr. Srikumar Rao, with video included. And you know what I said above about CB and Mack? Same for Valeria. Good people.

The guys from Heath (Chip and Dan) take on sloganeering in Fast Company. Are your taglines and slogans made to stick, or made to stink??

Ever wonder if you really belong in your role? My personal confession: I am not a Salesman.

OK, time for a little Friday fun. Happy skies, part 1, part 2Really bad timingTemplar University (great for enhancing your personal brand!)

Don’t forget to Be Happy today (look at the collateral effects!)

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Five in the Morning 120408

If you Twitter, you’re probably wondering about some of the potentially “corrupting” trends. Here, Paul Chaney opens up a discussion about Twitter automation – as you’ll see in the comments, I am not in entire agreement. What do you think?? (btw, if you’re not following Paul, you should be: @pchaney)

Want to do free press releases? Dana Willhoit has the list of sites that do just that for you!

Tom Peters recommends two books on Design.

Robert Lesser talks us through Lead Generation using Web 2.0 approaches. From MarketingProfs Daily Fix blog.

Demogirl – now this is a cool service, pointed out by Greg Verdino. Quick, distilled “how-to” screencasts. Good, basic, useful implementation.

Extras – today only! Click before midnight and get 2 links for the price of 1!!!

Say – what does Steve Woodruff/@swoodruff/StickyFigure actually sound like? Find out! Four bloggers share in the latest AOC2 podcast.Thanks to Jay Ehret, @themarketingguy!

Hot off the blog presses – 40 Ways to Deliver Killer Blog Content. From Chris Brogan. Here’s my #41 – Aggregate Information that People Want.

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Five in the Morning 120308

Me Me Me Me Me Me Me. Maybe it should be called Social Usdia. Read a good one by Gennefer Snowfield. Then have a chuckle with Ike Pigott (who is one of my favorite tweeters of keen insight mixed with humor).

Yet another top marketing blogs list – but this one has some pretty neat-o caricatures, so well worth a scan!

Who are your yacht buyers? Interesting thoughts for difficult times, from the fun and friendly Steve Roesler (guest-posting on Drew McLellan’s blog). Oh, and if you missed it, some good stuff from Jason Falls on using social media for listening. Please, nobody tell Drew that while he’s been gone on vacation and having guests post, that THEY’re getting all the Five in the Morning traction…

Your Customer Really is King. From Inside-the-big-enterprise-company blogger Kelly Feller.

Dissing blogging – worth a thought-provoking read. However, this author has such a narrow view of the value of blogging (equating it with journalism), and such a lack of understanding of the connection-building power of blogging as a component of the various forms of social media, that I think it’s safe to say that he MISSES THE POINT. What think you? And, if dissing blogging isn’t enough for today, Valleywag disses Twitter (company and platform). Actually, some valid points are made here. We who are in the microblogging community have to be careful not to have an overly-inflated view of what we’re doing, and seek to avoid patting ourselves (and each other) on the back so much that we forget to add value to others…but here’s a brief business success story as counterbalance. And read about this upcoming series from fellow North Jersey blogger CB Whittemore, on bridging the New and the Old with Social Media.

FUN BONUS – Top 10 People to Unfollow on Twitter. From someone I’ve followed for a long time (and wouldn’t consider unfollowing unless he morphed into one of these clowns), Shannon Whitley.

And finally, a question for you readers. What are the blogs/sites you find most helpful, that perhaps would be Five-worthy? – and specifically, I’m thinking business/entrepreneur/inspirational sites that aren’t necessary known much inside our social media “bubble.” Would like to continue to expand our universe of worthy and helpful voices…(leave a comment with suggestions – thanks!)

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Five in the Morning 120208

Growing your Twitter audience. How Jim Conolly did it. What do you think of that big number and the rapid pace? Realistic for most people? (I don’t think so. I’m at 700 with a steady, organic process after about 9 months, and wouldn’t want to go faster…). And, branching off on that theme, what do you think of the “popularity contest” aspect of social media (from Jenn Schooley)?

The Uncertain Future of Blogging? I’m not buying some of the premises here. What do you think?

Twitter 201 – Lessons recently learned from more intense Twittering during Mumbai crisis. From Connie Reece.

If you followed my series a while back on the MetaMee concept, this article on federation/aggregation of web/social media services will make a lot of sense to you. And so will this iPhone app.

Fun: The BrandFlakesforBreakfast gift guide. Get some creative ideas here! From those Plaid folks.

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