Category Archives: Brain Candy

What’s to Learn from The Cheesy Google Chrome “Coffee” Commercial

I’m not sure how we got on this topic, but a client and I got to talking about the series of Google Chrome Commercials that have been out lately.  I haven’t seen this “Coffee” commercial – I have seen the one with the dad and the daughter who goes away to college and misses him.  It’s called “Jess Time” .

I took the time to watch it and was struck by how they were able draw you in with the emotional story and show you all the cool Google Chrome features in the space of a couple of minutes.

So let’s deconstruct this little piece of film to see how to improve that next presentation.

  1. Focused objective drives the video — what do we want to feature and show people?  What does my product or service DO?  What circumstances would best illustrate the features and benefits of the product.
  2. Got characters.  The first thing you’ll notice is that you are introduced to Jen and Mark right away.
  3. Specific circumstance.  The next main ingredient is the specific circumstance they find themselves in — notice it’s one most of us have been in as well.  So it’s not just a circumstance, it’s a shared emotional experience.
  4. Relevant music.  The soundtrack is there to support the emotion and fills in for all the words that AREN’T printed anywhere – but you hear them.
  5. Few words – lots of pictures and videos.  This is a video that didn’t require a huge amount of production.  In fact it primarily used still photos and a few videos that you could have put together yourself.
  6. Demonstrated features inside of real applications — How many times have we made the mistake of getting caught up in the features and what they can do — without focusing on the applications or real life circumstances that will allow us to use these features.  Granted, there aren’t too many people who would take that much time or effort to rescue a relationship via a document, but remember that wasn’t the point.  The point was to illustrate how something works inside of your life.

And then there’s the spoof…

One barometer of how good something is or how well it touches an emotional trigger is whether or not people parody it.  Since we only heard Mark’s side of the story, you might think Jen should give the poor schmuck another chance — but what’s Jen’s side of the story — take a look at this.



Transition Your Position by Encouragement

This is a guest post by Derrick Hayes


How did I get here? Why do I do the things I do? These are two important questions that we sometimes never look into. Are you a freshman in business trying to avoid the sophomore or jinx that could arrive.?

No matter who you are or where you are in life, we all have to make transitions to new positions. The way in which you move forward will impact lives for generations to come.

From this day on I want you to take a look within and search for greatness. I was inspired to present you with a 6 step process called S.E.A.R.C.H., so that with every transition you will be placed in a better position.

The S is for School. One of the greatest transitions that you can ever make is when you decide to go to school. You have the chance to not only choose a college or university, but also to declare a major. The more in life you learn can increase what you earn. There are two things that people will always pay, and they are what you know and what you show. Take it upon yourself to learn as much as you can and give back even more.

The E is for Experiences. The second transition that you can make is to get some experience. Don’t wait until you get out of school in order to see if you have chosen the right career path. While competition is fierce for internships and co-ops you can find great opportunities by networking with friends, family and alumni. The knowledge you have gained only becomes powerful when you place it in the right occupation that can make the most of your abilities.

The A is for Adjustments. After you take what you learn and apply it you get to truly find out what you are good at. Make a mental list of your strengths and weaknesses in and outside the classroom. See what adjustments you can make now and the ones that you can make later so that you can improve. Success in life is about making adjustments.

The R is for Resume. One of the biggest mistakes that we can make is not to resume what we started. Making adjustments are important but staying focused and never quitting has even greater significance. Resume your life. Resume your education. Resume your career. If you stand still long enough your opportunities will begin fill with dust and rust. If you ever find yourself in this position, give that complacency a shake off so that you can take off.

The C is for Confidence. When you keep moving in life and don’t let the little things turn into big things it will give you confidence. The opportunity to believe and be successful with each transition is available to you right now. Ask the people around you what makes them successful? If you see that no one around you is successful then you need to socialize with some new people. When you have confidence doors will not just open, but stay open.

The H is for Happiness. Confidence breeds happiness. When you are happy and walk into a place people will see a smile on your face. Have you seen the movie The Pursuit of Happyness? In the movie the father tells the son, “Never let anyone steal your dream.” Most of us give our dreams away.

What makes you happy and what can you share to make a difference? S.E.A.R.C.H. for the answers and your next transition will lead you to a better position

Derrick Hayes is the Author of 1 WORD Is All It Takes, Creator of Derricknyms, Developer of the app Motivation To Your Mobile, Nominator of Today’s Honoree, and blogs at the Encouragement Speaker.

Everything Old is New Again: Should We Bring Blog Carnivals Back?

I’m blown away by the speed at which online media changes.

Yesterday I participated in a Blog Carnival.  Basically this is how bloggers build traffic and comments to their sites when they first get started.  It used to be very popular “back in the day” — which was about five or six years ago.  CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE THAT?

“Back then” all the big names were having these blog carnivals.  Those people have grown their brand and their readership lists and are now “over” the whole blog carnival thing.  But there are millions of newbies out there who have yet to understand the power and the fun of blog carnivals.

Did I say that blog carnivals help you build traffic and readership for your blog or site?  I’m saying it again if I didn’t. I’m not sure why the people I interact with don’t talk or do blog carnivals so much, but it’s still a powerful tool — especially if you’re new to the online marketing world.

Here’s an updated primer on blog carnivals

  1. Have a blog. It helps to have a blog, otherwise, why bother.
  2. Participate in a blog carnival. Check out  It’s a great place to start learning about carnivals and participating in one.  Don’t try to host one until you’ve participated.
  3. You troll the blogs in your subject area and find ones you like.  You invite them to participate in the carnival.  That part is easy.  Then it gets a little sticky.
  4. Find a niche in and submit your article. That’s really all there is to that.  In fact the hardest thing will be finding a niche you want to participate in.
  5. Read the posts. Then you go over to the other posts and read their articles, post comments, etc.  It’s a great way to meet people and build relationships

The next thing you’d want to do is look at hosting your own blog carnival.  My new friend Tea Silvestre did just that and added some new twists to her #wordcarnival by adding a free converence line so that you can participate even if you’re not at Twitter.  I can honestly say I hadn’t thought of that.

It was a smart and cozy group and I was happy to meet some wonderful, creative folks.

Hmmm.  Maybe I’ll participate in some more blog carnivals from now on.

It’s Not About the Hair They Cut Off – It’s About How Much They Leave Behind

I’ve just come back from the hairdresser’s and NO – it doesn’t look as bad as this picture.  In fact, my hair looks fantastic!  The woman who cuts and colors it is wonderful and she loves what she does.  We both love to explore new looks and try new things.  (Again — I don’t look like this picture) :)

I’ve decided to let my hair grow out a bit and that means that she didn’t cut very much off.   She did color it and style it and use all kinds of great product on it — so the actual hair cutting was a very small part of the process.

And yet…..

I’m noticing that I feel like if I didn’t have a MAJOR change to my look  – like say color my hair BLUE!  I don’t feel like it was worth the price.

What is UP with that?!

Would I feel like I got more of my money’s worth if she’d cut all my hair off?  NO

Would I feel that I got my money’s worth if whatever she did magically wiped 15 years off my age? Or made me look like a super model?  OF COURSE!

So it’s not how much hair they take off – it’s how much is left and what the result leaves you with.

Think about that the next time you’re shocked by the price of anything.  Even more importantly – think about that the next time you have to set a price for a product or service.

Don’t price for the time it takes to do something — price for the value that’s left behind.

What Brand is So Strong That Developers Create Content Around Its Weaknesses?!

How would you like to have a brand that is so powerful, so popular, so cool and so in-demand that :

  • People will wait outside the handful of retail outlets that actually distribute the product?
  • That has some technical features which are less desirable than the alternative?
  • That has basic functions that actually cause developers and design firms to DESIGN AROUND THEM?
  • That has had hackers break into the device so that desperate customers from certain wireless providers could use it?
  • That has an audience that’s so loyal to a cell phone carrier beg, and plead for access to the exclusive device?

Yeah – I want to be that brand.  If you hadn’t guessed what brand I’m talking about, then you must have been under a rock for the last decade or so.  It’s Apple.

iPad or Alternative

I don’t have an iPad — I just can’t justify it for now.  But I’ve noticed how many of my CEO clients have them and really like them.  I thought about creating a special membership for CEOs that included a pre-loaded iPad.  Then I started thinking that it would be cool if I could actually do video Skype calls on the iPad.  But then I discovered that the iPad currently doesn’t have a camera but the Samsung Galaxy DOES.  Not only that, but it also has removable storage.

Then, I noticed this piece of copy on a web site:

“…If your web site was developed with any kind of FLASH animation it is invisible to the iPad and the iPhone”

It was then that it dawned on me how strong the Apple brand is.  I mean, I always knew it was strong, but how many of you have customers “designing around” your offer?

I’m not criticizing – I’m thinking about how brilliantly Apple has leveraged the design and interface side of their brand to overcome any of the objections that I’ve listed above.  Apple had made some difficult decisions and tradeoffs and has never apologized for them.

There is something so powerful in knowing what and who your brand is and who it is not.  Apple has enough raving fans to keep their focus on what matters and what’s been working for them.

Apple has never tried to be all things to all people and they have stayed true to their brand promise.  It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, yet as of today, they are still the tablet of choice.

What have you learned from the Apple brand?

JRayl Trucking Has Fun With Videos — You Can Too

A lot of small businesses look at social media and video as something that “isn’t really for them” or as a “waste of time.”  It’s nice to see that JRayl trucking in Akron has put themselves out there with a couple of videos parodying the Geico commercials.

I have to admit that I was a little shocked at the content at first, until I realized that I was not their target audience.  But it did make me laugh.

But Will it Go Viral?

The fact of the matter is that no one can predict what will go viral.  But there are a few traits that the most successful viral videos have:

  • The content is entertaining, unique and funny – In other words, it should be light, short, quick and easy to understand.  JRay’s choice of using the ubiquitous Geico commercials should make it easy for people to get.,
  • Unexpected/Shocking or Controversial - In this case, they’ve paired the familiar Geico commercials with the unexpected, barely raunchy dirty minded guy – which is sort of unexpected and funny.  The question is – does it cross the line with the female side of the population or does that even matter?
  • Instantly Engaging – Because it’s so obvious that this is a spoof of the Geico commercial, I was instantly engaged and wanted to see where they would take it.
  • Short and focused. And of course it has to be short because that’s one of the things that makes it easy to watch and forward to others.

This video does well on just bout all these traits there is one trait that I personally like for corporate videos that this one didn’t have; I like the video to spoof a benefit of the product or service.  The Will It Blend video series is a terrific example of this as is the Old Spice series with Isaiah Mustafa - and in this example the Will it Blend folks combined Old Spice and Will it Blend,

Kudos to JRayl for Jumping In and Having Fun

Regardless of whether you like the video, don’t like it or whether it goes viral or not – JRayl Trucking did something that few small businesses (especially mature established ones like they are) have the guts to do; they stepped into the gray, had fun with something and put out a video!  That’s super.

What JRayl Could Do to Capitalize and Maximize

The key here is NOT TO STOP!  Take this experience and build off of it.  I noticed that their web site didn’t have a blog or a link to these videos .  On their “Careers” page there is a video – but no link to the hysterical one on YouTube.

I think the YouTube video says something about the culture of the company; that they are fun and  don’t take themselves too seriously.  We already know that they are an established and well respected company – after all, they’ve been in the business for three generations.

What are your ideas on how JRayl Trucking could maximize their exposure with these videos?

Do you think it will go viral?  If so why? If not, what should they do differently next time?

How Wasting Time Can Generate Increased Profits

We have a guest post today from Arthur Gould, the division manager of  The Self Storage Company.  He contacted me about contributing an article and came up with this one!  With the year coming to an end, it just seems natural that we’re looking back on some missed opportunities and chiding ourselves for all the time wasted and opportunities missed.  Art has a different outlook on wasting time — take a read!

Its no surprise that most of us subscribe to the theory that time is money. Some would argue that time is even more valuable than money. So it’s really not too surprising that in our culture, there is a real stigma associated with wasting one’s time. How often have you heard the phrase “What a waste of time!”? Or maybe “Don’t waste your time!” Or perhaps “Why are you wasting your time with that??” It seems we are expected to always find a way to fill every second of our lives with “productivity”.

Being that it’s SO bad to waste time, then what does that mean about a person who might toss away a few idle moments while on the job? Prison time, maybe? Or do I dare say that there might ever be a
situation when what appears to be wasting time at work can actually be a good thing?

I am a division manager for a busy self storage company which operates in numerous locations. My tenants are not only my customers but they are my company’s entire reason for being. Without them, we would no longer exist. Many businesses sell products to their customers through a series of well-defined transactions, where each one has a neatly ordained beginning and end assigned to it. In these atmospheres, customers come and go. But in my business, our customers are with us over prolonged periods of time. Customer satisfaction in my line of work is not a one-time thing; my employees need to maintain customer loyalty on an ongoing basis.

So what does all this have to do with wasting time? Plenty!

Building and nurturing a lasting relationship with our customers is not only a vital part of our business, it is our business. But as everyone knows that lasting relationships are not built overnight. They take a good amount of time to development, especially meaningful relationships. A huge chunk of my workday is often spent doing things that an untrained observer might easily characterize as “wasting time” because they are the same things that most people tend to do on their coffee break. I often find myself wandering around aimlessly, cup of coffee in hand, looking for tenants to talk with. And when I find one, I usually latch on and just start shooting the breeze about…..well, nothing important (or so it would appear). But what is really going on is something much more profound and much more valuable. I am engaging my customer and, whether he knows it or not, constructing a brick-by-brick foundation of trust and loyalty between the two of us.

What exactly am I saying to my customers during my “wasted time”? Well, most of the time I am not talking at all, just listening (further reinforcing the impression that I am really wasting time!). And when I am talking, I am usually asking them questions themselves which are open-ended so they do not result in simple yes or no answers but instead engage the customer in a real honest-to-goodness dialogue. I want to learn everything I can about my customer: what motivates him, what is going on in his life, what he is feeling at this particular time in his life, and maybe what I might be able to do for him. And because I focus a great deal of my time on listening, I am able to find out who my customer really is and this how our dialogue becomes truly active. This is also when I realize how important it is for me to avoid placing limits on the amount of time I am “wasting”. I know that every minute I waste this way is a minute I am investing in creating trust with my client.

Simply put, my form of “wasting time” is nothing more than a very effective marketing strategy! This is easy to see when you consider that two of the most important aspects of marketing are Research and easurement. Companies pay enormous sums to research firms in order to acquire the same kind of information that I can get on a daily basis by wasting time asking my customers questions and then wasting even more time listening to them. Once you understand your client’s values, needs, and personal situations, then marketing becomes easy. Simply put, one man’s wasted time is another man’s marketing program.

If you agree or would like to try out my strategy, here is a quick summary of the basic ideas;

  1. Make it a daily practice to “waste” as much time as you can with your customers; avoid placing time boundaries on these encounters.
  2. Ask strategic questions that facilitate information flow so that you can learn as much as possible about your customers while at the same time bonding with them and building mutual trust.
  3. Do much more listening than talking. Let the customers do most of the talking; your role is to reinforce and gently guide the flow of the dialogue.

Time is an investment. One of the reasons our operation has been successful is that we recognize the value of investing time in active dialogue with customers. Through the years I’ve learned that “wasted time” is an effective tool in establishing and keeping healthy customer relationships Interacting with my customers is something I truly get personal satisfaction from and it makes me look forward to coming into work every day.

In the words of T.S. Eliot: “Time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time.”

About the Author: Art Gould is a division manager with Self Storage Company, which operates a group of websites, including a Illinois self-storage locator. Though busy, Art enjoys meeting new people and clients when traveling between sites from Florida all the way to the California self-storage centers.

I Miss Commercials The Way They Used to Be

I saw this video in a tweet sent by Guy Kawasaki.  The article was about how commercials were made BEFORE the age of computer generated images.  As I watched it I noticed something that we haven’t seen for a while and, to be honest, I found it refreshing.

The commercial totally focused on what Raisin Bran was known for LOTS of raisins.  Nothing complicated, nothing artistic and high-minded, and not even viral worthy.  But after 30 seconds of video, you were really clear on the fact that if you like raisins — this would be a great cereal for YOU!

What do you think?  Do you like commercials the way they are NOW or do you miss the good old days?

Ask Yourself “In What Ways” Can it Get Any Better?

Anita Campbell was featured in an article on Aaron Wall’s SEOBook the other day as he interviewed her on how she saw the mindset of small business owners in today’s economic environment.  As I was reading the article, I found myself wondering if it was possible to get teary-eyed over a business article (how nerdy is THAT)?

Entrepreneurs Are More Optimistic Than Everyone Else

In the interview, Anita mentions that entrepreneurs and small business owners are more optimistic than most people with a certain can-do attitude.  And this is what inspired me today.    Maybe because we’re just too busy creating opportunities and possibilities to listen to the news or take what the mainstream says is possible or not possible into consideration.

It seems that no matter what the economy dishes out, the entrepreneurial spirit refuses to be pushed down.  And when you survey entrepreneurs, one consistent attribute that you’ll find is gratitude for what they’ve achieved thus far (even if it was negative) and instead of asking “IF” things could get better or worse, the HAPPY entrepreneur asks “HOW” can it get better or they ask “In what ways” can it get better?

Why Am I Sharing This?

I’m sharing this because it’s easy to get caught up in the superficial things that happen throughout the day.  So easy, in fact, that when the day is done, you wonder how you got there.

Taking the time out to ask yourself “In what ways” things can get better puts your brain into creative mode.  It (your brain) starts instantly looking for a list of answers:

- My day could be better if I had some ice cream

- My day could be better if I make someone smile

- My day could be better if I solved a problem, got a new idea, gave of myself.

In What Ways Can You Make Your Customer’s Lives Better

All this asking might lead you to think about your customers and ask “In what ways can I make my customers’ lives better?”  This is the magic question.  Just ask it today.  Simply asking it will put it to work in the back of your brain and get you thinking about the possibilities.

Don’t look for big things – it’s the little things that matter.  A friend of mine made my day better by simply taking time out of his ridiculously busy schedule to forward a friend’s resume to a colleague.  This took him 5 minutes maybe – but he could have just as well taken those 5 minutes to do something else.  Instead, he made MY day better.  Thanks David.

His action prompted me to think about what I could do to make things better for someone I know — I signed up for an amazing program offered by TJ McCue ( - an online sales expert.  I wanted to learn how to improve my site for online sales.  I was his first customer for a new offering — HE helped me more than he could even realize.

So I’m asking you – In what ways can it get any better?

Mastering the Inner Game Report: Resetting Your Comfort Zone


We had our second webinar session with John Assaraf as a part of his Mastering the Inner Game program.  In my last report, I talked about learning how to “drive my brain.”  I figured, if my brain is going to be deciding on strategies for me and my clients, I should at least know how it works.

We’re at the point now where we’re getting a good idea of what our quarter results have been.  How are yours?  Are they about the same as last year?  Have you set WILD and BIG goals?  Chances are, that you might be just shy of your goals or maybe at your goals and perhaps even slightly over your goal.  The point is — that you are within a range of where you were last year.  This is what John Assaraf calls your set point.

It seems that our conscious and unconscious brain creates a comfortable set point where we operate – and no matter how hard you might try to logically create a new goal (or set point) or how hard you work at the tasks or actions to get to your set point — your brain is on autopilot and it’s programmed to have to survive and stay in a familiar place.

The ONLY way that you can re-set your brain is to re-train, re-wire and re-program new information into your sub-conscious.  And this is where the meditations and the affirmations come in.

Before you go rolling your eyes about what may seem (or sound) like granola, new age thinking.  Understand that your brain is the most sophisticated type of software and that to re-program it requires consistent, persistent practice and the feeding of new information which will, over time, become familiar.  So familiar, in fact, that it will replace the old set point and Voila!  You are now ready to actually DO those tasks that will get you to your goal.

So, if you’ve been beating yourself up for NOT reaching those sales goals,  don’t.  There is no need.  When I say that it’s not your fault — I mean that your brain has been running the show and now it’s your turn.

Check out these links for more info:

OneCoach – this is the main page – you can hop around and read the blog.

One Coach – Master the Inner Game – This is the landing page to the Inner Game Program.  We are in week 2 of 4, and you can still sign up for weeks 3 and 4 and get downloads for 1 and 2.

OneCoach Business Momentum Club – This is a terrific DIY program.  In fact, if you don’t want to drop into the Inner Game program — just sign up for this one.  Much of the information that John Assaraf covers in the Inner Game is also covered here.

The Answer – You’ll want to pick up this book REGARDLESS.  Read my review on Small Business Trends