Tuesday, May 31, 2016

When I Ruled the World

Baby Boomers are more engaged and productive workers than Millennials, according to studies by Gallup.

Gallup's researchers suggest three reasons why: Boomers see their jobs as suited to their skills; as career capstones; and as intrinsically fulfilling.

Millennials, on the other hand, take less pleasure from work, and remain less engaged and productive. Additional studies show they don't care particularly much for their employers.

"Young people are increasingly cynical about work," says psychologist Jean Twenge in Psychology Today.

Cynicism is worrisome, Twenge says, because it trumpets lackluster performanceand payin the long run.

Twenge recommends Millennials quit their dreams of world domination and seek instead that "intrinsic fulfillment" Boomers enjoy in the workplace.

Dialing back social media is a good start.

"Social media doesn't help us live the career stories we want," Twenge says. 

"We constantly judge ourselves via comparison to others, and social media fuels this fire. Seeing posts from friends about their seemingly glamorous, high-profile work can make us question our focus on intrinsic rewards. It helps to remember that every job has its downside, or at least its dull side, which few share on Facebook."

Twenge also recommends:
  • Reducing the volume of other distractions in the workplace
  • Savoring the tasks you most enjoy, aiming for "flow"
  • Finishing mundane tasks when you're naturally least engaged (while waiting for the start of conference calls, for example); and
  • Looking for fulfillment outside work—in hobbies and among family, friends and communities
"In the end, focusing on intrinsic fulfillment should lead to extrinsic rewards, too," Twenge says.

Besides, "Who would ever want to be king?"

Monday, May 30, 2016

How to Inveigle More Visitors with Video

Video is every storyteller's super weapon.

In no other industry does this hold truer than in travel.

By immersing viewers in sights and sounds—people, places, foods and comforts—video grabs the emotions and sparks the imagination.

Well-made and placed videos, in fact, speed would-be visitors from consideration to booking, according to Expedia.

But what makes a video effective?

The video must cut through the clutter.  
To be noticed in a crowded space, your video must focus on epicand iconicexperiences.

The video must be first person. The more immersive, the more inspiring. Storytelling that's first person produces a "you are here" effect.

The video must be integrated.  Breathtaking content only gets you so far. Bookings result from strategic messaging, placement and integration.

Expedia points to Visit Denmark as producers of effective videos.

The DMO's award-winning productions not only tell intriguing first-person stories, but encourage viewers to learn more about destinations like Copenhagen and Aarhus.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The New New Age

Were he to examine some of Facebook's users, Freud would have a field day.

The good doctor said children, primitives and neurotics all shared an "animistic" view of the universe. Every object has a will that "magical thoughts" can command.

This self-loving "omnipotence" forms the very root of narcissism, Freud believed.

So it's no surprise today's selfie-obsessed customers are embracing magical thinking, as a new report from JWT Intelligence asserts.

New-age accoutrements like crystals, gongs, incense and magic creams are hot, the report says.

"As we navigate through the stress and mundanity of our everyday existence and parallel online lives, we are increasingly turning to unreality as a form of escape and a way to search for other kinds of freedom, truth and meaning.

"What emerges is an appreciation for magic and spirituality, the knowingly unreal, and the intangible aspects of our lives that defy big data and the ultratransparency of the web."

And it's not just Trustafarians who are into magical thinking.

According to Pew Research Center, while the percentage of Americans who attend church declined between 2007 and 2014, the percentage who say they routinely "feel a deep sense of spiritual peace and well-being” increased.

"This is being played out via a third-wave New Age for a post-digital generation, which is seeking spirituality through crystals, astrology, sound baths, tarot and tapping. What differentiates this new New Age from its previous incarnations is that the alternative beliefs and practices are now considered serious, irony-free, credible, millennial friendly and cool."

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Teardrops over Tarawa

In the middle of World War II, 2,700 Women Marines (average age 22) served in Headquarters Battalion at Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia. 

My mother was one of them.

She told many "war stories" later, mostly comical; and one, in particular, not comical.

The latter was set in late November 1943, when she helped operate a ticker tape machine inside the war room where the top brass worked.

The machine was dedicated to one purpose: transmitting live reports of casualties from the Pacific.

On November 20 of that year, 18,000 Marines began an amphibious attack on a Japanese-held "islet" called Betio.

A mere two miles long by a half-mile wide, Betio is a coral rock 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii and part of a larger atoll named Tarawa—in 1943, the most fortified spot in the Pacific.

As the history books tell, everything went wrong.

As the first assault wave prepared to hit the beachcode-named "Red 1"—high seas slowed the Marines' transfer from the battleships onto the landing boats, so the attack fell behind schedule.

Then, planned air raids were delayed, so the boats had to linger offshore, sustaining terrible artillery fire from the island. 

Slowly, the tide went down—much lower than expected—and grounded the boats on coral reefs. So the Marines abandoned the armored landing crafts and waded toward Red 1 hundreds of yards through chest-deep water and under brutal machine-gun fire from 100 Japanese pillboxes.

Those who made it onto the sand had to crawl inland, to avoid the rain of bullets. 

But hundreds of Marines never made it. They drowned in the surf. Their bodies so clogged the assault path the second wave of reinforcements couldn't be sent until the next day.

In Arlington, the generals in the war room stood watching a sign of the disaster-in-the-making on Red 1: the ticker tape machine.

My mother said it was spitting out the names of casualties faster than anyone had ever witnessed, or thought possible.

She said the normally gruff men were transfixed by the clattering machine. They stood looking helpless, and openly sobbing.

Friday, May 27, 2016

How Publishers Will Survive

Antiquated mindsets bar publishers' way to monetizing digital content, Rob Ristagno says in Niche Media.

"Publishers often cite a 10% rule of thumb, meaning only one out of ten print subscribers pays for a digital replica," he says.

But exceptions to the rule abound (for example, with over one million subscribers, the digital edition of The New York Times).

Publishers' time-honored business model—amass an audience and sell ads based on CPMs—no longer works. 

Why not? Because, while print CPMs sell for $17, digital CPMs sell for $2And the bargain-basement price of digital CPMs only promises to drop, as more publishers abandon print.

Publishers need a new model, Ristagno says. They need to:

Corner a niche market. "Instead of worrying about CPMs, find the most enthusiastic sub-group of your audience and help them solve a specific problem." Once you succeed in one niche, extend to another and another and another.

Sell more than ads. Sell memberships, online courses, research reports and events. "Your business model should survive without advertising. Otherwise, you’re not providing enough value to the consumer."

Publish only great content. "You can’t fool smart people (or Google) with low-quality digital content."

Adopt new technology—now. Off-the-shelf technology is easier and cheaper to deploy than ever. So move quickly. You can tackle fancy integrations another day.


"Find a niche, not a nation," Seth Godin says in The Bootstrapper's Bible.

Niche is a time-honored business term and an ancient idea. It literally means a "pigeonhole," and derives from the Latin for nest.

Finding yours means your craft never has to compete on price, because your flock needs you/relies on you/likes you/talks about you/cares about you.

Take, for example, Joe Smith, an ornithologist, independent researcher and top blogger for The Nature Conservancy.

Because he practices his craft with skill and diligence, Joe Smith's flock needs him/relies on him/likes him/talks about him/cares about him.

"There's no such thing as a niche that's too small if the people care enough," Seth Godin also says.

Have you found your niche?

DISCLOSURE: Joe Smith is my son-in-law. Check out Cool Green Science.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Which Restroom Would Your Brand Use?

"Brands identify as many things—cute, quirky, rugged, industrial—but they are rarely male, female or other," says researcher Andreas Voniatis in Brand Quarterly.

"They may appear to be more masculine or feminine by design, but it’s rare for brands to speak in a gendered voice."

But shouldn't every brand man up to gender?

They short answer: Yes.

Voniatis cites a study by his own firm that asked how customers react to content when blind to its author.

Researchers presented 1,000 adults content grabbed from popular Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. 
They found that content which typically produces negative reactions produced positive ones when anonymized.

"But the most interesting revelation was how responsive we are to content written by members of the opposite sex," Voniatis says. "We found that women responded more positively to content authored by men and vice versa."

According to the study, women are 2% more likely than men to react positively to content authored by a man; and men, 5% more likely to react positively to content authored by a woman.

The findings suggest brands would strengthen the appeal of their "personalities" by speaking in a gendered voice.

"By attempting to appeal to the opposite sex when writing or gendering the brand voice as the opposite of the majority of our customers, we could find new and interesting ways of engaging with our audience," Voniatis says.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How to Choose the Right Email Marketing Consultant (Infographic)

Been-around blogger Matt Banner contributed today's post. Matt teaches techniques for better blogging at OnBlastBlog.

Email marketing offers an immensely high return on your investment, but in most cases you will need a consultant to help you master today’s top strategies. 

The right email marketing consultant:

  • Understands today’s underlying strategies and tools. 
  • Understands your brand and of the voice you use when speaking to your users.
  • Can build a list of people interested in your product or service.
  • Sweats the details, because everything about your emails matters, from the length of the subject line to the content within. 
The latter is where a skilled copywriter comes into play. The copy within your emails must be compelling and properly written to ensure that it grabs readers' attention immediately and keeps them engaged throughout. The ability to write strong sales copy is also a must, as the call-to-action is massively important. 
In order to properly choose a consultant, you will first need a basic knowledge of what makes any email marketing campaign successful.

Take a look at the infographic below to find out more about what defines a strong email marketing strategy. Using this information, you can better choose a consultant.

Email Marketing Infographic

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Art of Art is Simplicity

The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.
—Walt Whitman

Simplicity's cool... so cool, brand researchers now index it.

But before it was cool, two artists preached simplicity every week on popular TV shows.

The beatnik, Jon Gnagy

Beatnik Jon Gnagy premiered in 1946 on NBC's first regularly scheduled TV program, the hour-long variety show Radio City Matinee

In the opening segment of the first episode, Gnagy stood at an easel and demonstrated, in a few simple steps, how to draw a tree. 

The show's producer called those 10 minutes of airtime "pure television," and within four months gave Gnagy his own 15-minute show, You are an Artist—TV's very first spin-off.

Gnagy used his weekly show to teach viewers how to draw the barns, haystacks and water mills that symbolized bygone America. He sketched his subjects using four basic forms—the ball, cone, cube and cylinder—with shadows cast from a single light source. When he finished each drawing, he matted and framed it, so—voila—the piece was ready to hang on the wall.

During each broadcast, Gnagy also pitched his branded art kit, complete with pencils, paper and a book of drawing lessons.

While Gnagy's prime-time show lasted only two years, it continued in weekend syndication for another 12, inspiring thousands of Boomers to learn how to draw chestnut trees, horse corrals and covered bridges.

The hippie, Bob Ross

Hippie Bob Ross preached simplicity for 11 years through his half-hour PBS show, The Joy of Painting.

Remembered for his fuzzy Afro and fuzzier aphorisms—"Happy little trees" being the most famous—Ross popularized the 16th century oil painting technique known as “wet on wet."

He also marketed a branded line of paints.

Throughout the 1980s, Ross' weekly show (which his business partner called “liquid tranquilizer”) inspired thousands of pre-Internet kids, if not to pick up a paintbrush, at least to contemplate das Künstlerleben.

Ross himself finished over 30,000 paintings in his lifetime, many of which he donated to PBS fundraisers.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Childish Tchotchkes

Want to win over a jaded audience at your next trade show?

"Appeal to the inner child," says marketing consultant Jill Amerie.

Amerie recounts a midnight film screening at this year's SXSW.

A house full of film journalists sat waiting for Keanu, an action-comedy about a kitten, to finally begin. The mood was sullen and bitter.

"Then something interesting happened," Amerie says. 

"The comedic team of Key and Peele came on stage with a basket of toy kittens. They started throwing the stuffed animals into the audience, and suddenly, those tired, grouchy journalists were jumping to catch them like a bunch of bridesmaids going after the wedding bouquet. 

"A lot of those kittens will end up going to the children of those attendees, but it’s a safe bet that a significant number of them will end up in their offices, too."

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Punctuation Power

Novelist Cormac McCarthy once told Oprah, "If you write properly you shouldn’t have to punctuate."

McCarthy rations his use of “weird little marks" strictly.

“I believe in periods, in capitals, in the occasional comma, and that’s it.”

McCarthy adopted his unusual technique while in college, where a professor asked him to Americanize the punctuation of the a bunch of 18th century essayists for a planned anthology.

Before the 20th century, most writers overused punctuation when writing for publication (though not in private letters and journals).

Contemporary punctuation is clean—and easily mastered. Strunk and White, in fact, cover the basics in just four "elementary rules."

But effective punctuation means more than avoiding "weird little marks."

Copywriter Herschell Gordon Lewis says punctuation is vital to credibility.

He believes there's a "psychology of punctuation" every writer should heed:
  • Question marks are "interactive," involving readers automatically
  • Quotation marks around a term say you appreciate its novelty—and help readers accept the unfamiliar
  • Decimal places in a price ($49.99) lower the perceived value of the product
  • An exclamation point doesn't make a true statement any more true; and two or more signal that your excitement is phony
  • Colons have force: they push readers onward
  • An asterisk suggests you're lying
  • A dash is stronger than an ellipsis
  • Commas clarify a series, making the "Oxford comma" is a must
HAT TIP: Video producer Ann Ramsey brought McCarthy's interview to my attention.

Friday, May 20, 2016

5 Big Tips for Better Mobile Marketing

Sophorn Chhay contributed today's post. He is the inbound marketer at Trumpia, a mobile content delivery service that lets users customize their one-to-one marketing.

Sure, you might have a mobile marketing plan. But is it innovative?

In 2016, run-of-the-mill approaches won't take you very far; and, although most mobile marketers follow year-long plans, the fact is effective mobile marketing requires constant innovation.

If you want to stay ahead, check out the following tips, guaranteed to boost your results.

Tip One: Get Tight with Video Ads

Today, 80 percent of Internet users carry smartphones, and buyers are responding to video ads at alarming rates. You can benefit massively from video advertising.

Tip Two: Get Automated with SMS

Did you know you can automate your own SMS campaigns? Better yet, you can segment your audience and shoot out customized text messages. To get automated with SMS, contact a trustworthy provider. Textpedite, among others, streamlines the process.

Tip Three: Distribute an App

Americans currently spend more time using mobile apps than they do watching television. By incorporating an app into your plans, you'll give your brand greater meaning. Marketers are already reworking their entire strategies around apps (airlines, for example, are offering “nearby eatery” apps to frequent flyers). But make your app count, if you want to see it used.

Tip Four: Gain Data from SMS Surveys

Feedback means a lot to customers, and it's 
easy to conduct business when you know your customers' wants, needs and buying habits. SMS surveys procure a wealth of data and can garner otherwise unobtainable feedback.

Tip Five: Create a Social Campaign

In today’s mobile world, antisocial companies drop like flies, while companies like Starbucks win big. The brand’s “Race Together” and “Create Jobs for the USA” campaigns proved that promoting altruistic causes works. Sure, goodwill is a byproduct of powerful business practices; but it’s also a byproduct of social outreach.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

How to Enter on a High Note

Two German psychologists arranged an experiment.

They asked respondents to watch a video of violinists and judge their talent.

Respondents gave the highest marks to the violinists who nodded at the audiencebefore performing.

"Stage performers are the consummate experts in making a grand entrance," Susan Krauss Whitbourne says in Psychology Today.

"Even classical musicians, whom you might think of as controlling impressions by their ability to perform the piece, control the audience’s reaction to their work by the way they first make their appearance in the concert hall."

Dr. Whitbourne offers these eight tips for making good first impressions:

Decide how grand your entrance should be. Tread lightly, especially in informal situations and those in which you know everyone present.

Be prompt. Don’t be the last to enter the room, if you want to appear reliable. It also helps to welcome others with a smile and handshake.

Show the appropriate emotion. Serious occasions demand a display of gravitas; parties, a show of pleasantness; negotiations, a poker face.

Pause to gather your thoughts. You'll benefit from a momentary mental rundown of what you’re hoping to accomplish in the situation.

Look around at the people in the room. Take your cue from the violinists: return people's gazes and nod at your audience.

Determine when you’re not the center of attention. When you're not the big cheese, be dignified, not grand.

Look like you’re glad to be there. You might dread the occasion, but if you show anxiety or disdain, you guarantee a bad outcome.

Don’t fret a botched opening. You trip as you walk onto the stage. You drop all your notes. You skip immediately to your last slide. The teleprompter breaks. "Oops moments" are common—and recoverable, if you don't willow. Just smile and get on with the show.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Blog as a PR Tool

Master marketer Edward Segal contributed today's post. Edward helps organizations generate publicity about their activities and shows leaders, staff and members how to deliver effective presentations.

A blog is a fast and easy PR tool you can use to promote your knowledge and expertise to a wide audience.

But like other PR tools, blogs should be used for specific reasons and with the hope of achieving particular results. Writing a blog for the sake of seeing your name on the screen is not publicity. It's vanity. Just like issuing a news release when you have nothing to say, a “content-free” blog does little to establish or enhance a positive reputation for you or your company.

Here are some tips for blogging the right way and for the right reasons:

  • Create a comprehensive list of your knowledge, expertise, or services. Then prioritize the topics that are most important to you and write what you know about.
  • Follow the blog posts of others to see what they have to say on the topics you want to write about. Instead of simply repeating that they’ve already said, find something new or interesting to write about the matter. Posting new and original material will help you stand out from the crowd. Unless, of course, you are more interested in being an echo chamber instead of a fresh voice.
  • Depending on the blogging platform you choose to you, you can have a big say in deciding how large or small you’d like your potential audience to be. If you think bigger will be better, and then include a link to your blog on your Web site, social media platforms, e-mail signature, etc.
  • Decide how much feedback, if any, you want from your audience. While encouraging dialog among followers of your blog can lead to a larger audience, you also run the risk of losing control of the nature and focus of the content. This is not a bad thing if you want to build an online community, but it could also be frustrating if you think “your” blog has been hijacked by others.
  • Plan your blogging activities as if they were like any other important part of your marketing activity. Because they are!
  • Experiment with different blogging formats (e.g., word-based versus video-based) before making a final decision about the kind of blog you want to do. If you are more comfortable in front of a keyboard instead of a camera, then launching a YouTube-based blog will not be best for you. How you blog will dictate the platform you should employ.
  • If you already have an established reputation, reinforce that image with appropriate blog posts. If you are just starting out in business and have no brand, think long and hard about what you want people to know and think about you. Then take steps to ensure that the content you post does not stray from that desired reputation.
  • Keep current on trends and developments in your industry, profession, or areas of expertise. To receive the latest news, set up Google Alerts for key words, phrases and topics you want to follow.
  • After you’ve had an opportunity to try your hand with blogging, have an honest conversation with yourself about the experience. Does blogging make sense for you? Is it something that you really want to continue doing, or has it becomes a drag? Every PR activity should be done for the right reasons. Don’t let your blog become a slog.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Experience Stack

A race is on to deliver "the experience stack," says Mike Wadhera in TechCrunch.

Mobility has fundamentally changed computing, he says.

While desktop computing was all about your timeline-based profile (think Facebook), mobile computing is about in-the-moment self-expression (think Snapchat).

With the onrush of mobility, "You are not a profile. You are simply you."

We've all become, in effect, amateur auteurs

"The stories we tell each other now begin and end visually, making the narrative more literal than ever," Wadhera says.

Providers are racing to monopolize mobility by building a pile of immersive toys he calls the experience stack (pictured here).

"The full stack is in service of capturing and communicating real-world moments," Wadhera says. "Reality is its foundation. As you move up, the layers transition from physical to logical. At the top is the application layer made up of products like Snapchat Live and Periscope."

Tomorrow’s toys will boggle our storyteller's brains, Wadhera says.

"Our online and offline identities are converging, the stories we tell each other now start and end visually and investments at every layer of a new stack are accelerating the development of experience-driven products. Taken together, these trends have cracked open the door for a new golden age of technology."

Monday, May 16, 2016

What, No Online Community?

Event planner: What, no online community?

If true, you're falling behind, says BrightBull's Ricardo Molina.

Worse, you are:
  • Wasting money on attendance promotion. Like lists and media partnerships, online communities provide a direct road to your target audience. But unlike those roads, communities don't need as much maintenance. "Once built, a community will thrive with just a little care and attention."
  • Letting competitors poach your attendees. First-movers usually win. "When your competitors start a community first, all they have to do is say that it’s there and people will join because it’s something new."
  • Forgetting about brand loyalty. Communities provide value added. So members "automatically feel good about your brand."
  • Failing to lead. "Why would they think of your event as being 'the one' when you don’t run THE online destination for your niche?"
  • Skipping customer insight. Insights from a community let you read the industry's pulse, and drive product development, marketing and sales.
  • Leaving money on the table. Exhibitors are eager to brand themselves year-round on communities. Why not offer them yours? One large international bank spends half its marketing budget on content partnerships.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bezos Rekindles Old Paper

Amazon founder and newspaper owner Jeff Bezos' thumbprint continues to appear in the online version of The Washington Post.

Having trouble finishing long articles? You can now use a gadget to enter your email address at any point. The Post will send a URL that lets you pick it up later where you left off.

We can expect more Kindle-like add-ons to appear in The Post, as Bezos dabbles deeper in journalism. 

"The transformation may not be apparent on the surface, but the Internet billionaire has ripped up and revamped the technology underpinnings at The Post since buying the storied daily in 2013, while investing in the newsroom with more journalists, video offerings and tools for digital storytelling," AFP reported in January.

Bezos' investments might be paying off.

Last December, readership of The Post's website overtook that of The New York Times.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mankell's Last Post

Henning Mankell, author of the Wallander crime stories and the masterful novel Italian Shoes, died of cancer last October.

Before he died, he wrote a series of articles for The Guardian about dealing with the disease.

The last of these, "Eventually, the Day Comes When We All Have to Go," appeared the week of his death.

The 67-year-old wrote with candor about his chemotherapy and his third year with an "incurable companion."

"How has my life changed?" Mankell asked. 

"Despite being spared most of the side-effects, except for the ever-present fatigue that reduces my energy to about half of what it used to be, I usually don’t notice the tumour I’m carrying in my left lung. At the moment, it is neither growing nor shrinking. I’ve had times of feeling short of breath but not any more. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m afflicted with cancer, as it doesn’t make itself known."

Mankell in fact believed he could stave off death, and that gave him some hope.

"There are, of course, dark times. A deep darkness of worry, loneliness, fear. Nights when I wake up and cold winds sweep in. I know I share this with everybody who is affected by severe illness."

His final words were stoic, just like his characters.

"Eventually, of course, the day comes when we all have to go. Then we need to remember the words of the author Per Olov Enquist: “One day we shall die. But all the other days we shall be alive."

If you've never had the pleasure, read one of his novels.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Don't Let the Weeds Win Out

"It’s easy to get lost in the weeds when planning a trade show," says Holly Barker in Event MB. 

Their focus on killing and controlling costs blinds most planners to the hidden profit streams their shows represent.

Barker suggests these simple ways to grow more green:
  • Pub crawl. Offer a limited number of exhibitors the chance to sponsor a pub crawl through the trade show floor. Make the event a blast by including themed games, besides beer and wine.
  • Parties. Offer exhibitors exclusive rights to make a big splash at your evening parties.
  • Logo rights. Offer one exhibitor exclusive rights to project its logo onto your venue's walls at night.
  • Online campaigns. Offer exhibitors the chance to co-brand content on your website. Also encourage sponsored content.
  • Matchmaking. Offer exhibitors an online matchmaking service that lets attendees sign up for meetings with them at your show. Link the service with sponsored content. And don't bury it in your website. Make sure people who can't attend can also view the content and get in touch with exhibitors.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Up to Our Eyeballs in Enthymemes

Enthymemes. We're up to our eyeballs in them.

An enthymeme, first described by Aristotle in Rhetoric is an incomplete logical construct. It's based on an unspoken premise shared between a speaker and her audience.

Here's a familiar enthymeme:

"Make America Great Again."

The unspoken shared premise:

"America used to be great."

An enthymeme's power comes not from what's spoken, but what's unspoken, Aristotle says. When a premise is left unspoken, the audience supplies it, completing the circle. So, instead of the speaker persuading us, we persuade ourselves.

For Aristotle, self-persuasion is especially effective because we take pleasure in participating in the exchange. We're tickled with our ability to connect the dots—to "get it" without handholding.

But self-persuasion is also self-absorption, Aristotle warns.

An enthymeme helps us see a resemblance—a likeness—and we like most what is like ourselves. "All are more or less lovers of themselves," Aristotle says.

The effective speaker exploits this self-love.

She knows that—when the audience completes the circle—it chooses to hear what it wants to hear.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

They May Never Know What Hit Them

Whether they know it or not, Millennials' destinies have been shaped by the Great Recession—just as Boomers' were shaped by the Vietnam War.

While family and fortune play defining roles, wars and the economy affect our lives more fundamentally.

In 1960, John O'Hara sent his publisher Bennett Cerf a letter describing the cast of characters in a book he was writing.

O'Hara described them as "the people of my time," men and women too young to be part of The Lost Generation—the generation disillusioned by World War I—but too old to feel part of "The Greatest Generation."

"Everybody can understand a war," O'Hara told Cerf. "But it is not so easy to understand an economic revolution; even the experts continue to be baffled by it; and the people of my time never know what hit them or why."

Millennials are in a companion boat.

They're a generation that won't see anything resembling the luxury and security their parents and grandparents enjoyed.

And they may never know what hit them.

As marketer Mitch Joel advises in his new book, Ctrl Alt Delete, "Accept it: There is no gold watch in your future."

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Kathy, I'm Lost, I Said

Anheuser-Busch InBev has asked federal regulators for approval to replace the name "Budweiser" on cans and bottles this summer with the name "America," AdAge reports.

"You have this wave of patriotism that is going to go up and down throughout the summertime," Marketing VP Jorn Socquet said. "And we found with Budweiser such a beautiful angle to play on that sentiment."

If approved, the brand's labels would also include song lyrics like "from the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters this land was made for you and me."

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Listening Hard

Forgotten genius Ring Lardner was a popular satirist of the 1920s, famous for the practice of "listening hard."

He delighted fans by cloning the speech of ball players, barbers, cops and musicians in his newspaper columns, short stories, songs and plays.

Lardner influenced other, better known writers who followed, including Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway and John O'Hara.

"Listening hard" is the secret sauce not only of good writers, but good salespeople, customer service reps, therapists, judges, spouses and parents.

Sadly, most of the time we default to "easy listening," where others' speech functions merely as elevator music during our ride to the top.

We're eager only to listen with the intent to reply, rather than understand, as Stephen Covey noted.

“When people talk, listen completely," Hemingway said. "Most people never listen.”
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