maximum potential

these are the thought starters, insights, and inspiration to get you, and the brands you manage, to reach your maximum potential

sometimes it’s just the little things

today i checked into the holiday inn express in millington, tn (i know, get excited).  given that we now have the navy contract i decided that i should make sure that i was a part of whatever loyalty program the hotel had in place.  after some quick searching, we discovered that i was fortunate enough to already be a member of their ‘priority club.’

 all of a sudden, the universe shifted and the  incredibly nice check-in lady reached down beneath her and pulled out a brown paper sack (reminiscent of the the one that replaced your g.i. joe lunch box ).  in the matter of seconds, i went from a random guest (who was given wonderful customer service) to a ‘priority club’ member with a brown paper bag.  inside of the bag was the following contents: a bottle of water, several tootsie roll candies, and a cookie.  

although the bag did not cost hundreds, or even tens, of dollars, i sincerely impressed. i’m not sure if it was that i liked the idea that they found a way to treat different customers differently.  or the fact that  while other companies are charging $6 for a bottle of water the holiday inn express in tennessee (who only has 13 guests tonight) was giving it away for free to valued customers.  or perhaps it was because i really like chocolate chip cookies.  at the end of the day, it probably has something to do with all of the above but it all comes down to one thing, i just appreciated the effort they made to let me know that my relationship with them mattered.  

the reality of it is, sometimes it’s just the little things that let a customer know that you think they are special, or that you value the hardwork and effort of your employee, or that you are proud of your baby girl pushing her limits and trying new things, or that you sincerely appreciate the love and support your partner has managed to show you daily despite your mess.  although often overlooked, sometimes, it’s just the little things that are able to move the needle.  

from here on out, with i come to tennessee, you can assume i’ll be staying at the holiday inn express.

Filed under: business branding, lifemark, , , ,

surround yourself with excellence

are you surrounded by excellent people?  if not, something may be wrong because great brands need great people to succeed.  and no matter how brilliant you might be, you are not immune to this truth.  

excellent people help propel excellent brands towards their maximum potential.  here are a few quick reasons why:

  • excellent people tend to feel uncomfortable performing sub par compared to others.  consequently, the higher the standard of excellence around them the more excellent they will tend to be.  yes, even excellence is relative
  • excellent teams are always better than an excellent individual.  two excellent people will always be better than one.  five will always be better than two, etc, etc.  (you get the point)
  • being surrounded by excellent people allows one to focus on the task at hand and focus is key to success.  too often when people are  not surrounded by excellent people they spend too much time distracted because they are worried about or busy making up for other peoples’ deficiencies.  

so hire excellent talent, work for an excellent boss, build a circle of excellent friends, find an excellent spouse, and get coached by excellent mentors.  their job title is irrelevant; the truth is, excellent people propel brands towards their destiny.

Filed under: business branding, personal branding, , , ,

fail faster

everyone wants to be successful.  it’s human nature.  we may each define success differently, but we all want it.  what we often forget, or never know, is that failure is a critical component of success.  you can’t win if you don’t fail.

  • if you haven’t failed you aren’t taking big enough risks to win.  with big risks come big rewards.  you can’t expect big rewards if you’re not taking large enough risks.
  • if you haven’t failed, and learned from those failures, you don’t have the experiences necessary to win when the going gets tough…and the going always gets tough!
  • if you haven’t failed, and don’t willingly admit to failing, than you’re not mature enough to recognize that failure propels you to your destiny; it doesn’t detract from it.  every successful person i have ever met can easily identify those times in their life when they failed and the lessons learned to help them on their journey.

point blank: if you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.  fail faster.

Filed under: business branding, personal branding, ,

the power of “one”

many of us spend most of our days looking at “consumers” and “targets,” and it becomes easy to forget there are real live people on the other end of the interaction.  instead of people, they become numbers and and when we see numbers we tend to judge the value of our brands accordingly.  we look at our sales figures, facebook friends, twitter followers, etc and aim to have the biggest numbers.  

but they’re not numbers, they are people and each “one” matters.  we forget sometimes that touching “one” can be just as important as touching “one” million.  we forget that developing a strong emotional and rational relationship with “one” can lead to that “one” telling “one” hundred others like them.   and we forget that touching “one” can lead to an irrational loyalty towards your brand that is even recession proof, which means your customers will spend during and after the recession, your boss won’t lay you off you when there are cuts, etc.  “one” matters.

i encourage you next time, instead of starting a company to serve the masses to think about how you can build something that impacts “one” unlike any other brand they encounter.  next time, you apply to a job you should think about how to make a unique and lasting connection with that “one” resume reviewer or informal interviever that won’t let them shake your name.  next time, before you write your speech, outline your resume, craft your script, develop your sales pitch, or build a business for the masses remember the power of “one.”  

(again, thank you to all for the personal notes that let me know that what i do in this space matters to you.  it is easy to look at my blog numbers and want more…that is until i am reminded of the privilege it is to have just you.  thank you)

Filed under: business branding, lifemark, personal branding, , , , ,

it’s all relative

i am intrigued by the notion that everything is relative.  since rediscovering it (like most, albert einsten gave me my first introduction)  in the first chapter of dan ariely’s book, predictably irrational, i have come to recognize just how pervasive the idea of relativity is in all of our lives.

your ability to evaluate a product is based on other similar options existing; that’s why marketers are careful to position their products appropriately.  telling me Coke is the best cola is different than telling me it is the best beverage; it will make me consider coke at very different times.  similarly, the price you are willing to pay for that particular product is relative as well.  that’s why the older we get the more we tend to complain about price, because gas is increasingly expensive relative to the price you knew it to be when you were 10 years old (current 10 year old kids don’t have that issue)

relativity even creeps into our personal lives.  your level of happiness with your partner, your house, your job, and your family is often evaluated relative to the people around you as well.  that’s why the old saying, “keeping up with the jones” comes from.  how many times are you happy with your life until you see someone else, who appears to be doing better.  or put another way, how often do you think you have it bad until you see someone who is a lot worse off than you and, all of a sudden, things just aren’t that bad.  and, if you follow my blog, you also know that i even believe that your dreams and life aspirations can be relative.

relativity is an amazing concept that can have extreme impact on your personal brand.  it important to look externally for inputs on how to define your brand, but the true definition of who you are should come from with in.   i encourage you to become more cognizant of how relativity is impacting your decisions and life choices because it’s presence  can have very positive or negative effects. in this down economy, how has relativity most recently impacted you in your life?

Filed under: business branding, lifemark, personal branding, , , , , , ,

when “me too” doesn’t work

ever!  “me too” never works, that is if you’re trying to win. these days there are way too many “me too” brands.  the majority of the messages i see on tv are all the same; most brands are competing on the same select variables.   they end up in the same place and instead of serving their purpose (reducing choice for the customer) they create clutter, noise, and confusion.  

the same is true for individuals.  friends look at friends who appear to have things going for them and try to copy their dreams, lifestyle, or choices.  we even do this with strangers.  we see people on tv or in the news and try to imitate their walk and their talk with the hopes that it will enable us to enjoy their success.  but it doesn’t work, not if you want to win.   

the reality is, copying will put you at parity…if you’re lucky.  a passion brand or lovemark, whether personal or product-related, will never be  at parity.  it will always carve out a unique space for itself.  it will identify it’s unique vision/purpose and then leverage this unique perspective on life to create value for and give the people in its circle something by which to navigate life.  

‘me too’ happens when you look outside for answers; the best answers come from within.  what’s core to your brand?  your best you is never “me too,” it’s always your unique you.

Filed under: business branding, lifemark, personal branding, , , , ,

the game is changing

the game is changing…

my favorite hip hop artist right now has almost 40million plays on myspace but no album in stores.  he has broken the old model of convincing a label you’re “hot” and getting them to bet on you.  instead he releases music to the world (everyone is a publisher now) as he pleases and we listen/buy.  no need to convince anyone, he has proven that he is “hot” and the existing buzz around around him is so large now that record labels are courting him.  

the game is changing…

i used to carry business cards.  i don’t any more.  last time i ordered cards i waited two weeks for them to come back with the wrong information (entirely my fault).  i don’t have time or patience to order them again; instead, i use (thanks dre).  if you want my information now all you have to do is text “ghdetavio” to 50500.  you will immediately receive a text with all of my professional information, which can be changed at any time.  it’s faster, greener, doesn’t allow people to “lose” my information, and better all around.  

what’s the point?  the game is constantly changing around you.  you can resist change or figure out how to make it work for you.  build your brand, follow dreams, leverage new technologies to your benefit…don’t let them allow you to get left behind.  for me, the best way to keep up is to be the one responsible for changing the game.

Filed under: business branding, personal branding, ,

monday spot(light): sagami original, love distance

some of the best creative gets people to reThink the brand, the category, the problem, and/or the consumer. on monday spot(light) we discuss some of the creative in the marketplace that accomplishes that, for better or for worse. if you have recommendations, please email them to me at

this spot it a little long but, for me, it’s a fresh approach to an old category.  it’s my first time seeing someone actually inject the emotion of love into condoms.  go figure

Filed under: business branding

monday spot(light): tree trunk, coffee sleeves, and bus shelters that snow

some of the best creative gets people to reThink the brand, the category, the problem, and/or the consumer. on monday spot(light) we discuss some of the creative in the marketplace that accomplishes that, for better or for worse. if you have recommendations, please email them to me at

this week i decided to highlight three creative executions i discovered in the advertising world over the last week that i think are doing a good job of getting people to (re)Think something.  

what a great way to make people (re)Think there paper use…

…and another great way to get people to think about the global warming issue and let them know what you do (when otherwise they probably wouldn’t listen or care). 

“Hot cups & companion protective sleeves were distributed as a pair to illustrate the global issue. The NRDC (protective sleeve) protects you from global warming (hot cup).”

and lastly, another great way to let people know it’s time to go skiing and demonstrate an excellent new use of an old medium…

Tryvann – The Snowing Billboard from Martin on Vimeo.


source: all creative was found at i believe in adv

Filed under: business branding, lifemark, ,

monday spot(light): beate uhse, “child lock”

 some of the best creative gets people to reThink the brand, the category, the problem, and/or the consumer. on monday spot(light) we discuss some of the creative in the marketplace that accomplishes that, for better or for worse. if you have recommendations, please email them to me at

i saw this spot on so many blogs i had to post.  in this attention economy it definitely catches my attention and delivers the message in a creative, unexpected way that is sticky.  i don’t know who this is, but i know they have a very important “child lock” feature.

Filed under: business branding, lifemark, , ,



share this blog:
Bookmark and Share

subscribe to this blog


share this blog:
Bookmark and Share

subscribe to this blog

get this blog in your email…

get this blog in your rss feed…

connect with me on…

my tweets…

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.