maximum potential

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

that’s great, but are you moving forward

today we will do a million things.  we will talk to a million people, sit in a million meetings, and move a million things through some ‘system.’  we will present one million ideas to clients, bosses, and employees.  we will send out a million resumes or use a million words to convince an employer of how great we are and why we are the right person for the job.

but what are you doing to move your brand forward?  is what you’re doing taking your brand to the next level?  a brilliant new campaign is not brilliant if it doesn’t progress the brand forward.  a brilliant interview response is not brilliant if it does not move the perception of who you are forward.  it doesn’t matter how smart you sound or how great your thoughts are, if they are not moving your brand to a better place they are worthless.  all action is not good action.  next time you do something, make sure your moving forward.

Filed under: lifemark, , , , ,

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, , , ,

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, , , , , , ,

the most important thing a brand can do…

…is define it’s identity.  what are it’s values and personality?  what does it do/look like?  how should it make people that interact with it feel?  most importantly: what is it’s vision?  having a unique vision sets the stage for long term success and prevents the lovemark from getting caught up in the world of “me too.”  

  • walmart will always be about helping every day people afford the must haves and even some of the nice-t0-haves.  
  • axe will always be about helping guys get girls.  
  • diddy will always be about hustling to make money.
  • me, i will always be about helping brands (both people and products alike) reach their full potential.  

how i do it may change.  who i’m helping at any given time may be different.  but at the end of the day, the vision will stay the same.  i’ve always known that, but this weekend i had time to finally put it on paper and in words.  there may be some incremental changes to my brand identity before i officially lock it in, but it’s 95% of the way there.  and like all great lovemarks, once the vision/idea behind the name is established the only thing that remains is to filter everything i produce through that one unique lens.  i doubt the world is ready.

what’s the vision behind your brand?

Filed under: lifemark, , , , , , ,

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, , , , ,

one answer to 21stcitizen

we just launched 21stcitizen.  the core of the idea behind 21stcitizen is the belief that with the incredible rights we are given as people is an implicit responsibility to make the world better.  the question the brand asks us all to answer is: what are you doing to become a better citizen of the 21st century?   i wanted to share my answer, which I call the 3p approach, on my blog.  

my 3p approach

  1. i live my life on purpose.  i sincerely believe that individuals are blessed with gifts and talents for a reason, those gifts and talents are ultimately for accomplishing some purpose that is much bigger than the individual.  consequently, i do most things on purpose, which means they are connected to my purpose or at least directionally accurate based on what i believe my purpose to be.
  2.  i seek to perfect myself so that my gifts and talents increase daily, which better enables me to fulfill my purpose.  i do this by aligning my gifts/talents with what i do everyday (re: job), exposing myself to the impossible as a way to increase my dreams, chasing knowledge, and pushing myself to pursue and accomplish the improbable.
  3. perform.  This can only come after having made purposeful decisions and done as much as possible to perfect my talents so that i can be my best me at any given point and time.  these are the macro and micro actions I commit that act as vehicles to create change in the lives of my family, my community, and myself.  so what are some of my actions?  i give to my community (time and money), i blog to impact lives  (still working on perfecting this, of course), i attempt to help grow the hopes and dreams of those who entrust me with the privilege, and i do motivational speaking (wherever they are crazy enough to invite me to come) to name a few.

the point i want to leave you with is that performing (macro and micro actions alike) is only a part of what it takes to be a 21stcitizen.  it also requires that we live our lives on purpose and continuously try to become the best the people we can be.  Then, and only then, are we able to perform at our best for our families and the world alike.  what are you doing to become a 21stcitizen?

  • join the discussion and fan the facebook page here
  • watch the video here
  • leave your ideas and thoughts here


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

only one way to grow dreams

yesterday i wrote a post on the importance of dreaming big.  today i am following it up with the only way i know to grow dreams…exposure.  it’s hard to know what you want if you don’t know what is possible and exposure is simply the best way to discover the impossible.  

can you dream of owning an island if you don’t know people who are doing it?  can you dream of running your own business if you don’t know any entrepreneurs?  what about running a marathon if you don’t know that people run 10+ miles everyday?  can you dream of being a multimillionaire if you don’t know anyone making over $60K/year?  can you dream of developing a technology that permeates 100 million households if you don’t know anyone who has done it (re: bill gates of microsoft had a dream to place a computer on every desk and in every home)?  

i believe in the idea of exposure so greatly that i have based my life around it.  i am constantly trying to surround myself with people who dream bigger than i so i can see the impossible and pick and choose what part of the impossible i want to attain.  how are you growing your dreams?  who is helping you grow them?  

today i leave you with this thought , which has inspired me for years:

“exposure to the next level breeds an intolerance for your current situation.”

get away from the people and things around you.  determine today to make a change.  get intolerant…expose yourself.  

Filed under: inspiration, lifemark, personal branding, quotes,

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.