Monday, December 23, 2013

ExecLink St. Louis Revisited

We  have come to know a lot of folks in the midst of one career crisis or another in the last few years. Gone are the days of the quick bounce backs for senior executives. With a background of nearly 30 years of progressive experience as account manager in advertising, leadership in corporate communications and marketing, I noticed our board struggling to make sense of it all. It’s no secret, the battlefield has changed. You are only as good as your last movie. That awesome list of career highlights that used to get you in the door and at the ground floor of negotiating your next career move isn’t matching up to the job description someone finally approved. Human Resources professionals aren’t in the mood to risk thinking outside the box. And networking, while still important, will not in and of itself land most of us at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy.

ExecLink St. Louis began in 2009 as an organization for senior level executives to network and retool for the new realities of the market. The original board members managed to forge a relationship with Washington University – St. Louis and schedule regular meetings with presentation/speakers ranging from the sales training to entrepreneurialism always with a senior level executive in mind as target audience. The organization has moved around to a variety of venues (i.e. Missouri Athletic Club, Maryville University, Webster University) and attracted over 600 people who signed up to be members. Meanwhile, the nature of the organization changed as members settled in to a variety of endeavors that may or may not have matched the  ambitious goals they originally set for themselves. It is becoming apparent to many members that their skills, while still in demand, are often best applied to pursuits very different than the niches inside of corporate conventions for which they had found comfortable career paths in the past.
So the ExecLink St. Louis board met over the holidays and made some decisions. The organization can and will change. We will move forward with our mission: Executives Helping Executives but with new leadership, a strategic vision and fewer/better programs.

Here are the actions of which our board is in agreement. A. formalize strategic plan (including leadership initiatives) B. execute fewer/better programs C. engage membership with two-way communication channels D. strengthen and reinforce our unique positioning E. leverage our experience.    

      

 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mary Lawton Morgan, Theatrical Star


Mary Lawton Morgan in her mink coat in The Deadly Game (1964)

Mary Lawton Morgan, Theatrical Star

I was just eight years old when I saw my mom in a play at Lakewood Little Theater (now the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood, Ohio). She appeared in The Deadly Game (1964). Her part was an important one but her appearance was at the end of the last act.  I remember her laughing and suggesting that the only reason she got the role was because she owned her own mink coat (which she wore in the show). Mom had been active in performing dramatic readings as a member or the Three Arts Club. I remember her rehearsing The Women in our living room. “Jungle Red Sylvia,” she read as her character had been to a manicurist at a salon in which the story revolves. I have since seen the 1939 movie The Women and read the play The Deadly Game. I can see why she was well cast in each.

Another movie helped me remember the plot of a play in which my mom appeared at LLT in 1964. The Best Man, of course, was a play before it was a movie starring Henry Fonda. Her next role at LLT was as star in Mary Mary in 1965 (Debbie Reynolds played Mary in the movie version). A few years later she was in Any Wednesday (1967) which was a comedy about marital infidelity.  Later she was in a play at LLT called What Did We Do Wrong? which was probably timely in 1968.

I remember mom preparing for her role in The Cactus Flower in 1970. She practiced the sort of sing-song-y phone reception her role called for as assistant to dentist Dr. Winston. “Doctor Winston’s Office,” she repeated as an efficient office manager. The role was played by Goldie Hawn in the movies.

Mom completed a Masters degree in Theater at Case Western Reserve University in her early 40s and refocused her energies on directing. She was named director in residence at Clague Playhouse somewhere around 1970. In that role she would direct The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd; Man of LaMancha; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and stay active in running the venue that seated fewer than 100 or so patrons a performance.

In 1977 mom returned to act at Lakewood Little Theater in Veronica’s Room. A role for which she was honored at best actress that season. (She had served as guest director for the play Gypsy at LLT but, I think, was happy to return to that stage.)

I saw my mom fill in for an actress who was sick once. Mom was director but was able to step-up like an under-study. She was a nun/school teacher in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. It was impressive to see her ability to perform at the drop of the hat like that.   

Of course, mom was a supporter of the Great Lakes Shakespeare (in fact, she was even invited to speak to a group about The Taming of the Shrew). Her talk was scholarly. She demonstrated her academic side. After all, she was now the holder of a Masters degree in Theater. (A thesis paper on Othello was part of her coursework so she was a student of Shakespeare.). I was proud of my mom that day and so glad to be among the audience (with my dad). The event was staged outside the auditorium and dubbed the Rose & Crown Inn for that event.

Somewhere around 1978 she played the part of Aunt Eller in Oklahoma. She was brave enough to even sing for that role. She also agreed to direct a production of West Side Story for St. Edward High School.  My parents started to spent more time in Key Biscayne, Florida and eventually moved there full time in 1985 when they sold their house at 15106 Edgewater Drive.    

Mom passed on in 2011. The wonderful people at The Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood dove in to the archives and recently shared some production stills from the Lakewood Little Theater period of which mom was so involved. (In addition to acting she was also a teacher in teen workshops/classes.)
Note: My brother Greg reminded me that mom also performed in Berea. My sister Lynn reminded me of mom directing a production of Laugh In at Wildwood.



Sunday, November 24, 2013

Go John Caroll Blue Streaks!


In what was dubbed one of the most exciting and meaningful division III football games this season, the No. 1 Mount Union Purple Raiders narrowly defeated the No. 9 John Carroll Blue Streaks in front of a sell-out crowd of 8,104 at Mount Union Stadium, 42-34.

Both teams came into the game with undefeated records of 9-0, including 8-0 records in Ohio Athletic Conference play. The Blue Streaks and Purple Raiders also came into the game with the first and second ranked defenses in the nation, respectively. While the game didn't turn out to be a defensive showdown, it certainly lived up to the hype.

"Mount played very well, you have to give all the credit to them," said head coach Tom Arth. "I'm proud of our guys, I'm proud of the way they fought, I'm proud of the way they never gave up. They kept believing, but unfortunately we came up just a little bit short and that falls on me."
          
Myers, a Cleveland St. Ignatius alum, finished the game 31-56 with 451 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The junior quarterback also showed tremendous poise throughout the game, yet acknowledged that there is room for improvement from this game.

With the loss, the Blue Streaks will not enter the postseason as OAC Champions, but will likely earn an at-large berth. While players and coaches alike expressed disappointment, they also understand that the road doesn't end here.
          
"I've been telling you guys all year, it's a special group," said Arth. "Nothing has changed. They're still a special group. These guys have hearts like you wouldn't believe. They're confident, they have a lot of believe in themselves … They're going to come back, they're going to bounce back and this game's going to make us stronger. I believe that with my whole heart."

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Brand Audit

Brand Recipe for Success
 
Just as any healthy firm reviews its financial health in terms of value, it is critical to audit your brand. Such an audit will not as well-defined as generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) or the formal requirements of publicly traded companies. A thorough evaluation of your brand is necessary and requires a close examination of all ingredients. Here’s a recipe:       

Start with a pinch of Strategy - Look at your business, marketing plans, brand positioning, creative briefs (internal and agency) and media plans.

A generous amounts of Research - Positioning, brand asset studies, brand equity measurement (awareness, preference, usage, value, accessibility, relevance, differentiation, vitality, emotional connection, loyalty, associations, personality). Concept testing and customer recall & recognition. Mine big data in social media and inbound marketing for clues. Leverage research to better evaluate strategy. Carefully assess brand asset, equity, positioning research. Include qualitative and quantitative initiatives. This will help you deliver your unique flavor.

Season with external information - External forces will always have an impact on your brand. Review competitors’ press releases, advertising and promotion. Read industry analyst reports. Solicit and learn from customers, business partners, marketing vendor relationships, shareholders, investors, key customer segments/prospects, associations and trade groups.

A dash of Communications - Presentation will help to assure your brand is appetizing. Advertising and promotion materials; brand marketing elements: pricing, packaging, merchandising, distribution, direct marketing, sponsorships, flagship stores, etc.; public relations: press kits, press releases, sales collateral materials, internal communications, business cards, web site, employee training programs, employee orientation, manager training and sales force training.

Just a taste of Internal Ambassadors - Interview corporate officer, marketing employees, sales representatives, customer service personnel, front line customer contacts and general employees. These people are among the most critical brand ambassadors you have.

Human resources - The kitchen needs careful cooks with the ability to function as a team with a shared vision. The utensils of proper alignment might be organization charts, recruiting criteria, competencies/assessments, succession planning, resource allocation, systems/processes. The right people make all the difference in putting it all together.

Make sure you organize and manage all ingredients. You have what you need to assure optimal brand equity. Pay attention to components. They come together (stir, simmer, blend) for optimal value. Repeat as needed.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Amazing Grace

 

Bellefontaine Cemetery visit on November 8, 2013
87,000 souls are part of the legacy of this place in St. Louis and the mosaic it illustrates is a composition of American culture. Senators, Governors, Mayors, Steamboat Captains and Civil War Officers are among those who find their final resting place at Bellefontaine Cemetery, which was founded in 1849. It was the first rural cemetery back in the day. (It now enjoys an endowment of more than $90 Million. So it will be around for a while.)

Richard Lay, Vice President Customer Relations is happy to accommodate our group of docents from the Lauemeier Sculture Park with a guided tour that includes remarkable highlights. We visited the magnificent tomb of Adolphus Busch (which looks more like a cathedral than a burial plot). We visit the monument to General William Clark (of Lewis & Clark fame). The Wainwright Building downtown is an architectural treasure but Bellefontaine has a memorial to Wainwright that also has Louis Sullivan touches. Richard Lay assures us that the Lemp gravesite is not haunted. “Why would ghosts bother with this place? No-one to disturb, here,” he reasons.

Clearly, the story threats that weave their way through such a place are incredible and would indeed create a tapestry of our region and our nation.


 
Laumeier Docent Group at Lemp Tomb (l to r) : Front row, Jeanette Wamser, Tony Vonder Haar, Pamela Dern, Sari Frieden, Clara Coleman, Wes Morgan. Back row - Barb Flunker, Holly Goldfarb, Shelia Hoffmeister, Katy Mike Smaistrla, Maureen Jennings, Jahn Epstein, Ann Bauer, Marie Oberkirsch, Jennie Swanson

 
 
 
NOTES
 
The Wainwright building was commissioned by Ellis Wainwright, a St. Louis brewer and completed in the early 1890s. Wainwright needed office space to manage the St Louis Brewers Association. It was the second major commission for a tall building won by the Adler & Sullivan.

William Clark with Meriwether Lewis, from 1803 to 1806 led expedition across the Louisiana Purchase to the Pacific Ocean, and claimed the Pacific Northwest for the United States. He later served as governor of the Missouri Territory.

Colonel Adolphus Busch was the German-born co-founder of Anheuser-Busch with his father-in-law, Eberhard Anheuser. He died in 1913.






 

 

 
 
 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

First: Assume a Can Opener…


Economists are familiar with the phrase assume a can opener. It comes from a joke most economists know by heart (in one version or another). The joke generally goes like this:

A physicist, a chemist and an economist are stranded on an island, with nothing to eat. A can of soup washes ashore.

The physicist says:  Let's smash the can open with a rock.

The chemist says: Let's build a fire and heat the can first.

The economist says: First: assume that we have a can-opener...

The stereotype that many economic models require unrealistic or absurd assumptions in order to obtain results is a harsh criticism and maybe a bad rap on those who are trying to get a handle on why world economies behave the way they do.

Okay, maybe the economists of the world from academia to business haven’t always been right. The fact is economic theory ranges broadly. Furthermore, study can be focused on microeconomics or macroeconomics. Microeconomics is generally the study of individuals and business decisions, macroeconomics looks at higher up country and government decisions.

Microeconomics considers decisions that businesses make regarding the allocation of resources and prices of goods and services. It takes into account taxes and regulations created by governments. Microeconomics focuses on supply-demand and other forces that determine the price levels in an economy (i.e. how a specific company can maximize production and capacity so it can lower prices and better compete).

Macroeconomics on the other hand, is the field of economics that studies the behavior of the economy as a whole and not just on specific companies, but entire industries and economies. This looks at economy-wide phenomena, such as GDP and how it is affected by changes in unemployment, national income, rate of growth, and price levels (i.e. how an increase/decrease in net exports will affect a nation's capital or how GDP would be affected by unemployment rate).

It has to start somewhere. So, I’m glad there are people willing to First: Assume a Can Opener.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Animation with Clay






Inspired by animation production workshops for children, SSD art instructor Dan Broadfield has been encouraging the kids at Neuwoehner High School to create figures, creatures and themes for animated stories. Dan was himself inspired by artist Maya Yonesho. Shown here: two angles on my own piece which I think would be fun to incorporate into an animation piece.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Storybook Forest

A funny memory. Once my mom took us motoring from our home (Lakewood) just West of Cleveland to this place in Western Pennsylvania called Storybook Forest. Four boys (Wes, Greg, Dan and Rob) and our sister Lynn. Our older brother wasn't with us so maybe we were ages 11, 9, 7, 6 and 5 as passengers when a cop pulled us over in Mom's shiny black 1967 Lincoln Continental going 100 miles and hour.* We arrived at Storybook Forest only to discover the place was closed. (Kind of like that National Lampoon vacation to Wally World when John Candy's character said "sorry folks the park's closed, the moose out front should have told ya.") They let us in to look around anyway.




* I was too young and not paying any attention but I think the cop was somewhat forgiving and reduced the ticket to something like 15 mph over the speed limit. My brother Greg may recall as he was always the navigator in the front seat on such trips.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Happy Autumnal Equinox



Today, our celebration of seasonal change is marked by adjusting daylight savings time on alarm clocks, pumpkin flavored lattes and Halloween candy on sale everywhere from convenience stores to the neighborhood grocery. Kind of makes you think doesn’t it? What will they be saying about us in 1,000 years?

The Fall Equinox on September 22, 2013, the halfway point between solstices when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are each about 12 hours long. The nearly equal 12 hours of light and darkness can be attributed to the Earth's lack of an axial tilt on the day of the equinox. (The word equinox is derived from the Latin words aequus, meaning equal, and nox, meaning night.) Just about 10 miles from the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, an ancient  civilization likely celebrated The Fall Equinox. Part of The Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site where the remains of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico are preserved. Woodhenge is a reconstruction of what is believed to be where a sun calendar marked the seasonal changes.

According to archaeological finds, the city of Cahokia was inhabited from about A.D. 700 to 1400. At its peak, from A.D. 1050 to 1200, the city covered nearly six square miles and 10,000 to 20,000 people lived here. Over 120 mounds were built over time, and most of the mounds were enlarged several times. Houses were arranged in rows and around open plazas, and vast agricultural fields lay outside the city.

The fate of the prehistoric Cahokians and their city is unknown, but the decline seems to have been gradual, beginning around the 1200s. By A.D. 1400 the site had been abandoned. Exactly where the people went or what tribes they became is yet to be determined.

Monday, September 30, 2013

O-H-I-O Transportation and Time

“You should call this trip Trains, Planes and Automobiles,” suggests Jim Varney. He knows I like to document weekends like this with a recapitulation in writing. It’s a worthy thematic concept but this suggestion doesn’t capture the greatest parts of this visit with Jim & Susan and kids, Colleen (4) and Lane (2) at Sharon Hill Drive in Columbus. Booking online (Expedia) for lowest round trip had me flying stop-over flights, to and from, through Detroit and Minneapolis. (That’s between St. Louis, MO and Columbus, OH). The weekend also includes travel by automobile, light rail (Rapid Transit), a short bus ride, a cab ride, power walking ramps and cardio fitness on steep stadium steps (two venues). The nuances of transportation, while amusing, might obscure other themes that beg for attention, however.

Jim can be persuasive. He hooked me on the notions of quality time with his growing family and a bonus trip north for a NFL Football game between The Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals. In point of fact, transportation is the least of my worries once I land in Columbus. All logistics are handled by JV.  I am arriving on Saturday. When JV learns this, his wheels started turning. “Hey, why don’t I ask Susan to drop us off near The Shoe on Saturday. Maybe we will be able to get some tickets to the Ohio State – Wisconsin game. The game starts at 8:00 p.m. but this is Ohio State. The pre-game begins at 11 o’clock,” He says with a chuckle. “It will be fun, even if we don’t score tickets.” We got tickets! Now we have time to soak up some atmosphere.

Hang on, Sloopy. Sloopy, hang on. Hang on, Sloopy. Sloopy, hang on…

Sloopy lives in a very bad part of town (Ohhhh-H-I-O)
And everybody, yeah, tries to put my Sloopy down (O-H-I-O)
Sloopy, I don't care what your daddy do (O-H-I-O)
'Cause you know, Sloopy, girl, I'm in love with you (O-H-I-Ohhhh)

The singer from the Danger Brothers Band at The Varsity Club is stirring the pot at the infamous pre-game hangout, just about 500 yards from the stadium. The $4 beers are flowing and the big screen television screen tells JV he’s got another one right in his friendly weekly football pool as #6  ranked LSU falls to #9 Georgia.

Flash Forward - Columbus, OH Saturday September 28, 2013: I’m with 105,000 of my closest friends making the O-H-I-O to the musical cues in the song. Hang on, Sloopy. Sloopy, hang on. Hang on, Sloopy. Sloopy, hang on… It has a dreamlike quality at night with fireworks, a script OHIO formed by the marching band and periodic recognition of outstanding athletes and alumni on the field at strategic breaks in the action.

Flash Forward – With the game win safely secured, JV calls an audible and we are resuming our cardio workout and short wind sprints: stairs, ramps, to the Varsity Club and to High Street (past a co-ed projectile vomiting in front of a local tavern.) A bus. A cab. We are home in time to catch some more college football on TV. The baseball score updates tell us the Cleveland Indians have won again – nine in a row to end the season and get a shot at some October baseball. We finally call it quits at 1:30 a.m. (After all – tomorrow is a big day!)

Flash Forward – Cleveland, OH Sunday September 29, 2013: Ramps and Cardio Steps again. After all we need to work off the beer, pizza and turkey/slaw/bacon/French fry sandwich from Panini’s. OMG. Hang on, Sloopy. Sloopy, hang on. Hang on, Sloopy. Sloopy, hang on…The soundtrack and the dream sequence is back but some how in a blink of an eye, we are watching a kid from St. Ignatius, quarterback the Cleveland Browns to victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. (Brian Hoyer is the living a dream come true at least for now, as the Browns continue to shop for the next great leader. After this game he’s marshalled a W for the Brownies two weeks in a row – off the bench!)

Hang on, Sloopy. Sloopy, hang on. Hang on, Sloopy. Sloopy, hang on…Ohhhhhh. And again the soundtrack triggers fan participation with the formation of O-H-I-O (by now as familiar to Ohioans as the Village People and Y-M-C-A at weddings and bar mitzvahs). The FirstEnergy Stadium is loaded with reminders of the Cleveland Browns history going back to 1946. The Ring of Honor showcases 16 football hall-of-famers from the legendary coach Paul Brown to Ozzie Newsome. Still JV and I agree the game is forever changed by progress.

Flashback – The Browns were the featured in the first Monday Night Football game in 1970 versus the New York Jets at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

Flashback – Jimmy Brown was the most popular fan jersey. #32 was a fierce running back with the ability to stiff arm would-be tacklers. And from our season tickets under cover of the upper deck at the Cleveland Municipal Stadium we followed the action as it passed partially obstructed views behind structural steel beams.  

Flashback – Flashback – Flashback and Flash Forward – Those kids are at Lakewood Park enjoying the diversions of a kids activity fair with Mom and Aunt Netti. Dan and Netti have opened up their house and share memories in the making. Just a couple of weeks ago their house was headquarters prior to the Memorial Service for Dad at St. Luke’s (complete with Mass, military color guard and reception at McBride Hall). Colleen and Lane have personalities forming before our eyes. Colleen is in charge. She already knows how to politely ask for things. At four, she still has a way to go in managing disappointments. It will come. She is outspoken and animated. In time she will see Lane as her greatest ally (instead of sibling rival).

Flash - Flash - Flash – Maybe it isn’t about transportation (planes, trains etc), but it is about a journey. And it becomes more apparent as you remember where you have been and see in the eyes of children, 2 and 4 years of age, all of the possibilities.

Flashback – The poem I offered at McBride Hall ended with a stanza I have come to realize is really about the future. It is about traveling in time, modes of transportation and yet in a flash we are in a completely new place. We may not recognize it – even as we cheer on the Buckeyes or the Browns in the midst of the multitudes, but we must embrace the victories (even as we experience setbacks).    

We are the dreamers of dreams 

And we cherish each moment as it goes by.

Life is too short but the legacy lives in the gleams

Of Sons and Daughters who wonder why

The great man passes.  

Murph was right: It isn’t fair.

The great man passes.

 

Note: Susan and Jim. Thank you so much for sharing some precious moments in time with those amazing kids of yours. Eventually one day they might realize that they have the best parents ever! (I hope so.) You guys are awesome!

1.      Cleveland Browns Ring of Honor:  RB JIM BROWN (1957-1965), COACH PAUL BROWN (AAFC: 1946-49, NFL: 1950-62). OL JOE DeLAMIELLEURE (1980-84), DL LEN FORD (1950-57), OL FRANK GATSKI (AAFC: 1946-49, NFL 1950-56), QB OTTO GRAHAM (AAFC: 1946-49, NFL: 1950-55), OL/K LOU GROZA (AAFC: 1946-49, NFL: 1950-59, 1961-67, OL GENE HICKERSON (1958-60, 1962-73), RB LEROY KELLY (1964-73), WR DANTE LAVELLI (AAFC: 1946-49, NFL: 1950-56), OL MIKE McCORMACK (1954-62), WR/HB BOBBY MITCHELL (1958-61), FB MARION MOTLEY (AAFC: 1946-49, NFL: 1950-53), TE OZZIE NEWSOME (1978-90), WR PAUL WARFIELD (1964-69, 1976-77), OL BILL WILLIS (AAFC: 1946-49, NFL: 1950-53)

2.      Planes, Trains & Automobiles 1987 film written, produced and directed by John Hughes. The film staring Steve Martin and John Candy as travelers who share a three-day odyssey of misadventures trying to Chicago from New York City in time for Thanksgiving.

3.      Hang on Sloopy is a song by Wes Farrell and Bert Russell, originally titled "My Girl Sloopy. It was named for singer Dorothy Sloop, who used the name "Sloopy" on stage. As recorded by The McCoys, Hang on Sloopy went to #1 in 1965. It became the official rock song of the state of Ohio and The Ohio State University.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Managing your Online Reputation

I find myself at a workshop this week. The venue is an exclusive suburban place. The Missouri Athletic Club West. It is an alternative to the clubby and traditional downtown facility. It’s more family friendly, accessible, pool, dining, meeting rooms and overall a nice venue.  Attendees gathered for coffee at 7:30 a.m. and the small talk among strangers reveals an almost predictable new reality. Several of the guests used GPS on their smart phones to find the place. One even commented that the place was not particularly well reviewed regarding service and food. Upon further discussion, the report was coming from someone who had, in a hurry checked it out online. It turns out the statement he made, was based on two comments on a site like Yelp! (Note: I say“like Yelp!” because the workshop participant I just met couldn’t recall what review site he was even referring to). Therein lies the rub: an unfortunate broadcast based on two actively dissatisfied customers. I spent the morning and lunch at the place and frankly it was more than adequate and worthy of positive reviews from me. I was not moved enough to the point of trying to sway public opinion online, however. (Damage done. Hopefully the good experiences will outweigh the bad and the club will take appropriate action to maintain its brand and reputation.)     

The  2013 Local Consumer Review Survey by Myles Anderson of BrightLocal  recently published on SearchEngineLand among other findings:
 
Far more people state that they trust online reviews as much or more than personal recommendations.
The trust in online reviews is growing.
Consumers are viewing far fewer reviews before making their buying decisions
So you might conclude: It's more critical than ever to manage your online reputation, since people are reading fewer reviews, and basing decisions on them.
As an interesting coincidence, an online publisher called me from an industry association that very afternoon to ask me if I could contribute an article to advise members of a distributor network how to manage their online reputation. As it happens, this industry association had identified this topic out of necessity as members have found themselves victims of newly empowered (and unfiltered) online reviewers.
Something to think about. Your communication strategies need to include the digital and online realities. The sources will vary as will the quality and trustworthiness.  How will you manage your online reputation?     

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

BANG!

A poem about the passing and memory of James O'C Morgan (July 21, 1918 - August 20, 2013)

Bang!

Game Over. Or so it seems.
Tommy Murphy is outraged;
“It isn’t fair” he screams.
Once again the result is staged,
Yet we execute each play:
Run, cut, fake and catch the Pass.
Another Cereal Bowl in the books on a fine Autumn day
With time left over to go to 5 o’clock Mass.

In the cold grey dawn,
The rules are never disputed.
Like Kennedys on the lawn;
Roses are red, Weeds are rooted,
In the end it doesn’t matter if you win.
All the world is a stage;
The play is the thing;.
The best of times at such an age.

It’s how you play the game you see;
No effort goes unrewarded, stay on the field.
What happens under the Buckeye tree,
You think isn’t fair but in time it may be revealed;
In Shoreway seminars to and from Edgewater Drive,
Or in Reading the newspaper before you arrive,
Or between those hours - Nine until Five.
 
Type, Keyline, Flap and Tissue,
Caxton Building loading dock
Delivered right, that’s the issue.
East Side, West Side all around the clock
Attention to production and design,
Annual Reports arrived last night.
Photography and Illustration with a fine line
Because of Jim, the job is done right (and on time).

We are the dreamers of dreams 
And we cherish each moment as it goes by.
Life is too short but the legacy lives in the gleams
Of Sons and Daughters who wonder why
The great man passes.  
Murph was right: It isn’t fair.
The great man passes.
Bang! All of us were there.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Managing Your Online Reputation

I find myself at a workshop this week. The venue is an exclusive suburban place. The Missouri Athletic Club West. It is an addition to the clubby and traditional downtown facility. It’s more family friendly, accessible, pool, dining, meeting rooms and overall a nice venue.  Attendees gathered for coffee at 7:30 a.m. and the small talk among strangers reveals an almost predictable new reality. Several of the guests used GPS on their smart phones to find the place. One even commented that the place was not particularly well reviewed regarding service and food. Upon further discussion, the report was coming from someone who had, in a hurry checked it out online. It turns out the statement he made, was based on two comments on a site like Yelp! (Note: I say“like Yelp!” because the workshop participant I just met couldn’t recall what review site he was even referring to). Therein lies the rub: an unfortunate broadcast based on two actively dissatisfied customers. I spent the morning and lunch at the place and frankly it was more than adequate and worthy of possitve reviews from me. I was not moved enough to the point of trying to sway public opinion online, however. (Damage done. Hopefully the good experiences will outweigh the bad and the club will take appropriate action to maintain its brand and reputation.)     

The  2013 Local Consumer Review Survey by Myles Anderson of BrightLocal  recently published on SearchEngineLand among other findings:
  • Far more people state that they trust online reviews as much or more than personal recommendations.
  • The trust in online reviews is growing.
  • Consumers are viewing far fewer reviews before making their buying decisions.
  • So you might conclude: It's more critical than ever to manage your online reputation, since people are reading fewer reviews, and basing decisions on them.

 As an interesting coincidence, an online publisher called me from an industry association that very afternoon to ask me if I could contribute an article to advise members of a distributor network how to manage their online reputation. As it happens, this industry association had identified this topic out of necessity as members have found themselves victims of newly empowered (and unfiltered) online reviewers.

Something to think about. Your communication strategies need to include the digital and online realities. The sources will vary as will the quality and trustworthiness.  How will you manage your online reputation?     

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Elephant Jokes


Q: What do you do with a elephant with 3 balls?
A: Walk him and pitch to the bear


Q: What do you call an elephant wearing pink earmuffs and a dress?
A: Anything you want, it can't hear you.


Q: Why do elephants drink so much?
A: To try to forget.


Q: Why did the Elephant stand on the marshmallow?
A: So she wouldn't fall in the hot chocolate.


Q: How do you get down from an elephant?
A: You don't, you get down from a duck.


Q: Why are elephants wrinkled?
A: Have you ever tried to iron one?


Q: How do you shoot a blue elephant?
A: With a blue elephant gun, of course.


Q: How do you shoot a red elephant?
A: No, not with a red elephant gun. You strangle him until he turns blue, and then shoot him with a blue elephant gun.


Q: How many elephants can you get into a VW Beetle?
A: Four. Two in the front and two in the back. 


Q: How do you put an elephant into a fridge?
A: Open the VW door, take the elephant out, close the VW door, open the fridge, put the elephant inside, close the fridge.


Q: How do you know if there is an elephant in your fridge?
A: Footprints in the butter.


Q: How do you know if there are 2 elephants in your fridge?
A: Two sets of footprints in the butter.


Q: How do you know if there are 3 elephants in your fridge?
A: Can't get the fridge door closed.


Q: How do you know if there are 4 elephants in your fridge?
A: There's a VW Beetle parked outside it.


Q: How do you get Tarzan in the fridge?
A: Open door, get two VW's out, put tarzan in, close door.


Q: How do you get two Tarzans in the fridge?
A: You can't, silly. There is only one Tarzan!


Q: What did the fifth elephant in the VW bug discover?
A: The sun roof.


Q: How many giraffes can you fit in a VW bug?
A: None, the elephants are in there!


Q: What do you call two elephants on a bicycle?
A: Optimistic!


Q: What do you get if you take an elephant into the city?
A: Free Parking.


Q: What do you get if you take an elephant into work?
A: Sole use of the elevator.


Q: How do you know if there is an elephant in the pub?
A: It's bike is outside.


Q: How do you know if there are two elephants in the pub?
A: There is a dent in the cross-bar.


Q: How do you know if there are three elephants in the pub?
A: Stand on the bike and have a look in the window.


Q: How many elephants does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Don't be silly, elephants can't change light bulbs.


Q: What do you get when you cross an elephant with a kangaroo?
A: Bloody great holes all over Australia.


Q: How do you know if there is an elephant under the bed?
A: Your nose is touching the ceiling.


Q: Why do elephants wear sandals?
A: So that they don't sink in the sand.


Q: Why do ostriches stick their head in the ground?
A: To look for the elephants who forgot to wear their sandals.


Q: What did Tarzan say when he saw 1,000 elephants coming over the hill?
A: "Look, there's 1,000 elephants coming over the hill."


Q: What did Jane say?
A: Here come the blueberries. (Jane was color blind)


Q: What did Tarzan say when he saw 1,000 elephants with sunglasses on, coming over the hill?
A: Nothing, he didn't recognize them.


Q: How do you make a elephant float?
A: Well, you take an elephant, add chocolate ice-cream, and some bananas,.....


Q: How do you get an elephant on top of an oak tree?
A: Stand him on an acorn and wait fifty years.


Q: What if you don't want to wait fifty years?
A: Parachute him from an airplane.


Q: Why isn't it safe to climb oak trees between 2 and 4 in the afternoon?
A: That's when the elephants are skydiving.


Q: Why do ducks have flat feet?
A: From stamp out forest fires.


Q: Why do elephants have flat feet?
A: From stamping out flaming ducks.


Q: Why are elephants feet shaped that way?
A: To fit on lily pads.


Q: What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence?
A: Time to get a new fence.


Q: What do you know when you see three elephants walking down the street wearing pink sweatshirts?
A: They're all on the same team.


Q: How do you know if there's an elephant in bed with you?
A: She has a big 'E' on her pajama jacket pocket.


Q: How do you know if an elephant is hiding under your bed?
A: Your nose is almost touching the ceiling.

Q: What do you call an elephant who is an expert on skin disorders?
A: A pachydermatoligist.


Q: How do you stop an elephant from charging?
A: Take away his credit cards.


Q: What do you get when you cross an elephant with a hooker?
A: A two-ton pickup.


Q: Why do elephants have trunks?
A: Because they would look silly with glove compartments.


Q: What do you give a seasick elephant?
A: Lots of room.


Q: How many elephants does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Two, but you need a real big bulb.


Q: What has two tails, two trunks and five feet?
A: An elephant with spare parts


Q: Why did the elephant cross the road?
A: To pick up the squashed chicken.


Q: What is more difficult than getting an elephant into the back seat of your car?
A: Getting TWO elephants into the back seat of your car!


Q: What is more difficult than getting 2 elephants in the back seat of your car?
A: Getting a pregnant elephant in the back seat of your car!!


Q: What's more difficult than getting a pregnant elephant in the back seat of your car?
A: Getting an elephant pregnant in the back seat of your car!


Q: What happens when an elephant sits in front of you at the movies?
A: You miss most of the picture!


Q: What's big and green and slimy, and hangs from tall trees?
A: Elephant boogers.


Q: What is beautiful, gray and wears glass slippers?
A: Cinderelephant.


Q: What is the difference between a sorority girl and an elephant?
A: About 40 lbs. Q: How do you equalize the two? A: Feed the elephant.  


Q: What has 2 grey legs and 2 brown legs?
A: An elephant with diarrhea.



Q: How is an elephant like an apricot?
A: They are both gray. Well, except the apricot.

Q: What’s the difference between a dozen eggs and an elephant?
A: If you don’t know, I’m sure not going to send you to the store for a dozen eggs!

Q: What the difference between a herd of elephants and a bunch of grapes?
A: Grapes are purple, elephants are gray.

Q: What do you call an elephant that rides a bus?
A: A passenger.

Q: Why don’t African elephants like to play cards?
A: Because of all the cheetahs.

Q: What’s the difference between an African elephant and an Indian elephant?
A: About 3,000 miles.

Q: What did the peanut say to the elephant?
A: Nothing: peanuts can’t talk.

Q: What did the grape say when the elephant stepped on it?
A: Nothing: it just let out a little whine..

Q: What’s gray on the inside and red and white on the outside?
A: Campbell’s Cream Of Elephant Soup.

Q: What do you know when you see three elephants walking down the street wearing pink sweatshirts?
A: They’re all on the same team.

Q: What’s gray and has four legs and a trunk?
A: A mouse going on vacation.

Q: What do you call an elephant with a machine gun?
A: “Sir”.

Q: Why do elephants drink so much?
A: To try to forget.

Q: What’s gray and puts out forest fires?
A: Smokey The Elephant.

Q: What do you get when you cross elephants with peanut butter?
A: Elephants that stick to the roof of your mouth.

Q: Why did the elephant wear red sneakers?
A: So he could hide in the apple tree.

Q: Why do elephants paint their toenails red?
A: To hide in cherry trees.

Q: What do you get if you cross an elephant with a kangaroo?
A: Big holes all over Australia.

Q: What kind of elephants live at the North Pole?
A: Cold ones.

Q: What’s convenient and weighs 20,000 pounds?
A: An elephant six-pack.

Q: How do elephants talk to each other?
A: By ’elephone.

Q: Why do elephants have cracks between their toes?
A: For carrying their library cards.

Q: What’s gray, has large wings, a long nose, and gives money to elephants?
A: The Tusk Fairy.

Q: Where do elephants with skin problems go?
A: Pachydermatologists.

Q: What do you get when you cross an elephant with a rhinoceros?
A: Eliphino

Q: What’s the difference between an elephant and a piece of paper?
A: You can’t make a paper airplane out of an elephant.

Q: How do you make an elephant float?
A: Take two scoops of ice cream, some soda, and one elephant.

Q: How can you tell if there’s an elephant in the ice cream shop?
A: His bike is outside.

Q: How can you tell if there are two elephants in the ice cream shop?
A: There’s a dent in the cross-bar.

Q: How can you tell if there are three elephants in the ice cream shop?
A: Stand on the bike and have a look in the window.

Q: Why are elephants so wrinkled?
A: Have you ever tried to iron one?

Q: Why do elephants have trunks?
A: Because they don’t have pockets.

Q: Why do elephants have wrinkled knees?
A: From playing marbles.

Q: Why are elephants large, gray and wrinkled?
A: If they were small, round and white, they’d be aspirins.

Q: What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence?
A: Time to get a new fence.

Q: What time is it when an elephant sit on your sofa?
A: Time to get a new sofa.

Q: What time is it when an elephant sits on your toilet?
A: Time to run away.

Q: Where do you find elephants?
A: It depends on where you left them.

Q: What do you say when an elephant sneezes?
A: “Gesundheit”.

Q: What goes, “Clomp, clomp, clomp, squish, clomp, clomp, clomp, squish?”
A: An elephant with a wet sneaker.

Q: Why did the elephant cross the road?
A: It was the chicken’s day off.

Q: What would happen if an elephant sat in front of you at the movies?
A: You would miss most of the show.

Q: What is the biggest type of ant?
A: An eleph-ant.

Q: What’s as big as an elephant, but doesn’t weigh anything?
A: An elephant’s shadow.

Q: Why were the elephants kicked out of the swimming pool?
A: They couldn’t keep their trunks up.

Q: Why wasn’t the elephant allowed on the airplane?
A: Because his trunk wouldn’t fit under the seat.

Q: Why were the elephants the last animals off the ark?
A: Because they had to pack their trunks.

Q: Why did the elephant paint her toenails all different colors?
A: So she could hide in a bag of m&m’s.

Q: What would you get if you crossed two fish with two elephants?
A: A pair of swimming trunks.

Q: What should you do to a blue elephant?
A: Cheer it up.

Q: What should you do to a red elephant?
A: Quit telling it dirty jokes.

Q: What should you do to a yellow elephant?
A: Teach it to be brave.

Q: What should you do to a white elephant?
A: Hold its nose until it turns blue, then follow the directions for a blue elephant.

Q: What should you do to a green elephant?
A
1: Wait until it gets ripe.

Q: How does an elephant get out of a phone booth?
A: Same way she got in.

Q: Why don’t elephants ride bicycles?
A: They don’t have thumbs to ring the bell.

Q: What weighs 5,000 pounds and wears glass slippers?
A: Cinderelephant!

Q: What has 6 legs, 3 ears, 4 tusks, and 2 trunks?
A: An elephant with spare parts.

Q: What’s large and gray and goes around and around in circles?
A: An elephant stuck in a revolving door.

Q: What do elephants have that no other animals have?
A: Baby elephants.

Q: Why do elephants stomp on people?
A: They like the squishy feeling between their toes.

Q: What game do elephants like to play most?
A: Squash!

Q: What did the cat say to the elephant?
A: “Meow!”

Q: Why do elephants paint the soles of their feet yellow?
A: So they can hide upside-down in the custard.

Q: Did you ever find an elephant in your custard?
A: No? Well, it must work.

Q: How does an astronomer catch an elephant?
A: With a telescope, a matchbox, and a pair of tweezers. Go to the jungle, and when you see an elephant, turn the telescope the wrong way around and look through it. The elephant will now be so small that you can pick it up with the tweezers and put it in the matchbox.

Q: How do you get an elephant into a matchbox?
A: Take out all the matches first.

Q: How do you get an elephant out of the water?
A: Wet.

Q: How do you get two elephants out of the water?
A: One by one.

Q: How do you smuggle an elephant across the border?
A: Put a slice of bread on each side, and call him “lunch”.

Q: How do you shoot a blue elephant?A: With a blue elephant gun, of course.

Q: How do you shoot a yellow elephant?
A: Wait for it to run away.

Q: What was the elephant doing on the freeway?
A: About 5 miles per hour.

Q: What do you call two elephants on a bicycle?
A: Optimistic!

Q: What do you get if you take an elephant into the city?
A: Free parking.

Q: What do you get if you take an elephant into work?
A: Sole use of the elevator.

Q: Why do elephants wear tiny green hats?
A: To sneak across a pool table without being seen.

Q: How many elephants does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Don’t be stupid, elephants can’t change light bulbs!

Q: How do you know if an elephant’s been sleeping in your bed?
A: Peanut shells under the pillow.

Q: How do you know if there’s an elephant in your bed right now?
A: He has a big ‘E’ on his pajamas’ jacket pocket.

Q: How do you know if there’s an elephant under the bed?
A: Your nose is touching the ceiling.

Q: How do you get an elephant on top of an oak tree?
A: Stand him on an acorn and wait fifty years.

Q: What if you don’t want to wait fifty years?
A: Parachute him from an airplane.

Q: Why isn’t it safe to climb oak trees between 2 and 4 in the afternoon?
A: Because that is when the elephants practice their parachute jumping.

Q: What do you give a seasick elephant?
A: Lots of room.

Q: What do elephants do for laughs?
A: They tell people jokes.


Q: How do you make Elephant Jello?
A: Read the directions on the box.