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June 2007

Living in a construction zone.

Our company started on the second floor of a building at 200 South Main Street. At the time it was right next door to the abandoned and boarded-up Family Court building (now the home of Design Partnership), two doors down from the abandoned and boarded-up Poinsette Hotel (now the Westin Poinsett), and across the street from Cancellation Shoe Mart (now Soby's Restaurant). When we moved in, downtown was so dead, you could lie down for a nap in the middle of Main Street at 3:00 in the afternoon, without worrying about being hit by a car. Then came the boom.…


Branding a school.

We've been working on an RFP for a college lately, so I've been thinking a lot about this issue. Schools are unique even among services, because of the fuzzy nature of the product. Think about it in terms of following the money.To the prospective student, the product of an education brand is the education, the prestige, the lifelong contacts, the credential, marketability on the job market, the coolness of the experience...stuff like that. But in the complex equation of school funding, this is just one piece of the puzzle.To the alumni, the product is a prestigious name and reputation, continually…


Grace protests!

Upon further investigation, I have learned that Grace had nothing to do with the Harry Potter project mentioned earlier. She protests that she knows nothing about Harry Potter. But the same investigation uncovered Hillary's participation. So that's the way it was, June 27, 2007.



I really don't know where they found the time, but Anne, Brian, and (maybe) Grace invested some minutes this afternoon, deciding the Harry Potter house into which each of us fits. The consensus of the panel of experts is that I am a Ravenclaw. When I asked what that means, the derisive answer I received was, "Clearly you've never read the Harry Potter books." Fair enough. All I want to know is whether being a Ravenclaw is a good thing.


Parking Deck Mystery II

This is a bit of a follow up to my post of June 13, in which I wrote about a mysterious car, with what looked like evidence of fowl play. I haven't gotten the chance to check in with the attendant, but the car is still there. As far as I know, it hasn't moved. Of course, the door is now closed. If I learn more, I'll fill you in. Here's my theory...Guy lives in the condos, next to the garage. Rolled in late at night, after a road trip, a little tired, perhaps a little tipsy. Opens the door…


The mind of the consumer.

That's where a brand lives. It does not live in a graphic standard usage manual, in an ad campaign, in a PR plan, or in the hearts of a sales force. Your brand is what the universe of consumers says it is. I've been talking a lot lately to folks about the issue of controlling your brand. Of course, it's important to be responsible about policing how you use brand expressions (consistency). And it's important to police your competitors (both direct and indirect) to protect your brand from infringement, encroachment, and outright piracy (seems like more and more people are…



We've been working on an RFP. Normally, we don't respond to them, but this one seems to be something we're exactly suited for. Last week we had to submit questions, the answers to which were posted today. The format let us look at all the questions from all the agencies, and the answers to all of the questions. It was very telling. The questions were as interesting as the answers (although ultimately not as important). There were a couple of trends. There were people like us, who wanted to dimensionalize the assignment, so we could know how to respond to…


Learning some more.

It was book report day. Brian gave an excellent report on a book about email etiquette. I think it was called Send. Soon as he posts his review, I'll give you the link. Here's a sample. Before you send an email, think about this acronym:S: Simple-keep it simple.E: Effective-make sure you said what you intended to say.N: Necessary- does this email need to be sent at all?D: Done-be sure you know the consequences of the email...what it will require you to do...what it will require the receiver to do. SEND.I think companies should get serious about email etiquette policy. It's…



Back when my beloved Steelers were on their way to their fifth ring, back in 2005, I remember a couple of highlights. First, I remember that the franchise (Ben) went down with some injuries, as did our left tackle. We lost a whole bunch of games in the middle of the season. It looked like we had no chance to make the playoffs. Then, they started playing like a world championship was a foregone conclusion. Ran the table the last five games. Won the Wild Card. Shocked the Colts in the dome. Sliced and diced on the Broncos. Then, with…


An Angel.

I know this will seem a little out there, but I thought you might want to hear about the night, back in the late 1980s, when I met an angel on Green Avenue. There used to be an audio studio called Mark Five / Sandcastle, in a sort of industrial part of town off of White Horse Road. I was there producing some music for Quincy's Steakhouse late one night. I had been dropped off at the studio. And since I finished around 9:30, and since I lived not too far away, I decided to walk home. I was a…


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