How to tap into the great power of yessing.

My wife Dawn and I were recently reflecting on our wedding. A wedding is usually a great day for the bride and groom. (Except in Panic At The Disco songs.) But the guest experience can vary widely. That being typed, a surprising number of the roughly 200 guests at our wedding told us how much they enjoyed the event. In fact, 20 years later we still hear this.

We hosted a pretty typical experience. The wedding was in the afternoon. In a church. A reception with dinner and dancing followed. Just like the invitation said.

The party was not particularly fancy. We did all the decorating ourselves, with help from our families. There was no photo booth. In fact, we had disposable cameras on each table. Because it was 2002. And Blockbuster was still a thing.

Our Big Day

But we did have a DJ. The kid boasted that he was one of the best DJs in Marathon County. Plus, we sprang for wine, beer and soda pop. Which might have helped the overall experience, because research shows that people enjoy alcohol, sugar, and free stuff.

The Simple Explanation

But as we reflected on the fun weekend 20 years ago, Dawn came up with a simple explanation as to why the event was so enjoyable. She said,

It was like everyone was yessing.’

I immediately agreed. Dawn put a unique, but highly accurate descriptor on the event. People yessed to traveling to the fairly remote Wausau, Wisconsin. They yessed to supporting us. They yessed to spending time together. They yessed to a celebration. They yessed to staying up late. They yessed to dancing, drinking, laughing and all the things that make a good time roll.

Here’s To Yessing

As we enjoy this holiday week of Hanukah, Christmas, and other end-of-year activities, I hope you are yessing. Yessing to the fun, and hope and joy of this time of year. I hope you are yessing to gathering and spending time together. I hope you are yessing to traditions and creating new memories and deepening your relationships with others.

Yessing is leaning in. It is deciding to play, dance, and sing. It is not about watching others, or saying this isn’t my thang. The greatest fun and best times are a result of yessing. And the more people you have yessing the merrier the moment.

The Impact on Culture

My Yessing Weapons

Yessing is a key to creating a great organizational culture. When we all say yes to the processes, traditions and rituals they help strengthen and deepen culture. When we decide to do and be what the family, business, team or event needs we increase the power and magnetism of the entire group.

The first rule of improv is to say Yes to whatever is thrown your way. Life is like improv. When someone throws something good your way, yes it. Make it stronger and better and more enjoyable for everyone. Yessing creates positive peer pressure that makes life, work, and play better. And it certainly makes wedding weekends fun and memorable.

This year, my friends Jessica and Josh Hunt (2nd from right) hosted a 1920s murder mystery party. And we all yessed the flapper out of that party.

Key Takeaway

Lean into life. Say yes to the opportunities and adventures. Participate. Contribute to the conversations. Partake in the traditions. Dance and sing and play when it’s time. When we Yes we create momentum. We deepen bonds. We create memories. And ultimately, we enrich each other’s lives. It’s not hard to do. And the rewards last a lifetime.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? For more ideas on how to build a great organizational culture check out my newest book The Culture Turnaround.

How the most difficult decision in my career is still paying off today.

Our careers are full of choices. Some are small and arbitrary. Some feel ginormous. The tough thing about tough choices is that the right answer is never clear at the moment we need to make them. And we may not know whether we made the right call for years. Or decades.

Tough Call

Recently I was asked to think about one of the toughest business decisions I had to make in my career. Several decisions popped into my head. Including big ones like whether or not I should quit my job and launch my own business. And whether I should risk asking a coworker to go on a date. (I have now been married to that coworker for 20 years.) But there is one particularly challenging situation I faced that not even Robert Frost could help me through. I call it The Roanoke Decision. Here’s the story.

Roanoke

In the summer of 2008, I had a business trip to Roanoke, Virginia. I worked at an advertising agency called Engauge. And I was to fly to Roanoke from Columbus, Ohio with a client for a night of focus groups. I was excited about the trip because I love the knowledge and insights gained from a focus group of my client’s customers. I had never been to Roanoke. And visiting new places is one of my favorite things. Along with brown paper packages tied up with string.

A New Challenge

But a funny thing happened on my way to Roanoke. A new client of our advertising agency, Nationwide Insurance, scheduled a TV commercial shoot on the same day in Charlotte, North Carolina. #RutRo

To this point in the project, all of the work I had done was behind the scenes. My boss, the Chief Creative Officer, had been meeting with the client and presenting the work. The client had proved to be challenging, and after each meeting, there was a new story about the over-the-top client and how difficult they had been to please.

Could You, Would You, On A Plane?

Eventually, we landed on a TV commercial script to produce. And because of other scheduling conflicts, I was asked to attend the Nationwide TV shoot. We determined that I would be able to travel to Charlotte the day before the shoot for location scouting and the important pre-production meeting. Then I could attend the first half of the TV shoot, and leave for the airport at lunch to catch my flight to Roanoke. At that point, the 2 experienced Associate Creative Directors on the account would manage the rest of the shoot. Easy Peasy.

The Best Laid Plans

Things did not go as planned. While attending the preproduction meeting I met two clients from Nationwide Insurance. One was Steven Schreibman, who was as over-the-top as advertised. He wanted the spot to be Spectacular! The other was Jennifer Hanley, who I was ice cold in the meeting. She had clearly done this sort of thing before, knew exactly what she wanted, and wasn’t about to suffer any fools who didn’t know how to deliver. This was going to be interesting.

The Commercial

The commercial was a simple idea. It was called ‘Burnout’ (think NASCAR victory, not Jeff Spicoli). The spot opens on a shot of a cul de sac in a quiet suburban neighborhood. Suddenly, a sports car speeds into the cul de sac and begins doing donuts. We cut inside the car to a shot of the driver, NASCAR champion Kevin Harvick, who tells the camera that he just saved a bunch of money by switching to Nationwide Insurance. Hence the celebratory burnout.

The 100-Degree Wrinkle

However, it was supposed to hit 100 degrees that day in Charlotte. So everyone involved was worried about how the heat would affect our shoot, the talent, and the car.

My team, including talented ACDs Jason Thomas and Oscar Reza, got to the set early. And it was already hot as balls. When the two clients arrived we met them and gave them the plan for the morning. We enjoyed a nice on-set breakfast together as the crew readied for the shoot and the sun began to broil the blacktop.

The Thaw

As the day warmed, so did my relationship with Hanley and Schreibman. The iciness and the craziness of the initial meeting didn’t come to the set that morning. Instead, they were both very pleasant. They were excited about the shoot and excited to work with Harvick for the first time. But they were also greatly concerned about the heat. (And not Dwyane Wade’s former basketball team).

Secretly Sweating

I too was concerned about the heat. I was worried it would drench Harvick in sweat as he delivered his lines to the camera. I was worried about the impact the heat would have on the Corvette, which would be repeatedly pushed to its max as we spun it in high-speed circles. I was worried about the young stuntman who was going to be performing the donuts that afternoon. And I was worried about making a graceful exit in the middle of all of this to head to Roanoke.

What To Expect When You Are Expecting

The day went exactly as I expected. Meaning that I was quickly bonding with the new client, and the heat was causing real logistical problems for Kevin Harvick. He was a great sport, but would quickly sweat through his Nationwide polo and we would need to repeatedly break to freshen Kevin and his wardrobe. Which was slowing things down, and generating tension on the set.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

As the heat was burning up our time, I was making regular phone calls back to my office in Columbus. I was updating the account supervisor who lead the other account that was conducting the important focus groups in Roanoke. I was originally supposed to leave for the airport at 11am. But with the delays and tension on the set in Charlotte, I felt like I couldn’t leave at that hour.

What to do?

We decided to rebook my flight for another flight 2 hours later. I would have a car service pick me up at 1pm and speed me to the airport. I would then OJ Simpson through the airport, and make the flight just before they closed the boarding door. (Remember when we used to Associate OJ with running through airports?)

Bond. Personal Bond.

It was a good plan. But I still hadn’t told the Nationwide clients that I would be leaving the shoot. As so often happens in difficult situations, we were bonding. There was both stress and gallows humor as the clock raced faster than our progress. I worked with the producer, director and client to create a workable scenario and adjustments that would enable us to get all of the shots we needed. We decided that during some air-conditioned cool-off breaks we could record some voiceover work for the commercial and radio spots to save precious time.

Here it comes!!!

But 1pm was coming faster than Kevin Harvick in an 800hp stock car. And like The Clash, I had to decide, do I stay or do I go now? I knew that if I stayed there would be trouble. But if I go, it may be double. What to do?

The Walk

I walked off by myself for a moment, and carefully evaluated the situation. Not just the logistics. But the intangibles. The relationships. The commitments. The business development potential. And both clients’ needs. There was a lot to process in a little time.

The Call

Then I called Peter Zenobi, the account supervisor, and reluctantly told him that I would not be flying to Roanoke as planned.

The Decision

I decided that I had to be on Nationwide’s side. The degree of difficulty we were dealing with in the heat with the stunts and the celebrity talent was too high to walk away from. I recognized that I was quickly developing a strong rapport with both Jennifer Hanley and Steven Shreibman. And the focus group, while it was my original commitment, and I really, really hated to back away from it, would be recorded. And there would be a detailed report produced.

Ahead Of The Curve

While I didn’t technically go to Harvard Business School, I did read a book about it. In Ahead of the Curve, author Philip Delves Broughton writes about his experience as an MBA student at Harvard Business School. He reveals that the 2 greatest things gained in this prestigious program are 1. A remarkable network. 2. Confidence to make difficult decisions when you don’t have all the information you would like. And The Roanoke Decision was a clear case of having to make a tough decision without all that information.

Was it the right decision?

The heat-related challenges continued the rest of the afternoon. But we worked through it all. We got the footage we needed of the Corvette doing burnouts. But barely.

The young stunt driver needed a lot of time to get his driving dialed in. Which, in the 100-degree heat, took a toll on the car. In fact, the brand new Corvette, borrowed from a local dealership, overheated and shut down completely. So by late afternoon the car literally shut itself down, and could not be started again for 6 hours.

But we had what we needed. No one got hurt. And the Nationwide clients and I headed to the airport, together.

That night, on the flight home to Columbus, Jennifer Hanley and I sat together and talked the whole way. We developed a fast friendship. And before we landed, Jennifer said that she had a lot more work that she wanted to send to our agency.

The Partnership

Nationwide and Engauge quickly developed a very strong partnership. Soon we had an annual retainer with Nationwide of over $5 million. We handled the advertising for Nationwide’s sports sponsorships, including their high-profile NASCAR and  PGA sponsorships, and work with NCAA basketball and the NHL. We refreshed their pet insurance brand, VPI. We rebranded Titan Insurance and created a very high-profile disaster response commercial, featuring Julia Roberts as the narrator.

My relationship with Jennifer continued to strengthen. And I developed strong relationships with many other great friends at Nationwide. In fact, my Nationwide relationships are among the strongest personal relationships I have developed in my career. (I considered listing all the great friends I made through Nationwide Insurance here, but it would double the length of the story.)

7 years after The Roanoke decision, when I made another difficult career decision to start my own advertising and idea agency called The Weaponry, those Nationwide relationships benefited me once again. In fact, they have led directly to our work with Hertz and Thrifty rental cars, Fifth Third Bank, and American Family Insurance. (Thank you Matt Jauchius, Dennis Giglio, Nick Ferrugia, Tiffanie Hiibner, Susan Jacobs, and Dawn Pepin.)

Steven

Starting that hot summer day in Charlotte I developed a very special relationship with Steven Schreibman. And when Steven passed away in May of 2018, the tribute I wrote about him on this blog became the most popular post of all time. And just last month, over 4 years after Steven’s passing his Mom, E.J. Bloom called to thank me for writing the story about Steven, and how she reads it often to enjoy wonderful memories of her wonderful son. We talked for an hour, like new old friends. Last week I received a package in the mail from E.J. that contained a copy of Steven’s book, Blood in My Hairspray.  You can find the blog post here: Our time here is short. Make the most of it, like Steven did.  

14 Years Later

Did I make the right choice on that blazing hot day in August of 2008, in the subdivision in Charlotte? When Roanoke was calling, and Charlotte wouldn’t let go? With more than a decade of great friendships, partnerships, and funny memories now in the bank, it would certainly appear I did.

Key Takeaway

When making difficult decisions, trust your instincts. There may not be a right or wrong choice. You may not have all the facts you want. But be confident in your decisions anyway. When you walk confidently in the direction of your decisions the universe rewards you. Know that you have the privilege of choosing your own adventure. Take advantage of that. Take control of your career and your life. Things will work out. Someday I expect to visit Roanoke. And I will thank the city for all it gave me in that trade years ago.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Don’t be one of those people.

I pay close attention to the language that people use. I always have. I notice local nuances in word choice, phrasing and pronunciation. And I can tell the difference between the cursing of an educated and uneducated human.

I also quickly recognize when new words and phrases gain popularity.

A few years ago I noticed the increased popularity of the phrases, If I’m being honest…, and To tell you the truth… There is a time and place to use those phrases. But they shouldn’t be sprinkled before everything you say or you sound like your default setting is Big Fat Liar.

The latest phrase to ping my ears is One of those. Here are a few uses:

He’s one of those guys who….

She’s one of those bosses who….

They are one of those friends who…

I dislike the use of this phrase for 2 reasons.

  1. It is unnecessary. Whatever you say after this introduction could simply stand on its own. She’s one of those bosses who people love to work for could simply be: People love working for her. And, He’s one of those guys who never seems to have a bad day could simply be: He never seems to have a bad day. Or He’s always in a good mood. Or, I think he’s on drugs.

2. I don’t like to think of people as being common types. Humans are complicated, nuanced and unique. We are oversimplifying when we lump people into one of those categories. And I hate to be lumped.

As a champion of marketing, advertising and branding I am constantly looking for the unique, unoccupied spaces for brands to live. It’s important to own distinct real estate in customers’ minds. It is how brands become irreplaceable.

The same holds true when it comes to your personal brand. You don’t want to be one of those types. It decreases your value. It makes it sound as if there are a large number of you. As soon as you are one of those types, you are interchangeable with all the others. Like a commodity. Don’t be that kid.

Key Takeaway

Don’t allow yourself to simply be one of those. Lean into your uniqueness. Develop your own intriguing combination of strengths and style. Become uncategorizable. Be unlabelable. Own a unique place in the minds of those you interact with. It is the best way to maximize your value and memorability. It’s true of brands, products and services. And it’s true for humans too.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+ For more thinking like this check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

How to get the most out of any experience.

Every experience in your life has the potential to be valuable. Every day, every meeting, every interaction. From major holidays to kickoff meetings to casual conversation, there is gold to be found everywhere. But too often the experience comes and goes without living up to the potential it promised. This is the deeper message behind the play Our Town and the movies The Sixth Sense and Weekend at Bernie’s.

The best way to get the most out of any experience is to imagine it is already over before it has begun.

Before the meeting starts imagine you are walking out of it. Before you get in the car with another person imagine the drive is over. Before your guests arrive imagine they are leaving. Before you try that pick-up line imagine what the other person looks like when you are sober.

Then ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. What went right?
  2. What went wrong?
  3. What would I do better next time?

With this quick and easy pre-mortem evaluation you can ensure that you will:

  1. Make the right things happen.
  2. Fix what went wrong before it occurred.
  3. Do things better THIS time.

I use the simple evaluation technique all the time. And I use it on massively different types of experiences.

Before Christmas or a birthday, I imagine the perfect day, map it out and schedule the day to live up to my expectations. More detail is better. So is more eggnog and more smiling. Smiling’s my favorite.

But I also use this technique when I drive my kids to or from school. I think about the conversation I wish I had. I think about the opportunity to connect, encourage, or entertain as if it already slipped away. Then I make sure to connect, encourage or entertain while I still have a few minutes. And when the ride ends with my kids opening the door laughing I feel like we are winning at life. Especially if they remembered their backpacks.

Key Takeaway

Understand your opportunities before they are gone. Imagine the final outcomes before they are baked. Then adjust anything you can to align your actual experience with your ideal. Great events don’t just happen. You make them happen. And a little forethought provides the road map you need to a better ending.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more ways to create better outcomes, check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

The Weaponry Turns 6 today! Here are 6 things I’ve learned along the way.

On the eve of my 40th birthday, I sat down and wrote about the things I was most proud of from my first 4 decades on The Big Blue Marble. It was a fun process. I thought about my family and friends. I thought about my wins. My adventures. My career successes. I thought about that time I petted a hummingbird in the wild. (I have now done that twice!) And I thought about how I was creating a better person every day. (Not in a Mary Shelley kind of way)

Then I shifted my focus to my unfinished business. I asked myself this very simple question.

If you died tomorrow what would you most regret not doing?

-39.99 year-old Adam Albrecht

The first and most obvious answer was that I had not tried to start my own advertising agency. So I put that at the top of my list. And I got to work on a plan to avoid that regret. The more I thought about it the more real the plan became. I was like Joaquin Phoenix in the movie Her. Or maybe like the dudes in Weird Science bringing their project to life.

To start your own business you need the support of your family. A couple of mums and pumpkins don’t hurt.

Go Time!

When I was 42 years old, I did it. I launched the advertising and ideas agency The Weaponry.

That was 6 years ago today!

Simply trying to start my own agency would have eliminated the regret. Because I put a premium on simply trying. It was the not-trying that I knew would have bothered me most when things started heating up at the crematorium. It’s a major bonus that things have worked out and that The Weaponry is thriving 6 years later. Plus, most businesses don’t last past 5 years. And I never wanted to be like most people. Except maybe Johnny Most. (Bird Steals The Ball!)

Just keep swimming!

Earning and Learning

I have learned a lot from starting my own business. And fortunately, when I started planning the business I also created this blog to share what I was learning along the way. (Cue Dana Carvey’s Church Lady saying ‘Well isn’t that special!’)

6 Things I Have Learned About Business.

`1. Every year in business is a success in itself. Leadership’s primary responsibility is to keep the business in business forever. Each anniversary is proof that we are doing our jobs. Just like we should be thankful for each day on top of the topsoil, having your doors open is a success. Although today businesses don’t even need doors. Kinda like a Jeep Wranger in summer.

2. You have to keep looking for ways to improve. I am always thinking about the gap between the ideal version of The Weaponry and who we are today. So the mission becomes to continuously work on closing that gap. We meet every Friday to talk about ways to improve our processes and strengthen our weaknesses. You have to call that stuff out into the light in order to be able to address it, work on it and improve it. Fall in love with that process and you’ll fall in love with business. Kinda like Lee Majors in that TV show where he was the stuntman.

3. You need great people. Our team is amazing. We are loaded with nice people who like to collaborate to get great team results. We take a lot of pride in doing what we said we would do. Our team members love to solve problems for our clients. The team is quick and productive. They are great at accumulating knowledge and applying that knowledge to create more and more value for our clients. They are smart people who are really enjoyable to be around. Recruiting and working with a great team has been one of the greatest rewards of the past 6 years.

4. You have to keep adding new clients. Like Lucille in that Kenny Rogers song, a client could leave you at any time. The decision-makers could quit, get pushed out, die or simply change their minds at any moment. So you have to always be growing your business with new clients because you can’t protect yourself from all client attrition through hard work, great ideas and excellent customer service alone. Plus, you need to create a diverse portfolio of clients to protect against shifts in markets, dry spells, spending cuts, or making a client so wildly successful that they no longer need to do anything to help their business thrive.

5. You have to have fun. Fun comes in a lot of different forms. And I love to have fun in everything I do. Including business. Here are just some of the things I find fun at The Weaponry.

  • Learning new things.
  • Game Planning
  • Problem Solving
  • Meeting New People
  • Sending out job offers with a lot of funny non-traditional language.
  • Saying silly things in meetings.
  • Making clients smile and laugh
  • Storytelling
  • Travel
  • Typing funny comments into the chat during Zoom meetings
  • Creating new stuff
  • Getting new swag
  • Eating lunch together
  • Winning new business
  • Helping our clients grow
  • Wowing our clients
  • Putting on a show
  • Receiving compliments for a job well done.
  • Being told we are fun
  • Baking humor into our setup slides.
  • The humorous final slides of our presentation.
We love to laugh. Like that song in Mary Poppins.

6. You have to be paranoid that the business will collapse. I am never comfortable with our success. I am afraid that if we are not careful everything we have been doing and building will go away. You can’t ignore the opportunities to get better. You can’t let things slide. Just like you should try to win over your spouse again every day, you have to be concerned that things could go bad with your clients if you take your eye off the ballpoint. And if you worry enough, and do something about it, the bad things will never happen.

Key Takeaway

A great business is simply a collection of great people running great processes, contributing great value to customers, having fun, and worrying that it will all end if they are not careful. I am extremely thankful for all of our Weapons, our great clients, and our partners who work as a trusted extension of our team. Here’s to 6 fun years. Let’s keep this thing going forever.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+ To see more of the lessons I’ve learned throughout my career check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

How highly successful people win even when they are tired.

Sunday was the first day of Daylight Saving Time in America. We all gained an hour of sunshine but lost an hour of sleep. Which is a pretty good trade, unless you are a vampire.

Late Sunday afternoon I told my 14-year old son Johann that it was time for us to go to the gym. Not surprisingly, he told me he didn’t want to go. He said he was tired. I told him that I was too. But that we were going to go lift weights anyway.

When we got into the Jeep I knew it was time for a Father-Son talk. Thankfully, it wasn’t going to be one of those Father-Son talks where you have to use all the anatomically correct language and try not to giggle.

Me and Johann the moment I first held my book.

As we pulled out of our neighborhood and headed towards the gym I told Johann that I was about to share one of the most important lessons I would ever share with him. And I wanted him to listen closely. Here is what I said:

The Daylight Saving Day Lesson

You will always be tired. For the rest of your life, you will be tired every frick’n day. And being tired will always be an excuse you can use to get out of doing anything.

But if you use the I’m tired’ excuse you will never accomplish great things. You will never have big successes. You will never break away from the massive pack of average.

When you are tired, you have to go anyway. Work anyway. Compete anyway. Exercise anyway. Maintain your best habits anyway.

Become the type of person who does things despite being tired. And you will build momentum. You will separate yourself from others who use being tired as an excuse to not do what they know they should do.

You will do special things. You will make something great of yourself. You will make your parents proud. You will make yourself proud. And you will know that you are a badass. A badass who gets tired, like everyone else. But when you are tired and don’t feel like doing hard work you do it anyway. That’s how you win at life.

-Dad

Key Takeaway

You will always be tired. Don’t use it as an excuse. Go anyway. And use it as proof that you are a tough mofo who does the necessary work, even when you are tired. Because that’s what great people do.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+If we are on the same frequency, you’ll also enjoy my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

May the Super Bowl remind you that the size of your audience matters.

Welcome to Super Bowl Sunday! For American advertisers, this is the biggest opportunity of the year. Because Super Bowl viewers make up the biggest American audience advertisers can reach at one time without a white Ford Bronco.

Messages need eyeballs and earballs to be received. More receptors and detectors mean that your message can have a bigger impact, more influence, generate more demand, create more persuasion and generate more revenue. It’s all you need to know to understand the popularity of the lip-sync platform Tik Tok.

The cost of running a Super Bowl commercial is super high. Because a commercial that airs during the Super Bowl has super potential to generate sales. Like an army of Mary Kay saleswomen in pink Cadillac’s invading the suburbs.

Remember, it’s not about who you know. It’s who knows you. Your idea, brand, product, service, movement, cause, or candidate’s success is limited by the number of people who are aware you even exist.

Key Takeaway

The shortcut to marking success is to get yourself in front of the biggest audience you can find. It’s ok to start small, but don’t think small. Keep ratcheting up your reach. Converting your audience will always be a percentage game. The greater the audience the greater the opportunity. Just ask the NFL. Or Kris Jenner.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

The hard truth about word-of-mouth marketing.

Lately, my advertising and ideas agency The Weaponry has been enjoying a lot of word-of-mouth marketing. Which means that happy clients and partners have been telling others about us. As a result, we have been getting a lot of new opportunities. Which we love.

However, it is important to remember that word-of-mouth marketing doesn’t begin with your customers. And it doesn’t start with an advertising agency either. Unless, of course, you are an advertising agency. Which we are. (Which kind of confuses things.)

Where does it come from?

Word-of-mouth marketing originates within your organization. It is a result of a job very well done. It stems from great products, great services, and great experiences. All of which come from great processes and great people. Which is some real Tony The Tiger stuff.

When a customer gets all that they want and more from you they can’t help but tell other people about you the next time they find a relevant opportunity to share. It’s fun to tell others about the smart decisions we made and the great experiences we had. It’s enjoyable to share good news and inside information. Like Michael Jackson said, ‘Tell them that. It’s human nature.’

Word-of-mouth marketing is usually considered free advertising. It is not. Far from it. In fact, all the time and attention you pour into delivering a great product or service are like buying advertisements. Your special product or service is the media. It carries a positive message about your brand to your customer. They simply push that same message along to others. Like one of those Newton’s Cradle ball knocking thingies.

Newton’s Cradle. The Ball Knocking Thingie

Key Takeaway

Your great product, or service, is the media on which word-of-mouth marketing is carried. Make your offerings great. The better they are the bigger the media space you have bought to carry great words about your brand.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

Why you should bring an entrepreneurial spirit to your social life.

At some point we all experience dissatisfaction. You may find yourself disappointed by your career path, your opportunities, your social interactions, or this game Prince called, Life. But don’t go crazy. Because if the elevator tries to bring you down there is always something you can do.

Entrepreneurship

Remember that you have the power to start your own business, be your own Bruce Springsteen, and control your own career. It changes everything. Entrepreneurship is the big excuse eraser. Because you no longer are at the mercy of the decisions of other people.

Beyond Business

But regardless of whether you decide to start your own business, you can take an entrepreneurial approach to everything else in your life. Instead of starting your own business, you can start your own social group. Made up of people you want to spend time with. That’s what Mark Zuckerberg did. (And besides the congressional hearings and the Winklevoss twins, it’s going pretty well for him.)

A group of some of my oldest friends at a gathering I organized this summer.

Social Creation

By starting your own group you are creating new connections and ultimately, a new community. That community may have a greater impact on your life than simply starting your own business. In fact, the community may create new opportunities for you to grow and expand your career in ways you had never considered before.

Create your own social circle. Then put a camera on the floor and take a selfie.

Key Takeaway

If you love the idea of being an entrepreneur, but don’t have the risk tolerance to give up your job and strike out on your own, start a social group. Find great people. Organize them. Activate them. Foster and strengthen the connections between them. You will have created your own organization that could offer far greater profits than a business alone would provide.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

Fun Fact: This pic is me and my cousins after our Grandma Albrecht’s funeral.

The secret to success summarized in just 11 words.

If you want to be successful in life there are no shortcuts. But there is a short formula for success that is easy to remember. Because it rhymes, like LeAnn and Buster.

Here it is:

Early to bed. Early to rise. Work like hell. And advertise.

-No One Really Knows Who Said It First

It’s a simple statement. Just 11 words. And 4 periods. Like a hockey game that goes into overtime. But it is dense in value.

Early to bed. It’s a reminder to get plenty of sleep. If you want to accomplish great things you’re going to need all the energy you can get. Your bed is your recharging station. So treat yourself the way you treat your smartphone, and make sure you get recharged to full power every night.

Early to rise. Getting up early is the best way to make the most of your day. Waking up early gives you bonus time to get more elective work in before the mandatories of the day. Remember, it is your elective activities (exercising, reading, studying, writing, practicing, preparing, volunteering, etc.) that separate you from the masses. By that, I mean the general population, not the church services.

Work like hell. Work creates value. The more you work the more value you create. The more value you create the more you are compensated. Note: the compensation goes far beyond money. Note Note: the compensation also includes money. #AwYeah!

And Advertise. To maximize your positive impact on the world people need to know you exist. You need to be top of mind. When you are top of mind more great things come your way. You need to share the word about your capabilities and willingness to help. Adverting helps people connect their dots to you. It helps others solve their problems with your help. Which makes you more valuable to the world.

Key Takeaway

Start each day early to accomplish as much as you can. Put in as much work as you can. Because we exchange work for gold (gold metals and medals, gold moments, gold relationships, etc.) Let people know who you are and how you can help them. Because the world is full of challenges that you can help overcome. Then get to bed early to rest up and get the most out of tomorrow too.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.