Category Archives: Communication

Albums, Take 2

This site has moved. Go to to read Albums, Take 2.

After reading back through this post, I see just how horribly I communicated my point. Here’s another shot at it:

When it comes to communication, marketers often default to clear, concise and compelling statements. But maybe we need to give “cool” a more influential role.

Low Design Gains High Communication

Who said effective design needs to be high design?

Watch this video (PR Web in Plain English), and try to tell me its simplicity doesn’t actually communicate better than a slicker version they could’ve done.

When you care more about the listener than you do the speaker, communication gets better.

p.s. Anybody got any tips on using PR Web before I jump in headfirst?

Similar posts on Brett’s Blog:

  1. “Coming Soon” = Not Our Specialty
  2. The 10 Most “Robust” Words in Marketing


“Coming Soon” = Not Our Specialty

I stumbled across this New Jersey marketing company’s website as I was surfing tonight. I think it is a pretty informative site that explains the company well until I clicked on this link about PR.

In case you didn’t click it, it just says “coming soon.”

Coming SoonEvery other menu item contains a full description on the area of marketing expertise the company provides. Market research. Strategic Planning. Even Commercial Printing.

But not Public Relations.

So, do you hesitate at all in trusting these guys with your PR needs? I do. If anything, the “coming soon” tells me that PR is what they are the weakest at. In fact, my guess is they’ve just thrown it in there because it rounds out their services; it’s expected of a “full-service” marketing company.

My advice: Write something about how you approach PR fast (I mean, isn’t this kind of a PR opportunity for your company?) or don’t build the webpage.

Better advice: Just drop it altogether. If it’s not your area of expertise, let it go. My impression is you’re really good at the other stuff, so leave it at that. Find someone to refer your clients to. It will actually make you more valuable to them, not less. Providing services that you’re not an expert in is what lowers your value.

Related posts on Brett’s Blog

  1. Getting Away From Your Bread and Butter
  2. Battle of the Grocery Store Websites

Smiles and Nods

The Confused SmileNeil tells a story of miscommunication on Brass Rings that got me thinking.

Communication is a funny thing. There are times that I have a very clear, succinct idea in my mind, and I express it by rambling and spouting thoughts mid-sentence and all kinds of incoherent nonsense. And I normally get nothing but smiles and nods back in return. My wife calls me on it all the time (without smiling or nodding).

Then there are other times that I know I communicate the way I want to. I cover the points, I emphasize correctly – everything. And my audience still doesn’t get it.

So what does it mean? I have no idea, except this:

  • There are too many variables in communication (including my mouth and your ears) to think it’s ever received the way it’s intended to be, and . . .
  • There is no substitute for repetition, cuz regardless of how the first experience went, somebody didn’t get.

Now read this post again, just so I know you’re getting it.

Say It

Say “sorry,” that is.

Magnosticism points out how Tweeter is handling their most recent bad news. I love it.

Sometimes saying, “sorry – we’ve screwed up” is the best marketing action you can take. Good luck to Tweeter.

Move the Box

As cliche as it is, business and life constantly celebrate those who “think outside the box.” The ones who dare, who risk, who innovate, who challenge, who take a chance. The ones that buck the status quo.

And they should be celebrated. Everything starts with an idea, and those that think outside the box are the ones with the ideas.

But those who have experienced the type of success that is celebrated and sought after  never, ever simply think outside the box. They move the box.

Look at it this way: Thinking “outside the box” is so celebrated because most people don’t want to do it. It’s rare. We all like our comfort zones. We all like the status quo. We all like more of the same than change. So we think inside the box.

So, if you’re an outside-the-box thinker, your idea that requires a change and that denies the status quo is not what most people will naturally be drawn to. In fact, they’ll naturally shun it. And without people, your idea will usually just stay an idea.

That’s why you have to move the box. Your vision, your passion, your confidence and your persistance will inspire people just enough to take a small step. And when the whole group takes a small step, the box moves. More importantly, if you can simply move the box rather than remove your people from the box, they will, in a way, still be in that comfort zone. But the only way it happens is if they have trust in you and your vision. If there’s no trust in you, then the box won’t budge, and neither will they.

Stop simply thinking outside the box; spend too much time out there, and you’ll get lonely. Survey the landscape a little, and then start moving the box. Bring along the people that will help your idea come to life. And to do that, you’ve got to move the box.

Here’s Feedback on Feedback

We often hear business gurus singing the praises of receiving feedback. How it leads to the best ideas. How it fosters the most profitable customer relations. How it makes for the best office environment.

I don’t deny any of that. But . . .

What’s not talked about enough is how to receive feedback, and when to respectfully ignore it.

Stories I’ve heard from other offices as well as my own experiences leads me to think that we all lean toward pleasing as many people as possible. Because of that, lots of feedback often leads to lots of confusion, frustration and distilling. Especially for workers not on the executive leve. Especially when executives are likely to try to please the masses just like everyone else.

But a glowing sign as to your level of expertise is your ability to diplomatically yet emphatically sift through feedback, marking the good, the bad and the insane. In your area of expertise, you are the expert. And while feedback is most important, you should have experiences, knowledge and instincts that should not be tossed aside. That’s what you’re paid to have. Don’t deny at – act on it.

Many of us crumble under a barrage of feedback. We let it cripple us, weaken us, even depress us. We stop thinking of ourselves as complex human beings who can systematically analyze all the feedback and then synthesize it together into the right decision. More times than not, we receive the feedback, find the common ground that will please everyone (or the common ground that won’t displease anyone) and we just go after it. Straight down the path of least resistance.

And it always produces mundane results that don’t really get anyone excited.

Then there’s the issue of having too many cooks in the kitchen. Unless you’re really, really, really good at leading a meeting, too many people almost always results in chaos and more confusion. And obviously lots of feedback. Lots of people wanting to throw their two cents in. Lots of people wanting to share opinions. Lots of people forgetting that, in most cases, they probably aren’t the target market, but you should go ahead and try to meat their wants, nonetheless.

If you’re not confident in or aware of your skills in the issue at hand, this avalanche of opinion will overwhelm you.

Finally, there’s customer feedback. The holy grail, right? The customer is always right. Unless, of course, they’re wrong.

Admittedly, giving your customers what they want is usually a good thing. But sometimes, you need to be the parent in the relationship, shielding your child (your customer) from consequences they simply cannot comprehend. Holding your ground when little Johnny wants to pet the pretty porcupine. Showing some tough love when Susie Customer demands you don’t discontinue a product, even though you can’t pay anyone else to buy it.

Feedback is a beautiful thing, but it is not the authority. It is always biased, always opinionated and very rarely objective. So knowing how to deal with it (and when to completely ignore it) becomes one of the most important attributes we can develop as marketers, as leaders, as spouses, as people.