The Conversation Prism

The Conversation Prism by Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas

I am in love with this graphic. Love love love it.
Love the color, showing the spectrum of social media channels.
Love the 360 degree design. Love the concentric circles.

Just wish the font was bigger!

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Clip Art Must Die

The days of cartoon-ish clip art are over. The trend in slide presentations is photos. That is, high quality, legal, royalty-free photos. You can find them by searching the web using these key phrases: creative commons, free photos, wikimedia commons.

Here are a few sources I found for photos and images:

The Morgue File Free images for your inspiration, reference and use in your creative work.

EveryStockPhoto.com – Indexes over a million Creative Commons photos for your use.

Wikimedia Commons – The central clearing area for the Wikimedia projects CC files.

Flickr Creative Commons search – Search Flickr for all the derivatives of the Creative Commons licensing.

And a few other I’ve recently had recommended…

  • http://www.dreamstime.com/
  • http://www.shutterstock.com/
  • http://www.kozzi.com/

hideous clip art

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How good is your online identity?

Today, if you don’t show up in Google, you don’t exist. Whether you are applying for a new job, being considered for a board position or trying to get a date, you can count on being Googled. So knowing what Google says about you and proactively managing your personal brand online is critical to success.

Try this tool to see where you’re at: http://www.onlineidcalculator.com

Brandy Nagel on Google

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“You mean, just say what the product does? No one’s ever tried that!”

This bit from The Muppets Take Manhattan has stuck with me for years.

Common sense is not all that common in marketing and advertising, it seems. And many people think they have a knack for it simply because they are exposed to ads all the time. I drive a car, but I’m not a mechanic.

Creating bad ads and weak marketing strategies is easy. Sometimes they even work.
But creating something compelling – an ad that really resonates with customers – that’s that hard part.

“Mad Frogs” from The Muppets Take Manhattan – Ocean Breeze Soap

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It’s all about the Benjamins

Marketing is about making other people rich. If you are not comfortable with that, you should seek other employment.

Money

Fat stacks of cash

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The enemy of the great is the meh

A meal at Oak Street Cafe will not be cheapest in Roswell (that honor probably belongs to Rhea’s) nor the most expensive (Pastis? Rice? I’m not sure).
But it might be the best meal in Roswell.

Oak Street Cafe, Roswell GA
I believe in eating at independent restaurants over chains or franchises.
I’ve been eating at Oak Street for about four years now.

Oak Street Cafe is owned by Joe and Kim. I’ve never had a bad meal, which is good recommendation, right? But I’ve never had a mediocre meal at Oak Street Cafe, either. Which is why I keep going back.

The menu is small, which I prefer to having a gazillion choices to sort through. And the menu evolves over time, as Joe tries new dishes.The atmosphere is calming, and not snooty. The service is consistently good.

Every time I walk out of there I feel satisfied and pleasantly full. I never feel like I paid too much – quality food is worth the price, because it’s good for body and soul.

This is why Oak Street Cafe is great, I think: They keep it simple and focus on quality food and a quality experience.

Kim and Joe do very little marketing. They have a website. They tweet the daily specials. It’s all word of mouth that grows their business…and the word is good.

The simplest marketing strategy of all: have a consistently great product.

P.S. Sometimes Joe’s aunt will bake a cake, and they’ll sell it by the slice at the counter. Buy a slice. Trust me.

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An axe to grind

While at WordCamp Atlanta (#wcatl) I heard Sara Cannon speak about branding. She referred to the branding by Best Made Company, and axe maker with a stunning website. Yeah, they make axes, and their website is beautiful. Check it out at www.bestmadeco.com.

When I see something like this it reinforces my belief that any product – and, in fact, every product – can have good branding.

Best Made Axe box

An Axe Box by Best Made

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Offer a third option

Anthropologie is brilliant. For lots of reasons.

Today they are brilliant because I was about to unsubscribe from their e-mail marketing (just trying to minimize the amount of mail I receive) and they gave me a third option.
I could 1) continue to subscribe 2) unsubscribe or 3) receive fewer e-mails.

Brilliant.

I was prepared to opt-out, but the third option actually meets my needs better. I want to receive e-mails from Anthropologie, just not quite so many.

Now, I’m certain it is more work to segment the database according to which recipients want frequent e-mails and which want fewer e-mails. But if you are using a pay-per-send service, it will save you money. And ultimately it will retain customers.

The best ideas are the simple ones.

Anthropologie spoons

The best ideas are the simple ones

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Props to Delacorte Press

Publishers are in a difficult situation these days. Many authors are self-publishing. Books are available digitally, to be read on a Kindle (or similar device). Websites like lulu and Scribd make it possible to avoid publishing altogether. Advertising is expensive. How to promote a book?

I was pleased to see Delacorte Press launch a simple and elegant promotion. This promo involves passionate fans, builds loyalty and costs very little.

Here is the original post from Diana Gabaldon’s website:
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
My publisher asked me to post this message:
If you’re here, you’re an Outlander fan. The seventh book in the series, An Echo in the Bone, is coming out 9/22/09 (really!!).
Help us spread the word about this amazing series with FREE copies of Outlander. We all know it’s a book that you tell everyone they have to read, so let’s get more people reading it!
And it’s Outlander as you’ve never seen it before—with a cover just for the uninitiated.
Special Outlander cover
Here’s how it works: We’ll randomly select 100 winners from those who fill out an entry form on or before 7/31/09.
Each winner will be sent a carton with 24 copies of Outlander.
Your mission is to give them away for free: to your friends, family, colleagues, the people you see at the gym, the bus stop, the supermarket. You get it. Hand them one. You know you’ll be giving them an amazing novel, and people love to get free books.

Brilliant, eh?

So, the publisher will send 2,400 books out to 100 highly engaged fans – and those fans will have the pleasure of sharing a book that they love with 24 people who are unfamiliar with the series. Making your customers feel like heroes is a great way to engage and build loyalty.

This campaign will be highly successful, I predict. Props to Delacorte for keeping it simple.

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