Archive for the ‘talks and lessons’ Category

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GRIT

In talks and lessons on August 23, 2013 by Jox Tagged: , , , , , , ,

“Hardwork beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. – Tim Notke

SUCCESS- such a powerful word. The very promise of it serves as a key driving force to anyone. Who among you here think that they’ve made it because of intelligence? Hardwork? Guts? So many traits have been pointed out to determine success. Yet there is a key factor that contributes to success- GRIT.

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals”. Abigail Lee Duckworth, a consultant turned public school teacher turned Psychology professor, studied the patterns of success among several subjects. What they found out was that it was not IQ, talent, or any genetic or circumstantial characteristic alone that lead to success. It’s about sticking to your goals and braving through obstacles. You may call it perseverance or resilience, only deeper.

I just watched the Apprentice Asia finale. It was down to two contestants. Andrea from Singapore who had a track record of winnings and Jonathan who remained persistent throughout. Jonathan won and he attributes his win to one thing: GRIT. His undying passion that remains inflamed in him.

Practice makes perfect. Rather, deliberate practice makes perfect. It takes 10,000 hours doing the same thing over and over again. This is what author Malcolm Gladwell in his book,Outliers, found out about the groundbreakers such as Mozart and even the Beatles. They relentlessly practiced and lived through their art. “Grit is sticking with your future — day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years — and working really hard to make that future a reality”(Duckworth et.al).

Life is a marathon. How many times have we heard this? We just don’t have one strand of motivation and end at the first pit stop. We continue riding with the highs and the lows. Grit as a virtue dates back to even Aristotle’s time. Historically, we know that as long as we live, we must not stop pursuing.  You remember the fable of the turtle and the hare. Potential-wise, the hare had a better chance. But he rested on his laurels and in the end, the persistent turtle won.

Success is not easy. I know that. YOU know that. It is not a linear path. It is actually messy but the key is to be consistent and never losing your eye on the prize.

“Our most important talent is having a talent for working hard” (Duckworth et.al). So be GRITTY and find your greatness.

*I delivered this entry as one of my speeches in Toastmasters. Winning Best Speech in that meeting was an added blessing. 

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Turning Pinocchio for Products’ Sakes

In Marketing Ethics,talks and lessons,Views and Reviews on April 26, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , , , ,

Photo borrowed from Daniel Plues' site.

Seth Godin in his intriguingly titled book, All Marketers Are Liars, said that, “Authenticity is the best marketing of all”. It’s like being yourself. When your intrinsic qualities align with your manifested self, you are happy and carefree. Otherwise, when you try to hide or divert people’s attention away from an aspect of yours, you appear contrived or aloof.

As a brand or product manager, you know you have a great product when upon making your briefing material, your imagination has already produced even a brand spokesperson’s dialogue. That’s because you are excited to bring the good news to people in creative ways across several contact points. There is something authentic and believable in your brand and you know that it will hit home once out in the market.

Alas, this does not happen all the time. Sometimes there are products that just need to exist to disrupt the market or further dominate the category by creating haphazard ammunition or “just-in-case” brands to counteract possible entry of an international player. But there are also products that are not necessarily original or remarkable but need to be launched fantastically thanks to advertising. This is the time when the team has to lie through exaggeration, omission or deception.

Indeed it is. However, innovations don’t pop out like mushrooms per square foot of a category. Usually, there is a first player that defines the market. When proven to be profitable, others follow with “me too” products. In their most basic forms, these new entrants have marginal or no difference from the first player. So they resort to the guys who can make products seem distinct through branding.

Image borrowed from MASHABLE.

It is a challenge to differentiate especially when there is NOTHING intrinsically different about the product. The task of the creative team is to let the new brand play in the market and bite off the pie. Given this pressure, creative lies may emerge just to come up with a selling proposition.

It’s the Pinocchio Syndrome and the length of how the nose goes indicates how much lies have been told to sell a product. It can be an expensive undertaking to communicate a lie to consumers. They eventually find out anyway. No matter how much emotion an ad has evoked in a consumer when a product fails to deliver, consumer trust is broken upon usage. Usage is the moment of truth and that truth is the venue for the product to reveal its authentic form to the consumer without the frills of emotional propositions or catchy communication points. #

 

(C) COPYRIGHT Brands & Pitches 2012

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Are Science and Marketing like Oil and Water?

In talks and lessons on April 12, 2012 by Jox Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Marketing is often perceived as a discipline completely isolated and remotely comparable with the Sciences. While I love marketing, Science has always been my passion. If it wasn’t for a rare opportunity of an Integrated Marketing Communications degree, I would have pursued my course in Biology.

I went to a high school with a specialized curriculum in Science and Math. I must say, those were the happiest times of my life. Most of the subject matter would deal with the concepts but we would have regular activities that would test practical applications.

Having stumbled upon a TED talk given by Google’s Marketing Director, Dan Colbey, I completely agree with his correlations of marketing with scientific concepts starting with forming and disproving hypotheses. Some may say it is much of a push and the conclusions might have been forced but Mr. Colbey has opened my mind about leveraging my stored knowledge in Science to become a better marketer.

Here are the key points of his talk.

1. Newton’s Second Law of Motion: Force = mass x acceleration

Deriving another formula from it is Acceleration = Force/ mass. The bigger the brand, the more force it requires to make it “move” i.e. gain market shares, increase penetration, etc. Big companies with big brands are also often the big spenders to maximize share of voice. He also pointed out the importance of being agile thus, companies like Unilever and P&G have several brands under their portfolio, each functioning independently to grow the company.

2. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle

I find this inference on pointe. The explanation is that the measurement and characteristics of a particle cannot be determined because by measuring it, its very properties have already changed. The same principle applies in determining consumer behaviors that change as soon as the act of determining them is activated.

3. In the scientific method, disproving a hypothesis is more probable. A brand is hard to build but is easy to destroy with just one wrong move.

(C) Copyright Brands and Pitches 2012