Archives for posts with tag: passion


Watch this clip: The Kodak Carousel pitch by Don Draper. (Sorry, AMC doesn’t allow embedding.)

Pitch with emotion and passion

Sure, it’s fiction. Still, it’s amazing. He mixes his own experience with a fresh idea and delivers this new concept with raw emotion. The fearlessness of tapping into his own emotion and passion brings his audience to tears.

As I said, it’s fiction. But you can bring this concept to life whenever you present. Share a new idea. Add emotion to the mix and top it off with passion. See what happens.

Marketing doesn’t equal advertising

In reality, advertising is a small slice of what marketing is today. Any successful product or service is the result of smart marketing thinking first, followed by a great product/service that makes the marketing story come true and allows the advertising to tell a story. If the Kodak company hadn’t invented the Carousel, slide projector, Don Draper could never have developed the story. Good advertising can’t bail out bad marketing. Both need to be good to work well.


Facebook is a terrible tool to build communities outside of your immediate friends and family. It’s a good platform to maintain existing relationships. It performs badly when it comes to creating new communities based on shared interests. I’m still active in many forums and stats show they tend to build powerful, long-lasting communities.

The emergence of niche networks.

Big social networks have received all the attention in recent years but the real action happens in community forums. There are millions of these sites that have a combined audience comparable to Facebook. The one big advantage Facebook offers for marketers: Scale. It’s so much easier to communicate a message on a unified platform compared to millions of communities, often behind password walls.

In addition, you need to be passionate about specific topics: Unless you’re into Dubstep in Brazil, why would you ever know about forums discussing that topic? Or baseball forums in Germany. Sumo forums in Los Angeles. Bobblehead forums. These forums are surprisingly popular and extremely resilient because of their community bond. For every interest there is an online community to accomodate: fishing, hiking, TV shows, Rugby, Bakersfield fans – you name it. They live and grow every day even if you know nothing about them.

Real relationships

I joined a EDM (Electronic Dance Music) forum in 2000 and still participate every day. The conversation has transformed from sharing club experiences to political discussions, parenting issues, travel advice, general entertainment. I’ve never met 99% of the community but we’re a lively bunch and engage on a daily basis. It’s fascinating to experience this use of the Web and the untouchable strength of community.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to engage in niche networks

Facebook has become the Microsoft of Social Networks. It’s there, you can’t escape it but you don’t love it. We use it every day but we are really not passionate about it. I’m sure Facebook will be around for years to come, just like Microsoft won’t disappear. The real love and passion happens in niche networks. By integrating more social features into their forums, niche communities will soon begin to have their heyday. Soon means about now.

All this talk about Facebook and Twitter have distracted from one the most important strengths of the digital medium: bringing people together to form a community. The current Forums 1.0 will soon be transformed into more advanced and socialized forums.

Scale is important.

The bond and passion of a community is more important. And a much better playground for your brand.


I’m a big believer in Neil Postman’s premise that we’re amusing ourselves to death. The masses are appeased by spectacles and don’t seriously discuss things like budget deficits, our role in the world, environmental challenges. The worst part of this idea of panem et circenses is sports. People can talk for days about meaningless games that do nothing to elevate us as a society or make this world a better place.

The worst time of the year in sports is the NFL draft. The proliferation of statistics has led to a secret society of stats and meaningless data. You have the Wonderlic TestThe 40 yard Combine dash. And all this data stuff lead teams to pick Tom Brady in the 6th round. Right after Giovanni Carmazzi, Tee Martin and Spergon Wynn.

The same adulation has taken over our industry, and, yes, our clients. We make sure to forget about our gut reaction. Looking at data is our initial response to anything. We have metrics but they are most often completely meaningless. In the advertising industry, the only metrics that should count is: “Would I show this with pride to my wife/friends/family?”

While the whole sports world is going nuts on stats and data, whenever you look at a winning team there’s always this little thing we call “heart”. The Los Angeles Dodgers of 1986 had heart, Kirk Gibson the biggest. The 1980 US hockey team had heart.


Where is yours?


It’s interesting to see that some of the thought leaders in the Social Marketing space encourage everyone to work through the holidays.

Chris Brogan says in his “Work Now” post:

“Work now while they’re coasting.

Yes, see your family. Yes, take measure of where you’ve been. Yes, do everything in your power to realign and rethink what you’ve done and put it in terms of where you’re going next.

But then get your hands dirty and work. Now.”

Mitch Joel connects The Matrix with the drone mentality of many people

“You see, while I’m Blogging during the holidays, spending time to think and soaking in the good will of my family and friends, you’re dreading going back to work next week.”

And, Adam Daniel Mezei (also mentioning The Matrix) asks “Who’s working this week?”

Yeah, don’t you just love the buzzing claptrap that the “Holiday Season” is the time for family, when families get together to reacqiaint themselves with each other in the spirit of the Festive Season? What bullsh-t…

Look, friends, for some of us, family day is every day. Moreover, we have a “special” family day each week so one guilt-ridden “24 little hours…” isn’t going to solve the roiling rifts in your crooked family dynamics, trust me when I tell you.

Mighty family ties are something you cultivate over the weeks, the months, and the decades. You forge these bonds over the long-haul, Charlie. Like a lush garden, you water that sh-t every day to make it flourish. If you don’t, you suffer the consequences. Then you need the “Holiday Season” to make your amends and fulsomely apologize to the family you’ve willfully neglected over the past eleven months.

Xmas isn’t some glorified milestone to declare a family ceasefire, okay, where you ultimately decide to consecrate the day via a reaffirmed mission to stop adulterating against your suspicious spouse, being generally hateful to your peers and colleagues, being disreputable in your business dealings, and speaking gossip against your fellow members of society; an act, according to some, which is tantamount to flesh and blood murder. It isn’t about suddenly deciding to be a good girl or boy, papering over your erstwhile reprehensible actions of the past calendar year (a secular, doubtful, and 13 days forward-jettisoned Gregorian year, at that) through a bevy of tastefully wrapped expensive tschotchke gifts which which you expect to razzle-dazzle your intended recipients, in the hope they won’t prolong their trenchant hate-on for your egregiously-sinning ass for another twelve sorry months.

Sorry, it doesn’t work like that…

For those of you who think those of us who actually work these final two weeks are anti-family workaholics who can’t see the forest for the pine trees, here’s a newsflash: we’re more family than you can shake a 20-piece KFC chicken bucket at!”

No matter what these folks write, taking time off is essential. Just explore the links on this post to find enough evidence that taking time off is important. I’m not saying you should become a TV vegetable for hours on end and do nothing. Read that book you never had time for. Do the activity that was always too much for your work week. Hang out a day with your loved ones without any goal, objectives and time limits.

The time between Christmas and New Years is precious. Don’t waste it with just wasting away. It’s not about working more. It’s about doing something better. Whatever floats your boat.

Daydreaming might be the best way to go:

“Daydreamers rejoice, for now, research shows how doing nothing but daydreaming improves our focus and generally, makes us smarter. Author Jonah Lehrer writes how the study conducted by Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli and John Gabrieli of MIT suggests that an active idle state of mind activates long-range neural connections in the brain that are linked with high performance in IQ tests and better thought process and intelligence.”

No matter what you, don’t feel forced by anyone to do more. Just get yourself ready to do something better. Today. Tomorrow. In 2011.


“When we are narcissistic, we are not on solid ground (earth) or thinking clearly (air) or cought up in passion (fire).  Somehow if we follow the myth, we are dreamlike, fluid, not clearly formed, more immersed in a stream of fantasy than secure in a firm identity.” – Thomas Moore

Mediocre brands love to talk about themselves. Just like the dull dinner companion or date that can only talk about him or herself. It’s hard to escape a dinner date, it’s easy to escape mediocre brands. I just tune them out, throw their stuff in the garbage, don’t even see them.

Great brands talk about what they believe in. What they are passionate about. What they love. They take a stand and tell you what they’re standing against. Sharing with the world what your really believe in is inspiring. Sharing a passion with the world makes people want to connect with a brand. It’s so much easier to connect with people when you share your real identity with the world.

What is your brand passionate about?


Marketers love to capture people. That’s especially true in digital marketing. We always try to find new ways and traps to keep people on our site. We make it hard for people to leave the site, creating overcomplicated processes, filling phone menus with promotional messages, trying to up-sell people throughout the whole ecommerce check-out process.

We act like jealous lovers, afraid that if they leave us they will never think about us again. It’s become so hard and expensive to get the attention of people, once we have just  speck of it, we never want to let go. Often people just want to get something done and then move on. They don’t want interaction, experiences or anything that prevents them from getting on with their lives. Think Redbox, ticket machines at a Subway, a soft drink vending machine.

People are feeling overwhelmed with all the information bombarding them all day long. Somebody tells them about a new luxury car: They just want to read a quick summary. They don’t want to test drive it, they don’t want to request a quote, they don’t want to get re-targeted all day. They wanted information, they got it. Thank you very much. Let me get on with my day.

You’re walking a fine line when you constantly remind them of your presence. You might become the annoying guy that talked to a girl once and now thinks she’s in love. She might fall for him one day but not if he badgers her with messages, love letters and other reminders of his presence each and every day. Or, even worse, traps her, making it hard for her to leave.

Real relationships are patterns of mutual investment. You invest in me. I invest in you. If all investments come from one side, you don’t have a real relationship. You have an imaginary relationship.

Next time you invest money in capturing, trapping and locking people in, ask yourself: Would you want to be treated like that? By anyone? Or would you want companies to invest in relationships of mutual respect? Based on a basic understanding of human desires, needs and mutual value exchange. (While writing this, I couldn’t stop humming “Free, free, set them free.”)


Images: Courtesy of artbyphil

By now, it’s gone. A temporary city that forms during the annual Burning Man event is fading back into the nothingness of a remote desert. Most inhabitants are back in their normal life, and within weeks, the entire city will have disappeared. It’s an interesting way for a city to exist – once a year, just for a few weeks. People will talk about their experiences for months (just follow the hashtag #burningman to get a sense of the enthusiasm) and start making plans for next year’s event.

This was my second time at Burning Man. It remains one of the most bizarre, creative, inspiring, breathtaking and weird events I ever attended. Whatever you heard about Burning Man: It’s true. And, it’s completely false. You have to experience it to really understand it. It’s like having a kid, running a marathon or writing a book: Everything you heard about it is true. And, completely false at the same time.

On my way back from Black Rock City, I reflected on the lessons marketers can learn from Burning Man:

1. The paralyzing fear of change is far more inhibiting than the actual experience of change:

I’ve been a runner for more than 15 years. The first 5 years, I never ran more than 6 miles per day. A marathon was completely out of my reach, even though I was intrigued by the idea. “How do they run 26 miles?”, I asked myself many times, envisioning images of pain and agony. I tried to run 10 miles, never able to do it. Started walking after 6-7 miles, my usual comfort zone. Until one day, I decided to run 15 miles that day. No particular reason, just the feeling that I was sick of not being able to break that 7-mile barrier. And, I didn’t want to just break it. I wanted to shatter it. And so I did. Just to finish a marathon 3 months later.

Many marketers feel the same way: They want to break with the old model of marketing but they feel stuck in their old ways, the outdated processes and the aging model of broadcast marketing. They wait for someone to have the courage to change. The truth is: Nobody gets courage and then changes everything. First you change everything and then get the courage.

2. Don’t give up too early

The first time you try anything new, your senses are under attack. You don’t even know if it’s good or bad. You just know it’s new. You don’t know yet how to put it into perspective and add it to your experiences. The first time is the basic foundation of the overall process. The best advice for the first time in everything: Hang in there. Do whatever you can, the best you can. The second time is different: You have now one experience to compare your second experience to. And your second experience might be good or bad. Better or worse. It helps you to avoid bad experiences and to top good experiences. The third time is where it gets interesting. That’s when you become part of the context, when you can apply some of your experience history to the current experience. The third time gives you enough time to analyze incoming data.

This is true for visiting new cities. New countries. Starting a new job. And it’s true for marketing.

The first two digital campaigns/social media initiatives won’t be featured in any award book. I worked hard, I tried my best, I just didn’t have the proper context to deliver the best work possible. With the third campaign/initiative, I felt more grounded, more experienced. When you experiment with new platforms, new ideas or a new brand that just decided to run their marketing with you, just know you’re not going to ace it with the first idea/initiative. The fear of failure is looming large but you need to beat it by accepting this normal process.

3.) Give people a sense of ownership

The creativity and passion people pour into Burning Man has nothing to do with monetary rewards. It has a lot to do with a sense of ownership of the event. Sure, the man will burn, there will be coffee and ice, basic structures. The rest of the event is up to each one of the attendees.

Advanced managers base their ethics on fairness, harmony and gratitude to inspire a sense of achievement to goes beyond profit. Modern employees expect more from companies than just a paycheck. The work place should provide an avenue for employees to build knowledge, skills and experience.

The same is true for marketing: It’s not enough to have an offer or a discount coupon anymore. Customers review and recommend brands with a sense of ownership never seen before. Brands need to identify the best way to engage these passionate stakeholders. The future doesn’t belong to broadcast. The future belongs to companies that share values with their customers, that build platforms where all stakeholders can co-create and collaborate, and give people a sense of ownership.

4. Passion has real value

You can feel real passion. Just watch an artist or a kid immersed in something they are passionate about. Objects are not important at Burning Man. We are in the age of transition: From the economy of objects to the economy of people. Just look around: Everyone is starving for meaning. We’re meaning-making machines. All of us experienced how quickly the focus on profits can turn into an economic disaster. Instead, people want to do meaningful stuff that matters.

The new marketing reality implies that brands need to take a hard look at themselves and decide what they stand for. What is the inner truth of your company? What is your purpose? The foundation of any successful company in the future is purpose, passion and integrity, coupled with empathy and care for all stakeholders. It goes way beyond any CSR initiatives or charitable donations. The new marketing reality requires companies with big hearts.

5. The world needs more kindness

Tim Ferriss (The 4-hour workweek) discovered kindness in a sand storm. And, he shared a poem by Naomi Shinab Nye, entitled “Kindness”:

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.


When your dreams turn to dust, vacuum.