Category: leadership, motivation, business, sales, inspiration

When nobody cares

As a professional I am amazed at both the opportunities in today’s marketplace as much as I am the limitations.

The limitless opportunities to connect and provide something real to a specific consumer has never been so real.

The limitations in trying to please everyone has also never been so real either.

Nobody cares unless Somebody cares

Brands are so adverse to risk when the greatest opportunities are proportionally attached to the risk of getting specific on WHO and WHAT.

Is it a coincidence BIG brands cannot seem to spend their way to the ubiquitous successes of past glory? I think not. Its the sign that things are working we just have not adjusted as professionals.

24 years ago when my career began it was much more favorable to be one of the Big brands with a wall of skus in every store and to be in every store in the specialty space.

Now those big brands are at a loss. We are in the age of connection and brands that are very specific in what they do, why they do it and ultimately who they do it for.

That is a tough nut to crack for the big brands

The challenge as a professional is where to add the value? Where are we most needed?

I believe that the greatest constraints for big brands is to get out of the “Group think” mentality that accompanies the status quo. To be the one that asks why not and delivers value that is creatively outside conventional thinking. That comes with much criticism as I am experiencing in my career.

Giving people what they want often times serves neither the brand or the professional. It is the goal that matters most.

The small brands that often start from a true desire to solve a specific problem for a specific community have a different constraint altogether- Strategic “conscious” understanding of the process and the ability to navigate this as a experienced adviser to the team.

There is not a map and what we leverage is not relationships to speed the process. The work is the work. The brands part of the deal always remains to its customers and creating experiences for them.

There are lists of questions to be honestly discussed….but it really starts with getting specific because Nobody cares…except specifically somebody

Trespassing

Everything goes full circle

First the newness of electronic mail created a enormous advantage to those willing to embrace the change while others still required face to face meetings.

The few email lists I was on were eagerly anticipated and digested and often passed along.

Then things changed.

Electronic mail no longer provides advantage of the early years. It is easier to Spam everyone with scripted letters and offers and play the old direct marketer playbook.

The result is a very low open rate

The result is marketers who care and respect others time and permission not even being seen.

The result is going back to the start but finding a manner to do so that embraces the best of Tech while it holds true to a genuineness.

Maybe that is face to face meetings but with FaceTime as the tech that allows respect for time?

So many in my meetings create unnecessary travel and costs at the expense of companies that would be served much better with directing those resources into supporting the very placements they meet to discuss. Not to mention all the harm from environmental standpoint flying cross country for a 1 hour meeting!

We seem overly agreeable with saving trees and not printing a email ( and making this part of our email signature) but have no issue with the enormous expense of unnecessary travel.

Business lessons I have learned from watching my wife

Those of you that know me or have read my posts so kindly in all their roughness know that I do not really mention or talk about my family as part of my writing as a professional. I tend to keep these camps separate. I do however wish to tell a little bit about my wife “accidental” business because I believe it holds tremendous value for both the creative that is too fearful to put herself, her real self and her work out there to be judged as well as the companies/ brands that are the a state of alarm in the wake of recent developments with Amazon and earning trust and delivering in a saturated, connected long tail economy.

Last year my wife walked away from a stressful work situation and with our little girl three years old we made the decision that we would do whatever it took to have her be home. We also realized in today’s world we still required my wife to do something of a job to help out. (btw as a aside, I was a fool to believe that as a infant once Carmella was mobile and speaking it would get easier haha! ) So my wife Dana began working a couple days per week as her friends jewelry shop (which she actually still does). My wife has a background in fashion design and with a little girl was one of those moms dressing her up for mommy and Carmella photo shoots regularly! The packages arrived, and arrived and she developed friends, began to have the discussions and interactions revolving around only things those on the inside would understand. Out of genuine sincerity she became a Insider to the culture of Moms like her and as Seth Godin says “People like us, do things like this” , “Moms like her, they buy couture special designs like this for their children” .

She began. She works harder and more hours than anyone I have ever witnessed and I respect the connection she has continued to develop with her Tribe so much! Everything is literally done by hand- Everything- not a exaggeration at all!

I have not seen my dining room in over 8 months, haha!

The challenge I see before her is the ability to scale Carmellas Couture without losing the connection and trust of the community while increasing her connections and engagement to become a go to for more moms.

It is the same challenge I witness plague many highly connected start ups in the CPG space. The challenge is in the ability to know your loyal customers so much that you can make a reasonable attempt at increasing offerings, at automating production knowing what their level of expectation is (because its yours also). It becomes much less about antiquated and rude demographics and much more about personas and psychographics. The scary part is that their is risk and with that risk comes the reality that it could be over if they do not embrace it, but it could also as easily be new horizons of success!

Amazon and the enormous push with private label products is horrifying every brand executive I have spoken to of late. Yes, I’ll admit its a challenge however has anyone truly viewed Amazon as anything but a competitor? Have we not witnessed Borders books? Maybe I am crazy and a marketer that believes his own stories too much but I believe there is a Silver bullet.

The Silver bullet? Connection! I will dare say boldly that brands that are trusted, that give honestly and generously to their community will not lose. I believe they will win! We cannot control what Amazon or any other retailer does but we can absolutely deliver outstanding levels of joy to our communities.

Is it any wonder that of the Top 60 supplement brands in natural channel, 38 are direct, 4 major direct, 3 hybrid, 15 are in distribution? Top brands realize the ease that distribution places on logistics is overshadowed completely by the loss of genuine connection that comes along with direct relationships. This comes with a great caveat- above and beyond service and experience. Look at the brands like Garden of Life, Ancient Nutrition ( any wonder since it is Jordan Rubin and Jason Dewberry from GOL) and Vega- all with brand culture ambassadors cultivating fans everyday!

“But that is unrealistic for a small brand” , ” we cannot afford to even try” says the startup owner.

You can. It is all about learning to be deliberate and patient.So YES a Pennsylvania based startup would go snake eyes trying to support national directives but what about focusing on the Northeast? Demoing Every account. Vetting each. networking online, collaborating- as Gary Vaynerchuk says “being a practitioner”. seeking the be the best in the world – the world of PA/NJ…..and then drip by drip, state by state, account by account. the ratchet turns. slowly but surely..

So what are you dreaming of doing that you wont do because it doesn’t pay? Is it worth your television time? Surely it wont feel that way tonight or tomorrow but what about drip by drip 1 year? (they go fast) 2 years? , 5 years?

I personally am witnessing love and connection everyday. Don’t put of the generous work you know we need you to do..Start today

Here is Dana’s Instagram for anyone who wants to check her work out

https://www.instagram.com/carmellascouture/

More or better ;-)

It has been some time since I have stepped away from social media as well as writing on this blog platform. I made a commitment to myself to not make noise for attentions sake but rather to remain consciously aware and dedicated towards adding value.

I have been attempting to make sense of it all. As a professional I consider myself extremely fortunate to have the amazing experiences and associations that I have developed through over two decades of love and work in the specialty/ supplement / Physical culture communities.

So what do I have to say that has prompted me to post this entry? What is the change I seek to create? Where can I add value that is generous to the point of change?

As the divide between the camps of those who are all in on the digital brand route and those who are dedicated to the resurgence of brick & mortar retail becomes wider I feel the need to air my opinion which many will disagree with I am certain. That is okay and quite honestly my hope if I am on to something worthwhile.

First and foremost we must understand our value proposition, what is our deliverable- and who is it for? When I ask this I often get the return gaze that can only mean that they think it is a worthless and ambiguous question. Lets however be very clear that we should absolutely be dialed in to the Psycho graphic we seek to serve. I know it sounds draconian doesn’t it? I will argue that it comes down to the intentions and values we hold. I will argue that once we understand this piece more than we understand how to build a projection flow chart we will have the greatest chance to do something dynamic.

Understanding the Psycho graphic(s) we seek to provide to ultimately provides all the answers. We cannot however depend on traditional market research as it has indeed been proven to be a flawed and very indirect manner to gain perspective. As professionals it is essential and should dictate what, where, how, and all the details associated with forging a brand.

Understanding your target customers online behaviors, preferences for example makes an enormous difference in how you should direct your brand online shouldn’t it?

Understanding your target customers retail behaviors also matters immensely, doesn’t it?

What I am getting at is that a deliberate approach that embraces listening, asking questions and generously looks to provide solutions through our goods and services is within our reach more than ever.

In a series of posts I will cover topics with the intention of creating dialogue and ultimately moving us forward to less noise and more connection

Monday pondering on a train

The thing about life is nobody gets out alive

A funny statement but deeper upon reflection

The older I get the more inward I turn

No longer seeking approval from certain tribes with certain status areas

No longer seeking as much superficial

Still status is a determining force

Always will be I guess

The secret maybe is to understand truthfully what motivates certain actions and responses

To understand and most importantly embrace that actions happen outside our control however interpretation only occurs under our own control

To lastly understand that everyone lives with some skeletons

Maybe the abstinence from mob mentality and gossip is more valuable than we realize in both attaining a realistic focus on our life and shortcomings as well as focus towards living with virtue

Just some thinking

Someplace

Between Myths and Legends

Truth

What’s one persons Myth

Is another’s Lie

Worldviews matter immensely

How many Truths each of us holds are in reality a luxurious lie

When I hear legends from even my own life

The mind is so powerful

We sculpt and bend history

We need immense levels of empathy now more than ever

Especially to create change

We also have to pick

Not All

Not a few

But ONE

and then invest everything

If it is true and needed maybe it will be embraced , catch on and spread as Seth Godin calls it the “Ideavirus”

If it fails

Well then if WE really CARE to be a PRO

we dust off and go again holding on to the knowledge of knowing one way that is not the way

So what’s your reality?

So what are your Myths?

And how can you leverage knowing there ultimately is not a right or wrong in Anything?

Accept that it’s uncertain

The best anyone can do is care enough to accept and embrace that there isn’t a map

That what worked for brand A three years ago is possibly a dead end today

The best we can do is accept that there isn’t really failure only learning opportunities

The best we can do is to embrace the part of the lifelong student

The PRO

The one that does , that acts , that questions the status quo

If the role you are in has you scared that’s good

What we do with that next step is what separates us

Recalculating…..

How many decisions and actions are truthfully linked to where we desire to go?

i.e. our Goal?

As I cross the country after a California work trip I cannot help but think

Not about summary’s or actionable details but more importantly regarding honesty – each of our own Truths

How many decisions do I make based on reaching my destination

Even more importantly What is my Goal?

The big one?

Then the stepping stones, benchmarks along the way?

Would anyone begin a cross country drive without a map or the address of where they wish to arrive?

Wouldn’t this allow us to plan reaching state lines and necessary stops along the way?

And even with these plans we still should be ready for the unexpected I.e. opportunities to arise which can also be setbacks.

So why do we make decisions based so haphazardly?

Each appeasement potentially takes us more off course

And wastes more of the fuel in our tank

There is a reason why Tony Robbins, the late Zig Ziglar and every worthwhile highly successful human places so much weight on GOALS and what we each intend to stand for

Because it matters

Because it’s always about being hyper Focused

Because the alternative is a anxiety ridden existence of indecision that comes with a large dose of not mattering

So stop appeasing people and employers

Start standing for Principles

Start realizing that like the lottery Slogan says “you’ve gotta play to win ”

And as Tony Robbins says “You must Believe it before you can achieve it”

The good thing is there isn’t a right or wrong answer

The bad thing is the resistance is going to do its best to kick our ass

Getting cerebral

Self induced anxiety

Yeah, that’s my style! Lol

Not really but the net result actually

So let’s get real

There are some things spinning in my dome that should be addressed

First and foremost is what is it precisely that I want, i.e. Goals?

What are the goals and results that matter truly to me?

Not as simple as it seems because every time I think I have it-the next qualifying question is Why? And is it really something I want or is it to impress and influence status or preserve status ?

So this has to be about simplicity because the fact is there are limitations

As long as we have not successfully added hours to the day we are restricted by 24 hours.

Initially my journey must start with identifying what matters

Initially moving forward means cleaning houseđź‘Šand Eliminating what ultimately does not matter to our achievement of our True Goals

Not what matters to others,the tribe, employers, but what matters to each of us. Just US

So as I lay in front of the seasons first warm fire alongside my daughter as she slumbers I ask myself What Matters? What is the Goal? What would the perfect day(s) look like? Consist of? And what is the change I seek to create?

Something I embraced years ago as part of Renegade training which Coach Davies spoke of with utmost importance , that we condition ourselves in life to not endure CHAOS but to lie in wait of it. To act, to go on the offense in CHAOS that was at the core of the Renegade wheel of conditioning

That unbeknownst to me was the description of being AntiFragile

As a bodybuilder I was a artist, a sculptor however I began to realize that what I sculpted was fragile and would never withstand CHAOS

I learned this through exposure to my closest friends enrollment in the military and seeing first hand that training as we do so often in fitness makes us visually stronger but not really.

Just take a competitive bodybuilder as I was and take away their supplements , skip meals, put them in a unstable environment and just see what happens

– weight loss of dramatic proportions

– major drop in strength

– cognitive drop effecting focus

– immunity drop off

Back then I started to ask questions

These questions haunt me now and require this initiative

So where to start

Start at focusing on these targets below

Thats stage 1

– Intermittent Fasting as a 20/4 split

– limiting and restricting sugars but initially not quality carbs

– basic training –

Day1- body weight and kettlebell

Day 2- Mobility and metabolic work

Day 3- recovery I.e. yoga

Daily meditation is as integral as training for me with hypertension becoming a concern

Daily sleep at minimum 7 hours becoming a focus as well

So I shall begin. In many ways I already have begun. It’s my life. So when friends ask will I ever be onstage again

The answer is I know absolutely I can however I know with fair certainty that it would not be for me, would not be for my family so it would not be

So no

I’d rather creep while they sleep

Stronger Faster leaner healthier and waiting for the moment CHAOS comes

It always does