Thursday, August 23, 2012

LEGO gives Brand Context via Video Marketing

LEGO, manufacturers of the plastic block building systems that many of us enjoyed as kids and as adults, celebrated their 80th anniversary this month.  How did they celebrate?  By releasing an animated short (completed by their in-house team), which illustrates and narrates the joys and trials of the business to-date.  The delightful 15-minute video gives context to the brand story by sharing many behind-the-scenes examples and circumstances that many consumers of their products may not be familiar with, but add to the value the company incorporates into their products.

This short is a nearly perfect example of using video marketing to tell [as Paul Harvey would say], 'The Rest of the Story.'  See for yourself.

How have you put video marketing to work to tell your brand story?  Do you have a favorite(s) example of genius use of video for this purpose by brands you patron?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Finding Work-Life Balance

work life balance
Innumerable professionals struggle with the daily juggling of act related to balance between their work hours and their home life.  Far too often work trickles into the precious hours that are allocated to family, friends and loved ones.  In an era of hyper connectivity this challenge to find balance is even harder.

Is the solution to throw in the towel and hope that your kids understand your partial attention to their animated review of their day at school whilst you parse through your work email on that tiny 5" screen should be enough to validate them?  No!

Is it acceptable to hide your mobile in the bottom of your attaché and never attend to it outside of business hours?  For some, this is the only way they can truly enjoy their vacations and time off. 

There's no one set solution for how to balance all elements of work and personal lives - but it is a factor that a healthy business person should at least consider and put forth effort to find the mix right for him/her.  This mix has to be comfortable for the professional or it's a wasted effort.

Some will argue that as entrepreneurs they never really can leave the office behind, especially if they work from home - but, where there's a will there is a way.  The home office could be an area of a home that is set apart from common areas shared with the family, regular "office hours" could be set, mobile devices can be set aside and concerted effort made to focus on family during non "office hours." 

Again, everyone's thresh holds and benchmarks for balance will be different.  

It is a continuous process of relearning and refocusing on what matters most and then acting on that.  It is pertinent to understand what imbalance looks like and take the steps to find the mix that is best for you and yours.  

Balance today may not look like what it did last year, or even last week.  Find yours and understand its natural ebbs and flows - for your betterment, that of your family and your career.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Dormant for Too Long!

Plane chaser, plane...
Shame on me for allowing this blog to sit dormant for nearly 2 months!  It's been a far too busy season of life for blogging it would seem.  I've been busy chasing planes, living life and enjoying my family and friends.

I hope this post finds you, my loyal blog subscribers, well and enjoying a lovely season in whatever part of the world you reside.

Future content on the docket for Levity & Irony?  A return of AvGeek Interviews (renamed the Aero Files), and of course my random, opinionated two-cents on the world around me.  For those of you looking for the next #AvGeekPhoto Challenge content calendar - it will be posted to my IG account on 7/15/12.

Thanks for continuing to read even when I forget to post.  Cheers!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

#AvgeekPhoto Challenge - May 2012

Same rules apply as last time. Post your own photos (don't borrow or represent other's work as your own), stick with the daily subject matter and have fun! Tag all of your photos each day with the hashtag, #avgeekphoto.

#Avgeek Photo Challenge - Daily Content Calendar:

5/1 - window seat
5/2 - middle seat
5/3 - aisle seat
5/4 - first class
5/5 - winged chariot
5/6 - my luggage
5/7 - wide body
5/8 - narrow body
5/9 - puddle jumper
5/10 - boarding pass
5/11 - airline of choice
5/12 - flight attendant
5/13 - the jump seat
5/14 - prop plane
5/15 - Boeing
5/16 - Airbus
5/17 - Embraer
5/18 - Saab
5/19 - ground crew
5/20 - arriving
5/21 - the tray table
5/22 - departing
5/23 - clouds at 35,000 feet
5/24 - sunset/sunrise at 35,000 feet
5/25 - a cityscape from 35,000 feet
5/26 - the gate
5/27 - baggage claim
5/28 - the terminal
5/29 - inflight entertainment
5/30 - drink service
5/31 - you during a flight

If you have any questions, comment on this blog post or contact me via @airport_girl.

Happy plane spotting and flying!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ogilvy Business Wisdom

David Ogilvy
Known as the 'Father of Advertising,' David Ogilvy (1911-1999) founded an advertising agency in 1948 that eventually became the Ogilvy & Mather we know today. 

Ogilvy was not shy about opining on what he believed to be the foundational principles and thoughts of strong business practices.

I've parsed out a few of my favorites which are posted in my office and continue to shape my traditional and emerging efforts in Mar/Comm across my decade in the business:

On staffing:
  • "If you hire people who are bigger than you are, we shall become a company of giants." 
On mindset:
  • "The best ideas come as jokes.  Make your thinking as funny as possible."
On excellence:
  • "The pursuit of excellence is less profitable then the pursuit of bigness, but it can be more satisfying."
On brand persona: 
  • "You know you have to decide what 'image' you want for your brand.  Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the marketplace."
On content:
  • "What really decides consumers to buy or not buy is the content of your advertising, not its form."
On advertising:
  • "It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product.  Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night."
  • "Every advertisement is part of the long-term investment in the personality of the brand."
  • "Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving."
On the consumer:
  • "On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.  When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar." 
  • "The consumer isn't a moron.  She is your wife."
I don't believe Mr. Ogilvy's thoughts require much explanation from me, as they're tried, true and timeless.  They stand on their own merits.  They are worth your time and application.  

I challenge you to build a running list or active journal of thoughts/quotes that motivate and inspire you.  Maybe they're not the thoughts of David Ogilvy, but somewhere someone is saying and/or sharing quotables that are food for your thought.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Manager and Leader, Not Always Synonymous

While leaders can be managers, managers aren't necessarily leaders.  There's been an increasing trend to use these descriptors interchangeably, almost to the point of deliberate ignorance. 

So, what is a manager?
  Managers are characterized by efficiency. 

And, what is a leader?
  Leaders are characterized by effectiveness. 

The striking and main difference between the two is that managers do things right and leaders do the right thing.  However, with effective coaching or mentoring from others and the right motivation, a manager can become a leader.  
Transitioning from being a static manager to a dynamic leader is not impossible, a will to do so is the fuel for the transition.  Adopting, learning and practicing the fundamentals of leadership are key.

A sampling of the basic principles of effective leaders: 
  • Be motivated.
  • Motivate others.
  • Be positive.
  • Be mentored.
  • Be a mentor.
  • Read. Read a lot.
  • Never stop learning.
  • Lead by example.
  • Admit your not always the smartest in the room.
  • Be inspired.
  • Be inspiring.
  • Ask for help.
  • Admit mistakes.
  • Foster leadership in others.
  • Know when to share the limelight.
  • Set direction.
  • Give purpose.
  • Put others first.
  • Innovate.
  • Challenge status quo.
  • Know your strengths.
  • Know your weaknesses.
Yes, leaders and managers are two very different roles.  Both are necessary.  But, one doesn't necessarily equal the other.  The best managers should seek to be a leader as well.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

#AvGeek Photo Challenge Reminder

Don't forget to tag all of your posts to Instagram & Twitter with the challenge hashtag: #avgeekphoto!  If you feel so obligated, cc me on your tweets of your photos, @airport_girl. 

Full details of the challenge?  Read more:

Thanks and happy snapping & flying, aerophiles!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Professional Me and You

I am an experienced and vetted Marketing Manager with a passion for relationship and brand building, by discovering what's important to and best for my customers and my company, and making it happen via traditional and emerging means.

Who are you? And, what do you do for a living?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

#Avgeek Photo Challenge

What dedicated aerophile doesn't love an opportunity to plane spot and photograph aircraft? If you don't, then you are undeserving of the #avgeek moniker!

For those of us with av-gas in our veins and loving the smell of jet fuel in the morning, I have a proposal. I propose that we declare April 2012 - the #Avgeek Photo Challenge.

What comprises the challenge you ask? Well first get yourself an instagram, twitpic or similar photo sharing account and connect it to your tweets. Once that's accomplished, beginning on April 1st, start snapping photos. Upload the photos, tag 'em with the hashtag "#avgeekphoto" and tweet them.

What should you capture in your photos? Well, I've taken the liberty of creating our
avgeekery content calendar. See below:

#Avgeek Photo Challenge Calendar:
4/1 -
your favorite airline
4/2 - fixed wing
4/3 - any favorite aircraft
4/4 - a pilot
4/5 - night time flight
4/6 - the cockpit
4/7 - aircraft engine
4/8 - wheels down
4/9 - wheels up
4/10 - contrails
4/11 - window seat view
4/12 - rotors
4/13 - tail art
4/14 - landing gear
4/15 - logos and livery
4/16 - wings
4/17 - an airport you love
4/18 - an airport you hate
4/19 - the frequent flyer lounge
4/20 - the fleet
4/21 - baggage handling
4/22 - on approach
4/23 - metal birds
4/24 - general aviation
4/25 - military aviation
4/26 - a piece of aviation history
4/27 - your aviation hero
4/28 - the birth of aviation
4/29 - experimental aircraft
4/30 - an #avgeek

This isn't a competition and there are no prizes. This simply an opportunity to share our mutual love of aviation!

The rules - no naysayers, if you don't like this idea, you need not participate! Don't steal work of others and make sure your content is fresh and original. Most importantly, have fun!

So, happy flying, plane spotting and photo sharing!

Any comments, questions or feedback? Contact me via social means.

Addendum - I've been asked if photos already snapped can be used - sure can!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Personal Branding 101

Hello, my name is .... and I ....

When you introduce yourself to a new contact or colleague - do you stand out? Is what you're sharing about you memorable? Have you personal brand? Of course you do!

Personal branding is what makes you uniquely you. It's all of you from your appearance to your opinions to your knowledge and expertise. A fraction of it is even includes what you do for a living. So what's a brand? A brand is often what distinguishes one product, service, or experience from the next in the business world. We're in an era where the professional, personal and social aspects of life are increasingly blended together.

Personal branding has long been a habit of politicians and celebrities for years - there's no reason why you cannot develop your own personal branding.

How does one define a personal brand?
  • Define how you stand out from the crowd.
  • Understand what your core competencies and abilities are.
  • Map out the value proposition that you offer.
  • Figure out what makes you compelling.
  • Don't borrow someone else's brand - the best person to be, is you.
When you feel you've sufficiently mapped out this process - consider building a personal mission state and begin implementing the process with action.
  • Clearly and consistently communicate those points across all platforms.
  • Execute your consistent message via online and offline means.
  • Look for opportunities to establish yourself as a thought leader.
  • Find peers in field - learn and grow from their experiences. Be a mentee/protegee.
  • Discover your circle of influence and consider offering yourself as a mentor.
Two final thoughts on the importance of your personal brand - say what you mean, mean what you say. Live it out, repeatedly.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Airline Humor for Friday

Terry Maxon, a report for Dallas News, shared three 'Idle Thoughts' in his column ( this morning. Two thirds of which were airline related. The best - in my honest opinion - was the third:

"I was going to write a book about what a great business the airline industry is, but I couldn't get past Chapter 11."

Thanks for the levity, Mr. Maxon.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Check up on Check-ins!

What's Foursquare? It's a social platform known to its users for check-ins, specials, mayorships, badges and more. Foursquare is considered a geolocation application and has taken the social and smartphone world by storm!

Still curious? Enjoy this quick and simple video that breaks down the fundamentals of the application for newbies:

Before you get started with Foursquare, peruse this USA TODAY blog to get clued in on safe and secure use of geolocation apps.

To get started with check-ins -download the application to your smartphone, set up an account, and start exploring your local community, favorite businesses and destinations you're traveling to for discounts, coupons, and more on Foursquare.

Check out check-ins, it's worth it!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pining for Pinning

The latest social media creating a stir with social networkers? That would be Pinterest. What is Pinterest? The site which is nearly a year post-beta, self-describes as a "virtual pinboard." Essentially users are socially sharing photos (called pins) they find across the web with their followers on virtual boards they create and customize to their liking.

There are countless, creative ways to organize pins on your boards to share your interests and tell your story. A couple of my favorite examples include both individual and enterprise pins. Speaking of a couple - what a loving and lovely example using pins to share the story of a successful marriage proposal! And, these SxSW survival guide pins from advertising agency, GSD&M are clever, useful and well-executed.

A word of caution - like any other social network - avoid out-and-out self promotion. It's still about being social, and not about broadcasting your brand. So, how can you use pins to enhance the context of your online community and brand story?
  • Follow other users. Comment on and like the pins of users that are in your other social networking communities and new users, too.
  • Generically speaking, pin images that are complimentary to your business, products and services.
  • Obviously, use keywords in your tags to describe the images your pinning as they relate to your business, products and services.
  • Customize your board names to reflect what's important to you and about you as a brand.
  • Is there content on your website that you want to make shareable? Consider adding the "pin it" plugin to your site.
  • If you can, go "behind-the-scenes" at your company and share photos of the experience. Your followers will enjoy seeing aspects of your business operations that aren't immediately obvious to them when they patron your business.
  • Did you know you can pin videos, not just static images?
  • Give credit, give credit, give credit! But, don't pin copyrighted images.
Before you get started with individual or enterprise pinning, educate yourself on snags that you may run into. Pinterest even offers idiot-proof etiquette recommendations for users. Are there copyright concerns with pinning and socially sharing other people's photographs and work? Of course there are! A recent post on Hubpages gives a clear explanation of the dangers and what to be alert for when you're pinning. It is a tenuous balance that all users (both individual and enterprise) need to be cognizant of in order to pin safely and avoid litigation.

Will we be pining for social pinning long-term? Only time and pins will tell...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Social Reads

What are you recommendations for solid reads for operating as a business in the social sphere? I've my own list of favorites that I readily recommend to anyone who seriously inquires, but I am interested to hear what yours are!

Do tell!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Are you likable?

So you're like innumerable other brands and businesses with a Facebook fan page in their social media arsenal. Good for you, it's a step in the right direction. But, only if you're doing it right.
  • Do tell a story.
  • Don't broadcast.
  • Do be friendly.
  • Don't ignore feedback.
  • Do be personable.
  • Don't try to control the conversation.
  • Do contribute to the conversation.
  • Do be transparent.
  • Don't forget to post content.
  • Do be honest.
  • Don't automate content.
  • Do take action when you can.
  • Don't waste the time of your fans.
  • Do say thank you.
  • Don't forget your manners.
Yes, you're a business, but you're a person or people first. We're inherently social, so be a person when engaging and curating content that is valuable to your fans. Make it worth their while to like your fan page. Keep them coming back for more!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Do Business, Socially

Are you still asking the question, 'what is social media?' A concise and on-point answer, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Social media is information content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. It’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologue (one to many) into dialog (many to many) and is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers.

We're social beings by nature, you can translate that innate ability into the way you're doing business. Be part of the discovery and dialog.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

May I put you on hold?

"Wait. What? You're putting me on hold for a third time so you can connect me with your shift leader's supervisor's manager? I just needed to know one simple thing about my account..."

Sound familiar? All too familiar. Too often customers pick up the phone to find an answer to a question and don't receive a hint of customer service from the other end of the line. Customers start with the pretense that the entity they patron cares about them and is in the business of customer service. So why are some companies destroying that expectation for their customers? The short answer is that customer service has fallen off the corporate radar as a priority training item and expectation of employees.

The solution? It starts during the interviewing and hiring process - finding the right people with depth of character and a sense of empathy. Employees can be trained in technical skills, but personality is inherent. To paraphrase author Jim Collins from his book Good to Great, get the right people on the bus and get the wrong ones off.

Front-line employees, the ones answering the phones and interfacing with customers, often are the first glimpse customers have of your business. That representation is key. If apathetic, disinterested and under invested representatives are answering your phones, manning your cash registers, or responding on social media - you're in for a wake-up call. Your customers won't carry on a long-standing relationship with you. They'll move on and find a company that does care about them.

Don't delay, aggravate or negate your customers and their needs (no matter how small that need may be.) Customer service ties into personality and desire - hire the people that want to help your business and your customers be successful and valued.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Don't Just Collect a Network, Build One.

'Go out of your way for people and build a network of real relationships,' says [paraphrased] marketing mastermind, Seth Godin.