Archive | July, 2011

How to make sure nobody likes you

11 Jul

If you have been to any networking or social event, you have met this person: the person nobody likes.  Chances are good that this person has not one single solitary clue why nobody seems to be wanting to interact, exchange business cards, or just chat.

Here’s what to do if you want to be just like that person:

  • Talk endlessly about yourself (and never ever ask the other person anything).
  • Use big words or obscure references, forcing whoever you are interacting to ask you what you mean.
  • Brag (I don’t mean talk about your accomplishment, but actually brag, like this: Well, when I was on safari last year with Robert Redford, we ran into a pack of rare pink Rhinoceros…).
  • Don’t maintain eye contact. People just love shifty-eyed people–gives them a vote of confidence.
  • Have a clammy or limp handshake (or worse, a clammy AND limp handshake).
  • Shift the burden of conversation to the other person.
  • Denigrate whatever the other person is saying (“Oh, you think that is a big deal? I got a bigger deal!)
  • Live in the past or in another place: you know, things were much better then and there.
  • Speak ill of the host, venue, group, etc. I don’t mean constructive criticism like “I thought the parking was a bit difficult here,” but something like “Jane Doe and her group just don’t have a clue! “
  • Have poor hygiene or grooming.

Unfortunately, the first impression you make is usually a lasting one. However, you can also not try to so hard to be likeable, people see through that too.  You have to be who you are, but be aware that what you say and do do affect how other people perceive you.

Next, we’ll talk about how this personal behavior is often seen in marketing communications (and especially in social media).

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What you can learn about marketing from food trucks

6 Jul

You’ve heard of (or perhaps eaten from) the food trucks? While it may be a fad, it is a huge trend right now, spawning its very own Cooking Channel show: Eat Street. I admit, watching this show is a guilty pleasure for me. And, it seems, most of the really cool trucks are in places no where near me like Vancouver, Portland or San Francisco, making me really really want to visit!

Food trucks are popular because of three main reasons:

  1. Mobility–bringing the food to you;
  2. Accessibility:  making cutting edge food cheaper/more accessible
  3. Specialization: they concentrate on one thing such as fried food, cheese, lobster, sauce, ethnic, etc.

That last one is key–food trucks are specialists.  You know what they offer right off the bat. Perhaps you love Philipino food? There is a truck for that in San Francisco!  Grilled cheese your thing? Then head over to the grilled cheese truck in Los Angeles.

I was watching Eat Street the other day and daydreaming about a visit to the Pacific Northwest to have fish and chips or great soup or something, when the show focused on a truck that made pockets (some people would call them empanadas). They make savory and sweet pockets. Great. And then, the truck owner says he also makes burgers. What??? Why? What do burgers have to do with pockets?

Pockets and burgers are not related. One does not add anything to the other.  In the competitive food truck business, you stand out by doing one thing really well.  People will go to your truck because you have great lobster or mac and cheese or tacos. Or because you have great Indian or Korean or Mexican.

Pick a specialty, get really good at it and don’t dilute it. Don’t be the pocket-burger truck.