Thursday, March 28, 2013

Are You Entitled?

PR maven Peter Shankman recently penned an excellent article that issues a stern warning to people who feel entitled. Although it was aimed at college students who will soon be seeking their first "career" job, Peter's five points apply equally to those of us who are charging head first through life. Take a few minutes to read "Entitlement: Your Biggest Flaw"  ( and see if any of the warning signs apply to you.

Friday, February 8, 2013

"I now pronounce you man and Dodge."

Interesting new twist to automotive marketing from Dodge.

The Chrysler division is trying to promote their new Dodge Dart (which is really just an old Alfa Romeo) as a smart, hip and cool car for the twenty-something crowd. As part of the effort, they have hit upon a unique solution to the barrier of ownership that many young people have - money.

Instead of touting low finance rates or steep discounts, Dodge is telling their target audience that they can actually get other people to buy a new Dart for them! How awesome is that!

Dodge has set up a website ( that mimics a wedding registry. Wannabe Dart owners simply ask family and friends to log on and "buy" certain parts of the vehicle, like wheels, seats or the engine. Accumulate enough gift givers and you can reduce the retail price of the vehicle. It is a new, personal form of crowdsourcing.

While I sincerely doubt I would contribute to somebody else's new car (at least not while I am still making monthly payments on my own salt-encrusted Jeep), I must give the folks at Dodge credit for creative thinking.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Business Lesson from Jack Reacher

I am a big fan of the Jack Reacher series of novels written by Lee Child. The title character is a hulking ex-Military Policeman who resolves problems with a combination of intimidation and clever observation. So when the announcement was made that a Jack Reacher motion picture was in the works, I was excited. But when it was announced that Tom Cruise would play the lead role, I began to fret.

How could the 5'7" Cruise possibly portray the menacing 6'5", 240 lb. Reacher?  I worried that Hollywood was about to ruin another excellent book.

My fears were unfounded. Cruise pulls off the character flawlessly. As the books' author, Lee Child, commented, Jack Reacher's power does not come only from his large size, but from the presence he creates with his wits, intellect and aggressiveness. Despite his small stature, Cruise captured the essence of Jack Reacher.

There is a business lesson here. Size does not always matter.

How many of us have made business decisions based on the "safety" of a company's size?  It could be choosing a home contractor because they have more trucks, a law firm because they have more partners, or a "big box" retailer because they are, well, bigger.

But bigger is not necessarily better. A smaller business that approaches their work with intelligence, passion and energy can often provide a much better product, service or experience. In many instances, smaller companies are more nimble and responsive.

I resolve not to judge a business by its size, but to assess the potential benefits and advantages the company can offer by being smart, creative and focused.