Do you get asked for professional advice? Recently, I've been pressed to share my thoughts with younger women, and it got me thinking about my own career path. Here's the advice I would give myself if I could go back in time.
Note to readers. I wrote this several years ago - and it has nothing to do with marketing. I came across it when cleaning out some computer folders and caught my eye with it being Valentine's Day and all. I re-read it trying to come up with some angle I could find to relate it to marketing, but anything would have been a stretch and would have taken away from the piece - so I'm posting it as written. It made me smile and think (there's that SMINK again). Hopefully you will too.
From our perch on the sand, we saw them splashing in the waves. Not a sight you see every day, a bride in her wedding dress with groom in tow frolicking as the tide rolled in. No care for her dress as the salt and sand took its toll. Only hopes, dreams and promises for a lifetime ahead.
Just because you’ve “been there-done that” doesn’t mean the rest of the world has kept up with you: lessons in content creation
I saw a caption the other day. “Sometimes life throws you a curve ball…” next to the image of twins? Yup. That was me 18 years ago. Boys, no less. For this girly girl, the thought was terrifying. Now, on top of planning for one child, I had two of everything to consider…cribs…high chairs…double strollers.
Competition over collaboration. If you live in the Seattle area, you probably know someone who works, or has worked, at Amazon. And, you’ve probably heard stories of the hyper-competitive nature of their workplace. So, around here, although the spectacle of the New York Times’ article from a while back created a big buzz elsewhere, its contents to locals may not have been such a surprise.
No offense to Amazon. By all accounts, they are supremely successful – and, I am an avid Prime user. But countless other studies and profitable companies have shown that collaboration can have equally effective results – and feed the human social compact at the same time. Average people, working together, helping one another, to foster new ideas, inventions and promote growth can ultimately make our lives better.
Margaret Heffernan, in a recent TED Talk, points to a Purdue University professor who was studying productivity. He formed two groups of hens – one of collectively average layers, the other a set of “superchickens” who had a track record of higher egg-producing productivity. The finding? The average group thrived while the super group disintegrated, literally pecking each other to death. Ms. Heffernan went on to cite other case studies of human collaboration that point to the value of a culture of helpfulness. “Helpfulness means I don't have to know everything, I just have to work among people who are good at getting and giving help.”
One industry that appears to be embracing this collectiveism, according to a recent article, “Don’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em,” by Entrepreneur, is craft breweries. These master craftsmen are finding that the best way to compete for shelf space with behemoths like Anheuser Busch is to work together. Personal case study: John Robertson, a founder of the Bellevue Brewing Company, is a friend of mine and an advocate for craft brewers everywhere. Their local establishment not only features their own brand of suds, they pour competitors’ brews as well, as a way of promoting the industry as a whole. And, it’s working. While overall beer sales were flat in 2014, craft beers grew 22%. Collaboration is generating success.
Just think if all of us average people, with our own collective experiences, promoted a culture of helpfulness. Sharing what we know. Making life better. Margaret Heffernan appears to agree, “…we won't solve our problems if we expect it to be solved by a few supermen or superwomen. Now we need everybody, because it is only when we accept that everybody has value that we will liberate the energy and imagination and momentum we need to create the best beyond measure.”
Wendy Peloquin is Chief Creative Officer of Pixie Fish Marketing. She has 25+ years experience weaving creativity with common sense to craft memorable messages and successful marketing strategies.
It’s the words you don’t want to read across your news feed as you are packing to return home from a two-week trip. “Computer Glitch Halts United Flights For Two Hours.”
My family was booked on United, coming back from Costa Rica, connecting through Houston to Seattle.
The computers were only down for 90 minutes, but the ripple effect left thousands of passengers scrambling rebook misconnections. In all, 1600+ flights were affected across the globe. While much is being written about how the outage could have been avoided and what the glitch has cost United, it is the human toll and subsequent lessons-learned that stick with me.
For the vast majority of United would-be passengers that day, the lasting impact of the day would soon become just another in their list of the inconvenience of travel. However, in those moments and crowds, panic, desperation and exhaustion followed for families who were stranded, unable to get answers, making split decisions in a black hole of information. Relegated to choosing the best of the worst options and feeling helpless in a sea of futility. Waiting in line after line. Praying to get a cramped seat on a plane that will finally get them to their destination.
With confusion mounting, weary flight attendants and gate agents struggled to maintain composure with ever frustrated passengers. Some rose to the occasion, remaining compassionate and attempting to comfort and accommodate. Others simply gave up, becoming cold and mechanical, perhaps accepting their inability to help in any meaningful way and shifting into auto-pilot to get through the day.
It was a long and strained day for my family with delays, followed by inconvenient events, followed by more and more and more delays. While my husband and I are pretty seasoned travelers (although this day was in the top 5 worst for both of us), this was the first true travel meltdown my sons had experienced. And, while we have since coached them to erase the recency effect and focus on the amazing trip we had, there are some lessons that can be gleaned from, to quote my son, “the most awful day of my life.”
For my clients, I'm a storyteller, cheerleader, push-you-out-of-your-comfort-zone type of marketing consultant. Hopefully I can inspire you too.