Universal Appeals in Marketing
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Is There Such a Thing as “Universal Appeal”?

I was recently in a conversation regarding global marketing strategy and the concept of “universal appeal” came up. The argument is that there are certain ideas, values, etc., that translate across global cultures, and can therefore be used in marketing campaigns. But I’m not so sure…

Dutch Professor Geert Hofstede, who has done extensive and widely-accepted research on global cultural difference and similarities, has concluded that each national culture (and in some cases there must be further segmenting, like with the U.S., which is so diverse) falls at a given point on six dimensions:

  • Power Distance (the disparity between those with and those without power)
  • Individualism vs Collectivism
  • Masculinity vs Femininity (which is really better explained as Assertiveness vs Modesty)
  • Uncertainty Avoidance (tolerance for ambiguity)
  • Long-Term vs Short-Term Orientation (focused on the present or the future)
  • Indulgence vs Restraint

Considering those dimensions, I find the concept of universal appeals would be tough to prove. Take superior quality, for example. At face value, it could be assumed that everyone would prefer products and services with superior quality. So, superior quality could be considered an universal appeal.

BUT… what is “superior quality”?

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Work-Life Balance - photo by Barney Moss https://www.flickr.com/photos/barneymoss/18285023895
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The New Normal – Work/Life Balance Paradigm Shift

I’ve talked before about “actual” and “ideal” selves, and my theory about how often a person’s “virtual” self tends to align more with their ideal self rather than the actual one… but where does that leave our “work” and “home” selves? How do they align?

It’s time to talk about an oft-dreaded corporate buzzword, folks: WORK-LIFE BALANCE.

For those of you living under a rock (or perhaps those for whom it is an actual THING rather than an idea), work-life balance is the concept that there must be a balance between time and energy devoted to work and the time and energy devoted to everything else that a person deems to be important. Finding this balance can significantly reduce stress and increase enjoyment and satisfaction with work and with the rest of your life. This balance could be equated to Freud’s Ego that acts as the middle ground for our work (SuperEgo) and life (ID) paradoxes, but I digress.

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Hurdling the Creative Roadblock

Creativity can be expressed in many ways – one may be a gifted artist, an exceptional storyteller, a brilliant musician, a talented writer or an imaginative inventor. But usually a person’s creativity usually does not manifest itself in every outlet. Take me, for instance. My creativity comes out through my writing, but do NOT ask me to draw you anything… you’ll think it was produced by a Kindergartner.

Have you ever looked around at your team and realized that you have no idea what their creative outlets are? If you want to maximize the creativity of a team, you need to identify their creative strengths. And in order to do that, you have to really know your team. If given an hour to spare, what would each one like to do? Where would each one like to go? What are their creative outlets? What inspires them? Knowing these things about the members of a team you are leading can provide you with the opportunity to allow each individual to use their own strengths to generate ideas. Continue reading

Happy Independence Day - Flag flying on the Hutson House
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Marcy’s 10 (actually 11) Rules for the Workplace

Every year our fabulous boss sends out a special It’s-Independence-Day-YAY!-And-We’ve-Hit-the-Mid-Year-Point-YAY AGAIN! email right before we head out for a our time off for the 4th of July. Marcy’s father was a distinguished World War II veteran and a history teacher, so these communications serve to honor him while simultaneously preparing us to enjoy our time off and get ready to take on Qs 3 and 4.

It is with her permission that I paraphrase and share this year’s “Annual 4th of July Message.”


The 4th of July is quickly approaching which means it’s the MID YEAR point. A time for summer cook outs, fireworks and the celebration of our nation’s 239th birthday! As always, it’s my opportunity for a history lesson combined with some reflective thoughts on our work.

In past communications, I’ve commented on different branches of the military, our operating beliefs/philosophy in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the struggle that resulted in the Gettysburg Address, and our country’s Pledge of Allegiance. Last year, it was the power of visual symbols and how they evoke emotion and stability during times of change and turmoil.

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Social is Seriously Serious Business

I received an IM from a friend a couple days ago that got me thinking. He was asking for my advice because his friend’s 15-year-old son wants to start a social media marketing business. I asked my friend to send me this young man’s business plan, so that I could review and make recommendations. The response: “Um, he doesn’t have a business plan.”

WHAT?

Don’t get me wrong – there are teens who are capable of being businesspeople. Take Brooke Martin, for example, who created icpooch when she was just 12. This kind of magic can and does happen. But I can just see how this kiddo’s plan evolved… I want extra money > I like social networks > Local businesses use social networks > I could post for these businesses and charge them for it > I’ll start a social media marketing business! So easy, right? WRONG.

Clearly the first step would be to develop a business plan. But what that plan entails can really vary depending on the business. Creating and managing a business’ social media marketing could mean so many different things. A few examples? OK… a Facebook page, LinkedIn groups, a LinkedIn corporate page, a Twitter profile, a Google+ page, Tumblr, Reddit, Yelp. What about content driven social? Oh, how about… Pinterest, Instagram, a YouTube channel, Meerkat and/or Periscope and/or Vine, blogs. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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