Memes of New York

someecards meme creation for facebook

I have always been a big fan of the late, great Dave Barry. I say late because, as of the writing of this post, he is fifteen years late responding to my fan mail. Seriously though, his writing style has been truly inspirational to me. Every word so carefully crafted, it’s as if his filter was not a six pack of Budweiser, but a chain mail of brilliance. A lot of what made his writing so ingenious was his ability to pull together the most random of objects or discussion points, find a hidden link and tie them together to a wonderfully resounding denouement.

In the hopes of following in his steps, I want to talk about the memes that have recently been littering my Facebook news feed (I am referring to the images with a clever quote overlaid ..or something like that). Where did this phenomenon originate? Who came up with this crazy thing? To find out, I decided to use some investigative journalism. [Note to the IRS: Yes, it has been a long time since I’ve done any investigative journalism, but if you take a look at my previous articles, you will see I definitely do it for business reasons.] This time, my professional journalistic nature took me to the grand city of New York.

For those of you who have not yet been to New York City, let me tell you a bit about this wonderfully stuffed berg. It houses two of the most hated baseball teams in the Major Leagues and is the only logical city for Spiderman to sling around in. Let’s be honest – imagine if Spiderman lived in Omaha, NE. All he could do would be to spin a huge net between the Woodmen Tower and the First National Bank Building. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think he’d be very effective that way unless criminals were sling shooting themselves through the air.

Back to New York. While there, I ran into the tremendously helpful Jolene Smithers. When asked about her knowledge of the funny card corporation, Someecards, she excitedly responded, “Who?” To help jog her memory, I told her I was talking about those funny cards that get passed around a lot on Facebook. Now clear on what I was asking about, she said, “Oh, I don’t do that Facebook thing. Sorry.” That confirms only 1 of the 18 million people living in New York are not familiar with these memes, proving these are obviously significant no matter where you live.

Why does this matter? It matters because these memes are so completely helpful to our daily life. Thousands of barely surviving business struggle on Facebook trying to provide relevant and informative information to their constituent base, but they’re not doing anything for the gazillion Facebookers out there; nobody cares about helpful information anymore – mindless entertainment is the way to go! I could not agree more, as I am certainly a huge fan of mindless entertainment. I must say though that I am not a fan of the letter games going around; I’ve spent all day trying to figure out how many states do not have any vowels and I’m now way behind on work.

That is why I am so fond of Dave Barry’s work; his mind is as disconnected as mine and he doesn’t use words more complicated than “potato”. I’m pretty sure if they had memes back in the 80s, he would have become a millionaire (but only if he had been the one to invent them). [Note to the IRS: I admit this does not seem like a lot of research for an entire trip to New York, but I can assure you that I have more crackpot investigations to come; such as, what would happen if the Incredible Hulk got trapped in the subway? Or, what exactly does crab juice taste like? Trust me, there is a ton more where that came from.]

someecards meme creation for facebook

Phil Stalnaker, Stickboy Creative’s Business Development Director, Interviewed by News-Press

I am honored to announce that I have been highlighted in a story from the News-Press in their Coastal Life Section. The article was published on Friday, November 23rd, and tells the story of a dedicated professional who works hard while enjoying his sunny new life in Florida.

I am excited to be on the Stickboy Creative team and pumped that my efforts have led to an article after only four months of living in SWFL! Follow the link to read the article in the News-Press and see my dedication to doing what is right for each and every person I meet.

Stickboy Creative is a cutting edge Design Company specializing in Website Design & Development, Print Design and Print Management, Animation, Video Production, Identity Branding and much more. We are a one stop shop for all of your company marketing materials and we do not disappoint. Stickboy Creative was established in November of 2007 and has been growing at a rapid pace. Please contact us at 239.206.1193 or toll-free at 888.758.5558 to get a website that will make you bold | innovative | now.

FYI, since the publishing of the article is has already turned into direct business for our firm. Thanks, Florida!

This is a scan of the actual paper from the News-Press.

This is a scan of the actual paper from the News-Press.

Here is the full link to the article for sharing:

http://www.news-press.com/article/20121123/COASTAL_LIFE/311230003/Q-Phil-Stalnaker?nclick_check=1

 

Being a part of a success story like Linda’s is a once in a million opportunity. She was primed and ready to change before we ever met. Me getting to be a part of that change is an honor to me, and one that I continually strive for with all clients I get involved with. Read this and get to hear it In Her Own Words…

barkingpugs

That is just what I feel like. It all started with a class from Pro/Vision Coaching I took on Guerrilla Marketing.  At that class we were given the book E-Myth Revisited by Michael E.  Gerber. That lead to me reading E-Myth Chiropractor.  Soon I found myself reading through all the books Michael has written.  That lead to The Go-Giver by Bob Burg which lead to The Go-Giver Sells More by Bob Burg,which lead to It’s not about you by Bob Burg, are you getting where I am going?  Well I then called my friend Doug Christy owner of Pro/Vision Coaching and asked him what he could recommend to me to read.  He suggested The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalwicz.  Loved what Mike had to say so much that I read his first book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.  I started following Michael, Bob and Mike on their websites.  Recently Mike released…

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Phil Stalnaker Makes Business Section Cover of Florida Weekly

Though I am still fairly new in the Fort Myers metro, I am so excited and thankful to have has such early success. Of course, the credit goes to God, my new friends in the area, and an awesome team at Stickboy Creative!

The image is from this past week’s Florida Weekly, a news magazine that includes local columns, such as this from the Fort Myers business section. Somehow, though I am still a newbie to the area, I made the front cover. Woo hoo! I am excited to continue networking in the area. Just sharing for some fun. Thanks!

Spies Like Me | The Importance of Being Known in Marketing

My name is Stalnaker. Phil Stalnaker. Being as I have written a fictional short story before that was about a private detective, I feel overly qualified to write about being a spy. Not sure you believe me? Just ask Chuck Bartowski. That’s right. You don’t know how to find him…because he’s a spy too. You may try telling me that Chuck himself is a purely fictional character created by Chris Fedak and enjoyed five wonderful, spy filled years on television. That’s just what the government wants you to think. He is real. And so am I.

Ok, so in the spy since I am not real (word is still out on Chuck, though). While I admit that I have a penchant for vodka martinis (you know the rest), I do not live in the world of international espionage. Here’s why: the very things that make me successful in marketing make it impossible for me to be a spy. Simply put, I am too known. While I am positive the comment section will be filled with jokes about me for that line, the statement still holds true.

Even as far back as 2004, Gallup was publishing the importance of a truly relational, or emotional, connection with consumers. “Recent Gallup research has shown that the process of forming emotional connections doesn’t begin when consumers try the brand. Instead, emotional connections start to take shape with every brand encounter that leads up to trial.”1 This concept has become especially prevalent with the growth of social media, as it provides companies and brands the opportunity to be known on a personal level with their customers – or at least that is what the customers believe. Basically, if they don’t know you, they can’t like you. If they don’t like you, they can’t trust you. If they can’t trust you, they won’t buy from you. This has become as true for Nike today as it always has for the corner coffee shop. Your customers must know you.

This creates a problem. The idea of getting to know a person does not allow for pieces of the story to be missing; knowledge and trust are built on complete information. “If you try to fake who you are, it will show and it will work against you.”2 That’s not cool. That means gone are the days of polished, shiny, mistake-free commercials. When potential customers see your advertisement (whether it be in a magazine, direct mail piece, television commercial, online ad, or networking event) they must see an accurate portrait of you. “What they see in your marketing is ultimately what they get from your goods and services and that builds trust and rapport.”3 If their experience is inconsistent with the message they were presented, you could be in a heap of trouble, and this is where social media can really hurt. If one customer isn’t happy, they now have a mouthpiece to the entire world through their connections. Negative reviews will fly through cyberspace faster than the rage virus infected the whole of London.4

This is why a good marketer cannot be a spy (and vice versa). No matter how nice and good intentioned Austin Millbarge was, he still had to lie. A spy has to lie. A marketer, and entire company culture on that end, cannot. There will be no opportunity for redemption after filing bankruptcy. Thankfully, Jason Bourne figured it out before it was too late. Your company may be completely honest and forthright, giving your customers the ability to put their trust in you. If that’s the case, it is because your company has allowed itself to live in a glass hut and be seen in the true light of how it really is. Maybe, as a marketer (either personally or professionally), you are as well. Maybe not. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap. If you are open and honest with who you are, there is no need to withhold information. Transparency buys trust. Trust buys customers.

That is, unless you really are on a secret mission to stop SPECTRE’s plans for world domination by destroying the value of gold. Hopefully, your headquarters is not in Burbank.

(Image used from DeviantArt)

1 http://businessjournal.gallup.com/content/11209/building-a-brand-relationship.aspx
2 http://fullbleedartsmarketing.com/honesty-value-1-of-a-winning-personal-brand
3 http://www.gmarketingcoach.com
4 http://www.foxsearchlight.com/28dayslater/

Is Greed Good? | A Look at Business Vision and Profit

Originally posted at Pro/Vision Coaching.

As our friend Gordon Gekko once pointed out, “Greed is good.” It is the oil that keeps the economic machine running, the grease that lubricates our free market, and the sludge that is produced from our toxic waste sites. I contend to you, how good is greed?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF_iorX_MAw

Our free market economic system relies on one very simple premise: supply vs. demand. Without demand, there would be no reason for supply. Without supply, demand would rise so high that even reasonable adults would transform into raving lunatics running on pure bloodlust for the next Tickle-Me-Elmo. Welcome to the holidays.

“After Target decreed that Black Friday would start at midnight Thanksgiving night and that employees must report to work at 11 p.m., an Omaha worker, Anthony Hardwick, posted a petition at Change.org asking the company to move the official start of Christmas shopping back to 5 a.m. Friday. Response from workers and others has been stellar: 192,000 signatures by Monday.” CNN.com

Each year we have watched these stores open earlier and earlier, tempting shoppers with great deals at horrible hours. It’s simple (and good business): this time of year there is an inherent rise in demand for the holidays. Because of that rise in demand, supply becomes in danger. Small stores cannot keep supply on the shelves and the wholesale market caters to those who can continue to keep demand on the rise. Big-box stores such as Target and Walmart have the infrastructure to handle holiday demand, keeping a relatively decent supply of products on their shelves for the shoppers. Obviously they want to sell more than other stores, so they compete with each other; if Target opens at 4am, Best Buy will open at 3.

The people that stand to be hurt are the employees, all of whom have significant gripes against their big-box employer (see americanrightsatwork.org to see examples of offenses). Not only do people have to be there during open hours, but stocking, delivery, preparation and clean-up work are needed also. Can you imagine shopping in a Target ravished by holiday shoppers with no clean-up? Not fun. Truth be told, though, in this instance, the stores are only responding to the public. If no one shows up to go shopping at 2am, do you think Target would remain open at that hour? No.

Thus, the question remains. Who is to blame? Is it the big-box stores? Is it ourselves? Is it a flawed economic system? Is it Cap’n Crunch’s? Gordon Gekko was right. Greed IS good – at least to a point. Greed is the emotion that pushes us to be the best doctors, inventors, teachers, producers, etc… in a free market economy. This is based on the simple principle of competition. I want a better life and to reach it must do better than others. Good business coaching focuses on this – VISION. This can be a good thing, because in order to reach that, we need the help and cooperation of other people. Thus, the “if you profit, then I can profit” ideal was born. As communal greed grows, life grows. It builds cities, national parks and green energy.

This philosophy fails when restraint dies, giving us no control over our material desires. Greed without restraint pushes us to dangerous ends that destroy others and search for our good at the cost of others as opposed to the good of all. It is this mentality that leads to corruption and is the cause of many of the symptoms our economy currently faces. When we look to help ourselves with the point of doing it at someone else’s expense, we cross the line. That greed does not rebuild our economy.

Maybe the best lesson this holiday season is a classic proverb that can help us look at things from a different approach. “It is better to give than to receive.” If we all give, then we all will receive; if you profit, then I can profit. After all, I would want my children to receive the best education possible so they have the opportunity to reach their potential. If I keep cutting the wages of our teachers, then I am not promoting good greed that grows a community (and my children’s future), I am just being selfish.

Selfishness is not vision. Vision for a better life for yourself and others is a great thing and the ultimate description of profit.

The Death of Customer Service

Originally posted at Pro/Vision Coaching.

It had been a long day at the office. All day long, day after day, it was always the same routine; and it was starting to get harder to pick himself back up again. There was no real reason why it broke – sometimes that’s what things do; they break. Tom was just reaching a crisis point. The competition for his job was becoming a bear to deal with, and neither his age nor experience was counting as much as they used to. When his mp3 player busted, for Tom, that was the last straw.

Granted, Tom had only purchased the mp3 player a week ago, and there was no reason for the player to die; it just did. Relying on the success of his storied career, he planned to walk right back into the store and have this problem fixed. Unfortunately, that was not in the cards. At least he wasn’t alone.

Tom’s friends joined him at the mall, though I’m sure it was mainly because he promised to take them out to dinner afterwards. The fun did not last long, though, because as soon as they entered the store, they had to deal with Ray. Ray was the customer service manager at the technology store. His job was to make sure that every customer got served, but he also had to ensure no easy points got scored against the company. In other words, Ray—definitely no saint—had no intention of allowing a return.

“I’m sorry, Tom. Before I can let you return this, I need to ask you a few questions. Has your mp3 player been roughed up in any way? Have you ever dropped it in water? You do know that automatically voids the warranty. If we find in any way that you caused the breakage of this machine, you’ll have more luck making money off the old 49′er gold rush than you will getting a replacement device.”

His buddies did the best they could to protect him from the coming onslaught, but Tom scrambled out of their way and into danger head-on. Ray’s complete blockage of an innocent return was inexcusable. There was no reason for Ray to be colder than steel; it was as if he were trying to pack on the punishment for no reason. After forty-five minutes of convincing, Ray finally relented and gave up the discount; mainly because he finally succumbed to the pressure being laid on him by Tom’s buddies. Being gang-tackled by a bunch of large guys isn’t fun for anyone, especially Ray.

In the end, Tom won the day and returned his mp3 player. I would say he is enjoying his new iPod, but I’m not allowed to use real product names. There is a lesson to be learned in all of this (by the way, if you haven’t picked up on all the football references by now, there are multiple lessons to learn), and that lesson is the value of customer service. When did it become okay to lie to a customer while signing up for satellite television? Or to jet off after a contract signing before anyone could ask questions? It certainly seems as though the big companies today truly do not care about your business. It may only be $39.95 this month they receive, but the lifetime value of that $39.95 per month client can be in the hundreds of thousands after a few years if nurtured properly (by way of longer-term contract, referrals, etc…).

The problem is that nobody cares anymore. What reason did Ray have to actually care about Tom’s problem? What motivation do the “Ray’s” in the world have for actually caring for the client experience? Are they receiving extra rewards for their level of “niceness”? Are they being compensated off the long-term value of the clients with whom they work? No. This is why customer service is dead. It wasn’t eaten by a lion.

If a customer service employee comes to work after having a bad start to their day, there is nothing to keep them from passing that on to other people; no motivation to listen to another complaining customer, or to take seriously an issue that they’ve heard about by thirty other people in the last hour. That is, unless the owner of that business cares – and cares enough to ensure that no bad days are allowed in the office – at least by way of ensuring that each employee is directly rewarded for their client care record. Maybe then customer service can be revived. Though I’m not holding my breath, miracles do happen. A few weeks ago a cowboy named Roger fulfilled every American male’s dream by making one simple decision.

Buccaneer.

Sales Explosion | Linda Panattoni of At Work Credits Pro/Vision Coaching with Placement Success

Originally posted at Pro/Vision Coaching.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uN9nui6JD-s#!

Linda has consistently been a solid producer for her non-profit organization, At Work, where she is a job placement specialist for people with developmental disabilities. She believes thoroughly in networking for her business, which is where we met her.

Linda became one of our first Academy clients, starting in the Networking 4 Introverts support group as well as taking the Time Management Workshop. Through those tools and the time she has spent with myself (Phil) and Paul, she has seen a significant increase in her time efficiency and marketing presentation, both of which have led to a major upswing in job placements.

Over the last few months Linda has gone absolutely gangbusters and all of us here at Pro/Vision Coaching are super excited for her and the continued success headed her way. We look forward to a continual relationship with her, as she has not only become a client, but a friend. Congrats, Linda!