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Sunday Morning Coffee - October 31, 2010

Sunday Morning Coffee is a look back on an exciting week and a peek forward to the next.  Short stories that had an impact with a littleCoffee Cu ps  editorial comment.  You might consider this to be the "scattered thoughts of a cluttered mind" and that's OK.  Because I'd like to carry on the conversation, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom, send me an e-mail or make contact on Twitter - @MichaelLibbie (personal and business) or @InsightADV (business baby...all business).  Let's pour a cup...

"Silly Season" Update:  "November 2nd?  I think we might have 24-hours of rest before the 2012 Iowa Caucus activity starts...well, actually it already has."  Kathie Obradovich the political columnist for the Des Moines Register was an Insight on Business guest as we discussed the business of politics.  If you didn't see the show, here is the link to Webcast One LIVE!Jerry Kluver

What?  It's Jerry Kluver with...hair!?!?  Jerry is an amazing guy who is in charge of the Urbandale Hy-Vee Garden Center, all around "pitch-man" (here he is selling pizza), host of a weekly TV show (Get Growing with Jerry Kluver on KCCI-TV8) and a nice man.  This picture either means it's Halloween or he's been using NatraTurf products on his head.

Halloween Candy 2010 Speaking of Halloween - I had NO luck getting rid of the fresh jalapenosWe had about 50 kids come by the house last night an nobody wanted a jalapeno!  Kids...they just don't appreciate the "good stuff".   

We've started a new Friday feature, "The Stuff We See".  All week long Insight on Business with Michael Libbie looks at marketing, advertising and consumer trends.  On Friday we take a break and offer up some video of "The Stuff We See".  Last week, Happi Sushi...go on, I know you want to see it.

I'm bummed but then again...not.  This week is the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association fall meeting in Dallas.  I was all set to go but waiting for a client to pull the trigger on a major project.  Guess what?  They did and rather than being in a swanky hotel in "The Big D" I Tom Trapget to be in the field on television shoots.  This is the first FEMA meeting I've missed in a decade however, one costs money...the other...pays.  I think it's a good call.  Have a great time gang...and send photos?  I'm counting on you Mike Lessiter to get candid shots like this:  Here is Tom Burenga from Worksaver waiting for the next print advertising salesman.

Folks in Great Britain are calling the ad for "Royal Desire", a new scent inspired by Christina Aguilera,"soft porn".  Yikes!  Describing Aguilera in the ad as, "...showcasing her ample cleavage in a very low cut dress and writhing in a chair in ecstasy as she sprays the perfume across her chest." Mail Online thinks, "the singer's ad may be a bit too risque for her younger fans."

 

How about the older ones?  And too bad it's not "Male Online".  If you've got three minutes and want a peek at what it takes to film a commercial (and the reason that filming and editing isn't cheap) follow this link to The Making of Royal Desire.  Check the equipment, crew....etc.  And that's just the shoot...next is the edit.  Now you know what it takes to make something...sell.

Back to reality...

Customer service drives sales.  That is a pretty easy statement but we Kenn both know how difficult it often is to access that elusive service.  But...then there are jewels out there.  Meet Kenn Bekker who has been an employee of Office Depot for 16 years (several of which were in California).  He is one of the reasons that I travel out of my way to shop at the Office Depot store on Merle Hay Road here in Des Moines.  Helpful and honest ("You know, you can buy this printer for less and it's just as good or better than the "on sale" printer.")  When I posted, on Facebook, that Kenn was a customer service wizard a half-dozen of my friends responded that "Kenn Rocks!".   He does...and thanks!

I had a real ethical issue come up last week.  Should I buy HalloweenG Halloween 2010  Candy that I don't like...so if we have left-overs I'm not tempted?  Or...buy the stuff we like and hope we've got left-overs?  Here we are Saturday Night...handing out "the good stuff" and praying for left-overs.  I am soooooo weak.  An interesting custom here is that when kids come to collect their treat...they are encouraged to tell a joke.  We heard some...like, "What is a sale do ghosts really like?  A White Sale!"  Do you have any customs like that were you are?  We think it's fun. 

Theromstat This is my NASA inspired thermostat

.  If I knew HOW to work it...I believe it does everything.  There is a "Wake Up" setting, a "Leave" setting, a "Return" setting, a "Sleep" setting.  You can set it for the weekend, a long vacation and fire rockets from The Cape.   Ummm...I can't get it to do anything other than hold a very toasty 71 degrees 24/4.  Grumble....

I ran into a friend late on Friday afternoon who told me that she has banned all local television and radio in her house.  Seems that "Silly Season" political ads make her crazy.  Not to worry Robin...November 2nd is close and like Kathie said...we warm up for the Iowa Caucuses.  Sorry to ruin your Sunday.Taylor Halloween 2010 2

Happy Halloween kids!!  For a parting shot, this is our grand-daughter  Miss Taylor who made a visit last night.  She's not really sure what all the fuss is about and hasn't got her joke down...yet.   But darn cute huh?  I know that every parent says this..."It wasn't that long ago that I took my kids Trick or Treating."  There you go...said.  Last night our son,  Aaron Libbie reminded me of Halloween 1993 when we had a major ice storm that cut power to thousands of homes.  Last night was not that way...beautiful.  Hope your evening was safe and that you have a fantastic Sunday!

Catch you LIVE tomorrow with Insight on Business with Michael Libbie.  Our guest, Dan Johnson from the Social Media Club of Des Moines.

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Retail Predictions - 2015

Have you seen the Nielsen Research  Retail 2015 Predictions.  Written by Todd Hale, SVP of Retail and Shopper Insights they give you a look atWoman Shopping City  what retail may be facing in 4.3 years.  The research centered on consumer trends that have evolved through the economic downturn.  Consumers have shifted their buying patterns, brand loyalty and the number of shopping trips.

You can read the entire article here.  But, we're going to cut to the chase - What we thought were the most significant are these...and yep, you get our comments too.

e-commerce Will be A Big Winner - Look, we've said for years that if you have products and services that can be purchased on the web...get there.  Ten years ago we opened a new tractor dealership online just to prove to agriculture that TRACTORS could be sold...online with no brick and mortar.  Scared the hell out of manufacturers and dealers.  That was 10 years ago.  What are you waiting for?

Low and High-End Grocery Stores Will Grow- How can that be?  How can "high-end" grow in the face of consumer with-drawl.  Simple - Not everybody is shopping...cheap.  Two weeks ago Insight on Business had a story about selling high end products to the people making $250,000 and more.  Remember not EVERYBODY is retracting.  Second reality - Organic is HUGE...and high-end organics work.

Pet Stores & Dollar Stores Will Grow - Last week Insight on Business had a story about "pet-humanization" and the rapid growth in pet product sales as well as big bumps for pet product stocks.  We said that "nearly everybody can join the parade".  Got extra space?   Put in a pet line and watch what happens.  We don't make this stuff up.

Big Will Get Bigger- Retail consolidation will increase.  However, niche single, stand-alone businesses will also grow IF they learn how to market to various "tribes" using social media and marketing.  Case in point:  Simply for Giggles a Des Moines based small business saw a 25% increase in sales so far in 2010.  How...SM baby...SM.

Store Formats Will Evolve - Small...Wins - Wait...didn't we just say "Big Will Get Bigger"?  Yes...however big also loses when it comes to being community based.  Watch for more wins by community based, environmentally friendly "Mom and Pop" outlets.  There is a reason 20,000+ people flood downtown Des Moines each Saturday for the Farmer's Market...and it ain't "big box".

There you go...a reality check.  And know what?  We've talked about each one of these items for months.   Haven't heard?  Then you haven't been watching Insight on Business or reading these posts.  Now that you know...come back?

You can carry on the discussion on Twitter - @MichaelLibbie (personal and business) or @InsightADV (business baby...business).  And watch Insight on Business part of Webcast One LIVE!  We're on Monday - Thursday with insights on advertising, marketing and consumer trends.  Join us?

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Sunday Morning Coffee - October 24, 2010

Sunday Morning Coffeeis our editorial look at stories that impact what has been going on over the past week and a peek into next.  Business?Coffee Cu ps   Maybe a little, but mostly scattered thoughts from a cluttered mind.  And, because it's a conversation I'd like to hear from you.  You can comment on this post, connect on Twitter - @MichaelLibbie or send me an e-mail.  That way we can keep the conversation going.  Let's get started....

I voted last week.  Iowa allows early voting so I headed to the Urbandale Public Library and cast my vote.  It took about 10 minutes and there were maybe 25 people who came and went during my time there.  Downside:  It doesn't stop the "Robo-Calls".

What the hell is with NPR?  It's been all over the news about the firing of Juan Williams and, frankly I was stunned.  When Don Imus was fired for his "nappy headed hoes" comment, I understood.  I get it when Helen Thomas is fired for her inflammatory retoric about Israel.  I didn't Crazy Alum Hat so much get it when Rick Sanchez was fired for his comment about Jews...he was stupid...but I don't think mean spirited.  But this?  Juan Williams, if you read listen or see the entire dialog between he and Bill O'Rielly, was being careful to NOT disparage Muslims.  He was being honest and I think many folks might actually agree with his sentiments of being a bit fearful or at least wary of people who so outwardly in their dress identify themselves as Islamic.  I know of no other ethic group that outright calls for the killing and murder of you...or me.  OK, to be sure, that faction is said to be only 1% of the Muslim population.  But, with 1.66 billion Muslims in the world we've got 1.6 million folks to worry about.  This "hyper-sensitivity" we are experiencing reminds me a bit of the "gotcha days" of the McCarthy Era. Meanwhile NPR CEO Vivian Schiller commenting on the firing suggests to the media that the Williams comments should have been between him and, "his psychiatrist".  There you go Vivian...that is truly high journalistic ethics.  She later was forced to apologize.  (And you are this week's winner of the "Crazy Hat Award") Should Juan have been fired years ago for not staying on the "party line" of NPR.  Perhaps and they had every right to do so...however this was bad, really bad because it also gives the nut jobs on the far right something to crow about.  I get weary.

I Get Weary - Part Two... "I wonder who put this pubic-hair on my Coke can?" was back in the news.  The wife of Justice Clarence Thomas calls Anita Hill and asks her to recant her 21 year old story about the sexual harassment issues swirling around the confirmation hearings of Justice Thomas.  "Let's make up girlfriend..."  You have got to be kidding.  Speaking of psychiatrists...

Maybe it is the "End of Days"...

It is the "End of Days" for many small and medium size business owners.  No, it's not taxes, it's not health care costs, it's not a lack ofEmpty Store 1  consumers...it's ignorance.  They know nothing about advertising and marketing but...think they do.  And "When They Won't Listen" to professionals who do...the end is clearly in sight.  Have a read and let me know your thoughts?

Later this morning there is a Candidate Forum at my brother's congregation.  Professor Dennis Goldford from Drake University is the moderator.  I believe Governor Chet Culver and Congressman Leonard Boswell will be there.  Terry Branstad and Brad Zaun had scheduling conflicts.

Levitt Here is Jeff, Marsha and Rafi Levitt owners of The Oasislocated 30 feet north of Court Avenue on 4th Street in Des Moines.  Cool place with mediterranean foods. I was there last night and the fried goat cheese and falafel is....WONDERFUL.  If you are in town...you've got to go.  515-228-4502 for directions, hours and reservations.  Great for lunch too!  (Not all smiles huh?  Give them a break...it was the end of a long day.)  They tell me they have been swamped the past two weeks...and with seating for only 34 people best to get there early.

A mixed bag of news for Webster City, Iowa as citizens learned this morning that the man who is bringing a new electric car manufacturing plant to the city has a troubled financial past.  Webster City, reeling from the closing of an appliance manufacturing plant, says..."Bring it on, we need the jobs."  Here is the article from the Des Moines Register.

Staying with the Des Moines Register for a moment...  We told you about this group a couple of weeks ago.  The America Future Fund is spending millions of dollars on attack ads in an attempt to oust several democratic congressman.  Will it work?  The funny thing is, I know Bruce Rastetterof Iowa Falls and he is a regular quotable person on W-GOP (Opps...I mean WHO-Radio) here in Des Moines.  Spending...millions, here is the Des Moines Register story.

On Tuesday I get to travel north to Ankeny, Iowa (a long journey of 15 miles) to speak at the Ankeny Rotary Club about marketing, advertising and social media.  Should be great fun.  My friend Steve SchraderBachar of Wells Fargo Mortage set it up.  That, of course means we'll be doing a re-run of Insight on Business here at Webcast One LIVE.   Bring questions...

In a couple of weeks I'm Dallas bound.  No, not Dallas Center, Iowa... the "Big D" for the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Associationfall conference.   Looking forward to it...that is a week long journey...must find a guest host for the program and maybe do a broadcast from Texas.  Hmmmm....

Thanks for coming by for a read.  We'll get back to business tomorrow have a wonderful Sunday and let's connect and keep the conversation going on Twitter, I monitor @MichaelLibbie (personal and business) and @InsightADV (business baby...only business)  Take care!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 


When They Don't Listen...

I hate these posts.  I would much rather give you exciting tips about marketing and advertising and consumer trends but...sadly...many folks don't listen and the result is empty store fronts.Empty Store 1

Just down the street from our office I watched as fresh faced business people opened their stores.  The excitement is palatable.  The paint is fresh, the sign is new and then...they wait.  At first friends and family come and buy.  But, after a bit, that customer base dries up and reality hits.

Some small business people go into a panic and buy whatever they can from the media salesperson with the best "story".  It may be right for Empty Store 2 their market and it may be wrong.  Dead wrong.  Far too often good money goes down the drain...and nobody comes into the store.

It hurts...  I've seen more than one business idea fail because the business owner failed to understand marketing.  They failed to ask the questions or even knew what questions to ask.  Why?  Because they "think" they know advertising, marketing and consumers.  But in reality they sell...stuff.  I don't blame them their focus is so much different than an agency.

What can you do?  You can hire us (we'd love to have the work) or hire somebody else to help.  Somebody who knows...somebody who will help...somebody that you will listen to...somebody that can read consumer trends...  Hire somebody, before you close the doors one last time.  Or better yet:  Hire a professional before you open the doors, it will pay off.

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Sunday Morning Coffee - October 17, 2010

Time for a sip of Sunday Morning Coffee?  This is our weekly editorialCoffee Cu ps  about stories that took place last week and a look forward to the coming week  Some call it "Scattered Thoughts from a Cluttered Mind" and I'm OK with that too.  For those of you clamoring for some business ideas here is one from last week about writing effective press releases.  We'll get back to more business tomorrow...right now we're sippin' Sunday Morning Coffee:

On Friday I learned that Michael Collins, the former Beverage Manager at the local Urbandale Hy-Vee had been diagnosed with ALS.  That story makes all the stuff below a lot less important.  I had watched his health deteriorate over the year and wondered.  Now that the disease is confirmed, store employees are raising funds to help.  This week, if you could stop off and leave a donation at Customer Service that would be cool.  Thanks...he's a good guy.

Former Iowa Governor and current US Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack was in town last week for the World Food Prize and took a little time to rally the troops and get out the vote.  I caught up with him and discussed crops, agricultural manufacturing and exports.  And this piece about the "Iowa Brand" and why Iowa should re-elect Chet Culver to a second term as governor:

 

He's good...  Staying on politics and agriculture for just a minute:  Last week Governor Culver and challenger Terry Branstad went at it over Fertilizer barrels fertilizer.  (I know what you are thinking...it's all BS.)  Governor Culver suggested that to better protect the environment Iowa should consider regulating fertilizer application on farm ground (They might also look at urban areas...but that's another story.)  It didn't take long for Branstad to wind up the Iowa Farm Bureau which is the Agricultural Wing of the Iowa Republician Party and my friend Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey.  "We don't need no regulation", is the general outcry of outrage.  This is where the story gets interesting...for us.  I make a call to the Culver Campaign to suggest they might want to follow up on this and make them aware that there are natural, organic products out there, made in Iowa, that reduces the need for more and more chemical fertilizer.  I was told, "Our ag policy director, Jamie Cashman is on leave and he'll get back to you after the election."  See, you are right...it is all BS.

Do ya ever listen to talk radio?  I like to keep my blood pressure up so the fluids will whip through my cholesterol clogged arteries...so I listen.Bradshaw WOWFM   Last week...I was forced to call into the local Bradshaw Show on 98.3 WOW-FM.  (Photo: Iowa Independent)  I had been listening to caller after caller misrepresent "facts" about the condition of Iowa, jobs in Iowa, Iowa agriculture, and how lousy Iowa is because of "activist judges", "that 'do-nothing' Chet Culver" and the "Evil Legislature".  Bradshaw was kind enough to give me five minutes to call out these idiots with the real facts:  Wall Street 24/7 lists Iowa as the Third Best Run State in the Nation, Forbes names Iowa as the 13th Best State for Business (moving up a place from 2009), Corn and Soybean Prices prices going up, farm manufacturing surging, Iowa's low unemployment rate (6.9%) and going FORWARD rather than BACK (note the comment from Secretary Vilsack).

I get weary...It's no wonder that newspapers and radio stations don't require people to use their real names when they comment...they are saving people from being outed as idiots.

I'd say I was looking forward to the day after the election...but it won't matter.  Elections can't cure "crazy".

Georgie Birthday WI There is a NEW PRESIDENT living in our home!  My bride has been named President of the Des Moines Cycle Club a 400+ member organization that promotes all sorts of left-wing ideals like...bicycling. (I can hear it now: "Them commie bastards in China use bikes!  We don't need no bikes in Des Moines!")  Congratulations to Georgie Pease-Libbie!  But, standing at attention every time she walks into the room is already getting old.

What Des Moines does need are more dirt streets.  That way when folks are shot the blood will soak into the soil and we won't have to spend tax money on clean up.  (I know I'll get big ups from my Tea Party friends for that!)  There has been a sudden spate of shootings in the Capital City...three last week.  We're becoming "Dodge City" all of a sudden. Meanwhile to curb the violence the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Commission, in emergency session, revoked the license of University Groceriesthe site of the latest murder.  Yeah!  That'll do it!!  And our friend, Des Moines City Councilman Chris Coleman chimed in that "We should never have let this place open."   There has got to be more of a back story or I'm going to break out the idiot hat again.   I'll let you decide.  Here is the story from the Des Moines Register.

Did you know that three years before the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai the FBI was given a warning that Mumbai was a target?  I didn't think so...here is the story from Voice of America.

Mid-American Energy, those folks who are "obsessively, relentlessly atMid American Logo  our service", called me last week.  "We need to come and inspect your gas lines.  Please call us at 888-427-5632."  I did so right away...fearing a massive explosion...and listened to choice after choice after choice of what button to push.  And then for me to input my billing code...that I didn't have because I'm calling from the office.  If you REALLY are serious about being obsessive and relentless about your customer service hire some REAL FREAKING PEOPLE to answer the phone and/or stop with the run-around.  Talk about a "brand buster". Here is your answer...and I'm not even charging a fee:  Give us three or five choices for the reason of our call, then have somebody pick up the phone, or put us in que.  When a human comes on the phone ask for our address, confirm the caller and move on.  See how easy that is?   On second thought...I think I will send you a bill.

Did you hear that Des Moines will be building a new Transit Hub near a location that will someday, I hope, be the site for passenger rail traffic?  Here is the story from our friends at the Des Moines Register.  (What?  Goberment don't have no right in takin' my money and buildin' them wasteful things.  I want my country back!)  You KNOW it's coming...I can already hear it on the Bradshaw Show.

Now here is an economic development idea even my friends at the Tea Party will appreciate:  Last Thursday on my way to the studio for our live broadcast of Insight on Business I stopped a street musician and asked him to come in and do a song.  Randy Kong did just that and you can see it about about the twenty-one minute mark in this re-broadcast.   See...now here is a guy pulling himself up by his own boot-straps and not axin for my tax money...dang gum it!  I feel the love.

Watch live streaming video from desmoineslocallive at livestream.com

I've decided to bring back the Blog - Jewish Life - Des Moines, Iowa.  If you want to check it out...have at it.   We'll be posting more there...I'd let it fall to the side since June.  An interesting place for faith, religion, politics and Israel.

I'm excited...I believe the Des Moines Register Political Editor, Kathy Obradovich is open to doing a future appearance on our business show, Insight on Business.  I'll keep you in the loop.  She has visited with and seen it all in this election cycle.  We've got loads to talk about.

Speaking of the show...tomorrow we've got Micholyn Fajen in studio.Img0278Web   It's a Metro Monday Edition of Insight on Business and we'll be talking about Freelance Camp Des Moines 2010.  It's an all day event for free agents...you know those folks who have said, or had to say, "goodbye" to the "cubical world".  If you are in the area...and you fit the mold...or waht to...you might consider watching and then attending.  Micholyn Fajen tomorrow:  Insight on Business - Noon Central - Webcast One LIVE!

OK...loads of stuff to do...and I know you're waiting to read Sunday Morning Coffee before you start your day. Thanks for coming by.  We can connect on Twitter: @MichaelLibbie (business and personal) or @InsightADV (business baby...business).   Have a great Sunday!

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Video Marketing Can Fail...if

The other day I was walking past our production room and and a friend ofVideo Cameraman  mine called me in to "look" at a video piece he had volunteered to do for his community.  Our guy had done the shooting at their direction and we were NOT involved in any of the planning or direction.  We should have been.

Oh my...he should have asked BEFORE the shoot and edit.

Here was the quick re-cap:

  • Too Long - The promotional piece ran 3:40.  My experience is if you don't capture somebody in fifteen-seconds...done, over, pack it in.
  • The Music - Slow...slow...slow.  I want to be MOVED to move to your town...not fall asleep.
  • The Target Market - I asked the question and the answer was, "Folks who want to move to a nice community."  I think it's a little broad?
  • The Scenes - Twenty-five seconds on the "retirement community" and fifteen-seconds with the car dealer.  And, there was more.

It "looked" pretty and it sounded "pretty" but it won't be effective and that's too bad because I know they put their heart and soul into the project.  What they should have done?  Hire a professional, spend a little money and walk away with something that will work. 

That's the idea isn't it?

Let's connect on Twitter:  @MichaelLibbie (personal & business) or @InsightADV (business baby...all business).  Thanks for coming by.

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Four Tips for Press Releases that Work...

The other day I received a "press release" from a company announcing aMan Typewriter  "Grand Open House".  Loads of information about what I could expect if I attended...and I might have IF I knew where they were.  They overlooked the location thingy...

Class is in session:

Who, What, Where & Why are still the keystones to writing an effective press release -but there are others:

  • Do Not Over-explain - Give your information in short bursts. Nobody is going to read loads of text and it's not impressive.
  • Include the Basics - See above, YOU may know where the event is going to be held but will your reader?
  • Stay In Touch - Create relationships with media people even when you don't need them.  A simple call, e-mail or "Facebook Howdy" helps create a relationship so your not just "using".
  • Be Compelling - Give a reason why somebody should come, learn or experience your product or service...briefly.

Thanks for coming by...hope it helps and there will be a test.  Feel free to follow me on Twitter:  @MichaelLibbie (business and personal) or @InsightADV (business baby...business) and yes, we do have one of those "Facebook Thingys".  ;-)

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Odd Isn't It?

Odd what catches the imagination of the public.  I think of that everyGraceland  time a remarkable thing like the rescue of the miners from Chile.  There was drama, international excitement and help.  And, there was Elvis.  One of the miners led the others in "sing-a-longs" featuring Elvis music.  Now Edison Pena, the 12th miner to be rescued from 69-days underground gets a trip to Graceland and Memphis will turn out in style.

Not as exciting but just as odd was the public backlash over the "GAP Gap Logo New Old Logo Flap".  GAP quietly changes the logo on their website and within hours there's a storm of protest from professional advertising people to consumers.  In the end GAP brings back the iconic "blue box" and says, "At GAP brand, our customers have always come first.  We've been listening to and watching all of the comments this past week.  So, we made the decision to (bring back) the logo across all the channels."

Odd what excites the masses...

And, there you are going about the business of business day after day trying to catch a foothold...trying to make a larger dent in the consumers mind.  And wondering what might turn them on to your brand. 

Stay at it.  But, don't expect wonderment to fall like it did for Graceland and GAP.  However, there is a way you can get a leg up on the competition.  It's called listening to consumers outside your market.  What are consumers hot on, what are they asking for...what excites them.  And, then...what can you do to capture the attention?  

The first step in creating is paying attention.  But...maybe it's not a good idea to have a "Miner's Sale on all GAP Apparel".  Just thinking out loud.

Thanks for reading...let's connect on Twitter:  @MichaelLibbie (personal and business) or @InsightADV (business baby...business)

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Sunday Morning Coffee - October 10, 2010

Sunday Morning Coffee is a look at the week we've finished and a peekCoffee Cu ps  ahead to what we might expect.  It's not so much about advertising and marketing as it is a conversation about on-going stories that we're experiencing, together.  Think of it as a visit over a cup at the local coffee shop.  (Actually this is a series of scattered thoughts from a cluttered mind.)  And you're invited to take part.  Comment below, send me an e-mail or join me on Twitter @MichaelLibbie and let's continue the conversation.  We'll get back to business tomorrow but for now...

America future fundRonald Daniels of Des Moines asked me to attend a fund raiser for candidate Ben Lange who is running against Bruce Braley in Iowa's 1st Congregational District.  I didn't know much about Ben until I did some digging.  I'll pass.  Ben has been well funded by $800,000 from "secret donors" and the American Future Fund.  I figured I didn't want to be secret.  And, I wasn't a fan of the "Swift Boat Folks" either.  Link?  Have a look at this report from the Iowa Independent.

WHAT is it with me?  Politics right out of the box...  YIKES!  We've GOT to get past November 2nd!

The 2010 Harvest is clicking right along.  To date we've had 12 days without rain.  TWELVE DAYS and the outlook is dry for the next five.  I was traveling last week into North Central Iowa and talking with producers who tell me the soybeans are looking good but the corn crop yield is disappointing.  YOU?

However...  I'm hearing rattles of the "Food vs. Fuel" debate raising it's ugly head...again. They don't call it the "Silly Season" for nothing...Denison Don

One of those Rural Iowa trips was to Denison, Iowa; hometown of Donna Reed by the way.  (I do what I can for my trivia friends.)  I was there to address the annual breakfast gathering of the Crawford County/Denison Chamber and Economic Development Council about personal and business branding and how to use Social Media as another tool for business.  Great fun and a fantastic group.  Thank you executive director Don Luensmann (photo) for the invite.  SOME of you might remember "Lil' Donny" from his broadcasting days at 94.5-KKEZ and Fort Dodge or from his work with the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce.  He's still doing...great work.  Thanks Don!

Cronks Quick side note:  We met at Cronk's Resturant a place I'd been to back 1982.  When I arrived the owner came up to me and said, "I've met you before!"  Eric, what a memory...or did I do something really stupid 28 years ago?  We'll leave that alone.  Thanks to Roadfood for the image.

Today is the final day of the World Food Festival being held in the East Village of Des Moines.  Just saying...if you are in the area...drop in.

Did you know that Tom Peterswas speaking in Ankeny, Iowa last week?  Yep, I was doing Insight on Business with Michael Libbie and Tom was speaking at the 2010 Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Conference.  My friend Mike Wagner went and had some one-on-one time with Mr. Peters.  He tells me that during his speech Tom Peters asked the 400+ people if they were in the Customer Service Business...not many hands went up.  He then went on to share with them why they were.  Good stuff...sorry I missed it.  I live through you Mike.

Old Telephone Cutting the Cord? - Marc Hansen of the Des Moines Register has this article about the growing trend of cutting out land lines for telephones and going "cell only".  In 2003 less than 5% of the households had cell only homes.  Today that number is 25% and growing.  The impact?  How about 911 calls?  There is an answer...it's called Flarecaster created by my friend Robert Hidajat of Ames, Iowa.  Have a look, it might be what saves a life in your cell only home.

Last night the Iowa Junior Chamber (Iowa Jaycees) held their annual Outstanding Young Iowan Awards Event.  I was asked to attend and do a little work.  Thank you.  The awards went to Iowa State Senator Jeff Danielson, football great Kurt Warner, uber community service leader Melissa Schoneberg of Habitat for Humanity - North Central Iowa in Mason City, Iowa and Hispanic Community Organizer Max Cardenas.  It was a wonderful evening.  Here is a quick video featuring United States Jaycee President Jeff Lank of Delaware and President Jennifer Gracey of the Iowa Jaycees.

 

Between age 18 and 41 and want to make a difference in your life and the life of others?  Check the Jaycees.  Oh...the "old guy" in the final portion of the clip?  Newton Standridge, one of the best in Iowa. Yes, we're well above 41...yet HE is mega involved in the JCI Senate.  Thanks again for the invite!

One more?  President Jeff Lank is from Delaware.  Last night I said, "I now know three people from Delaware:  President Jeff, the former Senator and current Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden and Christine O'Ddonnell a woman who wants to be a United States Senator.  I don't get them mixed up, it's easy to understand which is witch."  Well, I thought it was funny.

Like Rodeo?  Want to travel?  Enjoy the Cowboy Experience? The Rodeo Hat Company is for sale.  My friend Les Fevold out of Humboldt, Iowa will sell you his business...very attractive pricing.  He tells me he's tired of the travel...he's a great guy.  Interested?  Contact me and we'll put you together.

Hebrew brother My brother, Yoni Libbie has a birthday this week!  Happy Birthday, Achi!

That's it kids...  Have a wonderful Sunday it's 10/10/10 that has got to be a good sign?  Catch you tomorrow with Insight on Business with Michael Libbie only on Webcast One LIVE!  In the meantime let's connect through our website:  www.InsightCubed.com or Twitter: @MichaelLibbie and yes, we also have one of those Facebook Thingys. ;-)

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Website Basics - Five Tips

Websites...all the children have websites.  Some work and others, not soWebsite http   much.

Last week we were asked to "have a look" at a couple of websites built by people who build their own websites.  I know...we're already in trouble right?   We did and the report was what you might expect.   Here are the five things we believe you and EVERY company needs to consider when creating a web presence:

  • Be Clear- Do not make the visitor "guess" what you do and how you do it or what you sell and how you sell it.  A Razorfish study from 2009 tells us that a poor digital experience means 96% of the visitors will not buy and "move on".
  • DIY Websites- Look like DIY Websites...sorry.  If you really want to attract business allow your site to look like you are in business.  It's not an after-thought.
  • Images Sell - So much more can be done with images than text.  We are drawn to color and "looks".   But...what if you sell multiple things?   How about an image of consumers enjoying the experience?   That is IF you know what your customers experience...is.
  • Skip "About Us" - If you are going to write a BOOK about your company...don't.  Nobody really cares.  Give us the Cliff Notes version...you'll do better.
  • You - Who are...YOU? - We see this loads of times when a small business owner brands his/her website.  If YOU are the company....be the company.  Let's see you, let's hear your voice...please.
  • BONUS - Make it Easy to CONTACT You - Please...don't make me go through hoops to find your contact information.   And...use a name not:  Info or Sales or Contact -  There MAY be people out there who are named "Contact" but few.

Thanks for coming by...a reminder that we get to do these things LIVE during Insight on Business with Michael Libbie our Monday - Thursday look at advertising, marketing and consumer trends seen here at Webcast One LIVE!

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