Give a Little - Get a Bunch

Give_and_take Yesterday we published a short piece about the changes our Des Moines, Iowa AHL hockey team (Iowa Stars) might consider as they attempt to better market themselves to Iowans.  At the end of the piece we listed four "truths" that any business could or should follow to get noticed and drive business.  They were:

  • Know Your Target Audience
  • Partner with Success
  • Create or Invent a Reason to Buy
  • Passion for the Product

Art Dinkin, a regular reader (Here is his Blog) asked me to build a bit on the "partner" aspect.  Sure...

In The Stars case it is pretty simple...they just need to become very visible at existing large events they may not (today) see as important partners.  The old advice: "Nothing breeds success, like success." 

Give_rose_woman Art's question, I think, had more to do with how to reach out and then get noticed.  For him and for you, there are dozens of successful events and programs hungry for your leadership and vision.  The list gets pretty long when you consider your house of worship, fund raising groups, professional groups, civic groups...each one begging for help.  You just could be the person who propels the mission to further heights.  In doing so...folks notice and, once again...success follows success.

But, a word of must be passionate about the effort.  If not, you are wasting your time and you'll get zero in return.  So make the choice carefully and while you are doing good treat the effort as a business investment.  It will pay off...

So, what do you think?

Sunday Morning Coffee

Coffee_cu_ps Let's catch up a bit...Sunday...a great day to kick back with a "Cup of Joe" and visit about the week and our hopes for the week to come.  Let's get it started...

For those of you who like to keep up with the radio show, Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country we've got a report on this morning's show...if you click right here.  Great information about the meat goat industry and the people who are working it.

First_umc_dsm Sticking with agriculture for a moment...  I had the opportunity to speak this morning to members of the First United Methodist Church here in Des Moines on issues of Orthodox Jewish practices and a book by David Klinghoffer.  Prior to my talk I was able to catch the final ten minutes of a video that deals with the 2007 Farm Bill.  The films message centered on the way in which the government subsidizes farmers.  And this practice needs to be changed in an effort to boost the rural population and assist in supporting "family farms".  It was an interesting discussion from a social point of view.  The reality is there are very few small family farms where farming is the sole income stream.  Will changing the 2007 Farm Bill to make it more fair for small farmers change that reality?

Ethanol_plant So, who is investing in the Iowa ethanol plants that are popping up faster than spring dandelions?  There is a wonderful article in today's Sunday Des Moines Register that helps answer that question.  Worth a read and you can see it if you click here.

Mouse_hand Tomorrow (Monday) I'll be writing about a case history of how a client of ours has doubled their website three months.  Thousands, rather than hundreds, now visit their site.  It's a great story for those of you seeking help in getting noticed...and found on the Internet.

Stars_faceoff My Iowa Stars (hockey) won the first divisional playoffs Saturday night beating AHL Western Division leaders the Omaha Knights!  Yes!!  The score was 5 - 2 and the crowd was electric.  The Iowa Stars have been in existence for two years and have reached the divisional playoffs both years.  Last year we lost the seventh game of the first round to Milwaukee.  We now move on in the contest to face the Chicago Wolves in a best of seven game second round series that starts in Chicago this Wednesday...go Stars!

Short Sunday Coffee Post....cause I gotta get out and enjoy the weather.  Something about a 20 mile bike ride in my future.  Thanks for reading!

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can always make contact with us by clicking here.

Sunday Morning Coffee

Img_0199_t Hey, it's Sunday Morning...time to catch up with each other.  Sunday Morning is the time when we can pour a cup and sit down to reflect on so many things.  Some business, some personal.  Pull up a chair, pour a cup of Joe and let's visit.

I was so grateful to get home from Panama City Beach...22 or 23 hours of travel from there to Des Moines.  What a Monday!  Here is the story.

Panama_city_shul I had a real kick last Friday night in Panama City Beach!  I went to services at this little congregation run by Sonny Glass.  What a wonderful evening and a great story of his drive and desire to build a house of worship in his adopted city.  I was really moved.  Here is to all the folks who follow their dreams and make it happen.  Here is to Sonny Glass.  Oh yes...the photo is from the back end of the sign on the highway.  Click here to visit the site.

Hwy61_image_2 Seems that Meredith Publishing here in Iowa is finally getting around to a radio show about "ruralpolitians".  (A term that I created about twelve years ago in a radio interview in Evansville, Indiana.)  Ruralpolitians are those folks living on acreages but with one foot in the city.  News is that we have been doing a show about the rural lifestyle for nearly four months. It is called Highway 6- Your Road to the Country.  (Click here for info.)  If you would like to check out the DSM Register Story about their NEW venture..  Just click here. want to hire me...

Kathy While in Panama City I visited with "Kathy".  I had been to The Boatyard (a restaurant) in February and she so impressed me with her dedication to customer service (We had a group of 130 people descend on her one evening) that I've talked about her passion to see to customer needs several times.  Well, I did not have a photo of Kathy....but went by her place last week....and had her smile for the photo.  Folks who DO GOOD WORK...need to be lifted up.

Frank_cownie The Mayor of the City of Des Moines (Frank Cownie) held a 20 mile bike ride to promote biking trails this past Saturday.  The event, started 20 years ago when we had about 3 miles of trails, by then Mayor John Pat Dorian has since swelled from a couple of hundred riders to nearly 1,000.  It's all about raising money for the series of trails that are all over the city and for future trails all across the metro.  Here are a couple of shots from the lunch and the festivities held at the "end of the ride".  Great day...great project..thanks Frank..and thanks Pat for your vision!

Mayers_bike_ride_food Mayers_bike_ride_music

Take that Bob Schnell of is a public joke!

First_umc_dsm Finally this weekend take me to the First United Methodist Church here in Des Moines for a speaking engagement planned by my dear friend John Courter who was a wonderful fund raiser for Wesley Retirement Services some 15 years ago. far we've come!  I get to speak there this Sunday and next.  If you are in the area...hope to see you there both events take place at 9am. tired yet?  Lots of stuff...and just trying to keep everybody in the loop.  Thanks for reading and being involved.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications where you can always make contact with us by clicking right here.

Random Sunday Thoughts...

Img_0199_t Sunday...a great day to catch up on a number of things...some business and some personal.  So, grab a cup of "Joe" and let's visit.

Next week I'm out of the office Tuesday through Sunday.  Headed to sunny Florida for the Farm Equipment Manufactures Association spring conference.  These are the folks who make the shortline farm equipment from planters to discs, wagons to electrical components.  This is really the heart and soul of agricultural it's a nice visit with some good people.  To learn more about them...just click here.

12faceoff The last home game for my Iowa Stars was last night and we beat the San Antonio Rampage 3 - 1.  They still have a couple of games to go and we're still in the hunt for a spot in the playoffs for the Calder Cup.  So here is wishing them the best.  It's a fun game...even when we yell at the referees...but that's part of the fun.

Tobias Big night for us as we were fortunate enough to win the game jersey worn by number 31 - Tobias Stephan the 6'2" goaltender from Zurich, Switzerland.  A HUGE thank you to all the folks from John Pettit, president to executive assistant Heather Fronk, the team and of course the fans for a fun year. 

Michael_and_ron Here's a photo of Georgie wearing the jersey with friends Michael and Ron...who by the way are wearing jerseys from Team Red Bull of Salzburg, Austria where they were last week to watch as Salzburg won their national championship.  This really is an international game.

John_benage I got an e-mail from a John Benage a writer friend of mine from San Antonio.  He wrote, a couple of years ago, a charming novel Oak Grove.  It's about growing up on an acreage in Western Missouri in the 1950's and if you would like to learn more, just click here.

John wrote asking some advice regarding websites and blogging.  John, we'll visit privately but let me assure you there are a BUNCH of authors blogging and if I start naming them...well.  But my friend Liz Strauss comes to mind as does Donna DawsonTwo different writers with different works...but this can show us how powerful the Blog is.  We'll talk.

Finally, thanks to the guests who were kind enough to spend some time on our radio show this morning.  For the full story, just click here. 

Speaking of RADIO...FLASH!!!!!  Our friend Sherry Borzo from DSM BUZZ will be on 98.3 WOW-FM this week with J. Michael McCoy on Mac's World.  Way to go!  Sherry has this wonderful way of finding interesting places to have us go and spend our money!   Visit Sherry here and Mac here.

Dsm_buzz_norw And, the written message (like sending thank you notes in the mail) is not dead!  I got a very nice note from Sherry the other day.  If you click on the image...the note comes up along with the "beak marks" from Kunta our parrot.  He liked it too Sherry!

Dsm_fireworks One more item.  It's about Des Moines!  Seems that FORBES Magazine has just...just listed Des Moines as the 4th most desirable place to work and do business in the United States!  That is up seven points from last year.  Take that Bob Schnell of FEMA!  Here is the story.  I completely agree with my friend and fellow blogger Doug Mitchell, "It's number one in my book."  Ditto!

That's it...mostly personal.  Tomorrow, we're back at the world of business blogs.  Thanks for reading...

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we help you make your product or service...great.  You can always make contact with us by clicking here.

Today, I am free...

Man_free It's the first Monday of April and today we are free what?  That's the question I'm posing to a group of folks this evening in Mason City, Iowa and one I'll ask you.

There are lots of things we are not free to do.  Breaking laws that are placed in front of us for the common good of each other comes to mind.  Yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater is a classic.  But, we're not talking about that freedom.  It's more like "free choice".

Today you and I have the gift of free choice in so many things.  If you are a worker or an owner you are given the free choice to do your job at the highest level possible.  You're also given the free choice to be lousy.  There are rewards for both...

I was struck by that when visiting with a friend whom I'd not seen in a couple of years.  Jeff Patterson of Gowrie, Iowa is a self employed Horse Shoe'r  (Gosh, I've never had to spell that before.  City folks would call him a Farrier...he puts shoes on horses...OK?)  He once had a "real job" for a "real company" but quit and followed his dream.  "It was scary at first not having a regular paycheck" said Jeff.  "I realized that it wasn't up to others to take care of me and my family.  I could choose to not work...or dig in and make a living."

Pesach You and I have that freedom.

And, while we're at it...we also have the freedom of being kind, generous, thoughtful, spiritual and a host of other things.  We can also choose to be miserable, angry, frustrated, vengeful...

The choice is yours.

If you've gotten this far you may be wondering where the advertising / marketing message is.  It's right you have the the freedom to choose integrity in your messages. You have the freedom to choose "other centered" over "self centered".

It's the first Monday of April and you are free.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can always reach us by clicking here.

Life Lessons from Abe

Roses_on_ice I usually write about advertising, marketing and what the heck they have to do with business.  This morning is a little different.  I'd like to share a short story with you that just might impact how we think.  I promise not to be long...

Ron Clayman stood in front of the congregation this past Tuesday afternoon and gave the eulogy for his father Abe.  At age 94 Abe had died and left his community of family and friends.  Ron gave a brief overview of his fathers long life.  But it wasn't Abe Clayman's business success, the work he did for three Iowa governors, or the charity he so freely gave that struck the congregation.  It was this this amazing story:

Ron said, "My father saw value in people and things when others saw none.  An example of this was a practice he started over thirty years ago.  Dad would go to the local florist on Friday morning and ask if they had any old flowers they were about to discard.  The florist pointed to dozens about to be taken to the trash.  Dad would gather them up, take them back to his home and sort the dead from the dying.  Then make bundles of them and start his delivery.  Sometimes to people he knew sometimes to strangers on the street.

Several years went by and the florist moved his business so Dad had to drive to the new location.  The florist business sold twice and moved another three times.  As the business grew so did the amount of discarded flowers.  Dad continued to follow them around Des Moines, pick up the old flowers, sort them and deliver bouquets to an ever widening number of people...every Friday afternoon for over two decades."

What things of value do we overlook in life? 

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can always get in touch with clicking here.

Sunday Morning Blog Thoughts

Img_0199_t_5 Got the coffee on?  Great, pour a cup and let's visit on a snowy Sunday Morning.  This post is about a variety of issues that made their way into the world of marketing and advertising.

For those of you who were listening in on the rural lifestyle radio show this morning...thanks.  Here's the promised link to the blog where you can link in to several of the topics we discussed.  OK..let's go...

University_wis What's with Wisconsin?  The "Flying W" story is getting more bizarre daily.  Last year several high schools across the country received letters demanding they stop using the "flying W" as their team logo.  Seems the University of Wisconsin owns the letter...and the mark.  Talk about LOUSY public relations!  Now the the university is really putting on the heat...lawyers and all.  A university official this week declined to talk about it because she said it was, "...being blown out of proportion."  Tell that to little schools like Waukee, Iowa.  It's just...can we all say it?  Silly!  Try this...Google "Flying W" under images and see what comes up.  Almost...nothing to do with U of W.  Silly....really silly.

Bindery_one We've done some printing business with Bindery One for a couple of years.  They are family run print, data center,bindery and bulk mailing center here in Des was nice to see them get recognition for their work in the magazine Printing Impressions.  For those of you who think customer service is not important...consider that Renatta answers her e-mail late into the evening to make sure her customers are taken care of and often just sends out an e-mail to say.."Hi".  Nice touch and Congrats to some great folks!

Hal_jasa When it comes down to interesting marketing ideas we have to give a tip of the hat to Hal Jasa of Des Moines.  Hal is a chef without a restaurant.  He recently opened up Underground Inc. a business that provides fantastic meals at the site determined by... Hal!  Folks sign up on line for a meal that costs $125 per person.  Then, the day before the dinner party the guests learn, by e-mail, where the party will be.  Could be a rooftop, a warehouse or a building in the midst of renovation.  Cool idea.  For the complete story visit this link from the Des Moines Register.

Toro Toro Industries this week announced that by 2008 they will begin to sell their line of commercial lawn and garden equipment that uses BioDiesel as a fuel source.  (For the story click this link.) That's no small deal when you consider how many products Toro sells in this arena.  Another interesting shift in the marketing of bio fuel.  Will this rush to bio fuels last and what are the opportunities for those of us who watch the trends? 

Thanks for having a cup with me this, let's strap in for the coming week!

For The Love Of.....

Candy_box_2 It's Valentines Day so if you will permit me a little latitude in the post I'm gong to visit about a number of things near and dear to my heart.  I promise you...we'll not leave without a marketing nugget!

As if Valentines Day isn't already enough of a mystery for most men: Today in the Des Moines Register I read a letter to the editor that says we should not be celebrating this holiday at all because its roots are in pagan religion. Stonehenge1 And, this holiday once was celebrated with orgy's that included sacrificing goats!  The writer quoted the Bible saying, "...thou shall not know the way of the heathen."  I can't wait to spring this one on my wife!

Valentines_day_1 Speaking of brides...  My wife has asked a couple of times when she would make "The Blog".  Tah - Dah!   We were at a conference where I was speaking on web design and blogging when the camera caught us.  Being married is pretty neat especially if you get lucky and "marry up".  By the way do you know that today over one billion Valentines Day cards will be given out?  Talk about pagans!

Kosherexpresslogo_1 This is a logo we created for a friends new business here in Des Moines.  Mayeer Schwarzbaum, who is 19, opened Kosher Express a restaurant and dairy deli at 2687 86th Street. (You can read about it in this DSM Register article.)  I have been trying to get him to hook up his Wi-Fi, get a website, start blogging and market in a number of different ways.  He ain't listening.  So, maybe he will listen to you:  515-331-0544  I'm serious, give him a call and if you are in the area, you might order too.

Colorful_candy_hearts_1 Candy Kisses to our readers:  I am constantly amazed by the reach of this project.  This week we received a number of responses to our post about "Trust" and a new TV ad from Pedigree Dog Food.  People whom I've never met send us e-mails asking for more information and often during conversation I'll start a story from The Blog and the other person says, "Oh, I know it on your blog."  I'm telling you...if you are reading this and in any kind of business and not blogging...we need to talk.

Closed0014_2 Finally, our offices will be closed at 2pm Central Time today February 14 in honor of Valentines Day.  For the love of...I'm cooking tonight (hey, it's a start!) and I need to make sure I have the right stuff.  In addition, do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a goat?

Thanks for stopping by...enjoy the day!

Who Do You Trust?

Kids_trust "Who do you trust?"  This is a major business question that should get you to think.  If we want to do business with people we trust...then the same can be said about our customers or clients. 

On a personal level we expect to trust our husbands, wives, children, parents.  Sometimes we take that for granted...we should tell them more often.

But, in business, trust can be sticky and I'd suspect that if given a moment many of us would find it difficult to list even five people whom, in business, we trust completely.  Perhaps it's the competitive nature of business to feel if somebody "wins" than somebody must lose?  So, fear of losing keeps us at a distance?

Unfortunately I think it's far easier for many of us to rapidly click off a list of people we don't trust.  And that is really sad...but maybe it is a learned response to failed leadership or experience.

In the advertising and marketing world trust is everything.  Our clients trust that we'll represent them with integrity.  The people we are marketing the product or service to trust that we are telling them the truth.  This "trust business" is a critical two way street.  But, either you have it, or you don't.  If you don't you can gain it...but it is so much easier to earn it up front.

Say, would you help me out on this part?  Just for the sake of interest...would you make a list of three companies or brands you trust and send me an e-mail?  It would be interesting to see if there are similar reactions to same brands or companies.

A final note on a TV ad I caught yesterday:  It is the Pedigree Dog Food commercial featuring a David Duchovny voice over. If you've not seen it you can do so by going here.  (Warning: Have a tissue nearby.)  The ad goes like this:

[shots of adorable dogs gazing lovingly at the camera] "I know how to sit, how to fetch, and how to roll over. What I don't know is how I ended up in here." [Camera pulls back to reveal that adorable dogs are actually in cages looking sad. The horror!] "But I do know that I am a good dog...and I just want to go home. When you buy Pedigree, we make a donation to help shelter dogs find loving homes."

WOW...You want to talk trust?  This one gets a 10 out of 10.  I've been trying to find who did the creative for this but to no avail.    By the way, if you want to join up and make a donation you can do so here.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday Morning Thoughts

Img_0199_t_1 Random Thoughts on Sunday Morning

by Michael P. Libbie, Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications

Sunday Morning just seems like a good time to write about the stuff that goes by during the week and/or a look at what we might expect this week.  Grab the coffee and let's visit about short, sweet Sunday thoughts...

Homwmyst1b First up is a "shout out" to a friend who had a dream and made it happen.  I LOVE these kinds of folks...  Vicki Lipira of St. Joseph, MO loves mysteries both reading and writing.  She wanted to have her own business and publish stories for writers in a subscription based magazine.  Tah Dah...Great Mystery and Suspense Magazine!  All the best Vicki!

Islam_woman_1 From the, "What the HECK File":  This past week the princess of Saudi Arabia, Princess Lolwah Al-Faisal was asked if she were "...Queen for a day" what she would do to promote greater interfaith understanding.  She said, "First thing, I'd let women drive."  Is it any wonder we don't "get it" when it comes to Islam.

Ride_with_hitler_1 Missing from the president's State of the Union speech this past week was any mention of having American's sacrifice anything with regard to the War on Terror.  FDR is spinning.

Wells20fargo20equip2 Hey...the 52nd Annual Iowa Power Farming Show hits Des Moines this week.  Three big days to check out the equipment, visit with producers and see what is new.  Two of our clients will be there...Calcium Products an input company from NW Iowa and FOTON/Mayer Farm Implement showing off compact tractors made in China.  Should be fun...see you there!

Cohdra_100_0571 Bottled Water Guilt!  Yep, our friends at the Presbyterian Church and the United Church of Christ have launched into a boycott of bottled water saying that water is God's gift and bottling it for economic reasons is wrong.  OK......  Here's a better angle...let's figure out how to clean up the water we are currently given.  Make sense?

Flags51 Iowa's flags have been ordered by Governor Culver to fly at half-staff this Tuesday in observance of the recent death of Command Sgt. Major Marilyn Gabbard.  His first executive order will also apply to any future deaths of Iowa troops who fall in combat.  One reader noted that the flags are already at half-mast but that order by President Bush to honor former President Ford is over on Monday.

Not a great way to end the BLOG...but know our prayers are with these matter where.