Does Travel Technology Make Travel Better?

Posted on October 25th, 2016

Travel Technology.

Greetings from Faro in the heart of the Portuguese Algarve.

We just spent a week in Lisbon and Porto. Now we’re touring the southwest corner of the country before we drive across the border Portugal shares with Spain. We’ll be heading on to Seville and Malaga next.

I’m sitting on the balcony outside the rooftop restaurant at the Faro Hotel and thumb typing this post on my iPhone. I have lots of travel technology so I do have my laptop in the trunk of our rental car but I had a thought I wanted to share and I didn’t want to lose the moment.

Travel Technology - Lisbon

Two days ago we were wandering around Lisbon and looking for a place for lunch. None of the places my friends had recommended were nearby so I turned to my travel technology. I opened Trip Advisor on my iPhone and paged through the reviews until I found the Taberna Da Rua Das Flores. I hit the directions button and we followed the dotted line right to the restaurant (which was terrific, by the way).

I pulled the phone out of my pocket again to text my friends who were back at the hotel and even used the amazing Google Translate app to translate the parts of the menu I couldn’t figure out.

Travel Technology - FaroI had flight information for the Ryan Air shuttle to Faro in my phone and when we arrived here and picked up the rental car I used Waze to figure out the quickest route to the old town. Because I was rushed before we left home I hadn’t done any research. But I do have my travel technology with me. So a quick web surf led us to the Rococo Igreja do Carmo and the Capela dos Ossos. Its chapel was constructed with 1,245 human skulls and other bones donated by the monks who had been buried in the nearby cemetery. Their motto? “What you are, we were. What we are, you’ll be.”


“What you are, we were. What we are, you’ll be.”


Next a web-based travel blog led me to the Ria Fomosa rooftop restaurant where I’m punching out this post. I’ll have to let you know how the codfish risotto and fig, almond, and ice cream cake are.

I even used the What’s App to track down a friend of a friend in Guimarães and plan drinks and dinner when we got there.

But here’s my question… does our travel technology make our trips better than the less-informed way we used to get about? As we’ve gained all this access and convenience, have we lost something more valuable?

I remember driving through the Chianti region of Tuscany looking for addresses that we could never find (pre travel technology, of course). We were always lost. But we were lost in Tuscany.

I recall staring dumfounded at a street of restaurants in a strange city and trying to figure out where to eat. Of course I’d try to make eye-contact with friendly-faced diners hoping they’d give me the secret thumbs up sign but mostly I’d just wind up looking like a stalker. Sometimes we’d find a good meal – sometimes we wouldn’t.

I remember trying to order off menus written in languages I didn’t speak and then wondering why the waiter couldn’t understand my request for “delicately poached tractor pieces with metal shavings and petroleum sauce.”

I don’t mean to sound like a Luddite and I certainly don’t want to over-romanticize the dark days of wandering around without a clue and without a way of finding one. And I know that my question is the perfect definition of a first world problem. But I’m interested in hearing what you think and what you’ve gained and lost thanks to today’s travel technology and yesterday’s lack of the same. Besides my own curiosity, I think your answers will be important for us to better understand the travel brands we build for companies and destinations around the world and how we can make them resonate even more with their customers.

Please scroll to the bottom of the page to post your thoughts on travel technology. And if you’ve got a good place to recommend for lunch in Malaga I’d like to hear that too.

Branding the President of The United States

Posted on October 18th, 2016

Branding the President of The United States

The President of the United StatesCan you take off your partisan hat long enough to discover something so vital it will substantially improve your performance and your business? If you’re nodding yes please read on.

Every four years Americans (and those who pay attention to American politics) are treated to one of the best living laboratories of marketing and branding available anywhere – the race for president of The United States.

In the POTUS contest we find a zero sum game that is won or lost based on the allocation of three non-renewable resources – dollars, attention, and votes. If I had more time I could effectively argue why the function of the candidates themselves (i.e., where they stand on the issues) is not the main reason why most get elected. Instead, it’s the power of their brand value and their ability to distribute that brand message through technology.

For example, between 1933 and 1944 Franklin Delano Roosevelt enthralled American citizens with his “Fireside Chats.” Of course, what we know today is that by harnessing the newest outreach technology of his time – radio – FDR cemented his position as a media master.

In 1960 candidate John F. Kennedy also mastered a nascent technology when he beat Richard Nixon for the presidency. Historians attribute JFK’s win to his superior performance in the first televised presidential debate. Ironically, those who listened to the event on radio said Nixon won the contest but television viewers gave the victory – and the presidency – to the more youthful appearing JFK.

In 2008 and again in 2012, an almost unknown candidate with an unlikely name, Barack Hussein Obama, rode his media mastery all the way to the Oval Office. In this case it was Obama’s understanding of the Internet and how to use the emerging technology to attract both dollars and devotees that assured his successes first over John McCain and then Mitt Romney.

And in 2016 Donald Trump used new tech – in Trump’s case reality television and social media – to win his party’s nomination (the presidency has not yet been officially decided).

In three of these instances it was the early adoption of the most popular and available communication technologies of the time that helped their masters become the President of The United States. In the fourth, utilizing state-of-the-art technology gave Trump his party’s nomination. But a deeper look reveals that it was a profound understanding of their audiences that gave each of them their advantage.

In each case the candidates displayed a clear All About Them strategy that made their supporters feel good about themselves. In FDR’s case it was his famous quote, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” These simple words empowered Americans battered by the Great Depression and frightened by the rise of both Nazi power in Europe and Japanese aggression in Asia to move forward into the global reality with confidence.

Likewise JFK’s vision of Camelot, expressed in both his words and his movie star visage, also empowered Americans to embrace hope and opportunity.

Obama did the same with his now famous three-word mantra, “Yes we can!” Obama’s line was positive (“Yes”), inclusive (“We”), and aspirational (“Can”). As a matter of fact, I believe “Yes we can” will go down in history as the second or third best advertising line ever written (Want to know the first two? Drop me a line and I’ll tell you).

And even Donald Trump – who has taken a decidely more negative approach to his communications than the previous three – makes his followers feel better about themselves. After all, if a successful billionaire such as Trump can speak as despairingly as he has about women, Mexicans, Moslems, disabled reporters, Jews, and other minorities, then perhaps less successful people who have said (or thought) the same things can feel better about themselves for what was heretofore socially unacceptable behavior.

The idea of creating an All About Them brand can be summed up this way: A good brand makes people feel good. A great brand makes people feel good about themselves. Powerful brands from Apple to Zynga have used this simple yet profound formula to create the transformational brand value that generates enormous shareholder value. Powerful politicians use the same effective know-how to win their seats. Especially when they run for the president of the United States. And you can do it to build your personal and professional success too.

Trump and Samsung.

Posted on October 11th, 2016

Trump and Samsung.

By now you’ve probably heard the joke about Trump and Samsung:

What do the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and Donald Trump have in common?

One overheats for no reason, spontaneously bursts into flames, and is creating a disastrous situation for its stakeholders and supporters.

The other is a smartphone.

I know, I know. You’d laugh if it didn’t make you want to cry.

But despite the obvious similarities for Trump and Samsung and their brands, the way they’re handling their problems are light years apart. And the difference is something you can learn from, whether you’re a Samsung user – or a Trump supporter – or not.

Trump and Samsung

Both Trump and Samsung have brands with loyal supporters who have invested time, money, and serious commitments in their chosen favorites. And clearly both Trump and Samsung are having significant problems with their brand images. But they’re going about very different ways of dealing with their problems.

While the electronics giant is trying to figure out if it’s only a battery defect that’s affecting their Note 7 smartphones, Samsung has announced they’ve decided to stop producing the entire line. Their official announcement is that it’s for the sake of consumer safety and for Samsung to regain the trust of their consumers. According to CBC News, Samsung will also “provide a full refund at the original price or replace Note 7 units with any other model of Samsung phone, and give refunds of the difference in prices, along with a 300 yuan ($45) voucher.” But I’m sure as days pass Samsung will significantly sweeten the pot and make sure that their consumers know how contrite and concerned the company feels.

Trump has taken a very different tact. Instead of apologizing for any of his misdeeds, the Republican presidential candidate has doubled down on his aggressive strategy. He’s written his vulgar words off as “locker room talk” and tried to pivot by accusing former president Bill Clinton of doing much worse. And Trump continues to toss red meat to his supporters with his hastily arranged press conferences, promises of investigating Hillary Clinton, and accusations that the press is even more crooked than his opponent.

What will be the results of the different strategies employed by Trump and Samsung? Samsung might be able to salvage both their smartphone business and their stock price. Trump will be relegated to the dustbin of history.

Here’s why:

First, unlike Trump the politician, Samsung is not a one-trick pony. Even though it’s estimated that their exploding smartphones will cost the company four to five billion dollars, Samsung earns income and continues to please customers with their semi-conductors, display panels, and even their other smartphone, the flagship S-series.

Trump, on the other hand, has no other political options. Election day will be a make-it or break-it for him and his campaign.

Second, because Samsung is attacking the problem head on they still have the chance to prove that the faith their loyal fans have trusted in them was not misplaced. Because Trump is not admitting any wrongdoing (other than saying he was embarrassed and sorry “…if anyone was offended”) he will have to face the wrath of the electorate once he fails to lead them to the promised land.

Finally, Samsung has lots of upcoming chances to introduce new innovations and sexy new reasons for people to reconsider their products. But Trump is playing a zero-sum game. Ever since the 12th amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1804, the second place finisher in the race for the US presidency does not get to be vice-president. Instead, one candidate goes on to occupy the White House while the other goes home to lick their wounds.

It’s true that Trump’s approach has energized his base. Unfortunately for Trump and his followers, his brand strategy doesn’t make mathematical sense. Because while hundreds or even thousands of people may clap and cheer at Trump’s rallies, millions of Americans vote (126 million in 2012). And while the majority of those voters won’t be voting for Trump, they might be following the election results on their new Samsung smartphone.


Prioritizing Time.

Posted on October 4th, 2016

Prioritizing Time.

One of the most difficult challenges I deal with is prioritizing time. I’ll bet you have this same problem.

Of course there are days when prioritizing time is easy because my clients have problems that take all my attention. There are days when prioritizing time is easy because I have critical deadlines. And there are days when prioritizing time is not a concern because there’s much on my plate all I can do to get from one thing to the next.

But it occurred to me that maybe I should be in better control of prioritizing time instead of letting external forces decide what I do. Perhaps then I’d be more productive, be more successful, and even enjoy my work a little more.

Prioritizing Time Tool 1That’s when my buddy Josh Mayer showed me this little tool for prioritizing time. It has been a life changer. And a life saver.

Like so many powerful solutions, this little chart is simple but not simplistic, easy but not effortless. What it will show you is a powerful way for prioritizing time and planning your effort.

Start with the lower right hand quadrant. The letter “B” stands for “Bad.” Use this area to fill in all the things you are bad at. Remember you don’t have to show this to anyone so be as self-reflective and honest as you can.

Prioritizing Time Tool 2Next move one quadrant to the left. The letter “A” here stands for “Adequate.” It’s your invitation to list the different things that you’re so-so at doing. Not good, not bad, just adequate.

When you’re done with the “Adequate” square, ladder up to “G.” As you’ve probably figured out, “G” stands for “Good.” By this point I’ll bet you already know what to do here. List the things you do well and you’re good at accomplishing.

Finally, shift one quadrant to the right where you’ll find “UQ.” “UQ” stands for “Uniquely Prioritizing Time Tool 3Qualified.” Here is where you list the things that you do that set you apart, the things you do that bring real, profound value. These are the things you do that matter.

When it comes to prioritizing time, filling out the chart is the easy part. It’s what you do next that matters most.

Once you’ve established your B, A, G, and UQs, you need to plan your life to spend as much time as possible in the UQ quadrant. Of course getting rid of the Bs is easy – those are things you’re not good at and you don’t enjoy doing anyway. Delegate them away – you can simply hire someone to do those tasks for you. And before you tell me that hiring a personal assistant is a luxury you can’t afford remember: If you don’t hire an assistant you are an assistant.

Prioritizing Time Tool 4Getting rid of the As is not hard either. Sure you can do them adequately, but why bother?

What you’ll discover is that it’s the Gs that make prioritizing time so difficult. That’s because it’s hard to delegate the things you’re good at. After all, we like doing the things we do well. They’re fun, we get a nice jolt of dopamine from them, and people often compliment us a job well done. But if we’re merely good at them it means someone else can do them as well or maybe even better. And if we allow someone else to do those things then we can concentrate on what really matters.

Prioritizing Time Tool 5By spending as much time as possible in the UQ arena we can focus our energy on what really matters. And we can accomplish things – for ourselves, our businesses, our clients, our friends and our families – that add real value. Not to mention we can enjoy the satisfaction of maximizing our potential.

As I said earlier, even though the chart is easy, prioritizing time with this exercise is not. But if you make a serious effort to minimize the time you spend on B, A, and G, and maximize your time working on the UQs, you will see a real difference in your output, your accomplishments, and your satisfaction.

The Power of Three Words

Posted on September 27th, 2016

L.M. Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables wrote that the most powerful sentences in English are three words or fewer:

“He is gone.”

“She is dead.”

“Too late.”

The advertising industry seems to back up a count of three words as well:

“Just Do It.”

“Think Different.”

“Got Milk?”

And successful political campaigns, too, seem to follow Montgomery’s direction to stay at three words or fewer:

“I like Ike.”

“Yes we can.”

Of course, just having a tagline of three words or less doesn’t guarantee success. “Drill baby drill” didn’t work for John McCain any better than “Jobs. Peace. Opportunity” worked for Walter Mondale or “We Luv McGov” worked for George McGovern.

But clearly, being able to express your emotional advantage in as few words as possible is a very clear and compelling way to communicate your brand.

“Life is Good.”

“Finger Lickin’ Good.”

“I Love NY.”

Taking a page from my own blog and practicing what I preach, my four most recent books both have three words or less in their titles.

Brain Darts

New Design: Miami

Building Brand Value

All About Them

What is the takeaway here that you can benefit from? It is a clear understanding that keeping your communications clear and concise is a powerful way of making your point. And while your temptation might be to be as thorough and explanatory as possible, experience, and L.M. Montgomery suggests otherwise.

Three words to build your brandTo learn more about how to do this and so many more techniques, read All About Them, my new book on how to grow your business by focusing on others.

You can find All About Them at your favorite bookstore or on your choice of AmazonBarnes & NobleApple, and 800-CEO Read. And because All About Them is all about you, you can order the hardcover book, the e-book for your Kindle, or an audio book on Audible or CD.

More importantly, you can find how to change the positioning of your product or service to make it All About Them and communicate your point in only three words. And that will be very, very good.

All Politics is Local politics

Posted on September 20th, 2016

Local Politics

Because “all politics are local,” today I want to talk about local politics.

It’s easy to understand that between state congressional races, city and county commission seats, judge appointments, and more, local races can be very confusing and hard to follow. Often the most important thing a local political wannabe can hope for is to be noticed and remembered.

That must have been the entire strategy of “Doc” Lolomo who’s running for state representative in District 115. As you’ll see from his election poster below, Lolomo wants you to elect him because he’s “The Wise Choice.” And he’s confirmed that point by surrounding his name and tagline with stars. He also wants you to know what district he’s running in, what seat he’s running for, and what number he wants you to select in the voting booth.

Local Politics - All About Them

My guess is that other than a unique name – Lolomo – there’s actually nothing you’ll remember about this poster. Nor is there anything you would care about that might coerce your vote.

Ross Hancock, on the other hand, has created a simple poster that tells you everything you need to know to select him. Because his name is the same as the famous signer of the constitution and the insurance company, Hancock has used a recognizable signature to help us remember his name. And by showing someone (I assume it’s Ross himself but who knows?) paddling through the Everglades, he’s told us something about himself that might resonate with us. Finally, his tagline “Our water. Our kids. Our homes.” tells us both what his issues are and why they matter to us.

Local Politics - All About Them 2

While Doc Lolomo has a poster that does nothing except maybe sear his name onto our eyeballs, Ross Hancock has used two of the most important All About Them techniques in his pursuit of local politics.

As I wrote in my new book – All About Them – you want to build an idealized brand that speaks to your audience’s needs and, more importantly, their wants. You want to build an idealized brand that resonates with consumers and lets them know that their lives will be better because of you. And you want to build an idealized brand that is truly you, only more so.

  1. All About Them. Hancock has made his message all about us. Simply by adding the words “our,” and by talking about “Our water. Our kids. Our homes,” Hancock has let us know that he cares about the things we care about and that our lives will be better because of his efforts. Much like President Obama’s “Yes we can,” Hancock has a tagline that’s positive, inclusive, and aspirational.
  2. Be Yourself, Be Yourself, Be Yourself. Whether you’re a teen idol creating imaginary aspirational romances with hopeful high schoolers, a physician building a bond of trust and commitment with your patients, or a wannabe in local politics, an idealized version of yourself can fulfill the wants and desires of your audience. This hyperrealized self draws us toward the politicians we support just as its absence pushes us away (hear that, Dr. Lolomo?).

In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama’s “Yes we can” convinced over two-thirds of first-time voters to cast their ballots for the almost unknown freshman Illinois senator. And remember, Obama was running against the very well-known John McCain, a decorated war hero who had served two terms in the US Congress and then 22 years in the Senate. You can’t get much more known than that.

While it woAll About Themuld be nice to believe that these young American voters chose Obama strictly on the issues and were unswayed by more emotional concerns, cynical realism forces us to accept that their decision reflected how Obama’s message resonated with them. “Yes we can” represented the best of what the candidate was offering. But more than that, it represented the best of what voters saw in themselves.

“Yes we can” was truly All About Them. And closer to home in local politics, Ross Hancock’s communications are as well.

For many more simple and clear examples and techniques that you can put to good use right away for winning at local politics, improving your business or to simply to help get what you want in life, please pick up a copy of All About Them soon.

Iannarino: All About Anthony

Posted on September 13th, 2016

First an admission with some very strange timing: Anthony Iannarino wrote a new book that you simply have to read.

Why is the timing strange for this recommendation?

Because as you’ve no doubt seen, I’ve spent the last few weeks incessantly promoting my new book, All About Them. I’ve been on Facebook and Twitter, interviewed on CNN and Fox Business, done signings and podcasts, and everything else I can do to get people to order my book.

Why am I doing this?

Both because I truly believe it’ll make a difference in the way you market your own business. And because I want to be a best seller.

Iannarino new bookIn the course of getting the word out, my friend (and author of the foreword in All About Them) Bob Burg introduced me to Anthony Iannarino. Anthony was gracious enough to interview me on his podcast. And to prepare for the interview I did a little research and reading about Mr. Iannarino.

I’ve only got two things to say about Anthony: 1) Wow. And 2) you have to read his new book.

Here’s a sample from Anthony’s new book, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need:

“How is it that a small number of salespeople are hugely successful, while the rest struggle to win deals? It’s not because they sell more popular products or have less demanding clients. It’s because these top producers have the right mindset and skills to continuously deliver for their companies and their clients.”

Anthony breaks down the essentials of sales performance into 19 strategies, including:

Self-discipline: the most crucial element of sales success, and the most difficult. Train your discipline by creating a discipline list of good daily practices that break down your ultimate goals into actionable steps, such as calling three prospective clients a day. Make your commitments public to hold yourself accountable.

Business acumen: It’s no longer enough to know your product well; salespeople need to understand the general business landscape and common business terminology. Most importantly, your clients are businesspeople. Sell to them by proving that you can think like a businessperson as well.

Closing: closing a sale isn’t just about the final commitment to buy. There are a series of smaller commitments required along the way. Make your prospective client commit to you by adding value through a deep understanding of their needs and a clear vision of their future.

Iannarino’s book is as useful for sales rookies who want to get their dream clients as it is for veterans who want to return to the basics to reach new heights. This is the definitive book on sales–the only sales guide you’ll ever need.

HERE is the link where you can pre-order it.

Now I know this causes you a bit of a conflict – after all, you not only have to read my new book – All About Them – but you also need to read new release by Anthony Iannarino, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need.

But if you think that’s a conflict for you, think about what a conflict it is for me – I have to stop promoting my book in order to promote Anthony’s.

What can I say? Anthony Iannarino’s book is that good.

5 P’s #3 Positioning – The Search for Meaning.

Posted on September 9th, 2016

Today it’s time to talk about the third P of creating an All About Them brand, positioning. After all, once you’ve dealt with Price and Product, it’s important to understand what your product stands for.

All About Them - PositioningHere’s what your product doesn’t stand for: the function of what you do. As we discussed yesterday, function is cost of entry. After all, when everything works and everything is available everywhere, we have to ladder up to create a brand that makes people want to buy from you.

Simply put, your new positioning needs to be about meaning. Not only the meaning of your company, your firm or your professional service but the meaning that your product or service bestows upon your customer.

In the good old days – usually referred to as the time before the Internet disintermediated everything – we used to say, “you are what you eat.” In other words, your physical constitution is made up of the things you put into your body. But today we say, “you are what you consume.” This means that we tell the world who we are by the things we consume.

Not only has this new concept of positioning changed that old saying, it’s also changed the meaning of a saying I’m sure you’ve heard and probably repeated. Hockey great Wayne Gretzky famously said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Now being a Miami Beach native, I’m no expert on hockey but even I know that Gretzky was talking about the vision of moving towards your goals. But when that old adage is applied to our customers, the interpretation becomes that you should position your brand not based on who your customer is but on whom they want to be.

What is the takeaway here that you can benefit from? It is a profound understanding that the things you do are no different from what your competition offers. At their most functional level, your products and services are worth what the market says they’re worth. But at an emotional level what you do is worth as much as you say it’s worth, IF you are positioning your brand in a way that imbues your services with meaning.

To learn more about how to do this and so many more techniques, read All About Them, my new book on how to grow your business by focusing on others.

You can find All About Them at your favorite bookstore or on your choice of AmazonBarnes & NobleApple, and 800-CEO Read. And because All About Them is all about you, you can order the hardcover book, the e-book for your Kindle, or an audio book on Audible or CD.

More importantly, you can find how to change your the positioning of your product or service to make it All About Them which will make all the difference in the world.

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