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Are You Making Your Job Harder Than It Needs To Be?

Are You Making Your Job Harder Than It Needs To Be?

It has been humbling to teach Adobe InDesign the last few weeks to a room full of eager creatives at SMU CAPE. These students are bright, often teaching the rusty teacher, and they will do some pretty exciting stuff with the program in the future.

LastingImpressionsMastThe variety of functions with InDesign made it tricky to teach. There’s always more than one way to do something. That flexibility can make simple projects much more complex because we choose the looooong way to get the job done the first time. One evening before the lesson started, a young woman showed me a catalog she created way before she took our class. The finished piece turned out really well, but now that she knew some how-tos of the program, she knew she made her job much more complicated than necessary.

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Why Social Media Isn’t All That New

Why Social Media Isn’t All That New

During World War II, Coke and Pepsi were competing for the hearts, minds, and pocketbooks of every American. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it.) Coke had already managed to develop a strong following stateside with the promise that every American in uniform could buy a Coke for a nickle no matter how remote the outpost. In response, Pepsi rolled out what I like to call the first social network campaign – “a recorded message from your man in service”.

Pepsi set up several mobile recording stations at training centers around the world where soldiers were preparing for service. Soldiers stepped into a recording booth to read letters, sing songs or just say a few meaningful words to far away family, friends and fiancée. That session was made into 78Rpm thin acetate records and then mailed to the loved one to be played on the family record player. Over and over again, if they wished. You could say it was the very first example of voice mail. (Here’s a YouTube video of one of these records if you are interested.)

Pepsi understood that pairing their product with the emotional connection of a soldier to his loved ones would help sell soft drinks. Even now, it makes you want to go right out and buy a Pepsi for crying out loud!

Many clients are confused with how to use social networks. But the concept is much easier to grasp when you realize the whole purpose of social networks is to make a connection. Sales may be a byproduct of that connection, but it isn’t the first reason to tweet. Before you fire off 140 characters about why people should buy your stuff first, consider a few of these ideas.


Tweet about getting a new client, finishing a big project, meeting a deadline, achieving a milestone, or whatever else merits a bit of festivity. Social networks are a great way for others to learn about your achievements and revel in the feel-good atmosphere.

Emotional Moments

It’s no surprise that the most frequently tweeted item is a picture. A couple of “aww” and a “how cute” doesn’t hurt either. Humor can trigger your connections to share your tweet, too.


Several recent events started their historic news coverage on Twitter. From uprisings in Ukraine, to sporting events, to earthquakes in California, many news outlets captured the updates first through Twitter.

Above all, remember to keep your connections authentic to who you are. If you try to be more, or less, than you are in real life, the consequences of that discovery can be harsh.

How To Ask For What You Really Want

How to Ask For What You Really Want

Lasting Impressions NewsletterBefore boarding their flight, 250 WestJest Christmas Miracle passengers were encourage to tell Santa their Christmas wishes. While the plane was in the air, WestJet employees purchased and wrapped the gifts, fulfilling some pretty big ticket items. Once the flight landed, the surprised travelers watched as their packages were delivered on the baggage carousel. They never expected that their wishes would be granted. Some requests were extravagant (a diamond ring) and others were simply dull (underwear and socks). But every one was delighted, touched, and left with a huge smile on their face.

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Who Are You Online, Really?

Who Are You Online, Really?

In a few short days, the first seasonal airing of It’s A Wonderful Life will take place, marking the start of the Christmas holiday. It’s a family favorite. Poor George Bailey longs for a world without him in it because he can’t see his life the way others see it. Thankfully, he has a guardian angel to show him exactly who he really is, and comes to his senses just in time to hear the bells ring.

Lasting Impressions NewsletterThe movie is a favorite because we may secretly long to know what others think of us when we were not in the room. Our persona can be hard to measure in real life. Fortunately, it’s much easier to discover “who you are” online. That question just isn’t asked very often. We rarely contemplate the end goal before storming out the gate with an army of people to put digital fingerprints on any and all of the available platforms.

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The Scary Side Of Twitter

The Scary Side of Twitter

While Twitter prepared for an IPO, the buzz got loud enough that perfectly rational people may think they need to add Twitter to their campaigns — just because everybody is doing it. But before you jump into this platform . . . there’s something you should know.

Come close so we can whisper it in your ear: Twitter can be a very scary place. (Cue spooky organ music and a howling wolf.)

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How To Fail And Still Win

How to Fail and Still Win

It started innocently enough. My favorite gourmet kitchen supply store sent me an email with a very effective subject line —“Happy First Anniversary!” Aww, how swee — wait a minute. They missed my first anniversary by a dozen years or so. Oops!

Lasting Impressions NewsletterAbout four hours later, I got another email from the same retailer. Gutsy, right? Nope, it was perfect. The subject line read, “What? You mean it isn’t your anniversary?”  With a quick turn of the phrase, they had righted all that had gone wrong earlier in the day. And it worked beautifully — I’m empathetic, entertained, engaged, and ready to spend some money in their store.

It turns out this this fancy-shmancy gourmet kitchen store is just like me. This momentary glitch in their marketing campaign showed their humanity and I identified with it. I’m willing to bet they have even burned a batch or two of cookies before, too.

We try to be the best we can every day. And sometimes we fall flat on our face right in front of everybody. But if we are authentic with our message, our gaffe may not be as tragic as first thought. If nothing, it shows we are human and allows us to connect with consumers because of it. That emotional connection is what we always strive towards with marketing strategies. So embrace it when it happens. Here are a few ideas to turn these sour moments into marketing magic lemonade.


In some situations, all you can do is laugh at your mistake. If no one got hurt (save the intern who pushed “Send” before it was time), find a creative way to share your gaffe so others can laugh with you. Acknowledge your error, frame how customers might feel about such a mistake, and enjoy the levity for a little bit. Life is so serious sometimes, it’s nice to let out a hardy knee-slapper.


Nearly all of our marketing errors have the potential to be really embarrassing. Misspelled words and phrases, or even unfortunate cultural timing can color all the hard work put into a campaign. Quick, appropriate action with humility is the remedy here. Formulate a strategy to address the error as soon as you are aware of it, and then step up to the microphone and acknowledge the transgression. Own it, and then make it right.


The cost of honoring a typo in the price may be rewarded with higher customers loyalty. For instance, United Airlines discovered a server error hours after customers had purchased loads of airplane tickets at no cost. They didn’t have to honor the final price for those tickets, but they did. And I’m going to guess that move brought in more loyal customers than just about any branding campaign could muster. Yes, it may cost more than you had planned, but there is value in doing what you said you will do. Even if it was a misprint.

Once you’re beyond the crisis mode and the cursing has ended, take a few minutes to figure out why the error came out in the first place. Take this opportunity to tighten your processes, and learn from the experience.

If you’ve found yourself red faced once too often with your marketing campaigns, give us a call or send us an email. We’re human too, but we’ll always do our best for you.