It’s All About the Bling (Even in Business)

It really is all about the bling, even in business. Presentation, image, packaging… call it what you want. Time and time again, I’m reminded of this fact.

It's all about the bling!

It’s all about the bling — even in business.

Whether a client compliments my laptop bag (love Wenger Swiss Army!) or a prospect is impressed by a smartly packaged presentation, it matters. Yes, substance is important, but you have to wow people with the presentation so they’ll listen to what you have to say.

I’m not talking about being shallow or falsely advertising what you’re all about. It’s about attracting people to give yourself a chance — a hot prospect, a potential business partner, a new boss. Of course you need to impress to continue to develop the relationship.

Disagree? Have you ever bought a more expensive product at the store due to its impressive packaging? Picked up a book based on its eye-catching cover? Noticed someone because of his tailored suit?

If you’re honest, you probably have. We all have. Whether you call it judging a book by its cover or going with your gut instinct, it’s not always a bad thing. According to best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell, it usually turns out all right.

Thoughts?

How have you been swayed by “bling” (i.e. presentation, image, packaging) in the past?

How has presentation, image or packaging helped you succeed in business or life?

Cheers,
Jaime

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Restless in Akron

I’ve been kicking this post around for awhile, but like everything else lately, I’ve had trouble deciding on a direction. This isn’t typically a problem for me. I make decisions and move forward — always reviewing and learning — but not regretting or living in the past. What’s the point, anyway?

I'm contemplating life

Contemplating life… what’s my next move?

But 2014 has been an interesting year thus far. It got off to a rough start, and has had numerous ups and downs. While I’m in a good place, lately I’ve been so restless — like I’m in the wrong place. Have you ever felt this way?

Instead of abating, it’s actually getting stronger. I feel like I’m waiting on something to happen — although what that is, I don’t know. To fall asleep and wake up in a different life? To be abducted by (kind) aliens? (Kidding, on the last one anyway.)

I love the community I live in but have long yearned for a more tropical climate year round. My house has felt like home since the first time I laid eyes on it. If I could take it with me, I would. I’m not consciously worrying about anything in particular or fearing anything. I just feel restless.

It’s almost like I’m working on a project, and I’ve reached a natural stopping point. I’ve finished this part of my life and am ready to move on to what’s next, only I don’t know what that is yet.

Any suggestions?

Do I need a major life change? Or is this simply some kind of itch that I can scratch by jumping out of an airplane again or jumping into a shark cage (high on the bucket list!)?

I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject, including any personal experience!

Restless in Akron,
Jaime

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Twitter DMs: Strategy or Spam?

Twitter DMs: you either love them or hate them.

Twitter DMs: Strategy or Spam?

While I’m not a personal fan, I do see how they can be used effectively. The problem is that I so rarely see them used effectively. Direct messaging on Twitter tends to be highly automated and utilized differently than messaging features on other platforms. Facebook messages are a great way to communicate with clients, further connect with other individuals — personally or professionally and for groups to have conversations or plan an event. Other platforms are noticing as Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest have all added direct messaging capabilities.

However, Twitter DMs are often ignored and make some people angry. While I don’t usually get that riled up, here are two recent examples of why Twitter DMs turn me off.

I connected with a local bar/grille and received an automated DM thanking me for connecting and hoping they would see me soon. Fair enough, I made a note that I should check the place out. From time to time, I receive automated DMs about a popular menu item (wings night!) or asking me when I plan to stop by. I responded at one point asking if the bar carried UFC fights. No response — ever. So you’re utilizing DMs to stay top of mind and try to start a conversation, but you don’t respond when someone joins the conversation. What kind of strategy is that?

Here’s another recent example that just confounded me, which often happens when people do things online that they would never do in person. I connected with an individual, who promptly direct messaged me to ask me to retweet a self-promotional tweet on his timeline — link included. That’s like meeting someone at a coffee shop or bar and then asking for a favor 5 minutes later. Would you do that? Probably not, so don’t do it online.

Remember: think before you tweet or DM. Unlike television or other push broadcasting mediums, your recipients can talk back — for the whole world to see.

Join the Conversation

Do you utilize Twitter DMs? How?

Do you utilize direct messaging on other social platforms?

Show me an example of a brand/company utilizing Twitter DMs effectively, even if it’s your own.

Tweet me — or drop your comments below. I’d love to discuss!

Cheers,
Jaime

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The Punch (and Tweet) Heard Round The World

With the release of a grainy security camera video yesterday, TMZ made a mockery of the Baltimore Ravens, the Atlantic County prosecutor and the NFL. As if the domestic violence incident wasn’t bad enough, the attempted cover-up, or whitewashing of the facts in the case, is a slap in the face to women everywhere.

The numbers are staggering1 in 3 U.S. women have experienced physical violence, rape and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. 81% of women who experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) reported at least one health-related or other impact. $8.3 billion. That’s the cost of IPV in medical, mental health services and lost productivity costs alone each year.*

Unfortunately, these numbers are also impressive and far more important in some circles. Ray Rice’s jersey ranked #28 in the entire NFL in the last fiscal year. The running back has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 4 out of the past 5 seasons, and he was enjoying a 5 year / $35 million contract, including $22 million in guaranteed money before being released yesterday. In other words, he’s a superstar.

Whether the NFL or any other party had seen the latest video is irrelevant. They knew the facts of what happened on that awful night, and according to TMZ, they never requested the security video from the hotel/casino. (Yes, I just referenced TMZ as a news resource. Unfortunately, they seem to be the most reputable source in this debacle.) What kind of investigation did the NFL — or the Atlantic County prosecution — conduct?

What really amazes me is the Baltimore Ravens’ response. The team held a press conference seemingly to minimize the seriousness of the situation and let the whole world know that Janay Rice was at least partially to blame. The following tweet has since been deleted from the Ravens’ official Twitter account.

Baltimore Ravens tweet

Screenshot courtesy of Mediaite.com

Remember, you can never truly delete a tweet or post. It lives forever somewhere online and could serve to pop up at the most inopportune time. Think before you tweet, especially from an official brand account.

Shortly following the release of the most recent video, the Baltimore Ravens released Ray Rice, and the NFL indefinitely suspended him, which are far more appropriate actions than the initial discipline — a 2 game suspension. Two games for punching a person in the face, knocking her head against an elevator so hard that she was rendered unconscious, dragging her out of the elevator and through the lobby like a bag of trash (while still unconscious) and spitting on her. Yet a player who tests positive for marijuana can be suspended for the whole year. What kind of image does that send?

The only good news that has come out of the backlash generated by this disturbing situation is the NFL’s much tougher stance on domestic violence. A first offense receives a 6-game suspension without pay, and a second offense is punished with a lifetime ban. The policy applies to all NFL personnel, including executives and coaches, but there is a caveat that allows multiple time offenders to apply for reinstatement after one year. Is it tough enough or overboard?

How far will the fallout of this incident and cover-up reach? The Baltimore Ravens’ front office? NFL commissioner Roger Goodell? The Atlantic County prosecutor’s office? Who knew what when? Why was Ray Rice given such a light punishment — by the league and legally — before this video leaked?

“[Roger Goodell’s] push to increase NFL punishment of domestic abusers to roughly one-third that of repeat pot smokers, his decision today to suspend Rice indefinitely after the Ravens had fired him are elements of classic tragedy wherein the right thing is finally done only after it is too late to matter. Roger Goodell’s existence, who he is, what he has turned the NFL Commissioner’s office into is now symbolized by Ray Rice’s brutal left hand striking Janay Palmer, and striking her again. Mr. Goodell is an enabler of men who beat women. His position within the National Football League is no longer tenable.”  –Keith Olbermann, ESPN talk show host

My only hope is that someone, or multiple women out there, who are suffering from domestic violence will see the ugliness of this incident and make the choice to get help for their own situation. It’s so easy to blame the victim in domestic violence situations, but women stay in abusive relationships for a number of reasons. If you want to hear from real women on why they stayed, just browse the #WhyIStayed hashtag on Twitter. Thank you to everyone who continues to share their stories and encourage others to get help.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from domestic violence abuse, please call 1.800.799.7233 or visit a local shelter. Don’t become another statistic. You’re worth so much more.

Sadly, I agree.

A disappointed NFL fan,
Jaime

*Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) statistics courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

If Only Life Were A Never-Ending Summer…

A love triangle. A historic hurricane. A marriage for money, and the ultimate betrayal. Who knew life was so glamorous in 1938?

 A Hundred Summers

 

Socialite Lily Dane is looking forward to spending another summer with her family at idyllic Seaview, Rhode Island in 1938. The small seaside community may be a little too quiet for some, but Lily enjoys the escape from the hustle and bustle of the New York social scene. Then her former best friend (Budgie) shows up with her former fiancé (Nick) in tow, and the summer promises to be anything but quiet.

As tensions mount, the truth begins to slowly emerge about why Budgie and Nick married, and how Graham Pendleton, Nick’s former teammate and current Yankees pitcher, fits into the mix. As if the scandal and intrigue aren’t enough, the New England Hurricane of 1938 storms into everyone’s lives and forever alters the future.

“Summer of 1938: A scandalous love triangle and a famous hurricane converge in a New England beach community. Add in a betrayal between friends, a marriage for money, and a Yankee pitcher, and it’s a perfect storm.” —Good Housekeeping

I finished this novel as summer came to an unofficial end over Labor Day weekend, a time that usually makes me a little sad. Summer is my favorite time of the year, and I always dread as we move into fall, only because I know what lies behind for us Northeast Ohioans — the fury of winter.

It’s always fun to explore different time periods and social classes, and I began to think about the concept of ‘summering.’

Does your family ‘summer?’

Or do you have a tradition of taking vacations together?

What is your favorite summer or vacation memory?

What’s your favorite season?

 

p.s. Summer doesn’t officially end until September 22nd, so you still have time for a good beach read!

If only life was a never-ending summer…

Wishing I was a socialite,
Jaime

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