FRIEND OR FOE TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

Does our obsession with Social Media messaging mean the end of good writing? Such a great question from Emphasis that I used it to kick start this article. 

Communication is key in life. Not only within our personal relationships, but definitely within a business environment. It is safe to say that the way we communicate with each other has changed drastically over the years. Long, very long gone are the sending a pigeon and following short on its footsteps we can even count writing a letter as something that is beginning to disappear. 

Nowadays, we live in an (mostly) electronic world. Apart from our personal lives being organised via an electronic device, a very big part of our work are conducted electronically via a keyboard. It is this last mentioned task that, in my opinion, is becoming a talking point to take notice of.

TALK THE TALK

So many of people around the world go about their every day duties with an electronic device in their hands - or pockets/bags at least. It is therefore much easier to get or keep in touch with others than ages ago. More so, it can be done almost instantly, as you all know by now.  “What is the issue?” you may ask. Well, it is not that we can respond easily, it is how we respond that is my focus point.

Being regularly on social media platforms it has become obvious to me that many individuals tap or type away without taking much care of how they write. What matters to them is the fact that they do communicate and not how they do it. Time and time again one will stumble across social media posts that harbours incorrect spelling or incorrect grammatical usage. 

SPEAK THE LANGUAGE

Digging deep into some research, it has become clear that there are many educating institutions that have already talked of late about the writing element while we are speaking to each other. Teachers and Educators seem to address this issue which means they are questioning the way we are moving forward on an educational level. Amen to that!

At this point, let’s look at some of the outcomes from a study of 800+ teachers released by Dictionary.com:

  • 32% notices students struggle with grammar

  • 64% focusses more on skills like meaning and comprehension 

  • 73% find that social media and texting negatively affects students' grammar and spelling skills

  • 75% are troubled by students using popular slang or text speak in their schoolwork

  • 88% are concerned of students’ improper use of basic words and phrases 

As a strong believer in dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s, it has been more than frustrating on many occasions to see online posts not adhering to the correct usage of words - whether that is in sentences or on-word responses. Along with this kind of behaviour, one also has to put up with grammatical errors. There is an age-old saying: read between the lines, however, struggling to figure out what someone is telling you via the lines is (personally) a waste of time - in particular within the world of social media. After all, social media communication is suppose to be in the KISS form (Keep It Short & Simple), right? 

TOO MUCH TO ASK

Not only is it easy to draw a different conclusion to what the writer intended, it also can easily give the reader the wrong impression of the personality on the other end of the phone. This observation can quickly be pushed aside by saying that we are friends so he/she knows what I mean. Rightly so, but what about those who do read your work and is not at all a friend in real life? 

Furthermore, when it comes to those who are shouting from the rooftops about their milestones, their achievements and mostly (even if it’s indirectly) about what great influencers they are, is it really such an enormous task to make sure your content is grammatically correct when published?

Take for instance an Educator (i.e. a person who provides instruction or education; a teacher - via dictionary.com)... surely this person has a responsibility (at least) towards his/her students. Around 50% of teachers admit they reach out to social media to have a better understanding of their students’ culture.  Has it ever occurred to you as a tutor, that the reverse can happen? If your students take on board your irked grammar behaviour, are you really succeeding as an upstanding pilar of society?

At the end of the day, my question is: as a Leader, how much do you respect the language you are using to communicate with others?

THE FUTURE IS OUT THERE

We all know that once it is published, it’s basically out there forever. We can delete here, there and anywhere we can find, but somehow somewhere someone will find our original post. 

We all have a native tongue. Personally, this language I communicate in 100% of my everyday is not the one I was born with. And there are millions of us around the world in a similar situation. However, living in a society that is becoming more and more global it has become the norm to talk to each other in a universal language. Nothing wrong with that at all, but do we honestly have to walk around showing little respect for the language that is bringing us all together? 

What if the English language is the glue that keeps the world go round? The manner in which the English language is being used over the last few decades, is a true indication of how long it is been here and most probably how long it is going to be around for. 

Far is it for me to be such a stern critic, but if us humans, and in particular those who count themselves as upstanding citizens, cannot adhere to a simple task of delivering their words in mint condition, then where is this all going to end.

CONCLUSION

None of us are perfect. That is a common fact. We are all human and we make mistakes. That said, I personally don’t believe we can use that as an excuse to set a bad example. My point is that it is so easy nowadays to distribute content electronically. All we need to do is take good care of how we put it out there for all to see and read.

The main issue with not taking care of how we communicate with words is about to whom we aim our knowledge / points of view / insights etc. towards. It is quite possible for a big majority of your readers to be of a younger age than yourself. This is great, because we would like to advise and help others by sharing our wisdom with them - especially if one is in an environment of mentoring or coaching and teaching. Not much give more satisfaction than assisting others with reaching their potential

If we feel so strongly about how much value we want to bring to others’ lives, then why not feel strongly about the manner in which way we will give value to them. For those who will end up in a professional working environment one day, it is definitely a sure thing that they will not get away with using inappropriate language when engaging with fellow colleagues and/or clients. No company will put up with the use of slang or abbreviations in emails, incorrect usage of grammar in presentations and definitely not if you have a bad telephone manner. 

Those of us out here that wants to share with the world what we’ve learned so far in life, has a responsibility to do it correctly. After all, a Leader should be someone who Knows the Way, Goes the Way and Shows the Way. 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

WHAT MAKES ONE A GREAT LEADER?

Do You look at someone known as a Leader and wonder what it is that makes them to lead You to work and/or life satisfaction? Are You intrigued by Leaders? Or maybe You believe you show possibilities to Be a Leader. 

The title Leader or holding a Leadership position very often applied to a person who, as the dictionary explains, is ‘the person who leads or commands a group, organisation, or country’ and is to take ‘the action of leading a group of people or an organisation’. Purely going on what this sounds like, it is obviously a very important role.

This brings me to the question, what are Leadership Qualities? Whilst researching this journal post I came across a tweet from someone who is an integral part of my close-knit community: Cherie Aimée. The video she refers to is a MUST SEE (if you haven’t already done so) for all Leaders or those striving to be one. 

THE CRUX OF THE MATTER

Apart form the fact that Scooter Braun is a fascinating individual, his slant on Leadership is phenomenal in the video. It resonated 100% with me. Not for wanting to piggyback on his explanation, the topic is dear to my heart hence this article.

From the 6 Qualities of Leadership about to be discussed here within, the one Scooter Braun is very upfront about is exactly the same one that yours truly would put right at the top of the list: Integrity.

THE IN-DEPTH UNDERSTANDING

To get to grips with exactly what makes a great Leader, we must pinpoint the precise attributes of such a responsibility. Lets take them one by one… 

  • INTEGRITY

    The ultimate distinction here is that others must be able to identify with you as a Leader. Therefore strong values, strong ethics and strong character traits are required.  

  • VISION

The long and short of it is, having the ability to take something small and turn it into something big. Not forgetting to keep all those involved updated as changes occur. 

  • HUMILITY 

The focus is first and foremost on others - Every. Single. Time. Performance feedback is crucial and should be obtained regularly.   

  • SELF AWARENESS

The principal point here is to manage the emotions of others. One can only be successful within this realm by knowing how to manage ones own.

  • COMMITMENT

Having the confidence to face difficulties is such an awesome personality trait. This can be done successfully when the focus is on the journey rather than the destination. 

  • ASSISTANCE

Lend a hand. Offer help. And most of all, be positive in doing so.

THE IMPLEMENTATION  

Now that we know what it takes to be a Leader, the question is: How do I incorporate these 6 points in leading the way? Without hesitation, please let me invite you into my world. 

Integrity - To lie is not for me. Ages ago I learned it is something utterly uncomfortable to do. Even when I know the truth will not go down well. There is no point I even attempt the disclosure of facts I don’t know/believe/understand/etc.. I’d rather be honest, than 2-faced. 

Vision - Visualisation has always been part of my life and my career. The strong believe is to see what you want in order to achieve it. The best way to create the picture is to spend quality time with your own mind and design your future

Humility - By putting the needs of others first, it honestly creates incredible satisfaction in the long run. Not only for others, but me too. By doing so, the outcome is very positive. And guess what? The return on your investment in others comes back tenfold. Win-win situation all round. 

Self Awareness - Emotion is an integrable & inevitable part of life. Personally, I strive to always remove my emotion from business decisions. That said, being aware of how to deal with emotions is much needed when you lead others. Once you have nailed this issue within yourself,  you can comfortably help others with theirs.  

Commitment - To see the whole picture comes easy to myself. Only then walking the path towards the end goal can be enjoyed. And once you enjoy the journey, the destination is a byproduct of your efforts.

Assistance - If the number 1 trait on this list is a personal favourite, then this final trait is the best one! Nothing beats being thankful and grateful for what others do for you. More specifically, how others support you. Throw in a great dollop of generosity and it becomes not very difficult to inject a huge lot of positivity into others’ lives. And that is what makes the difference - in life and work.

THE CONCLUSION

To be great at Leadership one must ultimately be in possession of the above attributes. It speaks for itself. Leaders are people that don’t Tell You what to do. What they do though is Show You how It Is Done. 

Within my Entrepreneurial Life the strive is constantly to help others move forward in a positive manner. Being in a situation where my experiences can be applied to the need of others, cause tremendous satisfaction. It also, time and time again, injects drive to achieve more personally. So all in all it is winning position. My clients and/or students receive fundamental advice and in return it shows me that I am making good use of my knowledge. 

Mentoring forms a crucial part of my business. When I started out I didn’t really thought that it is an avenue to pursue. However, it took only one mentoring assignment to made me see the light. It has turned out to be one of the most fulfilling parts of my business. Guiding others and showing them how they should proceed in what they want out of business (and life) is great. To stand back and see the great outcome when someone takes on board your advice is beyond thrilling. Pardon me for sounding over excited, but once you have been in a similar situation you will understand where I am coming from.

Leadership is a vital part of not only ones success, but also those of others. Take some inventory of your own knowledge, experiences and work ethics. If you feel that you can relate to the 6 qualities mentioned above, then go forth and be The Leader You are Meant To Be. 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

PRESENT YOUR BRAND WITH PRIDE

‘What is the fatal flaw that prevents Brand Consistency when it comes to visual posts?’ This question from John Lim (@bemovingforward) whilst promoting my appearance as a guest on his podcast, sparked me to get you an answer. 

With workloads and to do lists as long as an arm, it is no wonder that many of us buckle under the weight and let our guard slip. Especially when it comes to being active within the various social media platforms. It’s understandable that between searching for projects, chasing payments and living a life, etc., something has to give

THE DOWNFALL

Unfortunately, the area in which we should not be lazy is how our Brand is being presented where everyone can see it. I would like to particularly focus on the many platforms where we post articles, blogposts, quotes and much more – yes, it’s none other than on Social Media. 

What is your main focus when it comes to being visible on Social Media? Everyone will yell content at me and they will be correct. Next, I will get bombarded with shouts of engagement and that will be followed by video, I’m sure. None of these are wrong, bad suggestions or irrelevant what so ever. In all honesty, nothing can be any closer to the truth. 

THE FEELING OF DROWNING 

Overwhelmed. Snowed under. Completely buried. Do these sounds like phrases/words that you would use to describe how you feel about Social Media many times? Not uncommon to even experience anxiety about it all. 

The question now is, what are you going to do about it? Or are you actually just going to let it be and you will struggle forth. Moving forward without tackling this issue, is definitely not a great idea. Actually, it is a very bad move on your part. So how can you elevate at least some of the stress?

THE BRICK WALL

For many this is the bit that is the cause of all the angst. Not only because you cannot be bothered about it too much, but for many, because you don’t actually know how to deal with it correctly. I am referring to the visually creative part of your posts.

Not all of us are graphic designers. Neither are we top notch photographers. To be honest, I bet many of you will say ‘I don’t even have a creative bone in my body’ when asked about this topic. 

Not having any inclination towards a creative eye is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. Crikey, we are just human. 

I gather the obvious solution that immediately springs to your mind, is that of hiring a professional to look after your Brand Creatives. Easy - issue solved, right? Well, not for wanting to burst your bubble, that is easier said than done. There is one particular issue with that solution: costs. Perhaps you are lucky enough to have funds available so you can reach out to a professional designer and have all your creatives done in a flash. However, if like me, you most likely are counting the pennies carefully before you spend left, right and centre. 

THE HELPING HAND

A solution is at hand that can help to minimise this one section of your media activity. It is within your reach to cast aside your fear of being creative. You don’t have to show the world your inability of creating visuals that do not sit well within the parameters of Social Media platforms. 

Not all platforms have the same criteria when it comes to posting images. Luckily there are some platforms that share the same dimensions for images. If all were the same, then we won’t have any issues. The crux lies within fact that we should be able to post visuals with the correct size. 

It is here where many, in my opinion, show the lack of pride for their Brand. To post the same size image everywhere will show your lack of care and also prevent your visual to not be seen in its entirety. Hence so many times an important thought/section will go unseen purely because it is not visible completely. 

The secret, although not such a big secret at all, is using a very clever application (app). There is one for me that stands out head and shoulders above the rest. 

THE UNCOMPLICATED ASSISTANT

Having a mobile device is order of the day nowadays. It is designed to make our lives easier and to have at hand at all times. The App mentioned above is available on Mobile Devices (via a download from your mobile provider’s choice of store) and on your Desktop (again, to download via your Internet Providers’ choice of store). 

I am referring to the very useful Adobe Spark Post application. Having this handy App(lication) on your device and/or computer will definitely lend a hand when you want to spice up your post with a stunning visual. Very often we come across a thought or quote that we want to share with our audience. We also realise that it will perform so much better if it is accompanied by an image.  We are after all, constantly made aware that platforms favour posts with visuals. 

No need to neglect your wish anymore. Within a few short actions you can rest assure that your visual will be visible to many others the way the chosen platform intend it to be. 

THE TIME TO EXECUTE

Even as a non-creative human using the Adobe Spark Post application is easy. The simple menu layout of options can quickly be navigated to what you have in mind. Here are the options to create an original post if you don’t want to use some of the App’s templates. 

  •  BACKGROUND 

    For this you have 8 options - from using one of your original photos, or a plain colourful background (a Palette lets you keep your Branding in place by adjusting it to your Brand’s colour tones) through to a stock image.   

  •  TEXT

    10 options available which includes a selection of fonts (to keep your Brand consistent with your designated Brand font), colour (to align with your Brand’s look&feel), the size, spacing, opacity and many more. 

  •  LAYOUT

    An abundance of choices if there need to be more than one image within your post visual.

  •  EFFECTS

    To animate certain parts of your visual are at your fingertip (on your mobile device) or your desktop cursor. 

  •  RESIZE

    This option here is where the magic takes place. 35 options at a tap or click to choose from. Each has the Social Media Platform icon so there is not a single moment wasted figuring out which option will fit perfectly. It’s as easy as Bish Bash Bosh! 

These are the basics within the app. The desktop version has a slightly different layout to it all, but the principals are the same. It will honestly not take you long to find your way around and with regular use you will master it in no time. 

THE CONCLUSION

This very helpful app is easily the one mostly in use by yours truly. On numerous times I have used it whilst having a quick coffee on the go or during a commercial break while I am watching some show on TV. There are obviously many similar applications to choose from however, this one is by far my favourite.  

Originally, I had to consult my notes for the exact image dimensions to fit each platform I was creating a visual for. It took time and a lot of messing about to get it right. All of which added up and before you know it, I was wasting way too much time for my liking. We are all aware time is of essence therefor I was delighted to come across something that can not only enhance my visuals, but also cut down on my precious time. All in all, using this shortcut creates not only much satisfaction (for being creative!), it also leaves me with pride as I present my Brand to one and all out there in perfect shape.

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading.

BOOST YOUR BRANDING

The question is: does Your Branding have any magic? Or to put it differently… does Your Branding have the Unicorn touch?

However peculiar this comparison may sound to you there is a lot of sense within using the Unicorn metaphor within a branding connotation. It’s here where you most likely want me to start explaining, right? 

I was so fascinated by reading a post on the websiteRise Above the Noise by David Brier, that it inspired me to write this post. The man is seriously a genius when it comes to branding. If branding is part and parcel of your existence, then please do yourself a favour and check him out on his site

YOUR EXISTING BRANDING

Let’s set the scene. You personally and/or your company have been branded when you started out. Fact is you are at a point now where you’re not entirely happy with the current status of the branding. You have been tinkering with the idea to do something about it. Perhaps you’ve been made aware about a competitor’s recent re-brand or a Startup that is directly in competition with you that has a much better Brand Look&Feel than yours. 

To tie in with the Unicorn touch mentioned earlier, we can continue metaphorically speaking and suggest that your current branding is very much horse-like – meaning it’s strong, does the job, but lack a certain je ne sais quoi. So, if the thought entered your mind that it is not working that well, then it’s time to put some major sparkle into Your Branding. 

There are many ways to put some sparkle into everyday things in life. For instance, take a weather-bashed garden chair… give it a lick of paint and voilà! Therefore, if it is not that difficult to boost an object and give it some new life, then why not do the same with Your Branding.

A CHANGE IS A GOOD THING

There is that age-old saying a change is as good as a holiday which I’m sure you’ve heard before. Personally, and speaking from experience, I can guarantee you it is true. Applying that wisdom to your current branding is not that difficult. As a matter of fact, it is much easier than you think. You will though need the input from a professional to make the magic happens.

There is, however, a very good reason behind me saying this – and that is that once you’ve updated Your Brand it could easily propel itself to a much higher, influencer level. Your product and/or service will be able to attract much more customers' interest than currently. The outcome could mean the difference between being adequate and incredible. Your company ROI will most likely hit the roof and, as I’m sure you’ll agree, that can only be a great thing all around.

You proud yourself as a savvy business person. You believe you have the vision to move your company forward. Why stop when it comes to how your company is perceived by the big, wide world? 

ADD A SPECIAL TOUCH

This is where you should definitely take a look at David’s presentation and it will make complete sense to you. 

He showcases 14 Brands that he literally transformed into major successful entities. The transformations are amazing. Although I call him The Brand Master, I hope that he will agree it wasn’t rocket science as such what he applied – rather common sense and great thinking, or design, so to speak.

Turning your Horse into a White Creature (aka Unicorn) totally depends and comes down to the magic you inject into your current branding. But where to begin, I hear you ask. 

It starts with: 

  • your logo,

  • then your typography

  • next is your design

  • and finally, the execution (via the website and/or your packaging)

In other words, we’re talking the whole yarn. 

Not suggesting that you should copy your competitors, but I believe doing some in-depth research into what is out there in your niche of business is the order of the day. Take time to look closely at how your peers made changes. Study their thought process and do your best to figure out what they have done to excel ahead of you. Then get going and start the process to add some magic to Your Own Branding. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to stand out from the crowd, or as David says… Rise Above The Noise! 

CONCLUSION

Being a Brand Guardian is one of the aspects of my Entrepreneurial life. Reading and following remarkable people like David is truly inspirational. Whilst reading his astounding post, it made me realise one very important aspect: obviously, I am by no means even close to his level, but the fact that he is so good at what he’s doing doesn’t put me off and want to stop doing what I do. When you are confronted with such insane talent it is really easy to throw in the towel and walks away. Me? Most definitely not. 

I’ve been so intrigued by Mr Brier for some time now, that I have been following him on various social media platforms. He is so consistent with delivery content at a high level that instead of me getting deflated by it all, I find him to be a massive motivation for my journey. I do perceive him as a Virtual Mentor. One can only demand of oneself to aspire to such a high level in time to come. 

Keeping within the Unicorn-theme… only a few days ago, another Virtual Mentor of mine, Winnie Sun, put an incredible post on her Twitter feed. It totally made my head spin and within seconds I had a wonderful imagery in my mind… this is what she posted:

I believe we should all be so proud of our personal and/or business branding, that witnessing what others in our field are doing should spur us on to have even better branding tomorrow than what we’re having today. Do yourself and your team (if you have one) a favour and put some Sparkle Into Your Branding. Make it shimmer & shine and let the branding attracts customers like a moth to a flame. I personally believe we all can do with a bit of magic in our personal lives - the same belief goes for any Company. 

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

And Thank You for reading. 

LET’S DO IT LIVE

Ever felt like extending your brand? There are many ways to enhance your professional identity. One way in particular is to lend a hand at Live Events. There is something very exciting about events. Most probably because when it all kicks off it is Live. From then until the end anything can happen. Of course fingers are crossed all along for everything to go as planned without any gremlins jumping in and course havoc.

Very recently the opportunity came about to assist with a Charity Ball in London. Without a nano second of hesitation it was agreed to add the brand development touch to this event.

THE VENUE

The location was in one of London’s superb landmarks: The Savoy Hotel on the North Bank of the Thames River. With areas like Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square a stone throw away it basically is in the heart of London.

This venue is nothing new since a fair amount of events have been arranged and/or attended there in the past. However, it is always great to step into the splendour of this establishment. From the exterior through the revolving doors into the plush interior one feels almost elevated. There is the feeling of being transferred into another world even if it means the world you step into is that of the rich and famous. Walls are plastered with stunning black and white photographs of legends like film stars and politicians. These date back decades. Just an indication that this iconic venue has seen it all. And will most certainly see more in the times to come.

THE SET UP

The hotel’s Ball Room was the chosen area for the night. It all started early in the morning with equipment arriving and crews starting to set up. There was going to be a live show with famous talent at the end of the evening. Quite a bunch of very friendly, professional and organised people started to set up the stage, plug this that and the other cables into big, electronic machinery. Microphones were being set up, tested and adjusted. Instruments were placed in precise spots on the stage and before you know it the stage was set. The only missing ingredients were musicians, backing vocals and of course the star of the show.

Setting up the entertainment side of the event is obviously only one part of the day’s procedures. While that was happening a total of 32 round tables were being prepared. Each will hold 10 guests which needed every possible piece of cutlery, crockery and glasses. Sparkling white, starched table cloths and napkins were placed perfectly and was accompanied by buffed silverware, glassware and shiny porcelain. There is always the need for a centre piece - and for this event there was no exception.  Flower arrangements were going to be the pièce de résistance on the night. Nothing outrageous and too big, but elegant enough to make an impact and still let guests see each other across the table and talk the night away. Obviously the colour scheme of the charity's brand was extended into the chosen flora. 

Behind the scenes, or more appropriately called The Kitchen, chefs and staff were busy with preparations for a delightful meal. There was a lot of chopping, stirring and trays going in and coming out of ovens. The activities were in full swing to feed a few hundred people. The menu was tasted and agreed on before hand so all that was left to do is prepare and eventually serve up. 

THE EVENT

Before you knew it, the doors opened to welcome elegant guests. Men in Black Tie and women sporting Ball Gowns were order of the night. Soon the room was filled with people, laughter and a great atmosphere. The serious side of the night, an auction, was taking place in between the servings of delicious food. The main point of the event was to raise money for the charity. Left, right and centre people dug deep into their wallets and a phenomenal amount of money was raised. Once the singer/songwriter performed his last song while all the guests were standing and dancing, it was revealed that the immediate amount raised extended well into 6 figures. All in all a major successful evening. 

AND THEN... GOOD NIGHT

Not bad for a day’s work. Fairly exhausted, but happy, one flops down on a plush hotel room bed in the early hours of the morning.  A good night’s sleep is now on the cards. Nothing is more exciting knowing that once again the client is happy. Not only with the amount of money raised, but with the execution of their event too. 

Back home, it’s time now to write that follow up email. Perhaps the reply will include another date for another event… fingers crossed.

 

BEING A WINNER

How does one become a winner? What does it take to be successful? Many people see it as being lucky in life. Others put it down to pure hard work. But what really is needed for one to come out on top and walk away with the trophy?

THE OPPORTUNITY

Within the last 24 hours another major sporting event took place in Paris, France. To say that it was nail biting and exhilarating are understatements. Apart from the outcome (which caused much personal happiness) the fascinating part was watching the two men play tennis to a top standard. Since it was the world’s #1 and #2 their tennis skills were of the highest possible. That is obvious if one reach that level in the world ranking. However, there were much more than skills evident during the match. Watching both players walking out on a court at Roland Gross it was clear that both were here to win. Needless to say only one could achieve that. But which one will it be, was on everyone’s mind.  

THE BEGINNING

It started out with one player taking the upper hand and making use of opportunities to claim the first set in his favour. If we as spectators thought he’s onto a winning streak we could not have been more wrong. What happened over the next 2+ hours was incredible - not only as a sporting event, but as a display of human ability par excellence.

THE MIDDLE

Not that there was much of a surprise in the one player taking control, but how he took control. The difference between the two players was phenomenal. It became clear why the world’s #1 player is number one. And to be honest, it wasn’t down to his tennis skills alone.

THE END

Once the #2 player had his serve broken it was downhill from there onwards. His shoulders slumped multiple times after faults. He didn’t control his emotions much. Winning the odd point ended in over the top outbursts of joy. Every time he made an error one could see how it effected him in a negative way. His confidence went out the window in no time. It was actually embarrassing to see him fall apart. He was behaving like a yo-yo. After all he is the world’s #2 player and it became apparent why he is only #2. He has the skills, but doesn’t have the mindset of a winner. He was not determent enough to fight for the title. All in all a shocking performance.

His opponent was in utter contrast. He was consistent across all aspects of his game. There was undeniable evidence of him eliminating emotion throughout. Even if he occasionally showed some frustration the majority of the time he was cool, calm and collected. His body language was on par with that of someone in control of not only of the game, but of himself. The shoulders never slumped - even when he lost a point. His head never fell down when he made a mistake. There was hardly an outburst of the verbal kind. It was clear that this man had a demeanour of a winner. And so he did. No surprise there.

THE LESSON

In business (and also life) there is a great message here.  Even if you have the skills to be great at what you’re doing, you need a lot more than that. Determination is the emotion you need to bring to the table (not schoolboy playground frustration). Show the world (or the client sitting across from you) the confidence and the believe you have in yourself. Lay bare your positivity and outlook. Be consistent in delivering your skills and your message as if you’ve nailed the proposal already (even if it’s only the start of the presentation). Most of all, show you have the mindset of a winner. 

From this tennis final it is clear that success is down to skill and determination plus mindset. These three goes hand in hand.  Step up your game and walk away with the prize. It is possible. 

Live, eat and sleep by... 

IF YOU’VE GOT IT FLAUNT IT

Have you got what it takes to stand out from the crowd? Did you keep something up your sleeve all year long only so you can show off at this time of the year? No better examples of a ‘show-and-tell’ than some well known store displays.

Reading this piece by PSKF on the best ‘dressed’ retail windows in New York City over the festive period made me happy. There are truly some incredible, creative minds out there. The masterminds behind these displays rock the streets of NYC with a big bang.  

Needles to say competition is, has and will always be tough. However, that is most likely the drive behind the mind of a genius. To strive to be better and bigger is easily a constant thought in the head of a designer or creator of visual excellence. And there is no element of disappointment when you look at these displays that lit up the NYC streets of late. 

Managing their brand identity is at the forefront of today’s retail environment. It is obvious that each brand need to make their mark and be so eye-catching that the person in the street can’t help but stop and stare. The display is there to do just that to you. Once you have been forced to stop, stand and look the first battle is won. The next step (so to speak!) is hopefully towards the entrance and then go inside. 

The part that is the exciting bit is making people watch in awe, I believe. This is the moment one has created such an vision that the onlooker  find it difficult not to notice. The time and energy spend working out how this can be done forms part of the incredible creative journey. It is tough… it is time consuming… it is fulfilling. Even if the whole trip leaves you exhausted, every second of it is worth it.

From a personal POV these displays are amazing. Capturing the pure essence of each brand and making sure that it is a ‘killer-look’ display - to me the determination of each to make sure they are noticed. Even though it happens year after year it is always something new - something exciting.

It made me think… how about seeing this for real again? Maybe one could be walking the NYC streets oneself next year this time. Maybe one will stop, stand and stare. Maybe this trip to the magical NYC should be added to GOALS2016…

COMMERCIAL BRANDING DURING THE FESTIVE SEASON

Has another year gone by? Is it that time of the year again? Judging by the fall in temperatures and darkened early evening skies in the northern hemisphere we can safely say ‘yes’ to that question!

With the festive season upon us and Christmas decorations going up everywhere it’s not just time for families and friends to get together and plan a feast, but also time for brands (local and internationally) to step up their campaign strategies and start the battle to win the ‘top spot of the season’ in the advertising world. There are clear trend setters in the world showing us every year how creative they can get. The messages these short films send out are usually made to tuck on our heart strings and get our emotions moving. In my opinion most, if not all, are usually winners. 

                         Someone's lucky day is coming...

This year though I stumbled across a great piece of work from Spain - a country which I love - being it mainland or Balearic Islands. As a true lover of ‘all things Spanish’ I was delighted when I saw the Christmas Lottery commercial - the ‘Anuncio Loteria de Navidad’. I know about this special lottery event since I visited Barcelona many times in the run up to Christmas. It is an event that grip the nation and even if one is not Spanish and have little Spanish vocabulary it is not rocket science to figure out how important this event is for the Spaniards. There are many kiosks all over the place that sells tickets. And if you are lucky enough to be in town a few days or so before Christmas you will witness the queues buying some ‘numbers’ in hope they have the winning combination.

This year the lottery has a remarkable advertisement that is created very crafty and is very imaginative. Not only is the story very touching it is also executed beautifully. The style in which the creativity enfolds is superb. With enormous time spend on details within every frame it also is colourful and you find yourself smiling occasionally. It obviously won’t be as good as it is if you don’t get emotionally involved. Here the creators took time to make sure you follow the story behind the main character Justino’s everyday life. The build up to the end makes you want to fast forward quickly to see the outcome yet it also prevent you from clicking those double-arrows since Justino’s story is so compelling. The end, needless to say, is pure jubilation! 

Anuncio Loteria de Navidad’ leaves you with a warm, happy feeling. Even if there is a hint of a tear in your eye you will soon be overcome with merry emotions. All in all the perfect Christmas ‘heart-string-tucker’ for me! 

Feliz Navidad to one and all… or Merry Christmas in the universal language of the world!