So, now what?

Author’s note: even though this post is about a situation pertaining to Mexico (My beloved Country) in particular, it is about something that everybody, no matter their nationality can relate to in this day and age.

4 years and 2 months ago I took these Pictures during a silent march for a crime free Mexico.

Hundreds of thousands, if not over a million people, answered the call made by some civilian organizations that took the lead and the initiative to call citizens to unite in sending a strong and clear message to criminals all around: NO MORE.

Now, a little over four years later, these are the images captured by El Universal Newspaper during yesterday’s march that took place in multiple cities all around Mexico, formed by even more people than the previous one.

People sick and tired of living captives to the fear of being another victim of criminals and violence.

There were some obvious changes versus the 2004 march. It was a lot more organized, the call was stronger and clearer, and better yet, the desired outcome was even clearer. So much that both federal and local governments had already agreed to collaborate with the civil organizations that coordinated this huge effort, and so today they received their leaders to talk about a series of actions to fight insecurity that they are proposing.

Now my question is: Are we really clear on what each of us, as citizens, can do to contribute to this? Or do we think this is just another effort we want to leave in the hands of a few?

“But Efraín, what are you saying? How can we do something to help directly? We are no cops nor politicians to have enough influence?” You might be thinking by now.

But what if I were to say to you, that I do think there are small, even obvious actions, we can all practice every day to contribute to decrease insecurity? In fact just about a year ago, during Mexico’s Independence Day (September 16th), I wrote a similar post, sharing what being patriotic, to me is about.

What about:
  • Starting each day willing to give the very best in us, to collaborate with others and help make life easier on others?
  • Letting the car driver in the next lane, pass so she/he can make the right turn?
  • Or if you are who needs to make the turn, how about taking your turn in line from the beginning instead of trying to jump ahead?
  • Paying your taxes, having your properties in order and abiding the law…Come on, you can’t fool yourself, how frequently do you talk over the phone while driving without using your hands free set?
  • Collaborate with civil organizations that help take homeless people off the street by giving them an opportunity to work?
  • Not littering the streets.
  • Not getting into a fight with the bank clerk or the cashier at the super market because they are not doing their job right. Why not being patient and help them do it better?
  • Not giving any kind of bribes to any police officer or any public servant for that case. If you have any paperwork to do at a government office just do it right and pay what it officially costs.
  • Share your thoughts and your actions with others so we can learn from you too.

I know that by now many of you might be thinking of a lot more, even better ideas, but I think this is a good start.

Start of what? Of taking off the extra weight on the government so we can let them focus on what they have to do: fight crime and decrease insecurity.

Another special note: Before I take off…As promised to some folk who attended some of my keynotes last week, here are the pictures from the presentation at TV Azteca and the keynote at the UNAM.

Were you in one of those? Check out the pictures, maybe you’ll find yourself!


Guest post Friday: Featuring Drew McLellan

Well back to Guest Post Friday's and with a very distinguished guest! Today's post comes courtesy of Drew McLellan. I'm sure you will enjoy it!

"Where will you invest in ’09?

The fourth quarter looms and for many businesses, that means the annual agony of planning and budgeting for the next year. When economic times are stagnant or when we’re in the midst of a recession, the process feels even more imposing.

As business owners and leaders look back on ’08 and either shudder at the memory or exhale a sigh of relief that they survived it, it’s easy to assume that the plan going forward should be to lower prices or cut the marketing budget.

The reality is, both of those are the wrong answer. Cutting prices and slashing your marketing budget will only put you deeper in the hole as the economy rights itself. So what should you do with your money for ’09?

Spend it on your employees. Make sure they understand your brand, your brand promise and how you want them to treat your customers. Don’t hold an annual meeting where you devote 5 minutes and a PowerPoint slide to your brand.

I’m talking – make an investment. A real investment.

Talk about how you want your brand to come alive every week. In manager’s meetings, on all staff retreats, in your HR reviews. Make it a part of your interview process, your exit interviews and everything in between. How much time do you spend on how each and every employee delivers on the brand promise in your new employee orientation?

At Disney, no matter what position you are hired for, from street sweeper to a manager of a division, the first thing you’d do is attend a 3-day orientation that talks about absolutely nothing except the Disney brand and how you, the new recruit, are expected to carry on that tradition.

No wonder they are so help up as the ideal example of brilliant branding.

Think about it. Who interacts with your customers? When your customer has a concern or a complaint, who deals with them?

Especially in an economic time when every client matters and you can’t afford to lose any ground, isn’t this the year you should earmark some of your marketing dollars for the very people who deliver your brand every day?"

Drew Mclellan is top dog at McLellan Marketing Group. He really does gets branding and marketing and he desperately wants you to get it too. So make sure your drop him a visit at his great blog Drew's Marketing Minute


Mekate Wednesdays: The most important part of the branding mix is you

Special Note: This is a guest post I shared at Drew Mclellan's blog Drew's Marketing Minute last week. However I thought it would be great to share it here at The daily and the not so too.

So, why don't you drop a quick visit to Drew's blog and check it out?


When your job just doesn’t feel like work at all.

They say that it is great when the job you do to make a living just doesn’t feel like work at all. When you do what you love and you even get paid to do it. And that if you are one of the few people who can say this, then you are part of a privileged group of people who have found their calling in life.

I’ve tried to do just that for a long time, just tried to find that which would make me feel absolutely satisfied with what I was doing. And to be hones, even though I’ve been fortunate enough to have really great jobs, I had never been able to fully say I was finally doing what I loved to do. Or in Paulo Coelho’s words fulfilling my personal legend… Until a couple of years ago, when I understood that, that which fulfilled me the most was to help develop human talent and leaders, to coach and help other professionals and to build and narrate success stories for and with them.

That was how my career in advertising took a new meaning. Since then, I learned that my work was not just to create communication campaigns for my clients; any good advertising professional can do that, but to build deeper connections with my clients and their brands. So I started to not limit myself to requesting comprehensive briefs, creating excellent campaign proposals and delivering a flawless execution. I stopped working for my clients and started working with them, learning from them and sharing with them whatever I knew too. And it was precisely in that last step that I realized that my job was starting to not feel as work. I was now helping others not just create great communication campaigns, but I was helping to develop the talent in these people and in me as well!

And just last week was a great example of this for me. First by delivering a marketing and innovation seminar for the marketing team at The Walt Disney Company Mexico, then by presenting an on-line marketing workshop for the Tec de Monterrey college students and delivering a closing key note on Personal Branding for their “Enlace Empresarial 2008” conferences too; and finally by speaking about on-line marketing too, at Draft FCB’s Latin America Regional conference in Cancun.

Now I do have to say that one thing I’ve found about getting to feel like you are not working at all, is that to do so, you do have to work very, very hard, preparing yourself, knowing and studying yourself, learning, planning, executing, tracking, etc.

I know that, in my particular case, I still have a long way to go and that I’m just at the beginning of the path I want to follow. But that said, I did want to share a couple of steps I’ve found to be key to get to this point in which I start to feel that my job is more pleasure than work:

1- Identify your talents and strengths and focus on developing them: sadly we lose a lot of time repeating to ourselves that we are not good at something and then we tragically spend a lot of time trying to get better at that, instead of working on our strengths…what for if I’m already good at that?...WRONG!!! We could not be making a bigger mistake. Can you imagine Micheal Phelps trying to compete in gymnastics instead of swimming?

Find your talents and let them come out, then practice them and practice them some more until you master them.

2- Find your niche: Once you know what your talents are, now that you know what are the things you are really good at; try to understand how you can use them to help others. Just like it works with products and brands, your talents are your differentiator versus the rest. They are what, in the marketing lingo is known as your unique promise or key brand benefit, that which differentiates a brand from another and helps it ad value to its consumers. If you focus on creating that added value through your talents and use them to help others, people will start looking for ways to connect with you a whole lot more.

Now, the question many of you might be asking right now is: And how exactly can I use my talents and my Niche to make a living and tend to my family’s needs? How can my talents help me get the financial stability I need?

To tell you the truth, I’m still working on that one. But maybe reading what Phil Gerbyshak and Tina Su have to say about it can help you arrive at your own conclusion.

In the mean time, I am sure of one thing, I know I’m in the right path. Now, I don’t know if this path will take me to continue being employed as I am today. I have no idea if it will lead me to stay where I am or if it will lead me to join a different company or maybe even to become independent. But I am sure that while these answers come my way, I will keep enjoying my job, because to me, I am doing what I love for work and I’m even getting paid to do it!


A smile to go

Great learning that my wife and daughter taught me just now.

After a few days of working hard at a marketing seminar and 3 other different presentation I will be delivering this week, working even on Saturday and Sunday since 6:00 am, I’m, as you can imagine, physically and mentally exhausted. And we are just halfway! We still have the fun part to come: Actually presenting.

Anyway, grumpy as I was (as any other guy who is working hard on a Sunday night), I was about to start talking back and angry at whatever comment that came my way. Yes even foolishly at the offerings of help, cheers and support. (Hey! I’m as human and clumsy as the next guy!).

So there I was angrily responding to my wife’s call, putting on my best “no friends” face, as they received me with a huge smile. And not just any smile, but a smile capable of illuminating a lunar night and warming the South Pole completely.

Its curious how the often focus so much on the task at hand that we loose sight of why and for who we are doing it.

So after that refreshing bath of happiness I was able to go back to my PC to finish my pending tasks, including this short but important post with which now I won’t forget to always take from each one of my princesses, a smile to go!


Mekate wednesdays! How great to be a part of something so huge!

Few things in life give such satisfaction as being part of something greater than oneself. In fact the very action of looking to collaborate with the people around you is a very natural human thing. And when you let your cooperation instinct flow, you can realize that you have become part of a group of people that in one way or another is having a very positive effect in the life of others.

And this is exactly what's happening today thanks to the leadership of Drew Mclellan and Gavin Heaton and to the creative and adventurer spirit of more than 200 authors (I proudly count myself among them) with The Age of Conversation 2: Why don´t they get it.

This sequel to the book by the same title that Drew and Gavin created in 2007 is about to be launched in the next few months. So in the mean time, here's a preview of the new book's cover!

Now what exactly does this have to do with Mekate Wednesdays? Well just check out the list of authors! Wow!

Adam Crowe, Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob Carlton, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Bradley Spitzer, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Clay Parker Jones, Chris Brown, Colin McKay, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Cord Silverstein, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Goldstein, Dan Schawbel, Dana VanDen Heuvel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Darryl Patterson, Dave Davison, Dave Origano, David Armano, David Bausola, David Berkowitz, David Brazeal, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Emily Reed, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, G. Kofi Annan, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Graham Hill, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Erik Potter, J.C. Hutchins, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeremy Middleton, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, Joe Talbott, John Herrington, John Jantsch, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Flowers, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kris Hoet, Krishna De, Kristin Gorski, Laura Fitton, Laurence Helene Borei, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Barnes-Johnston, Louise Mangan, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Marcus Brown, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Mark McSpadden, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Hawkins, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Monica Wright, Nathan Gilliatt, Nathan Snell, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul Marobella, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Beeker Northam, Rob Mortimer, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Cribbett, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tiffany Kenyon, Tim Brunelle, Tim Buesing, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Longhurst, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem


A thought about customer service.

Here’s an idea: An account or a client has never been lost because of a huge problem or failure. Rather it’s been the accumulation of little;, at times even almost imperceptible, bad experiences with our company which has made customers abandon our organization.
So that really big problem we thought caused our client to leave was really just the drop that emptied the glass. 
In reality, and I’m sure most of the service marketers will agree on this, if the relationship your brand or company has had with it's customers has been a good one, they will be more likely to understand and even defend you when something goes sour.

On the other hand, even if you have the greatest most unique product or service, if your company has not treated your customer like the expect (and believe me they all expect to be treated like royalty), it won’t matter if you have the latest and greatest product, they’ll use the most simple excuse to drop your services.

Yes, even if you have the best product or service of them all!

Don't get me wrong. I’m not trying to say that we should completely change the company policies that establish the level of attention and involvement per client according to their investment and profitability. Although most times I don't completely agree with the criteria used to define them, I do think these are needed to run a productive operation.
However, what I am saying is that regarding and treating all prospects and clients with the utmost importance should always be a natural and permanent policy in any company.

After all, people do like to do business with the people they like, don’t they?

So, what kind of experience are your providing to your clients?


Guest posts Fridays: a great story with an even greater lesson

This Friday's guest post is a story by Malcom Forbes that a good friend and colleague of mine David Hyman and his mom Barbi shared with me yesterday.

"A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston , and walked timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University President's outer office. 

The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard & probably didn't even deserve to be in Cambridge "We'd like to see the president," the man said softly. 

"He'll be busy all day," the secretary snapped. "We'll wait," the lady replied. For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. 

They didn't, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted. "Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they'll leave," she said to him! He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them, and he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office.

The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple. The lady told him, "We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus." 

The president wasn't touched. He was shocked. "Madam," he said, gruffly, "we can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.

" Oh, no," the lady explained quickly. "We don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard." 

The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, "A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard." 

For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now. The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, "Is that all it cost to start a university? Why don't we just start our own? " Her husband nodded.

The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California where they established the university that bears their name, Stanford University, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them."

Isn't this a story that everybody should hear and a lesson everybody should learn?

Thanks David and Barbi!

Mekate Wednesdays on a Thursday

Yes, I know. I'm a day late to publish Mekate Wednesdays, but you'll see it was worth the wait.

Actually these last few weeks have been very busy and my crazy agenda have made the pleasure of posting quite a challenge. 
Fortunately, blogging is not just about writing your own thoughts but also about sharing other blogger's posts that you really like and have even made an impacti in you.
This is why today I wanted to share with you a great post by Seth Godin titled Marilyn Monroe, the Mona Lisa and Jackson Pollock, that this Marketing Guru published at his magnific blog last week



Do you have good contacts or do you have great connections?

How many people do you know who is continuously bragging about all the important contacts they have everywhere? “Oh I know Donald”, “He is a friend of a cousin of a friend of my cousin…yes we’re very close”. But when they get in touch with their famous “contact” he/she doesn’t really act like they know them.

And how many people do you know who might not really know a lot of celebrities or important business moguls, yet people always have their doors open for them?

What’s their secret? Where’s the difference between these two? I think we can find it in an old phrase I heard a while ago: “The important thing is not who you know, but rather who knows you”.

I mean, what good is to “know” someone of the likes of  the big business people, if they don’t really remember you?

I think the mistake that is often made by the people who brag about knowing or being friends with a celebrity is that they are only thinking about what they can get out of having that “contact”, mainly in the form and shape of an economical benefit or social status; and thus they are not thinking of how to establish a real connection with that PERSON, that is, with the real human being whom one cannot or should not plainly call a “contact”.

Now, the thing is that the only way to really create a connection with people, at least one that will establish a long term relationship, based on mutual trust and respect is by adding value to the other person’s life. That is, not wanting to get something from them, but on the contrary, wanting to give the other person what we have to share.

Maybe this kind of situation, even though it happen in all types of relationships, is more evident in the marketing and sales field.

In fact I think that it is precisely this huge mistake what has given such a bad reputation to being a sales man, no matter the industry they work in.

What I’m trying to say is, when the “contacterists” (for lack of a better Word) try to recurr to their “contacts” just to see what they can get our of them or how they can access their wallets and their budget, these so called “contacts” can smell their intentions a mile away. Maybe, if you are a “contacterist”, you will get them once or twice, or it might even be that they will once have a special consideration with you and grant you a purchase, but you can be sure of one thing, the next time you approach them with an easy sell, it will not be that easy at all, and your “contact” will have a whole lot more defensive attitude towards you.

Now, if on the contrary, before trying just to sell, you try to understand what the other party really does need and you put their interests before yours, specially in the client-vendor relationship, you will be silently telling them (with facts) “you can trust me, I really want to help you”. And if you do this with transparency and with no hidden agendas you will establish a real connection that will keep the other person’s doors always open for you and they will always be open to your recommendations and proposals, for they’ll know that you are thinking of them and not just in you sales quota.

 I guess we could say that a sales rookie will get contacts, a real professional will establish connections.


Guest post Friday! With Phil Gerbyshak

Today gues post is courtesy of Phil Gerbyshak from Make it Great! with Phil Gerbyshak.

Phil is shares with us one very special post for him, one he originally wrote on July 30th of 2007 but one that as you can see is very important to everybody today. Enjoy!

Do you get off centered, and forget why you are here on this earth? Do you find yourself wondering what you are most passionate about? 
I do, and as I like to think I'm fairly normal, I'm guessing you do too. So when I was asked by 
Jesse Petersen to share my thoughts on getting back to basics, I thought what a perfect opportunity to get back to my basics, and perhaps help you think about getting back to your basics.
Back to basics

The basic principles in Phil Gerbyshak's life are:
Have fun
Play fair
Love everyone
Live life with a positive outlook, even when it sucks!
Connect with everyone
Help when I can, connect to someone who can help when I can't
Do what I say, and say what I do

OK, so that's what guides my life.

So how am I going to get back to my basics, and more importantly, how can YOU get back to YOUR basics?
1) Write down your core values or guiding principles. Whatever you call them, write them down. You can be like me and put them on your blog.
2) Ask yourself this every time you are faced with a decision of where to invest your 
T2: Does this fit in my guiding principles? If not, ask yourself, "Why am I doing it?" Then decide if it's worthwhile or not. Notice I did not say don't do it, I said decide if it's worthwhile or not. 
3) After 30 days, audit yourself. Think about your values and principles. Did these guide and value you? Do you need to re-write your values and principles statements? 
That's it. 
Now go get back to your basics.

A little information about Phyl.

Phil Gerbyshak is “the Relationship Geek” and the author of the book 10 Ways to Make It Great!, published in June of 2006 to rave reviews.

Phil’s mission on this planet is simple: To help people unleash the greatness inside them, by connecting people to the ideas, people, and information they need to crank it up and take things to the next level.

An important note.

The comments, opinions and recommendations posted in this personal blog are my personal thoughts, and doesn't necesarily reflect those of my employer.