All posts tagged Art

Don’t be a Polaroid.

I still remember the day.

I was wearing Montreal Alouette sneakers, a hand-me-down Adidas T-shirt, short-shorts, and an Expos hat on top of a homemade Lego haircut. It was the mid-70s and my mom gathered us four kids to take a picture. But she wasn’t just using a camera.

She was using a Polaroid.

I know, I know.. many of us consider Polaroid a retro brand who’s claim to fame is inspiring the Instagram format and the odd Outkast lyric.

But before you write it off, think about life BEFORE polaroid.

Your camera was horizontal Tetris piece and the flash was a vertical tower of power that connected to the top. It featured 12 little flint flashes that individually burst into flames when initiated. Then, you had to GET IN YOUR CAR and drop off your film to a pimply faced teen who sat in a Fotomat (fishing hut) in the middle of a mall parking lot. 2 months later, after a lab in russia developed them, you got your photos. 

Then Polaroid showed up.

Talk about a life-changing innovation. It didn’t just make life a little better. It drastically changed consumer behaviour. People no longer had to drive. Labs no longer had to develop. And photos could be enjoyed instantly (well, almost instantly – first you had to shake it, shake it…)

What a wonder! What a truly brilliant innovation! What a company! What a brand!

Polaroid has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Twice.

Sure, they were saved by a private equity group, have adequately licensed their name and currently feature a range of products including everything from sunglasses to printers. Hell, they even hired Lady Gaga as Creative Director. But I think you’ll agree that they literally (and legally) are a shell of their former selves.

There’s an important lesson in there:
It’s one thing to innovate. It’s quite another to keep on innovating.
The hot thing (and the profits that go along with it) may be great today but it can be one line of code away from being replaced by something else that makes consumers’ lives even easier.

It also applies to people.

You may be flying high and on top of your game one day and be obsolete the next simply because you didn’t change, adapt, or learn. People – not just brands – have to continue to innovate.

You may want to be many things. I just hope you don’t want to be a Polaroid.

We’ve made a horrible mistake.

Yup. “We’ve made a horrible mistake.” That’s how Nancy Vonk, Co-Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy described the ad industry’s approach to training and development. Nancy was part of a panel I gathered to discuss the lack of training in our industry. Also joining the conversation were Anthony Kalamut, Leslie Ehm, Jeff Potnikoff, and Suzanne Filiatrault. It was all part of XChange, a new online show that I launched in partnership with Cartilage Digital, Marketing Magazine and Dx3.

As you’ll see, the discussion is lively and the content is rich.

Thanks to our panelists for spending the time. And thanks to you for watching.

I welcome your comments and suggestions for topics to discuss or panelists to feature in the future.

Say I Do!

Image representing Michael Dell as depicted in...

Image via CrunchBase

The ability to tell compelling and engaging stories is critically important in selling your ideas, your company, your product or even yourself. Most corporate audiences I speak to agree with this notion. And then comes the usual response: “I’m just not a very good storyteller.”

My follow up? “How did you meet your spouse?”

This question immediately brings out everyone’s inner Spalding Gray. Even the shyest of the bunch can instantly deliver a narrative filled with great characters, intrigue, humour, and romance. They’re engaging, they’re emotional, and well, they’re good. They don’t have notes to refer to and they don’t whip out a PowerPoint deck to help them out along the way.

Here’s why:
1.        It’s personal.
2.        They’ve told the story hundreds of times.

Storytelling isn’t about talent. It’s about preparation. To be engaging with prospects, clients or colleagues, you have to tell the story from YOUR perspective. If it doesn’t matter to you, it probably won’t matter to them. Once you have the story, practice it. And then do it again. And again. Over time, you’ll bring it to life and leave people wanting more.

Do you want more? Check back tomorrow when I’ll reveal some more great tips on telling a great corporate story. I’d also like to know what you think are some of the most legendary corporate stories. Dell’s “This company began in Michael Dell’s garage” story is one of mine. Let me know.