Naming Contest, Inc.
Mag's name contest nets consult time for winners
Today Inc. Magazine announced a contest to name five fictional franchises.
Winners receive a free, one-hour naming consultation with expert Alex Frankel and/or a copy of his book "Wordcraft." Four runners-up receive copies of "Wordcraft".
Read the company profiles and rules at the Inc. website.
If you don't want to hang your naming consultation on the chances of winning the Inc. contest, you should contact my buddy Peter Lloyd at GoCreate.
Peter is an expert name-comer-upper-guy. He'll organize a group "Brainline" (an online brainstorm session) guaranteed to provide a flood of naming options and ideas. Visit Peter's Brainline naming questionnaire, fill it out, and he'll get back to you with a proposal PDQ.
Tell him Don the Idea Guy sent you! :)
InfoGuru Shares Follow-Up Flashes
If you're a fan of InfoGuru Robert Middleton, you'll know he's famous for providing incredible marketing information at an incredible price (is free incredible enough?)
Every week Robert sends out "More Clients: the Online Marketing Newsletter for Independent Professionals." Each issue is filled with valuable information in the form of a topical article and a brief summary of the article (my favorite part!) called "Marketing Flashes." I've shared his latest summary below:
Marketing Flashes on "Instant Networking"
by Robert Middleton
For many, networking stops after a networking event. But that's really when networking starts. To get the most out of networking events, do the following.
* Follow Up - Don't disappear after meeting someone at an event. Follow up by sending a note, an email or some valuable information. This makes you both memorable and valuable.
* Meet In Person - When you make a connection with someone at an event that shows promise, get back to them and set up a meeting over lunch or coffee and discuss how you can help each other.
* Send Referrals - Keep your eyes and ears open for people who could use the services of your new networking contacts and refer them whenever possible.
* Stay In Touch - Always mention that you have a newsletter or eZine and that you'd be happy to add them to your list. If they're on your list, they'll never forget you.
* Be a Catalyst - By arranging for networking opportunities like Jane Trevaskis, you'll gain a reputation as a valued resource person. And you'll be "top-of-mind" if someone needs your services.
If you'd like to receive Robert's FREE 24-page Marketing Plan Workbook, learn more about his online InfoGuru Marketing Manual, or to sign-up for his fantastic newsletter -- just click here to visit his website.
Miss Pellings Loosing Sails?
OnlineProofreaders help those in a hurry to capture ideas
Every couple weeks I get an email from my mother telling me of some typo she happened to catch on my website or blog. Unfortunately, it's usually in an entry dedicated to professional image, or double-checking facts, etc. I blush at those obvious flubs -- let alone at my horrible use of grammar and "creative" punctuation -- but my goal is to always keep this blog conversational. I type the ideas as quickly as I can, and let the inevitable typos fall where they may.
To those who think I should pay more attention to HOW I write and not WHAT I write, I say "I'm an Idea Guy" and if I'm ever pulled-over by the grammar police on the information superhighway, I'll just show 'em my creative license and hope they let me off with a warning.
But, there are those who can't afford to play loose with the language -- lawyers, writers, teachers, doctors -- 'experts' of any sort can instantly lose credibility by the misplacement of a comma or the appearance of an out-of-place apostrophe. Their high hourly rates will soon take a high-dive if their website wavers in its accuracy of not only content, but context. Spellcheck can only go so far, and nothing takes the place of another set of human eyes to eyeball your copy prior to publication.
Enter OnlineProofReaders.com -- They offer a plethora of pre-qualified proofers and excellent editors, all tested and pre-screened to assure quality correction of your content. They stand ready to double-check your websites, newsletters, eBooks, and more. They even bid on your projects to assure you're receiving the best possible price for your needs. I'd say it's worth-a-look to have someone take a second-look at your work. OnlineProofreaders.com
PS: If you're good at finding said typos (like my mom), you can even apply to be a proof reader. Be prepared to prove your proofing skills, they screen all applicants.
Necco Wafers are Groovy
Special link for my friend Chuck
I was talking to my buddy the other night and we got on the subject of old-time candies we enjoyed in our youth.
I was never a big fan of these things, but apparently my buddy Chuck still craves the nasty, chalky disks masquerading as sweet treats. The stores in his home town can't keep them in stock -- I can't imagine why, nobody else I know likes 'em!
Never let it be said I let a friend suffer the symptoms of candy withdrawal, no matter how nasty his taste in candy might be -- this link's for you, pal!
Did you know this candy was invented by a guy named Ned Necco?
He came up with the concept for the flat, sugary disks while playing a game of Tiddly Winks -- That's not so hard to believe -- I once accidentally swallowed a Tiddly Wink, and I seem to remember it tasted a little better than a Necco Wafer.
What is Watizit?
Ambiguous Visualization and Forced Relationships
I first learned about Watizit through my brainstorming-buddy, Peter Lloyd. I participated in a recent Brainline project on candy bars (don't blame ME if you missed out -- you were invited to play too!) and Peter listed it as a source for idea stimulation.
The official description of Watizit states:
"Most people tend to use either verbal or mathematical skills to conceptualize, and we follow set patterns we're comfortable with. Watizit uses ambiguous graphics to push to the user to conceptualize visually, which is not a mode most of us use."BUT, as they say on the website -- "The best way to understand Watizit is to try it out" -- so take them up on their invitation and try out this great online creativity tool (for free during the beta-testing stage!)
If you'd like access to HUNDREDS of other websites featuring creative themes, online spark-generators, and free books and reports to get you thinking BIG -- just sign-up for my FREE "IDEAS 4U" Newsletter. You'll receive a special instructions in your subscription confirmation on how you can access HUNDREDS of creativity websites and download more than a dozen special reports and ebooks. Sign-up for IDEAS 4U today!
Branding Diva's recent "Brand Bite" offers good advice for ad specialty users
I subscribe to Karen Post's "Brand Bite" newsletter, and you should too. Great thoughts to chew on in bite-size morsels, like her most recent post on the topic of choosing promotional items:
Stamping your name on every single promotional item you can find will not ensure big brand buzz, but may certainly fill up circular filing cans fast.
Karen Post helps organizations and professionals prosper with a powerful brand. She is a 20-year branding enthusiast, professional speaker, and author. If you’d like to subscribe to Brand Bite, learn more on branding, speaking programs, or consulting, please visit www.brandingdiva.com.
Printing your logo on promotional items can be an effective branding tactic or a useless expense. It is up to you. The selection of brandable products today is so great, why not select items that reinforce your brand story instead of doing like your competitors do with the same-old unoriginal tradeshow trash.
If you must be utilitarian, think about the material and design of the giveaway item. Is it slick and trendy like your company? Or rustic and adventuresome? Also consider how you package and deliver the item to your market. There may be more brand leverage opportunity here.
I use 3M Post-it® notes as one of my giveaway items, except mine say, “Karen Post-it”.
If you'd like more information or ideas on using promotional products to build your business and strengthen your brand, visit the NEW RedBird Promo website -- it's Don The Idea Guy's new business site for printing and promotional services.
James Farr raises the bar on raising the dead
This guy just made my day -- Chapter Four is on the loose!!
Xombie is just about the coolest thing on the 'net.
The creator, James Farr, is a computer-geek by day and animating-zombie-geek by night. In three episodes he managed to completely hook me into checking his website once per week in the hopes he'll roll out the next episode a little early. My efforts paid off, as Chapter Four was just released today -- a full two-weeks early. Not only is there a new chapter, there's a ton of new content and character information.
How much does this incredible entertainment cost?
He doesn't charge a dime.
But, if I am (I mean 'WE are') going to continue enjoying these great animated features (and learn more about the story!) go to his Xombie store and buy a t-shirt or something to help support his efforts.
James Farr has created several stores containing a variety of merchandise and apparel featuring many of the characters from the Xombie animated series. Click the shirt to link to the "basic" store -- or visit the Xombified website and checkout the other available stores... and don't forget to watch an episode or two (or four!) while you're there -- you'll be hooked!
Translating Vision into Reality
Hit the jackpot at Las Vegas Leader Conference
I received an email from my friend Jeff Tobe this morning about the 2004 Ultimate Leadership Conference being held in Sin City July 9th through the 11th.
Jeff and 4 other "ultimate leaders" (sounds like caged fighting match!) will be at the Flamingo hotel in Vegas to share their message, ideas, and lessons for turning your visions into reality.
Jeff wanted to see if he could add a boost to the final registration numbers, and offered this deal -- if you call his office 1-800-875-7106 (instead of registering online) he'll waive the $449 registration fee for the first 15 people that register. This means the only cost you'll have to cover is airfare and hotel (and the conference has worked a deal with The Flamingo for special $99 room rates.)
I've seen Jeff speak within the last year and he's great. Very entertaining and plenty of ideas to share. Sounded like a good deal -- thought I'd pass it along.
Remember: to save the $449 registration fee, you have to call his office 1-800-875-7106 (do not register online), you have to be one of the first 15 people to do so, and you must do it before June 30th.
If you decide to attend the conference and would like to save a few more bucks for the blackjack table, you can get 2-for-1 discounts on food and shows by visiting CasinoPerks.com.
Pennies For Your Thoughts
Jim Kukral helps turn blogs into bucks
A couple weeks ago I plunked down several dollars to buy Jim Kukral's ebook Blogs 2 Riches. It promised step-by-step advice for making a few extra dollars per month via my blog. Since I already have a blog (and can always use a few extra dollars) I decided to give it a shot.
I've got to be honest with you and say that at first I was a little disappointed with the total content. It starts from the EXTREME basics (how to start a blog, websites that offer free blogging accounts, explaining associate programs, several pages of links to associate sites, etc.) I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting -- but this wasn't it.
I emailed Jim and told him I was dissatisfied with my purchase, that I removed the link from my site to his book, and would never recommend it to anyone.
Note to self: Never say 'never'...
Jim eventually wrote back, said he was sorry I felt that way, and asked for a link to my blog so that he could see what I was doing and offer his advice on how to improve my results. He wrote back within a couple hours and ask me a very good question --
How could I be disappointed with the book's content when I hadn't tried a single one of the ideas it suggested?
That hit the Idea Guy where it hurts -- judging ideas without actually putting them into action?? Shame on me! Not exactly practicing what I preach, know what I mean?
Last week I began making some slight format changes to my blog -- mixing in a few of the Blogs 2 Riches ideas along the way. I'm not implementing all the ideas Jim suggests in the book, but I'm done shooting them down without giving them a try.
Sure, I still think most of the ideas contained within the book are basic (you can find blogging resources and associate programs out-the-wazoo if you spend two seconds on Google) but if you're not executing the basics -- actually putting ideas into action -- how the heck can you expect results or feedback of any kind?
My apologies to the author for criticizing the book before I gave it a real shot to perform, and my compliments to Jim for standing behind his work and helping me to put his knowledge into action. Now go to the website and download the free introduction.
New cartoons delivered direct to your mailbox
I really enjoy business-themed cartoons, and once I saw Andertoons I knew I had to post a link on the Brain|Blog.
Mark Anderson is a Chicagoland cartoonist who has a large library of cartoons available for purchase/licensing through his website, and even offers a free daily cartoon if you sign-up for his mailing list.
Mark's work has appeared in Reader's Digest, The Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping, Forbes, Woman's World, Barrons, and Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Darby Conley's Get Fuzzy is another funny page favorite. His new book focuses on Bucky Katt, so you know it's going to be caustic, sarcastic, and downright FANTASTIC.
Get your copy at 30% off!
Torture A Spammer
A Frustration Relief Game
Those geniuses at MarketingSherpa.com have come up with a fun game that grants us a little revenge on the spamming scum who clutter our in-boxes.
Torture A Spammer allows you to choose your most-hated spam-type and then play a "Whack-A-Mole" style game to qualify for a bonus round in which your pre-selected spammers is tortured to your tasting. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Watchout for the Opt-In Angel icons -- they are the good-guys, and if you whack them you'll lose points!
If you'd like fewer spammers in your in-box (making it easier to spot the Opt-in Angels) you might consider a service like 0Spam. I like it because it works with web-based email accounts like Yahoo and Hotmail.
Guerrilla Marketing Radio
The father of a marketing revolution takes to airwaves
Jay Conrad Levinson is now offering is encyclopedic knowledge of creative marketing not just online -- but on the air.
Click the icon below for a sample broadcast and information about the program.
New Life for Old Ads
Commercial Clearinghouse Reaps Rewards for Retailers on a Restricted Budget
The June issue of Business 2.0 contains a brief article about a big idea -- repurposing commercials that were shot for clients who didn't end up using them.
Apparently ad agencies have file cabinets filled with unused commercials for clients who decided to shift direction before the spots aired. Introduce that supply to the demand of smaller businesses who'd like to advertise but can't afford big-budget production costs, and you've got a match made in heaven.
I'd take it one step further and create an ad agency eBay -- sell the commercial spots to the highest bidder. Once others show interest in using them, their value to the original client will inevitably increase.
Just make sure you have a message that captures your audience's attention.
Colorful Relaunch of a Big Brand
Renewing vitality in an established brand isn't always so black and white
Excellent coverage of Masterfoods USA's plan to add new color to their fading M&Ms brand -- by taking all the color away.
Potentials Magazine | June 2004
If your tastes run more retro, you should checkout Groovy Candies or Oldtime Candy. Both sites carry those really cool treats we big kids over 30 used to enjoy in our youth.
A penny for your thoughts... IF you can pick the right one!
The Idea Guy's mom (shall we call her the Mother of Invention?) decides to get in on the blog-puzzle act, and has countered my dice game with this perplexing penny puzzle.