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Original articles from Rod Ebright.
 
Sweet Charity
There's a lot of good work being done by a lot of charitable foundations, maybe more than you might imagine. A quick Google search list more than 60 wish-granting organizations alone. There are foundations for virtually any type of disability, disease, and disaster. There are charities for dogs, cats, whales, and a multitude of other critters.

The Five Most Important Letters in Branding
The practitioners of any pursuit — be it science, engineering, performing arts, or competitive athletics — know that you must master the basics. And when you lose sight of the core principles of your craft, you fail. In branding, the most fundamental truth is that the customer owns the brand. Every successful brand has delivered a compelling response to these five letters that represent the consumer's perspective: W.I.I.F.M. — What's In It For Me? Answer the W.I.I.F.M. piece of your branding puzzle.

The Elevator Speech
elevator speech. noun. – A concise yet complete description or story that can be told in a short time period, such as the time it takes to ride in an elevator. Over the past months, I've found myself working with groups and individuals on the Elevator Speech. It shouldn't come as a huge revelation that a good Elevator Speech and a successful brand share the same traits. In short, the ideal Elevator Speech informs, entertains, and engages us. In this era of hyper-communication — with an evolving array of inexpensive instantaneous message outlets available to anyone with a phone, a camera, or a computer — an effective Elevator Speech is a vital tool to possess.

The Magic of Branding
Who doesn't love a great magic trick? Substitute the word "branding" for "magic" and Doug Henning's statement still holds true. But, wait a minute! Isn't it cynical and manipulative and unethical for advertisers to manage the public's view? There are two answers: YES, it's wrong — if you are unethical.

The Pointer Bitch Theory
My high school football coach, Marv Moorehead, was remarkable. He was one of the preeminent scholastic coaches of his era. He knew football, assembled a great staff, and had his share of fine athletes — but above all, Coach Moorehead was a master motivator. He exuded enthusiasm. Not the “Rah-Rah” kind, but the “give-it-your-absolute-best, never-say-die” kind.

On the Right Track to Inspired Branding
Just outside Union Station, the iconic railway terminal in Los Angeles, etched in black stone are these words: “VISION TO SEE, FAITH TO BELIEVE, COURAGE TO DO." It's easy to guess that this inscription was intended to inspire the general population dealing with the challenges of the 1930s as well as the thousands of servicemen and women who passed through this spot in later years on their way to military destinations.

Branding: It's a Piece of Cake!
A basic truth is that the ego has powerful influence over how we view the world. You must remember this when you're in the position of selling a product or service to someone -- and by selling, I mean marketing, influencing, persuading, or attracting. This conversation often starts when someone notices the box of Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Chocolate Cake Mix on my bookshelf. You see, for me, that box is a terrific example of understanding the consumer.

It's Not About the Storyteller
I worry that too many clients and their advertising agents are delusional. Sure, they may state that they are committed to making the sale — they may even believe it — but deep down inside, the truth of the matter is that they are really motivated by politics or ego.

Building a Brand: Who Do You Trust?
Good branding and effective advertising require a mastery of objectivity and a measure of discipline. They also require trust. To appreciate this, take a page from the playbook of someone who led a wildly successful branding campaign. Robert Townsend in his book, Up the Organization (published in 1970 by Knopf), tells of the creation of the campaign for Avis Rent A Car, the classic “We’re Number 2, We Try Harder.” In the early 1960s, Hertz was dominating the rental car business.

A Story of Persistence
Since childhood, Larry Dane Brimner wanted to be a writer. As a young man, Larry taught school while struggling to get his work published. Now this was in the 1980s, well before email and electronic submissions. Larry would mail copies of his manuscripts to publishing houses and wait for replies, which came by way of U.S. mail. Larry tells the poignant tale of the excitement, anticipation, and agony of awaiting a response to his very first book submission. It came, eventually, in the form of a rejection letter.

The Birth of an Elegant Solution
To anyone in the business of persuasion (and that includes marketers, brand managers, sales clerks, politicians, and preachers), let me pose a question: How important is it for you to do your homework? Ask the folks at Chevrolet who, many years ago, attempted to market the Chevy Nova in Mexico – where “no va” in Spanish means “does not go.”

Being Second in a First-Place World
Even those who don't follow baseball know Jackie Robinson. The first African American to play in the modern major leagues, Robinson was an exceptional athletic talent who displayed extraordinary poise in the face of great pressures. Very few are aware of his older brother, Matthew "Mack" Robinson.

The 60/30/10 Rule
I was recently invited to present useful advice to business people in the area of marketing and branding. "And, by the way, you only have 5 to 7 minutes for your entire presentation." Only five minutes. What is the most important, most definitive aspect of marketing? What will be memorable and useful to such a diverse audience? If I can tell someone only ONE THING, what is it?

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