“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”
–Norman Vincent Peale
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
A great article on CPG marketing.
Kudos to the Path to Purchase Institute for another excellent Shopper Marketing Conference & Expo. If you were unable to join us October 21-23 in Minneapolis for this must-attend show, you missed out on a great experience. To ensure you are not behind the curve of your fellow shopper marketers, here are five reasons why the 2014 Shopper Marketing Conference & Expo was worth it for me.
#5 – Brave New Worlds for Shopper Marketing seminar
This sold-out session presented by Rich Butwinick, President, Marketing Lab, and Laston Charriez, SVP of Marketing, Western Union, took the audience on a fast-paced journey through the customer insights, strategy and execution behind the Western Union association with the 20th Century Fox animated movie Rio 2. Starting with strong organizational support and appropriate funding, the…
View original post 1,446 more words
3-d, books, business, business dinner, China, Chinese customs, Christmas, Cones, dining etiquette, dinner, drinking, family, Festivus, food, gifts, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, moustaches, Padma Lakshmi, Pasma Lakshmi, poppyseed pudding, Slovak, Toasting, traditions, Ying and Yang
The first time I traveled to China, our Beijing office made sure our U.S.-based team was prepared to conduct business. Our staff wanted to spare us any embarrassment as the Chinese take their business meals quite seriously. The information on dining etiquette was especially helpful as business is often conducted over a meal, and that week was packed with luncheons and dinners. (*See tips at end of article.)
The University of Wisconsin – Madison earns a well-deserved reputation for drinking, but I’ll bet businesspeople in China could give them a run for their money. Drinking and toasting during business dinners is priority one, with wine as the drink of choice. For example, if your host ‘slams’ his glass, all at the table must follow. I don’t think anyone on my team ‘drank til they dropped,’ but we gave it our best in honoring the Chinese traditions.
There’s no doubt traditions are important. We’re now at the height of the holiday season, and most people will celebrate in one way or another – Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Festivus.
One of the traditions I brought back from China to my family was the toast. When so many people are seated around a table that you cannot tap glasses with everyone, you ‘knock’ the bottom of your glass on the table several times, to indicate you are toasting with everyone.
We also have several traditions passed down from generation to generation. If your family is anything like mine, some revolve around food. In my mother’s family, we gather on Christmas Eve to eat a traditional eastern European (Slovak) dinner. During the years, the meal has undergone slight alterations. By a nearly unanimous vote (Grandma as the only nay), we eliminated one of the least favorite dishes–the poppyseed pudding. In the words of Padma Lakshmi, “Poppyseed Pudding, please pack your knives and go home.”
Other traditions have remained intact. One began only decades ago. After the gifts are opened and the torn wrapping paper and discarded bows cleaned away, we eagerly await one item. It is the final gift that probably means more than all the other gifts combined.
These are The Cones.
The Cones are Victorian-era designed 3-d cone boxes, marked with initials and filled by the dinner host. They only come out after the family sings our original ‘Cone Song.’ The small inexpensive gifts, usually from the dollar store, are a fun way to conclude the evening’s festivities. Some years the items are purposeful – one year we received tiny books, each one appropriate for the receiver. Other years the item is general – two years ago we all good-naturedly sported black moustaches, some also using them for eyebrows. It’s always a delightful way to end the evening.
Whatever your family does to celebrate the holidays – traditions, impromptu events or just calling to say hello – I wish you all the best in happiness, peace and joy for the New Year.
articles, avoidant business culture, business acumen, Business Communications, business fairytale, civility, courtesy, e-mail, fairytale, follow-up, interview, no response, phone call, response, return, writing
Once upon a time, not responding was considered impolite and poor business acumen.
Oh, how times have changed. A post on NYTimes.com states a ‘no response is the new no.’ I agree there are situations when not responding is appropriate. If I responded to every unsolicited (and unwelcome) telemarketing inquiry, I would have little time to complete my required work. However, when two parties are already in process for a contract, sales or other business activity, the lack of response by one party is frustrating.
When I write articles, I typically send the draft for review. Most contacts will review the article, provide feedback and return it quickly. Recently, though, I’ve encountered exceptions. One contact has, for several months and reasons unbeknownst to me, stealthily dodged his review of the article after he spent time in an interview and providing background materials. When he errantly sent me a company email, I considerately replied the information received was not intended for me. As long as I had his attention, I then asked if he would let me know the status of his review of the article. Again, there was no response. Not even a ‘We’ve decided not to participate.’ Essentially, I can go to print without his review, but I still offer the courtesy.
It’s hard to accept ‘no response is the new no’ when a process and communication between two parties is already in place.
One example is the job interview process where there seems to be a downward trend. A company brings in a candidate and then schedules hours (or days) of interviews with company representatives. At the completion of that step, the company tells the candidate to expect to hear something in the upcoming weeks. However, nothing ever follows. No courtesy call, e-mail or postal mail message alerting the candidate he or she did not make it to the next round.
The term for this is an “avoidant business culture.” Some people just don’t want to deal with ‘bad’ news.
So, if one hasn’t heard from a company in three-to-four weeks following an interview, it’s a safe assumption he or she has been passed over. In the end, it may be for the best not to work for a company who can’t be bothered to respond to their own process.
I am unsure when this lack of consideration became the ‘norm’ but it is extremely disparaging. The art and civility of follow-up seems to have fallen off. Maybe courteous responses really were just part of a business fairy tale, a long, long time ago.
Happy December! It’s hard to believe the last month of the year is already upon us. Where has the time gone? Can you even remember what you’ve accomplished since January?
Some days it feels as if I have done nothing at all, yet other days I feel as if I’ve created the world from scratch.
This week, I had one of those ‘I think I have done nothing days,’ but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. I decided it was time to change up the music on my iPod. My go-to source for musical recommendations is a friend who controls the music during the Green Bay Packers games at Lambeau Field. If anyone has ever attended an NFL game, you understand the critical importance of the musical choices. (Don’t get me started on how lame the ‘cat roar’ sound is at the Carolina Panthers’ stadium. Anyway…). As expected, he supplied a great list and I got busy downloading new songs in between writing projects.
When I went to update my iPod, however, that’s when my day went horribly wrong and long.
It turns out during one of iTunes’ many software updates, the company completely changed the ease and convenience I used to know. The warning bells should have sounded when I noticed the first difference: the color of the iTunes icon. It used to be blue – a nice, calming blue. I soon realized the new icon color was going to be indicative of what I would be seeing once I attempted to transfer music – RED.
Instead of the old, easy ‘click and drag’ method from my music library to my iPod, which this non-techie person appreciates, there were new levels of syncing required. This forced me to do an Internet search to find out how to accomplish the tasks because the iTunes HELP section was of absolutely no help.
Four hours later, I still didn’t have all the songs I wanted on my iPod. I gave up and unplugged.
Granted, I’m not in the middle of brain surgery, but when tasks take ten times longer than anticipated, it’s frustrating. I guess things could be worse. My friend was wrapping up a commercial audition when her gel push-up bra sprung a leak. As the congealed liquid dripped through her shirt and onto her shoes, I’m certain her day felt like an eternity.