I don’t mean for this to sound like an advertisement. But I’ll tell ya, this might sound pretty close. I suppose when you are in love with something, you want to let it be known. It’s a pleasure to share it with everyone else.
You see, I live a really busy life. In that hubbub, I’ve lost time indulging in my favorite pastime of all — reading books. As a young guy, you would never find me without a copy of something by my side. But as life progressed and my table has become more and more full, the chance for those relaxing moments happens less often.
But since I’ve been using Audible, I’ve listened to six books in two months. I just re-read Dune, listened to John Krakauer’s Missoula and I have intentions on finally listening to The Alchemist.
Audible (now owned by Amazon) is a brand that fulfills a unique need that few others have. Without much competition, save for OverDrive (a public library-based audiobook and eBook site), Audible has a need-based position locked up. (In addition, most of the audiobooks on iTunes are from Audible.)
Audible is unique, need-fulfilling brand.
The great French general Napoleon based many of his strategies on the beliefs of human tendencies. To paraphrase within the context of branding, with careful planning and insight, you may in fact find an ally and advantage in the market leader. Brand messaging is often overlooked. Napoleon taught us that our advantage often lies in an understanding of human nature.
Audible understands human beings like me by aligning itself with a belief that learning is still important – even if we don’t have time for it. May I add, it helps that most of the books are read by actors too. (Others are sometimes read by the authors themselves.) That takes the already high level of enjoyment up a few more notches.
But enough of my yapping. I need to get back to listening.
Don’t have time to read? Try Audible. was last modified: August 23rd, 2016 by Tom Dougherty
Brexit was a bloodless civil war. We have come along way (or have we?). Time was an obscure Archduke could be assassinated in Bosnia and the whole world would be dragged into a global war later called the First World War in history books.
In 1861, the United States of America began a bloody struggle to decide the legality of succession. We called that fight the Civil War and it took four blood soaked years and millions of lives to settle. In the end, the decision was made that no state was sovereign enough to resign its place in the United States.
Shelby Foote famously said that, before the Civil War, people said the United States “Is” and after the Civil War they said The United States “Are”.
Yesterday, the United Kingdom VOTED to leave the European Union. In our Twitter world, the vote was shortened to Brexit. It is an example of how blind nationalism can cloud judgment and how people will emotionally vote for things that in the long term are not in their own best interest. I wonder if Scotland wishes it had another shot at their historic vote to remain in the United Kingdom? Scotexit never became a word.
I think a great deal of world stability will be shaken by this vote. I can see further troubles stirring in Northern Ireland again. I believe the uncertainty in the world’s monetary systems will shake rattle and roll the financial markets for a while as the global community tries to discount this tsunami of change. Everything we have come to rely on in this global world has been challenged.
But the reason I write this is because NO ONE doubts the RIGHT of the UK to secede (not to be confused in any way with succeed).
In the US, we thought the illegality of succession was decided and written in blood 150 years ago. Americans believe we have a corner on the market when it comes to freedom and liberty. We are wrong.
Freedom of self-determination was just exercised in Europe to an extent we can’t even fathom in the US. Had this RIGHT been self evident, I would be penning this blog in the Confederate States of America because I live in North Carolina—a state that lost 1 out of every 4 casualties at Gettysburg during the Civil War.
To me, it does not matter if you think the American Civil War was fought over state’s rights or slavery. The impetus for the temporary dissolution of the United States in the late 1800’s was due to a racist issue.
I think the same is true for Brexit.
I don’t believe it was so much an economic issue as it was over a war on immigration. The UK did not want Europe dictating immigration policy. They just don’t want THEM settling in the UK any more. Think about it, the UK never surrendered their currency to the Euro. The Pound Sterling remained.
So much for economics driving succession.
I find Brexit a sad move. Not for all the obvious reason of a common market and ease of travel. I find it sad that bigotry wins anywhere and under any circumstances.
You can have your DNA tested for just a couple of dollars (or Euros or pounds) these days. It points to your REAL ancestry.
Funny, the differences are very small. We all began in Africa and are very much the same. Only the adopted and insignificant drapery of religious preference and favorite cuisine separates us all one from another.
Brexit succession means nobody wins was last modified: June 24th, 2016 by Tom Dougherty
Or, a belief can be changed by a cataclysmic event.
I wonder if that’s what happened in the aftermath of the Orlando massacre when Sen. Chris Murphy filibustered for 14 hours last night and won promises from Republicans to look at tightening gun control laws.
Filibusters are often showboating affairs (excusing Jimmy Stewart, of course) as politicians like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have proven in the past. They talked for hours, even reading Dr. Seuss, but nothing was actually accomplished by them.
Could recent events have changed the views of some on gun control?
But has the Orlando massacre changed the belief systems of those previously opposed to tightening gun control laws? It might have.
Even Republican senator Pat Toomey supported Murphy in his efforts as public opinion has shifted enough in the aftermath of shootings (and other shootings) to limit the ability of those on terror watch lists to buy assault weapons.
It seems logical enough. Those suspected of being terrorists, who are currently not allowed to fly in the US, should not be allowed to buy assault rifles that are built to kill people.
But the NRA is an extremely powerful lobbying group that can put the squeeze on just about any politician, Republican or Democrat. It has stated that it agrees that terrorists should not have guns, but added that those wrongly accused of being terrorists would have their rights damaged.
The response, including from some Republicans, is to put safeguards in place to protect those wrongly accused, but to go forward with a proposal – and a vote – to limit the ability of suspected terrorists to buy, for example, a Sig Sauer MCX or an AR-15.
There is still a long ways to go on gun control laws. Congress is a difficult, slow-moving beast. But real change happens when movements are aligned with belief systems – or, as in this case, those belief systems are shaken to the core by an event impossible to ignore.
Are opinions changing on gun control laws? was last modified: June 16th, 2016 by Tom Dougherty
The news about 40 dead tiger cubs at the Thailand Temple makes me cringe. So I ask, what is your personal responsibility in embracing a brand of Buddhist Temple Tigersas your own?
I’m going to make the argument that it is a deadly serious responsibility. One that most of us ignore (the root of the word ignorant).
Why should it surprise any of us that any tourist venues (and the Buddhist Temple resplendent with tigers was just that) that have us interact with animals in what appears to be an unnatural way is a form of exploitation. When we participate in this charade, we endorse it. It becomes our personal brand.
I remember as a kid my folks took my sister and I on a station wagon vacation. These types of vacations were the norm for my family so it wasn’t until my 16th birthday that I first rode in an airplane. My Dad drove us everywhere, but that is a meaty story for another day.
It was the summer of 1964 and our family began a cross country trek from our home in New Jersey to Yellowstone National Park. Mom and Dad were not the adventurous type and I don’t remember doing any REAL hiking in the park. On the contrary, my experience in the park was restricted to boardwalk pedestrian access to hot springs, photo oportunities and point of interest.
The highlight for me, the nine year old, was certainly the bear jams. A bear or a mother bear and her cubs took up a begging position on a main road and everyone filed out of the car to feed the begging animals candy, cookies or chips. When the ranger finally arrived and forced everyone to leave (because we were all in some danger, being inches away from a wild animal) the bear jam dispersed and everyone piled back in their cars seeking the next jam a mile or so up the road.
No one mentioned the danger TO the poor bear. No one said it was unnatural and unhealthy for a bear to become habituated to people, reliant on hand-outs for food and, worse still, nourished on a diet of human junk food.
Ten years later and the bears were gone. The National Park Service began to really crack down on tourists who stopped and fed bears. It closed the dumps in the park where bears congregated for easy food and installed bear-proof trash cans everywhere in the park.
Today, there may be an occasional bear jam but it is when a brownie or grizzly is spotted hundreds of yards away moving in its natural habitat. When you visit Yellowstone today, your brand is that of an unspoiled naturalist. Good for everyone. Including the bears.
But, as I scan Facebook for the comings and goings of friends and friends of friends, I can’t tell you how many, otherwise smart people, go to swim with the dolphins and think the animals are perfectly happy to haul humans around on their dorsal fins. My God. Watch The Cove and see just how these animals are captured and the amount of tranquilizers they must be fed to keep them docile and only a little crazy.
Outrage over the movie Black Fish has pressured Sea World to change its focus on Shamu (at least a little bit of change) and Ringling Brothers has retired its elephants.
How ignorant can we be?
But we are surprised that the Buddhist Temple tigers in Thailand, which has become de rigueur for Bangkok tourists who pay $100 to have their picture made with adult Tigers, is natural? What is it about these Buddhist monks that makes these solitary uber-predators docile? That’s easy. It’s called mistreatment. Tigers don’t care about your philosophy, vegetarian diet or religion. They don’t even care if you practice non-violence. Tigers are tigers.
They need our protection not domestication. Its easy to recognize that something terrible is actually going on.
So when you visit a dolphin enclosure, the Buddhist Temple Tigers,a circus (with trained lions and tigers) or a Sea World-type park, your brand is not innocent tourist. Your brand is exploitative human. Selfish and ignorant.
Thailand buddhist temple tigers was last modified: June 2nd, 2016 by Tom Dougherty
Facebook politics (posts about political identification) seem to be more and more commonplace today. I’m not so different from you. I have deeply felt political loyalties. However, if you are like me at all, you just cringe to see opposing views posted on Facebook by your friends. However, I don’t cringe when my friends post messages that agree with my bent. What’s going on here?
Its easy to dismiss this personal hypocrisy and blame it on the idea that we all like it when others agree with us.
I think that is true, for the most part. But it feels to me that we get our nose out of joint most often when our social media acquaintances post confident opinions on religion or politics.
Other topics don’t seem to bother me too much. I read them but they never ruffle my feathers. Facebook Politics and Facebook religion… well those are different beers altogether.
Facebook is an interesting and timely example of personal branding
For many of us, our Facebook page is the banner of our private brands. We use it to tell the world where we have visited, what we have eaten, what we have seen, who we love and.. what we believe (insert politics or religion here).
I’m no different. A search of my Facebook page reveals posts from my business’s blog, trips I have enjoyed with my wife, restaurant meals that were (sometimes) memorable, pictures of my family and grandchildren and very little more. I try not to post things that express my views on religion and try (sometimes I fail) to ignore political posts.
Why? Is it because I look at Facebook as a branding tool? Is it because I find posts from others on these topics occasionally offensive? I wish it were so simple.
The truth is that I avoid posts that talk about politicians, politics and religion because I am a student of persuasion. It’s part and parcel of what I do for a living. As a brand strategist, my goal is to position brands in a way that they become persuasive to prospects (and at the same time reassuring to customers).
Facebook politics as a focus seems futile to me. I know how difficult it is to change someone’s mind and I use every tool available to me as a professional brand guy to make the effort successful. I utilize research, competitive and market analyses, switching triggers and a projectable research based understanding of beliefs.
I know that the best way to change a behavior is to align a brand message with an existing belief held by the target audience you want to influence. When done with aplomb, you are not changing behavior insomuch a realigning a behavior with the self-definition of the target audience.
This process works because we are all prisoners of our belief systems. What we BELIEVE to be true (note that it does not have to be true, just believed) always controls our behaviors because it creates the needs and wants that control all of our actions.
Brand is self-identification
Usually, this self-identification is general—it forms a philosophy of our lives that gives us personal meaning and eliminates internal conflicts between what we do and what we believe.
Human beings naturally seek refuge in agreement and are repulsed by conflict. When you engage in a behavior that seems alien to your belief systems I can pretty much guarantee that you will eventually cease that behavior. We may be emotionally attached to Coca-Cola but we are not a COKE.
Religion and Politics are a different story. Depending on your bent, you ARE a Christian, Muslim, Atheist Buddhist, Hindu, or Jain. You ARE a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Socialist or Libertarian.
These are the fiber of your belief systems. Rarely are they challenged (as adults) without a catastrophic event.
What this means is that we form attachments to these ideas WITHOUT cognitive introspection. They are emotional beliefs not rational ones.
I know from commercial experience that ALL purchase decisions are emotional choices. They are not cognitive. We may believe we have rational reasons for the things we buy but they most often are rationalizations of an emotional choice. We back-fill the rational to defend the emotional precisely because we can’t abide internal conflicts.
An exercise in futility
So I ask you the question I ask myself, why post your religious views or political polemics on Facebook? Is Facebook politics worthy of your time and effort?
Nothing you say could possibly change someone’s mind because rational arguments, from either side of an issue, will not change anyone a jot. It is an exercise in futility.
A mentor of mine once told me that communication without purpose is at its best unconstructive and at its worst destructive. I think that has never sounded more true to me than hearing about Bernie, Donald or Hillary on Facebook.
We all are where we are and all we risk is offending those who do no agree with our own beliefs with a ZERO chance of changing someone’s mind. I actually believe that it makes others more entrenched in their beliefs. It’s human nature after all.
Facebook Politics. Keep it private. was last modified: May 26th, 2016 by Tom Dougherty
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