Me sitting in the big chair at market
I am on the plane heading home from High Point market and was making some notes on my trip. It is always good to be around my friends in the industry, swap stories, and learn what is or is not working out there. I could not help but notice that the hallways were a little thin with people. Not saying the crowd was anemic, but there were no attendance records broken – I can tell you that. Hell, I even had the elevator all to myself on one trip to the 11th floor.
Every time I go to a market where traffic is slow, I read the Furniture Today article that follows, which quotes industry leaders saying things like, “Our traffic was great” or “We were even with last year” or “We were a little slow but the quality of our customer visits was great.” This is where I call BS! Not that some didn’t squeak out an increase, but let’s be honest, shall we? Just about everybody I talked to said that traffic was bad, so let’s call it what it is, people! Wouldn’t it be refreshing for someone to come out and just speak the truth? How great would it be to read a quote from a top manufacturer who said, “Traffic sucked for us so I went home early”? We can’t do that, though, because everyone else is spinning the truth so they don’t look like the only guy in the crowd that didn’t do well. Continue reading
Recently I was invited to attend an event in Boston called Recharge America, put together by Harvard Medical School (HMS). The goal of this group is to create a movement in America to make sleep the clear “third leg of the stool” when it comes to health pillars – right next to nutrition and exercise. This all took place just a few weeks ago and I thought it was worth a discussion.
Consider some of the data points that are driving the initiative:
- According to a Harvard Medical School study, sleep deprivation is costing companies in the U.S. $63 billion a year, primarily due to the phenomenon of presenteeism, whereby employees are physically present, but performing at subpar levels.
- Studies show that youth are accumulating 50 hours of sleep deficiency a month, and there is an epidemic of sleep disorders (estimated between 50-70 million Americans by the Institute of Medicine).
- Companies today drive their employees to do more with less, and working more and sleeping less is a badge that many wear to prove themselves as top performers worthy of the next promotion. Continue reading
Whenever someone leaves a company, the buzz about that person can really take on a life of its own. The stories, criticism (many times undeserved), accomplishments (many times undeserved), and reputation of that person can become larger than life. Bob Sherman just left Serta and I am seeing some of this behavior, so I thought I would give my personal account of working with the guy. Not that my take on Bob is correct, but it’s true for me.
I worked with Serta for nine years. When I started, Bob was the President of the National Bedding Company (NBC), and they owned four Serta licensees. Over the course of those nine years, Bob led that group to ultimately take over the Serta brand and own the majority position of the company. I saw Bob stand firm on issues that caused us to stall and that prevented us from moving forward on certain initiatives. There were times when I thought he was part of the problem, not the solution. I saw him speak in meetings when listening might have been better. HOWEVER, I have also seen Bob be a powerful leader. He is incredibly decisive, treats his people as if they were family, can drive a deal as hard as anyone I have seen, and is a competitor in the best kind of way. Make no mistake, Bob wanted to win and he wanted his competitors to lose, which is how it should be, I suppose. Continue reading
The following is a guest post by Mark Kinsley
To capture attention you have to replace the thought inside a person’s brain with something more interesting. And if you want to retain attention you have to continue surprising the part of the brain that anticipates the predictable.
What does our brain actually find interesting? New. Different. Surprising. Salient.
When you’re crafting advertising, filter the boring material out. Is the product new, or different? This could be a good starting point for crafting your message because people are attracted to novelty. If your product isn’t new or different, you can surprise your audience with language that jolts the brain’s robust anticipation area.
You’ll notice I didn’t talk about salience. That’s because salience creates a mental shift that primes people for your message and takes less dynamite powder packed inside your new, different, or surprising advertising. If I’m in the market for a mattress, the topic is salient. Ever bought a new car and noticed your model is everywhere? That new Mazda didn’t matter – it wasn’t salient – until you bought one. The same thing happens when people start sleeping poorly due to a mattress that needs to be replaced. Mattress commercials all of a sudden take on new importance. Continue reading