Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Return to blogging - at another site

After six years of blogging, then a one-year hiatus, I am back at it. The time off was refreshing, and gave me a lot of time to think about what I want the next iteration of my blog to be.

My new focus will be on innovative brand marketing, digital strategy, and creative storytelling, especially as they relate to better connecting and engaging with key stakeholder groups.

However, I will no longer use this blog. I have moved my blog to a Wordpress platform, and am using my former darbyDARNIT business domain, for my blog.

All of my blog posts have been ported over to that site, and I hope you will consider subscribing again. Thank you for listening, commenting, and contributing in the past. I hope we can continue the discussion. Goodbye Blogger.

Cheers - petri

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Good ads Vs. Great ads - What's the difference?

Good brands are built on the backs of information, facts, history, and rational messaging.

Great brands are built on the backs of inspired people, shared emotional connections, changing history, and driving new cultures.

Good advertising and great advertising are defined by similar definitions.

Good advertising tells.
Great advertising shows.

Good advertising tries to convince through reason.
Great advertising appeals to the senses.

Good advertising says "We are smarter than you. We know what you need. Listen to us."
Great advertising says "We get you. We are you. trust us."

The following ads for two insurance companies are a perfect example of how wide the gap is between good advertising and great advertising.

GOOD TV AD: Allstate

GREAT TV Ad: Liberty Mutual

Most insurance companies are not thought of as caring, touchy feely organizations that are in touch with the human condition, so the ultimate test of the power of their advertising is whether these spots reflect an authentic image of the brands. But, let this be a lesson for law firms, accounting firms, management consulting firms, and every other business operating in an industry perceived to be boring, stale, disconnected, and unsympathetic.

There is a time and place for cerebral thinking and messaging, for your buffet of facts, statistics, awards, and rankings. But if every other firm is focused on coasting and being good, perhaps you have an opportunity to be great.

Friday, February 19, 2010

What Tiger Woods Did Right and Wrong in His Apology Statement

Tiger Woods just finished delivering his apology statement, asking for forgiveness for his infidelities and letting down his family and fans. Generally, the content of the speech was good. He apologized thoroughly and took responsibility for his actions. He admitted fault and presented steps he is taking to reclaim his discipline and put his personal recovery above his professional career. He praised and protected his family and humbled himself.

But the speech was not perfect. Here are the areas where it could have been stronger:

1. Tiger Woods is known for being extremely media savvy and very controlled, even without prepared statements. In press conferences and interviews, he comes across as confident and comfortable. However, he sounds much less authentic reading from a tightly scripted speech.

2. Tiger's speech should have been about complete contrition and acceptance of blame. Totally. Completely. Instead, Tiger switched from the soft, humble tone and aggressively attacked and antagonized the media for following his family everywhere they go and demanding that they leave his family alone. Yes, it is horrible that paparazzi hound his wife, kids, and mother. Everyone agrees with that. But in throwing darts at the media, he went from apologetic to accusatory. In crisis management, trying to spread blame is a horrible strategy. Own it. Take responsibility. Share your plan for doing everything you can to ensure it never happens again. Period.

3. I was surprised that he didn't apologize to his mistresses. Yes, I know some might not agree and that many people blame the person a spouse cheats with more than the spouse - which I find mystifying - but those women were victims too. Tiger leveraged his power and influence to woo them. He lied to them. He used them and disposed of them as though they were worthless and only there for his entertainment.

4. After finishing his statement, Tiger hugged those sitting in the front row in the room, including his mom. This was a very strange ending and it looked and felt staged. News reports indicated that Elin refused to join him at the event, to her credit. So it just seemed like Tiger felt the need to show that he still has support from friends and family. It's probably not a big deal, but I think it would have been better if he just walked out of the room.

5. His first public statement should have come way earlier. Waiting this long just reinforces the perception that everything he does is controlled and calculated.

Having said all that, I think the speech was a good step toward salvaging his reputation. The American public has shown time and time again that the only thing we love more than tearing down a celebrity, is seeing him/her rise from the ashes like a Phoenix, cleansed and reborn as a new and better person. Tiger has that chance. Now we just have to see what he does with it.

Monday, February 08, 2010

CLIENT NEWS: Win a Free Apple iPad by Referring RedEye Remote to a Friend

Win a Free Apple iPad by Referring RedEye Remote to a Friend
RedEye Universal Remote Control for iPhone and iPod Touch: Now Compatible With Apple iPad

February 2010 - ThinkFlood (, maker of the RedEye personal remote control for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (, has launched the RedEye Remote Refer-a-friend Sweepstakes to celebrate the arrival of the Apple iPad. Odds of winning are 1/100, and ThinkFlood is prepared to give away dozens of iPads.

For every friend you refer who purchases a RedEye universal remote control system before March 31, you will be automatically entered for a chance to win an Apple iPad. All friends referred will receive a 15 percent discount on the purchase of a RedEye system.

"Apple's new tablet inspired us to develop a version of the RedEye app that takes advantage the iPad's enormous touchscreen," said ThinkFlood president and co-founder Matt Eagar. "We're looking forward to showing our sweepstakes winners all the new RedEye features and content made possible by internet connectivity and the iPad's extra screen real estate."

Like the iPad, the RedEye system is designed to blend into any home's design with both functionality and style.

Visit for sweepstakes rules, and to sign up for a referral link to share with friends.

About RedEye
The RedEye system ( turns the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad into a personal remote control that allows control of virtually any home entertainment device from any room in the home. RedEye offers users an affordable, easy-to-use interface and all of the features and functionality previously available only in expensive, high-end universal remotes and home automation systems.

About ThinkFlood
ThinkFlood ( designs and develops hardware and software with a focus on making everyday tasks easier. Its first commercial application, RedEye, is an iPhone accessory that transforms the phone into a universal remote control and enables users to easily control almost anything in their home entertainment centers using any iPhone, iPod touch or iPad device. Founded in 2007, ThinkFlood is a privately held company headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.

With 4,000 fans and counting, RedEye is the most popular remote control on Facebook

Visit ThinkFlood's blog, MoreControl (, for the latest remote control and home automation news.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Listening and Asking Questions are the Key to Marketing Success

My good friend, and oftentimes marketing and business development mentor, Eric Fletcher, (Twitter: @ericfletcher) chief marketing officer for McGlinchey Stafford law firm, recently penned an insightful blog post, "The Discipline of Listening vs. The Art of Messaging." In it, he challenges marketers' instinctive focus on one-way creative messaging before truly listening and understanding a client's unique market, conditions within that environment, and the client's true interests, and needs.

In a culture that, in the short-term, rewards speed, strong points of view, and tactical activity, listening is a lost art.

I recently had two experiences in meeting with prospects that highlighted the value of listening and getting the other person to talk. Both were referred to me and wanted to meet to see if I could handle a few tactical projects. The more questions I asked, the more the prospects shared about their business, their personal interests, their frustrations, and the dynamics and trends driving their industry.

After an hour with one of the prospects, he said, "I feel like I'm doing all the talking," and at that point, I knew the conversation was going well. I transitioned and said, "Let me tell you what I've heard from you and where I think you have some opportunities and you can tell me if you feel like I have a firm grasp of where you want to go."

Much of what I told him was information he already knew, but he needed someone with a marketing mind to analyze what he said, repeat it back in a clear, organized fashion, and present a strategic framework of possible solutions. While I shared some relevant case studies, I never attempted to make the fast, easy, tactical sale or convince him that I was the man for the job. I didn't have to make a full-court press for the business - the process was organic and the deal signed itself.

Listening, connecting, understanding, caring, and delivering - those are the keys to successful marketing and business development.