Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sexualising women has gone too far

Imagine flicking through a magazine and your eye focuses on an ad that at first visually looks like most ads- the male model checking out the woman in the sultry sexy way that men in ads often do.
However this time the ad copy is suggesting you spike your best friend’s eggnog while they are not looking! 
It’s at this point you hear that screeching sound brakes make when you hit them and the car skids to a halt. What were the marketing, PR team at Bloomingdale's thinking when they created and approved this ad? 
This ad ran just before Christmas last year and caused a furor on social media sites across the world.
  •  Firstly if you look at your best friend in that way - you are not best friends. The guy in the ad is looking at her in a very creepy way, not the way my best friend would look at me.
  • Secondly - eggnog already has alcohol so why would you spike it?
  • Thirdly - the fact it does have alcohol and they are suggesting the best friend spike her drink indicates something more sinister such as date rape.
  • And lastly spiking drinks is illegal. 
For a store with such high brand equity to place an ad such as this in the public domain in print is flabbergasting stupid. 
 But they have not been the only ones with such stupidity.  
Bud Light earlier last year had to issue an apology after introducing their slogan - "The perfect beer for removing "No" from your vocabulary for the night." Did the marketing team not think about the issues surrounding a slogan such as this and what this was promoting?
Dolce and Gabbana put out an ad which showed a female model being held down by a shirtless man while other men looked on. For many this depicted gang rape and eventuated in the ad being banned in several countries. When you look at this ad, there is nothing about it that entices me to buy their brand and I cannot understand how any marketing team, leave alone a management team thought that this imagery was ok.  
As a CEO I support placing advertising in the market place that can be risky or controversial however I would never approve anything that would be offensive to the consumers we are marketing to.  You don't want to issue apologies or have marketing that will have a negative impact on your brand equity.  
I believe that your marketing has to be relevant to the market place and your demographics. Why put marketing in the market place that 50% of the population will disconnect from.
At a time when violence against women is at an all-time high, there is discussion globally on gender equality and diversity surely it should be the role of iconic brands such as these to ensure their marketing campaigns are respectful and generate positive discussion and debate. 
It seems that many marketing teams have perhaps not connected with what discussions are being had globally. 
The he for she campaign, Malala recently being named as the Nobel peace prize recipient, the new PM in Canada making a deliberate decision to have 50% of his cabinet as women - why - because it was 2015!  
Global change on the issue of violence against women, gender equality and diversity in the workplace that represents our communities are issues that requires leaders in government and private corporate sector to take the lead on.  
It also takes CEOs of iconic brands to ensure their marketing is relevant to what is occurring in their markets globally.  For far too many years we have seen ads where women are the sexual center piece, play things . Surely we are now mature enough and bold enough to move away from this.  
However this recent piece suggests we still have a way to go. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

The ditch list

So, we start another year and I would guess, another set of resolutions that we are determined to stick to.

It seems that New Year resolutions have become something of a “tradition” that we know we won’t really stick to but we all feel the need to make them. It’s about as exciting as eating a bucket of kale really and they seem to have regular themes – lose weight, get fit, give up smoking, healthy eating, reduce debt, make more money…..

In fact research tells us that over 60% of us will discard these resolutions within the next three months – so all those people who lined up to join the gym with me in the first week of Jan we have three months to get fit!

So this year I started thinking a little differently about my resolutions. What did I want to ditch this year? What did I want to do less of? Because the ditch list just may be an easier list to stick to.

So here are some of the items that could be on your ditch list:

Your inner nag

We all have that voice in our heads that creates doubts and excuses like I don’t have time, the market is impacting my performance, I will make the changes next month….. Remember your mind only knows what you tell it, so tell your inner nag to sod off, 2016 can be your best year in real estate, you simply have to put a plan in place that you can follow and be disciplined on the actions you take.

Stop looking for the quick fix

Real estate, like any other job, requires you to have a plan, key success indicators, someone to hold you accountable, updating your skills and an unrelenting focus on the actions that will lead to your success. Every conference or training session I have been to over the last 20 years have all had the same message. Manage your database, make the calls, build the relationships, provide exceptional service, be relevant in all your communications and keep up to date with technology.

Remember no market ever stays the same, consumers have choices, they are knowledgeable, if you don’t have in place any of the above understand simply turning up to work and expecting the listings to walk in the door isn’t going to work long term.

Don’t ignore your personal health and wealth

If you have a business plan, ensure that you have a focus on your personal health and wealth. We all work to create a lifestyle for ourselves, to have financial security so don’t lose focus on this. How many of us stop going to the gym because we get busy at work, we don’t take holidays, we don’t spend enough time with our family and friends. Ditch this in 2016, take control of your diary, plan ahead, remember to be successful at work you need to be fit in mind, body and spirit and have your friends and family around you to support you and celebrate with you.

Staying in your comfort zone

We all love our comfort zone, the problem with this is that often it means we don’t stretch ourselves, we become complacent, maybe even lazy. So ditch the comfort zone, maybe now is the time to put on that PA, to become a commission only agent, to start your own business, to 2x, 3x your income. I believe you almost need to fall in love with the outcome you are looking for as this will drive you to not just get out of your comfort zone but create a plan with actions you will stick to that will provide you with the results.

Ditch Inconsistency

There is a great book that anyone in business should read – Great by Choice by Jim Collins. In this book he writes about the 20 mile march, a concept we use in our business today.

The 20 mile march is about two teams crossing the South Pole, both have the same journey, one however makes it and the other doesn’t.

The team that survived marched 20 miles day in and day out regardless of the weather. They were consistent, that is what made them successful, not the equipment or skill - consistency.

Great sports teams, or individuals have consistency, they practise every day, they have a game plan, and they consider every situation they may get into prior to game day and have a plan for it.

So have a plan and ensure that you march towards your goal consistently every single day.

Don’t be impatient

Creating good habits that lead to success takes time, this is what you are doing when you set in motion your 2016 success plan. Give yourself 3 months to make these changes new habits, stay on track, remain consistent, be held accountable, review the results and be agile in making tweaks along the way. Remember how long it took you to walk or read – years, important things take time. You will have setbacks, however if you plan your 20 mile march then these setbacks will not impact your goals. And learn to chunk, break your goals down into achievable chunks, and don’t forget to celebrate.

So all the best with your 2016 resolutions and in the words of Han Solo to Luke – May the force be with you.