Archive for February, 2010

Haunted Hotels Marketing Their Paranormal Side

USA Today ran an article on February 26, 2010 about hotels with a paranormal history marketing it to people looking for a “ghostly experience.” Remember movies like Stephen King’s “The Shining” and “Ghostbusters”? The managers wanted to keep matters private and hushed. For years paranormal sightings and rumors have been hidden for fear it would chase away business.

But many people are attracted by the possibility of seeing a ghostly apparition. Hotels are tapping into that desire. Charlyn Keating Chisholm, a travel writing who lists haunted hotels on said, “It’s a touchy subject. Some hotels fear it will scare off customer, and others worry guests who are looking for a supernatural even will feel cheated if they don’t’ experience one.”

Hotels in Key West, San Antonio, New Orleans and Charleston, SC are part of city ghost tours. The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas is one who is proud of its reputation for being haunted. It has driven their marketing. The marketing director for the Hotel Provincial, near Bourbon Street in New Orleans said the rumors are good for business. Bryan Dupepe said that years ago they would have shied away from mentioning it, “But I definitely believe over the past two years the fascination with haunting and ghosts has helped our business.”

What Bryan and many others have found is that changing their attitude about publicizing paranormal history attracts those interested in the experience. Instead of hiding it, they are promoting it. They have tapped into a need by many travelers looking for a haunted experience. What are people buying in your market that you have been hiding?
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Steve Martin ISN’T Funny Like He Used to Be!

Steve Martin hosted the Academy Awards ceremony again this psat Sunday evening with Alec Baldwin. When I heard he was co-hosting this year I couldn’t wait to watch the telecast. Why?

Steve has a reputation for being a very funny entertainer. My wife ordered the Steve Martin Saturday Night Live collection last month off of Netflix. I couldn’t wait to sit down with her and my daughters to re-live those magical moments from my college years. I remember Steve was the funniest guy I had ever seen or heard on stage.

But when we watched the old shows, I was embarrassed. Steve isn’t funny like he used to be. He earned his comedic stripes as a writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Show in the late 1960s. His off-beat, and often controversial humor was a good match for the censorship-pushing Smothers Brothers brand of comedy. Then on the old Saturday Night Live, he became a mega-star with such skits as “Two Wild and Crazy Guys” (with Dan Akroyd) and “King Tut”, his homage to the popularity of the King Tut exhibit in the U.S. He really knew how to tap into people’s humor and funny bones.

What happened to Steve?

I can’t remember when, but I outgrew the trademark off the cuff brand of humor that made him popular in the middle to late 1970s. Steve grew up, too. He went from the wild, unpredictable comic, to the “every jerk” (“The Jerk” and “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid”) in his early movies, to the every man in his later movies (“Father of the Bride” and “Cheaper By the Dozen”). Steve has reinvented his career and image several times over (Writing and producing his own non-comedic dramatic play: “Shop Girl”). Every time he taps into a segment of entertainment that people want to buy or view. I thought he was great at the Academy Awards. It was current. It was a little controversial. It was DIFFERENT and up to date.

Steve Martin isn’t funny like he used to be. I’m glad!

Read more Free Articles about people who reinvented themselves.

Haiti Earthquake and Red Cross Reinventing Donations

It was announced today by a spokesperson for the Red Cross that donations to the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund have topped $285 million. What makes this even more incredible is that $40 million of that came in the form of text messages. You know, you text to a certain number and after a confirmation a donation of an amount (in most cases $10) is attached to your next cell phone bill.

The Red Cross worker said the earthquake is changing the way we donate forever. Now more people are giving because of the ease of the process, and no one to talk to. The moment we see children suffering, or adults being rescued from debris or people in agony, we feel led to donate to the number on the screen – in greater numbers than when we were told to call it in. Reinvent the donation process and it brings in more – how cool is that?

Wonder what will be the next step for donations? I can just hear the pastor in church during the offertory prayer: “Please bless the text and the texter!”

Lady Gaga Sells What People Buy!

I took my daughters to a Lady Gaga concert a few months ago. Wow! What a show! I didn’t go in with them, of course, but their description was phenomenal. Tweeting during the concert in a day when we are told to turn our cell phones off during presentations. She called a lucky fan out during the presentation who texted her (it was like a prize drawing) to meet with her after the concert for “hot cocoa.”

As Andrew Hampp put it in a recent article for Advertising Age, “Lady Gaga, with her army of nearly 2.8 million Twitter followers and more than 5.2 million Facebook fans, can move product. Since fall 2008, her digital-single sales have exceeded 20 million and her album sales hit 8 million, all at a time when no one under the age of 60 buys CDs anymore.”

She delivers what the public wants… in waves. The premiere of her video for “Bad Romance” debuted on BEFORE MTV or any other servicce outlet could play or publish it — resulting in a server crash, a Twitter trending topic that lasted a week and 110 million (so far) views on YouTube, more than any viral music video in the past.

What makes Lady Gaga so popular? Simple. She sells what she knows people want to buy.

Music fans are buying the extravaganza (did you see her intro at the Grammy awards with singer, Sir Elton John?). They are buying the image. They are buying the show. They are buying an onstage performance that would make Alice Cooper say, “Wow!” They are buying what she delivers. Why aren’t more performers selling as many albums or digital singles? Because they aren’t selling what people want to buy.

More Magazine on Reinventing Yourself

I picked up a copy of More Magazine at the doctor’s office last week. More is targeted to “the sophisticated, affluent and accomplished woman, who is enjoying the richest years of her life, sharing news and advice on beauty, fashion, health, career, travel, money and relationships from her distinct perspective.”

They sponsored a “Reinvention Convention” last fall, 2009 and are prepping for another this year. The February issue has 74 ideas for women to reinvent themselves. Their web site is running a Reinvention Story contest. They also feature articles on “Reinventing Your Middle” and Micro-reinvention, by Lesley Jane Seymour, Editor-in-Chief. 

Kudos to Ms. Seymour and her staff for encouraging women (and men who read the magazine at the doctor’s office) to re-assess, re-explore and re-connect in changing and challenging times.

Ice Skating Controversy Reveals “Buying” Trend of Judges

I’ve been doing my best to keep up with the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, BC. This past week featured a stirring upset by American figure skater Evan Lysacek over many great skaters, including Russian Yevgeny Plushenko. Plushenko had come out of retirement to try for his second consecutive Olympic Gold Medal. His signature move was the quadruple jump. “You can’t be considered a true men’s champion without a quad,” the 27-year-old told worldwide sports reporters. But win it without one you can.

Why? The quad wasn’t what the judges looked for alone.  They used ALL of the skaters’ moves to make their decision and Lysacek “sold” them what they were “buying.” Lysacek did not attempt a quadruple jump, instead wowing the judges with artistry and flawless footwork.

What can you take away from this? As in sales and business, knowing what the client/customer is buying is what determines the Gold Medal of success. Not what you think they want. You don’t get the opportunity to determine what people are buying. They buy what they buy. You get to determine what you sell them. Sell them what they are buying and you are successful. Sell something else and you are a footnote in history.

The Olympic judges were buying a artistry and great footwork, not quad jumps. What are your customers/clients buying? Are you selling that to them? Don’t get in their heads. Get in their hearts.

Are You Participating in the Recession?

It was spring 2008 and I was attending a speakers conference. The presenter announced that he had heard all the fear statements and had chosen not to participate in the recession. The comment was followed by a rousing round of applause. What a hero! Within 6 months his business was hurting so much that he contacted every attendee to his previous seminar to offer them a discount if they attended again the next year or if they brought a friend. I guess he decided to participate. Times are tough. I tried not to participate in the recession, but the temptation was too great. I just couldn’t resist.

My friend Joe Calloway and I were talking last week in Nashville.  He said, “I can’t wait to participate in the recession. It’s been so good for business.” It has. It has forced us to re-examine our thinking. It has made us go back to our customers and ask them what they really want. It has made us listen more to different opinions. The recession has made us let go of bad habits and practices that were holding us back. It has made us more successful.

With all the change and excitement, now can you not participate? There are so many opportunities out there now to take advantage of the changes available. About a year ago, I decided to participate in the recession. I decided to “embrace the change.” I love what this has done for my business. It forced me to change what I speak on, how I market myself and the category I am in. Now a year later, I am no longer a speaker – one among thousands. I am a strategist – one of a select few. I am no longer a leadership presenter and trainer – one among thousands. I am a reinvention strategist – one among a few. I dress different, market different and AM different.

How are you participating in the recession? Are you jumping in with both feet? Are you sitting it out waiting on the economy to “get better?” Are you diving in? Are you embracing the changes and differentiating yourself? What are you doing to be different in a different age and time?

Airport Reinvention Strategy

Flying to Chicago? Avoid O’Hare. Avoid Midway. Avoid the traffic. Consider flying to Milwaukee. Milwaukee? Yes, Mitchell International Airport is fast becoming the destination for travelers going to northern Chicago and Illinois. In a recent USA Today article, the regional airport was called the possible third airport for the Windy City. Milwaukee is only about a 40 minute drive from the northern suburbs of Chicago. Also, with Southwest, Midwest Airlines and now AirTran using Mitchell International as a hub, the fares can be cheaper than O’Hare or Midway.

So Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport is reinventing and rebranding itself as a suburban Chicago airport for travelers who don’t want to deal with Chicago traffic. Southwest has done the same thing in Baltimore for people who don’t want to fly from Washington, D.C. and Providence for busy travelers tired of the distance and hassle of Boston.

It’s all about meeting needs that no one else is meeting. If you can’t meet enough needs as the Milwaukee Airport, you can meet the needs of people who don’t want to fly out of the two Chicago airports.  If it works for airports, maybe it will work for you. Maybe you can reinvent or rebrand yourself as the company for the people who don’t want…

Reinventing Your Market

Reinventing your market means finding something new that no one is attempting or addressing and meeting that need. Going in another direction than you or anyone has gone before. Just like the nuthatch – looking up instead of down. Entrepreneurs can learn from this evolutionary process.

For years, coffee was coffee. What was the real difference between Maxwell House and Folgers? A former president saying it was “good to the last drop?” Freeze drying? Did anyone really care about a one hundred year old slogan or the process they used to make the coffee? No, they tasted the same pretty much. Then Starbucks turned the coffee-drinking world on its ear by blending. The answer was blending different flavors and labeling it “gourmet” coffee. They reinvented coffee and changed the playing field. Suddenly everyone who was anyone was getting into the blended coffee business. Seattle’s Best, Newman’s Own, even Dunkin’ Donuts!

To reinvent your market, you need to invest a modest amount of energy into an innovation. To start the innovation process that could lead to such a breakthrough, you should perform a detailed competitive analysis. Pay attention to all the market intelligence you can get. Use your competitive intelligence to make good, innovative decisions. What areas are your competitors covering? What areas are they not covering? What are they leaving untouched?

Get Out of Your Industry…Like Barnes and Noble did.

About once a month, our family likes to go to a book store and spend a quiet evening reading and finding new resources. Our favorite place to go is Barnes and Noble. We like the atmosphere and the ambience. But we like going there for more than just a bookstore.

Have you ever noticed what they have? Barnes and Noble is more than just a bookstore. They are a coffee and snack shop. They are a magazine store. They are a music and DVD store. They are a gathering place with comfy chairs. They are a children’s place. They are a library. You can sit and read all you want. I remember when I was about 10 years old going to a local drugstore and looking at the Superman and Batman comic books. You had to sneak a peak at them because if the manager caught you, he would always say in a gruff voice, “Hey kid! Buy it or put it back!!” Has anyone ever said that to you in a Barnes and Noble? Of course not. They let you read the books with the anticipation that you will like them and buy them.

Yes, Barnes and Noble is more than just a book store. This is why they are the industry leader. When they attend the booksellers convention you know how they are treated – either with a lot of respect or a lot of resentment. The ones who want to emulate them try to copy them. The ones who detest them do so because they can’t replicate the B&N experience. Barnes and Noble is leading their industry because they are MORE than just a bookstore. They are all I listed above and more.

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February 2010


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