Cross Promotion with Vendors

Cross Promotion with Vendors

Cross-PromotionYou want your vendors to be on your team, so show them that this is not a one-way street. Creating a trusting vendor relationship through a cross-promotion plan. Make sure to get your promotion plans in writing. When negotiating your contract with vendors, add in a small clause about what both parties plan to do. By working together to enhance your mutual exposure, you’ll be showing your commitment to one another, which will establish a trusting working relationship for the future. Creating a successful vendor relationship and promotion plan will take some extra work on your part, but if you are successful it is definitely worth the time.

Winning doesn’t always come with a Trophy!

TrophySometimes its not all about winning a new customer, winning the bid on that big project or winning that job. Winning sometimes comes without a trophy.

Every pinewood derby season, I open my shop to parents and children for bonding, creativity and mentorship. As you might imagine, people really nerd out over how to make the best Pinewood Derby car, and a lot of it could make your eyes cross if you don’t have a degree in physics, a ton of power equipment and quality hand tools.

There is an enormous amount of unsure science in pinewood car culture.  Should you put the weight on the back of the car or the front?  Should you make it so one wheel is off the deck a little bit?  Should it be aerodynamic, or does that really matter?  Only a handful of engineers know the truth, but only because they have done empirical tests.

What’s great about the Pinewood Derby is that it is one the most memorable activities that a young boy will have … of all the trips and campouts and hikes and things that they get to do in Scouting and growing up in general.

The whole purpose of the Pinewood Derby is to allow the parents and the child to bond through a physical, hands-on, do-it-yourself kind of project, because most kids today don’t have shop class and they don’t have an opportunity to use any tools and materials and work with their hands.  I believe it also teaches young people sportsmanship, craftsmanship and safety. The way we handle it in my shop is as follows:

Day 1:  Rules and the technical principals behind the physics and Newton’s laws. Then the child picks a theme and design which they draw onto paper explaining how and why the design will work based on the principles taught.

Day 2: Shop safety, personal protection equipment (PPE), with tool and equipment safety.  We use scraps to teach the fundamentals on how the design will be built—safely.

Day 3:  Build time!  We tweak the theme and design based on what has been learned to date– cutting, shaping and sanding.  But always, building with PPE is a must!

Day 4:  Final assembly.   The child gets to sand, paint, attach weights and wheels, etc. Kids are proud to say, “I worked hard on my cars and so did my father.”  Actually, maybe it was harder on the parent not working, allowing the children to make mistakes and learn for themselves what live challenges can be.

Pinewood derby racing is some of the most competitive racing in the world, because the modifications are not always applied to just the parts. One child with a huge imagination, One adult with life lessens, One piece of wood, four nails as axles and four plastic wheels. In the end, it isn’t all about winning (though that’s certainly fun!).  It’s really about building confidence, taking pride in learning new things, developing good work habits and creating memories in a spirit of fun. Values earned at a very young age that will last a lifetime win or lose…

Creative Expression

Creative Expression by Troy Selberg

CreativeWhat is Creative Expression and how can we find it? As an adult, we may have learned to cover up or set aside much of our inner life, in order to get along with others and do our jobs. But if we want to be more fully alive and creative, it can really help to understand and stay in charge of our thinking and feelings. As author and entrepreneur Seth Godin says, “What you do for a living is not be creative, what you do is ship.”

In motorsports, to finish first – first you must finish – but perhaps we should add while obeying the rules. Before the start of a new season, NASCAR publishes a sets of rules–a lengthy tome of technical regulations, spelling out in detail every rule that covers the construction of a race car. It is up to the fabricators, engineers and craftsmen to define and work within the rules (or gray areas!) to get every ounce of speed and durability from their hand built machines.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with many gifted and high-profile individuals over the years and I’ve had an ongoing curiosity about why some people are more creative than others. I’m puzzled about whether creativity is a general skill comprised of traits and attributes that gives one the ability to apply highly creative thinking to any project regardless of domain or discipline? Or is creativity specialized, giving individuals creative-thinking skills and proclivities that apply only to one domain, no different than a Super Bowl winning coach wants to recreate that winning team over and over again?

Through my experiences (AKA watching and doing case studies), I have found that, to be creative, individuals must first internalize their culture, knowing the rules, the mores, and the conventions. But if they are only traditional and stick to those conventions, creativity never takes place, cultures don’t move forward, and nothing changes. Yet change simply because an individual wants change doesn’t produce lasting improvements and contributions either. It’s the synergy between having the rebelliousness to go where others haven’t gone while recognizing and keeping in tact what’s a valued contribution to the culture and task at hand.  Those individuals also possess a great amount of passion around their work, pursuing it until they experience an internalized sense of satisfaction with the finished product.

Creative individuals greatly enjoy life to the fullest, their openness and receptiveness giving them a great appreciation for culture, the arts, music, and sports. Creative individuals sincerely enjoy playful attitudes, having fun, jesting, and know the value of laughter and keeping situations and environments light and free from unreasonable drama. They know their strengths. They also are extremely focused on new accomplishments and challenges, regardless of past successes, realizing, as writers testify, a new, blank page awaits them every day.

Therefore, creativity is a culture, a passion of loving what you do by solving problems. It’s giving your employees purpose in their lives, at work and with their families. Transforming the workplace to invite openness and fun. Make accountability enjoyable but receptive. The perfect workspace isn’t what leads to brilliant work, but in my experiences, it’s a great start…

Team Collaboration

Team CollaborationHow often do you find a marketing project with considerable naiveté, largely unaware of how much cost would be and how difficult it might be to pull off? But, naiveté kept you going and the final result could have certain limitations because you were attempting to do so much with so little. So, you steal an idea from another agency via the internet. All you’ve managed to create was a mess of someone else’s old idea, a bad marketing space and another unsatisfied customer.

I’ve witnessed a lot of marketing fads, gimmicky techniques that were all the rage for a year or two, only to fall out of favor with marketing agencies and/or CMO’s in no time. I’ve also witnessed many project managers who became intoxicated with too much work and took on an impossible travel schedule with a litany of high-pressure assignments—to the point that eventually, they just walked away from event marketing completely because they burned themselves out. You’ll last longer, and live longer, if you don’t take that approach. And, by the way, from time to time, don’t be afraid to totally reinvent yourself. There’s no better way to get out of a creative rut than to involve others.

Surround yourself with people that are stronger in areas you are weak. Learn to create a more powerful marketing displays for your customers with a team. Event marketing spaces can bridge the gap between creative vision and customer expectation. A good display connects all of the elements of an experiential marketing experience, bringing everything together in a pleasing or provocative way, and revealing a heart-felt message to the audience.

The creative vision process of the display is rooted in the practice of hearing, interpreting and re-imagining the stories of your customer’s perception of engagement. Look for alignment with these values of engagement, while appreciating that we seek to instigate change using the aesthetic and social contexts of the marketing experience, where change is needed to improve the human condition….

And, yes, never stop trying to connect emotionally with the audience within the event space. For a successful marketing experience, the creative team and the audience become a part of the same community, even for a brief time.  Examine the story being told and how it relates to achieving successful ROI goals. Each team member (AKA subject matter expert) brings value by hearing, feeling and understanding something unique about the project. Success through team collaboration is the key.  It’s often said that great event spaces are made – not copied.

A Creative Bird

Creative hobbieCreative bacon turkeys relieve stress, less stress leads to higher productivity. Whether it’s rebuilding an old car or cooking during the holidays, the impact it can have on your work life might surprise you. Some of our best business ideas might pop up when we’re in the kitchen, in a totally different frame of mind.


Each year, on the fourth Thursday in November, we gather for a day of feasting, football, and family. Today’s Thanksgiving celebrations would likely be unrecognizable to attendees of the original 1621 harvest meal. With that said, Thanksgiving continues to be a day for Americans to come together around the table.

You have football games planed, family is on the way, and you’re set on going with a traditional roasted bird. Well… maybe you should look into a creative method for cooking your turkey. There are a lot of challenges in creative cooking and these challenges can build character. Here are some ideas to help your creative muscles flex.

Pancetta-Wrapped: Texas bacon- bold, delicious, super moist and savory.

Braised: (cordless crock-pot cooking) ensures moisture in the meat,

Deep-fried: a Southern tradition that’s biggest challenge involves not burn the house down or sending anyone to the ER. 

Grilled: the crisp smokiness of grilled turkey beats the oven and gives a reason to be outside enjoying drinks.

Manischewitz-Brined : cooked in Concord Grape Wine. This method will produce a bright purple turkey.

Smoked: slow, indirect heat using special types of wood will infuse different flavors to the bird. 

Beer Can: the beer-can stand ensures evenly cooked meat and the evaporating beer keeps your bird moist.

Spatchcocked: involves butterflying the bird, removing the spine, and splaying it flat. 

Stuffed with other birds: best know as Turducken, the delicate culinary concoction of a chicken, inside of a duck, inside a turkey…

If you often question, do I have a creative bone in my body? The answer is YES. Creative activities like cooking during the holidays, serve as a means to learn more about our individual strengths and weaknesses. Remember, there are a million-and-a-half recipes, and a million-and-one ways to prepare your culinary concoction. Be creative, flex yourself, and you just might find a part of you that never existed. Have a Safe & Happy Thanksgiving.

Purpose and the Ants

life calling modelAfter 21 years of living in the same house, my yard has grown to take on a life of its own. So recently, I have been working hard to take my yard back. Working hard and fighting with ants led me to think about how we find purpose in our lives.

My release from corporate American is yard work. A set of ear buds and some yard tools relieve my mind to ponder about other things. If you have done any yard work at all, you have probably battled ants. They are very structured and are hard to deal with. By just watching their mound, it‘s plain to see that all ants in a colony work together cohesively. They all know their roles and nobody steps on each other’s toes. Together, they are the perfectly functioning organisms. It makes me believe they know their purpose.

Now, lets compare ourselves to ants: We wake up. We go to work. We come back home. We watch TV. We go to sleep. We wake up. We go to work. We come back home. We watch TV. We go to sleep. And it just keeps going day after day after day. Sometimes we wonder if we’ve been on the “wrong” path, chosen the wrong career, or the wrong life partner. Or that perhaps we haven’t realized that our chosen path could be more meaningful or purposeful.

The reality is that most people today are so caught up with a million things that ultimately do not make a difference in their lives. Ask yourself this; what are my personal values, strengths and capabilities—the things that are true of me and are at the core of who I am? What is the scaffolding of my purpose? We all have our unique set of talent, background, opportunities, ideas, creativity, and the like. The equation looks like this:

Your Values + Strengths + Passions + Service = Your Purpose

Don’t let all the different variables discourage you. Once you dedicate some time for introspection and reflection on those variables, you’ll rapidly start to realize the direction you need to move in.

Start by creating 3 lists:

  • Your values
  • Your strengths
  • Your passions

The key is to figure out how you can combine your passions and strengths in service to a cause, person, community, or organization other than yourself. Do that and your values will fall into place.

It took 21 years for my yard to become out of control and for the ants, to teach me about how nature works. Ironic how humans like us, whose behavior arises from the interactions of its components has something in common with ant colonies.

All day, every day, the world’s ant nests are active: scouting, processing food, fighting and tending to the young. It’s never too late to get your yard under control, never to late to find a purpose and never to late to learn from ants.

Creative fresh starts

3003 H14 sheet of aluminum … it still has edges.

Many believe that creativity comes from starting fresh. But even when we start fresh, we approach projects and problems with self-created boundaries.

You can’t do real work without edges, without something to bend, but those edges don’t have to be the same edges as everyone else uses.

Creative people often excel because they change the shape of these boundaries.

Holand art