Saturday, February 09, 2013

Racing Is Not Boring



In 2012, www.youtube.com/DRIVE provided me the opportunity to share my take on motorsport with.....The World, I guess.  The show, called /ShakeDown, ran every Monday / Friday. Every Friday in 2013. 

One example being THIS video telling the story of the Spa 24hr GT3 endurance race.  

/ShakeDown and the /DRIVE channel began with our video from the Nurburgring 24hr race.  

149 shows, all of them found on the ShakeDownPlayList, do their best to cut beyond the classic motorsport PR spew and the typical perceptions of auto racing. To be authentic.

Racing [and the way Mom and Dad raised me] challenges you to always strive to be better the next time, the next lap, the next /ShakeDown show.  Spa, the video - this video, feels good to me when measured that way.  Please see if it works for you, too.  Enjoy and thanks.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Motorsports Marketing, The PDCA Way


It's that time of year, again.  To start the search for Auto Racing Sponsors for the upcoming 2015CY.

As the Page2 slide will tell you, ours is NOT your typical 'Joyce Julius Exposure #'s' / 'Meet the Driver' sponsorship pitch.  Anything but.  

PDCA thinks the real strength of a racing sponsorship is when it's activated AWAY from the track / broadcast.  On-Line, In-Market, In-Store, Across-all-Social Media.  We use the theme of 'Cars / Racing' to get the real Marketing done - Customer Interaction, Calls-to-Action, Lead Generation, Sales.  For B2B and / or B2C.

We'll be making our solicitation calls / contacts to find the right sponsors.  But, if you review the deck and like what you see [or know someone who would], we'll take your call and show you the partners we have ready to go.


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Monday, January 02, 2012

What I Did With My 2012 Travel Budget


Our new /DRIVE channel launches.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Alan McNish Talks Racing. Of Course!


Reflecting back on 2011, getting ready for our role on the new /DRIVE Channel on YouTube, remembered this ShakeDown show - A test case / example of what can happen as next year SD heads on the road to more auto races.

More up-close insights, more interviews with the racers that know stuff we all want shared. Racers like Audi ace - Alan McNish.  2012 could be cool....

Will be cooler with /DRIVE's awesome video production qualities and video shooting skills.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Look What We Did!


Our Automotive / Auto Racing info, opinion, analysis, attitude on-air / on-line gig gets kicked up a 'gear' next year.

ShakeDown - Now, 2 days a week. With more On-Location stories. More Interviews [Vettel last year, Kimi in 2012?]. A Desk [Watch out, Colbert!]. And a ton of Cross-Over Programming visits / banter with a team of great team-mates / great shows. Yes!

Proud to be part of it.
Time to raise my game [Think we got it / because we got a plan].
/DRIVE. It all starts January 2, 2012.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

OMG, Fox Car Report Had Me Back! LP Visit 2



Back for my second visit. Thanks to more racing news in the news.

But, on my 3rd FCR visit, heads up. I'm running the halls of Fox NEWS looking for Hannity, Palin, and O'Reilly screaming lines from the flick 'BraveHeart' - "Freedom!".

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This was Fun!



Somehow FastLaneDaily / ShakeDown took our invite to an Infiniti PR function and [politely] managed to turn this group event into a very cool 1-to-1 interaction with THE man of F1 - Sebastian Vettel.

JF Musial did the shooting, Iain Browne the edit. 
I was busy having 'a moment' with Seb!

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Thursday, June 02, 2011

My Rookie Run On FoxCarReport



Talked 2011 Indy 500 and more. May not have flown as high as Tanner Foust. But, didn't rookie-crash like JR Hildebrand, either. And now, it's 'in the books'. Nervously fun. Ready for more. Appreciated the opp.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Remember, The Camera Is Always On



You'll see what I mean at the end. Sorry, if I offend [and rhyme].

Saturday, May 14, 2011

JDX Racing - PDCA Client

JDX Racing is busy this year in the American Le Mans Series - GTC Class.  But, co-owners Jeremy Dale and Harrison Brix have bigger visions for 2012 and beyond.  An OEM-supported program, active team sponsors / co-marketers, International racing - eg; the Le Mans 24, and more. 

To get there, JDX offers a distinctive blend of experience / expertise / understanding of the Racing, Marketing, and Commercial B2B / B2C actions that drive modern motorsports.  JDX uses racing as the conduit to create business for its sponsors and interaction with customers / prospects / BizDev potentials.   

PDCA is proud to be part of the process bringing partnerships to JDX Racing.  That JDX has chosen to run a Porsche is advantageous to PDCA's other client work.  Stay tuned on THAT news.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh, What The Heck. Let's Go For It!

Been writing / co-producing / presenting these on-line shows for over a year now.  Getting comfortable with my performance.  Viewers seem to have accepted my work.

So, it must be time to seriously act to make the gig better.  I have a vision.  Beyond just RaceCarPron and my 'motorsports snarks'. 

But, growing ShakeDown to more than its green-screen format takes backing [eg- $$].  So, any interest, leads / referrals, or otherwise will make the difference.  Thanks, in advance.

And you'll let me know if / when it's time to quit my day job, right?

UPDATE - This recent in-the-field show has gotten a lot of good response.  Want to do more!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Lady Gaga Knows

10 Ways to be a Marketing Genius Like Lady Gaga
No matter what you think about her or the music, she's got the marketing figured out.

Thanks to http://www.pipelinetorque.com/ for sharing.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Team LeBron Knows How To Destroy, Too


Based on public / media reaction to the management of the 7/8/10 ESPN LeBron announcement -

a] No one should EVER hire those advisors for anything.
b] Only BP thinks LeBron did a great job handling things!
c] Toyota sends cards of sympathy [feel your pain] / thank you [for keeping us out of news] to LeBron.

Think hard and study close how this was handled, as it is textbook detachment of public perception vs personal myopia. This was more than a sporting debacle, it became a textbook brand-destruction lesson / travesty.

Unless the goal IS for LeBron to be the new 'BadBoy' brand.

PS - ESPN is doing to sport what MTV did to music, Food Network did to food, SpeedTV did to racing. Can't anyone stay true to the passion?

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Get It

On every level - A fresh [re]start. A new consumer shopping mentality vs entitlement purchasing / branding. A sense of 'Male vs Female' consumerism.

The story around and thinking behind Jil Sander's hook-up with Uniqlo speaks to
much more than just fashion.
The messages relate to - Personal profession. Product / Service branding, marketing, selling in today's world and the marketplace ahead.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's All Good.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Neo Enters The Matrix

“Are YOU the one?”

Guess that’s what GM Pres - Mark Reuss, CEO - Ed Whitacre, and every US taxpayer is asking about Marketing Maverick - Joel Ewanick entering the GM Matrix.


Are 'you' the one to save the company and our investment?
Many comments about this move, eg -
Here, Here, and Here.

As per
April Auto Sales Reports, GM success lags behind the comp [and the 20% Industry gain]. Sales by brand, Cadillac / Buick exceeded Ind. avg., Chevy / GMC did not [mis-typed April 09 Bowtie #, BTW]. And the GM 'DeadToMe' brands ARE hurting the mth-to-mth %'s, as GM is not replacing those losses.

So, with Joel Ewanick, here is a move to recraft newGM. As a veteran of my own attempts to storm the defenses of oldGM, I wonder if Joel’s first meeting will go something like
this?

And I am raising my hand, right now.
Having met Joel in Hyundai meetings - Having my own unfinished biz with GM - Mr. E, I would like to help you make something good happen for newGM.
Just offering.

Remember, even Neo couldn't get it done alone.
But, being honest, I'm more of a 'Tank / Dozer' team member, not your 'Trinity'.
For a host of reasons!

Friday, April 23, 2010

When 'Full' Means Only 10%



Trusting a brand starts with being true to the truth.
[Uh, Toyota? We got this, now?]

So, GM is telling the world its gov loans are repaid "in full", suggesting - GM is free of handouts, GM has cash again, GM is back.

Oh, really? Like those EPA fuel mileage window-stickers, these GM claims should also come with an 'actual results may vary' disclaimer.

First, there is the
cash question. Is GM cash rich from biz improvement, giving back excess government money it received and doesn't need, OR using one loan to pay off the other? [See my uncle Angelo for details on that last concept.]

The bigger issue is the FACT that GM's repayment represents but a fraction of the $50 billion bailout it received from U.S. / Canadian governments, most of which won't be paid back. Instead it's been converted into GM stock [TBD on this ROI story].

All not exactly consistent with THIS W's wording to the world - "We've repaid our governement loan IN FULL, with interest".

Surely, Ed's not hoping people will think GM is completely free of public welfare / 'socialist' control? What is it with 'W's' and implied truth?

And stay tuned for that whole 'Volt will be here in October' claim, too.

UPDATE - Ha!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Kids Are Alright

I like stories like this NY Times column because -

a] It takes the macro-view of things,
b] It puts the negative spin about the here / now into perspective.

Youth, diversity, enterprise, education, fertile thinking.
All good. Because the kids are alright.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Less Is More? Less is Less!


So, what a minute. The Internet, the source of knowledge / the home of deeper information search is now accepted by clients and their agencies ONLY as the domain of short-from video.........
While Television, the creator of 'short-attention spans' across the globe, is where brands see long-form video storytelling to be better?

So sayeth the quoted in this NY Times story.
This can't be about Internet bandwidth, as aren't we @ 75% of US Households already with broadband and the US trailing other global markets that are faster streamers than we?  Or is this, once again, traditional thinking clinging to the traditional TV model -

* Agency bottom-lines [making $ producing spots AND buying media].
* Clients still thinking 'most eyeballs = more TV spending'.

I'm all for the continued convergence of media[s], but, I'm watching this [not TV] and wondering what's really at the bottom of the thinking.

Monday, February 22, 2010

"That's Wrong!"



This may not be what they mean when it's said, "Get your head around the problem." But, the direct approach does have merit before trouble gets too far out of hand.

This may not be the best visual for my point. Action should be focused. But, it must be appropriate to the situation. And "Now, what happens?" is the right question when considering the cause / effect of any plan.

You know there are a few Toyota execs that are starting to see this as the type of aggressive 'fight-back action' they would like to take [eg- Blame the media / Look @ the real #'s / It's all unfair]. But, that just may be WRONG!

2.26 UPDATE - Profuse apologies may work in Japan. But, not enough for the American mindset. Rumored big Toyota Sales Event push in March will be 1st test if public forgives / forgets OR this thing keeps 'Moving Forward'.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

When It's Not Work

Count up [and embrace] the many career messages in this NY Times 'The Boss' bio article on Tony Hawk. You'll read how his passion took his learning deeper than just the skateboard tricks.

And maybe you can channel such thinking - to put 'some air' - into your next project, work assignment, or career '540 Mute' [a Tony-invented fave] move.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Not This Year!

In 2005, Toyota won the Japan Quality Award [English page]. Obviously, not this year.

I bring this up NOT to pile on as another detractor.
Toyota is a career Alma Mater.

No, this post is here as a thought-provoker.
To suggest one looks at the events / actions / reactions. To learn -

* That Process, People, Strategy, and Tactics are 'success-deciders'.
* That 'success' requires constant vigilance.
* That objectives must be checked to assure they do not conflict.

* That the toughest job of any company is to get its people to understand their true responsibilities, the implications of their every actions, AND to activate the pride, presence, and freedom in each associate to allow them to stop / think / act to do the best they can.

The Toyota mess is not the result of chasing GM - To be the biggest.
If it was that simple it would be an easy fix.

I fear it it may be more deeply rooted. It may be endemic to why Toyota builds a
$375,000 250 unit supercar, wastes $$Billions on a failed never-winning F1 team, AT THE EXACT SAME TIME it messes up its core business by taking actions that surrender the foundation to its reputation - Quality.

It may be as simple as - Focus.
It probably includes - Smarts, too [Not the cars....the thinking thing].

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Merry!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tiger, S'miger. Got A Better Guy To Respect.

While Tiger Woods is busy running his National Tryst-a-thon campaign, a personal GM Escalade Cash-for-Clunkers program, and ruining his career....

While Obama's version of 'Change' seems to be simply changing into just another politician....

I got better guy that's earned my attention / respect -
Tony Dungy.

It's not the 'life coach' thing that 'wins the day', as admirable as all that IS. No, it's Tony's sense / consistency of Leadership, Integrity, and Approach that are the lessons for life.....and business.

For Tiger? MY advice? Simple - a] Keep your 'driver' in your bag for God's sake [....save it for home-course play] and b] Call Tony to talk, listen, and learn.

Seems to me TD's the better 'Great Black Hope' [Too crass? Ha. Just sayin' what you're all thinking when you look at these guys.].

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Car Fans Want From Auto Racing

Every Thursday, on the Internet Auto Show - FastLaneDaily - I get to do an Auto Racing segment - half news report / half LParente opinion-fest. But, always room to channel what I see from my perspective.

Last week, I decided it was time to 'shut up my voice' and ask the viewers what they liked / wanted from racing. The findings are here in the
11/19 ShakeDown, the second part of the FLD show.

Take it all in. Even go back and look @ the prior week show that set all this up and the viewer comments it generated. Then, ask yourself -

* Who in the Racing industry gets it?
* Who in the Auto industry gets it?

Of course, like racing, there are winners and losers.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Auto Industry MoonShot?

Working with the auto industry for soooo many years, I've seen / experienced a lot. 2009 has been a generational 'make or break' moment for Auto Mfgrs.

Yet, I still see far too much 'same old auto-thinking' for an industry-defining point in time. To me, the focus needs to go deeper than -

* Moving to 'Electric Avenue’ [Any LESS creative branding?],
* 'It's all about cost-cutting' as the 'fix' to everything,
* ‘Us vs Them’ heel-digging union battles,
* 'Back-to-Basics’ cheerleads still used by too many auto execs.

Instead, here are MY Top 10 action items / philosophical shifts that would make a difference, IMO –

10] Tear Up The History Book - Look forward, not back for new solutions / better product. It is NOT business / sales / anything as it used to be. And please make Camaro the last throwback design.

9] Think Near-Term AND Long-Term - I know sales are needed now, but living by the 30-day sales report will kill the future faster than....the way it killed Lehman.

8] Study Population / Household / Lifestyle / Income Trends - This is one area I believe the Industry is cluing in. But, applying this knowledge to product, sales, and MARKETING still shows wild swings in understanding.

7] If Auto / Mobility Is A ‘Necessity’ Of Life, Price Accordingly – MSRP, financing, leasing, the ZipCar model; Whatever it takes to make auto affordable. OR get in the transportation business; Whatever vehicles that presents [eg; a Mini, Saturn, or Smart scooter or pedal bike to me is not off-brand], including public trans [Remember GM busses and trains? GE doing an electric car to go with their jets engines and locomotives?].

6] Listen To My Mom! Live Within Your Means - Don’t spend if you don’t have [eg; pre-2009 GM, DCX]. Or at least, have a plan [Go Ford!].

5] Make EVERY CAR Count – Every model represents the brand, so every launch / every nameplate has to be a quality success. This ain’t sports. More wins vs losses is not good enough [Adopt the Saints / Colts / 2007 Patriots / UCLA Bruins roundball ‘win-it-all’ mindset].

4] Stop Commoditizing Your Product And Then Bitch That Buyer Passion For Auto Is Dying – Even today, ‘the DEAL’ / ‘the Guarantees’ lead the storytelling [At least Lutz, with his 'Perceptions' rant + Driving Challenges is focused on the cars].

3] Consult Great Minds Outside The Auto Industry, Especially For Marketing – This could be a rant all its own. But, I will leave it at this – I think Steve Jobs would market cars / run the biz differently. And my bucks would be on his success……

2] Set Product Priorities In Synch With Reality – Does Toyota and the world need the Lexus FL-A, right now? Every visit to an auto design studio leaves me in awe of the work and the talent, but the feeling that they are ‘playing with their toys’ in a workplace detached from the world.

1] See Right Now As A ‘MoonShot Moment' - I suggest the auto industry needs to stop the intramural competition at some level and band together find common solutions to make the 'Big Play' and save themselves from oblivion. This needs to happen at national [eg; US] and / or global levels [eg; vs China?]. Maybe it IS in play beyond my scope of awareness. Or maybe not, as too many execs still see this all as just another bump in the biz and sales will bounce back.

My fear is that without a philosophical change, the industry [or certain companies] will continue the ‘up / down’ cyclical performance right to their last day of business. Then, my desire to do more in Auto will have to be shifted to that FastFood Ramen concept.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Video Killed The Radio....And Now Cars!

We covered this before - Kuruma Banare - The declining interest in cars by young Japanese.

Now,
Toyota blames video games.
More comment on this
here.

Really? Ask Subaru [WRX-STI], Mitsubishi [EVO], Mazda [MX3], Nissan [GT-R], and more who all successfully launched cars AND sales via getting the video car-boys enthralled / 'disciple-ed'.

But, what do I know.
The great Toyota can't be part of the problem, just like - it turns out, it's not GM
it's the agencies [for Cadillac and Chevy] that are the trouble.

I love the auto industry.
For the cars - For what it COULD be.
But [many times], NOT for what it IS.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How We Socialize / Share / Inform

Sunday, September 06, 2009

In The News

* Business Week ran an article listing the 'Best Places [companies] To Launch A Career'. But, the eye-catcher to me was the sidebar advice on how to 'Defy the DownTurn'. It listed the following - Get Ambitious, Get Positioned, Get Creative, Get Noticed, Get Networked.

A little obvious, you think? Surprised the list didn't include - Get To Work On Time.
But, in truth, all good advice to maintain control of YOUR career.

* NY Times ran a story about Wall St. looking for the next big $$ idea, now that packaging mortgages has gone the way of
3-card Monte.

The new plan - Securitizing Life Insurance. The exciting part? If policyholders die early, Wall St. makes more $$. a] Are you kidding? b] So, now the fight to stop health care improvement makes business sense for 3 industries - Insurance, Pharma, and Financial?

* Diane Sawyer gets her shot as
Network News Anchor. Some say 'good news, another woman'. Others say 'bad news that it took ABC so long to recognize her talent'. The real news is what it says about the medium itself and the demographic that remains with TV news.


So, the first advertisers will be the Wall St. banks and their new Investment Offers? Uh, no.

Friday, July 03, 2009

What Will Make Cars Cool, Again?

Needless to say, the Auto Industry is in a fight for survival in the US - and sales are down across the globe. Many car companies are seen as something less than technically progressive, red ink is NOT great PR. 'Green' often gets interpreted as the antithesis of 'fun to drive' - eg; I fear a possible future of no-personality appliance automobiles!

Microsoft and Apple are turning the car into a rolling sound studio / web page.
And the SUV / CUV fetish convinces me that some car companies envision they are here to simply build rolling Tumi tote bags - eg; A great car is based on how much it can carry! ??

So, please
take my Poll and tell us what you think will make cars cool, again. Thanks.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

If Life Ran Like A Client / Agency Gig



Courtesy of Alex Conley who happens to be a freelance Detroit, MI - based photographer. [Detroit?.....To quote a great line from a favorite movie of mine - Michael Clayton, "And how's THAT going?".....]

Having been on both sides - client and [now] agency, I have been through this dance. And although I swear I never pulled it as THE client, I was in many a room when my employer company did.

Now, the hardest part - if / when the client's dialog gets to THIS point - is keeping a straight face!

But then, I play them the Clayton trailer just for the last line.....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Automotive Option A or B

President Obama announced new policy that would raise Corporate Average Fuel Economy [CAFE] standards to 35.5mpg by 2016 [42mpg - cars, 26mpg - trucks]. The standards are meant to decrease fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and our dependence on foreign oil.

So, like before [in the '80's it was Trade Restrictions], the US Gov steps in to reset the bar on the US Auto Industry. In such scenarios, there is the opportunity to make the right move or....not.

Option A-
* Better more efficient cars [We have the technology and / or the brains to create it], that still perform [Don't need a honking 7.0L V8 to go fast. Any power source - electric or otherwise will work], still are fun to drive [It's really all about 'power to weight'], and still fit American needs [Interior space does NOT require Escalade-scale exterior footprints].

* Better buying, ownership, and service experiences. The auto dealer model is out of touch with the retailing options available to consumers in most other product / service categories. And when will the automakers figure out that their website can be a community-builder, not just an on-line brochure / info stop before consumers head everywhere else on the Internet to really do their purchase thinking?

* Better Marketing. Somewhere in the future the consumer connection will NOT be dependant on The Sales Event, The Deal, Incentives, The SuperBowl Ad and / or The Product Placement. 2 words for new marketing - Authentic. Relevant.

And then there is Option B-
* The 'Dinosaur-like Cling' to the status-quo, despite its inevitable path to extinction.

* Foot-stomping laments about the socialist destruction of 'great cars' like the 13mpg V10 Viper, the SUV-as-family-sedan, and anything with a curb weight over 2 tons!

* Working the
EPA loopholes on the new regs under the false nobility of "We're just giving the customers what THEY want".

Truth be told, some will step up, some will step out.
This IS a character test for ALL - the industry, consumers, our leadership. Time will tell.

But, I have faith.
I am looking forward to my 2016 hi-po fuel-cell-electric mid-engine sports car, sitting next to my 4dr 42mpg aero-sedan, both ordered / purchased On-line. Question is - Which brand will have the vision to have built them for me [And will it be one of the bailout brands from 2009]?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The PDCA Alphabet



Found this song on YouTube.
Brought back memories and a PDCA thought.

PDCA Inc. is [or tries very hard to be] -
A = authentic
B = brave
C = creative
D = dependable
E = energetic
F = frugal
G = good
H = honest
I = idealistic
J = judicious
K = kinetic
L = loyal
M = methodical
N = never-say-quit
O = opportunistic
P = passionate
Q = quizzical
R = reliable
S = strategic
T = tactical
U = uprousing
V = veteran
W = worth it
X = xenophilic
Y = young-eyed
Z = zealous

Now, just need to record OUR version of the song..... [no way!]

PS- I had to sing that damned Muppets song in a Natick High School musical! PS2- Epic failed on 'right-after' dates. So, retired 'til now. Wife hates it, too.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Better Than Susan Boyle



....and here's why.

1] The kid handled pressure with control, [quiet] confidence, and preparation [was ready with more than one solution].

2] Simon proved the concept of staying TRUE to the 'essence' of the product [or brand or person] to deliver the best [....to be the best, be what you are].

3] A 2nd perspective always brings vision to any situation [Mentors, anyone].

Enjoy the performance, but think about the lesson for your work, career, life. Just saying.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

NYIAS - MY Take

Somewhere between the 'denial of facts' mindset of ex-prez Bush [love saying 'ex'] and the 'pending disaster' mood one feels sitting through a Gilbert Gottfried performance at The Friar's Club....

....you'd understand the vibe holding court at this year's Press Days.

Now, I can rant on about too many SUV's, ugly GMC's, MB E-Class Japanese taillights / Rubbermaid dash pieces, the too-cool Kia Forte, Jim Press-edition Fiat 500's, et al.....

....BUT to me, the 'big aha' in this new age of bailouts / 'make it or break it' business models is that BRANDS [not nameplates] are where people will make their purchase-choice decision.

I suggest it is no longer about Mustang, Camaro, Challenger, Camry, Accord, Genesis, or 3 Series. It is about the buyer faith in FORD, GM, CHRYSLER, TOYOTA, HONDA, HYUNDAI, BMW, etc..

First the brand, THEN the model picking.

So, watch Ford, Hyundai, Fisker [yes], Toyota, Honda, and any VW Group brand. Nissan will make gains, the other Euros will hold only their loyalists, and that may be it. The rest will need to make dramatic moves to stay in the game.

PS - GM PUMA to me is like
TVLand's 'The Cougar'. Both give me the same 'What are they thinking? / What does this say about your brand?' stomach queeze [what WOULD Stacey think if I picked her up in a PUMA?].

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Never Quit


Focus - On the goal, away from the distractions.
Push - Keep fighting, tenacity wins.

What's true for Formula 1, truly works in the world as we know it today.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Kuruma Banare

Demotorization.

In Japan, young people's interest is shifting from cars to communication tools like computers, mobile phones, ipods, and creativity 'expressions' like video making, blog posting, and networking home pages.

Sounds like America, too....to me.

So, the auto industry issues may require deeper thinking than just more Zero Financing, recasting SUV's as CUV's, and freshened retro Muscle Cars.

But, then again, it's always been about personalization and understanding / delivering on consumer needs / expectations / desires. It's a 'Mad Men' thing that starts @ The Product.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sales Racer

Any time client talk turns to SALES, I am reminded of 2 lessons I learned from my experiences in auto racing.

1] To really go fast, you get the car do most of the work.
Translation - The driver, alone, can only do so much. The tools [the car] and techniques [the set-up] need to be in play. Hard driving [only] can't supplant great equipment and technology. In SALES, the same is true - [The best available] Process, Product, and Sales Support Mechanisms get you 'on track' for success.

2] The driver can't just be a long for the ride, either.
Translation - At some point in time, in the race and in SALES, you have to just 'go for it'. Bravery, Conviction, Tenacity, Fight, and more [you will hear the 'B' reference below] will win the day.

Here was my Lesson 1.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

How My Mind Works for the Holidays

Peace

Pace [Italiano / pronunciation- 'pah - tchay']

Pesci

Whatever brings a smile to your face this season....

Best wishes and good hopes for 2009.

MY wish is to do a better job of catching up with more friends and business associates in the New Year than I did in '08.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

MY Fifteen Minutes....

OMG, someone gave me an open microphone!

....and then they did it again!

But, jokes on you Mr. Warhol. When I do the time-code math on both episodes, I'm already into 'bonus zone' with my 26 minutes, 50 seconds......

And that ain't even counting my camera time as a 8-year-old, tap dancing on Boston TV's "Star of the Day" talent show in the 19.....60's! PS- I wasn't the star that day...........or any other.

BTW- The Garage 419 team makes it easy. They laugh at my jokes and think I actually know something [Thanks Matt / Gene / JF / and the rest......]. So, make sure to check out their other episodes.


UPDATE - Got a recurring gig here. Think we are up to 6 or 7 appearances! Just Google Video me [Sorry to admit I DO....] and chuckle / cringe at the screen. Most recent show.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

I Guess We're Calling Honda

Now that HUMMER seems about to be hit with the 'Oldsmobile' scepter over @ GM, I guess those lucky dealers that invested millions in new facilities based on the factory's 'request', are forced to look @ their options.

[From any 'H' Dealer's ToDo list]

Today's phone calls -

* My lawyer
* Honda
* Hyundai
* Haggen Daaz
* Hertz
* Hallmark Cards
* Holiday Inn [the 'satellite store' concept for hotels]
* Home Depot [.......'Express'. Sell them on new concept]
* H&R Block [memo to self; call sign guy- get price on an 'R']
* Hobby Town [smaller cars, bigger margins]
* Harrah's [...hey, the HUMMER deal was a gamble, too]

Monday, December 31, 2007

2008 Wish List


* To see the NE Patriots success spark companies [and clients] to realize that Process = Results. Focus, first, on perfecting the skills to do the task and the results will follow. [OMG, it's PDCA!]

* UPDATE- Or to see companies [and clients] embrace the NY Giants approach- 'Just do what we do best, stay calm, have fun, and believe in ourselves'. WOW [eg- It was awesome!].

* To help marketers BE better marketers, not just trend-chasers [eg- Can you say 'Second Life sponsorship' and NOT laugh? Can you help me understand how pouring free vodka at a bar IS 'Experiential Marketing' and NOT just another 'Happy Hour' drink-fest?].

* To find great partners for my current client projects-

* To meet new people / clients that stimulate new ideas / teach me new things.

* To prove that the simplest solution is the best.....for business operations mgt., profitability, and marketing.

* To speak less, but say more.

* To actually help bring sanity to the terms 'Marketing ROI' and 'Brand Integration'.

* To be happy, don't embarrass myself, and do something BIG!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bueller's Teacher Aces the Auto Test


Ben Stein nails it when writing about the US Auto Industry in this Sunday's NY Times.

It's the product, stupid!

It's not the "something-doo economics" that everyone from Wagoner, to Ford, to some bartender on Woodward Ave. quotes as the downfall of the US brands.....

I mean, Kevin "Field of Dreams" Costner would make a better auto exec than half these people. He understood, "Build it and they will come". ........"build it" as in stylish, solid, and desirable.

Instead, we got "guys" [or Julie Roehm characters!] that emulate one of my favorite, but obscure, "Bueller" quotes- Parking Garage Attendant says, "You guys got nothing to worry about, I'm a professional." To which Cameron replies, "A professional what?"

Reminds me of a few auto meetings I've been in..............

True, Stein notes that some US products still make a statement- eg- Corvette, 300C, Escalade. But, the sales numbers don't lie and way too many US cars and trucks are "reputation and appearance-deprived". And the Chinese are just ahead to make life tougher still.

.......Stein even gives a shout-out to my boy Deming and our beloved "PDCA"!

So, US auto execs, what do we do about the future to prevent you from going away completely?

"Anyone? Anyone?"

Sunday, May 13, 2007

How a Decision Is Brought to Life


The success of any sales or marketing project starts with understanding how the consumer creates the action intended.

.......eg- How the decision gets made.

I suggest it starts with design, because-

Design = Expression.
Expression = Lifestyle.
Lifestyle = Customer Connection.
Connection = Influence.
Influence = Sales.

To me, decision criteria are prioritized in the consumers' mind like this-

1. Design [attracts my attention].
2. Fits my Need [confirmation].
3. Image Feel Connection [branding].
4. Fits my Life [real or intended].
5. Quality [acceptable to me].
6. Price [fits my wallet].
7. Value [fits my justifications].

The mind [even Abby Normal's] decides things this way.

You may see this is as the "nonsensical ravings of a lunatic mind". But, "it's all written down in the notes! Now, tie off the kites and hurry down as fast as you can!"

Monday, March 05, 2007

When The Sky Falls


If you want to know the true nature of any individual or company....

Look at their response to crisis.


That is the essence of their character, capacity, and belief in themselves......and the sum total of what you will find you have to work with and / or deal with when trouble hits.

Unless, it's aliens.

Then, just hope Tom Cruise has a spare solenoid to fire up the Dodge Caravan and get us all headed in the right direction!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

220.....221.....Whatever It Takes......

A client recently mentioned that I speak "movie quote" to make a point.....and this "Mr. Mom" soundbite is one of my favorites.

Now, it can work 2 different ways.

In the positive, it speaks to the most cherished quality a brand, person, company, or product can possess.........a "whatever it takes" commitment to do the right thing to be the best.

On the other hand, I seem to notice more and more these days that "whatever it takes" is being translated into a "tell them whatever they want to hear" rant or a "do whatever I can" tactic to just get "whatever the f*@# I want".

But, I think people are ultimately smart and Option 1 is the only way to go.

Or as our prez says, "Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

Yeah. 220....221...whatever it takes.


Friday, November 24, 2006

You're Going to Need a Bigger Boat!

In my business growth consulting and executive search work, I sometimes come across a need to translate a given situation, problem, or opportunity into a discussion about adding to the organization the "tools" required to "get the job done right".

....And often the dialog starts with a fight for the status quo followed by a "negotiation" to accept the need for an investment in time, capital, and/or commitment to put an appropriate, but new strategy, tactic, or skilled professional into play.

Then, I find myself invoking a "work smarter, not harder" rant followed by the "horses for courses" diatribe, as I try to explain why more of the same will "sink success".

Is it a reticence to change? The comfort of old habits? A reluctance to spend? A disconnect between the goal and the reality needed to get there? My Joe Pesce "I amuse you?" delivery style?

Regardless of the reason........

If you need a bigger boat......You need a bigger boat!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Watching TV Commercials

I am not a TiVo owner. So, I don't have intimate knowledge of the experience. But, as a marketing professional all I hear about from my ad/marcom peers is their fear of viewers opting out of watching their hallowed commercials.

Cut to viewing some videos of Japanese TV shows.

.....and here I am actually waiting for and watching the commercials. Nobody is fast forwarding the tape. Why?

Curiosity and creativity. Most TVCF's [as they are called in Japan] are entertaining, informative [Japan loves their "feature/benefit" visuals], and possess a storyline mystery of what will come next.

So, maybe the TiVo threat is best countered with commercial creativity and editorial intelligence. "Incent" the viewer to want to watch.

.....And then you can get the product placements out of the show content and let me enjoy my TV viewing time, again!

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Executive Search, Goodfellas-Style

I've spent the past few years in the world of executive search.

..........equal amounts of time with job hunters AND corporate/agency hiring managers.

What I see and hear from both sides reminds me of the classic Mafia line- "This is the business we have chosen."

Everyone seems a little resigned to the reality, but accepts the situation as something that must get done.

No job hunter likes being involved in the process and they fear the risk that each interview could feel like Michael's spaghetti house meeting [Thank God, they never really end that way!].

Hiring managers often approach candidates with the same mindset that Don Corleone takes going into a "sitdown".....a "what's in it for me?" selfishness and a healthy dose of "what's your angle, you piece of baccala?" skepticism. eg- Me first, no trust.

Add in the "consiglieri factor" called an executive recruiter and everyone starts to envision the horsehead scene from Godfather 1.

Candidates wonder if they are the horse. Hiring managers wonder if they are the film producer being coerced. Pressure and suspicion abound.

How to avoid it all?

Candidates- "Keep your friends, close and your enemies closer." Keep your head up all the time. Tell the truth, but never let others in on the "family business", just stick to the hiring facts. Trust no one. Trust yourself.

Hiring Managers- Pick your team, as if you are picking your "crew"- look for core values, loyalty, commitment. Treat everyone with respect. You learn more about the candidate being nice and letting them talk vs intimidating them into the answers you want to hear.

...and please use your imagination.

Don't be so literal with the job spec and your needs. Bugsy never would have dreamed up Vegas if all he was thinking about was bootlegging and loansharking.

Executive Recruiters- Be a good soldier, do your job well, be loyal to your "Godfather" [client] needs. But.....respectfully stand up for your point of view. They hired you as an expert, not some "resume bagboy".

...and be nice. Don't be too arrogant on behalf of your client. Don't project a "know it all" attitude. Listen for signals. That's why Tony is still around and Johnny "Sack" is in jail.

Do these things, my friend. Otherwise, you will all eventually end up like every Pesci character in every Scorcese mob movie......

Pissing the wrong guy off, making enemies, and everyone wishing that you inherit a hole in the ground all your own.

"Leave the gun, take the cannolis."


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Motorsports Sponsorship Search

I am looking to connect with corporate decision-makers interested in using motorsports to sell their brand and deliver-
  • BRANDING- To build awareness, consideration, loyalty.
  • BUSINESS- To generate sales acquisition and retention.
  • BONDING- To motivate client / employee attitude / performance

Previous PDCA motorsports marketing programs have generated strong results-

  • $47M new Sales, $123M in Marketing via $26M in Sponsorship.
  • $40M new Sales, $15M in Marketing via $3M in Sponsorship.
  • $10M new Sales, $4M in Marketing via $1M in Sponsorship.

Our approach goes far beyond "logos on race cars"............

PDCA motorsports marketing programs are a customized, integrated multi-platform actions.

Too many racing sponsorships just talk up "exposure" and play down "activation". PDCA does it differently. We define "calls to action", commit to the deliverables, and then perform vs agreed upon ROI objectives.........just as demanded of any marketing program.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Is Scion Selling Cars or a Lifestyle?

I am a "CarGuy" by heritage, so things automotive get my attention.

.........And Scion's success has me wondering.

Is it the cars? Or is it the lifestyle brand connection they created with their audience?

I got into the auto industry years ago, not because of the engineering [although, if you know me you know I like the technology of going fast] but, because of the marketing.

I remember how families had bonds to brands.......How the first Mustang clicked..........How VW ads worked with their audience........How racing really used to sell cars! Everyone seemed to have a opinion about cars and an affection for their favorite. How did the industry get that done, I wondered? I needed to know and I wanted to be a part of it.

So, in 1977, I signed up......and went to work for Ford.

Last year, I had the chance to reconnect with some old car friends at the NY Auto Show media days and Scion was a "topic du jour".

Competition still looks at Scion as an anomaly......eg- It's not the "real" auto industry. .....Trends come and go. .....Industry hits are notoriously cyclical. .....And buyers are fickle, so this is the 'flavor of the month'.

.......And I personally don't think the first edition Scion cars are all that profound [I do, however, like the new t2B concept.......seen above].

But, I see how Scion has authentically connected with its young target audience with lifestyle relevance and respect. ........And I think that goes a long way towards why buyers are rewarding Scion with car sales.

.........So, then the marketer in me says, "You know, if Scion means authentic hip and cool, then there could be Scion fashion, food, coffee shops, phones, music, movie, sports, podcasts, broadcasts.........."

Without diluting the brand.

I think Scion built itself a brand with strong "lifestyle attributes". They just happen to sell cars with the customer affinity they created.......they could probably sell anything to their loyal following right about now.

What do you think? Did Scion build a Lifestyle Brand or a Car Company?

..........And why can't so many others seem to build either!?


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Sunday, May 29, 2005

You Can Say So Much with "Good Design"

A more expressive Freedom Tower? Dick Cheney's NY apartment? No? How about what I felt after 9/11 and now what I fear the World thinks we are saying to them.........


Monday, March 28, 2005

Beware! Rookie at the Keyboard

So, here we go. ......my first attempt at blogging.

Patience, please, as this could be a painful learning process.

From school study to sports, to dating, to work, I repeatedly discover I am no "Roy Hobbs" when it comes to mastering skills [eg- "The Natural"....eg- Robert Redford........eg- Roy Hobbs.........eg- A show of hands, please, on how many readers I already lost with my first cross-reference].

But, eventually I got good enough to get by..........Blogging?
We shall see.

PDCABlog is intended to create a dialog with those of you attuned to the world of sales, marketing, and business management........

* to share insights into what is right and what is wrong with today's approach to running the sales and marketing "assembly plant" and getting customers to listen and act.

* to build a network of knowledge, people, and shared opinions.

* and to introduce to you opportunities as they are introduced to me.

In my work with PDCA Inc. [http://www.pdcamarketing.com/], I also deal with corporate partnership search and executive search. We can include those topics in the discourse, as well.

So, let's see what happens next.............Thanks for visiting and, hopefully, participating.

LeoParente