Bonitamedia’s Weblog

Creating a lasting impression for small business

When mistakes work out for the best – the Power of Social Media

I help businesses establish Social Media campaigns and create a transparent presence on the web. I have spent countless hours writing corporate policy, establishing best-practices and teaching social media neophytes the do’s and don’ts, as well as the jargon that can be expected to be found in this arena. However – I never taught my wife….

It all started – and ended – when my wife jumped on her Facebook page and read the following: “RT @JamesAkersJr: One of my friends has cancer & is shaving her head on Sat. If I can raise $500 I am going to shave mine as well…” Experienced Twitter users know that was a forwarded message from James Akers. However, she didn’t. She mildly objected – knowing full well I have been known to do some odd things in the name of charity before. Well – before I had a chance to correct her, no less than 10 of my friends were egging me on, offering to donate money to the cause. So I agreed to do it…

Bald is Beautiful!

Bald is Beautiful!

What makes this story unique is this. I have never met James – except via Twitter. His friend (who shall remain nameless) is suffering from Stage 3 stomach cancer – and up until 2 days ago, I didn’t know her name. Social Media is intended to connect people with common interests, create a communication channel that is nearly instantaneous, and establish a level of trust and transparency through this open communication. As a business using SocMed, sometimes the goal is to create a “viral” response. I felt James’ pain for his friend through his tweets and decided if I already had support to go for it.

As of today, nearly $500 has been raised to help this woman with her medical expenses. Yes, a small sum given the costs to treat such a dreaded disease. But the fact that this started because of a single post on Twitter and has reached out to a group of people from all corners of the country is simply amazing.

That my friends, is the power of Social Media…

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May 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How many zeros in a billion?

This was emailed to me by a friend – Rick Perry.  Think about this for a minute…

How many zeros in a billion?
This is too true to be funny.

The next time  you hear a politician use the

word ‘billion’  in a casual manner, think about
whether you want the ‘politicians’  spending
YOUR tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend,
but one advertising agency did a  good job of
putting that figure into  some perspective in
one of it’s  releases.

1) A billion seconds ago it was 1959.


2) A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.


3) A billion hours ago our ancestors were
living in the Stone Age.

4) A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.


5) A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and
20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.

While this thought is still fresh in our brain…
Let’s take a look at New Orleans ….
It’s amazing what you can learn with some simple division.

Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D), is presently asking Congress for 250 BILLION DOLLARS to rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number… what does it mean?

1) Well…  if you are one of the 484,674 residents of New Orleans (every man, woman, and child) you
each get $516,528.

2) Or… if you have one of the 188,251 homes in New  Orleans , your home gets$1,329,787.

3) Or… if you are a family of four… your family
gets $2,066,012.

Washington, D. C

HELLO!
Are all your calculators broken??

Accounts Receivable  Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income  Tax
Dog License  Tax
Federal  Income Tax
Federal  Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS  Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS  Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Tax
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real  Estate Tax
Service charge taxes
Social  Security Tax
Road Usage Tax (Truckers)
Sales Taxes
Recreational Vehicle  Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State  Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal  Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal  Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and  Local Surcharge Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage  Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and  Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State  and Local Tax
Telephone Usage  Charge  Tax
Utility Tax
Vehicle License Registration  Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft  Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers  Compensation Tax

STILL THINK THIS  IS FUNNY?

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago…
and our nation was the most prosperous in the world.

We had absolutely no national debt..
We had the largest middle class in the world…
and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What happened?
Can you spell ‘politicians?’

And I still have to press ‘1’ for English.

I hope this goes around the USA at least 100 times

What the heck  happened?????

March 9, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Why? The most powerful question ever asked…

Interestingly enough it is asked too little by businesses and too often by our 3-yr old kids!  The first question out of any child’s mouth is “Why”?  Why is the sky blue?  Why do dogs hate cats?  Why why why why why?  The very heart of the question is a yearning for information, knowledge, answers…

It surprises my to find most businesses, when entering into any social media campaign, advertising, marketing, PR promotion don’t really ask the question.  If they did, the answer may be “Because it’s cool” (didn’t get you anywhere growing up, did it?), “My competition does it” or even better “I don’t know”.  But without the why, there is no direction, no measurement of success, no answers to any questions.

There is more to come on this – just wanted to get the ball rolling…  Before embarking on your next campaign, ask yourself why…

March 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Real-life power of Social Media

Most people who know me, know I am generally patient.  I will take a lot before I snap – but when I do, look out, it may get ugly!  Well – ugliness happened today…

high voltageI have been having severe problems with my phone and internet service for the past 3 days.  Both are packaged together through Comcast Business services.  My decision to go with Comcast was pretty simple – they offered a great price, static IP addresses, 4-hour response time and most of all, they were a past-client.  It all seemed to make sense.

Well – I have had some serious service issues over the past year, most of which I let go without raising a stink.  Today I snapped.  My phones and internet have been more off than on for 3 days.  I was told Monday the problem was fixed.  I was told yesterday a tech would arrive to fix the problem (after 6 hours, not 4).  Tech shows up to inform me the problem is outside (already knew that) and another guy would be out to fix it.

This morning I come in to the office expecting things to be fixed – nope…  Now I am really ticked off…  I dropped calls all morning – one to a new client (hopefully doesn’t think I am bush-league).  Frustrating and embarrassing.  So – here was my answer…

Pull out the cellphone and tweet “Day 3 of no internet service from Comcast… so much for business class’s 4hr response time… anyone else find similar service issues?”.  Of course this ended up on Facebook as well.  However, things got much better from this point forward…

I received a tweet from@comcastbill stating this was “unacceptable”.  Turns out Bill is with Comcast corporate offices in Philadelphia.  I of course was skeptical – I had never heard of him – but @sellphone assured me he was legit.  Bill called me and agreed the issue should be resolved and communication should be better.  Within minutes, Bill Evans, a local manager with Comcast Business Services called me to apologize.  Mr Evans assured me the issue wouldbe resolved and a crew was on the way to handle it.
Comcast does a great job monitoring social networks.  I never asked them to contact me – I was asking the public for their opinions.  @comcastbill did a great job diffusing the situation.  Comcast’s internet speed is the best in our area, but reliability is key.  Lack of communication at the local level caused me to flip.  I thank @comcastbill for his handling of the situation.  I hope we never have to chat under these terms again, as he is genuinely a great guy and really does want to keep his clients happy.

Thanks Comcast, @comcastbill and Bill Evans for going above and beyond what was expected!

February 25, 2009 Posted by | SWFL Hodge Podge, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Must Everything We Do Be Tangible?

I guess this would be a follow-up to a previous post – maybe an addition…

I have never been surprised when a customer/client asks “So – how can I really measure the results of…?”  It’s a great question, one I wish I had the answer to.  I don’t think there is any way to accurately measure individual parts of any marketing campaign.  When it comes to marketing, 2+2 doesn’t (or shouldn’t) equal 4, it should be more.  However, you may never see tangible results from one aspect, while others get all the credit.  I made the mistake myself this week.  Looking through my client list, I came across The Crexent Business Center. My immediate thought was “I was a client of theirs, that’s where the business came from”.  WRONG!  In actuality, I found them through the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce and became their client.  Then – about 18 months later they became mine.  So in reality, the Chamber is the real source of the client.

Schlüssel zum ErfolgEnough on that.  What I really want to know is this:  Will marketing/advertising/pr ever really be 100% trackable?  With all the variables and the ever-changing landscape of options, I highly doubt it.  Convincing a small-business owner that untrackable intangibles really do have value is the padlock on the door to earning their business.  Education is the key.

February 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures…

It’s another oft-too-used cliche and it is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society.  Times are tough and people are finding new ways to pay bills or even put food on the table.  In fact, I had to replace my water heater a few days ago, so I put the old one on the curb for garbage pickup and it was gone within 30 minutes (I am on a dead-end street)!  I had know idea there was enough value in a broken water heater…

desperateWhat I really have a hard time understanding is why businesses feel they need to veer away from their image, their core competencies, their experience, THEIR BRAND.  I see it every day, locally, regionally and nationally.  “Going Out Of Business” has been transformed from a store closing to staying opened because of the new-found foot traffic.  I see prices slashed to the nth degree.  Loads of money being wasted on advertising and marketing all in the name of getting the consumer to spend what little money they have left.

I’m here to tell you this won’t work, it can’t work, it never will work.  Campaigns that are “too good to be true” are exactly that.  Today’s consumer is more informed than ever before.  The fact that a vast majority of people turn to the internet first for information should tell you something.  The consumer is looking for information.  They crave it.  They need it.  It’s time for businesses and marketing professionals alike to give the consumer the respect they deserve.  Don’t compromise your mission as a business in the name of the ole-mighty-buck.  Doing so will create a rift between you and your loyal customers that is unrepairable.  What’s worse is the consumer feels lied to – or even betrayed.  I would guess that’s not the image businesses want to portray.

Photo courtesy Olivier Blanchard

Photo courtesy Olivier Blanchard

I understand that times are tough.  Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures. However, if your business plan is to thrive, not just survive, careful planning to be certain you are keeping true to your brand and your mission is just what it will take to push your business to the next level!  Ask yourself this: “What is the tipping point in my business?”  (great read by the way – The Tipping Point).  I doubt you want your tipping point to be a negative, desperate one…

January 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Prioritizing matters more than you know…

Priorities and how to organize them.  This, in business and in life, seems to be the biggest distraction for many.  Priorities seem to change as frequently as daily for some people, but do they really need to?  For me, virtually every task, every event, every cause, action, reaction falls within 5 different categories (in no particular order) work, spouse, children, family/friends and yourself.  I will attempt to order these – with reason – and would love to read your thoughts.

#1 – My kids.  My children will always be first on my list.  That will never change, under any circumstance.  To me, and this may sound harsh, they are the only extension of me that is irreplaceable.  I don’t subcsribe to Bill Cosby’s theory (I can make another just like you – Bill Cosby, Himself).  I truly believe that every action I take affects my kids in profound ways.  As a parent, it is my duty to make sure they are raised in such a way to become caring and compassionate adults.  I will never live up to my duty as well as I should, but I will always be cognascent of the fact that my actions shape the lives of my two children.

#2 – My wife. When I got married, I made a vow for better or for worse.  I am not a big advocate of divorce, in fact I feel that most divorces should never happen.  Either the couple got married for the wrong reason or they are unwilling to put in the effort it takes to make it work.

#3 – Myself. I learned long ago that self-centerdness and selfishness lead nowhere.  However, a facade of caring and compassion won’t work either.  However, without a healthy body, mind and spirit I can’t be the father and husband I need to be, or the friend and business owner either.  Many people feel this should be placed at #1, but given the fact I would take a bullet for my wife or kids, I can’t possibly put myself ahead of them.

#4 – Family/Friends. No one can get through life these days without family and friends.  They help us grow by holding us accountable, challenging us, comforting us, laughing and crying with us.

#5 – Work/Business. Without a job or source of income, no one could provide for their loved ones.  However, without having all of my personal life in good health, there is no way my business can thrive.  I have seen time and again where #’s1-4 fail because emphasis is on #5.

My priorities are what they are based on my life, my situation and my own convictions.  Everyone has a different set, for different reasons.  I will say that if you are having serious issues in any part of your life, re-examine your priorities, take a long hard look at where your focus is and why.  Resolution may be closer than you think…

January 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paradigm Shift…

Life is a voyage.  Everyday we have new challenges, conquer uncharted territory and lose epic battles (some we don’t even know are going on around us).  I am fascinated with the growth of internet communications, how “chatrooms” on CompuServe were on the cusp of social (inter)networking 15 years ago and where things have gone.  The world is shrinking my friends, and how you choose to handle or adapt is key to your success…

Change is afoot – and it is finally starting at the top.  No – I’m not talking about freezing Gov’t salaries or Foreign Affairs… I’m talking about Social Media and how big of a role it played in politics this past year.  Barak Obama and his team skillfully created a marketing campaign unparalleled in election history.  Corporate America needs to follow suit – shift your attention to getting the consumer to contact you when there is a need.  Please, look around you.  Your clients and customers are sick of the “old way”.  If you don’t adapt, then a new, more dynamic competitor will emerge that understands the direction the world is heading, and your loyal customers will indeed follow…

January 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Where has the creativity gone?

Is Advertising an art form or a science?  Great question!  (I was just interrupted by my salesperson Erin and got sidetracked – and right on topic!)  Erin has a new prospect – a large, nationally-known cleaning company.  She brought in all of their collateral (no slight on the local franchisee – everything produced came from the corporate gurus).  Everything will get noticed because the colors are bright, but really – who chooses the graphics?  What is being sold here?  Drives me absolutely nuts!

Ok – back on track….

First – I will admit that my level of creativity for my own company is lackluster – just ask Olivier Blanchard (thebrandbuilder.wordpress.com), who by the way is one of the most creative people I have had the pleasure of meeting.

Our market, like all others, is cluttered with advertising campaigns that are unoriginal, boring and in many cases offensive.  Why is that?  Has every good idea been used up already?  William Bernbach once said “In advertising not to be different is virtually suicidal.”  That is so true.  The auto industry is cluttered with ads that, when you remove the name and photo of the cars, you have no idea what is being sold.  “I get 32mpg, have 4 doors, got a 5-star rating, who am I?”  That ad is obvisouly paraphrased, but could cover 6-8 difrferent commercials out there today.  How about “This woman got pregnant by a man she barely knows in order to buy me!”  Brilliant IMHO.  Throws you for a loop (also helps that Brooke Shields is the spokesperson).  Another great one – “When you turn on your car, does it return the favor?” (Cadillac in case you missed it).

The point here is creativity seems to be taking a back seat today to the “we’ve always done this, it kinda works, and I really don’t want to try anything new because I can’t afford to waste money” attitude.  Crazy if you ask me.

What if you were able to leverage the advertising dollars spent by your competitor for your advantage?  Take a look at what your competition is doing, what sales they run, where they place their marketing pieces.  I heard a story about a nail salon that really drives the point home.  The salon was located in a strip plaza next to a large grocery store.  Business was doing fine because they had no competitionto speak of.  Well – a competitor opened up across the street (an asian nail salon – promoted as such) and advertised “$9.95 nail sets!”.  Drove our subject nuts – and worse, business plummeted.  “How can anyone make a profit at $9.95?”  The new salon put ads everywhere, had a ton of new traffic coming through the door.  Our friend started a big advertsing campaign to bring buisiness back, but at $29.95, they were throwing good money after bad.  What was the solution?  Simple – about $50 for a sign in their window, facing the competition, that read: “WE FIX $9.95 NAIL SETS”

Think about it for a while – brilliant, inexpensive, and very simple to enact.

One of my favorite clients is doing a very creative campaign right now.  Diamond brokers, and avid poker players, Todd and Jason at the Diamond District are hosting a private poker tournament for anyone who spends $1000 or more at their store in November.  The winner of the tourney gets a trip to Vegas for 4 days and 3 nights PLUS their $10,000 entry fee into the World Series of Poker for 2009!  Brilliant campaign and think for a few minutes who that will attract!

Jon McLeod

Exposure Specialist

November 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Southwest Florida’s Diamond District

If you have ever spent any time in Lee or Collier Counties in SWFL, you have undoubtedly seen signs with the tag lines “Internet Prices” and “Diamonds at New York Wholesale Prices” with two gentleman standing along side, leaning on or even carrying a large diamond.  Todd Schusterman and Jason Sherman are virtually household names.  They have become two of the most recognizable faces in SWFL business today because they understand the value of branding and name recognition.  About a month ago I had the opportunity to sit down with Todd and Jason to learn a little more about their business and what got them started…

Although the Diamond District opened in Bonita Springs in 2003, it is obvious that diamonds are in the blood of Todd and Jason.  Back in 1919, Todd’s grandfather opened a diamond store in Zainesville, OH.  It was at this store that Todd got his start in the jewelery business, making decorative bows at a young age.  Jason also got his start in his family’s business in his teens.  The two met in 1989 in Heath, OH and have been great friends ever since.

Sunshine brought the two to Bonita Springs (as if we couldn’t have figured that one out;) ).  Todd had already been visiting the area and felt this would be a great place to open a diamond broker business.  The area was growing, the average age was falling, and there was little competition.  Todd and Jason opened their store in a small strip plaza hidden off an access road on Route 41 in Bonita Springs.  The location wasn’t the greatest, the signage wasn’t the best, but they figured out how to promote the little store in Bonita so well, that 5 years later they are building a beautiful new store in front of Coconut Point Mall (opening within the next 3 months).

Now I am certainly not an expert in jewelery or diamonds (being colorblind certainly doesn’t help), and having heard the terms diamond broker, wholesale, retail, discount jewelers, etc… I wanted to know what (if any) the difference was – and more importantly, are the terms just marketing ploys?  Much to my surprise, there is a difference between each of them.  A retail store will have a small selection of many types of jewelry, ranging from watches to chains, earrings, bracelets and so on – all adorned with different types of stones.  A broker is fixated on one particular item, and will have a huge selection of just that item.  In the case of the Diamond District, you may go in and find a selection of 20-30 diamonds in your cut and color, where most other stores may only carry 3-5.  All of the diamonds are loose and certified – waiting for you to pick the perfect setting.

Their Marketing Strategy

Todd and Jason have established themselves as a power-house in the diamond business in our area.  It certainly wasn’t an accident.  There are two major aspects to their strategy: Acquisition and Retention.

Acquisition of new clients is a major problem in today’s business environment.  Todd and Jason created an image when they first opened and stuck with it.  They made it a point to have their “brand” visible by as many people on a daily basis as possible.  Their out-of-home marketing campaign is aggressive, well thought out, and very effective.  How effective?  Their estimate is 60% of their clientelle mentions their outdoor campaign (mobile billboards and static billboards).  This out-of-home campaign is backed by radio and print advertising designed to remind customers who they are, what they do, and why shop with them.

Retention is another issue facing many businesses today.  As I am out and about, I am amazed at the fact that many businesses don’t know what the value of their clients is.  Once you get that new client to trust you, getting them to continue to shop with you and to refer their friends and family should be your number one focus.  At the Diamond District, this skill has been mastered!  Not only is their staff knowledgeable, they genuinely care about your needs and concerns.  The experience is exceptional, and their followup is very tasteful.  I first became a client of theirs about 3 years ago and each experience has been great.

If you are a business owner, you can learn alot from how they market their product.  If you are a consumer, you owe it to yourself to visit the Diamond District – it truly is “Worth the Drive to the District!”

October 31, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments