Sage Thoughts

Your “Most Endorsed For”scoreboard may not exactly say who YOU think you are, but it says who THEY think you are.

linkedin-logo2Four months ago LinkedIn added a one-click endorsement system that allows your contacts to say what they think you know without writing a single word.

It goes like this:   In your LinkedIn profile you list a set of skills and areas of expertise.  LinkedIn polls your contacts with questions like “Does Yourname Here know Project Management?” or “Does Yourname Here know Quantitative Research?”  Every time a contact answers YES to one of these questions, you get a point on your profile next to that skill.  Before you know it you’ve been codified with a number for each skill.

So who do they say you are?  Does it match your own opinion of yourself?   If not, what are you going to do about it?  My top four “Most Endorsed For” skills are Marketing Communications, Direct Marketing, Advertising and Marketing Strategy.  That’s about right.

“Personal branding” is a hot topic in career development.  Defining any brand – including the brand you call “Me” — begins with knowing what people already think about that brand.  The “Most Endorsed For” scoreboard is a good place to start.



With the college national championship behind us and only eight teams remaining in the NFL playoffs, followers of American football are now fixing their eyes on February 3rd, Super Bowl Sunday. 

CBS has already sold out its inventory at an average price of around $3.7 million per 30-second spot (is that net or gross, might I ask?).   That’s right – over $7 million a minute.

Is it worth it?  In an era of retweeting, rehashing and reality imitating art ad nauseam, perhaps it is worth it now more than ever.  As long as the advertiser gives us something to tweet or Facebook or LinkIn about.  When done right, a Super Bowl ad can generate endless “free” repetition, replay on cable news, podcast chatter and social media buzz.

Remember the irreverent, unleashed wildness of the 2000 Super Bowl ads at the height of the dot-com boom, when E-Trade’s spot with a cha-cha-ing chimp boasted “We just wasted two million dollars.  What are you doing with your money?”

E-Trade chimp

Thirteen years later the price of a Super Bowl spot has nearly doubled and the opportunities for exposure through social media have gone from zero to everybody.   I’m expecting some killer work from big brands on February 3rd.  If you’re like me, you’ll get up to get your favorite food and beverage only at certain moments of the game – when they’re actually playing football.

Class of '13

Can anybody get excited about 2013?  It’s just not a pretty number.  Odd-numbered years roll in with a yawn – no Olympics, presidential elections or World Cups.  Odd years are the mortar between the even-numbered bricks.

I’m surprised I haven’t seen more chatter about fear of 13, aka triskaidekaphobia .  Maybe we’re just avoiding the discussion.

“Naturally, it’s 13. Why 13?”

“It comes after 12, hon.”

           – Marilyn Lovell (Kathleen Quinlan) and Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) in “Apollo 13.”

Every year has a brand.  Some years arrive amid great expectations: 1976, 1984, 2000.   Others just sit there like the quiet kid in class (name one big thing that happened in 1993).  .

What’ll we see in 2013?  A better economy?  Less red-blue divisiveness?  More time spent thinking about today’s opportunities instead of tomorrow’s problems?  I’m hopeful for all of that and more.  Even Apollo 13 was, in the words of Tom Hanks/Jim Lovell, “a successful failure.”  Unlucky Apollo 13 was very lucky.  

Let’s all make something special out of 13.

Elvis meets Nixon 12 21 1970
Maybe you’ve heard the story.  Maybe you’ve seen the photos. In case you haven’t, here’s the recap:

Forty-two years ago today, early in the morning of December 21, 1970, Elvis Presley showed up, unannounced, at the gates of the White House to deliver a letter he had written to President Richard Nixon.

Elvis Letter Page 1

Transcript of letter from Elvis to President Nixon 12 21 1970

Elvis wanted to meet with the President and he wanted the title and badge of Federal Agent for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.  Elvis got everything he asked for.  By lunchtime.  That day.

How did Elvis do it?

THE BRAND:   By 1970, sixteen years into his show biz career, Elvis Presley had evolved into Elvis.  The bejeweled, cape-wearing, “See See Rider” singing, Vegas-playing Elvis.  Elvis was a brand that everybody recognized and many respected.   When Elvis showed up at the door — even the door of the White House — the door was open.

THE ANGLE:  Even if you’re well known, and even if you say “please,” you need a selling proposition, a unique brand attribute.  Elvis had one:  Elvis could relate to everyone.  In his letter to President Nixon, Elvis wrote: The drug culture, the hippie elements …do not consider me as their enemy… I will help out by doing it my way through my communications with people of all ages.

THE ASK:  Elvis didn’t beat around the bush.  He asked specifically for what he wanted.  When you don’t ask, you don’t get.

THE LIMITED TIME OFFER:  When Elvis showed up at the White House gates four days before Christmas, the Nixon staff knew they had to move quickly.  Elvis was a limited time offer.  Better act now.

THE CLOSE:  Elvis wasn’t going to leave the White House without a new badge.  He knew better than to take “We’ll get back to you” for an answer.  Elvis was persistent.

A brand built over time, a unique and well-timed offer and a clear call to action set the stage, and a well-prepared, confident salesman brought home the badge.

Elvis BNDD Badge















Elvis has left the White House.