Friday, June 26, 2009

Americans Have Discovered Saving

We are not exactly turning from a Consumer Society into a Savings Society, but there may be a trend developing.

“Saving” has, of course, for decades been an ubiquity in our vocabulary. If we could buy a pair of shoes for $50, we were encouraged to buy two pair for $75 and “save” $25. It worked! Splendidly! So well, in fact, that we have “saved” ourselves almost to the brink of disaster. But, the trend is turning (if “trend” is the right word – it could just be an anomaly); James C. Cooper reports in the June 29 issue of BusinessWeek that we “socked away 5.7% of [our] earnings [In April of this year], the most in 14 years.” So, Americans are spending less. Not just individuals, but businesses also. Mine is one of them. I go to fewer luncheons, seminars and conferences, I have not upgraded my computer in almost two years, and I do not go driving all over town to meet a prospect for coffee unless we have had at least one serious, qualifying telephone conversation. I was a bit more liberal in this when gas was under $2 a gallon.

Have your spending habits changed this year? Are you saving more? Comments are welcome!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Until you have a better plan of your own, do not reject mine.

I watched the first hour of President Obama’s healthcare “town hall” on ABC last night and found it mostly a waste of time.

I did not learn anything I had not already heard.

The dynamic and visuals were all wrong. Diane Sawyer is too old (she worked in the NIXON White House for crying out loud!) and too prominent a “news” personality to be audience-hopping with a microphone. It made me think that ABC had not been able to make up its mind who (Charlie Gibson or Diane Sawyer) should take this gig and arrived at the convoluted solution we saw.

The substance (if we can call it that) of the program was annoying. It started with everyone in the room indicating (with a show of hands) that they believe the U.S. healthcare system needs to be overhauled and nobody believing the current system works. Then, almost every question or concern directed to the president was an attempt to shoot down his plan. I wish some people would have proposed some alternatives, but this was an hour full of criticisms and devoid of fresh ideas.

I think the president could have used his time better also.

A Very Interesting Job Applicant Screening Procedure

I read this on "The Personal Branding Blog" and thought it was a procedure that makes sense for the hiring company on two fronts: it saves time and it exhibits each candidate's clear and concise writing ability. Smart!

The company. . . . listed the top five qualifications for the job and wanted you to write a short paragraph explaining how you uniquely met each of the five qualifications. The catch -- you had a small box to list all the qualifications and how you met each of them in just a few thousand characters (not words).

In the meantime, I just had an e-mail from someone I've known for 3+ years now, employed in positions of increasing responsibility by a global company; her name is on the list of new lay-offs, just announced. My son Alex, laid off about 5 weeks ago, has been getting at least one interview a week, but the only job offers are part-time, with hourly pay, and do not require the college degree he has. He has decided to take one, because it's better, he believes, than being on unemployment, while he keeps looking for something more suitable.

It's not a pretty picture in the employment world!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


If you are using any of the following words or phrases in your press releases, web content, brochures or other communications tools, you are "communicating without meaning". Here they are:
Pleased to
Focused on
Leading provider
New and improved
120 percent
Cost effective

Who says so? David Meerman Scott, the author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR, who did a Vocus webinar this afternoon, where I learned so much in one hour - for free! - that I now have a whole lot of revising to do for my own company, and tons to teach my clients. I wouldn't bother if I had any doubts about the validity of the webinar's content.

Do you know who Cindy Gordon is?