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Steven turned seven years old. He celebrated as he sat in a lavishly decorated living room with twirled streamers, blue and red balloons, plates with printed webs and a large plastic caricature of Spider Man as the center piece on a table. A gathering of children encircled the youngster, craning their necks to see what Steven would wish for as he blew out the candles of his cake. It was as if, for a moment, they expected he would break tradition and say aloud what he wished for. And, while he did not do the unthinkable and wish aloud for his most desired gift, it was clear from much earlier on in his childhood, at least to his closest friends and family, what his wishes were. Steven wanted only one thing, to create the most important brand in the world. It would be the brand that saved the world.
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Have you ever been in a really horrible meeting? You sit there for hours thinking, I’ve got so much work to do and this is going nowhere. Worse than that, your peers and leaders are distracted by their phones buzzing, or department heads are arguing about which way to go with a particular idea and it reaches a heated, unprofessional level.

Years ago I worked for a book publisher. Once a quarter we had meeting to lay out the upcoming publishing plan for the next quarter. Approximately 20 people attended. There was a lot to cover in four hours or so. The first meeting I attended, I noticed a big, orange, bell (probably from a Pit game) positioned within reach of the president’s chair. Anyone in the room could ring the bell if someone went off scope of the meeting agenda. I remember a few times someone even rang the bell when the president drifted off course (to which everyone responded with laughter.)

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A client recently asked me about his SEO (Search Engine Optimization). He was concerned about whether or not it was working for him with the recent changes Merge Left Marketing had made to his corporate site. Just a few days later, he called to share his excitement about a phone call he received and a significant sale he made, as a direct result of someone discovering his services via an internet search—specifically, it was content we had published to generate higher page rank and listings results.
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“…a few important ideas of how you can ensure success for the incoming leadership to key positions… ”

When I was five years old, my dad decided it was time for me to learn to swim, and he picked me up and threw me off the deck into the lake. I remember him standing on the dock yelling, “C’mon, swim…you can do it.” I’m not sure where my mother was at the time, but I am sure if she’d been within a mile of the incident, she would have jumped in and rescued me. I puttered around thinking, I’m going to drown and dog paddled back to shore, determined never to get near water in my dad’s presence again. I never had swimming lessons, but I eventually, taught myself to swim.

I can’t help but think about my dad tossing me into the water every time I hear about a person being thrown into leadership without a succession plan in place. I can count on one hand the times I’ve seen the handoff from one business generation to the next completed successfully.
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Not all traffic streets are equal. I was leaving a meeting in an area of town that I’m unfamiliar with. The business owner gave me directions to get back onto the main road. Little did I know that I was now about to enter a Crossover Displaced Left-Turn zone.

As I made my turn, I found myself facing oncoming traffic. I stopped my car on the line and put my left turn signal on. The people who were stopped in front of me started waving their arms to my left, indicating I should complete my turn. Assuming this made sense, since when the light changed to green they would be plowing into me, I heeded their advice and made the turn onto the frontage road leading to the highway I needed to be on.
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