A Sign From Above

by sherylross on April 1, 2012 · 0 comments

in Life

Fast food in Nepal

Fast food in Nepal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In our hurry-up society with its ever changing technology, round-the-clock fast-food options, social media delivery and the need for immediate gratification;  the sharing of information can change the tide of public opinion on any given topic from a political position to what to have on a burger.  Or whether to even offer burgers!

Sometimes the instantaneous velocity  takes its toll on certain aspects of our lives.  Families come together and are blended and then are dismantled at rapid speeds.  People within a family are taking jobs in separate locales and the fabric that once created neighborhood communities is very different and divergent.

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 11:  A person holds a new  ...

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 11: A person holds a new Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system on October 11, 2010 in New York, New York. The phone, which will be available in the United States on AT&T's network, looks to compete with the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry smartphones. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

People sometimes have greater connections with those who are hundreds or even thousands of miles away than the people who sit across from them at a dinner table.  In fact, we have become tolerant of allowing dining companions to have flat out conversations with individuals on an electronic device when there could be a perfectly interesting person sitting across from us to whom we have hardly uttered a few sentences.  And yet we find this acceptable.  In fact it is becoming the way of the world.  Where once we would have found this action quite rude, it is now a behavior that we consider common place.  Even relationships are carried out in this manner.  People feel that it is “O.K” to interpret the feelings of others with abbreviated catch phrases.  It is faster and takes less time and effort.  However, at what cost?  Are we merely viewing pictures of what whole relationships truly may be.  Are the subtle nuances of a smile along with words or an intonation of a voice long forgotten.  Can we truly become interpreters of other people’s emotions by using acronyms?


Dare we talk about issues of the human heart?  Can emotions that deal with love, trust,  devotion and gratitude be handed over to the world of immediacy and technology.  Are friends on social networking sites really friends at all?  When someone is in trouble or needs help, will they really come out and lend a hand?  Or, is this information highway just a place upon which to park our communication vehicles once we have established where we stand, what we are looking for and who we are?  Is this form of communication actually advanced or are we deluding ourselves?  Are we really connecting the dots or is it merely two-dimensional pictures of much larger, more complex beings.


Rolling Hills Lush growth in May.

Rolling Hills Lush growth in May. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Were long walks across rollings hills to get to a friend’s home, written messages that took months to receive by postal service and mandatory attendance at a dinner table where people had to look into each other’s eyes while they spoke to each other by candlelight in order to read the individual’s face, really less effective?  Have we  gained immediacy but lost credibility and the texture of our souls?  Those are difficult questions to answer, let alone measure.  The factors are so different in nature and our culture has become so different and varied.  Women and children are now allowed to speak, even when they have not been spoken to first or given permission.  In fact, the idea that in some countries that this practice still exists, seems like an abomination to others around the world.  Freedom of speech and dissemination of information do not always go hand in hand.  Often the acquisition of the first is hard fought and sometimes comes with consequences, both personal and global.  The latter may be hidden.


What we can hope for, is that  even as prosperity and advancements continue for mankind, historically the pendulum swings back and forth.  With assurances from those who have gone before us and the desire for generations coming up behind us to have more in their lives, we must believe that a balance will happen in order for our species to continue successfully on its journey.


We must be prepared to embrace the best of the past as well as the best of the present; all the while keeping a vigilant eye on the future.  It is a rocky road at times to be sure, however, it has also brought a wealth of promise for our ability to persevere.  We are, if nothing else a supremely creative and determined species.  Hopefully, we will be able to self-adjust to meet the needs of the planet in addition to ourselves.  If we listen very carefully to our hearts and our minds, we will not have to rely on a sign from above to make the necessary  corrections.





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A Gift of 10 Questions

by sherylross on December 18, 2011 · 0 comments

in Business

As we end this turbulent global year and look forward to a shining new one, I decided that the best gift I can give is one of knowledge and sharing.  Some of the information offered is known by many, but others may be seeking it for the first time as their panacea to a fresh new beginning.  It is in this spirit, that it is offered.

After a lifetime of helping people get their message across about their company, their cause or their artistic persona, I have sometimes forgotten that questioning does not occur like breathing for everyone.  So often people are looking for the right answers when it comes to marketing.   However, the real truth lies more in the questions that you ask and not necessarily in the answers.  I KNOW that I don’t have all the answers, but I do know some of the questions.

The simple truth of the matter is that there are many variables that contribute to success.  You can seek to roll the majority of them into a plan of action, but ultimately it all starts out with the “who, what, when, where, how and why” questions.  The answers to these questions aren’t magic, but they can make all the difference in the world between success and mediocre.

1. What’s the purpose?

English: Stephen Covey at the FMI Show, Palest...

Image via Wikipedia

Stephen Covey is well known for the motivational and successful business tenets that he outlines in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I was lucky enough to attend one of his all-day workshops and the specific lesson that has stayed with me for over 15 years is his Habit #2. It states: “Begin with the End in Mind”. To me, this is the point from which all things develop. By envisioning what you seek to accomplish in the end; through an endeavor, an awareness campaign, a marketing piece or even a cause – you have established the framework upon which to build your story or presentation.

2. Who’s your audience?

Simply put – know your audience. Vegetarians are not interested in the latest type of burger on the market and children have very different tastes from grown-ups or even the senior population. It seems like a simple concept, but all too often companies want to be all things to all people. If that is the case, then your brush strokes for presentation or delivery need to be very, very broad or the inherent nature of your business or product must appeal to all. Usually, the overall accomplishment or successful penetration in the marketplace comes from targeting a specific type of customer or their unique qualities as a consumer. And usually, they have VERY different profiles. Last, but definitely not least: Are you trying to reach an existing constituency or a brand new one?

3. Who should be involved?

Creating an effective team further enhances your ratio of success. By involving decision makers from the beginning, you create a vested interest in the project and they help move the project forward. However, just because they are the boss, they may not be the best to consult for execution. If their forte’ is digital media and you’re exploring print ideas, talk to an expert. Don’t forget that some of the best ideas come from the end user. Whenever possible explore the opinion of the “man in the street”; after all, they are your potential customer.

4. How much is your budget?

Be realistic about the dollars you have to spend and know what it is in advance. Otherwise, it is “shooting from the hip” marketing where you haven’t used your eyes to aim at all! If you’ve done your homework, you don’t have to break the bank. Think about placement and where your audience is already located. A modest success on a slightly smaller scale is infinitely more effective than a failed effort on a larger platform.

5. Who’s crafting the message?

In our ever changing and bustling society of multi-media bombardment, very often – less is more. While you may want to tell the world every single nuance about your business or cause . . . by doing so, you may in effect dilute your message and the impact will be lost. Rely on professionals to help you edit. Your message needs to be concise, precise and consistent. People will notice.

6. What is the best delivery?

Again, there are so many choices out there. As an example, if you’re targeting an older market, they respond well to the written word. They trust what they can read, process and who they know to be trustworthy. Newspapers, direct mail and radio and television personalities who have “come into their home on a daily basis” are valuable. The younger generation wants fast delivery. Make it short “sweet” and to the point and delivered to their smart phone where all forms of communication happen all in one place.

7. When is the best time?

Take a look at community calendars, the time of year and what else may be happening in people’s lives. There is always something going on somewhere that could reflect your outcome. Take the time to think about how people conduct their everyday lives and move forward accordingly. Consumers are now very educated and savvy. So don’t try to sell them snow blowers in summer and swim wear in winter, unless of course you can convince your audience that because they are doing so, they are getting a spectacular “off season” deal!

8. What else is out there?

Know your competition and what they have to offer but don’t be afraid of them. Find your unique niche and put a spotlight on what you have to offer. The best playing field is always a full one. Remember that partnering is healthy and creates win-win situations for everyone involved.

9. Why should this work?

There are no guarantees in marketing. However, knowing your audience, doing your due diligence in planning and presenting a message that is attractive to the consumer is the key.

10. How will you measure success?

Make sure you have the particular measurement tools or monitoring mechanisms in place to measure your success. Debriefing a project or campaign is just as important as its initial planning structure, maybe more so. If you have a wildly triumphant outcome but are unsure how you actually achieved it, how will you duplicate that formula again? Success does not always translate into simple facts and figures. Don’t attribute or misplace dollars with feelings. Sometimes accomplishment can hinge on intangibles that continue much longer than any projected blueprint. Ultimately, they may be the factors that propel you forward to a radiant future.

May we all experience a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous NEW YEAR! 

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