The Art of Persuasion: Winning without Intimidation by Bob Burg

I really need help with my interpersonal skills, so I thought this would be helpful to me. I loved it, in fact, and I’m working on a second read…it’s one of those books that influences you so much, you want to re-read it to gain new insight into the material.

Mr. Burg explains how everyone makes decisions based on emotion rather than logic. He also explains that in every interaction, there are 3 roles, and each person in the relationship acts out that role: Adult, Parent, and Child.

The Child sees him/herself as a victim and is constantly complaining, needing reassurance and generally angry and negative.  The Parent role is the one that puts people down, and generally talks down to people and doesn’t recognize their own negativity. They mean well, but they truly don’t realize they’re making the other person feel bad.

Thankfully, most of my interactions with BusinessLogos clients have been Adult-to-Adult, which has been great. The person in the Adult role is a positive negotiator; respectful and an active listener. They are easy to love and respect.

The book is quickly teaching me how to respond, rather than react, and to listen to the other person, regardless of whether I think they’re wrong or right. I love the insight its’ given me and I can truly see results. I highly recomend this book for everyone, not just people who own businesses or salespeople.

The other book I recently read was POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything by Sam Horn

The book cover certainly did “pop” with its’ bold orange, black and white POP filling up the entire cover. I had high hopes for this, because I’m always being asked for business name ideas, taglines, and branding campaign input.

The author is a woman that’s a business consultant, keynote speaker and author. Her book claimed to deliver fresh ideas, new inspiration, and proven techniques that work.

It was going pretty well until I hit a major speed bump. In the chapter titled “Correlate Until it Clicks” she writes: “A woman wanted to open a yoga studio and was trying to come up with the perfect name. She had been racking her brain for weeks and had nothing to show for it. We sat down with a pile of popular magazines and started flipping through them , looking  for something that caught our eye.”

I want to analyze this a bit more. It’s great to look at inspiration through magazine and websites, but I would say its an even greater thing to have an “inspiration file”. I have always counseled my designers to keep a place to store any material, printed or online, that catches your eye. That triggers something, and urges you to look into that product or idea. It sure makes it easier when you’re stuck creatively to go through files that have already inspired you, rather than hoping you’ll get inspired by a random stack of magazines.

Now, that wasn’t the major speed bump that I talked about earlier. Here it is, and designers, hold on to your hats:

A full-page ad featuring tennis champion Pete Sampras wearing a milk mustache and a t-shirt with the slogan “Got Milk?” stopped us in our tracks. We looked at each other and with big smiles said simultaneously, “Got Yoga?” That is a short, fun name she could feature in huge letters on her business cards and storefront. It will help her business stand out in a directory with dozens of fitness centers and compel people to check her out.

It was at that point I put that book back into the Barnes & Noble sack and put it by the door to take back.

People. Please don’t do this. This was written in 2006. We’ve all seen hundreds of iterations of this campaign. The Got Milk campaign originally began in 1993 and was very creatively made. The original ads featured a stack of delicious-looking cookies, or dry foods, anything that would go great with a big glass of milk. It was beautiful, because it didn’t feature the product, yet made you yearn for it.

The campaign eventually morphed into major celebrities wearing a milk mustache and talking about how milk has helped them in their particular line of work. A little less creative, but it still was effective, and it kept the great tagline.

Of course, this tagline became business names for every non-creative person out there that either wanted to latch onto the branding success, or were just too lazy to think of an effective brand message. “Got Tacos?” “Got Life Insurance?” “Got Aura Photography?” It became so prolific, and it didn’t matter to these people that it was a rip-off and most times, didn’t even make sense.

It would be like me using the beautifully crafted and original FedEx logo with the hidden arrow, and modifying it slightly to suit my business.  It’s not satire, it’s not homage, it’s plagiarism, and I can’t stand it. 

So, it left me in a bad mood. Can we try, as a society, to be original? To respect the design and advertising community, people that (for the most part) strive to use creativity to make business successful? What are your thoughts?