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November 2018

There are billions of lost dollars from lost gift cards

Gift Cards: Since 2005, An Estimated $41 Billion Worth Has Gone Unclaimed in America

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This Christmas season you may want to think twice before buying a gift card for a loved one, regardless of whether or not they’ve been naughty or nice.


According to the research done by Tower Group, Approximately 10% of the value of all gift cards go to waste to due to fees, expiration, and consumers who left them in drawers or just didn’t use them. This research has either inspired you to be less wasteful, or it has caused you to start frantically rifling through your drawers and bags looking for the Visa gift card Aunt Karen gave you for Christmas last year. Either way, it is a shocking amount of money, and it was actually The Wall Street Journal’s “number of the week” in their Real Time Economics blog.

This absurd amount of waste and the lessons learned from it can be applied to every American consumer, but also to every Marketer. Maybe only $2 billion would’ve gone to waste in the past 13 years if people like Aunt Karen had actually sat down and did their research about what tangible products you actually wanted for Christmas. Maybe marketers too, should take the time to understand their audience’s interests and passions too before they make the same mistake.

It is so easy to stop at the store to pick up an iTunes gift card for your friend’s birthday, but it might be better to just give them something else because they just switched their accounts from iTunes to Spotify that day. In an ever-changing economic and multi media society it is tricky to keep up with what is going to be used and what is going to be thrown away or forgotten…

Gift cards are the perfect example of what can go wrong when money is invested into something that you think might be fun for them or could be worth their time. Keep in mind that the words “might be” or “could be” are not in a successful marketer’s vocabulary when they are coming up with campaigns. When coming up with ideas for what your audience would like to see or what they would like to purchase do not default to a “gift card campaign” (something generic that can be interpreted by a mass audience.) Figure out who your audience is first, then cater to what they want to see, read, and purchase.

Miscommunication and misinterpretation are both common downfalls between marketers, but all it takes to fix that is a little extra thought. Just a little more sentimental thinking needs to be applied when buying gifts and when creating campaigns this year because we can’t afford to lose another $41 billion.




why is everyone in such a hurry at work?

Why is Everyone in Such a Hurry?

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It’s the busiest time of the year, and speaking of time it seems like there just isn’t enough of it. It is becoming increasingly hard for people to manage their time wisely and according to the Economist this is what they call “Time Poverty”


Do you ever Imagine what the increase of productivity in people would be like if there were 30 hours in a day?


Sure, it would be nice to have a few extra hours to get things done, but would this “Time Poverty” ever go away?

On average, people in rich countries have more leisure time than ever, which is great; but the issue is that in a growing economy time becomes more valuable. The problem with having more valuable time is that we now see our time in terms of money. The relationship between time, money and anxiety is a very close one and it started blooming during America’s post war boom years. The economic prosperity in our country sparked a conundrum of wealth; though people started earning more money to spend, they did not simultaneously earn more time to spend it in. This concept makes time feel much more precious.

With time being so crunched during the holiday season, it makes sense that people tend to become a little more impatient. According to research from Google people visit websites less often if they are more than 250 milliseconds slower than a close competitor. 250 milliseconds is less than a blink of an eye. More than a fifth of users will abandon an online video if it takes linger than 5 seconds to load.

This data makes it very clear that people, especially Americans value their time so much that they are not willing to sacrifice even milliseconds of their day.

Thomas Edison once said “Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.”


Nike logo, what makes a logo and brand so attractive

What Makes Brands like Nike and Apple so Iconic?

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Successful brands tend to have these 5 marketing strategies in common:


  1. Be Different.

Every brand needs what marketer’s call “noticing power.” This power has the ability to grab people’s attention and help them realize why their product stands out and rises above the competition. An example of a company with this noticing power is Vans. Their shoes were created with a waffle feature on the sole to help skateboarders with their manipulation and control while on the board. The waffle sole is their signature element that distinguishes their brand from other shoe brands.

  1. Keep it Simple

The products and brands that stick around are the ones that are meaningful and useful to people. It is important to not chase fads and to remember to keep the deign and overall experience of your product or service simple. Google, for example, is the top search engine because it is a product that is easy to use and has a simple design. This combination appeals to the heart and the head of customers, in other words the simplicity of your marketing can have a tremendous effect on their emotional and rational opinions of your product or brand.

  1. Always be Innovating

Nobody wants to be a supporter or advocate of a brand that is no longer relevant. This is a very big problem for companies that can’t seem to keep up with the constant innovation that surrounds them. It is vital for these struggling companies to focus on their signature product, the product that typically brings in the most revenue and work on innovating it’s key benefits.

  1. Have a Trustworthy Spokesperson

The beauty of advertising in the world of Social Media is that brands no longer need a “famous” person to be their spokesperson in order to establish impressive credibility. When marketing with a spokesperson, it is so beneficial to focus on a product that is adored by a small group of people. This small group of people that have a passion for your product can essentially become your marketing team, but you wont need to pay them to do work for you! Find the people that are passionate about your brand and make sure their voices are heard.

  1. Do Not Create a “No Go” Logo

A “no-go” logo is a logo that tries to catch the eye but is too busy or doesn’t have any meaningful symbolism. The more simple your logo, the more people will wonder about your company’s values and message. Remember your logo does not represent your brand, the logo is just a way for people to recognize it.

Is stress actually good for you?

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A recent study showing the impact of stress on public health raises the question: Can changing how you think about stress make you healthier?


This study tracked 30,000 adults in the United States for eight years. Researchers asked them “How much stress have you experienced in the last year?” and, “Do you believe that stress is harmful for your health?”


The researchers then used public death records to find out who among the 30,000 had passed away. People who experienced a lot of stress in the previous year had a 43 % increased risk of dying, but that was only true for the people who also believed that stress is harmful for your health. People who experienced a lot of stress but did not view stress as harmful were no more likely to die. In fact, they had the lowest risk of dying of anyone in the study, including people who had relatively little stress.

The researchers then estimated that over the eight years they were tracking deaths, 182,000 Americans died prematurely, not from stress, but from the belief that stress is bad for you. The results of the study are clear: When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress.

Now this is exactly what participants were told in a study conducted at Harvard University. Before they went through a social stress test, they were taught to rethink their stress response as helpful: Their pounding heart is preparing them for action. If they started to breath faster, it’s no problem, It’s getting more oxygen to their brain. And participants who learned to view the stress response as helpful for their performance were less stressed out, less anxious, and more confident. Their physical response to stress had changed dramatically all because of their basic belief that stress isn’t harmful.

Normally we would view the symptoms of stress as signs that you’re not coping well, but really these symptoms are just preparing your body for action. The results of stress are changed by your mindset. When you think of stress as a benefit it acts that way. When you help others, you build resilience to stress.

Does all of this information prove that perhaps we are indeed #tooblessedtobestressed?

Lessons we can learn from the famous Elon Musk

Elon Musk’s 5 Pieces of Advice to Young Entrepreneurs

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk is one of the most iconic and successful entrepreneurs in the world with a net worth of 21.8 billion dollars.

We are all witnesses to his wild creativity and innovation in business and we’ve had dozens of opportunities to learn from his impressive example of hard work and forward thinking.


His outstanding career in technology and business is considered intimidating and daunting for the young entrepreneurs of the world that want to become like him. Over the years Musk has given a few bits of advice to these young, aspiring entrepreneurs for their challenges ahead. He is a man of very few words though, so listen up and take note if you are interested in becoming successful in business:


#1: Do Not Take Constructive Criticism Personally

Musk made mention of this principle in a 2013 Google Hangout, “The constructive criticism others give you is invaluable. Sometimes critiques are hard to hear but its all part of the learning process”

#2: Get Your Hands Dirty

When talking about starting up and his role as a CEO he stated “You’ve got to do all sorts of jobs and tasks that you might not wish to do, that are not intrinsically interesting to you. You’ve got to be prepared to do whatever it takes, work whatever hours. No task is too menial. I think that’s the right attitude for the CEO of a startup.”

#3 Don’t Let Anybody Tell You “No”

When Musk was named to the Time 100 list of the Most Influential People in the World in 2013 he spoke about his power to create through innovation, “Whatever Skeptics have said can’t be done, I have gone out and made real”

#4 Don’t Focus on Money

Musk explained to TBS in 2008 that his reasoning behind starting Tesla was not to earn money, he instead recognized the environmental need to change the way vehicles are powered. “So this is not about wealth accumulation for me personally, its just that I think this is a very important problem and its got to get solved, and if we don’t solve it were in trouble.”

#5 Be Realistic

This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report states that in reality half of all businesses don’t exist after their first five years. Musk’s commentary on this helps young entrepreneurs understand what they are getting themselves into when starting a company, “Firstly being an entrepreneur has been overly glorified in movies and TV shows, but for the most part, running a company is difficult. Most of us are not ready for it or are more interested in the idea of being an entrepreneur rather than actually be willing to put in the work to become one.”

These 5 tips have the power to change not only the way budding Entrepreneurs view the world of business, but the way they view themselves and their ability to change the world.

Check out this video if you want to learn more from Elon Musk about how to get started with your business.