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February 2010

January 2010

life after today: reflections on Lemonade

Tomorrow can be scary.  Especially if we know that change is coming.  Before my son was born, I was terrified.  When I first saw him, I experienced a mix of awe and fear.  Because for the first time ever, I knew that my life would never be the same.

As we invest more time in our careers, it is only natural that we would define ourselves by our careers.  We invest not just in ourselves, but in our employers.  We invest our passion, our creativity, our time and our mental sweat into doing the best damn job possible.  We pour ourselves into success.

And sometimes success doesn't come.  Sometimes you take a risk and fall on your face.  Or sometimes the market shifts and you are no longer needed.

To be honest, as much as I know that I make real contributions and have a fair amount of job security, I have had these fears.  We all have.  When you hear that there is "right-sizing" at your company, at a sister-company, at a client or in a related industry, it's inevitable that you contemplate your own career stability.

Lemonade The Movie

Over the next few days. a compelling new documentary is going to be released, called Lemonade, The Movie.  I recently received a private screening invitation, and let me tell you, it's interesting.  Lemonade showcases a series of former ad agency employees and explores their lives post lay-off.

I can relate to their anxiety, to the fear of the unknown.  This fear is a natural part of being creative, being driven, taking risks and frankly, being human.  But the great news that this film does a great job of highlighting, is that when we strip away the bloated egoism of corporate America, there is a raw person left with nothing but their anxiety and their passions.

Many will look at Lemonade and see an anti-agency manifesto.  But I think life can be great at an agency, it has it's ups and it's downs but I personally don't find it to be the hell that some make it out to be.  I think the real message of Lemonade is two fold.  Firstly, you aren't your career.  Live your life outside of the office.  The second is that life is about more than your paycheck. 

It's a great film.  Not a must see, but a fairly interesting story that is pretty relatable to those of us in the business.  It will be on Hulu soon.  I strongly encourage that you take a look.  Kind of puts those "urgent deliverables" in context.

For more see,

Social Complaints: How you can help yourself while helping us

Like it or not, smart marketers are listening to the online conversation.  When you complain to your friends, followers and readers you have every right to vent your frustrations.  But if you would like a resolution, restitution, a make good or even product, process or policy improvement with this brand or in even across the industry, there are a few key things you can do.

  1. Post reasonably.  When you write something like "Screw 'em" and "F 'em", there is less likelihood that you will be taken seriously.
  2. Provide some context.  The more you say, the more likely that your issue will be addressed in a timely manner, as it makes it easier for marketers to route your issue to the correct people.  This will also help brands learn from your complaints and address this issue proactivley moving forward.  Be sure to mention the department, product, sales channel, support channel or policy that you have issue with.  DO NOT release personal or private information in public.
  3. Position yourself as a partner.  Brands are more likely to engage people who are likely to build rather than tear down.
  4. Address your complaint.  This will help get you the attention you need.  Look for a brand blog or twitter address.  Message to them, not just to the world at large.  Try to find an email address on the brand blog.  Find someone that works for the brand on their blog, or twitter or even Linked In.  Address them directly, and if possible via private channels.
  5. Say thank you.  As a customer, you are rarely under any responsibility to post an update or say thank you in public, but you are more likely to receive social customer service moving forward if you recognize the social champions at the brand.