Think Small

It was hard to let her go, but the time had come. That ’69 VW Bug served us well for a few years, but we are not mechanics, so we reluctantly passed her along to a more qualified caretaker. When we bought her from a neighbor she was already decades old, but with VW Beetles, older has always been cooler.

How did such a funny looking little car become such a durable icon for the baby boomer generation? It started in the early ’60s with the now legendary “Think Small” campaign that turned automotive advertising on its head and unleashed a flood of Bugs on the American landscape.

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Choose Not To Lose

As it relates to all things email, we are big fans of the resourceful and helpful folks at Emma email marketing. In fact, we use Emma’s email service to send out our weekly blog. In addition to facilitating online marketing and getting your message through those pesky firewalls, Emma provides helpful, nuts-and-bolts information designed to maximize the power of your marketing efforts.

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Black Is The New Black

As a born, raised, and educated New Yorker, I’ve always had a thing for black. Spend some time walking the streets and avenues of the Big Apple and you come to realize that, especially for the natives of that grimy jumble of noise and color, black just makes sense. From Uptown beboppers to Village beatniks to Lower East Side punk rockers, black has always been the color of the street, the shade of the subterranean creative class.

In her recent New York Magazine article on the subject, writer Amy Larocca reminds us that, historically, due to the high cost of the dye, black was worn exclusively by the upper crust and royalty, and that aura of power is still associated with the darker shades. And like a true New Yorker, Larocca has strong opinions on her city’s ebony-centric style sense.

“We wear black because it confers a no-nonsense power,” she says. “We wear black because we’re not here to see a show; because we are, in a sense, with the band. The band is New York, and the color is black.”

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Clarity Write This Way

As someone whose career has often been dependent upon an ability to produce clear and succinct writing, I become frustrated at the level of writing skills I encounter doing business every day. According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Journal, I am not alone.

Author Josh Bernoff describes bad business writing as “a hidden source of friction that is slowing your company down.” Bernoff points to his recent survey of 547 business people who spend an average of 25.5 hours a week reading work-related material. All agreed that shoddy writing costs time, energy, and productivity. In a recent study conducted by online benefits and compensation information company, PayScale, 44% of managers surveyed pointed to writing skills as the quality most lacking in new grads.

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Driving Home The Less-Is-More Lesson

Like most Nashville drivers, I spend a lot of time these days crawling along in the city’s increasingly crazy traffic, longing for some clear, open road. Stopped dead in a recent rush hour, I was struck by the number of ads for lawyers all around me. Splashed across billboards and plastered on the sides of passing city buses, they’re everywhere.

I did a bit of homework on attorney advertising, and quickly found out that before 1977, a lawyer publicly soliciting services was considered by the American Bar Association to be below the dignity of the profession, and it was pretty much illegal across the country. A Supreme Court decision back in ‘77 changed all that, and the floodgates opened for attorney advertising.

While advertising is used across a wide range of specialties, the most common ads are those from what are known as “tort” lawyers – things like personal injury and medical malpractice. Frankly, in both design quality and tone of messaging, the vast majority of these ads don’t do a lot to dispel the “ambulance chaser” stereotype.

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