Do You Hava a “Twilight” Brand?


Twilight Fans Line Up to See the Stars and the Movie Premiere of Breaking Dawn 2

There are some brands that people connect with so much that they’re compelled to wait in line at the openings, announcements of new products, Black Friday Sales, etc.


Check out the fans of the Twilight Series and the newest movie, Breaking Dawn 2. People (mostly girls) brought their sleeping bags and camped out to see the stars walk the red carpet for the opening.

Apple also have people waiting in line when they announce a new product and my sponsor, Microsoft Store, had people waiting to enter a contest at their retail store.


What Does it Take to Build These Kinds of Raving Fans for Your Business?

  1. Use customer appreciation as a marketing strategy: Have a gifting program and send them regularly to high-level clients and people who refer you. Produce promotional items with your business name on them. I give out shopping cart magnets and people come up to me years later and thank me for them. Food gifts are always good such as gift baskets and gratitude cookies. If you’ve written a book, send customers an autographed copy.
  2. Ask for testimonials: There are magic moments when you can get customer testimonials. Ask when you’ve delivered the product or service and the client thinks you’re wonderful. Don’t wait for the testimonial. Record an audio testimonial, use your flip cam or video recorder on your camera, write a few testimonials and have them pick one.
  3. Make your business personal: Do thorough intake and success profiles. Find out your clients’ favorite places to travel, favorite colors, etc. Learn about their families.
  4. Have contests and giveaways: They get people involved in your brand and create great word of mouth.
  5. Have special promotions for your top clients: Example: Department stores letting their top clients know the day before a sale begins

Why Are Fewer Veterans Starting Businesses?


Fewer Veterans Are Starting Businesses for More than a Decade

Fewer veterans are starting their own businesses, continuing a decline that began more than a decade ago. Veterans made up only 6% of all new entrepreneurs last year, compared to 12% in 2000, according to a new report from the Kauffman Foundation, which focuses on entrepreneurial activity.


Why Are Fewer Veterans Starting Businesses?



Older veteran entrepreneurs, who started more businesses, are now closer to retirement, so the younger veterans have lost mentors. Mentors play a key role for first-time entrepreneurs and it’s important for a younger veteran to learn from someone who understands what they’ve been through.


Choosing Education

Now, service members sometimes choose to attend college or trade school rather than start a business immediately after leaving the military. A survey of veterans who left the military between 2004 and 2006 showed that 48% participated in the Montgomery GI Bill, which provides college education and career instruction.



The Small Business Administration provides bank loan guarantees to veteran-owned businesses: $2.1 billion in fiscal year 2012. Banks — now even more than before — demand a flow of business income or a stellar credit rating. Veterans rarely have both, because they haven’t yet launched a business and could have damaged credit due to delayed payments while on tours abroad.



The military culture stresses following orders and sacrificing what you want for the greater good. These are not qualities of the entrepreneur. Successful business owners are rogues who think out of the box and defy authority.


Despite the obstacles facing them, veterans who start businesses that help people are providing the ultimate service to their country. Let’s hope they pick up the torch and lead as entrepreneurs.

Sponsorship: The $340 Million Dollar Decision to Cancel the New York Marathon

ING Paid an Estimated $4 Million Dollars to Be the Title Sponsor of the New York Marathon

The New York City Marathon was canceled on Friday, November 2 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg after mounting criticism that this was not the time for a race while New York and its boroughs were still recovering from superstorm Sandy.

Staten Island residents called it “a disgrace” to hold a marathon and divert essential police personnel and resources while city workers were still treating injured people, preventing gas explosions and finding bodies.

Some Quick Facts about Sponsorship and the Money the New York Marathon Generates

  • The race is worth $340 million each year.
  • It’s estimated that ING paid more than $4 million to be the title sponsor of the marathon.
  • In 2010, the race drew 45,350 participants, 2 million spectators, and a television reach of 315 million worldwide.
  • Runners alone spent $1,800 over the course of the weekend.
  • If you average four guests per runner, you get $326+ million.
  • The race also yields direct tax revenues of between $10.8 to $11.2 million.
  • The New York Marathon provides $24.3 million to NYC charities.
  • The New York Road Runner’s club is the official organizer of the race. Its annual revenue is approximately $55 million

Other Sponsors of the New York Marathon Include

  • United Airlines
  • Foot Locker
  • Nissan
  • Timex
  • Coors Light
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Emerald Nuts
  • Gatorade Endurance Formula
  • Philips
  • Subway
  • Tiffany & Co.
  • UPS

Protect Yourself in Your Sponsor Deals

Write a “force majeure” clause in your sponsorship agreement which states that if there is a major whether disaster, act of god, etc. you can re-schedule your event with no financial consequences.

Sponsor companies are made up of people and they understand circumstances like storms. If sponsors are seen as capitalizing on human suffering or diverting precious life-saving resources, it could be a major public relations nightmare.

Should They Have Canceled the New York Marathon?

I believe they made the right decision to cancel the New York Marathon.

I’d love to know your thoughts. Please feel free to leave a reply.

Is Rihanna a Good Role Model?

By Staying with Her Abuser, Chris Brown, Rihanna is Setting a Bad Example for Young Girls

I’m a big fan of Rihanna and We Found Love is one of my favorite workout songs.

But she is inexorably drawn to Chris Brown, who beat her so badly that she had to miss an award show.

Domestic abuse is a big problem for teens and tweens who are her fan base and this shows them that if Rihanna can stay with an abusive guy, then it’s okay for them

Also the video for We Found Love is an ode to promiscuity with none of the consequences of reckless dating behavior.

Rihanna has been given so many gifts, wealth, talent, beauty, even sponsors. Now she needs to step up and use her fame to influence young girls to live their full potential and make good choices.

Top 5 Olympic Sponsorship Strategies

Olympic Sponsors Include Procter & Gamble (P&G), Coca Cola, McDonalds, Omega, GE, Panasonic, Acer, Dow, Visa, SamsungYour Business Is Not Too Small to Get Corporate Sponsors and You Don’t Need to Be the Olympics

It’s Okay to Be Small, But It’s Not Okay to Think Small

In fact, many of my non-profit and small business clients have worked with these sponsors.

Here’s how you can use Olympic strategies to get your sponsors:

  1. Approach brands that align with your vision: The Olympics were criticized for having Coca Cola and McDonald’s as sponsors because these aren’t healthy food choices. The response was to promote Coca Cola brands like Dasani water and the new under 400 calorie menu at McDonald’s.
  2. Create the right benefits: It’s not enough to slap a logo on a web site anymore. You need engagement opportunities that connect people to brands. These could be 2-way communications such as contests, blog posts, games, videos and social media campaigns.
  3. Know your demographics: Just like you’ll see Gabby Douglas promoting to young females, you also have valuable demographics for sponsors. Tell the sponsor how you can connect their brand to your powerful consumers.
  4. Stories sell: Gabby Douglas had her “2 Moms” watch her go for the gold. Her biological single mom, Natalie Hawkins and her host mother from Des Moines, where Gabby trained, Missy Parton, cheered her to victory.
  5. Have a partnership mentality: Sponsorship is not free money. The sponsor is funding you because you add value to their company. Concentrate on how you can provide quality and make the partnership stronger.

Gabby Douglas and Her $10 Million Dollar Smile

Gabby Douglas Gold Medal Corn FlakesI’m Absolutely in Love with USA Gymnast Gabby Douglas and So Are the Sponsors


Kellogg’s Corn Flakes 

Just 24 hours after she won the gold medal in gymnastics, Kellogg’s presented her with a Corn Flakes box with her smiling photo that will be available in stores this fall.


Procter & Gamble 

Douglas is doing her first sponsor deal with P&G and is now featured in their “Raising an Olympian” campaign.  


What’s Next?

Look for Gabby and her dazzling smile to be sponsored by restaurant chains, hair care, toothpaste and cosmetic brands, any corporations that can take advantage of her appeal to a young, female demographic.


It’s estimated that Gabby Douglas will earn $9-$10 million dollars through sponsorships and endorsements over the next four years. Not bad for a 16 year old. 

5 Summer Tips for Your Business

  1. Announce Holiday Themed Specials

    Why not do a Summer Special? I know, we see these promotions all the time. It’s because they work. You might want to go for the less-celebrated holidays to make your promotions really stand out like National Dog Day on August 26.

  2. Do Birthday and Life Event Marketing

    I recently saw a brilliant post card from a business owner who just had a baby. His special offer was in honor of his new son, who he was holding in the photo. Business is getting more personal, so announce birthdays and life-changing events to your customers and reap the rewards.

  3. Hire Extra Help

    In summer, there are plenty of students and young people who want to learn about business and would make great additions to your team. Tap into this great pool of talent.

  4. Revolutionize Your Business and Sponsor Plan

    Chart the course of your business and sponsorships for the next half of the year. Analyze what has worked for you and what you need to change to pump up your business success.

  5. Have a Party

    You can have your own networking mixer or an educational seminar. Even though it’s a business event, make it fun. Decorate, play games and give away prizes. Encourage people to network and learn more about your company.

Go with these proven strategies and add some fireworks to your business.