Are You Likable?

Are you likable?

Seriously? You ask.


Over the years, the one thing that I’ve seen that might be the factor that beats out talent is Likability. I can’t explain it, but if people like you, they tend to trust you – and if they trust you, you usually end up with their business. This may be the ONE thing that leads you to all the business you ever wanted. So are you likable?

I don’t want this to read like it’s some quick way to manipulate your potential clients at all. That’s not what this is about. My purpose of this article is that all of us, as humans, would take a look at ourselves, our morals, our beliefs, etc. and see if what we really believe about ourselves is reflected out in the “business world.”

Is it true sometimes we just need someone to come in and do the job? Sure. I heard a sermon one time where the pastor said, “Just because you’re a Christian Plumbing Company, doesn’t mean I want you to fix my pipes. I want the guy that can come in get the job done and go.” I get that (in some respects), BUT I do feel that if you are building a relationship with a person or business there needs to be a little bit more than the “I can get the job done” persuasion. There are hundreds of folks that can probably solve that businesses problem(s), but what separates you from them is they aren’t YOU. You are unique and so make them realize that.

“Some people are just likable,” you say? I would agree with that statement. But why don’t you think you are? Is it you’re not a people person? Well, I hate to say it, but you’re not being hired by a wall, you’re being hired by a human. So become a people person. Even when it feels weird to be nice, be nice and see what happens. Show your passion for what you do. If you lack in that area, then you probably don’t believe in what you’re selling. And if you don’t believe in what you’re selling, then you’re probably in the wrong business. Just saying.

I feel that there is something in all of us that wants to embrace people more, but we’re a little scared to show our true selves. Let me say, you can still be yourself and act as a professional simultaneously. People want authenticity more than you think.

So, If you’re into handwriting thank you cards after an introduction, DO IT! If you’re the type that calls instead of emails DO IT! If you like to have a good laugh to break the ice, DO IT! If you like to tell people “God Bless You,” DO IT! Whatever the case be respectful, be professional, be genuine, be YOU, but more than that…be a LIKABLE YOU.

Why Newness Creates Momentum

Years ago I was at a conference where Andy Stanley was speaking. Most people in my neck of the woods know who Andy is, but in case you don’t, he’s the lead pastor of North Point Community Church and speaks a ton on leadership. His whole message, in this particular session, was about how NEWNESS spawns MOMENTUM. At the time, I thought it was a pretty good talk and all. I mean I enjoyed how he communicated and I left with feeling like I learned something that could be applied at our church plant. Now years later, I came across the same talk on YouTube and let me tell you… it kind of blew my mind. First off, I’m a business owner of 5 years now. So, this message, although he was speaking mainly to church leaders, had a ton of validity and was very applicable to my own business.

MOMENTUM has many synonyms. Energy, Force, Power, Strength, Thrust, Speed, Velocity just to name a few. Not only are most of these positive words, but Andy gives momentum this  definition: “Forward motion fueled by a series of wins.” I really love that.

So, how do we get started into this “series of wins?” In the area of business, it may sound simple but create something NEW. Andy goes on to say, “Momentum is never triggered by tweaking something old, it’s triggered by introducing something new. New, Improved, Improving (He states throughout his message) BUT It must be a noticeable improvement over the old.” He states, “New does not guarantee sustained momentum but it is essential to trigger it.”

Have you ever noticed why so many brands create new products and packaging with “New Formula” or “New and improved ___” on it. It’s great marketing that gets the consumer to try their new product(s). They want you to know “We’ve been working on it to make it better!” or “We’re so committed to making sure that you will keep coming back to buy our products, we are every once in a while going to add products or change it up and make it better.”

So what’s the point? The point is, if your organization is lacking momentum and you can’t figure out why, do something NEW and DRASTICALLY different. Even if it’s you going away for a while and being a little silent and then reintroducing yourself to the world as better or newer…do it! What do you have to lose?….except your momentum!

Budget Busting

Do you have a hard time getting a budget from potential clients? It just might be the most frustrating part of business no matter what industry you work in. Let me give you an example of a typical “prospect” phone call:

Caller: “Hi! We’ve got a brand new product we want to bring to the market place and we need all sorts of marketing to get this thing off the ground!”

You: “Great! What are your needs?”

Caller: “Well, first we need to get some branding done with a logo. Then we need to create the packaging for the product. We’ll definitely need to get some product photography taken for the website and collateral pieces. OH! And we’d love to shoot a video for the launch of the product! Can you help?!”

You: “ Of course we can! What kind of budget do you have?”

Silence for a few seconds.

Caller: “Well…We’re not sure at this point. We don’t want to break the bank because we’re just starting out, but we have some funding. Can you send us a quote?”

You: “Sure thing. I’ll get you one by the end of the day.”

Caller: “Great thanks! I look forward to it!”

You send quote as promised and 5 days go by and you haven’t heard back. So you email or call the Prospect. 

You: “Hey there Mr. Prospect, I just wanted to reach out because I haven’t heard from you since I sent you the quote.”

Caller: “Yeah, that was a lot more than we wanted to spend, but thanks anyways!”


Ouch. You’ve just spent probably a couple of hours of time, that you’ll never get back – talking on the phone doing “discovery”, and then budgeting… for nothing. Why? All because the prospect wouldn’t give you a number they were comfortable being in. Let me just say, IT SHOULDN’T BE THIS WAY. Time is way too precious! So let me offer a quick piece of advice that someone once gave me that they called “Budget Busting.”

Let’s have a “redo” of the previous fake call. 🙂

Caller: “Hi! We’ve got a brand new product we want to bring to the market place and we need all sorts of marketing to get this thing off the ground!”

You: “Great! What are your needs?”

Caller: “Well, first we need to get some branding with a logo. Then create the packaging for the product. We’ll definitely need to get some product photography taken for the website and collateral. OH! And we’d love to shoot a video for the launch of the product! Can you help?!”

You: “ Of course we can! What kind of budget did you have in mind? Because there’s all sorts of very cool things we can do to get you to your goals.”

Caller: “Oh really? Well, we’re really not sure, but we have some financial backing.”

You: “Ok, so are you thinking like a couple of hundred thousand dollars, because we could really go BIG with a budget like that.”

Caller: “Oh gosh no!”

You: “Haha…Just kidding! No, seriously is it around $100,000, because we’ve done some pretty outstanding product launches for this budget range.”

Caller: “No that’s way too much”

You: “Oh ok, are you more around $50-75,000 range? This is still a very good budget for a project like yours…

Caller: (interrupts) “We’re thinking around $30,000 for the whole thing.

Ding, Ding!

You: “Ok, great! Now let me tell you what amazing things we can do for you with that budget.”

Do you get it? Everyone has a budget in mind. No matter what they say. 

*Also, if there’s a particular service you sell like web design for example, tell them right off the bat “Our website’s start at $_____.00” That way you can filter out anyone that can’t afford your service(s). You don’t waste their time nor yours.

So, next time you’re trying to size up a potential client, follow this simple formula called “Budget Busting.” It may take some practice, but once you get it….you’ll get them!

Price Vs. Cost

How often have you based your decisions on the price of a product or service rather than the cost?  You may ask…“what’s the difference?” And believe it or not, there is a difference. The late great Zig Ziglar talked about this in one of his famous motivational speeches to a group of fellow salesmen. He asked his prospect…“Mr. Brown are you basing your decision on the price of the product or the cost?” I’m sure you can guess what the prospect asked -“Well, what is the difference?” Zig goes into giving an example of when he went to buy his 6-year-old son a new bicycle.

They first went to the Schwinn bike store where they priced out a bike for $64.95 (a lot of money in those days for a bike). Then he went down to the discount store and priced a bike at $34.95. Now, you can clearly see the difference in price right away. So, they ended up buying the cheaper bike from the discount store. But 60 days later they had to go back to the discount store because he needed new handlebars – which was ok because it was still under warranty. Then 30 days later they had to replace them again and they were no longer under warranty. So it cost him $4.50 – so now the bike costs $39.45. Well, three months later the sprockets and brakes went out and they had to replace those parts and they went back to the store and paid $15.00. Now, he’s got $54.45 (plus gas and time) invested in that bicycle. A month after that, the bearings in the front wheel went “kazzip” (says Zig) and the discount store told him it would be about $5 to replace it. At that point Zig said, “I threw in the towel and said no way.”

So what did Zig do? He went back to the Schwinn store, bought the original bike they looked at for $64.95 and his son rode that bike for the next 10 years.  All they had to do was periodically raise the handlebars and replace the tires once. So what…right?

Well, let’s break it down. For 6 months the discounted bike cost them $54.95 or $9.00 per month for him to ride that bicycle. On the other hand, after 10 years the $64.95 Schwinn cost him $6.50 a year!

Now I get it. Do you? Price vs Cost.

I’ll go ahead and say it – I’m definitely an emotional buyer. Heck, most of us are. But sometimes we have to think about the cost of something over the price tag. We’ve been conditioned to believe what we see, and doubt what we hear. So look at the over all investment – see it and hear it.   Whether it’s reinvesting in a new website for your company or producing a branded video, I wouldn’t recommend ever going with a company based solely on price. Remember there’s a reason why some things cost more or why a business may charge a certain rate for their services. Look at their product/service and then their success rate. Look at their reviews and testimonials from those who have used the services.  It’s important, and in the end could save you time (which is so valuable), and of course, money.


Never say “Cheeeese”

Let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much to take a photo. However, on many occasions when handing a camera to someone to snap a photo of me and the family, I get this puzzled look like “What is this strange contraption?” Or “What do I press?” Not to be sarcastic, IT’S ALWAYS THE BIG BUTTON! Sorry just had to get that off my chest.

The purpose of this article is to talk about what makes some profile photos spectacular and others not so spectacular.

What makes the right shot?

Some folks say it’s all about the equipment. With an expensive camera that has tons of megapixels and the right lighting setup, you can produce a great photograph, right? I agree that with the right “tools” you can accomplish a number of things..but I beg to differ on this subject. I mean, today’s mobile phones most likely has the potential to be a pretty great resource to capture some stellar photography. So I don’t want to focus too much on the equipment which  takes us back to my question – what makes the right shot? Let me ask you something, what makes a Picasso, a Picasso? The paintbrush or the painter?

I believe the secret to great photography is the human eye and the direction of the photographer.

So, let’s talk about headshots for a moment. Headshots are something we do, so I feel comfortable talking about them. Headshots serve a purpose. They should capture the “true being” of that particular Human Being. When I see headshots (or professional profile pics) especially on LinkedIn, they are very flat (no dimension) and most of the time, they don’t feel natural.  A good photographer discovers the right angle and expression of the subject that mirrors who they really are at their best. Peter Hurley, a well sought after headshot photographer charges $1100.00 for a headshot. “Wow!” you might say. “That sounds like a lot of money.” But he knows that one great headshot can help get people the work that they want. He had an aspiring actress get six call backs in one week! I’d say that’s worth $1100.

Obviously headshots are only one area of photography, but anytime you’re dealing with people you have to be good at directing them. For me, I feel that being good at conversation is key. Getting folks to relax and to just be themselves makes for THE BEST photos. It could be a laugh, a surprised look, a questionable look, the slightest smirk, or even the right crop that turns someone’s photo into a spectacular photo which could lead them to the job of their dreams.

Remember a majority of what you are paying for is the artistry of the photographer. Here’s 5 quick suggestions when hiring a photographer:

1. Check References – Word of mouth is just as important when you are hiring for business as it is when you’re trying to get business.

2. Compare Portfolios – Look around at different work and don’t just get set on one person.

3. Match Your Photographer’s Expertise with Your Product – Remember some are experts at food, some headshots, and others could specialize in fashion or commercial.

4. Don’t just look at price – You may spend more by trying to save money and going with an amateur.

5. Work with someone flexible – Sometimes things don’t work out as planned so you need a photographer that can be creative and think on the fly!

Now you’re ready for your polished, profile photo! And remember whatever you do never say “Cheeeese…”

Ready for a new look?

We all grew up being told “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But let’s be honest…everybody does. I’ll be the first to tell you whether I’m looking at a book cover, wine label, or protein shake bottle, my eye tends to go towards the things that are original and exciting which then makes my brain say “Why don’t you give that a try!” Nothing could be truer when it comes to your company’s brand. If you think I’m wrong, stop yourself next time you’re buying something new and ask yourself, “Why am I going with this brand and not that one?” You may be surprised.

When it comes to your company’s identity, your brand (or in this case I should say your “Mark”) should have the same effect on people. The logo/mark might just be a part of the brand BUT it’s a HUGE part. Maybe you’re saying to yourself “That kind of thing doesn’t matter, because we get the job done and our clients are happy!” This could be true, however think about all the new customers or clients you could be missing out on because as soon as they go to your website they think “Did I just travel back to 1995?” People want to work with people they like, but also people that seem current with the trends. Co-founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Whoa. So, how do you feel about your brand now? If your brand is strong, then great! Stick with your guns – especially with the customer experience part of the brand. But as we all get older…we age whether we like it or not. Same goes with your logo.

So, is the face of your brand old and outdated? Do you think it’s time for a facelift? If you’re interested in knowing how to get started with giving your logo a new look, connect with me via email at and I’ll be glad to show you our process of renewing your brand with a fresh new face. Remember newness spawns momentum, and that might be just the right ingredient to get those people in the room excited about working with you!

How Great Ideas Are Born

HorseCamelThere’s an old saying that goes, “A camel is a horse designed by a committee.” This saying has been used for years in the advertising and marketing world. It holds a lot of truth though. I know, because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve designed logos or been involved with the creation of a brand and the deciding factor on what the image is going to be is left up to a committee. You know how it goes, one person shows it to his wife or another to her husband for their opinion and then it starts the “let’s booger it” up syndrome. In the end more time, money, and an ugly horse is born!

Pride is a terrible thing. It ruins the best of everyone and everything. When someones pride gets in the way, it can suck the life completely out of something creative. Don’t get me wrong, you’re always going to need someone to be the decision maker, but the best leaders know that the way to be great is to put great people in charge of what they’re the best at. I hate to see leaders that just want to have their thumbprint on a project and end up making a poor decision. Remember it’s about what’s best.

When it comes to creating a great idea, whether that’s a logo, video, marketing campaign, or whatever, it has to start with a great team. So maybe I’m against a committee deciding the fate of how their brand will come to life, but I’m not against people working together to create the best “whatever” out there.

Sure, many great ideas have been given birth by one person, BUT I strongly believe we were designed as humans to work better together. This is why when you’re building a creative team, you put people together that are like-minded, ones that can work well together. The kind that will push each other to think deeper, and that will be honest and transparent with each another. Ones that enjoy being with one another and build off each others strengths.

I think we were pretty fortunate to find a good blend of creative thinkers and doers here at AIS. Sometimes my favorite part of the job is seeing where a script goes. You always need a starting point. You can talk about ideas all day, but to get anything done, someone has to put “the pen to paper” so to speak. In our case the magic happens once the initial idea is formulated into a script. We gather as a team to brainstorm and you’d be amazed at how putting the right people in a room together can cause such an amazing energy that one good idea turns into many great ones!

So how good is your idea? It could be just a few right moves away from being great!

Groundhogs aren’t funny

Groundhogs aren't funny

In the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, Bill Murray plays a weatherman named Phil, who finds himself living the same day over and over again which happens to be.. well…Groundhog Day. At first he uses his dilemma for selfish gain, but in the end he sees how he can change people’s lives with acts of kindness which transforms him forever. Good moral. Now, this might not be my favorite Bill Murray movie, but there’s not much I don’t like that Bill Murray has done. He’s a brilliant actor in my book and has great comedic timing. So what’s my point?

Here you have a good story idea, with a funny script, but let’s say that the lead was Tom Selleck instead of Bill Murray?…Now you’ve got a completely different movie but the same script. I mean Three men and a baby was cute (I guess), but let’s let the man do what he does best, solving mysteries and driving a Ferrari in Hawaii. This is why it is so important when choosing the right talent for your video.

Good talent ain’t cheap, but it’s more about who is right for the job than who is the most expensive. Here’s just a few tips to help when booking talent for your video project:

  1. Use both talent agencies and your network when searching. Talent agencies will have some of the best professional talent out there, but remember you can also post jobs via social media networks and sometimes it will play to your advantage. Plus, it can give you a little exposure for your upcoming project. Don’t forget agencies take or add a % to booked talent.
  2. Get auditions. You might be able to see someones photo or even watch their reel, but you’ll never know if that person is right for the job unless he/she reads your script on video. Most talent agencies will do this or you can get the talent to do a “self-audition” via smartphone or camcorder. It will save you time and money for sure!
  3. Don’t go with the first person you see or hear. There is a sea of great talent and I know from my own personal experience that I thought we had the right person right off the bat, but really the perfect talent for the job was the last person we saw.
  4. Be open to interpretations. You may be the writer or director, but sometimes it’s the talent’s interpretation of a line or script that makes it really sing.
  5. Set a budget. Obviously if you don’t have a budget for talent, you’re not going to get what you want (most likely). Be realistic with your budget. Remember that the talent carries the idea so you may need to put more money towards this than another line item.

Remember these are just some some simple steps to take next time you’re hiring talent for your video project. Happy Groundhog’s Day!

Why Dollar Shave Club got it right!

When it comes to shareable or “Viral” type videos, most of us have one or two faves in mind. You know those that leave some kind of lasting impression on you…for at least a day or two. Whether good or bad, funny or sad, some kind of emotion is triggered and you want to share what you’ve seen with your social peeps. Personally, I tend to lean towards the humorous ones, and one of my all time favorites is the Dollar Shave Club spot. Unless you live under a rock and don’t own a computer, you know exactly what I’m talking about! I know…why am I’m writing about something that went viral a few years ago? Well, because when it comes to going from script to production and on a tight budget, these guys got it right!

So why did Dollar Shave Club get it right? First off, founders Michael Dubin and Mark Levine saw a need and created a solution. I don’t want to get caught up with why this is so important when developing a product, and then taking it to market – but still it’s an important fact. So let’s really dive into everything from script to final product. With savvy marketing wit, Dubin created a script that is humorous and fluid from beginning to end. With a budget of only $4500 (from our findings), Dubin had to be creative in the “how, where, and who” of the overall production budget.

1. When you are producing a video you always have to consider the creative or idea which becomes a script. This can cost thousands of dollars from an ad agency or creative production company. In this case here’s a guy that could already write comedy. Lots of money saved right of the bat!

2. Taking script to video means you need a production company or at least a good videographer to film it. Not only someone to shoot, but also someone to direct is just as important. Finding the two in one will save you some $$ for sure! If you’re not experienced behind a camera…do not attempt. There’s a reason why Dollar Shave Club’s spot looks professional. Dubin hired a friend named Lucia Aniello, who he had studied improv comedy with in New York, to direct. She did it for next to nothing Dubin says in an interview with Fortune. More money saved.

3. Making himself the talent was huge when it came to getting it right for this video. Not only was Dubin trained in improv comedy, his confident character and tone proved to be perfect for the script and in the end saved them hundreds if not a couple of thousand dollars in talent costs.

4. Location was extremely smart and strategic in this case. Some people may not think about this, but having multiple locations (especially anything outside) can make or break a budget. Why? It’s not necessarily the rental costs involved – however this is true, but just moving from one location to another and setting up takes a lot of unexpected time. Sometimes a one day shoot turns into two or three because of multiple locations. With DSC, they staged everything in a warehouse. Brilliant! You don’t have to worry about the weather and everything can be controlled in this type of environment. Plus it gave a “home” image to where your razors are coming from.

5. The last point I’m going to make is attention to details. When I watch this video, there are so many small things going on in the background that makes this hilarious! I’d say it’s things like seeing a toddler shaving a man’s head while Mike says “It’s so gentle a toddler can use it.” Or even the opening scene where Mike has all the random crappy products in packages on the wall behind him. In this controlled environment Dubin could add in humor by reinforcing it with an object(s) on the wall or background. Genius.

So am I telling you for only $4500 you can create a video that will launch your product to a whole new level and make you a millionaire? Chances are…no. Sorry. BUT if you take tips from the Dollar Shave Club you might be able produce a marketing video that ends up doing you and your business a lot more good than bad and shaves you in dollars!

If you have interest in creating your own product video, drop me an email at


It just happened again. Someone sent you a viral video of the “next greatest product” and you think to yourself, “I should’ve thought of that!” OR “I’ve got good ideas. Why don’t I create a product and sell it online?” Right? So you start daydreaming about that “next great thing” and suddenly you think of it! Yep, your Golden Goose! So maybe you have some money put aside and you decide to actually produce your thingamabob and try to take it to market. You’ve asked friends and family, maybe a random stranger here or there what they think – and you get nothing but positive feedback. And now your like, “let’s make some dough!” but how? Oh I know, you’re going to sell it on your website, because that’s where people are buying these days….on the internet. You remember seeing an ad on TV or maybe on YouTube of a web company that you can build your own site because it’s so easy! That’s it! “If I build it, they will come….and they will buy! Buy! Buy!” So you spend the next few nights up late figuring out how to use the design platform within your template site. Great. “Looks good enough to me!” you think to yourself. “Now what I need is one of those ultra memorable, viral videos to spread the word and sell my thingamabob. So this might actually feel a little out of your comfort zone and you think, “I’m not sure I can come up with something shareable or even know how to produce a great video in general.” You do a quick Google search for marketing video production company, and based on the look of their site, and their work….you make a decision. Now, let me just say we all get crazy ideas from time to time. Even if you’re not the most creative person in the world you still think of ideas. It’s fun and it’s just a part of being a human being. But I want you to look at the last statement in the previous paragraph. “…and based on the look of their site, and their work….you make a decision.” I realize that you should never judge a book by it’s cover, but I do. Most of us do. So what’s my point? The point is if you’re willing to put in your VALUABLE time, and your VALUABLE money, into your VALUABLE idea, why would try to attempt to do something you know nothing about? Meaning, you’re a professional something, and certainly you wouldn’t expect someone who knows nothing about your line of work to come in and do it the right way…correct?

I know this sounds like I’m bashing and trying to take away your fun, but really and truly in the end if you want to sell your thingamabob, and save money in the long run, seek professional marketing, design, and production help. We’ve seen too many times the same scenario, and products fail because they try to cut corners and do everything themselves. If you hire a professional to produce your videos, then why wouldn’t you hire someone to create a professional looking website?

So what is the importance of a good website as it relates to video anyway? Well for one, your website is your “home base” so to speak. What’s the point of hiring a creative video production company to produce a stellar video if it ultimately sends potential buyers to a website that looks like it’s from 1997?! If you want your thingamabob to shine for all to see, then put it on a gorgeous home that helps make it look even better. We’ve had an experience with a client one time where they were ready to spend thousands of dollars on a video and outdoor advertising, but their site was dated and not functioning correctly. Buttons were sending viewers to wrong places and, their Donate Now button didn’t even go anywhere! For a non-profit this is huge, because how are people gonna donate to the cause??! Again, a decision to let someone internally (who didn’t know anything about web design/development) have free reign in the end cost more money.