The Gap Between Preception and Performance

Sunset 2012-02-05 17.10.20 at Media Post shared some powerful data about the nature of a rewarding experience. Marketers too often focus on the customer actions they want without really understanding the values that drive those behaviors.

The resulting gaps impact sales results and brand engagement. The good news is that with a slight shift in perspective, marketers can gain the confidence that the customer actions they want can be predictably and reliably delivered. Read more about customers and What Are They Really Thinking?

I have seen this play out in the retail environment where products require a more education before the customer can fully appreciate the true value proposition of the products. In one case study we were able to boost engagement and sales to the tune of 40,392 units to 813,892 units in only two months.

We were able to crack the code for those customers. Results are often unprecedented.


10 Questions Entreprenurs Should Ask To Focus

Why 5% Succeed Best Selling Book CoverJackie Nagel, at Synnovatia offers excellent questions every entrepreneur should ask to focus their vision. That got me thinking about some of the examples I’ve collected, saved and used when developing projects, designing possibilities or delivering profit.

Elaine Starling co author of Why 5% Succeed: The 5 Principles of Predictable Profit, shares Key Questions To Triple Bottom Line Any Project, Business or endeavour worthy of your time and attention.

So once you know what your why is all about, you can focus on your customers. One of the best ways to do that is to Build an empathy map of your customers, clients. This is a powerful exercise and it’s often uncanny how close you can come without any other market research. If you do verify your empathy map with research or focus groups, you’ll have highly relevant data. If you do or don’t verify with focus groups, revisiting the empathy map regularly to revise or refine is essential if it’s to remain a useful tool.

Once you build an empathy map of your ideal customer it informs the steps to be taken that implement your customer engagement strategies. If you’ve done this much, your chances of producing relevant results for both sides of the bargain.are pretty good. That’s something to build on.

Asking questions is part of how we’re wired so why not ask really good ones? The best advice I have on the subject is to really be present when listening to the responses..

Key Questions To Triple Bottom Line Any Project, Business

Thanks to Elaine Starling author of  Why 5% Succeed for a really useful way to leverage opportunities and energize business practices. You can accomplish anything. You are unlimited and incredibly resourceful!!!

Have a blast writing about your projects and you’ll be totally energized for an amazing 2016!!

  1. How the project will benefit YOU.You As Center Of Your World– What skills will you practice or learn?
    – Who might you meet because of this project?
    – How might you be positioned socially and professionally because of this project?
    – How do you FEEL as you write about this project?
    – How long will it take you to complete this project?  If it took all year, is it worth it?
    – Can you automate this project at some point?
    – Is the impact of this project ongoing or a onetime burst?
  2. How the project will benefit OTHERS.Multiple people back of head view– Who will benefit?
    – How might they benefit?
    – How could it change their lives and the lives of those they know?
    – Is the impact of this project ongoing or a onetime burst?
  3. How the project will benefit the WORLD.– What might the ripple effect look like?  How would it spread?
    – How might the world change because of this project?  (Imagine the most AMAZING results EVER!!)

When you’re done writing, put it away for 24 hours.  Then re-read what you wrote and stack the pages with the most impactful on top.  You can rate them from 1 to 10 if you want to, but it’s really based on how you FEEL as you review what’s possible.


Publishing Is Dead? Long Live Publishing!

This originally appeared on Adotas

Feb 23, 2015 John Philpin CEO of Lyris

John PhilpinTo misquote Mark Twain “The reports of the death of music have been greatly exaggerated.”

For 20 years – long before the iPod came along – there has been a meme circulating on the Internet that ‘music is dead’. Yet music is not just surviving – it is thriving.

•   True – HOW we listen to and absorb music has radically changed.

•   True – HOW artists make money out of their music has radically changed.

•   True – the music INDUSTRY is dead – but that’s not a bad thing … they got in the way.

•   True – if you don’t pay attention, you will assume that music has hit a low because your music sources will be defined by the ‘bubble’ of ‘what you like’ or ‘what you hear through radio and TV stations owned by corporations’. Oh, and what you hear through websites – increasingly owned by those same corporations.

But … the fact is that we are living in a golden age of massive creativity with people creating and publishing their work directly to their audience. Music of all genres is cutting through the clutter to be listened and claimed. But we – the audience – have to work harder to find it. And we, the audience, have to recognize that to create something like music takes someone’s time, creativity and skill, and it cannot be free.

Now here’s an exercise: Let’s replace ‘music’ in those statements above with publishing equivalents. True – HOW we listen to and absorb news has radically changed. True – HOW writers make money out of their writings and opinion has radically changed. True– … well, you get the idea. And – just like music – if you are paying attention, there is a plethora of solid news, opinions, and columns on all kinds of topics imaginable to be found by the discerning reader.

Publishing is not dead – it is just redefining itself. But ‘Big Publishing’ for the most part is behaving like ‘Big Music.’ Both are attempting to hang on to the model that they know and love because it created so much money for them – not necessarily the creators. ‘Big Music’ continues to drive shows such as ‘The X Factor’, ‘American Idol’ and ‘The Voice’ – all essentially seeking to keep ‘Big Music’ in control. And the audience laps it up.

Big Publishing, Big Mistakes? Looking into the publishing camp, the story is not that different. Publishers are experimenting with pay-walls to ensure their content is not ‘given away’, cluttering their websites with adverts to help pay for their empires and a host of other tricks that simply make readers go away. This because they seem to confuse what they think they are about with what we think they are about. But that’s another subject.

I am a keen follower of Ben Thompson of Stratechery fame and one of his recent blog posts, Publishers and the Smiling Curve, prompted my own thoughts relating to how publishers’ current business models are too often positioned at the bottom of the value chain. Switching the power from a broadcast/blitz/blast communication style of the traditional media industry to a more considered, engaged, conversational style that embraces dialog that consumers prefer, is where publishers can drive value at the edges. But that is hard.

Ben has since followed up with another blog post surmising that there are two prime business models on the Internet.

1.     You can try to make a little money from a lot of people.

2.     You can try to make a lot of money from a few people.

For publishers that means making pennies on large numbers of subscribers only works if you have large numbers of subscribers. To quote Ben; “it’s the middle that is doomedbut things are looking up for the truly differentiated.”

Bottom line …  Publishers have to think differently about their business and their relationships with their audiences. Connected customers are powering a seismic shift in business models and as long as traditional media operates in a linear model of value creation acting like gatekeepers they will be left behind by networks that connect the right content to the right user.

Which brings me to ‘Niche Publishing’. Any business that wants to pursue ‘true differentiation’ needs to establish a product that, in the mind of the consumer, is markedly and undeniably different. Niches don’t scale; they go deep. ‘All you can eat’ strategies are ultimately suited for content that is broadly appealing. For anything with a limited but intensely interested audience, they are nothing but a bad idea. A way to limit your audience and the amount of money to be made.

Niche publishing is growing and profitable. But the question is where does niche publishing go next?

As I often say, the world of the future is not about the brand – it is about us – the customers, the people, the individuals. And as an individual, do I really want to receive lots of different emails, alerts, magazines, newspapers, zines – each one uniquely focused on an interest of mine? Of course not. I am my own system of record. I need to receive communications that are managed, controlled, and orchestrated so that I receive the right content at the right time without overloading me.

Bottom line, ‘Extreme Publishing’ is the future and allows for reliable and consistent content to be sent to me at the right time, to the right place, with the right …. based on my behavior, preferences, device, context … and anything else I (not the publisher) consider to be relevant.

That is what a connected customer communication platform is all about. It is a long journey, but just as Lao Tzu said “every journey starts with a single step”. My question for you is how many steps have you taken?

Revisiting the Long Tail Theory as Applied to Ebooks

E readerIn a limitless world of digital goods, powerful search and recommendation engines, near-zero marginal cost of digital production, storage and distribution, niche products shall get much more market relevance. “Selling less of more” is part of what the “Long Tail” theory has been preaching.

Does it apply to the creative industries too? And how? Should digital book publishers reduce attention on blockbusters and increase focus on the Long Tail as the source of the most profitable growth? Is there a space for unlimited growth of niche ebooks?

The critical factor is not supply or demand. It’s relevance and a rewarding experience. Read more.

Online Content Has Significant Impact On Buying

Content marketing professionals reaffirm that relevance plus relationships lead to results. If either includes being easy and engaging, effective is inevitable in the majority of cases.

CMO Council finds online content has significant impact on buying

The Chief Marketing Officer Council finds online content has significant impact on buying decisions. By Kate Maddox. June 10, 2013 – 6:01 am EDT 

Online Content Has Significant Impact On BuyingThe vast majority of b2b buyers find online content a valuable resource when researching products and services, according to a study released last week by the Chief Marketing Officer Council.

The study, “Better Lead Yield in the Content Marketing Field,” was based on an online survey of more than 400 b2b buyers, conducted in April in partnership with NetLine Corp. Eighty-seven percent of respondents said online content has either a major or moderate impact on vendor preference and selection.

Content Process“Most companies spend at least 25% of their marketing budgets on content creation and distribution on digital channels,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, pointing to a recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute. “Our focus [with the CMO Council study] was to see how effective is that spend, to what degree are companies producing content that is meaningful and useful to buyers, and what are the nuances around how people are utilizing and sharing that content with their peers.”


According to the study, the most valuable sources of online content in shaping purchase decisions are:

  • professional associations, online communities (cited by 47%);
  • industry organizations and groups (46%);
  • online trade publications (41%);
  • seminars and workshops (41%); and
  • trade shows (35%).


 Relevance – Relationships – Results

Relevance, Relationships, Results“Clearly, what we’re seeing is that people want peer-based content,” Neale-May said. “Those are the most trusted sources—professional affinity groups where buyers can get feedback or advice, industry groups and professional associations.”

The specific types of content b2b buyers value most when making purchase decisions include:

  • professional association research reports and white papers (cited by 67%),
  • industry group research reports and white papers (50%),
  • customer case studies (48%),
  • analyst reports and white papers (44%), and
  • product reviews (40%).

“Content should be created and deployed to take customers through the various procurement phases and upsell and cross-sell opportunities, not just [to] acquire a lead,” Neale-May said. “In qualitative interviews, we found that people are much more cognizant of content being a requirement across the entire customer life cycle.”

B2b buyers said the characteristics they most value in online content are

  • breadth and depth of information (cited by 47%);
  • ease of access, understanding and readability (44%); and
  • originality of thinking and ideas (39%).

The content characteristics buyers most dislike include

  • too many requirements for downloading (50%),
  • blatantly promotional and self-serving (43%) and
  • non-substantive and uninformed (34%).

Easy, Engaging, Effective“I don’t think marketers are necessarily getting it,” Neale-May said. “Part of the problem is that a lot of content gets produced by product people—not content strategists—so it is more self-serving. Marketers are wasting a lot of money putting out content that people are not interested in or responding to.”




The survey also found that 59% of buyers share online content

with more than 25 people.

“These findings suggest that the value of a [content] download is probably greater than you think,” Neale-May said. “Marketers need to rethink and be more adept at tracking where and how content gets shared. Despite all the talk about social networks and collaborative networks, the primary way for sharing content is still through email.”

The survey also found that

  • 41% of b2b buyers use smartphones to access content, and
  • 30% use tablets.
  • Desktop computers are still the most widely used method of accessing content (68%).

“Our goal is to try to get marketers to create better content and track consumption and use of content across the entire customer life cycle,” Neale-May said. “We find that a lot of companies don’t have content strategies, don’t evaluate the performance of the content, don’t have strong advocacy themes and content performance isn’t what it should be.”

– See more at:

Physicists Predict The Existence of Time Crystals

Physicists Predict The Existence of Time Crystals

If crystals exist in spatial dimensions, then they ought to exist in the dimension of time too, says Nobel prize-winning physicist

One of the most powerful ideas in modern physics is that the Universe is governed by symmetry. This is the idea that certain properties of a system do not change when it undergoes a transformation of some kind.

For example, if a system behaves the same way regardless of its orientation or movement in space, it must obey the law of conservation of momentum.

If a system produces the same result regardless of when it takes place, it must obey the law of conservation of energy.

We have the German mathematician, Emmy Noether, to thank for this powerful way of thinking. According to her famous theorem, every symmetry is equivalent to a conservation law. And the laws of physics are essentially the result of symmetry.

Equally powerful is the idea of symmetry breaking. When the universe displays less symmetry than the equations that describe it, physicists say the symmetry has been broken.

A well known example is the low energy solution associated with the precipitation of a solid from a solution—the formation of crystals, which have a spatial periodicity. In this case the spatial symmetry breaks down.

Spatial crystals are well studied and well understood. But they raise an interesting question: does the universe allow the formation of similar periodicities in time?

Frank WilczekToday, Frank Wilczek at the Massachussettsi Institute of Technology and Al Shapere at the University of Kentucky, discuss this question and conclude that time symmetry seems just as breakable as spatial symmetry at low energies.

This process should lead to periodicities that they call time crystals. What’s more, time crystals ought to exist, probably under our very noses.

Let’s explore this idea in a bit more detail. First, what does it mean for a system to break time symmetry? Wilczek and Shapere think of it like this. They imagine a system in its lowest energy state that is completely described, independently of time.

Because it is in its lowest energy state,  this system ought to be frozen in space. Therefore, if the system moves, it must break time symmetry. This is equivalent tot he idea that the lowest energy state has a minimum value on a curve on space rather than at a single isolated point

That’s actually not so extraordinary. Wilczek points out that a superconductor can carry a current—the mass movement of electrons—even in its lowest energy state.

Time Crystals The rest is essentially mathematics. In the same way that the equations of physics allow the spontaneous formation of  spatial crystals, periodicities in space, so they must also allow the formation of periodicities in time or time crystals.

In particular, Wilczrek considers spontaneous symmetry breaking in a closed quantum mechanical system. This is where the mathematics become a little strange. Quantum mechanics forces physicists to think about imaginary values of time or iTime, as Wilczek calls it.

He shows that the same periodicities ought to arise in iTime and that this should manifest itself as periodic behaviour of various kinds of thermodynamic properties.

That has a number of important consequences. First up is the possibility that this process provides a mechanism for measuring time, since the periodic behaviour is like a pendulum. “The spontaneous formation of a time crystal represents the spontaneous emergence of a clock,” says Wilczek.

Another is the possibility that it may be possible to exploit time crystals to perform computations using zero energy. As Wilczek puts it, “it is interesting to speculate that a…quantum mechanical system whose states could be interpreted as a collection of qubits, could be engineered to traverse a programmed landscape of structured states in Hilbert space over time.”

Altogether this is a simple argument. But simplicity is often  deceptively powerful. Of course, there will be disputes over some of the issues this raises. One of them is that the motion that breaks time symmetry seems a little puzzling. Wilczek and Shapere acknowledge this: “Speaking broadly speaking, what we’re looking for looks perilously close to perpetual motion.”

That will need some defending. But if anyone has the pedigree to push these ideas forward, it’s Wilczek, who is a Nobel prize winning physicist.

We’ll look forward to the ensuing debate.

Refs: Quantum Time Crystals Classical Time Crystals

The Consumer Email Habit Loop

The Consumer Email Habit Loop
by Kara Trivunovic, Monday, June 24, 2013

I recently started reading “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business,” by Charles Duhigg. Going in, I wanted to tap the information about the habits of successful organizations, but as it turns out, I’ve found myself absolutely intrigued by the science behind the development (and re-development) of habits in individuals.

A major theme of the book focuses on the idea of a three-step habit loop that turns our everyday behaviors into auto-pilot habits. I’ll argue that email marketers have created a similar three-step email habit loop with consumers and subscribers. But are we using the habit loop effectively, to bring marketers the results we want?

The three stages of the habit loop are

  1. cue,
  2. routine and
  3. reward.

The cue is what triggers the behavior; the routine is the physical, emotional or mental action that is taken as a result of the cue/trigger; and the reward is… well, the reward for completing the routine. In addition, there is one critical element that writes this loop to the brain, emblazoning it as a habit: the craving.

You can find this psychology embedded somewhere in just about every good and lasting marketing campaign. As marketers, we create the cue, incent the routine and provide the reward – with the goal of instilling that craving that compels the consumer to complete the habit loop again.

Armed with this knowledge, how can you use it deliberately to strengthen your email marketing programs? Let’s start with where most marketers are today. The cue occurs when subscribers get their email (could be the blinking of a light on the phone, a vibration or a noise, even a time of day). The routine is for them to check that email, and the reward (hopefully) is to receive a relevant and timely discount or sale from the brand(s) they love. The question remains, though: Have you successfully created anticipation and craving for more?


In addition to the simple receipt of the email, marketers can further enhance cues with “from” names and compelling subject lines. There’s probably some optimal combination of “from” name, subject line, brand perception and timing that creates the optimal cues for the customer and drives the routine.

But what you think is the right cue may not be. Duhigg uses Febreze® air freshener and odor eliminator as an example. Initially, researchers felt the right cue would be the bad smells that occur for certain consumers, like pet owners, park rangers, and parents with teenagers. But they found this cue to be unsuccessful. Ironically, the people who most needed to eradicate strong odors had grown so accustomed to them that they didn’t recognize that they had a problem! Instead, the successful cue was the simple act of vacuuming. Look at the cues you are using for your programs carefully, and validate that they are, in fact, the cues that will drive your success.


As an email marketer, you likely want to accomplish one of these routines in your habit loop: repeatable site traffic, open and/or click on your email content, and/or conversion or completion of the desired task. To drive the routine, you may need to encourage or nudge the customer in the proper direction the first few times. Febreze gave households free samples and suggested spraying a room when the vacuuming was complete. It doesn’t hurt to actually tell the customer what it is you are asking of them.


What rewards are you offering your customers? Discounts, sales, coupons, insight, information? The reward must be worthwhile and of value to the customer — but that doesn’t mean it always has to be monetary. Febreze completed its habit loop with a reward of the fresh smell of a clean room as the test participants walked out of the rooms. A fresh scent (and a sense of accomplishment) was all it took to drive Febreze’s success — which continues today.

If you apply the habit loop framework to common activities in your life, you’ll find it easy to begin dissecting the concept and identifying how applicable it really is? For example, is Facebook the first page you look at when you pop open your browser? These are the types of habits we should be striving to drive with the email programs we send — so much so that the consumer anticipates the message from your brand and craves the reward that you provide. If you don’t believe your programs are driving to an effective habit loop, now is as good a time as any to start working toward it.

But the reality is that marketers have their own email habit loop. I’ll explore this with you in my next post. Meanwhile, I encourage you to start exploring your cues and rewards. And as you do, ask yourself the critical question: “Is my email habit-forming?”
Post your response to the public Email Insider blog.

See what others are saying on the Email Insider blog.

Kara Trivunovic is Vice President of Strategic Services for BlueHornet, an enterprise email service provider.
Email Insider for Monday, June 24, 2013:

Microsoft Brings Star Trek’s Voice Translator to Life

Software turns English into synthesized Chinese almost instantly.   November 8, 2012

Why It Matters

Software that instantly translates spoken speech could make communicating across language barriers far easier. We’re rapidly moving into a world of closer relationships with technology offering an exciting possibility for self expression and transformation.

It could be the next best thing to learning a new language. Microsoft researchers have demonstrated software that translates spoken English into spoken Chinese almost instantly, while preserving the unique cadence of the speaker’s voice—a trick that could make conversation more effective and personal.

The first public demonstration was made by Rick Rashid, Microsoft’s chief research officer, on October 25 at an event in Tianjin, China. “I’m speaking in English and you’ll hear my words in Chinese in my own voice,” Rashid told the audience. The system works by recognizing a person’s words, quickly converting the text into properly ordered Chinese sentences, and then handing those over to speech synthesis software that has been trained to replicate the speaker’s voice.

Video recorded by audience members has been circulating on Chinese social media sites since the demonstration. Rashid presented the demonstration to an English-speaking audience in a blog post today that includes thisvideo.

Microsoft first demonstrated technology that modifies synthesized speech to match a person’s voice earlier this year (see “Software Translates Your Voice Into Another Language”). But this system was only able to speak typed text. The software requires about an hour of training to be able to synthesize speech in a person’s voice, which it does by tweaking a stock text-to-speech model so it makes certain sounds in the same way the speaker does.

AT&T has previously shown a live translation system for Spanish and English (see “AT&T Wants to Put Your Voice in Charge of Apps”), and Google is known to have built its own experimental live translators. However, the prototypes developed by these companies do not have the ability to make synthesized speech match the sound of a person’s voice.

The Microsoft system is a demonstration of the company’s latest speech-recognition technology, which is based on learning software modeled on how networks of brain cells operate. In a blog post about the demonstration system, Rashid says that switching to that technology has allowed for the most significant jump in recognition accuracy in decades. “Rather than having one word in four or five incorrect, now the error rate is one word in seven or eight,” he wrote.

Microsoft is not alone in looking to neural networks to improve speech recognition. Google recently began using its own neural network-based technology in its voice recognition apps and services (see “Google Puts Its Virtual Brain Technology to Work”). Adopting this approach delivered between a 20 and a 25 percent improvement in word error rates, Google’s engineers say.

Rashid told MIT Technology Review by e-mail that he and the researchers at Microsoft Research Asia, in Beijing, have not yet used the system to have a conversation with anyone outside the company, but the public demonstration has provoked strong interest.

“What I’ve seen is some combination of excitement, astonishment, and optimism about the future that the technology could bring,” he says.

Rashid says the system is far from perfect, but notes that it is good enough to allow communication where none would otherwise be possible. Engineers working on the neural network-based approach at Microsoft and Google are optimistic they can wring much more power out of the technique, since it is only just being deployed.

“We don’t yet know the limits on accuracy of this technology—it is really too new,” says Rashid. “As we continue to ’train’ the system with more data, it appears to do better and better.”

 Other Options

This from my friend Allen B.:


This message is being typed, using DragonDictate. I was introduced to Dragon back in 1997 and achieved great success with it, and found it to be extremely accurate. With the aid of this product, I was able to write 10 page papers (for finals, etc.) in no time. Even though I was using a Pentium II computer with software that is now 15 years old, I found it to be not only useful, but actually a necessary tool to help me succeed in my collegiate endeavors. Now that the software has improved exponentially (nearly every year), and computing power has increased that even a faster rate, the accuracy and usefulness of this tool has become unequaled.

Check out YouTube for applications ranging from professors, to doctors, to even lawyers.

Tip 1: you can locate this software online (NewEgg, TigerDirect, Amazon, etc.) on sale for about $.35 on the dollar!

Tip 2: I strongly recommend purchasing a USB headset – ($20 and up) and use it from day one.

Tip 3: selecting the auto function feature will automatically insert commas and periods.

Try it out for a weekend and watch your productivity scream .

Take care,

Reality Video Idea For Moving People: Holmes On Holmes Meets Bath Crashers

If you’ve ever had to pack up, move, and hit the ground running you’ll have some appreciation for this video pitch for a reality show based on having a rewarding experience from moving instead of the usual stress filled affair it can be.
If you don’t have access to General George Patton’s 3rd Army, an outfit famous for taking on tough challenges, a show like this could be the start of a new shift toward showing how life’s challenges can be enjoyable, workable, and profitable.
By Larry Dobrow Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012

“Busted Move”: A Video I’d Like To See Created

There are legends and there are heroes, and then there are people who have picked up the phone when destiny called, listened intently, and replied with a steely, “Yes, I am the champion of virtue that you seek, and I accept most major credit cards.” My preparation, selflessness and resolve in the days leading up to our move to the ‘burbs qualifies me for that latter group.

While The Missus has been tending to mundanities like packing, hiring the movers, setting up utilities, cooking and cleaning, helping me find my shirt and raising our child, I have fearlessly charged through 26 hours of TV shows frozen for eternity on our soon-to-be-returned DVR. As a result, I was barely able to make it through my usual ration of three newspapers last Sunday. Is the proper recognition for such brave comportment a street named in my honor, or are we in presidential-citation territory here?

Either way, I was hoping to complement my moving musings with a survey of what I imagined would be myriad branded video series chronicling the process. I expected to find a solid 15-20 clips/series in which an overburdened family – two working parents, three drooling children, and an incontinent pet – were rescued from moving chaos by a zenboy/spiritgirl who just happened to be brand-affiliated. He/she would walk the family through the four major stages of moving evolution (purging, preparing, packing, dropping box on pinkie toe) and neutralize anyone who wasn’t with the program. At clip’s end, we’d see the family happy and established in its new home, a domestic scene that could be my own before the decade is out, and the brand all prominent and whatnot.

Yet there isn’t a single clip out there that approaches this description. We have 8,200 branded series set in workplaces populated by comely white 20-somethings, 8,199 of which ape the Office mockumentary model, but not a one that dramatizes the disruptive life trauma that is a move from one domicile to the next? Videos posted to YouTube by blissfully self-involved oversharers don’t count. This is the worst instance of omissive marketing since the stealth rollout of Jalapeno Cheddar Tortilla Combos (“made with stone ground corn”).

Any number of brands across a range of product and service categories could benefit from affiliation with such a project. Moving companies themselves are the obvious candidates, as their primary marketing tools appear to be self-submitted Yelp reviews (“on time very polite A++++”) and begging random passersby to shower them with Facebook affection. But how about the major-league brands that play a role, sooner or later, in every homeowner’s existence? Samsung is so eager to network my house with its audio and video components that I might have to apply for a restraining order. And I’ve spent so much time in Lowe’s over the last few weeks that I’ve met four of the flooring guy’s five kids (such scamps!).

With the caveats that I know less than nothing about marketing or content creation and that my primary focus of study in college was gerunds, here’s how “Busted Move” – that’s the working title, because you can never go wrong with a slightly negative-sounding moniker that plays off the title of a 1980s hit – might go down. We’d open on a family house in a state of major disarray – boxes everywhere, brush fires in the kitchen, screaming kids smeared with war paint, dad cowering in the corner, mom trying to stop her hands from shaking long enough to down her Chardonnay, etc. Then we’d go back to the start: the picture-perfect family meeting with a moving consultant (or Lowe’s new-home-fixer-upper guy, or whoever). From there, we’d be treated to scenes from both the actual universe (an attentive, orderly moving process, guided by our serene brand ambassadors) and the alternate one (overexaggerated filth, wanton property destruction and inward-directed fury).

It’d be funniest if the alternate version depicted a simultaneous unraveling of the family unit – the moving process exposing schisms that nobody knew were there – but clearly any rough edges would have to be sanded smooth to get brands on board with it. So maybe there’s mild, respectful sparring over whether to chuck the circa-1997 La-Z-Boy recliner (branding!)? Something like that. I’ve clearly thought this through. And honey, I’m keeping my effin’ chair.

Since this ranks among the greatest ideas in the history of online video, I’ve taken the liberty of copyrighting it. I’d watch “Busted Move.” You’d watch “Busted Move,” assuming you recently moved, plan to do so in the indeterminate future or have too much time on your hands. It will claim awards and a place in your heart. Get on it, brand minions.

Larry Dobrow is a Contributing Writer. Reach him at