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Best-selling author Elmore Leonard was once asked why he thought his books were so popular. His answer? “I try to leave out the parts people skip.”

I had the pleasure of sharing my POP! tips on a podcast recently with John Jantsch – author of Duct Tape Marketing and creator of Forbes’ and Fast Company’s #1 rated blog on small business and marketing.

As you may already know, POP! stands for Purposeful, Original, and Pithy – the three prerequisites to sticky messages that capture and keep your attention.

John modeled the POP! process with his succinct definition of marketing. He said, “Marketing is getting somebody who has a need to know you, like you, and trust that you can supply it for them.”

John also mentioned his sure-fire system for test-marketing his material to make sure it POP!s. He runs it by his four teenaged daughters to see if they “get it and want it.” He added, “They’re imaginative, playful and have no time for B.S. If it doesn’t pass their litmus test, it’s back to the editing room.”

Look at your marketing messages and elevator speech.

Are you leaving out the parts people skip? Have you condensed the definition of what you do into a succinct sound-bite? Do you have a litmus test to see if people “get and want” what you have to offer?

If so, kudos. If not, it’s back to the drawing board or . . . listen to our podcast that talks about how you can market your business by developing attention-grabbing names, slogans, and ad campaigns at www.DuctTapeMarketing.com.

When you want to get an important message out to millions of people and a 30-second PSA just won’t do, why not make a movie?

In a recent article by the Washington Post, Ted Leonsis describes his new business model of “filmanthropy.” It’s no surprise to me that Ted has coined such a trademarkable phrase and concept – he was in my 2006 POP! Hall of Fame. Why? A year ago, Ted Googled himself and was unhappy to discover several unflattering articles featured first. Rather than passively complaining about this, he proactivTEd Leonsisely initiated his own blog, Ted’s Takes, so he could control his professional persona. Click here to find out what happened as a result of him joining the blogosphere.

Ted describes this new term “filmanthropy” (what I call a Half and Half Word in my book POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd), and how satisfying it was to make “Nanking,” a movie with a cause that made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in last Saturday.

“It’s where you can shed light on a big issue. You raise the money around your charity and make something that can drive people to understand an issue,” said Leonsis. “It brings together philanthropy and understanding how media works. You’re going to see a lot of people doing this because a studio probably wouldn’t do a story like this.”

The blog OnPhilanthropy.com featured a post describing how socially conscious films are not new – however “filmanthropy” is an innovative way to give donors a more tangible vehicle to bring awareness to a favorite cause. Instead of simply writing a check and having it “disappear” into a foundation’s budget, contributors get to see the fruits of their labor of love.

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Sam Horn, author of POP! Stand out In Any Crowd (Perigee)
Want more? Visit http://www.SamHornPOP.com
Interested in interviewing Sam? Call 1 800 SAM-3455 or email info@samhorn.com

How do you explain an abstract concept so people “get it?” Just ask the 3-time Pulitzer Prize winning author of such best selling books as The World is Flat and The Lexus and the Olive Tree.

In his speeches, Thomas Friedman uses the “Pottery Barn Rule” of “You break it, you own it” to describe his stance on the War in Iraq. The result? An abstract concept crystallizes in the minds of the audience.

Friedman’s quotes have been referenced by such thought-leaders as Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the online anyone-can-contribute encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Such references only increase Friedman’s credibility and expertise on the subject.

Want another example of a company who made their concept concrete by turning the abstract into an image?

When a group of preschoolers was asked what sounds animals made, they gave the usual answers: sheep – baa, cows – moo, horses – neigh, and so on. When asked what sound ducks made, they said….”Aflac!

Do you have a nonsensical business name? Are you presenting an abstract topic? Take notes from Thomas Freidman and Aflac and turn your abstract concept into a concrete image by connecting the unknown to something it looks like or sounds like in the real world. When your audience says “Oooh, I see now,” or “Ahh, now I get it” – you’re in business.

Want more? Visit www.samhornPOP.com
Want to schedule an interview with Sam Horn, author of POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd (Perigee)? Contact Cheri Grimm, Sam Horn’s business manager at info@samhorn.com

We’ve all heard the cliche “Good thinks come to those who wait.” Congrats to AVON for “riffing” off this well-known saying to come up with a catchy slogan for their latest fund-raiser. . . “Good things come to those who walk.”

Just like a jazz pianist “riffs” of chords to create memorable music, you can create memorable taglines, slogans, and titles by re-arranging cliches instead of repeating them – just like AVON did.

Want more? Visit www.samhornpop.com
Want to schedule an interview with Sam? Contact Cheri Grimm, Sam’s Business Manager at info@samhorn.com

Yes, the year-end holidays are over, however there is still a marketing lesson to be learned from them. Two clever movie ads I saw riffed on traditional Christmas songs to come up with smile-inducing taglines.

The first trumpeted the release of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” DVD with WRECK THE HALLS. The second prominently featured a sheep along with the pig and spider from “Charlotte’s Web” with the caption FLEECE NAVIDAD.

Then there was the romance novel featured in the store window of a major bookstore. It featured a Fabio look-alike stretched out on a fur rug in front of a Yule log fire. The title? “The Knight Before Christmas.”

Valentine’s Day is only a month away. Could you tie in your blog post, article, or marketing slogan to a popular love song that is frequently mentioned along with that holiday? It could make your idea or offering more topical so it captures attention from the media and your customers.

Just comb your descriptive copy and pull out key words that explain what your program/product is or does. Those are your “core”words. Then, visit www.freelyrics.com and enter those words into the search engine. Up will come dozens of song titles with “your” phrases. Now, let the word play begin to see if you can come up with a catchy ad or promotion campaign that gets your priority project noticed and remembered.

What do Ted Leonsis, Crackberry, and Little MissMatched all have in common?

They’re all been inducted into the 2006 POP! Hall of Fame – which honors individuals and entities that have captured the public’s interest because of their originality. Previous winners have included Freakonomics, Java Jacket, Daddle, and Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.

I believe the best way to corner a niche is to create a niche. And the best way to create a niche is to coin a one-of-a-kind approach.

These people and products are examples of how anyone and anything can break out if you pleasantly surprise people with something they haven’t seen and heard before.

1.Treadmill Dance. The band OK GO catapulted from obscurity into the spotlight with their innovative dance routine on, you guessed it – treadmills. After 56 takes and much bumping and bruising, the “Treadmill Dance” was born, creating a word-of-“mouse” phenomenon which, through the distribution power of YouTube has been viewed by over 100 million people.

2. Ted’s Takes. This Vice Chair of AOL has decided to pro-actively control his public image rather than passively leaving it to chance. By blogging daily, he’s posted snippets of his celebrity-filled life and strategically linked to other high-profile entrepreneurs such as Mark Cuban. The result? He now receives up to 15,000 visits a day and his “take” on life shows up first when he’s Googled. As a bonus, he says, “I have moral authority and credibility with employees and people in the industry that I’m not just talking about Web 2.0, I’m living it.”

3. Little MissMatched. Capitalizing instead of complaining about the “lost sock phenomenon” by selling funky mismatched socks, gloves and mittens in has catapulted this online retailer into a multimillion dollar company. Their slogan? “Nothing matches but anything goes.”

4. POPera. Pop + Opera = SALES! Combining popular tunes – ala Josh Groban and II Divo – to make a how that is sure to make it big. As soon as you create a never-before-seen word, you don’t just have a clever title, tagline or brand, you have the beginnings of a business empire.

5. MasterCard – “You’re on my fantasy team.” Why did Colts quarterback Peyton Manning earn $11.5 million in endorsement income this year? Partially because of his ad-libs for Master Card in which the commercial director simply asked him to repeat what he frequently hears from fans. Speak in your target market’s language and they’ll identify with you.

6. Heinz. Yes, even packaging can POP! How many times have you pounded a ketchup bottle against your palm trying to get that thick tomato paste out? In what has to be the “Duh!” moment of the decade, someone at Heinz had the bright idea to redesign the bottle and turn it upside down so it sits on its cap. Voila. Problem solved.

7. Metronatural®. This trademarked Half & Half Word captures and communicates the dual draw of Seattle – it’s a thriving metropolis surrounded by majestic natural beauty. Thanks to POP! fan David Zinger for alerting me to another catchy city slogan “Keep it Querque” for . . . what else but Albuquerque?

8. Spot the Tot. 500 children a year are run over in their own driveway by people who inadvertently back up over them. A movement launched to prevent these tragic deaths is called “Spot the Tot” — a classic example of how “Cliff-Noting” your campaign into a clear, concise message increases the likelihood people will remember and follow its important advice.

9. Crackberry. This clever “Alphabetized Word” alludes to the addictive qualities of Blackberry (just ask the hundreds of thousands suffering from “Blackberry Thumb“). You don’t have to be a creative genius to come up with a new word. Write down 10 words that describe your pet project. Now, run them through the ABC’s, changing the sound of the first syllable to match the corresponding letter. Want another example (and a close runner-up in this category?) What do you call a cubicle with a view . . .that’s right, viewbicle.

10. No Child Left Inside. Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, (a clever play on the words Attention-Deficit Disorder) pioneered a back-to-nature movement to reconnect children with the outdoors and developed the perfect name that “plays off” the No Child Left Behind legislation. Just as a jazz pianist riffs off common chords to create new music, POP! artists riff off common slogans to create new variations.

Want more? Visit www.samhorn.com
Want to schedule an interview with Sam? Contact Cheri Grimm in Sam’s California office at 800 SAM-3455 or email info@samhorn.com

 

My publisher Perigee (Penguin Group) has agreed to send a review copy of my new book, POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd to the first 25 bloggers who are interested in reviewing it. To request a review copy, please send an email with the URL of your blog and your mailing address to:

Katherine.”>Wasilewski@us.penguingroup.com

with the subject line “Review Copy of POP!”

You are also welcome to contact Cheri Grimm in my California office at 805 528-4351 to schedule an interview with me if you prefer to offer a Q & A format for your readers. We could focus on specific techniques, examples, and suggestions that are timely and relevant for your blog audience.

Some recent news about POP! is that it has been featured in Dallas Morning News, Boston Globe, on WGN, CBS NewsRadio, KTLA Morning News, and at the annual National Press Club Book Fair. The POP! presentation has also received rave reviews from American Society of Association Executives, Commonwealth Club, National Foundation of Women Legislators and will be showcased at Judy Carter’s upcoming Comedy Workshop in Palm Springs.
I’m partial, however if you read the book, I think you’ll agree with Wall St. Journal best-selling author Mark Sanborn (You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader) who said, “To break out you’ve got to stand out, and POP! shows you how. It is full of examples and useful exercises that take you beyond what you need to know to what you need to do. I recommend it.”

Sam Horn
samhorn.com
samhornpop.com

There are many joys of being on a media tour — one of which is the opportunity to meet fascinating people.

Such was the case last Wednesday at the annual National Press Club Book Fair.

I was there, along with 80 other invited authors, to sign copies of POP! It was a delightful enveing kibbitzing with familiar faces and fresh faces.

A familiar face was Eleanor Herman, author of Sex with Kings and Sex with Queens, who I met a couple years ago while speaking at Bella Stander’s Promotion 101 for Authors Workshop.

Eleanor definitely knows how to POP! She shows up for media interviews and book-signings wearing a lavish ballgown with an ermine cape and royal jewels. There is no way this woman is going to get lost in a crowd. She definitely stands out and her books’ visibility and sales have benefitted as a result.

I confess, I played hookie from my table for a few minutes to meet female icon and national treasure – Helen Thomas.

In case you’re not already familiar with this pioneering journalist, she became UPI’s White House Correspondent in 1960 and was the “lady in red” who Presidents often called upon first when opening up press conferences for Q & A. Reviews on Amazon.com of her newest book Watchdogs of Democracy refer to her as the “venerable grand dame of the White House press corps” and an “uncorruptable member of the fourth estate.” She is a walking-talking history book of the last five decades of our nation’s major events because she had a front row seat at many of them.

I had an opportunity to ask Helen how she developed the courage to go where no woman had gone before. She said, “I always wanted to be in the forefront and my parents never told me it was impossible.”

Are you at the forefront of your industry?

If you want to lead the pack instead of follow it (as Helen did), check out Chapter 9, Create the Next New Thing with the Half and Half Technique, in POP! It shares specific ways to forge a new path instead of following paths already taken by others.

The headline of an article in the November 3 editor of USA Today proclaims, Seinfeld Stings Typical Movie Trailers.

Perhaps you’ve seen this clever ad campaign which features Jerry in an enormous honeybee costume promising Chris Rock (who’s outfitted as a mosquito) that he’ll show up at his wife’s book-signing as a payoff for appearing in his upcoming Bee Movie (another play on words.)

This spoof has been generating a lot of water-cooler conversation because of its innovative approach. Instead of featuring actual clips from the movie, it features the stars talking about the movie.

As Seinfeld said to the reporter interviewing him for the article, “Let’s face it, if this was just a regular trailer cut with footage of the film, you and I wouldn’t be sitting here talking about it.”

Exactly. If you want to get noticed, don’t do what’s obvious, do what’s opposite.

Look at your ad, web copy, newsletter. Is it same old, same old? What can you do with your next version to take people by surprise? Ask yourself, “What’s a norm in my industry? What’s a belief everyone holds to be true? How can I challenge that? Could you be counter-intuitive and claim, “Customers are NOT Always Right.”

We’re coming into the holidays. Could you take a common tradition and turn it upside down? That’s what several enterprising companies did last year, literally. Picture a “normal” Christmas tree, with branches wide at the bottom, narrowing up to the star on top.

Now, turn that tree on its head and you get the INVERTED CHRISTMAS TREE that Hammacher Schlemmer couldn’t keep in stock . . . at $599.95 a POP. Target featured three upside-down trees on its website, pointing out one of the best attributes, “Leaves more room on the floor for gifts!”

What’s the point? To stop busy people in their tracks, we must say, do, or offer something out of the ordinary. How are you doing that with your business?

Want more ways to help your organization stand out from the crowd instead of get lost in the crowd? Visit www.SamHornPOP.com to order copies of POP! to jump-start the creativity of your sales/marketing team. Call Cheri Grimm at 805 528-4351 for volume discounts for orders of more than 10 books.

I’m on the second leg of my media tour now, (just in Dallas and Salt Lake City and on my way to Minneapolis) and had the privilege of seeing 94 years young (or as he puts it – “the 50th anniversary of my 44th year”) Art Linkletter in action.

We were both speaking at Mark Victor Hansen’s Mega-Speaking Empire event in Southern California. My presentation was on “Are You a One-of-a-Kind Speaker?” and Art shared some of the fascinating highlights of his life, including some of his favorite quips from “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”

We all laughed out loud at the little boy who, when asked if his dog had a pedigree, replied, “He used to, but we cut it off.” Ouch.

Art talked about his books Hobo on His Way to Heaven (insights on how a poor kid grew up to know kings, queens, and presidents), Drugs on My Doorstep (his plea to do something about rampant use of drugs after his daughter jumped to her death while on LSD), and Living Better Longer – Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life (tips on how to stay vital – Art only quit skiing last year because his 90 year old wife was afraid he’d get wiped out by wild snowboarders – in your 70’s and beyond.)

Please notice the use of alliteration (words that start with the same sound)in his titles. Hear how it creates a pleasing ear music?

Say these words out loud.

Dunkin Croissants.

King Gorilla.

Rolls Jaguar.

Bed, Toilet, and Shower.

Those words sound kind of clunky, don’t they?

Now say, Dunkin Donuts, King Kong, Rolls Royce and Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Hear how those words fit together? That’s the impact of alliteration. It makes your language lyrical, gives the mind a hook on which to hang a memory, and has the potential to transform something generic into something genius.

For example, did you know that cardboard insulating sleeve you put around your cup of coffee in the morning is actually a multi-million dollar business? Why? Innovator Jay Sorenson gave that common product a catchy name – Java Jacket.

Can you use alliteration when naming your creations? It just might help your product POP! off the shelf.

Want more ideas on how to title your idea or invention so it gets noticed and bought? POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd has been named one of the best business books of the year and has been featured recently on KRON TV in San Francisco, KTLA in Los Angeles, CBS NewsRadio, and WGN from Chicago.

Visit www.SamHornPOP.com to see if I’m presenting a public seminar in your city, or call Cheri Grimm at 805 528-4351 to arrange an interview for your TV show, radio program, or newspaper/magazine.

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