“The best way to corner a niche is to create a niche.  And the best way to create a niche is to … coin your own word.” – Sam Horn

Encountered a couple of early entries for the 2012 POP! Hall of Fame … and thought I’d share them to kick-start your  thinking about what newly-coined  NURDS (New Words) you’d like to submit for this year’s contest.

Previous winners have included:

*  Diabesity:  Dr. Francine Kaufman’s term for the epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes that is triggered by obesity.

*  Snuba:  It’s half snorkel and half scuba … and it’s a new multi-million dollar industry.

*  Freakonomincs:  Are you going to run right out and buy the latest tome on economics?  Probably not.  But authors Dubner and Levy turned their concept into an international brand – movies, media appearances, blogs, 6-figure consulting contracts – by giving it a first-of-its-kind name that appealed to the masses.

*  A.W. Shucks:  What else would you call an oyster bar in Charleston, SC?

*  Yappy Hour:  The Holiday Inn in Alexandria, VA has received millions of dollars of free press due to its innovative Friday night “petworking” opportunities for dogs.

*   YOUmanity:  Aviva came up with the ideal name for their “chain of kindness” philantrhopy campaign

*  Geek2Geek.com:  Think Match.com for pocket protector types.  As one personal ad proclaimed, “Tall, dork and handsome.”

*  SerenDestiny®:  Okay, I admit it, I’m partial to this one because it’s the title of my next book.  And like Tongue Fu!®, I’ve been able to trademark SerenDestiny® which means it can be merchandised and monetized … in perpetuity.

*  Java Jacket:  You can’t build a business around an un-prounounceable name.  So Jay Sorenson gave those “cardboard insulating sleeves” you put around your cup of coffee an easy-to-say-and-remember name.

*  Revenew:  Just met the founder of this start-up in NYC at the WOIS Summit.  You’ve heard of Spell Check?  This is a fantastic example of a POP! technique called Spell Chuck.  Chuck the normal spelling of a word and come up with your own.  Brilliant.

*Tiecoon:  This shop in NYC’s Penn Station – which sells neckties to Wall Street financiers – stopped me in my tracks and motivated me to snap a photo.  Which is the point.  If it’d been named Jack’s ties, I would have walked on by and not even noticed it.   Does your store name have people at hello?

Now, in case you’re thinking, “Okay, these are clever names.  Big whoop.”

Please understand … NURDS aren’t petty; they’re profitable.

This is not wordplay…this is wordcash.

ALL of these names have helped their products, businesses or services STAND OUT and get noticed, remembered … and rich.

Several of these names have generated millions in revenue for their owners.

In fact, as Jay Sorenson, originator of Java Jackets says, “Customers who meant to call my competitors actually end up calling me …because they can’t remember my competitors’ names.”

So, what first-of-its-kind business, book, product, store names have you seen this year?  What intriguing NURD popped out and got your attention?

Submit your entry by email to Sam@IntrigueAgency.com for the 2012 POP! Hall of Fame contest … and send a photo if you’d like. 

We’ll post the best NURDS 0n our blog and on our Facebook page. 

Winning entries who make the final Top 10 Winners in the 2012 POP! Hall of Fame get a free copy of POP!  … or your choice of any of our  books.

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Guy Kawasaki . . . Genius in Action,

By Sam Horn, The Intrigue Expert

 “It’s not enough to be the best at what you do; you must be perceived to be the only one who does what you do.” – Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead

I’m always keeping my antenna up for people who are one-of-a-kind at what they do.

I had the privilege of seeing one in action last week.

As The Intrigue Expert and a communication strategist for the past 25 years; I’ve seen and given thousands of presentations. (Really).

So, when I say Guy Kawasaki’s keynote at the Invent Your Future conference in Silicon Valley was one of the best presentations I’ve ever experienced, that’s saying something.

I was compelled to take notes because it’s a privilege to watch a master in action.

I shared my observations with Guy afterwards and am sharing them here so you can learn from his shining example and adopt/adapt some of his approaches so you can enchant (and intrigue) your future audiences.

Here’s why Guy’s keynote Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Action was a perfect 10.

Everyone was drawn in (and enchanted) -sam horn

Everyone was drawn in (and enchanted)

Please note: I’ve distilled this debrief of his brilliant presentations into three blog posts. Check back the next couple days to read and reap additional techniques.

      1.   Guy had us at hello.

“You’ve got to be a good date for the reader.” – Kurt Vonnegut

No perfunctory opening remarks. That would have been predictable and predictable is boring.

Guy pleasantly surprised everyone by starting with an amusing riff about how most speakers run long and no one’s ever angry at a speaker for ending early so he was going to jump right into things.

Guy knows people are BBB – (Busy, Bored or Been there-heard that) and that we make up our minds in the first 60 seconds whether someone is worth our valuable time, mind and dime.

He earned our good will in the first few minutes by being a “good date” and by kicking off with humor vs. the old-fashioned “Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em approach ” which would have had us reaching for our smart phones.

Bestselling author Elmore Leonard gave a keynote at the Maui Writers Conference (which I emceed for 17 years.) During the Q & A, a participant asked, “Why are your books so popular?” “Dutch” smiled and said, “I try to leave out the parts people skip.”

Guy was instantly popular because he left out the parts people skip.

      2.    Guy engaged our head and heart – our left and right brain – with facts and feelings.

“I never developed a plan for where I was going. I just counted on one interesting job segueing into the next. I let the universe do its work.” – Bernadette Peters

Any extreme is unhealthy. Many speakers (think engineers, IT professionals, physicians, professors, etc.) focus primarily on data, theories and facts. This makes for a lopsided speech because it’s long on logic but short on interest.

Other presenters (think motivational speakers) share inspiring stories but there’s no “meat” – no tangible takeaways we can apply to reap real-world results.

Guy was a sublime balance of head and heart. He let us know from the get-go he’d distilled his presentation into ten insights and 45 minutes.

People love top ten lists because it indicates you’ve done the homework for us and edited the superfluous, which means we’ll be hearing only the most salient points, the best of the best.

Anxiety is defined in two words: “not knowing.” If we don’t know how long this is going to take or the format, we may resent the speaker because, in a way, they’re keeping us in the dark and holding us hostage.

Covering 10 points (or 7 steps or 6 keys or whatever) in a specified amount of time builds pace and momentum and keeps a speaker on track because you don’t have time to ramble. Logical left-brainers think “Oh, good. This is clearly going to be bottom-line and a good use of my time because it’s measurable and replicable.”

Furthermore, a 10 point plan provides one of the quickest organizational constructs known to humankind because it provides an easy-to-understand-and-follow pattern. Listeners feel they’re in “the Allstate Plan” (they’re in good hands) and feel well-led as one interesting point segues into the next.

Better yet, Guy balanced rhetoric (words) with photos (senses) throughout his presentation. Everyone was drawn in (and enchanted) because he “peopled his points.” His beautifully produced slides featured intellectually satisfying ideas, visually stunning images and named individuals which produced a holistic sense of symmetry. Well done!

      3.    Guy condensed his concepts into one-of-a-kind sound bites.

“    Remember, you’re more interested in what you have to say than anyone else.” – Andy Rooney, 60 Minutes

“Invoke reciprocity”.

“Conduct a ‘Premortum.”

“Incur a Debt.”

“Frame Thy Competition.”

“Separate the Believers.”

These are just a few of Guy’s featured sound-bites (and chapter titles).

How could you NOT want to know more?

Guy got his ideas in our mental front door because he was not content to be common.

Instead of lazily sharing platitudes and clichés (“Make it a win-win. It’s all about team.”), he coined first-of-their-kind phrases that got our eyebrows up.

(Side note: What’s The Eyebrow Test? It is a technique described in my book POP! that gives you a way to test how compelling your communication is . . anywhere, anytime . . . in 5 seconds . . . for free.

Eyebrow Test? It is a technique described in my book POP!

The goal is to get their eyebrows UP

You don’t have to convene a focus group and spend thousands of dollars to determine whether your idea is commercially-viable.

Simply tell someone your main point (or your elevator speech, business name, book title, the first 60 seconds of your pitch/presentation, or the first paragraph of your marketing copy) . . . and watch their eyebrows.

If their eyebrows knit or furrow, it means they’re confused. They didn’t get it. And if they didn’t get it, you won’t get it.

The goal is to get their eyebrows UP.

Try it right now. Lift your eyebrows. Do you feel intrigued? Curious? Like you want to know more?

THAT’s your goal as a communicator – to get the eyebrows up of busy, distracted decision-makers because it means you just got your message in their mental door.)

Guy’s succinct sound-bites made his content POP! Because no matter how many books we’ve read or seminars we’ve attended, we’d never heard this before.

Comedian Jonathan Winters said, “I have a photographic memory. I just haven’t developed it yet. By developing original take-aways and NURDS (new words like Premortum), Guy made his content memorable and sticky.

Unique sound-bites give his content a long tail of influence. People love “the next new thing” and are more likely to share freshly-phrased ideas around the water-cooler – which means they’ll become Guy’s tribe and take his work viral by becoming his voluntary word-of-mouth ambassadors.

Phrases like “invoke reciprocity” are also monetizable and merchandisable.

People will pay for refrigerator magnets (or coffee mugs or t-shirts) with catchy phrases like this. This keeps you and your proprietary ideas “in sight-in-mind” with your target customers which gives your material even longer legs. It’s all good.

Check the next blog to discover more ways Guy demonstrated
platform brilliance.

“You’re either breaking out or blending in. And blending in’s for Cuisinarts.” – Sam Horn

Every year I pick the top brand names, taglines, book titles and trends that caught our attention and helped their idea, invention or organization stand out and get noticed . . . for all the right reasons.

The point? If you want to succeed, you need to stand out.

And one of the best ways to stand out is create a catchy phrase that builds buzz by turning everyone who sees it or hears it into a word-of-mouth ambassador who repeats it to others.

All of the phrases below showcase POP! techniques that are included in my book POP! which has been sold around the world (China, Europe, South America, etc.)

POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title and Tagline for Anything

Hailed as one of the best business books of the year


If you have a cause, creation or company you care about – buy a copy of POP! and work through the 25 exercises that show how to coin a NURD (New Word) that helps your priority project POP! out of its pack.

1. Random Hacks of Kindness: Kudos to this worldwide gathering of tech types collaborating for the common good, and thanks to Nicholas Skytland of NASA for bringing this to my attention.

2. Stuffocating: This NURD (New Word) was coined by TV station TLC for their one hour special on the stifling impact of w-a-y too much stuff. (Not that I can relate.)

3. MEtailing: I want it and I want it my way. This online trend of letting people customize their own clothes, shoes and other products is a runaway (runway?) success.

4. Jeggings: Part jeans – part leggings. This Half & Half Word helped this product generate $180 million in sales, proving that NURDS are more than word play; they’re bottom line profits.

5. Info-besity: We live in a society stuffed with information yet we’re starving for insights.

6. Refudiate: Republican Sarah Palin’s “malaPOPism” received national media attention in which she was tweaked for her tweet where she mixed up (or did she?) “refute” and “repudiate.”

7. SHEconomy: Smart companies understand the power of the purse and are targeting this multi-billion dollar demographic. Props also to Marilynn Tanner Mobley’s BoomerHer.

8. Snowmageddon: What do you call it when 30 inches of snow are dumped on Washington DC and cause a weather apocalypse? An excellent example of Alphabetizing.

9. You Had Me at Woof: Julie Klam’s book shows how “riffing off” pop culture can provide an unexpected twist to a familiar phrase. The result? A smile and a sale.

10. SerenDestiny: I admit it. I’m partial to this since it’s the title of my next book. It’s based on the premise that leading the life we’re born to live is no accident (serendipity); it’s intentional.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Sam Horn’s POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title and Tagline for Anything (Perigee, Penguin ’09) introduces 25 techniques for creating compelling buisness communications and innovative, memorable messaging.

POP! has been featured on MSNBC, BusinessWeek.com and in NY Times and Sam’s presentations on this topic have received raves from Cisco, EO, National Speakers Association, ASAE, etc.

Check the more than fifty 5 Star ratings on Amazon.com from readers who sing its praises and describe how it’s helped them generate trademark-able titles and taglines, profitable business names and winning presentations that have closed deals and catapulted income.

Well, Valentine’s Day is around the corner.

Are you looking for a book on love, sex, dating or relationships?

The biggest selling book on love, romance and relationships in the past couple years is:

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment by Steve Harvey. It has almost 800 (!) reviews on Amazon.com and is still ranked in the top 100 a year after its publication.

Here are a few of the other intriguing options out there:

Better Off Wed? Fling or Ring – Which Finger to Give Him? by Alison James

The Man Plan: Drive Men Wild – Not Away by Whitney Casey

What Was I Thinking? 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories, edited by Barbara Davilman and Liz Dubelman

I Used to Miss Him . . . But My Aim’s Improving by Alison James (a creative, witty author)

1001 Ways to Be Romantic by Greg Godek

What Your Mama Never Told You – Tara Roberts

Finding the Love of Your Life – Neil Clark Warren

Dating and Mating – Darren Burton

Stumbling Naked in the Dark: Overcoming Mistakes Men Make with Women -Bradley Fenton

What Men Won’t Tell You and Women Need to Know by Bob Berkowitz

How to Duck a Sucka – by Big Boom (yes, that’s his name)

And of course two of the grandaddys:

Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus – John Gray

He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tucillo

That best-selling book by Greg Behrendt not only spawned a movie and a new career as a talk-show host, it inspired several copy-cat books such as:

He Just THINKS He’s Not That Into You: The Insanely Determined Girl’s Guide to Getting The Man She Wants by Danielle Whitman

Be Honest – You’re Not That Into Him Either: Raise Your Standards and Reach for the Love You Deserve by Ian Kerner

And, if you want a daily supply of smart posts about dating, mating, relating and romance; be sure to check out the witty, insightful blog by The Dating Goddess. http://www.datinggoddess.com/ She’s been quoted in Wall Street Journal and a few of her fun and fascinating books include:

Date or Wait: Are You Ready for Mr. Great?

You’ve Got to Kiss a Lot of Princes

Have you ever thought, “There must be a better way to . . .

* come up with the perfect busines name
* create a great company slogan
* develop a one-of-a-kind brand
* explain my idea so people get it, want it and remember it
* pitch my project so decision-makers say yes
* title my book so it POP!s off the shelf
* give my film or play a stop-em-in-their-tracks tagline
* design an elevator speech that motivates people to say “Tell me more”
* find hundreds of new quotes on creativity and innovation

There ARE better ways to do all of the above. In fact, there are 25 better ways to create the perfect pitch, title, tagline, business name, brand, ad campaign, company slogan and sales sound-bite.

And the good news is, all these 25 techniques can be found in the just-released paperback version of the critically-acclaimed book POP! (Perigee-Penguin)

More good news is you don’t need an MBA, multi-million dollar budget or crack marketing team to create an attention-grabbing, one-of-a-kind “Phrase That Pays.” You just need this book.

Discover why Sam Horn’s POP! Process has received raves from Seth Godin, Ken Blanchard, Jeffrey Gitomer and was one of the top-ranked presentations at Inc. Magazine’s annual convention honoring the fastest-growing entrepreneurial companies in the country.

You’ll love that this jam-packed book doesn’t waste time on platitudes you’ve heard before or ivory tower theories that aren’t relevant in the real world.

POP! features original insights you can use immediately to help your company, creation, cause and campain get noticed — for all the right reasons. In today’s tough economy, it’s more important than ever to have an INTRIGUING name that gets people interested in what you have to say and sell. This book is your secret weapon to writing copy, creating trademark-able names and crafting marketing material that helps you break out vs. blend in. Buy it today.

The #1 premise in business is that it need not be boring or dull. It ought to be fun.” – Tom Peters

The votes are in and the decisions have been made. The following business names, company slogans and book titles POP! out for all the right reasons – they’re Purposeful, Original and Pithy (they POP!) and they’re NOT boring or dull. As a result, they’ve helped their organization or product break out vs. blend in (the purpose of an attention-grabbing name, slogan and title. )

1. Segs in the City. The perfect name for a business which offers tours of downtown Washington DC on the stand-and-ride Segways.

2. WOKamole. The inspired name for a Chinese-Mexican restaurant in San Antonio, Texas. I also like Ciao-Mein, the name of an Italian-Chinese restaurant.

3. “Tastes So Much Like Coke, our lawyers have contacted our lawyers.” A brilliant ad campaign Coca-Cola used to address complaints that their new diet drink didn’t taste like “the real thing.”

4. Weeding By Example. What 13 year old Jack McShane called his charitable organization that cleaned up New Orleans City Park following Hurricane Katrina.

5. Kis-Meet. What else would you call an online dating service that helps you find your perfect match? A close second was Geek2Geek, a site for pocket-protector types with personals that read, “Tall, Dork and Handsome.”

6. BUYology. The sublime title of a bestseller by Martin Lindstrom that explains the science of why we buy. Much like Freakonomics, this is an example of how creating a new word for your book can launch a lucrative business empire.

7. Snuba. Leave the oxygen tank on the boat and explore 10 feet underwater without having to be certitified and without risk with this new sport – half snorkel, half scuba.

8. “Good things come to those who . . . walk.” Avon has raised millions to find a cure for breast cancer with their walks that feature this slogan.

9. “Great minds like a think.” The clever people at The Economist agree with Samuel Goldwyn who said, “Avoid cliches like the plague” and gave their slogan a clever twist.

10. Squeaky Green. What else would you call an organic product that gets your house squeaky clean?