Category Archives: diminished reputation

Good-Time Rock and Roll Excellent Company Want You

The headline immediately caught my attention — but not in a good way.  “President Of Staff, Powerful Company Posistion” set off red flags before I could read the body of the posting.  It reads like an email from a Nigerian Prince who wants “kind and gracious help in the name of Jesus Christ” to move $137,549,011.95 out of his Country, of which he’ll give half for your help.
We’ll never know if this is a legitimate job posting because no self-respecting executive is going to allow this company to have their personal information.  The title President of Staff is not in the current business lexicon of which I am aware.  What “Powerful Company” and are they driven by good intentions?  Don’t want to get half way through an interview to find the position is the president of the League of Doom or ISIS.  Unless you’re Lex Luthor, it would not look good on your resume.
So, if assumptions are made this is a legitimate offer, where did the staff err?  This wasn’t posted on Craigslist, but on a site I have not heard of, “” — which itself sounds like it was not created by someone for whom English is their first language.  Unfortunately, postings on this site are being picked up by legitimate job listing aggregators like ZipRecruiter.
But are legitimate companies suffering from similar errors in their job postings?

The note above comes from a legitimate company advertising on Monster for a VP of Sales and Marketing.
Did the company’s HR department misunderstand the hiring manager’s request for references prior to a job offer? 
“. . . you may be required to arrange an interview with your previous bosses, peers and subordinates.” 
The wording is clunky and open to misinterpretation.  Does the hiring manager want to check references, or interview the references to see if they’re a better fit for the position.  And the prospective employee may be responsible for setting up the interview?  Phone or in person?
“Hey Bob, it’s me, Jack.  Jack Taggert, I was the Director of Marketing up until two weeks ago when the SEC came in and you had to layoff 90% of the staff.  Okay, now you remember.  Well, I have a pending job offer that looks good, but they want to interview you first.  I don’t know, they just told me to set it up.  No.  In person.  Come on Buddy, can you do me a solid?  No?  Home confinement?  Damn!  Sorry to hear about the indictment, Bob.  Sure.  Maybe we can get together in a few weeks. 
Then there’s the second paragraph:
  • Send a resume.  To this:  duh.  The job hunter is applying for a position with the company.  Of course they are going to send my resume.
  • Recent salary history.  According to Nick Corcodilos, a veteran Silicon Valley headhunter, “Politely but firmly decline to disclose your salary history. Substitute this: ‘I’d be glad to help you assess what I’d be worth to your business by showing you what I can do for you but my salary is personal and confidential, just as the salaries of your own employees are.'”
  • A short write up describing a time when you managed a team that grew revenue substantially.  Does the HR department or the hiring manager even intend to read the resume of the applicant?  As a serious professional would have this information as a highlighted item in their resume.
My advice, proofread job postings as carefully as you will judge an applicant.  A company doesn’t want to damage its reputation by reading like a scam email.  Even in a tight economy, prospective employees are interviewing employers as well.

If you have questions regarding your business’ marketing strategy, feel free to contact me at

Are You Experienced Enough to Protect the Brand?

Are You Experienced? Ah! Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have
          Jimi Hendrix
Released in 1967, Are You Experienced was an expression of teenage angst, “free-love”, and drug use (tripping balls on LSD) with a left turn in the final line:
Ah! But Are You Experienced? Have you ever been experienced?

Not necessarily stoned, but beautiful

In the last line, the song tried to wink and nod that it wasn’t about sex and drugs, but about feeling your inner beauty.  It became a Peter, Paul and Mary folk song with a driving electric guitar.
This song was born from a generation that yelled, “Don’t trust anyone over 30!”  Unfortunately, Jimi didn’t live long enough to be mistrusted.
Illustration by Craig Swanson
Forty-seven years later society is now embracing Millenials with an attitude of, “Trust anyone under 30!”  Some companies believe the under-30 crowd entering the workforce know how to speak to the 18 to 34 demographic.  Others just see them as cheap labor willing to accept lower pay in exchange for a title and perceived authority.
But, does their arrogance damage the brand?
Learning from mistakes requires enough time to have made mistakes from with to learn – with enough experience to be humble enough to acknowledge mistakes were made.

A Lesson Learned

“Just because your Mom laughed at the joke doesn’t make it good.”
The above example arrived in mailboxes as part of a ValPak card deck which consisting of 40 to 50 individual, double-sided advertisements.  Depending upon how the envelope is opened determines which side of the offer is seen first.  An advertisement has about one-second to capture the reader’s attention – as card decks are often sorted over a trashcan.
So, why did this piece end up in the garbage?
  1. George Burns Impersonator.  To whom is this advertisement aimed?  George Burns last appeared on screen in 1994 and died in 1996.  This image has no more relevance to twenty-somethings than an image of Harold Lloyd.
  2. Tagline.  Lose the Goo!?  This piece COULD NOT have been focused-grouped with a 65 to 84 demographic as the 35 to 44 demographic responded with, “What the hell!”
  3.  Dentures and “goo”.  The adage, “I like hot dogs, so I never want to see how they’re made.” fits this image.  It’s like selling adult diapers by showing an older model with wet pants and the tagline, “Next time, better use Depends.”
  4.  Fonts.  It’s a rookie mistake to use multiple fonts on one advertisement – particularly one of this size.  Pick two and be consistent.
  5. Offers.  What are they?  The line art images do not draw the eye to the individual offers and the font of the pricing overwhelms the description.  The florescent green-yellow splotches are annoyance.
  6.  Logo.  Or lack of logo.  The image at the bottom is NOT the logo for the dental practice who sent the advertisement.  The practice’s logo should be prominent on both sides of the offer – not a vendor.
  7. Expiration date.  This piece does not state the offers are a sale price — so why does the offer expire.  If there is an expiration date on a piece it should have an explanation as to what will expire.  A better line is, “Prices subject to change.”
A few facts about this example:  a.) It was produced by a 26-year-old, b.) It cost the business $1,600.00 for printing and mailing.

The Price of Experience

“Don’t worry.  I’ve logged hundreds of hours . . . on a simulator.”
The dental practice purportedly hired the person responsible for this piece in a cost-cutting measure.  They reported the person was willing to do the job for one-third the wage of the previous marketing director.  It now takes 2 ½ inexperienced people to do the job previously done by a single, seasoned professional.
What is important regarding this mailer, and subsequent mailers like this, is the loss of the dental practice’s reputation and credibility.  By entrusting their marketing to an inexperienced team they make themselves look inexperienced.  Any goodwill established with earlier marketing pieces is diminished with a ham-handed attempt at humor.
But, with the lack of branding on both sides of the advertisement, hopefully all they lost was 1,600 bucks.

If you have questions regarding your practice’s marketing strategy, feel free to contact me at