Flo Rida

I have been in Florida since December 31st and there are some huge differences between Montreal and Miami other than the weather. People in Florida are very friendly and pleasant which is something that I am not used to in Montreal. I could walk through a grocery store in Montreal and not one employee or customer will say hello. It’s the exact opposite in Florida. I walked into a Publix grocery store the other day and within 5 minutes every one of the employees in the store said good morning how are you today. I was shocked because this never happens in Montreal.

The opulence of Palm Beach is apparent in the cars and the multi million dollar homes. We drove by Mar a Lago but as it is a private club, the general public cannot enter. And business is booming with high end restaurants which are packed as well as luxury car dealships including Bentley. And once you get out of Palm Beach and into Lauderdale there is a proliferation of pawn shops with one on almost every corner.

The food is decent especially if you are a fan of fish and seafood. There are many down home restaurants that will serve seafood platters like the one pictured above. It includes oysters, shrimp, clams, crab and lobster. And if you can find one on the water, you lucked out. I use Yelp and Trip Advisor as a guide to the best places and avoid the chains like Applebee’s or Chili’s.

My favourite spot is the Hard Rock Seminole Casino. I like to play poker but there is so much more including glass enclosed displays of the clothes of the biggest rock stars. And the variety of restaurants is incredible. And of course the guitar shaped hotel pops out of the landscape as you approach. The upcoming entertainment includes Jerry Seinfeld, Trevor Noah, Steve Martin and the Goo Goo Dolls.

And one celebrity selfie with Emmanuel Lewis. Emmanuel Darnell Lewis (born March 9, 1971) is an American actor and comedian, best known for playing the title character in the 1980s television sitcom.

Mango Publicity was also open for business. A branch of Mango Communications in Montreal with my partner Richard McCrory who I worked with in the radio and professional sports fields.

Enjoy the day.

Marketing in 2020

And the first step for traditional marketing is to embrace the new wave of digital marketing. At first, I thought that digital was an add on to the standard marketing practices of print and broadcast media. But it soon became apparent that it was a force to be reckoned with. When a local car dealer told one of my radio salespeople that they were putting their entire advertising budget into digital, it was a wake up call. Could this be the future? No more traditional advertising? So I made a decision when I turned 60. I had 2 choices. Learn about digital or retire. So I chose the former. And I spent a year studying and taking courses. The rest of the blog is what I have learned

I learned to embrace digital marketing as it has an important place in the marketing strategy of every business. Without it, you’re dead. If you hear about a business and you google search them and they do not have a website, it’s all over. We had a lawyer advertise on our radio station several years ago. Solid business, plenty of experience but no website and the campaign failed. Not only do you need a website, it must be google searchable. Google ad words is the most important part of digital marketing. 95% of consumers use Google, 3% use Yahoo and 2% use Bing. Google ad words are not some mysterious phenomen, just download a Google ad words dashboard and start to learn through experimentation. It’s not complicated. Pick your geographic region, your age demographic and several other criteria and create your own campaign.

Don’t worry about SEO if your website is already up and rolling. I have spoken with 3 digital marketing experts and they have told me that SEO is highly overrated and not as essential as ad words. SEO services can boost (or destroy) your website traffic. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a concept that’s familiar to most business people. … – The money spent on SEO is a complete waste. The first page rankings for keywords in most businesses are too competitive.

Marketing is all about making consumers feel good about themselves. In the day of digital marketing, the vast majority of content creation is not in the hands of traditional marketers. It’s in the hands of young graphic artists, videographers and writers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. My graphic artist is 22 years old and brilliant. But marketing should be in the hands of marketing professionals. An individual that can see the product or service and understand the objectives, strategies and tactics to build the brand. And have the consistency and patience to see it through to fruition.

This quote by Atticus is appropriate in terms of the reference to magic. Seth Godin says marketing is no longer about products and services, it’s about relations, stories and magic. First, relations as it relates to your brand’s connectivity to consumers. Second, stories which represent the new world of marketing. Storytelling is the optimal way to build a brand and consumers remember stories 10X more than they remember statistics. And of course magic. The definition is
the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.

So I picked this restaurant on my trip to Florida and it was fantastic. How did I find it? Social media. I googled seafood restaurants on the water in Jensen Beach and this was rated third. I read the reviews and checked out Trip Advisor and Yelp. With no point of reference, this is the way buying decisions are made in 2020. I booked the house I am staying at on AirBnb. I know Walmart and Dunkin Donuts but my goal when traveling is to find unique down home restaurants instead of chains. I booked a massage at Elements Massage based on a 4.7 rating in Google and downloaded a $30 coupon. Kallie was a stellar massage therapist. And I found a breakfast place called Berry Fresh Cafe based on their Google rating and my waitress happened to be from Laval. As a first time guest. I received a $5 gift certificate for my next visit. So will I return? Absolutely.

The future of advertising execution is a combination of digital media and radio. Yes, I said radio and left this until the end of my blog on purpose. Of the three traditional media, radio is faring the best. Almost 90% of North Americans listen to the radio every week. Unfortunately print audiences are in a freefall and there will be no newspapers by 2025. And TV is a viable medium if you have a big budget. But Netflix and PVRs are beginning to have an impact. Radio enables you to target a specific audience based on your demographic target and enables you to tell a 30 or 60 second story. If you educate consumers in your marketing, you will develop a loyal following.

Driving to Florida

I decided to spend a few weeks in Florida this winter in order to break the Montreal winter. As a fan of live poker my plan was to hit a few casinos along the way.

Maryland Live was a stellar experience especially since I was upgraded to a suite because my room wasn’t ready when I arrived VB at 530pm. The steak house was incredible and the filet mignon was cooked perfectly. But the front desk employees were the stars wanting to make sure my experience was magical.

Once you get to Virginia, the weather starts to change. The snow has disappeared and the balminess in the air. I had stayed at Live Maryland the night before and played poker the next day with a group of nice guys who welcomed a token Canadian to their table. Their questions were intriguing. Is everyone in Canada French? How come you are English and live in Montreal? Do you play hockey? Why do you guys say ay after every sentence?

I dined at the Prime Smokehouse the next evening and stayed at a Holiday Inn in Rocky Mount. I asked the guy at the desk about a good local restaurant but when he suggested that I dine at Cracker Barrell or Outback, I went to Yelp for help and it worked as the Prime Smokehouse was rated #2. The Prime Smokehouse is now the premiere destination in eastern North Carolina for those seeking good food especially good barbecue, soul food and southern cuisine and great entertainment. Each weekend, patrons in this crucible of jazz and blues history, are treated to local, regional and national touring musicians and entertainers in addition to good food.

South of the Border has been a landmark of the southeast for nearly 70 years. In 1949, Mr. Alan Schafer built a simple 18 x 36 foot beer stand known as South of the Border Beer Depot. As it adjoined the North Carolina counties, which were dry of alcoholic beverages, business boomed. A few years later a 10-seat grill was added and the business was re-named South of the Border Drive-In.

Clarks Inn and Restaurant is a perfect place to stop for a lunch along the way. I would recommend the fried oysters, shrimp and corn soup and the down home Southern hospitality is phenomenal. A couple of observations on the USA

  • They drive slowly especially in the middle part of the USA
  • No one is in a rush – good lesson
  • There are more restaurants than people
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods has a wall of guns for sale – see next picture
  • There are more trucks than cars
  • Speed limits in some States are 70 mph
  • The roads are impeccable and there is virtually no construction

That’s a scary sight. Wouldn’t you agree that if something is readily available, it could cause a proliferation of mass shootings. In Canada, you can legally buy a gun but they are not available at the local sporting goods store.

Savannah, a coastal Georgia city, is separated from South Carolina by the Savannah River. It’s known for manicured parks, horse-drawn carriages and antebellum architecture. Its historic district is filled with cobblestoned squares and parks such as Forsyth Park shaded by oak trees covered with Spanish moss. At the center of this picturesque district is the landmark, Gothic-Revival Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist.

If you live to shop, the Tanger Factory Outlets are just off the highway in Georgia. The stores include . . .

  • Ralph Lauren
  • Coach
  • Michael Kors
  • Oakley
  • Old Navy

Saturday Night in Pennsylvania

Magic is the watchword for 2020. Seth Godin said that marketing is no longer about products or services. It’s about relations, stories and magic. The dictionary definition is . . .
the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.

What are mysterious or supernatural powers? They are simply a combination of positive vibration and a high level of energy and passion.

Here’s the shocking truth: hugs boost our happiness levels. And scientific research is there to show this. Basically, a good hug is the fastest way for you to get oxytocin flowing in your body. Oxytocin, also known as the “love drug”, calms your nervous system and boosts positive emotions. Here’s how a good hug resulting in oxytocin flow affects you:

  • It lowers your blood pressure, especially helpful if you’re feeling anxious.
  • It lowers your cortisol (the stress hormone), enabling a higher quality of sleep.
  • It can increase your social connections and a sense of belonging.

As my mother would say, this too shall pass. We certainly cannot change the past. And we cannot predict the future, so we have to accept what is. That doesn’t mean we can’t work to improve our lot in life. Faith is something that is the ultimate intangible. My late father had a tremendous amount of faith in God. But faith requires hope without science. How do we know that there is a God and a place called heaven. We do not. We gotta have faith.

There is a great degree of faith in this statement. Sometimes in life you have to take a leap of faith. If you are willing to trust and believe in someone, you will walk down that path together. And have faith in what will be. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I hold it true, whate’er befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most; ‘Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.

The Law of Vibration

That is a profound statement that contains so much truth, it’s scary. I have reached the conclusion that most people chase happiness externally, however, the key to happiness is inside of each one of us.

Happiness is that feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can’t help but smile. It’s the opposite of sadness. Unfortunately life is a series of challenges and obstacles punctuated with sporadic moments of happiness.

Happiness requires both hard work and focus. You can’t just sit and meditate about being successful, you have to go out and do it. And when I talk about success, I don’t mean profession or money. Following is my Top 10 list of what success represent:

  1. Good health
  2. Happiness
  3. Peace of mind
  4. Family
  5. Friends
  6. Passion
  7. Relaxation
  8. Fun
  9. Learning
  10. Help others

Bob Proctor states that attraction is a law, but it is a secondary law. The primary law is the Law of Vibration. It is the basic law that states everything in the Universe is moving. In Bob’s own words, “The law of vibration is one of the basic laws of the universe. It decrees that everything moves, nothing rests, and we literally live in an ocean of motion.” This is because everything is made of energy. Your body is made of cells, and cells are with molecules and atoms. What created atoms and molecules are the energies vibrating at different frequencies.

When you think, you activate your brain cells, and you set up a vibration in your body. When you move your eyes to read this sentence, you activate your brain cells to do it. This also means to say that the vibration you are in will dictate what you attract into your life.

If you are constantly worried and troubled, you will attract a lot of bad energy. And what you fear will come to you. This is why people often said, “You will become what you think about most of the time.”

“Everything you want will come to you when you get in harmony with it,” says Bob in one of his video training. In a nutshell, your feelings and emotions are important in helping your vibration be at the right frequencies, and hence, attract the things that you want in life.

Early Saturday Morning Musings

It’s funny because I believe that the greater your life challenge, the stronger you become. But I never considered the fact that maybe your calling is higher. But what does that mean? A higher calling indicates that your life purpose is to help the greater good. That is, in any way you can with a plethora of possibilities. Some people choose to volunteer with charities. Others choose to devote their lives to their families, as my mother did. Some dedicate their lives to their jobs, especially if they are in noble professions like nurses, doctors, police officers and so on.

Loyalty is a trait that is fading fast. But loyalty is important in terms of reciprocity and honor. I have been loyal to my doctor for 40 years although he just retired. Loyal to the barber who has cut my hair since my wedding. Loyal to business associates who have had my back over the years. Loyal to good friends who supported me during my depression by coming to my house every day for 3 months to take me for a walk. Loyal to my family members who always look out for me. Loyalty is precious.

This is the best piece of advice in terms of helping others. Especially when they are suffering from depression. When you are in a state of depression, you are not capable of listening and responding to advice. You need a combination of psychotherapy and anti-depressants to help you pull yourself out of that black hole. And it takes time; nothing happens overnight. Have patience and trust the process.

The most brilliant quote on romance that I have ever seen. Magic is the new catch word for 2020. Seth Godin says that consumers no longer buy products and services. They buy relations, stories and magic. It’s important in love, in business, and in life.

Deep Thoughts Part 2

The only way to succeed is to surround yourself with like minded people. Dreams are goals with wings. And dreams can be accomplished with a plan – objectives, strategies and tactics. It’s not like The Secret where you wish for a dream and it comes to you. You have to go out and get it. Take action.

Some millennials are cocky. There’s a sweeping generalization if I have ever heard one. But some boomers are cocky too. I find that there is a discernible difference between cocky and confident. Cocky is conceited or arrogant, especially in a bold or impudent way.
Confidence is a feeling of self assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.

Confidence is better than cockiness

So there are 3 things that I am afraid of.

  1. Airplanes
  2. Snakes
  3. My health

So we can forget about snakes, not worth discussing. I have a plan to get on an airplane for the first time in over 25 years. I will fly Air Canada to Toronto with a pilot who is dead heading to Pearson International Airport. That way, if both the pilot and co-pilot die simultaneously, the pilot sitting with me could fly the plane.

In terms of health, I am taking 4 steps

  1. 10,000 steps per day
  2. 2 – 3 litres of water per day
  3. Reduce sugar dramatically
  4. Smaller portions

Helping others is my personal mission statement. And helping others should be yours as well. If you are lucky enough to have a roof over your head, food on the table and family / friends, then help others. Especially the homeless at this time of year. I grew up in the West Island of Montreal and discovered that there are 200 homeless youths; which was surprising considering the fact that the area is financially sound. But there is an organization committed to building a homeless shelter.

Ricochet’s mission is to create housing resources for young people between the ages of 18 and 35 who are experiencing residential instability in the West island.