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Journal

Words do this to us. They feed us even before we see. They build expectations. They are things too. And they lead us to see other things in a certain way. Words activated like and paired with the visual are the message.

You Can Polish A Turd

Andrea Chesney

There are no doomed brands. Just doomed thinking. Keep polishing. 

We are speaking scientifically today as well as from idiomatic and business perspectives, so please excuse the necessary crudity in the headline! 

Warning: Do not read this while lunching or snacking. Jamie and Adam of the Discovery Channel’s popular MythBusters show decided to check out the old saying “you can’t polish a turd.” They focused on using a (allegedly) Japanese art method of  shaping and polishing mudballs made of dirt into glossy shiny delicate rather pretty natural objects. This technique, which they learned from a guy named Jason, involved hours of hand shaping and water application and chilling the objects. Ready for the experiment, Adam chose ostrich droppings (herbivore as he noted) while Jamie went for the lion poop (carnivore), a further check the saying's permutations. After a few days’ worth of elbow grease, each had managed to form very shiny excrement balls that scored over 106 (ostrich) and 183 (lion) points on a high gloss meter reading (well exceeding the target level of 70). Myth busted: you can polish a turd.

As with nature, there’s business. You can revamp, correct, or reactivate a limping  brand into a high gloss surprise. As with the turds, it just takes time, hard work and clear methodology. When we’ve worked on brand reactivations, we  employ critical thinking and our own special deep dish go-there research and wartime analysis approach. Of course, we’ve learned that sometimes, people find comfort in thinking a brand is doomed to the status quo, period. Or they freeze in place, thinking the situation is safer left stuck.  Or the classic:  It’s a turd. We already tried a couple of things. Our CEO thinks it can do more but we know it can’t. Let’s order lunch.

Hmm. Everyone has a right to call it as they see it. But dollars call more emphatically in the end, don't they? Successful brands start to self-generate tendrils of impact in a multichannel way, and hey, they keep people employed. By getting in there and using a thoughtfully applied bit of shaping, and a serious polishing via some unexpected ingredients and steps, you can help fresh sales and identity emerge in surprising ways – even when the experts or the economy are betting against it. Just like a high shine reviving a carnivore’s leavings. Just takes effort. Start polishing.