Entries by Jeph Maystruck

Frustration or Challenge?

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To many times in our lives we give in to frustration.  Life throws us a curve ball and we back up in the batter’s box or completely give up our entire at bat because we’re frustrated.

Frustration is a funny thing though, it stems out of confusion and misunderstanding, and can grow to be an insurmountable demon.  But the best part is, it doesn’t have to.

Recently working on a project, I could see a growing frustration on faces and the general atmosphere just wasn’t right.  When I spoke with both parties involved I could understand where the frustration came from.  Within one conversation we had agreed that the frustration was due to a lack of communication and could easily be interpreted as a challenge.

Our world would be much better off if instead of getting frustrated with a problem, we look at it as a challenge.  Challenges get you going, they’re the fire under your ass, they’re the reason why sports are so interesting and they could be your solution if you are feeling frustrated.

So what do you do when you’re feeling frustrated?

Photo Credit: Kim Jay Photography

Saskatchewan Pavilion

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Saskatchewan is my favorite province, so when I was given the opportunity to help out with the Saskatchewan Pavilion in Vancouver for the 2010 Olympic games, I of course said YES!

It’s been a proud week for the province, our pavilion is located beside the Quebec and Ontario pavilion’s and is across from the Molson Canadian Hockey house, the largest bar at the Olympic games (though it’s only a $99-$450 cover charge).

It’s a surreal moment when you walk around Concord Place and see your own province on the World’s stage beside Ontario and Quebec.  Even more so when you find out that neither pavilion is prepared to hold more than 300 people and the SaskPavilion has a capacity of just over 600.  What not a better role for the Province of Saskatchewan but to host the largest no-cover-charge party in Vancouver.

With the assistance of Riley Moynes from Living Sky Media, we will be putting together video‘s pretty much every day in Vancouver to give Regina a taste of the Olympiad.  While I’m here I apologize for the less then regular posting but I’ll try to keep you up to date with the behind the scene antics of what happens at the Olympics.
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Semantic Markers

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Martin Lindstrom is a fascinating individual, he did a seven million dollar marketing study on the brain and wrote a book about it; Buy-ology: The Truth and Lies About Why We Buy. I encourage you to read it but what got me thinking was a recent podcast put on by Duct Tape Marketing’s John Jantsch.  Talking with Mr. Lindstrom, they simplified it down to semantic markers.  Lindstrom says, “Semantic markers are like a slap on the chin” in a negative or positive way.  Our subconscious makes most of the decisions for us so brands should be trying to create these subtle markers in our minds. Lindstrom goes on to say that small companies should be taking advantage of semantic markers to get a lot of value out of the marketing effort with very little effort.

So how do you create a semantic marker in someone’s mind?  By going to extreme’s and doing something completely unexpected but so memorable it is embedded in our minds.  Remember how good Burger Baron’s billboards were?  They were different and were actually funny that they stuck out in our minds, you’d chuckle to yourself when you thought of Burger Baron.

How about the Roughrider’s Watermelon heads?  
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A Two Word Strategy for Guaranteed Results

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Over deliver.

Seth Godin recently came out with a book titled Linchpin.  If you don’t know the story of how Seth came out with the book it’s worth a read.  To make a long blog short, he offered a free copy of his book in exchange for a minimum donation of $30 towards the Acumen Fund.  Within 48 hours this offer raised $108,000.

There was one slip up, for the people who took advantage of this offer living in Canada, the book wasn’t delivered on time.  Roughly two weeks late, my copy arrived.  I’m sure some people weren’t happy about the late delivery but it was the next event that really took me by surprise and made up for the late delivery. Just last week I receive a similar package in the mail, it’s another copy of the book.  Inside the front cover lies a note from Mr. Godin that offers this second book as a reward for my generosity and that I must now give it away as a present.

I was smiling from ear to ear for the remainder of the day.  Sure it must have cost Seth double the money to send two books, but I think to him having me tell this story is worth it.
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Marketing Yourself in Awkward Situations

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Yeah we get it, everything we do is marketing ourselves yadda yadda yadda.  But what do you do in awkward situations where there is a bit of tension built up?  You know, those situations where it could end up good or bad?  How do you get the other person on your side and trusting you?

Joke around with them.  Humor relaxes people and says “hey, I’m not nearly as bad as you think I am”.

Example 1: I play hockey, I usually hate refs in hockey, I usually yell at refs in hockey, not this time.  For the first time ever in my life that I can remember, while sitting in the penalty box, quite angry at the ref to say the least, he made a joke about what I did to get the penalty.  I had no choice to laugh and to start liking him.

Example 2: The Pastor at my church has a great sense of humor, after the service you can’t help but smile and laugh with him while he makes his remarks as everyone is leaving the sanctuary.  You feel a different connection with him because he makes you laugh.

You don’t have to be a comedic sensation, that’s not what I’m after, but if you can smile and make a comment that gets a laugh out of me, we’re already connecting on a different level.  
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Something is Awry at the Hill School

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Your website is the story you want to tell the world.  Do you have a purpose for each page on your site?  Do you know who your intended audience is?  What are you trying to convince them of when they visit your site?  If you can’t answer these questions it becomes blatantly obvious when we view your site.

For the past five years the Paul J. Hill School of Business at the University of Regina has entered the JDC West competition.  JDC West is the largest student run academic case competition in Western Canada which includes prestigious schools such as the University of Alberta, Asper School of Business, and Sauder School of Business.  The complete list can be found here.

The Paul J. Hill School for the past three years have finished in second place.  This is no small feat by any means and it truly shows the quality of students that the school is producing.  For reasons beyond my comprehension you can’t find a link on the School’s website to this competition.  Not just a second place finish, they also raised $21,390.12 for charity and the faculty is more concerned with course offerings?  Something is awry.  If I want to find out about programs offered I’ll search for them, they don’t need to be the first things I read.
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