Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"Terry O' Reilly knows marketing"/ complex change

Mar. 1, 2017 "Terry O'Reilly knows marketing": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail.  It's about marketing and I'm not really interested in that.  However, I did like it:

The host of CBC Radio’s Under the Influence shares anecdotes and lessons covering the basics in a new book

This I Know By Terry O’Reilly Knopf Canada, 283 pages, $34

Terry O’Reilly, host of CBC Radio’s Under the Influence, knows marketing from long years in the trenches, first with ad agencies, then as co-founder of Pirate Radio and Television.
His book, This I Know: Marketing Lessons from Under the Influence, opens with 14 sturdy, anecdote-infused chapters covering the basics of marketing – from strategy to storytelling to nudging – in an engaging, memorable way.

His final chapter, a punchy series of “This I Know” statements, crystallizes those ideas and shares his most compelling beliefs.

This, then, is some of what Terry O’Reilly knows: Don’t whisper a dozen things, say one thing loudly: Effective marketing messages are single minded. “If a commercial idea can’t be summed up in one line, it’s not ready to be a commercial yet,” he writes.

And while he can be critical of ad agencies, here he lays the blame on clients, who overrule their agency experts, wanting “to stuff ten pounds of potatoes into a five-pound bag.”

Agencies must display more backbone, insisting on single-minded messaging. Small brands need a big personality: A small company can’t compete with a larger company’s budget so it must take to a different battlefield, breaking through the clutter with a gutsy, vibrant
approach that develops a distinctive personality.


Radio is still powerful: It has endured the growth of movies, television, VCRs, the Internet and social media. People listen to radio alone, intent – a human voice whispering in their ear. That’s why, if you listen to his show, you consider him a reliable friend.

Humour is the WD-40 of advertising: Since advertising is an interruption, you need humour to open the sticky door. It makes the intrusion polite and entertaining, giving listeners a smile in return for spending the time listening. It also shows your company doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Creativity is an amplifier: Effective advertising should be interesting, provocative and surprising rather than blunt, boring and rude. It must evoke emotion, not just drown the audience in facts. “Creativity gets attention. Creativity amplifies the message,” he declares. But it’s not all that common. Watching TV between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., you might see 70 commercials, with perhaps two that are good. That’s a lousy batting average, he says, and the reason ad blockers are becoming common.


The advertising industry needs way more female creative directors: Women control 80 per cent of consumer spending, yet only 3 per cent of creative directors in North America are female. “If the golden marketing rule is know thy audience, why aren’t women in the driver’s seat at agencies? It makes no sense to me. It has got to change,” he says.

People over 45 have the most money and buy the most products: The advertising industry is infatuated with the 18- to 34year-old demographic. But boomers spend more in almost every category and, contrary to popular belief, will change brands if you make a good case.

Advertising is an art: Marketing directors would prefer if marketing were scientific – if there was some formula and predictable results. But persuasion is an art. “Yes, there is a place for data and research and algorithms, but it still comes down to a blank page and an idea,” he says.

Marketing rules are meant to be broken: When Dennis Hopper arrived on the set of Apocalypse Now, he told Francis Ford Coppola he intended to ad lib his lines. The legendary director replied, “You can’t change your lines until you know your lines.” The same holds true in marketing. Know the rules and then pick the right time to break them so you can grab attention and fulfill your mandate.

Amateurs think marketing is all about selling, but pros know
it’s about differentiation: You won’t sell if you haven’t distinguished yourself from competitors.

Marketing is a glorious puzzle: “It has a lot of pieces, but putting the big picture together has kept me happy and engaged for over 30 years,” he says.

And the book will keep you happy and engaged as you grapple with that marketing puzzle.


"Five ways leaders can engage their team during complex change": Today I found this article by Caroline Brereton in the Globe and Mail:

Thanks to erratic economies, digital disruption, demographic shifts and other forces, change and its challenges can blindside leaders every day.

Health care leaders are in the midst of mergers or other complex changes to support Canada’s aging population, which is expected to increase from almost six million seniors today to more than 10 million in 20 years.

Fallout from these or comparable changes in other sectors threaten a leader’s success, status or legacy.

How does a leader mitigate risks and adeptly steer their team through change? The answer lies in focusing on people. Engage your team, partners, clients and other stakeholders to foster dynamic dialogue and co-creation.

According to Dr. John Kotter, author and leadership professor emeritus, Harvard Business School, “70 per cent of all organizational change efforts fail, and one reason for this is executives simply don’t get enough buy-in from enough people for their initiatives and ideas.”

We may not have all the answers but when we engage, we bring stakeholders’ questions, concerns and fears to the surface. As leaders, we need to listen to our stakeholders’ authentic feedback, reframe it, help them understand our perspective on issues and explain how we plan to address them.

Without engaging, the vacuum fills with rumours that can rapidly spread through social networks and outspoken activists. We undo our team’s good work, if we fail to engage.

Here are five proven ways leaders in multiple sectors can engage people during change:

1. Start internally to set a shared vision

A leader must consider each team’s priorities and the culture they need to manage through the change.

Start by interconnecting your teams with common goals, shared quality indicators and a united vision. Regularly measure employee engagement, based on values, such as recognition, trust, communication and empowerment.

Health care has unique challenges. Today’s patient care teams need to know how the change will impact the value of their work. To retain them, you must engage them with energizing work and the ability to co-develop a better way to deliver care.

You need to mesh as a team before you can integrate with others. The more cohesive you are, the more you can engage the strengths of each other and effectively realize your organization’s new vision.

2. Involve frontline employees and others to shape change

Attain input from key employees, partners, vendors and others on the frontline.
Understand what each of those stakeholders does to deliver your mission, not for your organization’s benefit but for the people you serve. Provide transparent communication and timely feedback opportunities that enable them to shape how and when processes change.

Coordinate changes through carefully prioritizing and sequencing work that respects interdependencies. Consider how each change affects people and seek solutions to maintain continuity.

3. Consult clients with a solutions-focus

Engage clients, customers or patients through a structured, solutions-focused approach.
Whether it’s a focus group, an advisory forum or exhaustive site visits, like Cargill’s “learning journeys,” define a clear scope and guiding principles to facilitate the process. Engage this group in a way that uncovers valuable insights about what really matters to them.

Cancer Care Ontario developed a Patient and Family Advisory Council that our community care access centre (CCAC) modeled for its Share Care Council, with a mandate to provide input on programs or services. Feedback from our council informed a new approach to help patients transition from hospital to home, which reduced their readmission rate by 52 per cent.

4. Engage those with the highest stakes

Meet with those people most affected by change, such as employees, who will be re-located, or frail patients with new care providers.

Take a long-term view on how the change will impact their lives and what supports they need, even beyond your strategic plan’s timeline. Thoughtfully interact with them in-person, explain your limitations and collaborate with them on long-term solutions.

In its Authentic Advocacy report, the Arthur W. Page Society recommends enterprises move beyond transactional stakeholder activities to “long-term agreements based on shared belief and commitments, marked by true listening.”

5. Probe for tough feedback and follow through

Encourage feedback through broad-reaching formal tactics, such as surveys or an ombudsperson, even if it’s hard to hear.

Use those tactics to ask questions or create opportunities to hear assumptions behind concerns. We can’t assume all input is based on the best or most up-to-date information. Taking this important step can lead to critical clarity. It may also prompt dialogue that leads to better solutions.

Explain what is feasible, response plans and timelines; then, follow through.

Engaging is not difficult but it takes time for a leader to put people at the centre of change. That time is invaluable because in the end, it’s those stakeholders’ commitments that make a change successful.

Caroline Brereton is chief executive officer of the Mississauga Halton Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), as well as vice chair, Ontario Association of CCACs Board of Directors. She blogs at CarolineBreretonONCare.


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