Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Little Summer Reading

I’m reading a little book, aptly titled “The Power of Small.”(2009, Broadway Books, New York) It’s co-written by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, who preside over one of the nation’s leading ad agencies, the Kaplan Thaler Group. Among their accounts is Aflac. And among their signature creations is the Aflac duck.

Welcome to the mid-summer, smaller than usual Not Your Usual Marketing Tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

Parenthetically, Kaplan Thaler is one of the most recognized representatives of the ad industry. She is frequently on TV news and talk shows, opining on industry trends and events.

But although the book has been penned by a couple of real sharp marketing minds, the subject is really pretty universal and, as such, can be filtered through the lens of whatever profession you’re in.

Interestingly, as Thaler and Koval point out, their mantra is – unlike Richard Carlson’s “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” – hey, the small stuff does matter.

“Taking the time to give a compliment or being attuned to a colleague or customer’s subtle body cues are not inconsequential actions,” they posit. “They tell a story. They are the details that make or break a relationship, or crack the case…”

They then go on to illustrate through a series of anecdotes and stories (mostly true; they interviewed all kinds of folks, from building custodians to TV stars) how small acts of kindness, compassion or simple interest in another’s story or plight have led to significant advancements in one’s personal as well as business life.

“Did you double-check that presentation one last time, or hold the elevator for a stranger?” they ask. Disparate stuff, but it all flows together in almost cosmic fashion.

As for my own little story:

As a college sophomore, I attended a public dance at one of the local New York City universities. At one point, I noticed two girls standing side by side. I asked one of them to dance. We dated…for years. And then we got married. Wendy and that girlfriend of hers are still the oldest and best of friends.

Linda Kaplan Thaler.

Tune in again the first Tuesday of next month for another O. Henry ending to Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin
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1 comment:

Matt Coben said...

Funny you mention little things like your meeting Wendy. When Sue and I first started dating, I went to her brother's high school graduation on a brutal 95 degree Long Island day. Her Father STILL talks about it - 25 years later!