Archives For creativity

Leading from the Front

MH3 —  April 11, 2013

How do I summarize a week where it seemed every waking moment was filled with inspiration kicking me in the butt?

Some of the motivation was formally delivered. I witnessed a riveting speech delivered by General Rick Hillier at the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance Sport Events Congress. His central message about inspiring others and inspiring yourself revealed that his approach to motivating troops abroad was grounded in ensuring they stayed connected to being Canadian – a sip of Tim Horton’s coffee, a Christmas dinner made by a CO, a visit from the Stanley Cup.

Some of it arrived unexpectedly but in formal settings. In a meeting at Rideau Hall, I was enraptured to hear Bernard Shinder talk about how the event we now call Canada Day was created in the 1970’s by a group of well-connected Ottawa business leaders. Canada Day in Ottawa is a must do event for every Canadian, but in its early days was held away from the shadow of Parliament Hill, as the government feared it may flop!

Some out of the blue. An impromptu offer for a ride from the above Rideau Hall confab, found me being chauffeured by none other than General Walter Natynczyk and hearing about his three children, all proudly serving in our armed forces around the world. How energizing the words of a proud father were, discussing the love his offspring have for serving their country.

Some grew organically. Specifically from Charmaine Crooks, Debbi Wilkes, and Loreen Barnett participating in a Women of Influence panel, moderated by the non-influential male known as MH3, also at the CSTA event. Their voices combined to form a chorus of motivation and insights for women pursuing a career in sports marketing. To quote Debbi Wilkes, “Don’t let anybody else write the script for YOUR life!”

Some were ensnared in the jaws of defeat. Unfortunately at the hands of the US Women’s hockey team who upended Team Canada, in the gold medal world championship game, with their superior skills and sizzling skating. But defeat can be a powerful motivator and all of us should emotionally team up with our women for revenge in Sochi.

I misled you. This wasn’t even an entire week. It was actually only three days. And it wasn’t a butt kicking. No – it was more of a motivational stampede to catch up to those leading from the front!

 

 

Oh Canada, We Love Our BeaverTails

MH3 —  February 21, 2013

Sorry Classified, but the lyrics to your song made the perfect foundation for my title this week.

Our mascot may be a “damn Beaver”, but the BeaverTail delicacy is taking a strong run at overtaking the animal. I know this from two days of highly scientific research conducted earlier this month…at my ski club.

On Saturday of Family Day weekend, in rolled the BeaverTail wagon and you would have thought Santa Claus had arrived. Dozens of cries of “BeaverTails!” echoed throughout the hills. Kids began a delicate, yet complex, negotiation with their parents to a. receive the necessary permission to upgrade the octane level of their midday snack by several thousand kilocalories; and b. to secure the necessary second-mortgage type financing they would need to complete the transaction.

I hadn’t really understood the fascination and fanaticism the BeaverTail brand elicits. I had heard of the Obama Tail served to President Barry during his first visit to Ottawa in his premier term a few years ago. I had seen the huts when we went to Quebec. A friend had shared a far-fetched tale that Bryan Adams once declared that his skill in differentiating a Beaver Tail from a Timbit was supernatural, or All-Canadian, or something. (I am taking liberties here with the actual telling of Adams’ story!)

But how could something so enthralling be created in wee wee wee little Killaloe, Ontario? I have friends who live there and they have never mentioned the furless deep-fried fountain of taste bud ecstasy. Perhaps like me, they hadn’t experienced the love I witnessed this past weekend.

The obsession with the Tail defied all experiential marketing logic. The truck was noisy. The line was long – at one point kids were waiting 40-60 minutes! The price? Good on them for charging mega bucks for fried dough. There was no pre-promotion, no Facebook app, no post event press release.

But if the BeaverTail two day sale where I ski is any indication – they know their consumer, their consumer loves them, and I am one very impressed, and disciplined observer. Disciplined?

Yes, I was practically a Biggest Loser Hall of Fame level participant in my resisting the urge to succumb to the Eve-like temptation of a Skor flavoured BT. You are probably underestimating the level of self control this took. Summon your inner Willy Wonka and visualize a fantasia of chocolate covered faces surrounding you. Soon to be decaying teeth blazing in choreographed smiles. Majestically chocolate ‘stached upper lips on pre-pubescent faces. Chins dripping in sprinkles, sugar, and M&M bits not quite captured by their alligator jaws.

Admit it. I’ve done it. I’ve overwhelmed your senses. You want some damn BeaverTail!

At one of the final sessions of the 2011 Canadian Sponsorship Forum, Barry Forth shared the story of how he helped Dundas, Ontario, win the title of Kraft Hockeyville in 2010. The incredible creativity and collaboration demonstrated by Barry and the rest of the committee provided inspirational and highly useful tips for anyone planning a campaign to mobilize a community.

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Delegates arriving at the presentation from Chuck Phillips and Kyle Romaniuk of Cocoon Branding were greeted with a single yellow slide reading: “Before we begin, write down as many uses for a paper clip as you can.” What followed was an interactive workshop with delegates getting hands-on tips on how to be creative and generate new ideas, which inspired creativity, allowed delegates to go home to foster a more creative working environment, and contributed to the development of a more creative world.

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