Musings on Unreasonable Hospitality

In his book, “Unreasonable Hospitality,” author Will Guidara writes about when its reasonable to be unreasonable. It’s all about the power of giving people more than they expect. Guidara, a talented entrepreneur in the restaurant world, talks about how we treat others. He […]

Finding the Right Keywords to Slay

Are you my keyword? In the children’s book Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman, a baby bird hatches early while his mother is away from the nest. The plucky little guy doesn’t wait. He sets off to find her. One small […]

How to Write a Winning Event Entry

This article on how to write a winning event entry appeared in the September 2022 issue of Special Events magazine. Because it was written for Special Events magazine, it is geared towards the Gala Awards, but the strategies here work for most […]

Creating Content that Connects

Creativity is the ability to find a connection between two disparate things. The farther apart they are, the more creative the thinking. Chris Do, The Futur When it comes to creating content that connects we don’t always get to choose our subject. […]

Lessons from Home Renovation: Part Two

It’s the time of year to look back and assess progress made on projects, goals and big ideas. My biggest project was building a backhouse / rental property, aka casita and there were many life lessons from home renovation found throughout the […]

Five Lessons from Renovation

I’ve been renovating a house now for more than a decade. In doing so, I’ve discovered certain truths, five lessons from renovation, that I’ve been able to apply to my business and life. For one thing, 10 years ago I had never considered the fact that I would one day be crawling under a house with a welding torch. But, as I’ve learned, just because we can’t picture ourselves doing something is never reason not to do it!

Be The Cookie: A Marketing and Sales Strategy

What’s been on your plate lately besides turkey? Maybe some cookies? What’s your favorite? A friend of mine loves the digital kind. She says she doesn’t mind being “cookied.” As she explains, when she is looking for a rug online, she loves […]

New Instagram Features

Well, that’s an exaggeration, but your phone can certainly do a lot now that new Instagram features are coming in hot this month. Usually August is sleepy time for marketing news but that’s not stopping Instagram. The app is coming in hot […]

How to Use Reels for Business

New features on Instagram have been coming in hot lately! Reels is one of the latest and you might be wondering how to use it for business. Even though it was introduced by Instagram about six months ago to compete with Tik-Tok’s […]

How to Write Anything Better

All good writing begins here … staring off into space and thinking random thoughts. The next step is to put those thoughts in some sort of format that makes sense to the reader. Yeah, you say, but when I try it’s just […]

To Make the Sale, Tell me a Story

When I wrote that headline — “make the sale” — it sounded slightly dirty. In truth, making a sale is anything but. It’s part of many interaction. Even if we aren’t selling, we are promoting something through the art of story telling.Looking […]

How to Use Awards to Build Authority

When I see or hear of clever marketing initiatives, no matter what the industry, I love to share them. I believe there is always something to learn, even to adopt in our own marketing and brand strategy, from others. This one comes […]

How to Grow Your Email List

With so many ways to connect with our audience, does email matter any more? Why grow your email list? Yes. Yes it does. In fact, many businesses who did well through the pandemic did so because they had a robust email list […]

Fresh Marketing Ideas for Spring

Spring is in the air and so are fresh marketing ideas for planting the seeds of public relations, marketing and client loyalty. Here are a few weird and wonderful ideas I’ve come across. There is something here for everyone to take away […]

Avoid Overwhelm: Be Strategic With Your Yes

It was only a year ago when it was a badge of honor to answer the question “How are you?” with the socially acceptable, “Busy!!” How to avoid overwhelm. We were busy because we were saying yes to what looked like opportunity. […]

Brand Sprint: How to Create a Super Simple Brand Guide

When it comes to branding, there are times when you need a marathon, and times you need a sprint. Marathons are for start-ups, businesses merging, or adding new services. But for those of you who might have created your brand back in […]

Three Words that Could Change Your Life

If I were to tell you that there are three words that could change your life, would you want to know what they are? What if I told you that you already know them? In his book High Performance Habits, Brendon Burchard […]

What’s Behind the Best Deal Ever

You probably have one in your car’s glove box. Or, if you are like me, you have a folder of them, filed somewhere for that day when you might need one. The F.B.I. even found some in the junk drawer of a [...]

All It Takes to Stand Out is 1/8″

Do you ever wonder how some people get started in their careers? I love origin stories and Errol Gerson has a great one. Gerson, who, at almost 50 years and counting is the longest-running professor at ArtCenter College of Design, tells how [...]

Unlikely Heroes

Unlikely heroes are only a step away. This little kitchen stepping stool is one of my unlikely heroes. Over the years, its only purpose has been to support me with zero expectations. It was there when I needed to change a light [...]

Irma Hardjakusumah: A Left Turn to Design Freedom

When I saw this photo of Irma Hardjakusumah and her fierce design squad posed all fierce and fabulous in front of this beautiful dome of color and shapes, I knew it was a story I wanted to tell you. (See credits at [...]

Six Winning Traits Found At 200 MPH

A couple days ago the LA Lakers won their 17th NBA Championship. It got me thinking about what it takes to be a champion, and what people at the pinnacle of their sport or field can teach us. Here, I focused on [...]

What Leaders Know: Four Business Owners On How to Survive Recession

THEY ARE OPENING THEIR FILES! What Leaders Know About Surviving Tough Times In 2008 and 2009 we experienced the Great Recession brought on by the subprime mortgage crisis. Many lived to tell the tale, scarred a bit by having to crawl back [...]

Forge Your Future: A Sales and Marketing Workshop for Today’s World

Do you do this too? Lately I've been spending a lot of time staring wistfully at photos of minimalist architecture. These days, I can think of nothing more calming than staring out at the Aegean Sea from the terrace of this Greek [...]

Jason Rhee Uses His Creativity to Say Their Names

Sometimes we go looking for a deeper purpose and sometimes it finds us. One Saturday after the death of George Floyd, that purpose – in the form of a moving sea of protestors – found Jason Rhee. Jason Rhee   Perhaps Jason, [...]

Three Macro Ideas to Celebrate Our New Micro World

Micro Events. Mini Pop Ups. Micro Workouts. Mini-Monies. Could the age of Covid-19 also turn out to be the era of the micro life? And would that be so terrible? While living locally, rejoicing in the little things, finding purpose in smaller [...]

COVID Interruptus: Gimme a Song and a Cocktail

I admit it, I'm shedding a tear as I write this. My challenge to myself on April 20, to write a daily newsletter for 30 days or until the end of quarantine is over today, May 19,2020. I thought I'd only be [...]

On Sunday We Cook

On Sunday We Cook was a series from my 30 Daily (for now) Brand Therapy Newsletters.   The generosity of the kitchen. I say that because no one goes into that room alone. There is always the memory of shared meals, or [...]

The One Word YOU May be Missing in Your Marketing

What is the one word you may be missing in your marketing? Drum roll please. Did you guess the word "you?" When crafting a client-facing message for your marketing materials or social media profiles, it’s so tempting to take the point of [...]

COVID Interruptus: The Creation of the Porch Pop Up Experience

The new event venue of tomorrow is ... your home! This story falls under the category of "where there is a will, there is a way." It's in our nature to want to come together and it's in the nature of creative [...]

How To Write Better Copy

Everyone writes. Now more than ever. And even though you might not think you are a writer, I'll bet at some point today you had assumed the position of one -- eyes on a screen, hands poised on the keyboard and looking [...]

COVID Interruptus: SnapBar > Keep Your City Smiling

Smiles are the stock in trade at The SnapBar, a growing photo booth business based in Seattle. The company was founded in 2012 by Sam and Joe Eitzen as a side business to a photography business. In 2015, it had grown enough [...]

Happy Cinco de Marketing Ideas

MAKING LIMONADA FROM LIMONS Today, May 5, 2020, is a good example of when bad things happen to good brands. For instance, the folks at Corona must be crying in their beer. On the other hand, any brand that is able to [...]

Forging Your New Future

If you're like me you are probably are getting a powerful thirst for action to go with all that sourdough bread we've all been eating (well, I have at least). I don't have definitive answers, but I have some good questions which [...]

COVID Interruptus: Kala Maxym Pairs a Pivot with Pinot

In many ways, Kala Maxym is like a minstrel from the days of castles and kings who traveled from town to town to entertain people with a trove of stories and song. She can pick up the thread of a brand, a [...]

COVID Interruptus: EventLA is Killing It With Kindness

Just a scant few months ago all you needed as proof that the spirit of community was all but gone in Los Angeles was get on the freeway at rush hour (which, by the way, was all day). Kindness was but a [...]

Want to Get Someone’s Attention? How to Tell Smaller Stories

When stories are too big, too difficult to grasp, they unfortunately begin to lose their impact. No matter how important, they just get lost. Politicians understand this and here are two great examples of how to tell smaller stories. In the thirties [...]

COVID Interruptus: How Gwen LA Pivoted from a High-End Restaurant to Daily Market

Thousands of bananas. Hundreds of eggs. Bunches of herbs. This is what the customers of the high-end restaurant Gwen LA want today. Just a mere two months ago, customers of the restaurant in the heart of Hollywood, wanted something entirely different. Just [...]

COVID Interruptus: Lessons in Fortitude When Dreams are Put on Hold

The internet has made everything accessible to everyone. This can make it very difficult to set oneself apart in a crowded field such as linen rentals. Bringing out new collections, creating new products is tricky when suppliers are virtually the same mills. [...]

Taking Risks: It’s Not Child’s Play

True confession ... I never played too much with Barbie's when I was growing up being more of a huge-stuffed-frog kind of girl. But I always thought she was a cool chick. Last month I found new respect for her as an [...]

Brand Therapy Newsletter: How to Get Everything You Want in 2020 … Quietly

Its January. Is your inbox like mine this month? Is it bursting with ways to ... Unlock you power! Take control! Get 2020 vision!  Conquer your year! Make more money! We are just starting the year yet seems like everyone is shouting [...]

Brand Therapy Newsletter: What Netflix, Don Draper and a Danish Philosopher Can Teach Us

"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard Sometimes only the words of an existential Danish philosopher will do and now is one of them. It's 11 a.m. on Sunday as I write this. I'm taking [...]

Brand Therapy Newsletter #6: Attracting Goodness

Attraction. Support. Community. These three traits are so important for business and yet never really taught in business school. It's why I've put these front and center when creating my Brand Therapy Mastermind Sessions starting later this month. Oddly, I've found these same three traits [...]

Brand Therapy Newsletter #5: Echoes in the Canyon

A successful businessman once told me that when he needs to release some pressure from his week, he steals away to a matinee. With his words ringing in my ears, I bought my ticket to a Wednesday afternoon showing of Echo in the [...]

How to Create Instagram Highlight Covers

Instagram Stories are the fastest growing feature on Instagram and provide a fresh way to reach and interact with your ideal client. Lately I've had several friends who use Instagram Stories lament that they disappear in 24 hours. Actually, there is a [...]

Brand Therapy Newsletter #4: Getting Personal

Getting Personal I met Jean-Pascal Lemire through a DM on Instagram. He was interested in talking to me about getting more exposure in the Los Angeles market. When we met later that week for lunch I learned he had just moved to [...]

Brand Therapy Newsletter #3: A Good Night’s Sleep

What about your business keeps you up at night? This is one of those questions I periodically ask my clients. It helps me find solutions for them that are on target. Staying relevant is an answer I hear often, specifically, how they [...]

Brand Therapy Newsletter #2: I Was Wrong

Lessons from My Lunch with the Past I was standing in a sea of thousands of people holding my lunch tray. Dude, total flashback to high school! Like in high school, I was searching for the best place to sit amid the […]

Brand Therapy Newsletter #1: Takeaways from SMMW

Three Takeaways from Social Media Marketing World I just got back from San Diego and Social Media Marketing World. Conferences like this help me stay on top of the latest trends, concepts and developments in social media and put that information to […]

Brand Therapy Sessions 2019

Are you going up?! Absolutely! You’ve promised yourself this is the year for setting new goals and making change happen. I have the answer for keeping that promise and I’m holding the door open just for you. What are Brand Therapy Sessions? […]

Are You Making the Most of Social Media Marketing?

Well hiya! Hey, we’re friends, right? And friends share secrets. I have a big one that I just can’t keep to myself anymore. *Deep breath* The majority of people I talk to who want to market their business more online, or create […]

Three Ways to Use Instagram Stories

In summer, I like to take advantage of the slower pace to drink my coffee outside in the garden, quit early on Tuesdays to enjoy a leisurely stroll through the farmer’s market, and to learn something new. Is this you too? If […]

Business Growth Using the Passions that Drive Us

I have spent years working with entrepreneurs to build and tweak their business so they reflect the passions that drive them. From this, I’ve started to compile tips, which I call a little dose of brand therapy, from what I’ve learned from […]

How To Build Your Positioning Statement

A positioning statement is not the same thing as a tagline. A tagline is an external statement aimed to attract an intended customer. A positioning statement is internally facing. It is written to define and inform future marketing initiatives for the team. […]

Profile: Jose Ramirez on Personal Branding and Sales

Jose Ramirez is a steady presence at industry events around the country. He can be found both at the meetings, and behind-the-scenes of the many association boards he serves on. I see him equally at events in Los Angeles as I do […]

Trust the Bubble: Why I Like Long-Form Content on Social Media

The scene begins … I’m holding a heavy cabinet while my friend checks the spirit level. “It all begins with the cornerstone cabinet,” he’s says. I nod. My yoga breathing is helping me as he levels the cabinet and drills the screw […]

Three Quick Q’s with Tahira Endean

An event planner. A lover of technology. A champion of the human experience at events. A speaker. A writer. A book author. A friend to all. At her core, Tahira Endean is a natural connector — or as she would say — […]

How To Use Instagram Stories for Business

Instagram stories is my latest social media crush. I love it for its entertainment factor and for the ability to post something quickly and in the moment. I enjoy seeing what friends start and end the day and everything in between. But […]

What is Brand Therapy?

Lately, I’ve been inundated with online webinars and workshops for increased productivity, how to use Instagram to sell and growth hacking. Yet, I see none on how to reinvent ourselves. We need reinvention so we stay in step with the world, which […]

June: 5 Cool Things to Love This Month

June. The month of the Gemini, symbolized by the twins. But not all duos this month are identical. Consider … summer solstice + June gloom. And the two birthstones of this month … the smoothness of pearls + the flash and rarity […]

Thought Nomads: Wired for Reinvention

Like our ancient ancestors, we are once again nomads. Not geographic nomads, but thought nomads. We keep our hearts and minds on the move, looking for the next thought or feeling that will make us sit up and take notice. To be […]

3 Marketing Ideas: How to Be the Happening

Great work comes not from trying to make something happen, but by being the happening. There is a new way to do business that is alive with generosity, ideas and inspiration. We have the ability to ignite and inspire our clients, ourselves […]

What It Means to Be Creative Entrepreneur

The guys who wrote my favorite business book of the moment, ReWork, don’t believe in the word entrepreneur. “It’s outdated and loaded with baggage,” they write. They say (rightly so) that there are many people starting businesses who do it because they […]

Marketing Goals 2017: Leading with Heart

We all know what marketing goals are, or at least why we want to create them. Marketing can increase sales, build brand awareness, grow market share, help us launch new products or services, target new customers, enter new markets and … blah, […]

Business Lunch: A Conversation Between Entrepreneurs

Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down with three successful creative entrepreneurs at a joint association lunch meeting between the International Live Events Association (ILEA) and the National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel at […]

Wanda Wen of Soolip: Designing a Mindful Business

I have always been inspired by Wanda Wen, founder of Soolip, the celebrated Los Angeles stationer and fine paper arts boutique. Her work, her store, and her life are fueled by a passion for the simple beauty of paper, letter press printing […]

Home Work: Lessons from the Field

The messiest part of change is not the beginning or the end, but the middle, when you are knee deep in a project that has gone a little sideways and the only way through it is through it. There may be a […]

A New Beginning: Five Things to Know

Just starting out, or starting something new? A new beginning can happen at any point in our lives and careers. Now there is so much information out there for creative starters, it can be mind boggling to take it all in. Although […]

Passions that Ground Us: Yoga + Creative Entrepreneurs

As much as we creative entrepreneurs live, love and work by the passions that drive us, the passions that ground us are just as important. Yoga is one of those. In the Instagram post above, yoga instructor Lindsey Simpson talks about artistry […]

Kala Maxym: A Passion for Music and Story Telling

As anyone will tell you, when you love what you do, success follows, and Kala Maxym clearly loves what she does. She was able to turn her passion for storytelling, music and wine into a unique and rewarding career. Yet, her story […]

A Bold Marketing Shift at IKEA

It’s always illuminating to see how companies that have built their brand on one look, product or service change direction. For instance, IKEA, known for its strict aesthetic of understated and monochromatic furnishings, has taken a seriously dramatic swing toward color and […]

Meeting of the Minds: Inspiration from Industry Leaders

One thing that we all have in common as creative entrepreneurs is that we crave inspiration. We can find it many places, but the best source we have is each other which is why meetings are so important as a place to […]

The Originals: King Dahl

“The Originals” is a series of mini profiles on people who are original in thought and style; who set an example through their actions; who inspire. The first in this series is event designer King Dahl, a man that lives and works […]

Pitch Perfect: Mastering a Craft

What does it take to master a craft, be it event planning, designing, wine making, painting, or making cakes? I got to thinking about this while at an event at Steinway & Sons, one of the world’s most prominent manufacturers of high-quality […]

A Month in the Life of an Event Producer

At the GenUin Summit, a two-day event in the middle of the Special Olympics in Los Angeles, Carl Bendix is making his way through crowds of people to get to the stage. The event has gone well, and well-wishers are saying so, […]

Fuel Profile: What Drives David Merrell?

Vibiana transformed for a corporate event. There are few people you meet in life who instantly feel like a friend; who won’t judge you or wish ill of you even as they are compete ferociously with you for a project, an award […]

Fuel Profile: King Dahl

In many ways, the improvisational style of jazz is at the heart and soul of the business of event design and production. Certainly King Dahl, executive director of event design at MGM Resorts Events, would say so. In fact, both King and […]

A Business Lesson: Sugar Coated

This imaginative and truly gorgeous Willy Wonka themed event pictured here inspired me to revisit the classic book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Wonka was a great marketer, but he had something bigger in mind when he ran the contest that would […]

The Art of Sales: Renderings

Creative entrepreneurs sell the invisible every day using words, ideas, and passion. However, there are times when more is needed. Artist renderings tell the visual story. They literally become the art of sales. “If it’s a job I really want, or the […]

The Lesson of the Pizza Man

Hollywood Boulevard is iconic. Its legend is built on glamour and hope. Yet, the reality is that those famous pink terrazzo stars that line the sidewalk never move. They don’t change, shine, or twinkle. They remain fixed where the cement dried years […]

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