communications Posts

Stop telling me your greatness; Start showing me how you can help me.

The press release boldly claims that the latest product release will revolutionize the software industry.

EXTRA! EXTRA! Your customers don't care how great you are.

EXTRA! EXTRA! Your customers don’t care how great you are.


The commercial shouts that a new shampoo will give you the most radiantly glamorous hair. 

The company’s Web page puffs out its chest by boasting about the numerous awards the company’s collected throughout its existence. 

Most companies are so consumed with telling the world how great they are that they never actually attempt to communicate with their target customers. 

The stressed, worried, frustrated, tired masses don’t want to read another boring press release about your company’s meteoric growth or the city’s most compelling workplace culture.

The stressed and worried have problems they want solved, and they desire for someone to solve them. Are you showing your market that you can be this company through the videos you produce, content you write, helpful information you share?

We are in the sharing age. Provide me with some insight into how you’ve solved my problem with others and you’ve me listening. And that’s half the battle in this noisy world.

Don’t tell me how great you are; I really don’t care.

Until next time,
Dan Naden

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BREAKING: Two Conference Handouts that won’t end up in the Trash Can.

If you’ve been to a trade show lately, you’ve seen the ‘material’ that fills most booths. The white papers and collateral hope to gain attention, while giveaways, such as Frisbees and hacky sacks, aim to attract even the most skeptical conference goer.

But what’s a vendor to do when he’s up against hundreds of vendors and attendees who’ve seen everything before?

Create something different.


Create something that will get people talking.

Our company @VersionOne hosted an agile learning event recently called #AgilePalooza; it featured some of the sharpest agile minds in the business. Two of our partners spoke at the show and set out a free ‘giveaway’ or informational handout at the registration table that stirred conversation.

David Hussman (@davidhussman) of DevJam brought CardBoard to the marketplace recently as a strong, yet simple entrant into the world of sometimes overly complex agile and productivity tools. And is there a better way to get attention to the CardBoard product than handing out pieces of cardboard saying, “If Google Docs and Post It Notes had a kid, it would look like CardBoard.” Who wouldn’t want to see that product?

Dave Sharrock (@davesharrock) from Agile42 was also in the spotlight at this particular event with some keen promotion. His Agile booklet, complete with ring for easy transport, was full of metrics, stories and arguments to sway even the most jaded software development executive. Seeing this in the bottom of your conference bag causes you to take a 2nd look, not throw it in the trash like most conference giveaways, handouts, collateral.

I am a firm proponent of the power of live events. You must, however, think and execute at a high level to get noticed. Don’t settle for predictable, lifeless collateral and giveaways. Keep eyes open and minds alert to see what the best are doing to stand out from the competition. You just might be able to develop something similar to CardBoard or Agile42.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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A Little Slice of Heaven at a Record Store

I surely hope physical music stores never die.

I know they are living on borrowed time, but I am holding out faith that they find a way to survive.

There’s something about sensing the records and discs in your hand. Flipping through U as you hunt for an older U2 record, or rifling through V to see if any Vampire Weekend music is in stock is a tactile, fun, alive experience.

I am no technophobe, yet sadly these experiences are going digital. Yes, it’s convenient to download anything, anywhere, at anytime, but aren’t we losing something in the process?

It's easy to get evocative when your scouring through discs.

It’s easy to get evocative when your scouring through discs.

This music shop has it all: posters, instruments, a deep rare collection of hard-to-find music, knowledgeable, helpful staff.

The challenge is great for brick and mortal retailers. How do you prevent your shop from becoming just a place to price compare? It’s become common to see people comparing prices of an in store item versus what can be found on

If you own a retail store or business, this isn’t time to think of better days in your past. It’s the time to think that now is your time to create an in-store experience that gets your customers talking.

So what might you do to create an in-store experience that’s remarkably memorable?

  1. Build packages that paint the picture: Don’t just place products in isolation. Package together complementary products that transform one random purchase into a transformation of a room or space. Think IKEA building fully-featured rooms of furniture or a music store showcasing Tom Petty’s music since Full Moon Fever.
  2. Show an appreciation for each visitor: Yes, the selection and convenience in the digital world can’t be beat, but what if you have a question? Using the chat function via a Web site is a lame replacement compared to getting questions answered directly from a store associate. Hire and groom employees to be the most helpful customer-centric stewards for your business.
  3. Use the online to drive the offline: Just because your store dwells in the physical world doesn’t mean you should neglect digital. If you do, you are making a big mistake. Use your site, social media, e-mail to promote in-store events and discounts; establish a presence online that’s different, friendly, fun.

Music stores, clothing retailers, convenience stores: use these tips to stay relevant in this ultra-competitive climate. There’s no reason why the smallest, coolest Mom and Pop can’t try its best to stand out and give the digital world a real run for its money.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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eBook: How Do Brands Win Business

Friends, Product marketers, business owners, customer service reps, product managers, marketers:

It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to publish a book. I am thrilled to announce: I did it!!

Here’s my first of what will hopefully be many e-books and books.

The journey is just beginning.

The journey is just beginning. Let’s get there together.

This book is titled: How Do Brands Win Business

In this book, you’ll learn what brands such as Subway, Walt Disney, Hertz, Cirque Du Soleil, CBS did and didn’t do to connect with their customers.

I’ve collected some of my stories and lessons in hopes that you can do more of the good things and fewer of the less desirable things that push us further from our goals.

Enjoy this book and help spread the word.

Note: The book can be yours for only $2.99. That’s less than the price of your extra caffeinated treat this morning.

Until next time,

Dan Naden
Naden’s Corner
How Do Brands Win Business’ – eBook

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Are you ready for the biggest presentation of your life?

The crowd gathers in the conference hall; the buzz about your presentation is so alive you can feel electricity in the air. Every noteworthy blog, Twitter feed, LinkedIn discussion group and e-mail list has been hyping your presentation as the next big thing.

The front seats fill up within minutes. With five minutes until your presentation, there’s not an empty seat in the hall.

You review the key talking points in your head, while wiping a faint bead of sweat from your head. A last sip of water and a nervous press of your pants steadies you. You are ready for this big moment.

The Master of Ceremonies’ resonant voice fills the room:

“Thank you for coming to this conference. It is wonderful to see a sellout crowd gathered for such an historic occasion. I have heard our keynote speak a number of times, and your life is ready to be changed. Please help me welcome our keynote speaker.”

If you were given this complimentary introduction for your big speech would you be ready? Would you exceed the expectations of an audience already buzzing with excitement?

When it's your big chance to take the mic, what will you do?

When it’s your big chance to take the mic, what will you do?

Here are a few tips to keep your audience talking long after the lights dim:

  1. Talk with your audience, not at them: If your goal is to show how smart or funny you are, you’ll fail miserably. Ask the audience some questions. Get their hands in the air. Make them stand up, sit down, jump around. Make them repeat the key points of your presentation.
  2. Tell stories: Stories make you seem more real, more authentic, more reachable. It’s perfectly fine to add some quotes and facts to help make a point, but stories (the more vivid, the better) are the pieces of your presentation that will be remembered.
  3. Speak from the seats, not the podium: If you’ve done your homework, you intimately know the hopes, dreams, fears of your audience. You know what keeps them up at night. You are well aware of how they are motivated. Being a thought leader means knowing the questions and answers that are always on your audience’s mind.

When you are passed the microphone for the biggest presentation of your life, will you be ready? Follow these tips and you’ll hear that pre-presentation buzz; you’ll feel that electricity and seize the moment.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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