19 December 2008

10 Ad Words to Avoid in 2009

"Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half." John Wanamaker

The economy, unemployment, companies folding, people losing their homes--2008 has left consumers wary of businesses. And that lack of consumer confidence requires straightforward, honest advertising messages to regain marketplace security. In 2009, perhaps more than ever, the words you use in your copywriting can determine whether you make a sale or lose a customer.

Here are 10 words to avoid in your 2009 copywriting.

Ads that include messages about a free product or service promotions can work well during an economic downturn, but consumers need to see the products perform well. E-mail spam filters are tough on messages that include "free" in the subject line. While it might be tempting to use a subject line that says, "Open now to get your free widget," that's an e-mail spam filter red flag that will send your message to most recipients' spam boxes. When the economy is tough, you can't risk having your e-mails not make it to the intended recipients. Replace "free" with "complimentary" or "gratis" to sneak by spam filters without compromising the effectiveness of your message.

Few people believe in guarantees these days. Unless you can prove your guarantee is real, use the valuable real estate space in your ad for a more effective message that consumers are likely to believe and act on.

If you want to waste space in your ads, include "really" in your copy. This word does nothing to help your messages. Instead, it slows consumers down, and they are not likely to wait around for the complete message. Don't risk losing them by loading your copy with useless filler words. Make sure every word in your copy is there for a reason.

Does a message sound more compelling with "very" in it? Is "When you need very fresh flowers, call ABC Florist," more effective than "When you need fresh flowers, call ABC Florist"? If you answered, yes, reread the last paragraph.

Once you finish writing copy for your ad or marketing piece, reread it and make note of every time you use "that" in your copy. Chances are, you can delete 90 percent of them because "that" is a filler word that doesn't advance the consumer through the message. Instead, it slows down time-strapped consumers. Deliver the messages your audience is likely to respond to, and deliver them quickly.

A Lot
Don't use vague copy with words like "a lot" that do nothing to differentiate your business from your competitors. Instead, quantify your messages. If you offer 20 varieties of roses in your flower shop, say so. If you respond to customer service calls within five minutes, tell people. Which is more compelling: "You can choose from a lot of shoe styles at Sally's Shoe Boutique" or "You can choose from more than 100 shoe styles at Sally's Shoe Boutique?" No doubt, "100 shoe styles" is more intriguing than "a lot of shoe styles". A lot can mean different things to different people. Don't leave room for guesswork in your copy. Make your messages extremely clear with no room for confusion.

You're not helping anyone when you offer "opportunities" in your copy. Consumers don't want opportunities. They want to feel confident handing over their hard-earned money. They want to know they'll get the results they want and need, not the opportunity to perhaps get those results. Don't let them wonder what they'll get when they pull out their wallets. Tell them.

To Be (or Not To Be, For That Matter)
Write your advertising and marketing messages in the active voice, not the passive voice. If any form of "to be," "has been" or anything similar appears in your copy, rewrite it. Writing in the passive voice doesn't command action. Writing in the active voice does.

This overused piece of jargon has had a long life, but it's time to move on. Leave jargon and 10-dollar words out of your advertising messages. There's no room in copywriting for buzz words and words that consumers need a dictionary to understand. Consumers don't care about your "unique value proposition." They care that when they pay for your product or service, it will deliver the results they expect. Naturally, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as B2B copywriting, where jargon might be expected. In most copywriting, however, keep it simple.

Budweiser is already using "drinkability" in its ads. Seriously though, the point is valid--don't copy your competition. Instead, differentiate your product and business with unique copy and messages that your target audience is likely to respond to.

The rules of successful copywriting don't change from one year to the next, but as the marketplace and environment change, so must your messages. Use the list above as a guideline to writing great advertising copy in 2009.

The original article is available on http://www.entrepreneur.com/advertising/article199152.html.

14 December 2008

Albert Einstein Beta

"Keep your faith in all beautiful things; in the sun when it is hidden, in the Spring when it is gone." Roy R Gilson

An Atheist Professor of Philosophy was speaking to his class on the problem science has with GOD, the ALMIGHTY. He asked one of his new Christian students to stand and...

Professor: You are a Christian, aren't you, son?

Student: Yes, sir.

Professor: So, you believe in GOD?

Student: Absolutely, sir.

Professor: Is GOD good?

Student: Sure.

Professor: Is GOD all powerful?

Student: Yes.

Professor: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to GOD to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But GOD didn't. How is this GOD good then? Hm?

(Student was silent.)

Professor: You can't answer, can you? Let's start again, young fella. Is GOD good? Or is Satan good?

Student: No.

Professor: Where does Satan come from?

Student: From... GOD...

Professor: That's right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?

Student: Yes.

Professor: Evil is everywhere, isn't it? And GOD did make everything. Correct?

Student: Yes.

Professor: So who created evil?

(Student did not answer.)

Professor: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don't they?

Student: Yes, sir.

Professor: So, who created them?

(Student had no answer.)

Professor: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son... Have you ever seen GOD?

Student: No, sir.

Professor: Tell us if you have ever heard your GOD?

Student: No, sir.

Professor: Have you ever felt your GOD, tasted your GOD, smelt your GOD? Have you ever had any sensory perception of GOD for that matter?

Student: No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't.

Professor: Yet you still believe in HIM?

Student: Yes.

Professor: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your GOD doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?

Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.

Professor: Yes, faith. And that is the problem science has.

Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?

Professor: Yes.

Student: And is there such a thing as cold?

Professor: Yes.

Student: No, sir. There isn't.

(The lecture theater became very quiet with this turn of events.)

Student: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don't have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.

(There was pin-drop silence in the lecture theater.)

Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?

Professor: Yes. What is night if there isn't darkness?

Student: You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light... But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? In reality, darkness isn't. If it is, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?

Professor: So what is the point you are making, young man?

Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.

Professor: Flawed? Can you explain how?

Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good GOD and a bad GOD. You are viewing the concept of GOD as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?

Professor: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.

Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?

(The Professor shook his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument was going.)

Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?

(The class was in uproar.)

Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor's brain?

(The class broke out into laughter.)

Student: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor's brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?

(The room was silent. The Professor stared at the student, his face unfathomable.)

Professor: I guess you'll have to take them on faith, son.

Student: That is it sir... Exactly!

The link between Man and GOD is FAITH... That is all that keeps things alive and moving.

That student was Albert Einstein.

29 November 2008

Match Beta

"For me an object is something living. This cigarette or this box of matches contains a secret life much more intense than that of certain human beings." Joan Miro








1. 無法自我控制的情緒

2. 不經理智判斷的決策

3. 頑固不冥的個性

4. 狹隘無情的心胸


03 November 2008

Doublespeak Beta

"Commercials are not the only junk food in the speech market - indeed, when compared to shallow news reporting, vacuous television shows, or political doublespeak, commercials are not even the most harmful to mental health." Rodney A. Smolla

Doublespeak is language deliberately constructed to disguise or distort its actual meaning, often resulting in a "communication bypass."

Can Richard Eng help his students understand below?

It is fruitless to indoctrinate a super-annuated canine with innovative maneuvers.
Meaning: You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Surveillance should precede saltitation.
Meaning: Look before you leap.

The person presenting the ultimate cachinnation possesses, thereby, the optimal cachinnation.
Meaning: He who laughs last, laughs the loudest.

Sorting on the part of mendicants must be interdicted.
Meaning: Beggars can't be choosers.

Exclusive dedication to necessary chores without interludes of hedonistic diversion renders John a heptudinous fellow.
Meaning: All work and no play makes John a dull boy.

Pulchritude possesses solely cutaneous profundity.
Meaning: Beauty is only skin deep.

Do not traverse a structure erected to afford passage over a waterway until the time of drawing nigh unto it.
Meaning: Don't cross that bridge until you get to it.

A plethora of individuals with expertise in culinary techniques vitiates the potable concoction produced by steeping comestibles.
Meaning: Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the stew.

Male cadavers are incapable of yielding testimony.
Meaning: Dead men can't speak.

All articles that coruscate with resplendence are not truly auriferous.
Meaning: All that glitters is not gold.

Members of an avian species of identical plumage congregate.
Meaning: Birds of a feather flock together.

Eschew the implement of corrections and vitiate the scion.
Meaning: Spare the rod and spoil the child.

02 November 2008

Richard Eng Beta

The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms defines "beyond comparison" as below.

beyond comparison Also, without comparison or beyond compare. Too superior to be compared, unrivaled, as in This view of the mountains is beyond comparison, or That bakery is without comparison. The first term, more common today than the much older variants, was first recorded in 1871. Without comparison goes back to 1340, and without compare to 1621.

Pulchritude... why use such word when beauty has the same meaning? Is it simply an act of showing off? What does it take to be a good teacher?

Can Richard Eng be trusted?

I like him better, at least he looks more like a teacher.

24 October 2008

Sick Beta

"If you start to think about your physical or moral condition, you usually find that you are sick." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Everyone is sick somehow, but nobody is willing to face and accept this inconvenient truth.

They will only see doc when they feel uncomfortable, but they never have the intention to cure themselves when they make others uncomfortable. Instead, they suggest the victims see the doc to reduce and control the pain. They ignore the fact that they are the root cause of problem, but insist that they are always right, and the others are always wrong. They never realize that the best way to help others recover from the illness is to stop making others uncomfortable. It's actually they who need to see the doc, but not the poor innocent victims.

However, people seldom realize that they are sick. Even if they are really sick, they don't and won't admit it. They consider themselves perfect, and others imperfect. There is simply not one single chance that they are imperfect, and others perfect. This is sickness. After all, how could it be possible? How can they draw any reliable conclusions without examining and diagnosing everything subjectively? They simply hypnotize themselves and believe whatever they think is absolutely right. What makes things worse is that they also try to hypnotize others to believe in them.

This is going to be a never ending torture, until people accept that they are sick. To err is human. What’s wrong with being sick? It is not a crime. It is nothing wrong indeed.

For those who are consciously or unconsciously sick, get well soon.

22 October 2008

Exit Beta

"Every exit is an entrance somewhere else." Tom Stoppard

It should come as no surprise that there are layoffs during economic downturn. Staff being sacked need to find another job, if possible. Firms sacking staff need to find a replacement, if necessary.

Sometimes, staff resign before they are sacked. In this situation, firms need to conduct exit interviews. They use exit interviews to find out why people leave their jobs.

What questions should be asked? Try these 28 questions...

- What is your primary reason for leaving?
- Did anything trigger your decision to leave?
- What was the most satisfying about your job?
- What was the least satisfying about your job?
- What would you change about your job?
- Did your job duties turn out to be as you expected?
- Did you receive enough training to do your job effectively?
- Did you receive adequate support to do your job?
- Did you receive sufficient feedback about your performance between merit reviews?
- Were you satisfied with this company's merit review process?
- Did this company help you fulfill your career goals?
- Do you have any tips to help us find your replacement?
- What would you improve to make our workplace better?
- Were you happy with your pay, benefits and other incentives?
- What was the quality of the supervision you received?
- What could your immediate supervisor do to improve his or her management style?
- Based on your experience with us, what do you think it takes to succeed at this company?
- Did any company policies or procedures (or any other obstacles) make your job more difficult?
- Would you consider working again for this company in the future?
- Would you recommend working for this company to your family and friends?
- How do you generaly feel about this company?
- What did you like most about this company?
- What did you like least about this company?
- What does your new company offer that this company doesn't?
- Can this company do anything to encourage you to stay?
- Before deciding to leave, did you investigate a transfer within the company?
- Did anyone in this company discriminate against you, harass you or cause hostile working conditions?
- Any other comments?

Or, do firms need any questions to conduct exit interviews?

20 September 2008

Touchpoint of Love Beta

When I first saw you
I was afraid to meet you...

When I first met you
I was afraid to hold you...

When I first held you
I was afraid to kiss you...

When I first kissed you
I was afraid to love you...

And now that I love you
I am afraid to lose you...

And when I finally lost you
I will forever miss you...

24 August 2008





18 August 2008

Roger Federer Beta

"I think success exists on every level. Success is a nice thing because it always means you’ve taken a step forward and it gives you a sense of pride, which in turn gives you confidence and experience – a positive circle, so to speak." Roger Federer

Someone says if tennis were a religion, then Roger Federer would be God.

It is indeed a fact. Because of Federer, a lot of people get back into tennis. People go to watch tennis because of him. However, is that history now?

On 18th August 2008, his record 237 weeks at number one finally came to an end. Federer no longer dominates tennis, but what lasts? Nothing, especially when you've been at the top of the world for long time. Everyone wants to be the best. Being top dog, perhaps, is one main motivation in life. But, it is difficult for an individual to maintain best performance forever. After all, an individual is all alone. Unlike a company, it is made up of people. A company can maintain its power and sustain its growth for many years, or even decades. Because they work in teams, with everyone supporting each other. Federer? He's only human...

He may not be the greatest tennis player yet in terms of the number of grand slams won, but he's definitely one of the greatest tennis players.

Today, Roger is no longer the world's best... in terms of ranking. Nadal, his arch-rival, replaces Roger as number one; but Fed will reverse his below-par performance and regain his number one ranking in 2009.

Thank you Fed... you have done more than enough. It's time for you to take some rest.

"That's what I expected and hoped for many years ago when I got to number one, that if ever somebody were to take it away from me, he would have to play an incredible tennis schedule, win the biggest tournaments, dominate the game basically, and then like this he can take number one." Federer said of the end of his 237-week reign.

08 August 2008

Olympics Beta

"There is something in the Olympics, indefinable, springing from the soul, that must be preserved." Chris Brasher

People seem to have forgotten the true meaning of Olympics...

Why people around the world have to ruin something which is supposed to be great!? Just because it is being hosted by China? Why do they discriminate against a nation that loves peace? Do they know what respect is? Are they nuts? Are they believers of "everything bad is good for you?" Do they realize what they have been doing is completely nonsense? Why is this happening? Because the world is flat!? Because they know what is good for China? How do they know given that they are not even Chinese!!!??? If that's the case, then it's better to go back to basics. Everyone will be better off when the world is round, at least they cannot use human rights as an excuse to interfere in other people's way of living.

The Olympics motto in Latin is "Citius, Altius, Fortius," which means "Faster, Higher, Stronger." The motto was first proposed in 1894, then introduced in 1924. It took exactly 30 years to agree on a motto, but once agreed, it has been in use for almost a hundred year now. Was it worth the time? The world keeps changing every day. Will the motto be revised? But then, what exactly is a motto and its purpose?

A motto is a succinct statement of a guiding principle. The purpose of a motto is to remind stakeholders of the foundational beliefs that underpin an effort. Can beliefs be changed? What are the consequences of changing core beliefs? Does God exist...?

There is also the Olympics Creed. "The most important thing in the Olympic game is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

Well said... but then why every country cares about the Olympics medal count?

27 July 2008

Woman Beta

“If you want something said, ask a man... if you want something done, ask a woman.” Margaret Thatcher

Is Margaret Thatcher really right?

21 July 2008

Case Study - HMV

What will happen if there is no music in the world?

Everywhere will be filled with the sound of silence. And silence, implies no communication. Without communication, there is no future. Music is the common language. Turn off the sound of silence. Turn on the sound of music.

Start with lullabies, where they are often sung by parents in calming children, putting them to sleep, or simply spending time with them. Then R&B, Blues, Pop, Rock, and the list goes on and on...

But where to buy the music? Try His Master's Voice, or HMV. The faithful dog and gramophone!

HMV has always sought to offer the widest possible access to music, and to play a pioneering role in the way that music is sold and promoted. There are listening posts with popular CD's loaded into them, and if there is something that the consumer wants to "try before buy," then he or she can ask a member of staff, and the staff will gladly oblige.

Everything is nicely organized. CD's are organized into categories, such as Dance, R&B, Rock, and sometimes subdivided within this. Each section is then organized alphabetically by artist. This minimizes search time, and maximizes shopping experience.

If the record is not in stock, simply ask for the record, and the staff will tap the details into the HMV computer and order in for the consumer. When the record comes in, they will inform the consumer by phone.

It's not just music that HMV sells now. It has expanded to sell more or less every entertainment product that the consumers could think of. HMV is a great place for almost all entertainment needs.

Although it is a tad expensive, the service and range of products provided by HMV is unrivalled.

Convenience is an indispensable ingredient in retail business.

15 June 2008

Calculation Beta

"Not everything that counts is countable, and not everything that's countable, counts." Albert Einstein

Calculation is about adding, subtracting, multiplying, and/or dividing numbers in order to obtain an outcome. It is a never-ending process, and has always been a part of life no matter how people do not want to do math.

In fact, people have to do a lot of calculations every day. When should I get up? Should I do it now, or later? How many words should I write for the report? How many tasks should I complete for the day? How many bottles of beer should I take during happy hour? When should I go to bed? How many this and that...

It seems that everything can be calculated, even love...

Do I love her/him more than s/he loves me? If I love her/him more, will I get hurt eventually? Should I find someone who loves me more than I love that someone...?

Love is blind, which explains why there is love at first sight. Does love need a reason? If reason is ever required, then it is not love. Love is an emotional thing but definitely not rational. But, there is this formula of love: (x² + y² - 1)³ = x²y³. When plotted, this equation makes a heart-shaped curve.

However, not everything can accurately be calculated, especially love. Sometimes, the best and the most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, cannot be touched, but can be felt in the heart.

07 June 2008

Case Study - Page One

Every book begins with page one. It is a simple fact that everyone knows, but who will pay attention to this obvious?

Page One, a successful bookstore chain in Hong Kong, reminds readers this almost long-forgotten fact, by using "Every book begins with Page One" as their tagline.

Book store sells book, but Page One sells more. It not only sells books, but also their own corporate identity, or brand. Every touchpoint experience they offer to readers is different from that of traditional bookstores. In the old days, they used paper bags for books purchased by customers, in contrast to plastic bags used by most other bookstores. The paper bags were nicely designed. The name card is also different, with die-cut. In terms of store number, they probably do not have the most, but their stores are usually located at prime locations. Its first store was located at Park Lane, Causeway Bay, selling books and magazines on design. Now, there are 4 stores located at Central, Festival Walk at Kowloon Tong, Times Square at Causeway Bay, and The Gateway at Tsim Sha Tsui.

In 2007, they launch their first membership card. Their membership card comes with the theme of "I read therefore I am." The font chosen is unconventional. The quote is modified from a famous statement by Rene Descartes "I think, therefore I am."

There is a long message in the nicely designed card with the membership card: "I know of no other qualities that contribute to the perfection of the mind; for as to the reason or sense, inasmuch as it is that alone which constitutes us men, and distinguishes us from the brutes I am disposed to believe that it is to be found complete in each individual; and on this point to adopt the common opinion of philosophers, who say that the difference of greater and less holds only among the accidents, and not among the forms or matures of individual of the same species."

The message itself is not important, but the way it is presented. The books themselves are not important, but where they can be bought.

06 June 2008








變化,其實是生存之道,但卻往往讓人感到惶惑不安。而主因,是人都愛耽溺於舒適領域(Comfort Zone)之中。要成為一個有效的業務員,可從三方面做起—心(Heart)、頭(Head)、手(Hands),簡稱為3H。




28 May 2008

Case Study - GOD

The Almighty God is sinless, but what GOD has been doing, is challenging this notion.

GOD, short for Goods of Desire, is a furniture and furnishings company in Hong Kong. Its Chinese name is "to live a better life", which has similar pronunciation of GOD. It is all about creativity. Out-of-the-box thinking helps GOD capture market attention quickly.

Delay no more - that's a very controversial promotional message used by GOD. In English, "delay no more" means don't procrastinate. The message encourages customers to visit GOD without hesitation. But in Cantonese, it means the f word. Is that a warning GOD wants to give to customers who procrastinate? Nobody really knows. What it really means of course is not defined by GOD, but depends on the perception of the audience who reads the message. It is indeed clever marketing communication.

Besides this compelling promotional tactic, they always use the age-old Hongkong culture as their product's theme. Most people feel nostalgia for the good old days, especially the new generation, who actually is stranger to almost every past events. History always touches people's heart.

They always do something others do not dare do. One of their products is about brothel ad. That's rebel with a cause! By going against the norm, it helps GOD stand out from the crowd. More importantly, their marketing approach becomes talk of the town.

People shopping at GOD are mostly business professionals and yuppies, who have expectations on life and living standard. They won't settle for second best. GOD may not be really the best in town, but at least they position themselves as one of the best.

They now have 5 stores located mainly in CBD areas.

01 April 2008

The Legend - Leslie Cheung

Known affectionately as "Gor-gor," Leslie Cheung Kwok-Wing, was one of the Chinese-speaking world's most popular artists. Time magazine's Richard Corliss called him, "James Dean with a mean streak, a deeper Johnny Depp."

Born in Hong Kong in 1956, Gor-gor rose to superstardom as a singer with a bad-boy image in the 1980s. He followed up his musical successes with a distinguished film career - often in homosexual roles, which are uncommon in Chinese-language movies.

Leslie announced his retirement in 1989, but he picked up the microphone again in 1996. During his 1999 Passion Tour, Leslie grew his hair to waist length and performed in skirt and red high heels. Although It was bitterly critized by Hong Kong media, the Tour was a huge success.

On 1 April 2003, when many people were playing April Fool's jokes, the legend leapt from the 24th floor of the Hong Kong Mandarin Oriental Hotel. He died at the age of 46.

Leslie's death is the end of an era: one of vanity, youth-worship, image-consciousness, self-indulgence, innocence. It is also an end to, as one of Leslie's best films is entitled, Days Of Being Wild.

Even today, there are few who can equal Gor-gor. He has truly left an indelible mark in the world of entertainment.

Leslie is the most widely adored and admired male diva of the late 20th century. He is forever a legend.

31 March 2008

Case Study - Tsui Wah

"Besides money, what can I help you?"

That's how the waiter/waitress at Tsui Wah Restaurant introduces him/herself to the customer. Is that strange? Sure it is, but it is also friendly. Strange is not always bad if it creates a unique selling proposition that touches heart. It is better to impress people at first touchpoint, or better known as first impression, than at a later stage because "well begun, half done." Opening message is always important. It catches people attention when the message is compelling. Positive first touchpoint experience may not necessarily guarantee success, but if it is combined with consistency, then success is only a few steps away.

When people go into a restaurant, they do not only consume food, but also environment and service. The reason why they choose a particular restaurant is either because of past experience or word-of-mouth.

Experience is a personal and unique feeling that an individual senses at every touchpoint. If the experience with the restaurant is positive, then revisiting is very likely. Otherwise, the customer can always pick another restaurant which offers positive experience. Consistent positive experience is a prerequisite for word-of-mouth. People only broadcast when it is worth their efforts.

Retail is about detail, and detail is about every point of interaction, seen and unseen. Customers may value every touchpoint equally, or differently. To a restaurant, food, service, environment, location, and operating hours are the critical touchpoints. Tsui Wah basically excels in all five.

Tsui Wah is truly an innovative restaurant. They launch new products almost every month. Of course they do have signature dishes, but they won't stop there. They try harder, and harder. Of the 5 critical touchpoints, food innovation perhaps is of priority. Service comes next, and then environment. Location and operating hours are convenient. In fact, Tsui Wah has always been the favorite of late night partiers.

The first Tsui Wah was opened in San Po Kwong in 1970s. Now it has 10 outlets around Hong Kong.

30 March 2008

Case Study - Aji Ichiban

In Japanese, Aji Ichiban means "the best and superior." But how to be the best and superior? Perhaps Aji Ichiban has the answer.

Aji Ichiban, established in 1993, is a leading confectionery retailer which has been enjoying widespread popularity in Hong Kong. Currently, it operates about 100 outlets located at major shopping centres, housing estates, railway stations, and airport in Hong Kong, such that customers can access it almost wherever they are.

Unlike traditional snacks that are often packed in colorful bags, Aji Ichiban packages products in transparent bags, enabling customers to be aware of how fresh and hygienic the products are. Aji Ichiban has also been taking initiatives in providing a wider range of packaging and product choices. For example, it started to provide individual packaging for preserved fruit since 2001, and launched a new healthy green tea moon cakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival of 2002.

Aji Ichiban aims to provide customers with best products as well as superior shopping experience and after-sales services.

Over the years, Aji Ichiban has received many prizes, such as the "Hong Kong Top Brand", the "Top Ten Business Maker Award" in 1999 and "Superbrand" in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

27 March 2008


"The love that lasts the longest is the love that is never returned." William Somerset Maugham

ITALY isn't really just Italy, as it means a lot more.

I - I... who am I? If I am not what I am, do I still deserve to love you? But why do we need to care about who deserves who if love is something from the heart but not from the head? Shouldn't love be about giving without asking anything in return?

T - Truly... is love not always true? What is true? Who defines what is true? Something true isn't necessarily the truth. For example, nobody knows for sure whether Thomas Edison actually tried more than 600 variations of filaments before he successfully produced a light bulb, but the truth is that persistance pays off. If love isn't true, what is it? Why people fall in love if it isn't true? However, who knows what will last when nothing truly lasts?

A - Always... is there never-ending? What is eternity? Why can't it be sometimes? Why can't it be occasional? What is required in order for something to be always? Is 24x7 always? If 24x7 represents always, then where do people find time to do something else? Is always realistic?

L - Love... what is love? Look into Cambridge Dictionaries Online, and there are amazingly many different kinds of interpretation, such as like someone, like something, tennis... so, what kind of love happens between a couple? What is love...?

Y - You... will you be my last one? Or are you just someone passing by? Why are you here? Why do you care about your presence in my life? Who are you exactly? Where are you...?

Before using ITALY, please make sure you've understood the real meaning of every single alphabet.

Don't abuse love.

The first part of ITALY was written on 08 August 2006, and is available at ITALY I.

14 March 2008

Someone Beta

"To love someone is nothing, to be loved by someone is something, but to be loved by the one you love is everything." Anonymous

Where is that someone? Is s/he far away, or is s/he nearby? Does distance matter if that someone is always on the mind? Is physical presence more important, or mental? How difficult is it to find that someone? And why would anyone want to find his/her someone? What is the meaning of that someone? What would be affected without that someone? The Sun does not rise in the East? If there is critical success factor in business, is love the critical success factor in life?

Why someone but not a name? Does anyone know who that someone is? Who cares to find out who that someone is? Why that someone wants others to guess? Because s/he doesn't have the courage to let others know who s/he is? But why? What is it that someone has to be afraid of? If that someone is afraid of letting others know, then why did it in the first place? Would it be better not to do it at all? If that someone has decided to do it, then why not let others know that s/he is the person who did it?

However, what's wrong with using someone to address oneself? Isn't that special? Isn't special a great thing that everyone longs for? Nobody can prevent special things from happening, so why not accept someone?

Isn't it romantic to love someone without letting someone know? Isn't love more valuable when someone is being loved without even knowing? But, can love be measured? Should it be measured? If love cannot and shouldn't be measured, then who defines how valuable love can be?

After all, what is love? Who is that someone?

Make little things count by being someone loving someone.

11 March 2008

Joke Beta

"A joke is a very serious thing." Winston Churchill

It is never easy to tell a joke, because it is both art and science. Some jokes make people laugh, while some only appeal to certain types of people.

It is a known fact that nobody can please everyone, so is there one joke that surely makes everyone laugh?

In an experiment conducted in Britain, people around the world were invited to judge jokes on an Internet site as well as contribute their own.

The research attracted more than 40,000 jokes, and here is the world's funniest joke that claims to make everyone laugh...

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy takes out his phone and calls the emergency services.

He gasps: "My friend is dead! What can I do?"

The operator says: "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead."

There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard.

Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?"

The joke works across many different countries, and appeals to men and women and young and old alike.

In fact, the hunters joke contains four key elements of a funny joke. First, it makes people feel superior to others. Second, it reduces the emotional impact of anxiety-provoking situations. Third, it surprises people because of some kind of incongruity, and last but not least, jokes containing 103 words are thought to be especially funny, and the hunters joke is 102 words long.

Joke is no joke, for it brings happiness which is rare nowadays.

If joker is funny, it is because s/he makes little things count by making people happy.

03 March 2008

Do Not Press Beta

"Better a red face than a black heart." Portuguese Proverb

... you pressed it again. Okay punk, press it again.
Yeah, that's it. Come on, one more time.
Do it.
Okay, now you've had your fill. Stop clicking.
You see, this is why we can't be friends.
You're just too selfish.
Grr... now you've asked for it. Do NoT pReSs ThE bUtToN!
You seem to be immune to my mind control.
Time for Plan B. Press it. You know you want to.
Why did you keep pressing when Big Red asks you not to? Is that human nature? You simply like to go against anyone's will? What if others go against your will?

Make little things count by putting yourself into someone else's shoes.

21 February 2008

Joy Beta

"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." Thich Nhat Hanh

Where is the source of joy? What is joy? People laugh because they are happy? Or they are happy so they laugh?

Life is too tough, too merciless, and too unfair. Who cares if everyone is happy? They always set expectations for others, but don't like to be expected of, unless they are rewarded for their efforts. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

People know what they want best. Ironically, they always expect others to give them exactly what they want without sharing with others what is in their minds. How is it possible to match supply with demand without understanding what the demand is? Why people always make others guess what they want? How difficult it is to share with others how they feel? Why don't people make things easier for others, and ultimately themselves, by opening up their hearts? Guessing is no fun, but a torture.

The source of joy comes from within. Happy are those who share what's within with everyone around without asking anything in return. After all, does it really matter who makes who happy?

Tell a joke to people around to stimulate joy.

Do it today. Do it now.

08 February 2008

Mont Blanc Beta

"We had to figure out who would sign these invoices for these companies. Nobody actually signed the invoice, so they never got paid." Jessica Lloyd Hales

At the bottom of the Mont Blanc invoice, it reads "Thank You and please come again."

Thank you for the business? Ok. People should thank Mont Blanc for thanking them, at least Mont Blanc knows when to appreciate, although it may not be the most effective "how."

And why come again, even with the please, if they don't have a reason to return to Mont Blanc?

If "Thank You and please come again" does not mean anything to anyone, then it's only neutral information experience.

Please won't work anymore.

What really works?

16 January 2008

The Wall Street Journal

On 14 Jan 2008, WSJ posts below advertising message.

In a non-stop world you need non-stop news. That's why The Wall Street Journal Asia delivers daily understanding for business leaders in print, online and direct to all your mobile devices. One subscription brings you everything you need including selected e-newsletter updates. The Afternoon Report, Market Data alerts and AsiaLinks. Everything you need for a non-stop world. That's understanding. That's The Wall Street Journal Asia.

Then on 16 Jan 2008, there is another advertising message.

Knowledge is vital. But knowledge is nothing without understanding. That's why for over 30 years Asia's most successful business leaders have started their day with The Wall Street Journal Asia. To receive the Journal Asia on your doorstep first thing every morning and on your desktop every minute of the day, visit www.wsj-asia.com or call +852 2831 2555. That's understanding. That's The Wall Street Journal Asia.

Are they different messages, or the same? What is WSJ trying to tell its readers in both messages?

Non-stop knowledge?

07 January 2008

Yawn Beta

"A yawn is a silent shout." G K Chesterton

Everyone yawns. Although it is an involuntary natural biological response to the need of more oxygen, people always find it offensive, because yawning is also said to be caused by boredom.

People can choose to open mouths wide and breathe in deeply, or take a big yawn but cover their mouth out of courtesy.

Which one delivers positive touchpoint experience?


Yawn itself is not negative, but how people yawn determines the experience.

How, the little things.

05 January 2008

Connections Beta

"Eventually everything connects - people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se." Charles Eames

How do people connect to others? Nokia? Connecting people? What exactly is Nokia doing? Allowing people to connect to others anywhere anytime with a device? How about those who do not own a Nokia phone? They do not communicate with others?

Of course they still do, but not via a Nokia phone. The phone itself is not a touchpoint, but a channel or platform which enables touchpoint to take place. Other channels include face-to-face, fax, telegraph, mail, email and instant messaging (IM) such as MSN and GTalk.

The penetration rate of mobile phone in Hong Kong in 2006 is around 130%, which implies that one Hongkonger owns more than one mobile phone.

If mobile phone is used as a measure of connectiveness among people, then Hong Kong should be a country full of warmth, since it has the highest penetration rate in the world. However, in one research report, Hongkong people are seen as selfish, harsh, and cunning.

People do not want to be disconnected. They develop every means to stay connected, which results in a flat world. However, how can there be a close bond if the communication is always done virtually and remotely?

There is no feel nor touch. There is simply no intimacy. Skype, MSN, ICQ, and all those IM tools... are they bringing everyone closer to each other, or are they separating people by providing a small cyber-space for everyone to shy away from everything?

What exactly connects people together?

Relevance? Common interests? Or serendipity?

02 January 2008


"What do you mean, "No I won't?" Don't presume to tell me what I will and will not do, you don't know me!" Rose in Titanic

WIIFM is an acronym for "What's in it for me?" It is a must-ask question when delivering touchpoint experience to others.

Why WIIFM, but not WIIFY, where Y stands for You? What is the problem of asking WIIFY? Isn't it important to put oneself in other's shoes? Isn't YOU the magic word?

When someone asks WIIFY, it is not from others' perspective. The person asking WIIFY is already making the assumption what others want, and persuading others to accept what he/she has to offer based on the inaccurate assumption. Without truly understanding what others really want, the touchpoint experience delivered cannot be positive.

The You in WIIFY is not really the others, but the person him/herself. The person has to be in other's shoes completely in order to be him or her. When the person becomes others, answering WIIFM correctly will deliver positive touchpoint experience.

The first part of WIIFM was written on 19 April 2007, and is available at WIIFM I.