The Japanese Economy and the Forex Market

A huge earthquake recently hit Japan. The already stagnating economy of the Far Eastern ex-powerhouse country is facing major challenges. How will this country and its forex market perform? Below is an insider view.

Further adverse effects on the Japanese economy seem inevitable from these earthquake-related damages in addition to the financial problems to which Japan has already faced. Many foreign experts have expressed pessimistic opinions that self-recovery of Japanese economy is unlikely. At the same time, Barron has expressed a bullish view of its economy and certain stocks. Is the recovery of Japanese economy hopeless? Did Japanese yen become a currency that would not be worth investing?

Let us, first, analyze the commentaries of overseas expert on Japanese economy right after the earthquake, they all are pessimistic, such as Japanese economy would not be recovered as strong as before any more, or Japanese yen should not be bought, but should be sold.

Nobody would be able to deny the negative effects from the earthquake, the tsunami, radio contamination from the nuclear plant accident, and the electricity shortage in the greater Tokyo area. However, the opinions, such as hyper-inflation would occur due to excessive issue of national bonds, energy of the recovery would not be strong due to Japanese population aging, or human resources escaping from Japan to foreign countries, are the science-fiction-like imaginations, rather than economic analysis.

Those who imagine would have their freedom, but they would underestimate the power of Japan, an advanced country, whose living standard and education level are high. Japan has been and still is economic power whose expertise is high-tech with many experienced and skillful expert human resources. Japanese foreign currency reserve should not be also ignored.

There are reasons to believe that the Japanese economy will recover from the damage stronger than ever and begin another period of growth. This is because:

  1. There is a unique cooperative relationship between the Japanese financial sector and industrial sector. One of the characteristics of the Japanese economy is that the financial sector and industrial sector have kept their cooperative relationship, established during the recovery from the first energy crisis in the 1970s. Although the stock market right after the oil crisis had dropped to be 3,355 yen on October 1974, the market recovered and marked high, 4,564 yen, on May 1975, seven months later than the steep drop. This unique system has worked to enable recovery from past difficulties as the oil crisis. It should work well for similar recovery from the current damage.
  2. The world economy will not survive without the Japanese economy. The world has observed and recognized that components supplied by Japan, in fields such as automotive and electronics, could not be replaced very easily. American research institute, HIS Automotive reported on March 22, that due to short supply of auto parts from Japan, the production of automobiles worldwide would drop by 35%, equivalent to five million cars. In the electronics field, there was an announcement that one-fourth of silicon wafer supply was stopped because of the earthquake. Wall Street Journal on March 11 reported that Japanese share of the semiconductor market is 20.8%, and the share of electronics components is 13.9%. Therefore, the impact of the supply shortage by the earthquake on global electronics market shall not be underestimated. Japan is also an important market for exports from countries including China, the US, and many European nations. It is, therefore, useful for other countries to support the recovery of the Japanese economy.
  3. The Japanese outlook is effective with regard to overcoming difficulties such as the current earthquake situation. Japan has overcome many difficult situations including oil crises, higher-yen-evaluation, and previous natural disasters like the Kobe earthquake. The Japanese people are skilled in scheduling recovery, and focusing on their individual roles, and will continue their efforts until they attain their goals. Many enterprises have already proved this point by quickly re-opening production after the earthquake. According to The Institute of Statistical Mathematics in Japan, in its regular report issued on every five years, the top image of Japanese characteristics is diligence. It has been diligence which recovered Japanese economy from various crisis in the past. There is no reason it does not work this time. It will work this time, as well.

According to news sources from Japan, Japan has started to plan more than simple recovery from the damage. Tohoku District is planning to build a new city which is strong against natural disaster. Some of them have started drawing blue print to build new concept cities. Instead of plunging the Japanese economy, even this natural disaster would trigger the new recovery and growth of the economy of Japan.

The Japanese Yen continues to be one of the major currencies on the forex market. However, the country and its economy have not been well understood by the outside world. This country has a history of recovering well from disasters. The people have inherited strength through their genes. The current situation will once again prove this to be true.

David Ogilvy’s Classic Work: How to Create Advertising That Sells Review Part 3

How to Create Advertising that Sells Review Part 3

Almost Home…

David Ogilvy’s classic How to Create Advertising That Sells Review Part 3 looks at rules eighteen through twenty-seven. It starts with the maxims about TV ads and moving to the maxims of ads in print. The advertising medium isn’t necessarily what’s important here. These maxims pay big and offer a proven history. Get the most out of each advertising dollar. Apply these maxims, regardless of the chosen medium.

Rule 18: Music

Even though, according to Ogilvy, most won’t believe this, music behind the ad in commercials decreases the consumer’s ability to remember ads. Not good, right?

Rule 19: Standups

Stand-up Pitches work if “delivered” with honesty says Ogilvy.

Rule 20: Sore Thumb

The average viewer watches more than 20,000 commercials in a year. Desperate times call for desperate measures! Ogilvy says brand it and make it one of a kind. A symbol (like imperial’s crown) or even a mnemonic device can be used.

Rule 21: Animate?

Cartoons really sell to children. Children don’t hold the power of the pocketbook however. It’s critical to know the audience. Cartoons and animation doesn’t turn over to customers when adults are the target. Grown-ups can’t “identify” with animation. This makes it less persuasive.

Rule 22: Save it!

Find out WHY an ad didn’t work. Then, repair it. Once fixed, it’s ready to go to work for real!

Rule 23: Factual vs. Emotional

In the big scheme of things, commercials which offer facts about the product or service will rank as more effective than ones using emotions. Ogilvy’s example was Maxwell House Coffee. It was very emotional and a huge success. It goes both ways, but stats say go with the facts.

Rule 24: Attention Grabbers

Commercials which open with a fast, grab the attention of viewers, and tend to hold their attention significantly better to the end than the quiet-start commercials.

What Works Best in Print…

As part of this How to Create Advertising that Sells Review Part 2, we’ll move to print advertising. We’ll look at what works and what does not.

Rule 25: 80/20

What’s 80/20? Sadly, only twenty percent of viewers will go past headlines in order to reach the content. Since eighty percent DO read the headlines, the sale takes place in the headline! There’s a conversion rate which is 5 times greater than not creating a dynamic headline. Ogilvy always used his company name and gave promise in the headline.

Rule 26: Benefits

Headlines giving a solid benefit get more sales over those that do not. Human nature makes anyone want to find out what’s in it for them! This is one of the strongest maxims in this How to Create Advertising that Sells Review Part 3 to be found.

Rule 27: News

People are curious about new products or service. They want to know which products have been changed or improved, giving reason to read on. The stats say headlines that tell sell.

Review in Summary

That completes this next part of David Ogilvy’s How to Create Advertising that Sells Review, part 3 of 4. Television and print are obviously very different advertising mediums. However, there is much to learn and apply from both arenas… Remember: Say ‘No’ to background music. Stand-ups work. Stand above the crowd. Fix whatever isn’t converting and try it again. Facts sell more than emotion. Grab the viewer’s attention right out the door. Power is in the headline… don’t mess it up! Show the consumer “what is in it for them”… give the biggest, strongest benefit inside the headline. Finally, share newsy points about what’s being sold will work extremely well.

Part four of How to Create Advertising that Sells Review will conclude more million-dollar truths by Ogilvy and show what works and what doesn’t. If viewer’s attention isn’t grabbed or demanded, the sale is lost! Part 4 promises to end with a bang, so keep looking.

How YOU Can Fix The Economy

Many years ago I asked my now nearly 90-year-old grandmother when the wisdom of age sets in and we start to feel in control of our lives. She made one of those “Ha!” noises and said she still felt like she was in her 20s, can’t figure out how she got to this point in her life, and would let me know when she felt like she was in control. I’m still waiting.

Now that I’m firmly ensconced in middle age, I’ve started to understand a few things including why people have face-lifts and the importance of calcium. I’ve also sharpened my perception of what it means to be in control of one’s life and the power we have as individuals within an economy. Unfortunately the design and assumptions used in our modeling of the economy attempt to minimize the impact and importance of individuals, but you can do something about that.

Why You Lost Control of the Economy

First a little background. The artificial distinction between microeconomics (concerned with individuals, households, and businesses) and macroeconomics (concerned with the economy as a whole including unemployment, inflation, and GDP) in the discussion of the economy came about when John Maynard Keynes wrote The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. One of the problems economics had was that it was considered a “soft” science due to its inability to model and predict behavior in the economy like the “hard” sciences such as physics and chemistry. After all, people are complicated how can we possibly predict what decisions they’ll make in the economy?

To move the study of the economy closer to the hard sciences, Keynes had to remove those things that make us human-our values, motivations, ingenuity, and potential-and simply report on and attempt to manipulate (through monetary and fiscal policy) the condition of the economy as a whole. The rationality of individuals within his model is assumed to be inherent and individuals are believed to have all information required to make optimal decisions, have not learned from previous experiences, and are not influenced by other people. Even Adam Smith’s “rational choice” theory recognized the influence on the economy of “moral sentiments”.

The result has been that we, as individuals, have been stuck within a closed system to explore the economy that doesn’t consider our individual roles. This closed system assumes we have a uniform set of values and our individual lives and relationships are irrelevant in the overall system. We have no ability to influence the economy or its structure. There is no mechanism to measure the impact of individuals on the economy when utilizing a Keynesian macroeconomic approach. As a result, we have come to rely on governments to fix our individual economic woes rather than attempting to tackle them ourselves. We have forgotten that macroeconomic data is simply the sum of all individual activity in an economy.

How You Can Help the Economy

Since macroeconomic data is the sum of individual activity, you CAN have an impact on the economy; your actions DO matter. So stop worrying about macroeconomic “facts”, like unemployment rates, designed to bring the study of the economy closer to the hard sciences and start thinking about your probabilities and possibilities and then get busy.

Here are a couple of things you can do to impact macroeconomic data for the economy. First, consider the possibility that you could have a million dollars when you retire. It’s more obtainable than you think. If you make $35,000 a year, get annual pay increases of about 3.5% and save around 12.5% a year in a 401(k), over a 40-year career you could have a million dollars (assuming a 7% return). Keep in mind, your employer might kick in some of that 12.5% so that burden is not entirely on you. Even if you did have to save it all we’re talking about $84 a week (which after taxes is something less) to make sure you have money in retirement.

How does this help the macro economy? For one thing the current average retirement savings is $60,000. Let’s say you don’t get as many pay raises or earn a 7% return and you end up with only $800,000 or $500,000. You’re still helping to increase average retirement savings. More retirement savings by more people means fewer problems for the macro economy later. Even though a million dollars is obtainable even on a modest income, only 0.2% of people ever reach that goal. The problem? Too few individuals understand their real power in the economy and fail to see the possibility to make themselves better off. Instead they rely on government to come up with a solution. These people aren’t stupid, they just believe they are powerless and at the mercy of the macroeconomic environment. Thank you Keynes.

Another thing you can do, if you’re unemployed, is get a job. Any job. I realize if you’re an unemployed accountant the thought of working as a janitor, scrubbing toilets at the local high school might be distasteful and a steep cut in pay. I hear you. In my long journey to a successful career I’ve harvested crops, cleaned houses, and worked in a shoe factory. I didn’t always like it, and often my employers treated me like someone without any potential beyond my current position. However, my employer doesn’t control my self-worth and potential, I do. This is my power (and yours) and no one gets to take it away from us. I’m not trying to sound harsh or insensitive, but you control your destiny. Both employment and unemployment are self-perpetuating. Consider taking that mail-room position with the company you’d like to be an accountant for. Get to know the people in accounting and when a job opening happens, make yourself available. They might even be able to give you a lead on an accounting job with another company. Hang in there, some of the best opportunities I’ve had have come from people I met or experience I gained at a really lousy job that was below my skill-set. Just try to be the best at whatever job you’re doing at the time and you’ll get there. Remember the probability that you’ll still be working outside your career field in 5 years is pretty low.

How does this help the macro economy? If more people are working, the unemployment rate will fall. Yes, macro-economists will put you down because you are “underemployed”, but you’re really helping yourself in the long run. When the unemployment rate goes down, consumer confidence rises, the capital markets improve, and companies are willing to expand. This expansion creates more jobs and an opportunity for you to get a job in accounting. I never thought of my lousy jobs as permanent, simply steps in a process. Plus, when states spend less on unemployment compensation (a largely unproductive expenditure) they will be able to spend money on productive expenditures that create and/or save jobs.

I realize the use of self-help to dig us out of difficult economic times will be frowned upon (or worse) by many people; however, I have confidence in you. Unlike the government I recognize you are an individual, not a cog in the macroeconomic machine, powerless to control it. You have values, motivations, ingenuity, expectations, skills, perseverance, possibilities, and value relationships and cooperation. So let’s stop being afraid and start working together as individuals to take control of our economic destinies. This is the only way to eliminate fear and get things moving again. You, and only you, can fix this economy. What’s your role going to be?

Improve Fuel Economy – Over 30 Ways to Increase Your MPG and Save Money on Gas

There are two major categories in fuel savings:

  • driving habits
  • vehicle maintenance/upgrades

First, DRIVING HABITS:

  1. Anticipate, use your brakes less, and don’t accelerate quickly. Look far down the road ahead, even if “far” is a city block. Get into turn-lanes smoothly and early: avoid accelerating to get in front of traffic. Anticipate stops or slow-downs ahead and take your foot off the gas: try to coast much more than you brake. Additional coasting distance saves fuel and extends brake-pad life. Remember: he who leaves stoplight quickest pays more at pump.
  2. Use Cruise Control. It saves fuel and speeding tickets. But it’s not just for cruising. The “Resume” button can give you decent acceleration without wasting fuel.
  3. Overdrive and gear selection. If your automatic has Overdrive, use it. If you have a manual transmission, shift early to keep engine rpm’s lower and always use the highest gear for highway cruising.
  4. Slow down. As you increase speed above 60 mph, wind resistance increases rapidly as a percentage of total fuel consumption. Typically, every mile over 60 mph costs you ~1% in fuel economy.
  5. Carefully consider your route and the time of day: traffic flow is a huge factor. For example, say that along your interstate travel route, the space between vehicles averages 3 to 4 car lengths… typical of traffic in many large cities. If it’s stop-and-go, fuel economy will be bad. But if traffic is moving smoothly and fast (at 60 – 80 mph), then fuel economy can be superb: those rushing vehicles create a jet-stream of air that dramatically reduces wind-drag losses. Up to 30% gains are possible. For maximum fuel economy, follow a larger vehicle and use cruise control. Also keep in mind wind direction: if the wind blows strongly from the right and you’re in the right lane, you’ll get NO break in wind resistance from vehicles ahead.
  6. Plan and Combine errands to make fewer trips. Think like your great-grandparents did. Plan meals and grocery shop once a week to once a month: just make a list of other errands during the week, plan your route, and do it all in the same trip. Arrange with other parents to carpool or pick up the kids for you. Such planning may seem like work at first, but it frees up time, helps you relax, and can improve your average fuel economy by 5 to 15%. It can also cut your average weekly miles by 20% or more. Total dollar potential: save 10-35% of monthly fuel costs. How does this help fuel economy? During the first several miles while warming up, the engine and transmission are not operating efficiently. This is why city fuel economy can drop dramatically in cold weather, when it can take 10 miles for the engine and transmission to warm up. Automatic transmissions in particular can be power hogs when fluid is cold, and manual transmissions can feel like you’re shifting in molasses. (Hot/cold temperatures are one of many reasons to use a full-synthetic 100,000-mile transmission fluid). So, combining two or three trips into one reduces the miles you drive, and also gets you better fuel economy.
  7. Use air conditioning wisely: – Keep your windows rolled up at speeds over 40 mph: the air turbulence around the window makes the air-conditioning cheaper than the fuel-economy penalty from additional wind-drag. – Turn off the air and roll down windows at speeds under 40 mph in the summer heat: the additional wind-drag is cheaper than the air-conditioning. Fuel economy impact? ~ 1-5%.
  8. Buy fuel wisely. Ok, this isn’t actually improving your fuel economy, but here are some tips to save fuel money. Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning fill-ups will normally save you money: those are typically the lowest prices of the week. Also, filling up in the morning when the fuel is cooler will get you a few extra cents of fuel. So your best time to fill up is — on average — Wednesday morning. Don’t “top off” your tank: you risk losing fuel to the station’s vapor-recovery system, giving them back some fuel you’re buying.
  9. Use a good fuel additive at fillup. Injectors with excessive deposits have poor spray patterns that can cost you 2 to 15% in fuel economy. Those deposits are caused by poor quality fuel. Since ’95 the EPA has required all gasoline to have deposit-control additives. But about half of all gasoline on the market is lowest additive concentration (LAC) gasoline, which barely meets the regulation and contributes to excessive deposits. What can you do? First, if your vehicle is designed for premium gas, and you’re using it, your injectors may be fine: most premium fuels include higher additive levels that are effective at keeping injectors clean. However, what if you don’t use premium? Use “Top Tier” detergent gas — if you can find it — because this new fuel classification meets the 2004 GM/Honda/Toyota/BMW deposit control standard. If you don’t need premium and Top Tier isn’t available, you probably need an additive. BEWARE: there are many mousey fuel additive products that generate nice sales profits but do little for your vehicle. Find a good one that will actually clean your injectors, keep them clean, and (for diesels) lubricate your fuel pump. Our website suggests fuel additives that we know do the job with quality, for a fair price.
  10. Lose some weight! Clean out your vehicle’s trunk (and maybe the back seat). Tools from that weekend project two months ago is costing you fuel! Every 200 pounds in your trunk costs you roughly 1 mpg.
  11. Don’t drive! Carpool, occasionally ride a bicycle or walk, telecommute for part of your work-week, or take public transportation.
  12. Shift your work-hours to avoid gridlock. Stop-and-go traffic is hard on fuel economy. Arrange traveling to/from work when traffic flow is running smoothly at the speed limit.
  13. Minimize idling — idle smart: Engines only need 10 seconds for warm-up before driving (30 seconds if below zero). Idling your engine more than a minute typically costs more fuel than re-starting it. So avoid drive-through lines at banks and fast-food shops: instead of sitting in line, park and go inside. BUT, when you must idle with an automatic transmission, put the transmission in Neutral or Park while you’re waiting: this will cut fuel usage at idle by 10-40% depending on the vehicle and the transmission temperature. (With manual transmissions, use the brake to keep from rolling back – not the clutch. That saves fuel and extends clutch life.)
  14. Park in the Shade: The hotter the fuel tank gets, the more gas you lose to evaporation.
  15. Smart vacation thinking: If your vehicle is a gas guzzler, consider renting an economical vehicle to drive on vacation. With a discounted week-long rate at better fuel economy, the rental might pay for itself. If you lease your vehicle, using a rental vehicle will also lower your total lease miles.
  16. Keep a log of your mileage and fuel. By monitoring your fuel economy and driving habits, you can see the cost impact of changing your driving style, and you can spot the poor fuel economy that is often a first-alert to maintenance issues. In addition, as you make changes to improve fuel economy, you can measure the exact results (averaged over five or more fill-ups for best accuracy).
  17. Second: vehicle MAINTENANCE & UPGRADES. These areas often get skipped in recommendations on getting better fuel economy. That’s unfortunate because they can have huge impacts. Most fuel economy improvements fall into two general categories:

  • decrease friction in the vehicle’s drivetrain (engine, transmission, differential, wheel bearings, tires);
  • make it easier for air to flow through the engine, anywhere from the air intake to the exhaust tailpipe.

These are the same areas that performance-enthusiasts change to get more horsepower. I spoke with a Lexus mechanic who has won awards for his modified 2003 Dodge 2500 pickup with the Cummins turbo-diesel engine. He was surprised that with his many thousands of dollars in horsepower upgrades, he was getting about 23 mpg even with large tires and higher ground-clearance. “Every time I increased the power, the fuel economy improved.” No surprise to me: except for tires and suspension, he increased his truck’s efficiency with every power upgrade.

  • Keep your engine tuned up. If you have a dashboard service-engine light on, you’re likely wasting fuel. Example: bad Oxygen Sensors are a classic problem that can cost you 5-15% in fuel economy. Overall, poor engine tuning and lack of maintenance can decrease fuel economy by 10-20%, or more.
  • Inflate your tires to their optimum: HIGHER pressures than “normal”. Read carefully. You need EVEN road-contact pressure (equal across the tread) to maximize everything: tire life, fuel economy, bad weather traction, and best overall handling and cornering characteristics with increased road safety. Probably over 85% of car tires on the road are under-inflated, and this costs money in fuel and shorter tire life. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires.

    “Experts” generally (wrongly) define the “proper” pressure as the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation. That’s what the government says. That’s what most service shops follow. Unfortunately, that’s seldom correct in your and my vehicle tires.

    Fact is that OEM wheel/tire combinations for most passenger cars and light trucks are designed by the TIRE manufacturer for even tread pressure on the ground when inflated to between 35 and 42 psi [pounds per square inch]: that optimum inflation range is much higher than the recommended 28 to 33 psi that are in many owner’s manuals or on door-jamb labels.

    If your tires normally wear the tread off the shoulder before the center of the tread, then your tires ARE under-inflated.

    So how much air pressure should you use? Visit our full online Ultimate Fuel Economy Guide for important details.

    Impact? By our conservative estimates, most vehicles are riding on tires that are 8 psi low, costing about 3% in fuel economy.

  • Watch your tire choice. Replacing your tires/wheels with wider and/or taller ones may look awesome, but keep in mind that your choice could have a 1 to 3% penalty in fuel economy… or even more in extreme cases like “monster truck” tires/wheels.
  • Switch to best-quality synthetic oils and filters throughout your drivetrain: engine oil, transmission fluid, differential gear oil and wheel bearing grease. This advice — to use the best synthetic lubricants — is rarely heard, yet it’s an easy area to save money. You save in routine maintenance costs, long-term maintenance costs, time-in-the-shop, and of course in fuel economy. But unfortunately it’s not a simple area to understand. So here’s a brief primer on synthetic lubricants:

    The number of vehicle owners turning to synthetic engine oil has increased dramatically, because consumers are learning that synthetics are better than petroleum products in every way, BY DESIGN. More vehicle owners are beginning to realize what the OEM’s and quick-lubes don’t want them to know: that full synthetics can cut wear rates in half and outperform traditional oil for up to 35,000 miles between oil changes.

    But consumers don’t realize THREE KEY THINGS:

    First, that the benefits of synthetics extend to every lubrication area in the vehicle. For example, most transmissions fail because their transmission fluid has failed, either because the fluid hasn’t been changed frequently enough, or because the fluid overheated. Synthetic fluid helps hugely to prevent transmission problems, and naturally saves fuel at the same time.

    Real life: My ’94 Taurus SHO got 10% better fuel economy with engine oil and transmission fluid change, my ’02 Sierra 2500HD Duramax truck got 8% better fuel economy with just synthetic engine and differential fluids, an acquaintance picked up over 20% on a 37 foot gas-engine motor-home, and my friend Phillip’s 1999 Olds Silhouette van picked up 20% just by changing to synthetic engine oil — saving him over $600/yr in fuel.

    In other words, for most vehicles, high-performance synthetic lubricants are one of the simplest and best changes that you can make to improve fuel economy — yet it’s rarely mentioned! One reason is because it’s brand dependent. Most people will get 2 to 12% improvements in fuel economy, IF they use one particular brand of lubricants, but less or no improvement with other “synthetics”.

    Second, not all “synthetics” are real PAO synthetics. Today, in fact, most are fakes because the lubrication industry has agreed that it’s OK to deceive you. (Our site explains how to tell a true synthetic from a petroleum “synthetic”.)

    Why do you need real PAO synthetics, anyway? Because in every way they perform better than petroleum products — by design — and because they are uniquely able to save you the maximum amount of money with 25,000 and even 35,000 mile drain intervals, while other “synthetics” are designed for 7,000 to 10,000 mile use, to maximize petroleum-oil-company profits out of YOUR pocket.

    Third, not all real synthetics are the same. As a Mechanical Engineer who has worked for years in automotive, and done extensive research (see About Us on my site), I live in the everyday world of real results and have developed some strong recommendations based on data and verification with personal testing. In fuel economy, for example, ASTM standardized fleet testing results with one company’s synthetic lubes in commercial vehicles shows an average 8.2% improvement in fuel economy vs the common big-name commercial lubricants. (See this data on our site.)

    Few companies will show legally-binding data based on standardized (tightly defined) test parameters like this, because independent testing on their products will not produce favorable data to support their product claims. In comparison, hundreds of ASTM 4-ball Wear Test results in independent laboratories over years have shown that one company’s lubricants are consistently designed to reduce frictional wear and internal fluid-friction losses to a greater extent than even most synthetic lubricants. Friction reduction translates directly to better fuel economy and much longer-lasting vehicles.

    You want data from respected independent testing laboratories? Ahh — so you know marketing claims are worthless! We have overall comparative testing data for many specific oil blends, including Mobil 1: ASTM testing by independent laboratories. While all the oil companies run these tests, generally only one company publishes significant data, while the others rely on vague performance claims and clever marketing slogans. Beware: test results against generic “competitor A, B, C” are legally meaningless. But published/advertised test data against named products is legally binding, with huge lawsuit potential from competitors.

  • Improve airflow AROUND your vehicle:

    – Loaded roof racks or cargo pods can cut 5% or more off your fuel economy. A cargo rack that slides into a trailer hitch allows you to carry extra stuff, still get into your trunk, and use less fuel.

    – Sunroof air-deflectors can be handy, but do cost you a bit of fuel. Removing the air deflector might save 1/4 to 3/4% in fuel economy.

    – Consider adding a truck bed cover, either soft-type or hard-shell, to get a 1 to 2 mpg boost. What about dropping your tailgate to travel, or replacing the stock tailgate with an “air gate” net or louvered tailgate? They’re not as reliable: results depend on vehicle aerodynamics, bed length, and what you do (or don’t) have in the truck bed.

    – Reduce air turbulence under your vehicle: “Off-road” packages with protective underbody “skid plates”, or “ground effects” styling packages can add 1-4% in fuel economy. The downside? The vehicle may be more difficult to service.

    – Adding an air deflector to the roof of your truck/SUV when towing will also add 1 to 3 mpg by reducing trailer wind-drag. But it can also reduce your non-towing fuel economy by about the same amount if it’s still in position on the vehicle when you’re NOT towing.

  • Improve airflow into the engine. This can happen in several stages of increasing complexity, but the first place is the air filter, where air enters your engine. If your filter is dirty, that reduces fuel economy — up to 10% in the worst cases. However, there’s a conflicting problem. Conventional filters should NOT be replaced before the OEM’s recommended interval or they will increase your engine wear rate: they rely on the “dust cake” buildup to achieve effective filtration, which unfortunately causes a pressure drop that reduces fuel economy.

    Easy Improvement: Replace your air filter with nanofiber filters born from military/aerospace technology. (Just released in 2005 with worldwide patents, and reasonably priced.) You get pressure drop nearly as low as an oiled gauze filter while filtering out 100% of wear particles down to 3 microns (for real). Clean with an annual tap/shake/vacuum. No warranty problems.

    Intermediate: The next thing to look at is the air-filter box design. Many OEM’s have a restrictive flow-path going into the air-box (to reduce engine air-intake noise, or to reduce water intake if you drive through a foot or two of water), including lots of internal stiffener ribs. Sure, the improved strength from ribs may enable you to stand or kneel on the air-box, but they often cause pressure-drop and turbulence.

    There are two improvement routes: an aftermarket air-induction system, or DIY modifications.

    The best route is to look at replacing the entire air-intake box and filter with an aftermarket “air induction” or “air intake” kit.

    Caution: oiled gauze filters won’t keep out many wear particles, so they produce high engine wear-rates. Plus, excess “tack oil” can cause reduced fuel economy and trouble with warranty coverage at many dealers. Choose wisely — go for the OEM certified nanofiber solution if one is available for your vehicle, because nanofiber air filters are the best technical and economical compromise between no filter at all and a restrictive stock filter. The minimum intake choice should include a two-stage dual-density oiled-foam filter: far better than oiled-gauze. If you can’t get at least that in an aftermarket air induction system, then we recommend skipping it: upgrade to a nanofiber air filter, and consider modifying the stock air-box as we outline on our website.

    Advanced: see our site for these details.

    Our easy, intermediate-level and advanced airflow improvement suggestions can realistically net you from 2% up to a maximum 8% improvement in fuel economy.

  • Improve airflow out of the engine: Install an aftermarket exhaust system. These have larger diameter pipes and larger, less restrictive mufflers. My point isn’t to get louder, but to reduce “backpressure” losses which cut down on horsepower, torque and fuel-economy. Since increased noise is typical, and some systems are intentionally designed to be loud, you may want to shop for the exhaust sounds you do or don’t want.
  • Upgrade to a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Careful. Companies and sales people want to make money on your vehicle switch, so watch out for your best interests. First, price matters. You have to save a lot of fuel to pay for a big difference in vehicle price. Paying hybrid premiums to get more fuel economy probably won’t begin to pay you back before you sell the vehicle. Second, real-world driving shows many hybrids don’t live up to their mpg hype. (See our surprising comparison in the online detailed version of this, between hybrids and turbo-diesel vehicles.)
  • Finally, be cautious in your search for improved fuel economy: don’t waste money on fake fuel-economy improvements. Many products are total fakes or hugely exaggerated. Most companies tiptoe around those realities, but I don’t. So here’s the truth:

    – Most “oil additive” or engine “metal treatment” products are or will be embroiled in lawsuits in a number of states. If an oil additive claims a fuel economy improvement over 1%, forget it. Lubrication Engineers explain that oil is a highly engineered chemical package, and that if you want better performance you must buy better oil. Base your choice on published, standardized ASTM test results. That’s the best and cheapest way to get better lubrication performance.

    – Fuel treatments/additives and catalysts? 2-15% gains are available, with the biggest improvements for vehicles with a long diet of cheap LAC (Lowest Additive Concentration) fuel. Question the cost vs value. The answer is Yes to some good ones, No to some poor ones, and “why bother” to a lot of them. Question who to trust, and research what you buy.

    – A mechanical or electronic aftermarket product? Fundamentally, if it isn’t actually improving airflow through the engine/exhaust, it’s probably NOT going to boost fuel economy. Our site has specific “improvement” examples that WON’T save fuel.

  • Easily Get Restaurant Reviews From Customers

    These days, people don’t buy anything without reading reviews first. Amazon.com is the world’s favorite shopping mall. Visitors look for an item that is both heavily reviewed and has a mostly positive rating. There is suspicion of items that have no reviews, as that means to most folks that the business is probably new and the item they’re looking at is of questionable quality. Positive customer reviews weigh in big time within the consumer psyche and the convenience at which reviews can be posted means that every interaction with a customer is a potential opportunity to make or break many future sales. These ideas began with the retail industry, and they’ve spread like wildfire to restaurants.

    So, should you ask for reviews or not? Let’s review the pros and cons:

    PROS

    Incentivizing is a great motivator for everything in the world. If you want reviews from your customers, offer them something of value. Asking for reviews isn’t bad as long as you’re not flat-out paying for them. Put something fun together: drop review submitters’ names into a monthly raffle for a free lunch, pick a top reviewer and send them to an exotic themed vacation (think Olive Garden sending families to Italy), have your top chef prepare dinner for a certain special patron. There are tons of ideas that involve a thematic approach to incentivized rewards versus just handing out cash. Get your patrons involved and excited and reap the benefits of a truly passionate reviewer!

    If you choose to nudge patrons in the right direction, make it easy for them. Offering them a comment card is one way to go, and you can put that review up on your website, but how can you get the word out on UrbanSpoon or Yelp, two of the most popular restaurant review sites? You’ve got to tell customers where to submit their feedback. “Search for us on UrbanSpoon!” is a quick, easy and non-pushy way to let people know you’re active on that site. Make sure to develop a way to track your review-submitting patrons so that you can reward them. You’ll generally receive an email notification when a review is submitted to either one of those sites.

    Posting restaurant reviews can be fun! Think about the power of mobile Smartphone applications: a patron can take a picture of your menu (or their meal plate) on their phone and post it online instantly, even while they’re still eating their Southwest Quesadilla Special. They can then immediately “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” your business based on their experience. This is incredibly helpful to other customers. PRO TIP: Consider taking clear pictures of your menu and your location and uploading them to review sites before someone else does. Doing so helps potential new customers decide if they want to eat at your establishment by taking the guesswork out of what you’ve got to offer. The more information that’s readily available about your business, the better.

    CONS

    The first question you need to ask yourself honestly is this: “Is my restaurant ready to be reviewed?” Many restaurant owners get antsy and jump the gun, so to speak, in taking steps to force reviews. They may have had a slow grand opening and think that getting “good press” on sites like UrbanSpoon and Yelp is the only way to stay operative. These sites are dynamite for influencing potential customers, but hard selling reviews is not the way to go. If your restaurant isn’t 100% where you want it to be at, incentivizing reviews could also mean reminding people that they can post negative reviews, too. As many small business owners have learned, one negative review that’s boosted to the front page of Google can spell doom for their business. Just like a positive review can encourage new folks to try an unfamiliar restaurant, a negative review can drive just as many away. Lesson: don’t force reviews if you’re not ready for them.

    Positive reviews from non-incentivized customers will almost always feel more “real.” So although it may take longer to get a review, it may be worth your wait.

    Have you ever read a restaurant review and just known that it was the owner writing it, or one of the company’s employees? How did that make you feel? Most consumers who feel like they’ve experienced a fake review will immediately go elsewhere, with a permanent sense of distrust in that business.

    Some review databases (like Yelp) frown on incentivized/paid reviews. They’ll go as far to delete over-zealous, fake sounding reviews in order to keep their site “honest.” In this case, it may not be worth the investment to reward a reviewer.

    If your restaurant is outstanding on both service and menu fronts, you may not have to encourage review submittal at all. A new patron should be so floored after having left your establishment that they want to share their experience with the world. Have you ever been to a restaurant where the server was “on it,” the food was excellent, the wait was nonexistent, and the atmosphere was just fun? I bet you wanted to tell people about it. This same theory applies to restaurant reviews: provide an entirely excellent experience at every point of contact and expect to be rewarded for your hard work.

    The answer is up to you. If you can solicit reviews in a fun, creative way, that plan might work out well for your business. Beware of over-incentivizing; remember you want honest reviews, not a bunch of fluff. No doubt, reviews are a superb way to generate new business. You might even say they’ve become essential in today’s world of infinite information. Keep in mind that consistently great service will be rewarded with words of praise, so keep your bar set high, your plates clean, drinks full, food hot, and staff friendly. You’ll eventually get to the point where you don’t need to solicit reviews anymore, they’ll just come naturally.

    Turmoil of World Economy – A Blessing In Disguise?

    In the recent months I have literally received hundreds of emails which have requested that I speak or write about the current state of our economy. I was particularly asked what my opinion is about acquiring precious metals and living independently of the grid. Regarding the latter, I have personally taken steps to be energy-independent by installing solar panels. We also have our own water source and grow our own foods; and for the winter months we use a small greenhouse to provide some essential foods. Being a vegan/vegetarian, this makes it easy to be nearly self-sufficient with regard to food.

    If at all possible, I recommend that people move away from areas of high or dense population to more rural areas where they have access to arable land and clean, natural water. If that’s not possible, try to find a small piece of land where you can grow your own food. Many people now convert their lawn into a vibrant vegetable garden.

    Many years ago, I had predicted the emergence of what I call the ‘spiritual economy,’ which is to evolve from the ashes of our current, purely materialistic economy. I perceive the massive decline of our economy and the imminent collapse of the hollow values that uphold it (largely debt-based) as an inevitable step to birth the new, love-based, life-promoting economy where everyone will benefit from the generated waves of prosperity, not just a select few.

    We are collectively transitioning out of an unsustainable state of existence where we rely on things like fiat paper money that is being printed faster than we can think; medications that are designed to make us sicker by the minute, so that we will spend more money on trying to regain our health; foods that are nutritionally worthless and make us crave and overeat them even more; water that is poisoned by the super-toxin fluoride, hormones, plastic particles and radiation from dumped nuclear waste material. We irradiate our food with microwaves and our brains with radio waves emitted from cell phones and other high tech devices. We stop talking to each other because it is more fun to send text messages, day and night, and to be entertained by video games and an endless number of TV programs.

    We let ourselves be hired for pay and then pay part of what we have earned to a hired organization called the ‘government’ that somehow has assumed the role of dictating how we can and cannot live our lives. This government is allowed to use our money to run a Ponzi scheme that accrues a tremendous amount of debt that can never be repaid. To keep the scam going, the masses are forced by law to pay into it (taxation) without getting much in return, except a progressive destruction of the economy, the bankrupting of the housing market, an ever-expanding sickness industry that promises cures but kills more people each year than those who die from all other causes of death combined, and endless wars that have nothing to do with protecting us against an invading enemy, except to provide or secure access to foreign oil, gas, water and other natural resources that make the most wealthy even wealthier.

    Our planet and her inhabitants are at the brink of extinction. What politicians and economists refer to as healthy economic growth is now fiction. Huge amounts of fiat money are being moved from one hand to another, from one organization or company to another, from one country to another, but all this just means that someone gets wealthier while another becomes poorer. A truly health economy benefits everyone, not just a selected few.

    Today’s so-called ‘economic growth’ is now largely based on fixing problems. For example, the sickness industry is undergoing a massive growth that funnels vast amounts of money into the hands of a few corporate giants while impoverishing those who happen to fall ill. Health insurance premiums go up as more people get sick. Drug companies make sure to produce medicines that don’t cure anyone, but just suppress symptoms of disease for a little while; their continued prosperity depend on a steadily increasing number of repeat customers. Insurance companies thrive in times of calamities. More people sign up for flood and wind insurance after they see others’ homes being destroyed by floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.

    Food shortages are increasing and food prices are rising. The rest of the foods that don’t go up in price are heavily subsidized by the taxpayer’s money. Massive bailouts of failing banks that make money off others in distress are further eroding the value of the currency and, therefore, the economy. Clever Wall Street investors spend a lot of money to make a lot more money, all out of thin air. But someone is going to lose whatever they win. Taking the entire economy into consideration, there is no real benefit in shifting wealth from one entity to another.

    Creating poverty, which sows the seeds of crime, is a very lucrative business that serves ‘economic growth’. We spend billions of dollars each year on incarcerating people and keeping them there. It costs $40,000 – $60,000per year just to house and feed one prison inmate. In the US, we have over 2,000,000 prisoners. That’s a staggering $80,000,000,000 being ‘invested’ in the economy. In addition, the US has spent $1.2 trillion on wars since 2001, money that could have easily eradicated the most severe poverty on the entire planet.

    Economic growth that is measured by how much money is being spent on creating or maintaining social-economic problems is economic regression, not economic progress. And there is a natural limit to such economic regression. The gap between the rich and poor widens by the minute and it a just a matter of time before the masses will revolt to assure their own survival and that of their families. The more we waste our energy and resources on controlling or fixing problems, the more likely we will have to face even more of them. As the old saying goes, like attracts like. We can forget about reaching the end of the current recession so that everything can go back to ‘normal’. What’s considered normal is not good enough anymore. Humankind deserves to move on.

    The imminent collapse of the world economy is but a necessary, albeit painful, step toward restoring a sense of value and humaneness in our world affairs. We are not here to compete with one another, but to work together through service and sharing our gifts and resources. An economy that is based on competition is destined to destroy itself. Enriching ourselves at the cost of others is a recipe for disaster. Greed interferes with the delicate balance that exists between the energies of giving and receiving, or supply and demand.

    To make it through the transition from the current state of economy to the next, we need to cycle back to the more stable and reliable currency backup system that has been in place for hundreds of years. This proven system was abandoned many years ago in order to funnel massive wealth into the hands of a few, while impoverishing the rest of us through massive debt creation. People who are in debt are obviously indebted to those who so generously offer them a loan. You relinquish control over your life when you accumulate debt. Now that the masses are spending more money than they own, almost the entire country is enslaved and controlled by those few who issue the debt (loans against interest) and own it.

    Precious metals should have remained the backbone of all currencies and economies. Once this backbone was broken, the monetary system became subject to the massive manipulation and chaos that we are now faced with. President John F. Kennedy attempted to steer the US back to self-autonomy by abandoning the Federal Reserve and taking over the printing and circulation of gold-backed currency. His assassination quickly put a stop to it. Today, the trillions-and-growing national debt makes it impossible to salvage the economy. Bailouts of banks and large corporations merely postpone the inevitable economic bankruptcy and make it more traumatic, if dire, for everyone involved.

    For the new economy to emerge, the old economy must be dismantled and decentralized. Every person must be able to create her or his own small economy for a balanced exchange of real goods, services and values to take place in our communities and worldwide. The old barter system, where something of true value was exchanged for something else that had value, must be reinstated in order to achieve decentralization and put an end to the power of those who control the money.

    In truth, no one has power over us unless we allow it. We need to know that we do have choices, however difficult a situation may seem. Insurmountable difficulties have a great purpose; they force us to change course. For example, more and college graduates who are unable to get work in the cities are moving to rural areas where they either find work at existing food farms or lease a small piece of land where they can grow their own food. Many of them are now making a very good living of selling fresh foods to the local communities and they actually feel very good about what they do. Growing and sharing food is a time-tested recipe for happiness and peace of mind.

    Paper money has no more value than the paper it is printed on, and it is subject to devaluation when more of it is printed or circulated. Thus, selling debt is a quick way to destroy the value of economies. Zimbabwe is very good example of a dysfunctional economy, and we are following in her footsteps. The greediness that fuels Ponzi schemes, such as the privately run Federal Reserve banking conglomerate, is endless. But without our participation in their gambling house, they cannot last long.

    Instead of fighting the current system and blaming others for the now self-destructive economy, we can all step out of it and dismantle the very foundation of the debt-based economy. One simple piece of advice can go a long way, and it goes like this: don’t spend money you don’t have. If you have extra money, don’t spend it all, but create a nest egg that consists of gold and/or silver. By doing so, you literally own something of lasting value that is inflation proof.

    It is not important how much worth precious metals have in comparison with the US dollar, for instance. The same silver coin that bought you a gallon of gas 40 years ago will still buy you a gallon of gas today or 10 years from now, if we still have gas by then. Precious metals cannot be devalued. If you decide to own gold or silver, I recommend keeping it rather than buying more fiat money as its ‘value’ increases. The more people who follow this advice, the faster and more smoothly the inevitable collapse of the debt-based economy can occur.

    The collapse of the current economy is a prerequisite for the love-based, spiritual economy to emerge, just like the blossoms of an apple tree must die to give way to producing the life-giving fruits. The principles that have run our economies so far are outdated. Corruption is rampant. As the old proverb goes, we need a new seed in order to yield a new crop.

    At a time when money determines everything that has some value, we can no longer expect to evolve in a meaningful way. Catastrophes like those we have witnessed or experienced in recent months, weeks and days serve as reminders that our material possessions and jobs can vanish at a moment’s notice. We are also learning that by destroying our natural environment, we are also destroying our livelihoods. When love becomes the measure of value, not money, economic hardship will vanish and the environment will be treasured and respected.

    Making money, alone, does not create lasting happiness and love, but love and happiness can certainly bring about lasting abundance in life. We have now reached the extreme of the pendulum of superficiality and the pendulum must swing back to fathom the depth of our spiritual essence.Although acquiring precious metals helps to bring about this transition, this should only be a means to achieve an end.

    Top 5 Best Selling Albums in Britain in 2010

    2010 was a great year for music in Britain with some amazing album releases. Album reviews were flying off the shelves for breakthrough brands, but it was the old guard that ruled the roost at the top of the album charts. The top 5 best selling albums in Britain is filled with established acts and while there aren’t any that I can pick out as favourites of mine, you can’t always ignore the numbers. When there is that many people buying an album there’s got to be something about it that has grabbed the attention of the masses.

    5. Plan B, The Defamation of Strickland Banks

    The only breakthrough album release of 2010 fell to London wide boy, Plan B, or Benjamin Balance-Drew as he’s know to his mum. The release of The Defamation of Strickland Banks, his second studio album, in April 2010, led to an instant number 1 in the UK album charts. It sold over sixty eight thousand copies in its first week and went on to sell a whopping eight hundred and twenty six thousand copies throughout the course of the year. Album reviews were fairly positive overall with ratings ranging from six out of ten to four out of five, but his move away from his rapping routes prompted one album review from the Telegraph to describe it as being “populist” although the overall tone of the review was generally favourable

    4. Rihanna, Loud

    The ups and downs of Rihanna’s personal life has been well documented by the media, but when it comes to her albums it always seems to be on the up and up. It including high grossing hits Only Girl in the World, What’s my Name and S&M. Released in November 2010 the album the album went in at number 2, selling in the region of 91,000 copies, but later climbed to the number 1 spot. Though it was released late in the year, it still managed to sell 839,000 copies in total. Rihanna’s Loud received average to favourable album reviews from the mainstream press.

    3. Lady GaGa, The Fame / The Fame Monster

    When Lady GaGa first appeared on the music scene it was as though she appeared out of nowhere and was suddenly everywhere. Now it feels like she’s always been there. The illusion of her meteoric rise to musical prominence has been fuelled by the trash media and paparazzi that she seems to target so much in her music. The love hate relationship continues in The Fame / The Fame Monster and while it was originally released in November 2009 as an EP as a re-release of The Fame, it still went on to be the third best selling album of 2010 in the Britain.

    2. Michael Buble, Crazy Love

    Who’d of thought it. Michael Buble had the second highest grossing album of 2010, epitomising the fact that you can never underestimate the buying power of easy listening loving ladies everywhere. The smooth singing Canadian has turned into a power house of selling album selling prowess and in 2010 he really hit the mark with Crazy Love. Michael Buble’s fourth studio album, Crazy Love is another crooner loving record and went straight in at number 1 in October 2009, but maintained sales all the way through 2010 to guarantee it a place in the top 5 best selling albums in Britain in 2010. Selling more than 1, 227,000 copies, but to be fair, it doesn’t really matter how many albums he sells, he’s never going to get into the Rat Pack.

    1. Take That, Progress

    Back during the 90s Take That were the bees knees with the girls at my school. They wore Take That emblems around there necks and probably cried like crazy people at the news that they were breaking up. It is these same girls, now women, that have secured Take That’s resurgence to musical hegemony of a certain persuasion, making their album, Progress, the biggest selling album of 2010 in Britain. Released on 15th November 2010 and returning Robbie Williams to the Take That fold after his long dark days alone in the California sun, it inevitable charted straight in at number 1. Despite the release being so late in the day in 2010, it still managed to sell in excess of 1.8 million records. Album reviews were very positive, giving it an average of around 8 out of 10 in both popular and industry media, but more than anything, it gave Robbie something more than just aliens to believe in.

    How to Create Advertising That Sells: Review of the Legendary Advertising Showpiece

    How to Create Advertising that Sells Review

    David Ogilvy is known across the world as “The Father of Advertising.” This How to Create Advertising That Sells Review looks at one of the strongest, if not THE strongest, works on the rules of advertising. It’s based solely on market research and will deliver on the promise.

    Ogilvy was an advertising exec sensation who was sought after within his industry. He compiled more than 40 years of advertising research into one amazing piece. It only contains 1900 words. It ran during the 1960’s and 1970’s in newspapers for his company. Ogilvy wrote Confessions of an Advertising Man, quite probably the most prominent and celebrated books authored on Advertising. He started his lengthy vocation employed by Gallup. Knowing what Gallup does, that’s likely to be most perfect point for an advertising man to start a stunning profession.

    So We Begin… Part One

    In this Ogilvy quintessential masterpiece “How to Create Advertising that Sells” Review, we’ll cover the initial 7 maxims. Now, covering seven rules out of 38 can appear to be insignificant at first glance. However, one would at their wit’s end to stuff this quantity of information concerning the ad biz into a more condensed study.

    Maxim One: Position

    Ogilvy considers Dove soap as the ideal illustration. They have a few choices for the campaign. Would selling clean hands be their best option? OR, would selling soft skin be a better option? The decision ad execs made that day was the first-rate answer for Unilever as proprietor of the Dove brand. When getting ready to sell a product or service, begin here.

    Maxim Two: The Promise

    With making a very large promise, Ogilvy said the ad can’t be wrong. Make the “obligation” exclusive. Make it a real contender. Lastly, the product or service had MUST ACCOMPLISH the promise given. If it can’t, start over.

    Maxim Three: Image

    When considering branding a person or business, create the “most sharply defined personality” for the brand. When every ad campaign goes in several different directions and lacks a concise focus, that business is likely to fail. A big picture is what is missing. Advertising should be based on a campaign, not a single ad. Lacking a consistent theme from one ad to the next is a kiss of death. With social media, coming across as a slightly bi-polar is easily possible. Successful social media campaign ideas have to pull together this idea as a foundation. Make the brand image consistent every place, every time.

    Maxim Four: ONE LARGE Idea

    Ogilvy said it’s normally a very basic concept. It just takes one idea, though. It required because it “gives the customer a jolt” and makes them pay attention to the ad. It’s no secret that a business must stand apart from the competition in order to get noticed. Agreed? But, in order for a customer to take action, it’s a completely different thing. Developing over-the-top, complicated ideas are amazingly easier than coming up with ONE Straightforward, uncomplicated LARGE idea, according to Ogilvy. It requires pure genius. They will withstand the test of time.

    Maxim Five: Superior

    Its common sense, but it’s often overlooked. Consumers consider an unattractive product with an “inferior image.” The world in which we live is extremely visual. The way things appear always alters perception, without exception. It’s always been this way. Garbage in… Garbage out.

    Maxim Six: Don’t Be Boring

    Be very charming. Attempt to engage the viewer and get him or her involved. “Make him hungry.” Next, get him to participate. It isn’t difficult to be interesting, but pushing for involvement is slightly harder.

    Maxim Seven: Innovate

    Be the starter of trends. Don’t blindly follow crazes and trends. Ogilvy discovered that ad campaigns that followed trends were RARELY successful. He recommended engaging in some market testing with real consumers. It IS a bit precarious to head off into an uncharted direction. Market testing allows ad developers to exercise caution and gain a level of security.

    Maxim Eight: Glory Hogs

    I bet this was extremely controversial for the time. In fact, it’s probably still controversial because of society. It’s expected that we give a list of our accomplishments and qualifications. Any awards are expected in this list. Ogilvy felt creative awards for ads deludes creativity in people and steers them away from goals. What is the goal? In successful campaigns, the goal is the quest of sales. Ponder upon on what persuades the consumer and not what gains awards.

    Review in Summary

    So, this was the first quarter of David Ogilvy’s How to Create Advertising that Sells Review. Pretty amazing? Considering how old it is, it is still so relevant and very timely. The value of this document is priceless. Hundreds of thousands had to be spent on worthless, unsuccessful ads in order to gather data and determine what creates success. So, figure out what will be sold and remember to sell the sizzle. Make a large promise, and then deliver. Create a laser-focused brand and place it at the front of each ad. Create ONE LARGE idea. Continue the thread through every campaign. Favorable visuals correspond with more successful campaigns. Boring is bad. Take out some insurance and start a trend. Think profit not recognition.

    Part two of How to Create Advertising that Sells Review promises more value along with breathtaking, profit-generating maxims by the advertising legend.

    Do Your Store Displays Sell?

    Your store displays are key to attracting customers and selling your products. When you are creating displays, you should have a clear plan and purpose for each display.

    Effective retail displays should:

     

    • communicate a wide variety of information to consumers
    • play an integral part of a coordinated sales strategy
    • tell a visual story
    • speak for you even when you are busy with other customers

     

    Displays are an invitation to a customer to look a little closer at what you have to offer. It is a non-threatening way of enticing your customer to explore your product. With current technology, displays can be very powerful multimedia experiences, or with a little thought and design, simple, inexpensive presentations of merchandise can be dramatic statements.

    By putting more thought and planning into your merchandising and display, you can have an impact on your bottom line. It might be a difference of one sale each day. Even if that sale is only $5.00, you have increased your monthly sales by $150.00. Imagine if each of your store displays could do that!

    Consider all the potential display areas in your store. Take into account the store windows, the ends of aisles, the back wall, columns or pillars, point-of-sale displays, front tables, etc. These are all opportunities that can be maximized to become effective sales areas.

    To present your merchandise in the most effective manner possible, your displays and merchandising need to do the following:

    1. Attract Attention

    When you are placing merchandise, you are not simply making it available to customers. There are many products out there competing for your customers’ dollar. How will you stand out from the rest? You may have the exact product they are looking for, but it may never be seen. How can that be, when it is right there in front of them?

    Have you ever misplaced something, and looked high and low for it, and finally found it – sitting right in front of you all along? It is similar with consumers. People are bombarded daily with media messages all selling something. Stores are full of merchandise competing for attention. This becomes information overload, so the brain sorts out which information is relevant and which is not. People notice their favorite stores and develop particular patterns of shopping based on preferences and needs. These preferences become ingrained habits.

    Strong displays help break through these habits and routines to attract attention. Suddenly, the brain is saying – “Wait a minute! This is new! It doesn’t fit in to my sorting system. It looks exciting and might be relevant to my needs.”

    This is the goal of your display, to attract the customer’s eye and get him or her to stop for a moment for a closer look.

    2. Communicate a message

    The most obvious message you need to communicate is that you have products available for sale. If this was the only job you had to do, you could leave the products in boxes or on tables and let the customers fend for themselves. However, most consumers don’t want to work this hard. You need to at least let them know what type of merchandise you have available and what it will cost them. It is also helpful to say what this merchandise will do for them, whether it is a new product, if it will suit their needs and taste, how it works, etc.

    Some messages you can communicate through displays:

    • Product selection
    • Product information
    • Product demonstration
    • Price
    • Lifestyle
    • Season
    • New merchandise

    3. Use displays to encourage action 

     

    • Get the shopper to stop or enter store
    • Encourage shoppers to move through the store and browse
    • Encourage them to try out or touch the merchandise
    • Create desire for impulse purchases
    • Suggest complimentary merchandise
    • Create a sense of urgency (Why should the shopper buy now?)

    4. Use displays to leave a lasting impression. 

     

    • Encourage the customer to return
    • Update displays regularly
    • Customers expect to see change, newness, excitement

     

    Displays are key components of your sales toolbox. They will be most effective when planned to complement other selling strategies such as advertising, store identity and design, and customer service/personal selling.

    Review your product displays. They should be boosting sales or they are not doing their job.

    How to Publish Your Book: Getting Those All-Important Reviews and Testimonials

    Great reviews and testimonials help sell your book; therefore any actions you take to promote your book should include such reviews and testimonials. They can be gold. They help persuade book lovers that your book deserves a place on their shelves. They also help convince bookstore chains, individual bookstores, and libraries to stock your book.

    Where do you start? The answer is as early as possible. Most reviewers want an actual copy of the book. An e-book won’t work, although that perception is changing. If reviewers can get an advance copy prior to publication, so much the better. Some reviewers will accept galleys but they expect to receive copies of the finished book later. For example, the School Library Journal will accept galleys. These must be received at least two months prior to the publication date. This gives the Journal time to review your book and print the review in their newsletter, either close to or shortly after publication date. You should be aware, however, that some reviewers do not accept self-published books.

    There are several ways to let potential reviewers know about your upcoming book. The obvious one is a press release. As well, social media is playing an increasingly large role. If you have a blog, you can discuss your work and its availability. Better still, you can contact those bloggers with an interest in your book’s topic. They may be willing to write a review and post it on their blog. You could also have a fan page on Facebook. You would encourage your followers to write their own reviews to post on your fan page, and on their own pages.

    You are also going to request reviews from newspapers and magazines, especially magazines that have a particular interest in your topic area. The odds of your getting a review in a national newspaper or magazine are pretty small. Getting a review from a local newspaper or magazine, as I’ve done, is more likely. Find out the name of the person to whom your request should go. If you have friends with contacts in the media, especially radio, TV and newspapers, ask them to help you.

    Testimonials come from people who have read your book and found it to be of value. It could be a business book with advice on accounting, something technical, such as how to use digital cameras, or simply a piece of fiction that gave special insight to an issue or situation. Sometimes a delighted reader will send you a spontaneous response. More likely you’ll have to contact those with your book and ask for a testimonial. That happened with one of my business books. I first called them, then followed up with e-mail. Out of about 20 requests, five actually responded. This brings me to my final point.

    People, though usually well meaning, can be notoriously slow in delivering a review or testimonial, even when they have agreed to do so. You have to be persistent. It may take several calls, multiple e-mails before you get a result. Or you may not hear at all. The problem is that the testimonial is never urgent to those you approach, only to you. And don’t offer an incentive to complete that testimonial. It can bring up issues of integrity. So be persistent. If one source won’t cooperate, keep going to others until you get what you need. Great reviews and testimonials add credibility to your sales efforts. You need them. They help sell books.