A Brand New Recipe For Branding

In a recent article, I told the story of when I was a young whippersnapper, attaining classes at what was then and still is called "one of the more famous hotel schools in North America", the marketing professor gave us an interesting, but quite challenging assignment.

We were to find a hospitality business that marketed itself by using the participation of the owner as part of the "distinctiveness" of the business. At the time, this seemed like a most difficult assignment, because in those days, it seemed that not too many people really stood out in this field. At least that what it seemed like to me in my youth. Or maybe it was just that they did not want to either make a fool of themselves. There seemed little need to drive the world to their door. I chose a very different restaurant enclosed within an old 19th century Mansion in this very cosmopolitan city. It was called Julie's Mansion and was owned and operated by a very eccentric, but wonderful showman who knew that he had to differentiate his restaurant from all the rest. He knew that the best way to do that – after the assumption of great food, entertainment and service – was to turn himself into the "brand."

My job, as a young hospitality student, was to watch him carefully and learn as much as I could. One Saturday night I showed up and Julie was trying to 'insert' himself into the home team's pro hockey uniform. It was immediately obvious that Julie had never played hockey. To see a middle-aged man struggling to get into and then have to have me extricate him from the jersey, equipment, elbow pads et al, was hilarious for a young guy like me, who had been on skates and playing the game since age four. He certainly was not afraid to make a fool of himself. When I showed up that night, he had less than no idea what piece of equipment went where, and was struggling with the shin guards. He had got himself all tangled up with what he thought were hip guards, when in fact they were shoulder pads, worn over the shoulders. It was indeed the first time I had ever seen a 'player' wearing shoulder pads, stretched around his butt.

I helped him get 'dressed'. Next came the taping of the hockey stick. This was really hilarious, watching this fellow trying to figure out the right way to tape a hockey stick without making a mess of it and looking foolish to his customers. He had a special plan for that stick.

I taped his stick and now he was ready. He had on his uniform, equipment and helmet, borrowed from one of the local NHL players who were a frequent guest at the mansion. Now, he actually looked like a real NHL hockey player … in black and white running shoes, sans skates!

Then Julie 'flew through' the different alcoves and floors of the restaurant with a big ball of foodservice aluminum foil as his 'puck'. He stick-handled in and out and between tables, took shots with the aluminum ball off the walls, cross-checked his own waiters trying to serve tables, all the while yelling cheers and the phrase made famous' round the world, by Foster Hewitt : "he shoots …. he scores!" All this, at the top of his lungs. Then he had planned for a horn to sound loudly indicating that the 'period of play' in his imaginary 'game' was over. It was now time to go to the dressing room. In a flash, just like an on-stage magician, he quickly disappeared into thin air, hidden in his office.

My face was covered in tears. I could not stop laughing! The restaurant was in an uproar. Guests were laughing so hard … one guy literally fell off his chair. The waiters were laughing, the guests were laughing, I was laughing and all the while Julie was having a ball too. Here was a restaurateur who made his work fun.

I had not met one of these types before. I really liked and respected this fellow. But I figured then, and still today, that anyone who had that much fun … and made that much money … must know something the others did not. And he did. He became his own brand. 'Distinctive. 'Differentiated. 'There is attractive to people who are sick of seeing the same old, same old every day. People are attracted to differences not similarities. Take a look at what you can do with yours. It's right under your own nose.

© Copyright, Roy W. MacNaughton, 2006

Domain Names – Selecting The Right Domain Name For Your Online Business

Domain names unrelated to your topic can easily deter potential readers from clicking on your site. As an example, consider a situation where you may decide to invest in an AdSense campaign, or paid search engine placement. Irregardless of where you advertise your site, the domain name is likely to be visible to the reader. If it is unrelated to what they are looking for, chances are they will not click on your site.

Unfortunately, in some cases, the main keyword for your topic may already be included in a number of other domain names. In these instances, you may want to us a domain name that still includes your main keyword, and also a secondary one. That said, it is important to keep your domain name to a comfortable word length, so that it is easy to remember.

Finally, even though hyphens in a domain name may make it possible to use your main topic keywords, they can be very annoying to your potential reader. For various reasons, a potential site viewer may want to type the domain name into the address bar. If you have hyphens in the name, it is easier to mis-type it, and then receive an error message. In all cases, it is important to realize that web surfers rarely have the patience to wade through long domain names, let alone figure out why the error occurred.

Many people want domain names that are fresh and live. Unfortunately, even if the name is very creative, it may not be related to your product or site topic. Aside from this, long or tedious domain names can inhibit potential viewers from returning to your site at a later time.

What Makes a Fine Wedding Portrait?

Your wedding is bound to be one of the most memorable days in your life. Even when the privilege of having a portrait made was reserved only for the very wealthy, people often did their best to have some sort of reminder of their big day, even if it was a simple daguerreotype, sketch or miniature. Today, couples are far luckier. They can have a wedding portrait made quite easily, and even have it customized to suit their fancy.

Having a wedding portrait painted in oil is one great way to ensure that your wedding is immortalized in a medium that is more lasting than paper. It is also an excellent piece of interior decor that you will be proud to display in your living room for many years to come.

But what exactly are the ingredients for a fine wedding portrait? The answer, of course, can simply be a matter of personal taste. It often depends heavily on how the couple perceives themselves. For some people who have no-fuss, happy-go-lucky personalities, a good portrait painting can be one that shows them in a relaxed, casual pose that is imbued with a little humor.

Meanwhile, some couples would prefer a wedding portrait painting that is more classic and formal. This is a sensible option, because people do not stay twenty-five forever. The day is bound to come when you're older and more serious, and when it does, a formal portrait makes a better display piece than a casual one.

Whether you prefer a casual wedding portrait or a formal one however, a good portrait painting should tell a story about who you are as a couple as well as be a faithful likeness of you and your partner. It is always a good idea to make sure that your artist documents your clothes, jewelery and flowers. This is especially important if you're wearing family heirlooms or designer pieces. Of course, the artist should also be able to capture the looks on your faces – these expressions are priceless reflections of the pride and joy you and your partner feel at finally being committed to each other for the rest of your lives.

A fine wedding portrait painting should also tell a story. The artist can accomplish this by the composition he chooses for your picture, the lighting, the poses and even the props and backgrounds he uses in the picture.

How to Know If a Woman’s Attracted: The 5 Signals

Maybe she’s that waitress at the local café. Or maybe she’s a coworker or classmate or even the friend you’ve always secretly had a crush on. Regardless who she is, if you like her, then you want to know if the feeling’s mutual.

Lucky for you, all women give off signals when they’re attracted. Most guys never pick up on these signals. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you could easily overlook these secret signals, as well. And you probably already have. You have probably let countless women slip through your fingers in the past because you failed to see the signals.

But you’re never going to make that mistake again. By learning the 5 most common-but least understood-signals of female attraction, you are prepared to get the girl. Just look for 1 of these 5 signals, and then make your move. It’s as simple as that!

1.) She says your name a lot in conversation

If you find a woman saying your name in conversation, there’s a good possibility she has feelings for you. When someone has feelings for another person, the sound of that person’s name gives them a little emotional rush. (Just think of children in the schoolyard writing their crush’s name in their notebooks!) While adults don’t skip around the playground and chant their crush’s name, they do unconsciously say it whenever they can. So if she says your name a lot, there’s a good chance she’s attracted to you.

2.) She fidgets with her hair

When a woman plays with her hair, it often means she’s turned on. It’s a grooming reflex: primate females groom themselves for males before mating. (If you want proof, just go to your local zoo!) Thus, if you catch a woman stroking her hair as she talks to you, it means you’re probably arousing her interests.

3.) She breaks eye contact first

Poets say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Well, her eyes are also a window into her feelings. It’s a well known fact that eye contact signifies confidence. And confidence is nothing more than comfort in one’s status. So, for example, if you were training some new entry level employees at your job, then you’d probably feel very confident in holding strong eye with all of them. If, however, you were having a business with your boss’ boss, then you probably wouldn’t feel as comfortable maintaining strong eye contact (since your boss’ boss has higher status). Likewise, if you notice a woman continually breaking eye contact first, she’s probably nervous with attraction for you.

4.) She gets carried away with emotion sometimes around you

A major misconception most guys have of women is that they need to “like” you to feel attraction. Just think of all the bad boys who do amazing with women! Now, you don’t need to become a “bad boy” just to attract women; however, you shouldn’t be discouraged is a woman isn’t always in a peachy mood around you. In fact, it’s better if she’s not! A woman would never waste her emotions on a guy she didn’t like. So if she sometimes gets frustrated with you or even angry at you, it’s a good thing.

5.) She speaks in the future tense about you

Here’s a very subtle-but very powerful-attraction signal that women give off. If a woman’s interested in you, she’ll make comments about seeing you in the future. It’s important to note that none of these signals will be overt; instead, they’ll be little offhanded comments like, “Are you going to x, y, z event next week?” If a woman is asking such questions, it’s a telltale sign that you’re on her mind.