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

Family Tree Creation: Reasons To Create Your Own Family Tree

What is the purpose of family tree creation? Why would you set out to create a family tree, or even write the genealogy of your family?

For a lot of people, the answer is simple. They want to know where they are descended from. They want to know who was in their family before them and what those people’s lives were like.

But what more can family tree creation mean for you?

Surprising Information

Other than just satisfying the curiosity about your roots, you could stumble on to information that could change your life. Some of the greatest discoveries about people have been made in the process of finding out their family tree. People discover inheritances that were left for them, or family treasures, which they would otherwise never have known about had they not started to look into their family’s past.

A lot of people also discover great stories. Some of these stories have been published and have earned the authors a great deal of money. Alex Haley wrote the biography of Malcolm X, but that’s not what brought him into the limelight. He became famous when he took time to research 7 generations back into his family; he discovered great stories of how lives were lived, how hardships were overcome and successes made. When he wrote Roots, it was an instant hit; people like to read true stories of people who came before them because it validates their existence today.

There is nothing to stop you from doing the same. Perhaps your family tree creation project could turn you into a millionaire too! Each family, each person in your family, had a unique life that’s worth telling about if you can craft it in such a way as to make an interesting read.

Science and Medicine

Family tree creation is also a valuable scientific asset especially when it comes to researching genetics and diseases. There are particular diseases that seem predominant to very small sections of the population, and research into how these people are related, which has been done using family trees, has shown certain groups to all be descended from one gene. In terms of looking for cures, it narrows the scope so that scientists are able to isolate a single gene and deal with it if, for example, they were looking to cure or understand a disease.

Criminology

In criminology, it’s been found that some serial killers have a violent gene that runs ways back through the family lineage. If you have someone who is particularly errant in your family, you might want to trace your roots and learn about the lives of the people in your family who came before you because it could help explain why this particular person is the way they are – there may be people in your family tree who suffered similar problems and it would help to know this as you look for a solution.

Your Legacy

Family tree creation is also a way of leaving your own legacy behind for those who will come after you. There is no better gift to the next generation than handing them their genealogy: they will know from whom they are descended and somehow, this seems to give people a certain satisfaction. If you can put your family tree together for your kids or grandkids, it’s a perfect gift that they too can add onto and then pass on to the next generation – it means that no one in your family will ever go un-noted.

There are all kinds of ways in which family tree creation and writing your genealogy can be of benefit; it’s worthwhile spending the time recreating your family’s history because, unless you do, you will never know what wonderful stories are waiting there for you!

Free Advertising Ideas For Online Business

In today's economy it is important for every small business to utilize as many free advertising services as they can get their hands on. These ideas should make the advertising process a little easier.

Host a Contest or Event

This will open up new avenues for free advertising. There are many websites out there dedicated to informing people about contests and events that its members might be interested in. Charge a small entry fee to cover the cost of the prizes and you will get traffic from a group of people who might not otherwise find you.

Local Free Advertising

Call up a local newspaper to do a human interest story or business story for your company. Also, submit your own articles to local papers and magazines for consideration. This method of free advertising works best for non-metropolitan areas but it never hurts to try. The worst thing a person can tell you is no!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Learning SEO techniques is one of the best free advertising techniques. A few tips include using only a couple keyword terms per page, maintaining a .5% -5% keyword density rate, utilizing your meta tags and image tags, creating and submitting XML sitemaps, as well as using keywords in your URL.

Personal Touches

Adding personal touches to your business is a great way to get repeat clientele or a good way to close a sale. Send personalized emails, newsletters about not only your services but also your family or friends, insert gifts with every purchase or even jot a quick thank you note and mail it to tell your customer that they really matter to you.

Free Article Submission

Submitting SEO rich articles to article submission sites can be a great way to advertise your website or services. Do not, however, submit the same articles that are on your website. Search engines penalize duplicate content. Instead you should rewrite a few of your articles first.

Link Building

The more inbound, one-way links your website has the higher it will rank in search engines. These inbound links work best if the websites linking to you are relevant to your main focus. These links are the only ones that search giant Google recognizes. To build links you can post blogs or guest blog for someone, submit articles and press releases for syndication, email webmasters, post in forums and comment on blogs. Remember that these links are not only for the search engines, they can also drive legitimate traffic.

Free Classified Advertising

Submitting a well worded link into a free classified can return decent traffic. Describe your website in an intriguing way and curious people will click your link.

Social Networking

Websites like MySpace and Facebook can be great sites to advertise through. You can build a website just for your business and advertise directly to your "friends". My personal technique for acquiring friends involves seeking out groups with an interest in my topic and requesting friend adds from those members. If you only request 20 -40 friends a day you will not likely be marked as spam. The key to getting friends is to type up a seemingly personal message without any links;

"Hi, I noticed you are a chef. My website is running a recipe contest. You should check it out!"

I've found that notes like this in a friend request results in about 1 of every 3 people I approach adding me as a friend. Once your friend list is established you can blog, email or post announcements about your business.

Social Bookmarking

A new trend in online advertising involves social bookmarking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon. See www.AddThis.com for your own social bookmarking button. It is now (practically) mandatory for all websites to allow for social bookmarking. If you have viral content on your website it can really pay off.

Viral Videos

Diet coke and mentos, exploding bathtubs, and bikes playing Guitar hero videos made for close to nothing. If you have a video camera it is worth a shot to try to post a viral video on YouTube. Of course this is no easy task. It is impossible to tell what will become viral. Other video options involve posting information relevant to your site. You can make a simple slideshow with music and text with Microsoft MovieMaker. Place a link to your site on your videos and in your profile. Over time you should reap results.

Free Alternate Directory Submissions

There are many online directories aimed at specific interests. These directories look to help consumers find the best websites and information available. To find these directories simply search a relevant term and "directory".

Proper Freshwater Aquarium Maintenance is Very Important

Freshwater aquarium maintenance is very important part of your duty if you own an aquarium. You have to look after the house of the fishes where they live. I hope like a normal person you take care of your own home so it is quite natural that fishes will also need some well maintained home to stay in.

Freshwater aquarium maintenance is either tough nor absolutely easy. But yes initially you will need adequate guidance for freshwater aquarium maintenance. The steps of maintenance generally include primary preparation, taking out the fishes, washing the tank properly and then putting back the fishes safely.

What are the things you should take care of for the freshwater aquarium maintenance? Well they mainly the removal of the algae, changing water timely and at proper intervals, checking the condition of the filter, vacuuming and testing the water condition and level. All these are very significant part of the maintenance because these factors are directly or indirectly related to the health of your precious fishes.

You can create a chart for the maintenance and this will help you immensely. Break the activities into daily, monthly, quarterly, six monthly and yearly maintenance. Your daily duty is to offer the freshwater fish with food in small quantity two times each day. You must check the working condition of the filter along with the aerator and heater.

During the week maintenance you must alter ten or twenty percent of water, clean the aquarium completely, and test the condition of the water. During the month you have to check the condition of the water, wash off the algae and alter at least twenty-five percent of the water of the tank. At the interval of six months you must reinstate the filter objects.

The quarterly maintenance includes changing the airstones, changing half of the aquarium water and washing the filter. Every year you must change the existing airstones and cleanse the gravel completely. Caring for the fishes is not completely easy and any mistake can leave dreadful impacts on the fishes. Freshwater aquarium maintenance when done adequately will let the fishes live merrily.