Author Archives: stephenrhodes

About stephenrhodes

Journalist of 30 years as a reporter, editor and publisher. Student of politics since covering my first election in 1971 and I am still trying to figure it out. Past President of the Brampton Board of Trade and Rotary Club of Brampton. Been in Brampton since 1982.

Attack ads have become a political staple

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

I haven’t heard anyone say they like attack ads, a staple, it seems, in political campaigns. I would think in a protracted 78 day federal election campaign that we are sick and tired of them.

Attack ads rely on a germ of truth, stoke the committed voter and dangerously inform the uninformed and by almost any standard of measurement descend to personal low blows.

trudeauAttack ads have been part of the Conservative arsenal going back to Jean Chretien.The attacks are personal, so we get a vacationing Michael Ignatieff and an unready Justin Trudeau. The Liberals have also used them, attacking Conservative leaders Stanfield and Clark. In 2004, the Martin Liberals accused Stephen Harper for his “hidden agenda.”

Well, if they didn’t work, parties wouldn’t use them.

Attack ads aren’t aimed at everyone. The plugged-in people hate them as irrelevant. But, for the ill-informed it may be the only exposure they have to the party leaders. And the party faithful don’t need them but attack ads stoke their anger and fear, ensuring they get out to vote.

So, why do they work? We pay more attention to negative information, complain about it, but pay more attention to it. We are bombarded by the media all day along, and across multiple platforms, with negative information. And while positive ads can be good, in political campaigns negative ads are more effective.


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Filed under advertising, Uncategorized

Treating your website like your garage

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

As I drive through the subdivision where I live, almost all of the homes with garages have two cars parked in the driveway. When I first moved here 25 years ago, I thought that was a curious thing. Why have a garage if you are going to park your cars in the driveway?

packed-garageGarages are a lot like some websites, full of information you don’t know where to park. There is a temptation to treat websites as a place to put information you can’t fit into you brochure. Relatively speaking, you have unlimited space compared to a brochure, so why not create more tabs or pages to share the information.

Well, once the garage is full does anyone wade to the back to see what’s there? Not likely, unless of course it’s moving day.

Websites need to be dynamic, and include well-written content that is short, to the point and inspires action. Strong images to support the dialogue. No clutter.

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Save your business – don’t hire a snooty waiter

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Jan van der Hoop, a blogger at the Mississauga Board of Trade writes – your people – and not you or your product – will ultimately determine the fate of your business.

Jan writes about the rude treatment he received from a waiter at a French restaurant and wonders if owner of the restaurant is aware.

rude waiterHe had clearly invested heavily in his restaurant – the building, the kitchen, the team, promoting and building his business… only to have one guy’s indifference sully his hard-built reputation.

It is your employees’ standards, attitudes and values that ultimately determine how your customer will feel during and after they have done business with you.

And too often business owners don’t know the damage that is being done. Hire right. Spend time on their training so they fully understand that they are an ambassador for your business and your reputation.

As Jan points out, anything less amounts to “management malpractice”

Read Jan’s full post here


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Filed under Branding, Human Resources, Managing, Uncategorized

Never will you ever muck with your brand

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

iStock_000016561283SmallI said  the other day Knowing your customers is important. Knowing why they are your customer is even more so. And I have often said your brand is what your customers believe it is.

If your customers have come to rely on you for quality and service, resist the temptation to lower prices for short-term return. Once you set the bar lower, it’s difficult to lift it again.  It’s not a sustainable strategy.

So it comes back to building a brand that your customers want and cherish. Build on that reputation and don’t muck with it.


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Filed under Branding, Customer Service, Uncategorized

You had me at hello

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Ever been in a position where someone is trying to persuade you, or sell you something and they can’t stop talking? They breeze right by the part where you said OK.

big earsIt happens a lot in sales where someone is working from prepared text (telemarketers) or pitches (door-to-door). They are so engrossed in getting their message out they are not watching or listening to your reaction.

I like to throw a spanner in the works, interrupt and ask them a question totally unrelated to what they are talking about. Most are flustered and can’t pick up their pitch.

Be comfortable with your pitch or elevator speech, whether you are selling something or responding to someone asking what you do at a networking event.

But most of all listen.

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Filed under Networking, Sales