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Action, Interaction and Reaction from the Ritz team

Stay tuned to find out our contest winner!

Posted: December 29, 2011 - 4:30 PM ET - by Elisabeth

Thank you to everyone who entered our “2012 in six words (or less)” contest. Your hopes and dreams and grand plans for 2012 were inspiring! We’ll be announcing the winner – and his or her special prize – on Tuesday, January 3.


Oh man, they’re good!

Posted: December 29, 2011 - 4:30 PM ET - by Elisabeth

Have you ever come home from the store, unpacked your bags and stopped to wonder what possessed you to buy that [fill in the blank]?

I’ll admit it, I have. Some of my “Last Call” impulse buys from Neiman Marcus remain a mystery, but it turns out that’s not because I’m weak-willed or easily distracted by shiny things. (Well, not entirely … )

There’s some very tricky marketing going on out there (although in PR, we prefer the term “strategic.”)

I recently read an article in Bottom Line Personal by Martin Lindstrom, author of Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy, highlighting some of the most interesting department and grocery store tactics:

The Good Old Days
Packaging that looks like it did in the good old days, particularly to the Baby Boomer demographic and especially in a troubled economy, brings back memories of happier times. Lindstrom says 35% of brands are now using nostalgia in their ad campaigns.

A Good Investment
Cars, electronics, even jewelry aren’t just purchases or nice holiday gifts anymore. In this economy, we’re not looking to “spend”; if we’re going to splurge we want to feel it’s an “investment.”

What’s Good is Right
Have you ever noticed how you enter and move counterclockwise through the grocery store? Most people are right-handed, and counterclockwise shopping makes it easier to reach for items with the right hand. According to research, this can increase spending up to 7%.

Good and Plenty
Is your grocery store entrance filled with fresh flowers and fresh fruit? Does it make you think the store is filled with fresh, wonderful items? (Hint: Yes!)

Good Luck Finding The One On Sale
Lindstrom claims that heavily discounted items are harder to find in department stores. Those sales racks are never right at the edge of the department; first you have to wind through the racks of inviting new styles and products. More time spent searching equals … you guessed it, more spent.

I can say from experience that knowing some of these tricks doesn’t make you any less susceptible to them. I could feel duped I suppose, but I have to admit I’m more inclined to admire the ingenuity of the marketing geniuses who generated the ideas … and to buy their next books.


2012 in six words (or less)

Posted: December 15, 2011 - 5:12 PM ET - by Elisabeth

Earlier this year I invited readers to share six words about themselves or someone they admire in response to my post on “a great man is one sentence.” There were a lot of great entries and some fun feedback, so I’m doing it again in anticipation of the New Year!

In (no more than) six words, share what you’re working toward, hoping for or aspiring to in 2012. You have until 5 pm CST on December 22. Once again, there will be a grand prize winner … and a grand prize!

… and here’s to “a year of inspiration and joy!”


“Talent is nothing without focus and endurance.”

Posted: December 1, 2011 - 7:30 PM ET - by Elisabeth

I’ve seen this quote by Haruki Murakami several times in the last few days, so I’m pondering the message from the universe.

There’s lots of evidence to support the idea, from the “10,000-Hour Rule” in Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” to the simple joke “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. Practice. Practice.”

Friends and colleagues, from those who run companies to the ones who run marathons, would say neither effort stands a chance without “focus” and “endurance.” (… and once I can figure out what to focus on besides the pain, maybe I’ll start that marathon training!)

So “focus” and “endurance” are the magic ingredients?

…but I believe there’s more to it.

I know I’m not alone.

The motivational quotes under the glass on my desk and pinned to my bulletin board and jotted in notebooks remind me I’m not alone.

“Whatever there be of progress in life comes not through adaptation but through daring.” (Henry Miller)

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” (Goethe)

If inspirational phrases about daring action and boldness aren’t enough, there’s science.

Studies in fifth-graders show that praising children for “effort” over “intelligence” creates a mindset that encourages hard work; a willingness, even a desire, for difficult problem sets from which to learn; and confidence. Those students who displayed a “growth mindset” even favored learning over grades in school while students with a “fixed mindset” were more concerned with appearing smart than learning.

Researchers saw the same impact in business, discouraging “fixed mindset” managers and employees from taking advice and constructive criticism. (… and I’m sure there’s a lesson in “daring to be wrong” at work!)

Maybe that’s the point of my message from the universe?

Right or wrong …

Success or flop …

Like any wise fifth grader, marathoner or entrepreneur … “Fortune favors the bold.” (Virgil)