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    Today's Smoothie Recipe

    Jan/22/2013 | Posted by John Melley

    1 Lemon - Juiced
    1/2 Lime - Juiced
    2 Carrots
    2 scoops whey protein powder
    1/3 of a cantaloupe melon
    1 banana
    3/4 cup of Maine Wild Blueberries
    4 ice cubes
    Whip in blender 3 minutes

    OOOOOHHHHH YYEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHH! Delicious!

    Can Exercise Help You With Complicated Scripts?

    Jan/21/2013 | Posted by John Melley

    My personal trainer gave me a cool book for Christmas titled: "Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain" by John J. Ratey, MD.

    I'm about half way through it, but I am fascinated with it. We all know exercise is good for us. But it turns out research is finding out all sorts of new information that demonstrates how and why it is so good for us.

    The first part of the book details a couple of studies of a few high school districts in the United States. One district in Naperville, Illinois requires gym every day of the week. The students in this school district took the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) - you know the one that shows U.S. Students dead last in everything?

    Well the kids in Naperville finished FIRST in the science section just ahead of Singapore and scored sixth in the Math section.

    One of the things the school district does is offer early gym classes for students who are struggling with academics so they get physical activity before their classes. Sometimes they schedule their most difficult classes just after their gym classes so they learn their most difficult subjects in order to take advantage of the physical effects and benefits of exercise.

    To find out what was going on, students were fitted with a swim cap embedded with electrodes that measured electrical activity in the brain. The EEG showed more activity in fit kids' brains, indicating that more neurons involved in attention were being recruited for specific tasks. In other words, more brain resources could be used to learn or do things which helped them perform more effectively and retain more information. I have a link to the book on Amazon.com at the end of this post if you'd like to learn more about the book, or buy it.

    How does this work for voice over? Well, if you have a technical script to read it might be a good idea to schedule the recording session just after your workout, or schedule your script review session just after exercise. If you're trying to memorize copy, it might be a good idea to do some exercise then too.

    Do you have a favorite routine that you do before recording sessions? Do you exercise before or after work? What things do you do to make your recording sessions go well? I'd love your feedback.

    Here's that link I mentioned:

    Will Toyota's New Ad Slogan Pay Off?

    Jan/17/2013 | Posted by John Melley

    I loaded in the latest radio spots for Toyota this afternoon and was surprised to hear their new Slogan at the end of the spots.

    They used to end with "Toyota... Moving Forward." Now they end with "Toyota... Let's go places."

    Wow... how boring. {Crickets chirping sound effect inserted here}

    I wondered if they {Toyota} decided to move away from the "Moving Forward" slogan since it so closely resembles Obama's exhaustive plans for the next 4 years of: "Forward."

    It worked for Obama so it makes me wonder why Toyota would change it. Lump it under the heading "If it ain't broke don't fix it."

    So I did some digging around and found a press release. Part of it reads as follows:

    "Let's Go Places" speaks to the evolution of Toyota and our commitment to leading through innovation, enriching lives and connecting with customers in new ways they define," said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. "It is energetic, aspirational, inclusive and very versatile. The phrase conveys a dual meaning of physically going places and taking off on an adventure, while also expressing optimism and the promise of exciting innovation that enriches people's lives. It allows our associates, customers, dealers, and suppliers to interpret it in ways that are most personally relevant to them."

    Wow! and that was only 1 of 3 paragraphs that went on about how they arrived at this.

    I don't know if I felt any of that after hearing it. Then again, I tend to be more concrete in my thinking. For example Ford's slogan for a while was "Quality is Job 1." Simple, direct and a corporate value that meant something for the customer.

    It took 5 ad agencies and 1 research firm; Saatchi & Saatchi, Dentsu America, Conill, Burrell, Intertrend, and Grieco Research to come up with the nifty new slogan.

    I bet this cost Toyota a bundle. It makes me wonder how they'll measure the return on the investment of its creation. I don't think that's possible.

    Maybe it will resonate with buyers. I noticed it, but then I work with so many commercials each day that I can pretty much recite any slogan for any major brand (Go ahead... try me ;-D) so when there's a change, I notice it.

    Do you have a favorite slogan for a company? If so, please feel free to share and why you like it.

    John

    Are You “Driving” Potential Customers to Your Competition?

    Jan/16/2013 | Posted by John Melley

    In this post I discuss through a real life story how a business literally drove me to their competition.

    I needed to have my Ford 500 fixed. My accelerator was acting a little odd. I love my car. It’s the best car I’ve ever had, so I’m keeping it for as long as I can.

    My mechanic diagnosed the problem and told me I needed a new “Doofinator Caframmis Valve Module” or some such item. He didn’t have the right calibration tool so he told me I needed to take the car to the Dealership to have it repaired.

    I’ve had Matt work on my cars for decades and I trust him. So when he said I needed to take it to the Dealer, I did.

    When I spoke with them to get the repairs made, I asked if they had a loaner I could use while my car was in the shop.

    “Uhh… maybe. If not you’ll need to rent one.”

    “Ok.”

    Here’s where it gets interesting. I drop the car off and they said they were out of rentals, so they called a rental company to pick me up. They set me up with a KIA.

    (Aside: I think KIA is a terrible name for a car. KIA to me means the military term of Killed In Action. Obviously it hasn’t damaged the brand too much, but it just doesn’t sit right with me. Has anyone else thought of this?)

    Back to my story. So basically the Ford Service Department drove me to rent a car to get a day and a half “test drive” of their competitor’s product. This is dumb.

    Here’s what I’d do if I owned the Ford Dealership. “Hello Mr. Melley. We’re sorry you’re having trouble with your car. We’ll fix it as quickly as we can. In the mean time, here’s the current Taurus. Just return it when you pick up your car.”

     Sure, I’d sign an agreement and fill up the tank. That’s understood. But that would have been cool. Here’s what would happen when I brought the car back: “How’d you like the car? Would you be interested in discussing a trade in?”

    How many people do you think might at least consider it? Probably enough to justify it.

    But hey, the economy is terrible and we have 47% unemployment and 99% aren’t buying the 1% of the cars that are about to go over the fiscal cliff due to the gridlocked congress. Yadda yadda.

    Nope. The problem is not enough people are thinking about selling opportunities that might get people buying and back to work.

    What opportunities are you missing in your business? I know I’ve missed some. Sometimes we’re too close to our own businesses to see them. That’s why belonging to Mastermind Groups is so powerful. You get different eyes looking at your business and seeing opportunities you might be missing and that’s good.

    My Mastermind Group has helped me generate tens of thousands of dollars for my business over the years. I would have missed these opportunities if I hadn’t belonged to one. If you don’t belong to one, consider forming one.

    Do you belong to a Mastermind Group? I’d love to hear your comments about what they’ve done for you.

    Please share this post with a friend if you think it was helpful. If it wasn’t I’m open to constructive feedback as well.

    Talk to you soon.

    John

    How Scarce Are You?

    Jan/02/2013 | Posted by John Melley

    Hello!

    Below is a re-posting of an article I wrote a while ago. I have re-posted it here by popular demand.

    Although it's written with the Voice Over Talent community in mind, the concepts apply to most businesses and practices, so wherever you see "Voice Talent" feel free to insert your profession as well.

    Enjoy!

    Are You a Commodity?

    I was at a Marketing Conference and during one of the sessions the presenter asked this interesting question: “Are you a commodity?”

    Nobody likes to think about themselves as a commodity, but then to rub it in further he asked 2 more questions that determined whether you/your business is a commodity or not. What were the two questions? What are the Top 5 services you provide to your clients? And… does your competition provide those same services? If the answer is yes, alas you are a commodity. (You should have heard the groans.)

     Does that mean we are doomed to be equated with bushels of wheat, or barrels of oil? H-E-ck NO!

     Let’s first look at “Commodity”. Simply put, it means something commonly found, or readily available. So, to avoid being a commodity, we have to differentiate ourselves from our competition.

    Everyone’s voice is different. Aside from that, how do we make what we DO different from other voice over/production talent? We’ve got to become scarce. We’ve got to do something no other voice talent is doing, or at least make ourselves scarce in our customers’ eyes (and ears). You must be able to answer the client’s question: “Why should I use YOU instead of any of your competitors?”

    Being able to answer this question is the key to unlocking the power of your voice over pricing and business. In marketing parlance this is what is called your Unique Selling Proposition, or USP. It’s a tough question to answer and to be truthful your USP can, and probably should evolve over time. Mine is still a work in progress.

    Once you define your USP, or you become “Unique” in the eyes of your customer, all kinds of marvelous things start to happen in your business. Your clients see you as the expert in your field—the “go to” person for voice over projects. They start to refer you to others who may need your services.

    Since you are Unique, there is less resistance to your pricing. You can charge more.

    Let’s talk about positioning. Another one of the speakers at the above mentioned conference was a gentleman by the name of Nido Qubein. Nido was born in Lebanon and came to the United States as a young boy. He is now, among other things, the President of High Point University and Chairman of the Great Harvest Bread Company®.

    Nido powerfully demonstrated the concept and importance of increasing “Perceived Value” with a simple 1 lb. bag of Hershey Kisses® and a 1 lb. box of Godiva® Chocolates.

    He asked why two items with essentially the same ingredients and taste were so markedly different in price. A 1 lb. bag of Hershey Kisses® sells for about $4.00.

    A 1 lb. box of Godiva® Chocolates sells for 10 times as much at about $40.00.

    He went on to say that you buy Hershey Kisses® to eat. You buy Godiva® to give as a gift.

    You put Hershey Kisses® in a bowl and give them away. Godiva® Chocolates are prized, hidden away in a cabinet and only shared with someone special.

    Why is this? Perceived value.

    Don’t get me wrong. Hershey Kisses® are delicious. If they’re out, you can count on me grabbing about a half dozen and eating them. That says something right there, doesn’t it? Would you “Grab a handful of Godiva® Chocolates?” You’d probably eat  just 2… maybe 3 and think you were really splurging. You want to make them last.

    Look at the packaging. Hershey Kisses® come in a clear plastic bag and are stacked in piles on store shelves, or piled in a large bin in the candy aisle and you just pick it up and toss it in your basket, or shopping cart.

    Godiva® Chocolates are packaged with each piece having their own little section molded in the tray, neatly layered within a gold foil box; a satin ribbon and bow on top with the Godiva® logo embossed on the lid. They are “displayed” in fancy cases with elegant lighting. You are probably waited on by someone who may help you select the chocolates you’re buying. You feel special just going to buy them and giving them.

    One chocolate’s “presentation” and buying “experience” is totally different from the other.

    You can create your own “Godiva Zone” in which you live and operate. You do it with the words you use, the way you treat your clients, how you look after them, how you dress, speak on the phone, how you write your emails, your letterhead, demo packaging, the experience they have with you in the studio. Your “Presentation.”

    Another example Nido gave were the differences between Disney® vs. Six Flags® or Universal Studios®. Disney® beats its competitors hands-down. How? Attention to detail and creating a WOW! Experience for the guests of their park.

    Did you know the lamp posts along Main Street USA at Disney® are painted every single day? They are painted at a specific time so they dry just in time for the park to open so they have the highest shine for people to see as they first enter the park. They take into account the humidity level every single day to determine the exact time they should start to paint them so they dry in time. That’s attention to detail.

    Most nights of the year Disney® is open to Midnight and people stay there all day, cryin’ kids and all. They don’t want to miss a thing and they don’t want to leave.

    Nido told us to ask ourselves: “Would someone buy a ticket to ‘my park’”? If they did buy a ticket, “How long would they stay?”

    Other questions you need to ask yourself are: “How can I be the kind of person people want to give? How can I be a box of Godiva® Chocolates? How can I get them to say ‘That’s the person I want to do all my voice over work’”?

    How can you create a “WOW!” experience for your clients so that you don’t just have clients, but raving fans? How can you “Make yourself scarce?”

    John Melley is a Nationally recognized Voice Over Talent, having performed voice over for Irving Oil, Hewlett Packard, United Technologies Corporation and countless others. He is also in demand as a marketing consultant for business owners, specializing in coaching voice talent to grow their businesses. He believes a rising tide lifts all ships and helping other voice talent benefits the entire voice over profession. If you would like to learn more about John’s availability for helping you grow your voice over business, Please email Mike@JohnMelley.com

     

    2013 Calendar

    Dec/26/2012 | Posted by John Melley

    My Birthday Greetings

    Dec/23/2011 | Posted by John Melley

    Wow!

    MIKE! from my studio here sent out a notice that it is my birthday today and I've been getting Birthday Greetings from all around the globe.

    Some have gotten quite creative.

    Below... a greeting from a friend from my UMass Marching Band Days - who ALSO was a friend of my future wife while she was at Smith College (though I didn't meet her until 12 years later) SMALL WORLD!

    This is a HOOT!

     

    Thanks Everyone!

    I'm Surrounded By "Ho's"

    Dec/19/2011 | Posted by John Melley

    In light of my last post on Facebook I thought I'd share this little compilation of Ho's that have come across my studio console over time.

    For your listening pleasure.

    Happy Holidays!

  • Save Me From the Ho Ho Ho's!
  • Burning Desire

    Nov/20/2011 | Posted by John Melley

    Here's another great article from my good friend Dan Kennedy

    Enjoy!

    John

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Burning Desire
    by Dan Kennedy

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    "I've been around only a few people who have exhibited
    sustained burning, overwhelmingly intense desire to
    accomplish a particular goal or learn a particular skill and
    it's my observation that such people rarely waiver from an
    optimistic, enthusiastic, constructive attitude. Fire in the
    belly seems to prevent distractions in the mind."


    Do you have a goal, a mission or a passion that is so
    powerful that it ignites a fire in your belly? If you
    answered "yes", congratulations. If you answered "no", it's
    never to late to discover it.

    ----

    P.S.Discover Essential Dan Kennedy Principles and Strategies Swiped
    From The World of Direct Marketing To SUPERCHARGE ANY BUSINESS OR
    SALES CAREER
    Jumbo Results Marketing

    Who Needs a Coach?

    Nov/09/2011 | Posted by John Melley

    Many of you know in addition to being a voice actor and producer that I have a passion for drumming and a big fan of the band RUSH from Canada.

    I think part of my interest in drumming comes from watching RUSH's drummer Neil Peart (Pronounced "Peert"). For those who don't know about Mr. Peart, he is considered one of, if not the best, rock drummers in the world.

     Neil Peart plays a drum solo during RUSH's 30th Anniversary Tour. It builds slowly and then really takes off at around 6:50. If you want to watch an artist in action. Take 8 minutes and 43 seconds and watch this. Very cool.

    Back in the 1990s Neil was stuck in his playing. He was amazing back then and a casual observer might ask "He's the best. Why does he need to get better"?

    But Neil felt his playing could improve, so he sought out a coach to help him with his playing. He found Jazz great Freddy Gruber who taught him a new way to hold his sticks, that the space between the hits on the drum head were just as important as the hits themselves.

    Freddy worked with Neil and he relearned his drumming from the ground up. His drum kit was set up differently. He re-learned the drums after 30 years of playing.

    What compels someone to do that? Excellence.

    Neil also did something interesting. He went outside his field to find a coach. It's no accident that Neil went to find a new way to improve his craft by asking a Jazz player instead of another rock drummer.

    Sometimes it's better to go outside your area of expertise to get a different perspective and achieve the most growth.

    Who needs a coach? In my opinion, anyone who wants to achieve excellence in what they're passionate about.