Ode to My Daughter on her 1st Communion: Part I (The Girl)

Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Inspiration, Just For Fun, Learning, Vulnerability | 0 comments

Like many mothers with pent up creative energy – I use events in my kids lives as an excuse to visit the craft store, make a mess and generally have fun with my purely artistic creative juices. One of the things I really enjoy is cake decorating. I use boxed cake mix, canned frosting (or purchased frosting from the Publix deli)…but the tools and the artistry, they are mine all mine. When a cake decorating opportunity approaches, I get excited. I peruse Pinterest for inspiration, I spend more money on cake decorating tools and equipment. This weekend, my daughter Madeleine will experience her 1st Communion. She is 7 (almost 8), and we are Catholic, so this is a big deal – with a beautiful white dress and fancy hair and shoes and everything. And Madeleine is a pretty incredible kid, in so many ways. At age 7, she is the most self-referencing person I know. She is who she is, not in an “in your face” non-conformist sort of way –  just in a really awesome, beautiful, authentic kind of way. One time she was upset because of something that happened with friends, and she said to me “sometimes I just feel like I don’t fit in” – looking up at me with tears streaming down her face.  As a parent, this is the equivalent of someone ripping your heart out and slicing it in a million different pieces. The first thing I wanted to do was grab the “friends” by the shoulders and say “CAN’T YOU SEE HOW AWESOME SHE IS???”.  But I realized pretty quickly that I couldn’t do that, you can’t change other people – right?  My next thought was, “well, maybe I need to give her more advice about how to fit in? I mean, I’ve been pretty successful at it, maybe I need to teach her some of those tricks”.  But this thought made my heart sink, and make me feel sad…like it would be something akin to painting neon hearts on Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”. I realized this was also not the right direction. And then God intervened, with a lesson for both of us, and here is what I actually said to her, as I wiped away her tears… “Madeleine, I am not really sure what to say to you right now…because the reality is, you are such an amazing and unique person …and that is awesome…but there is cost. The cost is that sometimes, you aren’t going to fit in and people aren’t going to like you. I’d rather you learn how to deal with this fact, the reality that sometimes you aren’t going to fit in and sometimes people aren’t going...

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Live Today Like Someone Left the Gate Open

Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Inspiration, Just For Fun, Leadership, Learning, Vulnerability | 0 comments

  This is my dog, James. I’ve seen a quote and an image something like this before – it features a dog running as fast as he can and he looks so happy – the quote on the graphic is “Live life like someone left the gate open.” My kids and I often reference the quote out loud when James is running around full tilt, as he was just before this photo was taken. “Hey Mom, James is living like someone left the gate open!” We love to watch him. Something about the pureness of the joy, the fact that he will run and run and run until he is completely and happily spent, that I admire… and, honestly, sometimes I’m even jealous of him and the pureness of his joy and the simplicity of his exhaustion having put all his energy into his joy. So for Inspiration Monday, I offer this awesome picture of my dog James – taken right after he had run his heart out through mud puddles and rolled around in freshly cut grass – and a slightly modified quote, that seems more possibly than living my whole life that way…I can do this for one day, just enjoy it – go all out – don’t worry about anything… “Live TODAY like someone left the gate open.” If it gets really messy, you can always take a bath, get a good night’s sleep and try again tomorrow :-). Susan O’Neal Gear has over 20 years of experience at the intersection of consumers, marketing and technology. Passionate about all aspects of a consumer’s relationship with brands and retailers, we’re spending the next year looking for new, groundbreaking thought leadership  – if not disruptive solutions – with the potential to redefine the parameters of consumer loyalty. If you also want to see some game changing happen -then follow Upstream Insight, contribute your voice, share this post…do something! ...

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Don’t Quit Your Marketing Job! 2 Helpful Tips to Make It Easier

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Big Data, Bluetooth LE, Burnout, Consumer Data, CPG, Digital Coupon, Digital Strategy, iBeacon, innovation, Inspiration, Just For Fun, Leadership, Learning, Retail Disruption, Strategy, Vulnerability | 0 comments

If you are employed anywhere in the art & discipline of marketing, this clip of Kevin Spacey  from American Beauty will resonate with you, to a dangerously close degree (the more so the longer you’ve been in it and the more you are paid). And you may think it is because the space has gone completely insane, and you would be right. I mean, look at this graphic.  LOOK AT IT.  Are you kidding me?  Over 950 companies and it’s not even complete – Catalina Marketing isn’t even on the slide… no brick & mortar commerce is represented in any direct fashion and it’s still intimidating as hell!   It is so easy to feel stupid, inadequate, behind and incompetent.   If you feel that way, it is really, really important for you to know that you are – very likely – the smartest person in the room.  DO NOT LET THE HYPE INTIMIDATE YOU. You’re like the “divergent” ones (if you saw the movie or read the series). The rest of the population – most especially those who are prone to believe the simulations – need you to help figure out what is real and what is not.  The fate of your company, literally, is in your hands if you don’t speak up. Believe in yourself. I know it’s hard. And I also know that if you do the personal accounting, it’s also not actually worth it, but I offer to you anyway…because I believe in you… 2 Tips to Make Your Marketing Job Easier  (in the form of Scenario & Response) …which I hope will encourage you to keep the good fight going  – specifically, the one in your brain that is trying to think for itself and figure it out using logic, reason and strategy: Scenario 1: John “Know-It-All” Doe (client or industry guru or competitior) tries to invalidate you by asking if you if you have heard of a company that you have not heard of but which can do all the things your own company and service cannot do. In 2010 I was the 4th most traveled person at my company, helping to introduce a new digital offering to clients. I was in such high demand because entering into a discussion about digital marketing with their clients made the sales professional feel vulnerable, for very good and logical reasons (these sales people are some of the most impressive individuals I’ve ever met, they aren’t easily intimidated). The client would ask…  “Well, have you heard of company X? They said they could do A, B and C…you guys can only do B” (I paraphrase of course). The salesperson would feel stupid if they didn’t know the...

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Ayrton Senna on Work, Dedication & Competence.

Posted by on May 5, 2014 in innovation, Inspiration, Just For Fun, Leadership, Learning, Vulnerability | 0 comments

  I was introduced to Ayrton Senna by my boyfriend, who is really into racing, on the 20th anniversary of Senna’s untimely death this past Thursday (May 1st).  In honor of the event, we watched a documentary film about the racing legend’s life.  Among the many things that struck me about story was how much our heroes focus us on the same core values – work, dedication, sacrifice – but not in the service of just anything. The most inspiring men and women pursue those values in the service of – always – what is  a very personal drive and passion. They believe in themselves and specifically in their ability to achieve their vision  – even if it is impossible. I wonder if that is what, of all their varying characteristics, we love the most about our heroes…that they believe in themselves the way we wish we believed in ourselves. Heroes give us a little hope that it is okay to be that crazy, that confident, that great. Believe in yourself. Bring your crazy, unique, personal gift out to the world – even if it requires work, dedication, sacrifice and risk to do it.   Susan O’Neal Gear has over 20 years of experience at the intersection of consumers, marketing and technology. Passionate about all aspects of a consumer’s relationship with brands and retailers, we’re spending the next year looking for new, groundbreaking thought leadership  – if not disruptive solutions – with the potential to redefine the parameters of consumer loyalty. If you also want to see some game changing happen -then follow Upstream Insight, contribute your voice, share this post…do something! ...

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Monday Inspiration: Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

Posted by on Apr 28, 2014 in Inspiration, Just For Fun, Leadership, Learning, Retail Disruption, Strategy | 0 comments

When faced with obstacles or ignorance or any other kind of headwind, you have two choices: 1.  Assume they know something you don’t or that you “can’t” or that “it’s no use”  –  and then  back down into your corner with a little less confidence, a little less self-esteem and a lot less power. OR 2.  Keep going, keep trying to get better, keep learning  …”BE SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU”…. and in the process, get stronger, more confident, more powerful. I don’t care if your points of view are aligned or not aligned with mine on any given topic. What’s important is not who is “right” but who is ALIVE and participating. This is the only way we grow – as a human, as a leader, as a company, as a country, as a society. We need more people to choose option 2.   Susan O’Neal Gear has over 20 years of experience at the intersection of consumers, marketing and technology. Passionate about all aspects of a consumer’s relationship with brands and retailers, we’re spending the next year looking for new, groundbreaking thought leadership  – if not disruptive solutions – with the potential to redefine the parameters of consumer loyalty. If you also want to see some game changing happen -then follow Upstream Insight, contribute your voice, share this post…do...

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