free


I’m perfectly content being single. I love my life and my friends and their kids and my family. Would I like to find Mr. Right? Sure. But after seeing this video I’m reminded of my picky nature and I go back to happily controlling my remote and tossing the cat off the bed when I want it to myself.

Seriously, I think the guy in the viking hat is the most normal one. Who would you choose?

The headline of today’s post is one of my favorite lines from a movie I love called Elf. Will Ferrell is hilarious as Buddy, an adopted Elf who leaves the North Pole and travels to Manhattan to meet his dad. While visiting his dad at work, he answers the phone, “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” One day, I would like to work in a place where I can answer the phone that way.

Things have been busy for me lately and so less time for “observing” potential topics for this blog. But what I have noticed lately—which is kind of hard to miss—are the beautiful colors of the leaves. The trees have been building up their food reserves for the winter and the little leaves are shriveling up and dying. But boy do they go out in a blaze of glory.

And after reading an article about colors in Marketing News, a magazine published by the American Marketing Association, I thought it would be fun to talk about how we can use colors to influence people’s perceptions of brands, buying behavior, and moods. How you decorate your living room is your own business. Various cultures have different views on colors and what they mean, but below are some general color associations that I got from a Web site called Buzzle.com.

  • Red: power, passion, courage, vitality, excitement, strength, speed, love, heart and warmth.
  • Yellow: light, cheer, sunlight, happiness, creativity, confidence, self-esteem, intellect, innovation.
  • Blue: caring, devotion, trust, wisdom, peacefulness, serenity, loyalty, truth, coolness, harmony.
  • Green: nature, fresh, growth, abundance, life, youth, renewal, hope, fertility, peace, balance.
  • Orange: energy, warmth, contentment, fruitfulness, strength, security, sensuality, abundance.
  • White: pure light, energy, truth, perfection, serenity, harmony, loyalty, sincerity, clarity.
  • Black: formal, reserved, drive, dignity, reliability, authority, power, prudence, wisdom, glamour.

I believe that blue is the color most often used in business. And it makes sense considering how the color is perceived. Orange and red are often used in fast food—cheap and quick. Can you think of brands you like and the colors they use? Based on the descriptions above, do those colors accurately reflect how you feel about the brand? Something to think about.

And in answer to Buddy’s question, my favorite color is green. But I sure do like seeing all of the colors in nature. And while this has nothing to do with colors, I feel compelled to note that Office Max created some great buzz about their brand by developing the Elf Yourself video application through JibJab. Creativity and innovation can cause something to spread as virally as the swine flu. Try it, it’s fun.

 

 

Americans are not shy about expressing themselves. I recently had the unpleasant experience of getting flamed on a discussion board for expressing my opinion and am certain that will be the last time I do that. Not because I’m intimidated—oh no. But it was frustrating to be insulted and criticized—personally attacked—by someone who doesn’t know anything about me. There’s no reasoning with people like that.

But debate is good, it’s necessary, and it’s what our founding fathers wanted. We often complain that the government takes too long to react to crisis and injustice. Lately there have been a lot of mixed feelings about how fast or slow they should move. Being unemployed I have a personal interest in seeing this economy get out of the slump and some of the recovery money is helping—some. However, being fiscally conservative I also see the horrific consequences we’ll have to deal with because of this spending free-for-all.

While on a trip recently, I read various signs that expressed the views of my fellow countrymen. I want to share these with you—but please don’t flame me. I’m a big girl and can take some heat but I do have feelings.

  • U.S. stands for Unlimited Spending—saw that on the Bridgeville Fire Department marquee. Very witty and oh so true.
  • Socialism = trickle up poverty—this one was a bumper sticker. If only I was as smart and entrepreneurial, I could make money selling crap to everyone.
  • Reward, Straw Thief—okay, this one was on a piece of board near a farm and I thought it was funny. And it does have to do with money and the value someone puts on their straw. (Which reminds me of a time in high school when my friends and I, ahem, borrowed a bale of straw and tossed it into the pool of our rival swim team. Hey—we were kids with nothing to do and it was better than going out and getting into worse trouble.)

So remember—you may not agree with the guy who lives next to you and that’s okay. Healthy debate is good. It makes us think hard about policies, laws, and programs before we react too quickly and make mistakes. Just try to formulate intelligent arguments, get your facts straight, and be respectful. I love America. I love speaking my mind (but no longer on discussion boards). And I love the people who protect those rights for me.

Dilbert.com
 

I had lunch this week with some pretty fun people I used to work with. In fact, this whole week has been great for getting out of the house and seeing friends. And getting out of the house has allowed me to observe more things—which is what this blog is supposed to be about.

So other than noticing that a whole lot of my neighbors are home during the day, I’ve noticed that one of the main topics of conversation everywhere seems to be about cutting costs.  On that note, let’s talk about a word we all love so much—FREE. In the old days people thought they liked free stuff. In the old days free stuff was really crap. It meant not valuable. (Because here in American we rate the value of things by how much they cost.)

It’s a new day folks. Free takes on a new meaning. It’s a necessity. And after ringing the office budget so much that even the Splenda gets cut, it’s time to realize how much fun free can be. It’s also good business. Using social media—the free networking sites—for marketing has become a hot new trend. (But that’s part of my professional expertise and you’re going to have to pay me to learn my secrets.) 

The truth is, there can be value in free. And as cliché as it is, we know deep down that the best things in life are free. Here’s a list—some very important and some just for fun.

  • Love.
  • Salvation.
  • Laughter. (Always share a good joke with your friends.)
  • A walk in the park.
  • For DC metro residents and visitors, the National Mall and the Smithsonian museums. (Hey, there’s a new Ben Stiller museum movie coming out that looks funny. But that costs money, sorry.)
  • Today a laptop. Tomorrow—not sure. Visit the free deal of the day to find out.
  • Air.
  • Network TV.
  • Swimming in the ocean and playing in the sand.
  • Great books in the library.
  • Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Word press.

 What do you like to do that’s free?