A Brand New Recipe For Branding

In a recent article, I told the story of when I was a young whippersnapper, attaining classes at what was then and still is called "one of the more famous hotel schools in North America", the marketing professor gave us an interesting, but quite challenging assignment.

We were to find a hospitality business that marketed itself by using the participation of the owner as part of the "distinctiveness" of the business. At the time, this seemed like a most difficult assignment, because in those days, it seemed that not too many people really stood out in this field. At least that what it seemed like to me in my youth. Or maybe it was just that they did not want to either make a fool of themselves. There seemed little need to drive the world to their door. I chose a very different restaurant enclosed within an old 19th century Mansion in this very cosmopolitan city. It was called Julie's Mansion and was owned and operated by a very eccentric, but wonderful showman who knew that he had to differentiate his restaurant from all the rest. He knew that the best way to do that – after the assumption of great food, entertainment and service – was to turn himself into the "brand."

My job, as a young hospitality student, was to watch him carefully and learn as much as I could. One Saturday night I showed up and Julie was trying to 'insert' himself into the home team's pro hockey uniform. It was immediately obvious that Julie had never played hockey. To see a middle-aged man struggling to get into and then have to have me extricate him from the jersey, equipment, elbow pads et al, was hilarious for a young guy like me, who had been on skates and playing the game since age four. He certainly was not afraid to make a fool of himself. When I showed up that night, he had less than no idea what piece of equipment went where, and was struggling with the shin guards. He had got himself all tangled up with what he thought were hip guards, when in fact they were shoulder pads, worn over the shoulders. It was indeed the first time I had ever seen a 'player' wearing shoulder pads, stretched around his butt.

I helped him get 'dressed'. Next came the taping of the hockey stick. This was really hilarious, watching this fellow trying to figure out the right way to tape a hockey stick without making a mess of it and looking foolish to his customers. He had a special plan for that stick.

I taped his stick and now he was ready. He had on his uniform, equipment and helmet, borrowed from one of the local NHL players who were a frequent guest at the mansion. Now, he actually looked like a real NHL hockey player … in black and white running shoes, sans skates!

Then Julie 'flew through' the different alcoves and floors of the restaurant with a big ball of foodservice aluminum foil as his 'puck'. He stick-handled in and out and between tables, took shots with the aluminum ball off the walls, cross-checked his own waiters trying to serve tables, all the while yelling cheers and the phrase made famous' round the world, by Foster Hewitt : "he shoots …. he scores!" All this, at the top of his lungs. Then he had planned for a horn to sound loudly indicating that the 'period of play' in his imaginary 'game' was over. It was now time to go to the dressing room. In a flash, just like an on-stage magician, he quickly disappeared into thin air, hidden in his office.

My face was covered in tears. I could not stop laughing! The restaurant was in an uproar. Guests were laughing so hard … one guy literally fell off his chair. The waiters were laughing, the guests were laughing, I was laughing and all the while Julie was having a ball too. Here was a restaurateur who made his work fun.

I had not met one of these types before. I really liked and respected this fellow. But I figured then, and still today, that anyone who had that much fun … and made that much money … must know something the others did not. And he did. He became his own brand. 'Distinctive. 'Differentiated. 'There is attractive to people who are sick of seeing the same old, same old every day. People are attracted to differences not similarities. Take a look at what you can do with yours. It's right under your own nose.

© Copyright, Roy W. MacNaughton, 2006

Vacations Are Possible When You Plan For It

With the spring and summer months right around the corner and summer break right on its heels, most people's thoughts turn towards vacation! My family is no different. In fact, we've been planning all of our vacation time for the past twelve months.

Our goal is to take three trips a year. Two short ones; maybe a weekend trip to another city in our state or a bordering state. And one nice, relaxing, long trip that we have to pack our bags and head for the airport for that lasts seven to ten indulgent days!

For example, about the time our son's April birthday rolls around, we plan a weekend trip somewhere in our state. His favorite is always San Antonio because he likes to visit the theme parks and gorgeous Riverwalk that they have there. Since we live in Dallas, it's less than a four hour drive; and it's usually the precursor to kicking off our year of getting away.

This year, the longer trip will be in the summertime, a week after school is out. We are planning a vacation to Florida to visit Walt Disney World. We will be gone for ten glorious days for fun in the sun.

And then, in October, my husband and I are planning a three to four day getaway to celebrate our anniversary in beautiful Mexico. And that will give us our three getaways for the year! It's as simple as that.

Now, we have not always been able to do this. Why? Because of poor planning on our part. But, that is no longer the case. We've wised up, and if you have not been getting away for a little rest and relaxation because of the same problem, here's how you can guarantee that that will not be the case next year … or the year after that – forever !

My husband, Muri, and I have created what we call a "Battery Recharge" account, or in regular terms, a travel account. All monies that go into it ensure that we'll be able to get away with our ten-year old son, Jordan, or for a romantic weekend on our own!

Have a family discussion and decide where each of you would like to go. Narrow it down, and vote on three locations. One that's far away and two that are within a reasonable driving distance.

Once you've done that, do your research. There are a number of online resources. Thanks to technology, finding attractions in the city of your destination is no more than a click away! You can build an itinerary of what your family will do, as well as get the costs of each show or attraction you'd like to attend.

Then, one-by-one, you begin to fund your "Batter Recharge" account until you have the money to do each trip! What's so great about the two short trips, most can be done for less than five hundred dollars. The key is not extravagance. It's just getting away with your family to bond and re-energize yourself.

You work hard, everyday. Take some time to enjoy the fruits of your labor with the ones you love and cherish. Your mental, physical and relational well-being will be all the better for it!

Happy vacationing!

Proper Freshwater Aquarium Maintenance is Very Important

Freshwater aquarium maintenance is very important part of your duty if you own an aquarium. You have to look after the house of the fishes where they live. I hope like a normal person you take care of your own home so it is quite natural that fishes will also need some well maintained home to stay in.

Freshwater aquarium maintenance is either tough nor absolutely easy. But yes initially you will need adequate guidance for freshwater aquarium maintenance. The steps of maintenance generally include primary preparation, taking out the fishes, washing the tank properly and then putting back the fishes safely.

What are the things you should take care of for the freshwater aquarium maintenance? Well they mainly the removal of the algae, changing water timely and at proper intervals, checking the condition of the filter, vacuuming and testing the water condition and level. All these are very significant part of the maintenance because these factors are directly or indirectly related to the health of your precious fishes.

You can create a chart for the maintenance and this will help you immensely. Break the activities into daily, monthly, quarterly, six monthly and yearly maintenance. Your daily duty is to offer the freshwater fish with food in small quantity two times each day. You must check the working condition of the filter along with the aerator and heater.

During the week maintenance you must alter ten or twenty percent of water, clean the aquarium completely, and test the condition of the water. During the month you have to check the condition of the water, wash off the algae and alter at least twenty-five percent of the water of the tank. At the interval of six months you must reinstate the filter objects.

The quarterly maintenance includes changing the airstones, changing half of the aquarium water and washing the filter. Every year you must change the existing airstones and cleanse the gravel completely. Caring for the fishes is not completely easy and any mistake can leave dreadful impacts on the fishes. Freshwater aquarium maintenance when done adequately will let the fishes live merrily.

6 Things Influencing Web Development

Web development holds the prime service part in the Digital Marketing spectrum involving hosting, database and website designing as the crucial aspects of this domain. Once the basic requirements meet the expectations and local hosting checks are complete, the website availability is public on the World Wide Web (www) after completion. Despite of the basic pointers mentioned for website completion, a few segments still hold a major influence in the process of web development to make it a flexible, responsive and attractive to customers or fail to appeal due to lack of proper security features discussed in a quick 6-thing list below:

1) Static website over dynamic

Static websites are gaining importance on an everyday basis providing a stronger focused online content and shelter for bloggers or ventures. Affordable and low costs, enhanced speed and performance with additional ease of understanding and security are amongst a few benefits of a static website. Although, leaving aside the development part, dynamic websites can be complex to understand and load for consumers due to its various database structures created for dynamic website functionality annoying the users trying to use various services, whereas plain text and simple development makes a static website easy to understand and stream through.

2) AI’s incorporation in Web development

Artificial Intelligence (AI) depicts a life created through machines, mostly a computer system intending to give consumer – an easier and smoother reasoning’s and explanations. Although AI is still in the process of reaching the public and making an impact in their life with its existence, the coming future definitely holds a crucial part across the world! The developers are extending these services in the educational department for the benefits of students and easing out the entire learning system. Intense AI development can strengthen the alternates for future generations commencing a new dimension for understanding and living life.

3) Bots functioning or malfunctioning

Automatic programs running continuously over the web are termed as Bots. Python, PHP, Java, AngularJS, and NodeJS are the main languages Bots run on, creating easy to understand graphical user interface over a web page. Bots fill forms automatically, manage and operate through every single step and can be a big security threat for customers or enterprises. However, a developer needs a set of latest skills to make it function or protect it from running over a website script.

Bots reside within chat apps programmed as per human context to assist customers while shopping online, asking help, etc.

4) JavaScript at its Peak

Various methodologies, libraries and frameworks already based on JavaScript offer transactional and deterministic designing for websites and applications with known JavaScript elementary such as DOM, DHTML, Functions, Promises, Classes, Callbacks, RAIL, Node and Express, etc. JavaScript has the ability to enhance website appeal and structures attracting the focus of modern web developers as the main scripting platform for their projects.

5) Single page application

Undoubtedly, JavaScript is slowly replacing HTML creating wide options for developers to use and design web portals and applications for easy consumer interaction and increasing the website engagement. A user prefers to stay on a single page rather redirect or wait for a new page. ES6 invention benefits customers with best user experience and a fresh front-end development view. Thus, users will stay on a single page without navigating or page reloads. Thereby, a single application will lead the user from start to the end.

6) No place for MySQL?

HBase, Cassandra, and Mongo have already started replacing MySQL with the use of JAVA APIs, easy connectivity to Big Data & Hadoop provide operational interface ease over a long run on websites. MySQL does not support a very large database size, whereas Hadoop has such capabilities.

In case there are missing points in the list, please comment, share your ideas and give users the required updated information in this vertical.