FACT: 90 percent of information that comes to the brain is visual.

FACT: The brain processes visual information 60,000 faster than text.

FACT: Approximately 65 percent of the population are visual learners.
If you want to convince and convert your audience, you need to know how to convey ideas and emotions visually.
These stats seem to be fairly universally accepted on a number of educational sites, but I don’t have any attribution for them. Nor are they split out by gender or any other factors. So, while I cannot vouch for the details of them, they don’t seem to be unrealistic knowing how people respond to visual communications. It’s one of the reasons YouTube is such a powerful medium. People are used to consuming their information from television and, now, online.

It was bound to happen. After the accusations of affairs and harassment continued for another week, Presidential candidate Herman Cain announced the suspension of his campaign.

I heard an assessment of the initial charges against Cain put in an interesting context:

1. You can expect these kinds of charges if you are a political candidate;

2. Sexual charges will be levied against political, business and personal rivals in a blanket fashion whether they are true or not. Just like when someone sprays for pest control — if there are no roaches, everything still looks the same, but if there are roaches hiding somewhere, the spray flushes them out.

Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)

The outcome shows how completely uneven and somewhat capricious sexual charges can be in terms of how they stick.


Cain gets hammered for his alleged affairs, but Newt Gingrich has at least 2 well documented affairs and he is currently leading the Republican field in Iowa. Tiger Woods has traveled a long public image road (not to mention professional road — having just won a tournament for the first time since 2009) after multiple affairs broke up his marriage, but Ashton Kutcher has multiple affairs which break up his marriage and there is hardly a peep out of the press.

Maybe it’s the Two And a Half Men syndrome, because Charlie Sheen, formerly star of the same show, has a well-documented career of semi-scandals. In Gingrich’s situation, the element of time has probably helped “age” the news to the point where it is not so relevant anymore. I think he has done a good job of explaining his position in the past. He has said when asked about the stories that he’s not proud of what he’s done and he has not run from the story. He acknowledges the story and then bridges to a message he is trying to communicate. In addition, the fact that he has been married to his third wife for more than 11 years also takes a lot of the newness factor out of the equation.

I’m also of the opinion that there are also a couple of other factors that come into play which affect the public interest/disgust meter:

1. The Holier Than Thou Hypocrite. You portray yourself as a highly religious or moral person who has

DES MOINES, IA - OCTOBER 22:  Republican Presi...

Newt Gingrich

condemned others for the same behavior in which you are currently engaging. Think Jimmy Swaggart or Newt Gingrich here. (Gingrich was having an affair while he was publicly taking Bill Clinton to task for his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky). Or you work hard to build an image of yourself as a family man while carrying on with prostitutes and various other women. Think Tiger Woods here. If you are a genuine and long-standing bad boy, you are not going to be

attacked for your actions. Think several sports and movie stars here.  Or if you are single. You already have your reputation and your actions are completely consistent with it – you’re not vulnerable. Otherwise, people love to see a hypocrite get their just desserts.

2. Feeding the ‘Men are Pigs’ Stereotype. This is more of a measure of public revulsion – particularly by women – to your antics. Think John Edwards here who was having an affair while his wife was in the hospital battling cancer. Or, come to think of it, Newt Gingrich who did the same thing with his first wife, Jackie Battley, who was also fighting cancer. Another side is to cheat while you have the ‘perfect’ family; the young Swedish model wife with two beautiful children. Tiger Woods – again — fits this bill as well.

If you are a high-profile individual, you are at risk of this type of attack. The charge is easy to make and is often hard to disprove.

However, in the end, you are most vulnerable to this type of attack if you really are cheating.  If you are not, the story has no legs and dies.

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Eric Wheeler from Ad Age says Social Media has killed the ad campaign by putting all the power in the hands of the consumer.

2010 Kia Soul photographed in Marshall Hall, M...

Still, there are many opportunities to reinforce your brand through traditional channels, albeit not necessarily a display ad.  I’m constantly amazed at how many people will comment on something that has appeared in the MSM or in traditional media like TV, outdoor or magazines. However, in my personal experience, many of these comments have resulted from publicity or earned media rather than paid media.

The reality is that consumers have all sorts of choices when it comes to receiving the messages that are most congruent to them at the thousands of message intersections during the day. It’s not a social media vs. traditional media question, the answer is integration of your messages for the distribution channels and your messages for the audience you seek to influence.

Look at Jack-in-the-Box. Their recent “Really Big Chicken Sandwich” campaign included ALL of the media you can possibly name including social media, television, outdoor, print and radio.  All masterfully coordinated to mesh together in perfect timing to bring awareness to the new product.

Or take the recent example from Kia and their car the Soul. Mainstream television buys pushed out the newest hamster commercial surrounded by the HALO looking characters dancing to the new LMFAO single, “Party Rock Anthem”. The commercial was simultaneously posted on YouTube by Kia Motors which (at the date of this posting) has more than 5.7 million views. That’s 5.7 million voluntary views. I’m assuming a good portion of those views are by pre-teens and teens who are currently bugging their parents to buy them a Kia Soul. Considering my kids have watched it a couple of hundred times.

Advertising is not dead. It wasn’t killed by the introduction of direct mail, or telemarketing or email marketing.

But, it certainly has changed and communicators and marketers better change as well.

Waffle House, that iconic American highway diner, is one of the best companies in the U.S. in recovering from a crisis.  It’s so good, in fact, that FEMA uses the restaurant chain as a gauge to how serious the damage is in the area.

The Wall Street Journal profiles a very interesting, but very little known, strategy of the company which cements customer loyalty by using a strategy of doing extraordinary things to stay open — or to re-open — during a crisis.

It’s always been an assertion, but the tools for quantifying the actual monetary value that can be derived from a positive reputation are becoming more sophisticated.

“More and more [companies] are finding that the way in which the outside world expects a company to behave and perform can be its most important asset. Indeed, a company’s reputation for being able to deliver growth, attract top talent, and avoid ethical mishaps can account for much of the 30%-to-70% gap between the book value of most companies and their market capitalizations. Reputation is a big reason Johnson & Johnson (JNJ ) trades at a much higher price-earnings ratio than Pfizer (PFE ), Procter & Gamble (PG ) than Unilever (UN ), and Exxon Mobil (XOM ) than Royal Dutch Shell (RDS ). And while the value of a reputation is vastly less tangible than property, revenue, or cash, more experts are arguing it is possible not only to quantify it but even to predict how image changes in specific areas will harm or hurt the share price.”

Digital video viewing is increasing across all demographics with particular strength in the 13-31 year-old market.

According to online research provider Knowledge Networks, 56% of Gen Y internet users stream video on a weekly basis—twice as many as among boomers. Gen Y is also four times more likely to watch video via mobile than boomers.

Ironically, for all the hype about the larger flat screen LED screen TVs, the screen of choice is most probably the small screen of a tablet or mobile device.

A new woman is said to be revealing her story accusing Herman Cain of sexual harassment back in the 90s while both were at the National Restaurant Association.

This new mystery woman is being represented by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who is well-versed and experienced in media relations.  The announcement is due out today in New York City.