Watch Scott's TEDx talk!

A brand, a business and a career. From a nametag.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Visual Map of Personal and Professional Approachability

It's been a long, exciting, stressful, fun, memorable, interesting and exhausting year. And when I look back at everything from the new book to speaking in Switzerland to the nametag tattoo, it's sure been a productive one too!

Last night I spent a few hours on one last project for 2005. It's something I've wanted to do for quite a while now, so I'm glad I finally got around to it! The image is a visual map of approachability. I drew it up because the idea has really evolved this past year, especially taking new direction in the form of professional approachability.

Now, although I'm not much of an artist, the sketch came out great. And it's a nice break for your brain to explore an abstract concept in a visual medium for once.

Happy New Year my friends!


What was the highlight of this year for you?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Santa brought me 6000 nametags!

I never could have asked for a better gift! Thanks SO much to MACO, namely my friend Janet Kelley, who supplies me with the most adhesively strong, boldest color and highest quality nametags in the world.

Take THAT, Avery.

I think 6000 nametags should last me at least through the summer.


What favorite product do you use every day?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Monday, December 26, 2005

HELLO, my name is Podcast - Episode 2: Priceless Pieces of Business Advice

A few weeks ago I posted a free ebook called 66 Priceless Pieces of Business Advice I Couldn't Live Without. It's been downloaded almost 2000 times since then, and the feedback has been awesome. People are still emailing with their best pieces of advice.

Anyway, since it's a quote book, I thought this week's podcast would include some of the stories and originations behind those quotations.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season. Sorry about the delay on the Today Show. It'll happen. You know that crazy TV industry...


What was your best 2005 holiday memory?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Year In Email, 2005

You get a LOT of emails. Maybe even a few hundred per week. And while you do your best to read, reply and consider each of the messages as they come in, there is no doubt you've forgotten or missed a few over the past year.

So, here's a great exercise called "The Year In Email, 2005."

Go to your Inbox. Sort all of your emails according to the Sender, so it's easier to read. Then make your way through the entire alphabet. Now, if you have a few thousand emails, this will take some time. I just finished myself, and it took about 40 minutes. However, in my search I discoverd:

  • At least 10 leads I missed
  • Dozens of emails that I never replied to
  • Several people I needed to catch up with
  • A few emails that made me laugh out loud
  • Many messages I'd simply forgotten about

    Hey, it's the end of the year. The holidays are here. People are vacationing left and right. So other than getting together your '06 goals and plans, you probably don't have a LOT to do. So I'd recommend this exercise. You never know what you might find.


    How many emails do you get per week?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag
  • Wednesday, December 21, 2005

    I heart my job, what about you?

    This is very exciting. My new buttons just came in the mail from! (Check out their site if you haven't already.) Anyway, I enclosed a button in each of my 2005 Holiday cards.

    And while I was mailing them yesterday, I starting thinking about the magnitude of such a small item...

    Let's say you wore a pin like this to a meeting, conference, trade show, sales call, walking down the street or simply around the office. Possible reactions might include:

  • "Why do you love your job?" a stranger asks.
  • "So, what do YOU do?" inquires someone at your table.
  • "Hey, I love my job too! Can I have a button?" asks your coworker.
  • "I am so glad to be working with someone who loves his job," thinks your client.
  • "You know, this is the kind of company I would like to work with," thinks your potential client.
  • "Hmm...look at her button. I love my job. Wow. She's lucky. Wish I could say that. Maybe someday I will..." a kid on the bus wonders.
  • "Barb, look! That's SO cool! He loves his job. See, that's why I like shopping here ..." a customer says to his wife.

    So, not unlike a nametag, this button would encourage approachability. (By the way, check out an amended version of The Approachability Philosophy.)

    Therefore, what I purpose is the following:

  • If you love your job and would like me to send you one of these buttons, please send $1.00 and a self-addressed stamped envelope to this address
  • If you choose to wear this pin, observe and record people's reactions and email them to me
  • As they come in, I will post your stories on this blog

    I'm proud to wake up every morning and say, "I love my job!" So I think this is a beautiful message to send to the world; both as a reminder to the people who love their jobs, and also as an inspiration to the people who hope to do so in the future.


    Why do you love your job?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag
  • Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    Don't you just LOVE the smell of used books?

    Last weekend I spent a few days in Cincy to see some old college friends. On Saturday my friend Phil and I passed this building on the way to lunch. "Wow, five floors of books! We HAVE to go there!" I said.

    So, after lunch we entered into quite possibly the greatest bookstore known to man: The Ohio Book Store. Cincinnati's oldest, since 1941.

    According to owner Jim Fallon, it carried over 300,000 items. And it looked like a warehouse probably because it WAS a warehouse. Not to mention, it reeked of that authentic, unmistakable used bookstore smell.

    (Inhale...) AHHHHHHH...!

    That's nice.

    We strolled around all five floors, checking out some of the most random, unusual and out of print titles one could imagine:

  • The Who's Who of Cincinnati, 1947
  • A Complete History of Aerobics
  • Guide to Minor Hand Injuries

    On the third floor we noticed a wall of magazines that spanned at least 100 feet. When we realized every single issue had a yellow binding, there was no doubt which publication it was: National Geographic. From 1920-1986.


    Did you know they didn't start including pictures on the covers until the mid 60's?

    On the fourth floor Phil noticed a high shelf with dozens of whiskey boxes full of books. We wondered if they were for sale, storage, or possibly titles that never "made the cut" onto the racks. At the checkout, Jim gave us the back story on the books: "Yeah, those books were ordered by some guy from P & G about 30 years ago. I guess he never came to pick them up!"

    When I asked how much the order was for, Jim said, "Well, some books are sold for a buck; while others go for 50,000! So it's hard to tell. But it's no big deal; after all, this place is a labor of love!"

    * * * *

    The Ohio Book Store doesn't do much advertising. It's not exactly the cleanest place around, nor is it located in the best part of town. But Phil and I spent 2 hours there. It was the best part about my vacation. I bought $60 worth of used books and postcards. And you can bet that every time I come back in town, I'm going there! And why? Because it was an experience. Because it was cool. Because I am a huge fan.


    What's the one store you just LOVE to go back to? Why?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag
  • Monday, December 19, 2005

    Holy Mochachino! Starbucks actually blew me away for a change

    Although I've been to hundreds of Starbucks in my life, last weekend's visit was the single most unique and memorable experience I've ever had. It happened at the Louisville, KY store. (972 Baxter Avenue, to be exact.)

    When my friend Laine and I arrived at the counter, one of the employees asked, "Do you know you're still wearing a nametag?"

    "Yep, I always wear it to make people friendlier and more approachable."

    He chuckled and said, "No, seriously. Why are you REALLY wearing that?"

    I looked to my friend and said, "Laine, am I telling the truth?"

    "Yeah, he actually wears that thing all the time," she said.

    "1,870 days to be exact."

    "Oh, so you're a numbers guy too, huh?" he replied.

    "No, not really. My website has a counter. I couldn't keep track of that many days!"

    "Wait a minute...what?"

    "I'm an author and a speaker. Here...take one of my cards," I said as I reached into my pocket, "to prove I'm not BS-ing you."

    He examined the card as he continued to laugh. "So Scott, what kind of stuff do you write and speak about?"


    "Wow! That's great. Yeah, we actually have 'nametags' for our customers at this store. People donate a small amount of money to get their own mug with their name on it. It encourages repeat business and helps raise money for charity."

    "That's awesome! I've never heard of a Starbucks doing that before," I said. "Hey, can I get a mug with my nametag on it?"

    "Sure. Let me grab a blank one for you."

    He hung it up on the Wall O' Mugs, I snapped the photo and then we formally introduced ourselves. "Good to meet you, Scott. I'm Nick Murphy. I manage this store."

    "Nice to meet ya, Nick. Can I post this picture on my blog next week?"

    "YES! Yes you can!" he urged.

    A while later, Laine and I finished our drinks and decided to call it a night. Before heading out, I went back to the counter to say goodbye to Nick. And after a hearty handshake he asked, "Hey Scott, do you want to take your new mug back to St. Louis?"

    "No way man...keep it on the wall for when I come back."

    * * * *

    See, this is exactly what I've been talking about for the past month. It's a perfect example of doing something cool, bringing customers back and creating fans. Way to go Nick.


    What's your most memorable Starbucks moment?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    Thursday, December 15, 2005

    Making your brand approachable via word of mouth

    Do you have your tickets for WOMMA's Word of Mouth Basic Training Conference?

    It takes place on January 19-20, 2006, in Orlando Florida at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. It's the biggest word of mouth event ever! The program includes experts, case studies, how-to's and of course, networking. Also, I have the great honor of sharing the stage with Bob Garfield, Don Peppers and Fred Reichheld.

    If you can't make it out to Orlando, no worries. I'll be talking about professional approachability, namely, how make your brand approachable via word of mouth. Here's a brief outline of my speech, as published on WOMMA's blog.


    How do you get people talking about your stuff?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    Wednesday, December 14, 2005

    You know, I always wanted to write a book...

    About a year ago I read an article from USA Today that stated: "8 out of every 10 Americans want to write a book; but less that ONE will actually do it."

    Sound about right?

    Well, think about it: how many people (yourself included) have ever said, "I would love to write a book someday!" My guess is, a lot. And after being involved with the St. Louis Publishers Association for the past few years; as well as authoring a few books myself, allow me to explain why people think this way:

    1) They don't think anyone will read their book
    2) They don't know how to start writing their book
    3) They don't have enough time to keep writing their book
    3) They don't possess the discipline to finish their book

    Due in part to these reasons, people end up NOT writing their books. Which is a shame, because I know there are some amazing books out there just waiting to be written and shared with the world. And speaking from experience, let me say this: there is no greater smell than that first copy off the printing press; no better sense of accomplishment than to hold your own book in your hand; and no funnier moment than reading through that book only to discover how many typo's you overlooked - yet NOT caring because that baby is DONE!!

    Remember, you don't have to be great to get started; but you have to get started to be great. So hey, if you wanna write a book - do it. Now. The only person standing in your way is the author.


    When you write your book, what will it be about?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    Monday, December 12, 2005

    So, What Do YOU Do?

    Elevator speeches. 60 Second Commercials. 30 Second Commercials. Personal Introductions. Networking Introductions. Defining Statements. Positioning Statements.

    Ahhhhhhhhhh! Which one do you use? And when? And with whom?

    Tough question. Especially because since the early 90’s, tens of thousands of articles, books, manuals and guides have been written on the topic of networking. And all of them address various techniques on how to answer the question: “So, what do you do?”

    To put it in perspective, consider these results from a recent Google search:

    *30 Second Commercial – 135,000 pages
    *Elevator Speech – 128,000 pages
    *Positioning Statement – 106,740 pages
    *60 Second Commercial – 33,500 pages
    *Defining Statement – 26,000
    *Personal Introduction – 3,600 pages

    Wow. Overwhelming, huh? Makes you wonder which one is right! Still, each of these techniques is some variety of your Networking Introduction. Unfortunately, it won’t come out the way all the books and articles say it will. It’s doubtful you’ll ever tell someone what you do in an elevator; you’ll probably never have exactly 30 or 60 seconds to do so; and the odds of you explaining it the same way each time are highly unlikely.

    In REAL networking, you’ll be rushed, caught off guard and asked unexpected questions. You’ll meet people on busses and in bathrooms. You’ll address three strangers at a time, get interrupted mid-commercial, and sometimes, you won’t get a chance to say a single word until the last five seconds of a conversation. And all the while, you won’t have time to decide whether or not you should give your Elevator Speech, 30 Second Commercial or Defining Statement!

    Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you there.

    But it’s true. Networking is unpredictable. And yet, we depend on it for the growth of our careers. According to a 2004 report from the Federal Bureau of Labor, 70% of our new business comes from some sort of networking. So, rather than put additional pressure on yourself by worrying about how many seconds you have, here are some key points for an effective, concise and memorable Networking Introduction.


    So, what do YOU do?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    Friday, December 09, 2005

    Scott's Approachability Quiz in Cosmo hits the magazine racks!

    This was my first time purchasing a copy of Cosmo Magazine. And I gotta say, it was kinda awkward. Especially because it was 10:30 PM and I was flipping through the pages in the middle of the store like a maniac, eagerly trying to locate the quiz. Luckily nobody else was in there.

    When I approached the desk I lugged 10 copies of the January issue onto the counter. The cashier looked at me oddly and said, "So Scott...are these Christmas gifts?"

    "No," I laughed. "I actually helped write 'The Quiz' on page 122."

    Then she looked at me even more oddly.

    Whatever. This quiz is awesome. And for all you ladies out there (namely, those ages 16-25), pick up a copy and find out how approachable you are. Also, now that I think about it, guys could still benefit from reading this issue. There's a lot of great stuff in there which is still applicable to men.

    Except the question about underwear. Yikes.

    Here's page 1 with the quiz:

    Here's page 2 with your scorecard:

    You can also take the quiz online @


    If you could only subscribe to one magazine for the rest of your life, which would it be?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    Thursday, December 08, 2005

    HELLO, my name is Podcast - Episode 1: The Power of Cool

    Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later - I have officially jumped onto the Podcast Bandwagon! Thanks to some help from my friend, colleague and fellow podcaster Bob Baker, the first episode of "HELLO, my name is Podcast" is now available for download, streaming and XML subscription.

    For those of you who are new to this technology (like me), here's how you can tune in:

  • You can list LIVE on this blog. (See flash player below)
  • Listen LIVE on (All future episodes will be archived here)
  • Download past, present and future podcasts as MP3 files via XML on Itunes. (Read super simple directions on how to do this here.)

    HELLO, my name is Podcast - Episode #1: The Power of Cool
    Customers love, remember and spread the word about companies, ideas and products that are COOL.


    When was the last time you said, "That is SO cool!"?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag
  • Inspired High School Student Starts Wearing A Nametag

    Every summer I lead a workshop for YPO's Junior Leadership University in Leysin, Switzerland. This year I met a lot of awesome kids, some of whom are pictured above. One student, Cam Scheible (bottom row, first on the left), recently IM'ed me with some great news. Since the beginning of the school year, Cam has actually been wearing a nametag every day at school! What's more, the school paper did a story on him! Check out this article written by fellow high school student Caitlin Sherril:

    You all have seen that crazy kid walking down the hallways with a name tag saying "Hello, my name is Cam." No, he did not forget to take of his name tag after a convention, but he does it on purpose everyday! To many he is just some weird guy who wears a name tag, but I inquired about the mind behind the name tag.

    "It's really not my idea," says Cam Scheible, junior, "I went to a summer camp and this guy named Scott said he had been wearing one for a couple of years now. As we all learned to say in unison, 'It makes people friendlier and more approachable.'"

    Yet some may not see the method to his madness, teachers have overall thought that it is an inspiring idea. Senora Juarez says, "It seems to make students more comfortable in the class room, especially him. When we have shadows come in it makes them feel very welcome."

    So put on a smile as he walks your way, because all he's doing is trying to make you 'friendlier and more approachable'!

    "Thanks for the inspiration," Scheible said. "I have only gotten one person to join me wearing name tags, but I'm going for more!"

    Well...while I have never in five years encouraged any or all people to wear nametags, I gotta say: way to go Cam!


    Seriously: would you actually consider wearing a nametag all the time?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    FREE EBOOK! 66 Priceless Pieces of Business Advice I Couldn't Live Without

    A few months ago I sat down with all of my highlighted books, notes, seminar handouts, favorite quotations, classic one-liners and all other priceless pieces of business advice that have accumulated over the past 5 years.

    Originally, it started out as a brainstorming exercise in which I wrote 100 pieces of business advice on 100 Post It Notes as a "Wall of Motivation." I ended up liking it so much that I took the "best of" and wrote a quote book.

    This quote book is a free download AND my holiday gift to the world!

    66 Priceless Pieces of Business Advice I Couldn't Live Without

    So, as the holiday season gets under way, from all of us at Front Porch Productions (by which I mean me and my dogs) I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Joyful Kwanza and Fantastic Festivus.


    What's the most priceless piece of business advice you've ever received?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    Monday, December 05, 2005

    Every word is a seed that scatters

    The latest word of mouth marketing book, Grapevine, by Dave Balter & John Butman, has some awesome stuff. Check it out:

    "Everybody talks about products and services, and they talk about them all the time. Word of mouth is NOT about identifying a small subgroup of highly influential or well-connected people to talk up a product or service. It's not about mavens or bees or celebrities or people with specialist knowledge. It's about everybody."

    "80 percent of word of mouth marketing happens real time; real people talking to each other in the real word."

    "People are always influenced more by other people than they are by everything else."

    That first excerpt struck a chord with me: it's about everybody.

    I love that part.

    It reminds me of a song lyric by one of my heroes, Glen Phillips:

    "There is nothing that doesn't matter. Every word is a seed that scatters. Everything matters."


    What's your best word of mouth marketing secret?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    Friday, December 02, 2005

    How do you keep people coming back?

    In late 2002 my website went live. My webmaster, Chad Kouse, asked me an important question: do you want to include a counter at the bottom of each page?

    And I thought, "Does anyone really care how many thousands of people have viewed my site?" Probably not.

    But then I thought about McDonald's. You see, when I was a kid, every Sunday my Grampa would take my brother, cousins and I to McDonald's for breakfast. It was our favorite tradition. And every week the best part about our trip was pulling into the parking lot, looking up at that enormous yellow and red sign and wondering, "Hey, let's see what the 'number of people served' is NOW!"

    Do you remember when McDonald's used to do this? As a kid, it was the coolest thing. I remember when it was 70 million, 89 million, 100 million, and eventually, a billion! (Obviously, McDonald's has now served more people than can fit on a sign.)

    Ok, back to the website. So in 2002, I thought that in the spirit of the McCounter, I would come up with MY OWN way to bring people back. Something different from any other site on the web. So Chad and I came up with this:

    Now, keep in mind that in August of 2002, my streak was somewhere around 700 days wearing a nametag. But having that daily-increasing number at the bottom of every page served many purposes.

    First of all, interviewers from TV, radio and print could cite the "number of days wearing a nametag." This added a sense of credibility AND remarkability to their stories.

    Next, I would use that number in my daily nametag-related conversations in two ways. First, when I'd explain the back story, i.e., "875 days ago..." it would enhance the believability of my story. And secondly, when people would ask, "Hey Scott, how many days is it now...?" I'd simply throw out a quick number like '906.' And most people were amazed, although some of them thought I was Rainman.

    Yeah. Definitely 906.

    Lastly, it helped develop word of mouth online, first from people who blogged or linked to the site. It seemed to make their posts more interesting (and clickable) when they put a specific number of days by them. And then WOM developed from people who would start coming back to the site on a regular basis thinking, "I wonder how many days it's been NOW!"

    The key is: this is a number that brings people back. And it's been working well for 3 years. So whether you have a store, and organization or a website, you've gotta find a way to bring people back. You've gotta keep them interested, intrigued and wondering to themselves, "I wonder what they're up to NOW?"


    How do you keep people coming back?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag

    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    People really don't think this tattoo is real

    I've only had this nametag tattoo for a month. (Compliments of Joe Reinke from Iron Age Studio.)

    But I've been keeping record of the reactions from people. Interestingly enough, just like the reactions from wearing my regular nametag, the tattooed nametag elicits several types of responses:

    Most people just start cracking up. They tend to be friends of mine who've heard about the tattoo, known me for years, and aren't surprised (yet still slightly shocked) that I would actually do it.

    Phrases such as "That's awesome!" "No way!" and "It's about time!" have been commonplace. I usually reply with, "Yep. I did it. Believe it."

    I've had approximately 18 people drop their jaws and say "Holy sh*t!"

    Funny - a lot of people think it's fake. "Is that a Sharpie?!" they'd say. And I think the reason for this is because, tough as it is to admit, who the hell would tattoo a nametag on their chest? I suppose some people think it's SO ridiculous, that it just couldn't be real. But my response is, "Well, it's about as real as my commitment."


    How did people react to your tattoo?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag