Enjoying the Ride

After a little bit of a hiatus, I’ve brought back the “By Dads For Dads” series.  It’s been a while since my last guest post and when I sent out a tweet last week asking for contributors, I was pleasantly surprised at the response!  Through fellow Spartan and previous contributor, Tim Bograkos, I was introduced to Paul Vance.  It is my pleasure to introduce you to Paul!

I recently came across the following quote from Joe Gibbs, the former Hall of Fame coach of the Washington Redskins: “People who enjoy what they are doing invariably do it well.” I doubt this was intended to apply to being a dad, but I believe it does.

I am a new dad, just a little over three months into fatherhood, still learning what it takes to be a dad. And hoping I am doing things right. These early months have not been easy. There are the nights were my son isn’t sleeping (he is sleeping better now), when he is crying and I can’t figure out why, the diaper blowouts, getting peed on and, of course, the spit ups. Yet, I feel like I am having the time of my life.

Before my son arrived, my life consisted mainly of work, watching sports, work, exercising and more work. Finding the necessary balance between my work life with being a dad has been difficult. I often find myself thinking – Am I spending enough time with my son? Am I keeping pace at work? Am I giving my wife enough support? I worry that due to my hectic work schedule and long hours I may not be bonding enough with my son. Despite all the questions and doubts, I have confidence that I am doing just fine. I am making it work and adapting, whatever it takes. Why? Because I genuinely love being a dad. And when my little guy shows me that bright smile of his all those doubts and worries wash away.

So three months into fatherhood, what have I learned? Being a dad is hard work. Finding that balance between work and family is challenging. Those days of taking a quick nap are over. Relaxing and watching television just isn’t going to happen very often any more. In spite of all the difficult times, I have found fatherhood to be the coolest, most rewarding job I have ever had.

When it comes to being a dad, I hope Coach Gibbs is right.

Paul Vance is an associate attorney at Cline, Cline, and Griffin, P.C. He was recently selected by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” in the state of Michigan. Paul was born and raised in Flint, Michigan and currently resides in East Lansing with his wife and their new son, Kellen. You call follow Paul on twitter at @PaulVance_Esq or contact him via email at pvance@ccglawyers.com.

If you’re a dad and interested in contributing to this series, send me a tweet to @patrickreyes or click on the “Contact Me” above.


Friendship Redefined

I’m a huge advocate of social media (as you know) and how it has impacted the way brands market.  I love the connections that I’ve made from using Facebook and Twitter.  This blog has given me a platform to share my thoughts on faith, fatherhood and marketing.  Social has expanded our reach to across the country and in some cases around the globe.  I’m sure you’ve also seen the ability to reconnect with people you once thought you may have never been able to again.

However, with all of the positives I just mentioned, social has redefined the word “friend” hasn’t it?  Think about this…I have 1,177 friends on Facebook.  I don’t tell you that to brag, but as I look at that number, what real relationship do I have with all of those people?  Yes, there are a select few that I can say I have a deep friendship with but most of the others are people that I’ve come to know professionally, people I’ve come to know through Kensington, others are childhood friends and others are those from Michigan State.  Regardless, each group of people was significant for a certain period of my life but I can’t honestly say the friendship is nothing more than a casual friendship.

What I’ve learned and was reinforced this past weekend at Kensington Orion was that social media does a great job of expanding our friendships horizontally but often times causes the vertical depth of friendships to suffer.  Don’t get me wrong, I have been able to establish deep and meaningful friendships with some…Gini Dietrich and Justin Brackett are 2 great examples but those were able to grow because of the personal investment we made to get to know each other not only through our online interactions but also through in person visits and conversations.

As I’ve continued to think about this over the last few days I began to look at the friendships I have with other guys around me…or lack thereof.  I hope I’m not in the minority on this, but in conversations I’ve had with other guys in my circles (not a Google+ reference), many of us can only name maybe 1 guy that we feel comfortable enough sharing more than the surface level stuff with.  It must be a guy thing because I know this comes much easier for women.

Why is this important?
I mention all of this because of the message from Kensington Orion this week.  This past Sunday we talked about the 3 men in David’s life that…

…were committed
…were Christ like
…carried burdens

This group of men battled for each other and supported each other.  I want that in my life.  I also want that for the life of my sons.  I want other men, other than me, to pour into my boys and teach them what having strong male figures in their lives will do for them as they grow up to become men.  For me, I want a select few guys to be able to hold me accountable to my faith, to my marriage and be able to help me when I’m struggling.  This verse from Proverbs states it perfectly:

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. ~ Proverbs 27:17

Having these close relationships sharpens us, makes us better men, better husbands and better fathers.

What is my action step?  To invest in the relationships around me and pray that God reveals to me the open doors of friendships that will sharpen me and to make the vertical investment.

What about you?

Defining the Brand: Loyalty or Acquisition?

Like most mornings before I get my day rolling, I check the internets and see what’s going on.  Lo and behold, my buddy Bryan Willmert shared this article about gamification from Mashable.  In this article, we are presented with the game mechanics needed for customer loyalty:

  1. Define the “grind” – a clear and easy-to-understand action as the core of your product and loyalty effort
  2. Lay down an XP (“experience points”) system
  3. Create five social actions
  4. Develop a Social Loop With Appointment Mechanics
  5. Have a Reward System Based on SAPS (non-cash rewards by the way)

As I read it, I was reminded of something I posted a couple of years ago where I recommended my former employer change their focus from customer acquisition to customer loyalty.  Now, I’m not naive as I completely understand in the automotive industry, sales are king, BUT I will say that times have changed and that focus might need to make a shift towards loyalty, customer relationship marketing, customer experience or whatever you want to call it.

My “out of the box” idea to my friends at The General would be to take the $10 million you pulled from Facebook advertising and the money you would have spent on the Super Bowl and invest some (or all?) of it into a platform that develops the Apple following I’ve heard many of my former colleagues talk about when I was there.  If you want to develop a car culture where you have people talking about you on their own, provide recommendations and not have to rely mainly on incentives, why not give it a shot?

Check out the following chart that just happened to pop into my inbox as I was writing this:

Most companies would love to see this chart about them, wouldn’t they?  Things are different now, especially online.  Investment must be made and the platform and consumers need to be cultivated.  The biggest question is, are you patient enough to wait?

Mother’s Day

As another Mother’s Day approaches I wanted to take a moment and honor the women that play such a huge role in the lives of our families today.  As many of you know, my mom passed away in 1990 and as I now go into my 22nd year without her, I know her spirit lives on through me and my kids.  I’m also lucky enough to be married to a woman that also shares a lot of the same qualities my mom had growing up.

For Julianne, you are totally appreciated and at least I know I don’t tell you that enough.  You are loved by me and your kids even though at times it may not feel like it.  You are beautiful and each day I find myself appreciating how lucky I am to have you at my side.  So thank you…thank you for all you do and for you who you are.  I know that for at least this family, having you a part of this Reyes clan has been a blessing to Gina, Joshua, Jessica, Luke and me (even the dog, cat and fish)!

For the rest of you moms, Scott Stratten shared this on Twitter tonight and I just had to share it.  Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!  Enjoy your day!

P.S. I’m glad I’m a “real man”…check out the video and see what I mean. 🙂


Don’t Be A Dinosaur

If you saw Moneyball, you’ll know the scene.  It’s the scene that summarizes why I am the way that I am.  It’s the scene that explains why I want to challenge the “way things have always been done” because when it gets to that point, it’s time to do something new.  It’s the scene that explains why I challenge those that ask what the ROI of social is when the only measurement I can get from a large TV media buy is impressions (bold statement to make but certainly appropriate).

Marketing is different.  I subscribe to the notion that “social media” has transformed marketing from  megaphone to dialogue.  Consumers now expect to have conversations with brands.  The DVR era has made commercials an easy thing to skip, but guess what…brands are putting them on YouTube so they can get more eyeballs and socializing them on Facebook and Twitter.  That’s a little funny to me.

I think many people and brands understand this and are trying to figure it out.  We all know what Old Spice did in taking their traditional TV commercial and transforming it into a platform that in a humorous way talked to its consumers and fans.  They understood this “trend” and took a chance on something that was different.

The critics of social media and those that say it doesn’t work only have themselves to blame.  I recently read an article from Ian Schafer on Ad Age (definitely take the time to read it) where he talks about this very thing.  Two things resonated with me.

  1. FACEBOOK IS NOT A PUBLISHER. FACEBOOK IS A PLATFORM. And it’s the way people spend the most time with digital media.
  2. Solely blaming Facebook for their inability to deliver advertising ROI, or enough metrics, is like blaming the school you went to for your salary not being high enough. Advertisers are in full control of the experiences they create on and off the platform.

At the end of the day, we control the advertising switch.  It’s up to us to flip the switch and do things that engage consumers and make them want to engage with you.  That includes using the platforms for conversation and not publishing as well as embracing technology and allowing the consumers to have the power to make their brand experiences personal.

Don’t be a dinosaur.

Lead Late

Everyone is in such a hurry to be a leader, to get ahead, to be noticed.  I received a great piece of advice recently.  A man that I have a ton of respect for told me the best advice he was given was to not worry about recognition or being considered a leader to early in life.  He was told, “let God bring success and fame your way when you’re gray and can handle it.  Right now, grow, mature and raise your family to love and honor Him.”

Some people are born to be leaders but I’m sure those leaders didn’t chase it.  They were naturally thought of that way and were recognized as leaders at a time when they were prepared to lead.

Have a great Friday.

UPDATE: Check out this blog from Sam Luce.  I think it fit with what I talked about above.