"Never settle for less than your dreams.
Somewhere, sometime, someday, somehow, you'll find them
."

- Danielle Steel, Bittersweet.

Get more Insight, Inspiration and Self Discovery at The Walkabout.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Curtains Close on Connect Magazine

Today is the last day of August, 2015.
It also marks the day when we bring online publishing on Connect Magazine to a close.




In the past, we have taken a hiatus every once in a while.
This time around, Complit Communications will narrow down on:

  1. Communication design through Complit Design (graphic design, web design, online marketing, branding, copywriting and advertising) and 
  2. Creative writing, both on The Walkabout (a journey of insight, inspiration and self discovery) and through eBooks published on Amazon Kindle. 

Sadly, this means the deprecation of Connect Magazine. Yeah, taking one for the team is necessary at times. Ultimately, it is for the greater good.

That said, we are not asking anyone to wake us up when September comes. Neither shall we be gone till November. We'll be gone for much longer.

We won't be seeing you for a long while, perhaps longer than these country miles.



It was great while it lasted and for this, we sincerely say thank you for your readership.
Writing on Connect Magazine is an honor, and even more humbling to see that thousands found it worth reading our content every single day.

In the spirit of never saying never however, let's just say Connect Magazine will be gone for a long, long time.



* * *

We are absolutely indebted for the time you took to read our regular articles and to share with your friends on social media. We shall continue to publish here and here.
As for Connect Magazine, it is closing time.






Monday, August 10, 2015

Why Advertising to the Masses is Costly and Ineffective

Quantity is something you can count. Quality is something you can count on.




For a long time, the most popular form of advertising has been mass advertising.
Mass advertising has for decades been based on mass audiences.

You see, back in the day, newspapers were the only media outlets. They were everything to everyone with their content, and this attracted audiences. In the 1930s, a new medium was introduced - radio.


Radio changed everything, thanks to its ability to attract very large, and very specific audiences. Listeners found radio irresistible and advertisers got good returns. Targeting started right here.

Then came television, and the audience was given programming in exchange of marketing messages. In addition, network television began selling this audience to the advertisers and it is at this point that the audience willinglybecame something very different:

If you're not paying for it, you become the product.



Thanks to data mining, audiences are no longer classified according to the number, gender, age, or demographics.
It is now all about tribes...

Read the rest in this insightful article in Complit Design's Understanding Target Audiences and How to Market to them.


* * *


We all love and are in most cases addicted to free stuff. Social networks, free newspapers, radio and television programming and much more.
Marketers and corporations have not suddenly become sufficiently philanthropic and charitable with stuff that costs them a lot to produce.
Just know that before you get sold, you get bought for a song.






Sunday, August 9, 2015

Video of the Week: Under the Influence of Media and Marketers

In the coming week, Connect Magazine will dwell on advertising and advertising.
Last week, media outlets have been awash with stories of indiscipline and drug abuse by our children, especially those in high school.




Our Policy and Ideas Friday feature was about what roles parents and role models, or lack thereof has resulted in a young generation that is exposed to unlimited liberty and freedom sans responsibility. They are therefore delinquent.

Today, we shift our focus just a little bit to something that plays a significant role in how our children behave and view themselves. It also heavily influences our purchase decisions, given that nearly all advertising and marketing efforts are channelled through the media.

In almost all cases, media output is sponsored by corporations. Their marketing campaigns are what underwrites the huge cost of running media houses. In other words, the media and marketers are near always joined at the hip.

First off, children are now dressing like adults, dancing like the musicians they watch in music videos and aspiring to a celebrity and popular culture that is largely built on fads and the sale of merchandise. A lot more is well captured in the following documentary:



Sexy Inc: Our Children Under Influence.






In addition to the media and the marketers who sponsor and underwrite media output being an undue influence to the young ones, it has also been used as a tool to gender expression. In most cases women are portrayed in limiting and condescending ways.
This was outlined in Miss Representation. Check out the following extended trailer.






This objectification of women has been done for years by many companies such as Reebok, American Apparel, Flying Dutchman, Risk, Dacron and others.


How TV Ruined Your Life.

This is a BBC Two series presented by Charlie Brooker, that brings out the wide gulf between real life and television. His presentation is satirical and comedic, but does succeed in exposing how media has really distorted our perception both of it and of the real world both within and around us.





This is a 6-part series. Episode 1 is on Fear.
Watch the other episodes: two (The Lifecycle), three (Aspiration), four (Love), five (Progress) and six (Knowledge).



Internet Rising.

This documentary features expert interviews and




* * *


Being under the influence is not an entirely bad thing. Just ask Anointed.






Saturday, August 8, 2015

Podcasts of the Week: True Crime

There is something about crime that totally baffles me.
You see, crime is abhorrent and should be condemned in all its forms. Any act whose outcome is loss of life, damage to property or bodily harm should at best be discouraged and prevented. When it does happen however, it should be duly reprimanded.




But crime, and especially true crime, does fascinate.
I find that odd.

For years, psychiatrists and other experts have agonized over what exactly goes on inside the deranged and unhinged mind of a criminal. Articles have been written and research carried out.
Factual answers however, remain elusive.




There are podcasts that seek to explore this particular aspect of the human condition.
Admittedly, Serial was quite riveting. But there are other podcasts that dig deeper and explore the motives, evidence, coverups, and myriad other things that constitute the criminal justice process.


This is Criminal

This is an interesting podcast that is all about crime.
The stories are about people who have done wrong, those who have been wronged ...even those who've gotten caught somewhere in the middle.

This is Criminal is pretty interesting. Having listened to a good number of episodes, I did find the following quite intriguing:

Given how much I love books, I found episode 22 interesting. Titled 'Ex Libris', it is about a man who steals high value and rare books from dozens of booksellers. Not violently, but through fraud and forgery. Even harder to fathom is the reason why someone would want to do something like this.


You can download the Ex Libris episode (mp3).

Subscribe to the podcast feed here, in your preferred format be it iTunes, RSS, Stitcher, Overcast etc.


The Mind of a Murderer


This podcast is a part of the Investigation Discovery TV Show
It is presented by Dr Michelle Ward, who is a psychologist and trial consultant.

The Mind of a Murderer features interviews with murderers in an effort to find out why people commit murders.

Of the 6 episodes available on this page, I found the Jason Bohn interview the most disturbing.

This is the RSS feed url to the rest of the episodes.


Sword and Scale


Sword and Scale features both a website and internet radio show that covers the underworld of crime. This includes the demented minds that perform callous criminal acts, the victims and how the criminal justice system responds to these acts.

Whay is I like about the website is the well researched and insightful articles about crime and the criminal justice system. For instance, the first woman in the electric chair, the last executions in Britain, 10 murders that rocked the music industry and more.

These articles on the website and disctinct from what the podcast offers. To me, this is a double dose from Sword and Scale.

So far, there are 50 episodes of the Sword and Scale podcast.
This is the podcast feed url.

I found the second episode quite interesting, as it offered insights into who and what psychopaths are, and what makes them do their disgusting acts. Neuroscientist James Fallon explains the psychopath's mind and there is an interview with Ted Bundy, a most infamous serial killer.

Listen to this episode (pop-up player) or download (mp3).



* * *

Macy Gray in her So is Life album sings about committing a murder that she doesn't feel bad about. Rappers and Hip Hop artists sing about murder all the time. From Dr Dre, Eminem, 50 Cent, the late Tupac and Biggie... they all glorify homicide in their music. Even Wyclef Jean's '911' featuring Mary J Blige rides on  the "being shot" metaphor.

But the best songs about killing come from the James Bond movies. And why not, given the licence to kill?But I equally like Sheryl Crow's Tomorrow Never Dies.
Darling I'm killed, I'm in a puddle on the floor, waiting for you to return...









Friday, August 7, 2015

Policy and Ideas: The Danger of Raising Delinquent Children

I am 35 years old. I have no children. But I have 3 nieces and 4 nephews.




Today, three students from Stephjoy Boys Secondary School in Limuru will be facing murder charges  at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi.
Very unfortunate whichever way you look at it.

The issue of High School students smoking weed and fornicating recklessly is not new. Consider the following video from 2013.





I was therefore not surprised by the following news report of what happened on the Karatina-Nairobi highway. This one involved students from several schools, all in one bus. Even the free-love hippies in the 60s wouldn't have nothing on these kids!





And neither am I surprised by this video of a spoilt brat.

None of this is new. It was happening when I was in High School in the late 90s. And many years before. The only difference is that we have a more vocal population thanks to social media.

But my lack of surprise does not in any way mean that I condone such wanton indiscipline.
Sad as it is, we need to look again at ourselves as a society and once we point out what the problem really is, actually seek a viable and lasting solution.


I have started this post by declaring that I am not a parent. And I won't be one anytime soon. The reason is that many a reader will be quick to remind me that I can only relate with the intricacies of parenting by being a parent. I beg to differ.
I do have my own ideas how kids should be brought up. Not perfect or exhaustive and I do stand to be corrected, but I believe my input does count. Just as yours does. Now let's get right to it.


Irresponsible Parenting

The main culprits in this mess are the parents. In this day and age, we have many parents who never have time for their offspring, given that they are too busy building careers and making money. For these same kids.

The assumption that money can be used to evade responsibility and parental roles is a flawed one. At home, the house-help is left in charge. At school,the teacher is assumed to be in charge.
This excuse that a parent has no time because he or she is out there making money so as to give the child a good life is in fact self defeating. Why make so much money, only to use it raising an irresponsible sex maniac, drug addict and spoilt brat who will most likely become a criminal in early adulthood?

If you ask me, I would rather teach my child to be responsible from an early age, than leave him or her millions which they will have no idea or agenda for, and end up wasting it all. The pursuit of money and other material possessions should never be a higher priority than parenting.



A good number are not good role models. They expect their kids to hear and see evil, but not do evil. They fail to realize that monkey-see, monkey-do is especially true when it comes to kids. Which brings us to the next point...


Children are Impressionable

Adults, and especially parents have a very big influence on our children.
At their age, children cannot, and are not expected to make mature and informed decisions about a good number of things.

That is  why young girls are under the false impression that Rihanna, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and other musicians are always dressed in skimpy bikinis. They lack the presence of mind to realize that these are merely costumes which are worn only when shooting music videos.






It is for this reason that there are laws that put the interests of children first, even when they go wrong. As a minor, one cannot be fully and legally held responsible for some actions. In the same vein, a minor should not be accorded unfettered freedom to do as he or she wishes.

Children should be molded and trained in socially acceptable ways. And duly reprimanded when they go wrong, given they are at a formative age. On their own, they cannot make responsible decisions on some matters such as sexuality and use of mood altering substances. And teenage years are the most risky, given the instability in judgment that is occasioned by hormones and undue peer influence.

"Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it."
- Proverbs 22:6

Sometimes, I look at how some young "modern" parents dress in the presence of their kids, and cannot help but feel aggrieved on behalf of their unfortunate kids. We grew up with mothers, aunties and ladies who were, and still are always decently dressed.

But then again, there is #MyDressMyChoice. Just look at how "elegant" Maria Elena Boschi's blue outfit and heels were at her swearing in...
Oops, this is the more politically-correct photo, thanks to PhotoShop.


Sensibilities and Too much Freedom

Today, guys are always waiting to pounce on anybody who says or does something that goes against the grain or contrary to popular sentiment. Apparently, almost every social ill can be excused on the basis of "don't judge", "you don't know their story", "you cannot understand their struggle", "it's none of your business" ...and other shenanigans.

Our indifference to the social ills flourishing all around us will be our undoing, and much sooner than later.

Woe unto you if you try to discipline a kid that you have not given birth to. Communal disciplining that we grew up with is no longer entertained, thanks to a society that has offered children unlimited liberties.

People are not wiling to listen, take suggestions or be advised. Should you do this, you are accused of judging or offering unsolicited advice. In this day and age, one should just watch and keep their mouth shut.
And wait for that same teenage to later break into your house with an AK-47 or carjack you as you drive home from work.

I submit that even inalienable rights should have limits. This is for the simple reason that a child's age and limited experience does not adequately equip them to handle unlimited freedom. If anything, they only abuse it. You cannot let your children roam around with no restrictions and not expect trouble.

Give children all the freedom they want at your peril. Believe you me, they cannot responsibly handle endless freedom without messing up.


Modern Truth in Old Wisdom

We claim to be modern in all our ways. At times, we even frown upon the wisdom of our aged parents.

What we have witnessed so far in our schools is not a new phenomenon. As outlined above, it seems like a big deal only because the incidents are more visible both in the mainstream media and on social networks. More reporting, more sharing and enhanced dialogue.

But there is a key advantage in this increased publicity.
We can make the most of it by having a useful, topical conversation. First, individual reflection for those among us who are adults and have a role to play in raising the next generation. My nieces and nephews surely pick up some character traits from me. The kids in the neighborhood too.

Next, and especially for the parents among us, we owe it to our children not millions in the bank, a good education or tracts of land. No need leaving lots of material things or an education to irresponsible brats.
Good upbringing will be more beneficial than all the material things you spend all your time pursuing, such that you have no time to spend with your kids. Leave them a legacy and they will make all that money and more on their own, be responsible members of society and responsibly treat other persons and things.

Ever wondered why Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have publicly said they won't leave all their billions to their sons and daughters?
They are instead leaving them a legacy.


Children too, need to do their part

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
- Ephesians 6:1-4

Finally, parents can only do so much. The children too, have a role to play.




* * *

There is this song that I always play for fathers, including my own on Fathers Day. Mostly, I listen to the beautiful rendition by Leigh Nash.
Here is the original father and son by Cat Stevens, for you:






And before you accuse me of being sexist, here is John Mayer's Daughters.
Let us bring up responsible young adults, that would be an enduring legacy to future generations.








Monday, August 3, 2015

The Power of Opinion

I was recently reminded of P.T. Barnum's famous words about opinion. Yeah, every single person does have an opinion. And FYI, he used very different words to express such a sentiment.
 



It all started when I made a content marketing proposal to someone whose target market is people who need detailed and very credible information before committing to a purchase.
This is for the simple reason that the products and services involved in this particular market run into millions of shillings. Even worse, it is a market rife with cons, pyramid schemes and endless court battles.

Admittedly, not all pitches are, or have to be successful. But sometimes, a situation emerges where a client may not fully understand what needs to be done. In fact, Apple Inc. is famous for pointing out that most of their breakthrough products are made with absolutely no end-user input - for the simple reason that the consumer does not always know what s/he wants.

Anyways, the problem is that when some people fail to understand some things, or why they are necessary, they promptly go into full know-it-all mode, thereby dismissing and ultimately missing out on what may have been of great utility to them. Believe me, it is a head-honcho pitfall very many often succumb to.

Once again, it all boils down to opinions and how they are expressed.


Opinion can be Shaped


We do not exactly live in a world where everything is in black or white. A key mistake often made by those selling products and services is assuming that the consumers will on their own seek information about what you sell to them. Sorry to disappoint, but offering all the necessary information is part of your work.

Less may be more, but inadequate invariably does more harm than good since it leaves plenty of room for doubt. Doubt that erodes trust.

You see, being in business is not only about making money. It is about meeting a need or offering a solution. Or adding value to an existing product or through service.
Money is ultimately part of the reward you get for doing this. So where does offering information come in?

Because useful information, especially information that is essential to using the product or service, is part of what the buyer pays for. Or more important, the buyer makes the purchase decision based on, and thanks to, the information you provide.

It is for this reason that forward-looking brands are now embracing content marketing as a core part of business operations towards customer acquisition and retention. And, it goes without saying, revenue generation.


Opinion affects Decision making

The obvious question at this point, I submit, is just how much information should be available to the customer (potential or otherwise).
And should it be purely devoid of emotion and factual, or there is room for persuasion and emotional appeal.
We shall get to that shortly...

First off, decision making is largely swayed by opinion. And no place else is this as well demonstrated than in politics.
Prior to elections, politicians who are worth their salt will oil their public relations and propaganda machinery in readiness for the big day. Elections are very rarely, if ever, won on the polling day.

All that matters happens before the ballots are cast, all the campaigning and country-wide tours - that is what makes a particular candidate more appealing to the voter.

This is equally important in business.
For companies with big marketing and PR budgets, they do it so well that their product announcements are carried by media outlets for free since they are packaged as press conferences.

Newspapers and periodicals will then be filled with native ads that are carefully made to look like informative content. The icing on the cake is when senior officials of such companies are hosted on various high-value shows such as breakfast and drive shows on radio, as well as during prime-time TV.

By the time an ad from the advertising agency of such a company first airs on TV or on radio, chances are you have already heard about the product on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, on blogs, on radio and TV. At this point, you start trusting...

Where then does this leave the small and medium enterprises who lack such far-reaching and all-encompassing ad-spend?
The truth is, you have a finite number of followers on social media, cannot make your stuff trend based purely on a euphoric hashtag and obviously cannot afford prime-time TV or radio commercials or full-page newspaper ads.

The trick is to engage content marketing outlets that operate in your niche. You have to get adequate worthy mentions that make you trustworthy in the eyes and hearts of your target audience.


Purchase decisions are mostly Emotional, not Rational

We have talked about persuasion and emotional appeal above.
Here is the surprising truth: Most purchase decisions are purely emotional. They are based on something very hard to come by - trust.

It is for this reason that the most credible candidates are not voted for during elections. It is for this reason that a good number of people marry those with whom they establish an all-consuming passionate bond. Partners who sadly, do not have companionate affection that is essential for a life-time bond.

Emotional appeal is therefore of utmost importance in influencing potential customers. Through your marketing message, you have to catch their attention, and keep them interested long enough to allow for engagement.
It is during this engagement that you can have a conversation or interaction that makes your product or service desirable and compelling enough to convince the buyer that he or she is better off purchasing it.

Such a purchase action is seldom easy to come by. And it is not often based on how good your product is, but how it is perceived. Is it trust worthy?
And as we just outlined above, opinion has the ability to affect decision making.

Remember a marketing message is never successful because of what is said. Is is always because of what a targeted audience hears.

That said, go ahead and engage content marketing that can shape opinion and affect decision making in favor of your products and services. Here is a good place to start.


* * *

The customer is someone you have to woo, so said the advertising gurus whose insights we have come to greatly appreciate many decades later.
Imagine you want your customer to come out and enjoy what you promise will be worth his or her while. Can s/he trust you?
Let's convince Prudence to come out and play...







Sunday, August 2, 2015

Video of the Week - The Truth about Food

Yesterday, we introduced our new podcasts of the week as part of the Sights & Sounds audio and video output on Connect Magazine's Weekend Connection.

We feel that after reading what we write on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the weekend should be left to unwinding. To just listen to or watch interesting and useful stuff.




It was about food yesterday. And so it is even today, we admit to shamelessly being on a roll here...


The Truth about Food

A few years ago, BBC 2 in the UK enlisted 500 volunteers in a sweeping experiment that sought to find out the raw truth about what we eat. This was a real scientific experiment, where the effects of what one eats were examined.

Here is the first episode of The Truth about Food:






The other episodes are available on YouTube as well.

This Series was made up of 6 episodes:
  • How to be healthy
  • How to be sexy
  • How to feed your kids
  • How to be slim
  • How to stay young and beautiful
  • How to be the best

You can watch all the episodes on the BBC site.
There is also a whole lot of clips, taken from the above six episodes that you can watch here.

Here's wishing you a smashing weekend!


* * *

Food does give one a good feeling. That is beyond dispute.
We submit that food should be something that nourishes and keeps us happy, strong and healthy.
That is why it is very important to be aware of what foods will bring out the best of you. It is important to know the truth about food. Only then can food be honestly associated with a good feeling, whatever that means to you. Enjoy!










Saturday, August 1, 2015

Podcasts of the Week - What and How much Food We Eat

Hello and welcome to your weekly dose of podcasts on Connect Magazine.




Well, the first thing you'll note is that we are talking about several, and not just one podcast.
In the past, we highlighted one podcast from one broadcaster or publisher per week, shared links to a few of our favorite episodes in that particular series as well as the podcast feed url where you would subscribe to other episodes.

All the podcasts in a given month were in line with a certain theme. For example, we had a Science theme, Ideas theme, Business theme, Health theme and much more.

Beginning this week, we have altered our approach to what we share.
You see, we have decided to dwell on a certain theme in one week, and provide actual podcast episodes from several publishers that tackle the same

We start with the one thing that fuels our very existence - food.


Food

A lot has been said and written about food. Especially at a time when what is killing  many people is not lack of food, but excessive consumption of food. Specifically, obesity whose main cause is overeating the wrong food.

Obesity is a sensitive subject, and we sadly realize there lacks a politically correct way to talk about the adverse effects of food. We shall therefore let others address the situation, from CBC Radio in Canada, BBC World Service in the UK and ABC Radio in Australia.

Be edified.

Stuffed: Part 1

First broadcast on Ideas, presented by Paul Kennedy on CBC Radio.
Ideas podcast feed.

PHOTO: CBC Radio, Ideas.

This podcast  starts with the observation that it is the amount of food that we eat nowadays, that is largely (forgive the pun) to blame.
The presenter, Jill Eisen then looks back at the historic cause of this overeating.
A surprise for me was the part about a 'no-fat' diet also being a culprit...

Check out the highlights and credits on the Ideas webpage. Listen/stream online or download the episode (mp3).


Stuffed: Part 2

PHOTO: CBC Radio, Ideas

In this second episode of Stuffed, Jill Eisen takes a closer look at what has really changed in the food we eat, to make it near impossible for us to resist overeating.

Read the programme highlights and credits on the Ideas webpage, listen/stream online and download the episode (mp3).


Fructose:

PHOTO: Jane's Healthy Kitchen

First broadcast on Discovery, on BBC World Service.
Program podcast feed.

The fact that fructose is indeed bad for you may come as a surprise to you, given that a whole lot of us have a sweet tooth. But just how bad is fructose? It is good to separate fact from fiction about this apparently bitter-sweet sugar that we find most appealing.

In this Discovery episode on BBC World Service, Dr Mark Porter talks to leading world experts to sift through the evidence in Fructose: The Bitter Sweet Sugar.

See program highlights on the Discovery page, listen online (pop-out player) and download this episode (mp3).


Science vs Sugar:

First broadcast as part of the new science podcasts for on-demand listening on ABC Radio, Australia.
Program podcast feed.

PHOTO: ABC, Radio National

In this episode, journalist Wendy Zukerman asks: "Is sugar really bad for you?"

Listen online or download episode (mp3).


* * *

Okay. There are several factual inaccuracies about food in almost everything you hear about food. All you read, hear or watch should therefore be taken with a grain of salt (another food pun, damn!) The following music video is no exception.
But we can all loosen up a bit when it comes to food.
After all, where would you and I be without food? That said, I need to eat something...








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