Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year to you all! I hope that everyone had a great holiday season and is looking forward to 2007 as much as I am.

Here's a cool little thing I found on Seth Godin's blog (it's nice and short too, which is always good):

The T-shirt rule -

It's a simple test of whether you've created a remarkable experience:
"Would I buy the t-shirt?"
A t-shirt for your blog or your accounting firm or your bug-fighting software.
If you're not t-shirt worthy, what would it take?

Before you start making a list of new year's resolutions and goals for 2007, it wouldn't hurt to stop for a few minutes, maybe pull your newest hires aside - and figure out if you would pass the T-shirt test.

And if not, find out why not.

If you don't think the T-shirt rule applies to your company, you're dead wrong. Think about Coca Cola. Microsoft. Apple. Nike. Rudy Project. North Face. Gatorade. Volkswagen. Disney. Think about the logos you see on shirts, hats, jackets and other swag everywhere. On the golf course. At the beach. In airports. In the gym. Maybe they aren't your thing, but they should be someobody's thing. (Your customers.)

It doesn't matter if you're an accounting firm, an airline, or a pharmaceutical company. The cool factor always sells, and the T-shirt test tells you just how cool your company is - or isn't.

And if it's cult-cool (like Hincapie Sportswear in the cycling world), then T-shirts aren't enough and people will gladly spend $150 on a zippered wool sweater, not because it's comfortable (it is), not because it looks cool (it does), but just to be seen wearing it. Hey, it's a lifestyle thing. An affirmation of one's identity. An alignment of values between a brand and the lifestyles of its fans.

Some brands are that strong.

So while the T-shirt test may seem silly at first glance, it's probably one of the easiest and smartest things you're likely to do all year.

Would people wear your T-shirt or your baseball cap?

Would they go out of their way to buy one? Would they be willing to pay out the nose for one? Would they get excited in the morning at the thought of wearing it?

Happy new year, everyone. :)

Photo: F360's Roby "Hollywood" Di Giovine sporting last year's ridiculously popular Hincapie Sportswear sweater jacket during a little planning lunch last month.

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