Always done it this way

black-bear-breakfast1Black Bear Diner is one of my favorite breakfast places. I had a morning meal there, last Friday. It’s a relatively small chain of restaurants (62 locations) and feels like a local establishment.

Everyone is courteous. Staff members recognize you upon arrival. The waitresses know your ‘usual,’ and refills your coffee cup without being asked. The portions are generous and prices are moderate.

What’s not to like? Well, look closely at the picture. It’s the wimpy, wilted lettuce, underneath the orange slice. Friday, I ordered multi-grain pancakes with strawberries and sugar-free syrup (it’s a diabetic thing). The garnish is a fresh orange slice on a wimpy, slice of wilted lettuce.

I understand a leaf of lettuce with a burger and fries. What is leaf of lettuce doing on the underside of an orange slice, with pancakes? I mean really. It’s incongruous, it’s bizarre. It’s contrary. And it’s not even a fresh, crisp lettuce leaf. It’s wimpy and wilted. I have now taken to asking the waitress-of-the-day (Friday it was Deane) to banish such wimpy, wilted lettuce from my plate.

The truly humorous thing is asking, “So tell me, what’s the history of putting a wimpy, wilted leaf of lettuce under every garnish?” the answer is something akin to “I don’t really know. We’ve always done it this way.”

In this case, the wimpy, wilted lettuce is not going to stop me from patronizing the Black Bear Diner, but it raised a different, perhaps bigger question, in my mind.. What does the “wimpy-wilted-lettuce factor” have to do with Wedding Marketing in your business and mine? What little thing are we doing that annoy prospects and customers and could be changed, simply, without a cost factor or great effort? What are you doing ‘because you’ve always done it that way?’

  • Are you a photographer or videographer who drops your gear, just anywhere, at the reception, without regard to safety or aesthetics?
  • Are you a musician or DJ who is sloppy about taping down wires? Do you use grey duct tape, when black stage tape would make a better appearance?
  • Are you a baker or florist who delivers their creations dressed in a t-shirt and ragged jeans? How about a custom company polo short (with logo), and khakis, instead?
  • Does your website have photos that take 3 minutes to load because they were processed five years ago? Are your testimonials from 1999?
  • Do you do a good job for the client, but seldom properly acknowledge a referral?
  • Do you only call clients and peers to ask for something or to vent? How about calling just to see how they’re doing, and not to ask for anything?

It’s no secret that the wedding industry is highly competitive. Distinguish yourself by doing little things well. What’s your wimpy-wilted-lettuce factor? Identify and fix it. No fanfare.

And another thing… I never mix my soul food with caviar pie! Andy Ebon The Wedding Marketing Blog

PS: If you live in the Western United States, go visit a Black Bear Diner near you. And if you see wimpy, wilted lettuce, point it out. And tell them, Andy from Las Vegas said, “Get it outta here”.

black bear diner

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon 
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog


Stand out in a crowd, without dressing like Lady Gaga

Stand Out
Lady Gaga

Networking situations have interesting dynamics. What makes people gravitate toward others? Why do certain individuals stand out and others become invisible?

Last night, Singer/SongWriter/Performance Artist, Lady Gaga, appeared at the Pearl Showroom, in the Palms, Las Vegas. This morning, there was a positive review in the paper. No review of Lady Gaga would be written without an arduous discussion of her wardrobe (costuming). Her ever-changing glam fashion facade recalls breakthrough presences of performers such as Madonna and David Bowie.

Eyes can be on you, without your having to be ostentatious. Here are two examples.

DJ Marcello Pedalino is the first. I first met Marcello  a number of years ago at a DJ Conference. He  stood was he was impeccably dressed. Suit and tie, sharply groomed, neat as a pin.

stand out
DJ Marcello Pedalino

In a gather of mobile DJ’s, who all to often sported T-shirts and jeans, accessorized by expanding waistlines, Marcello always stands out. If you didn’t know him, you would think, “I wonder who HE is. He must be somebody important.”

Over the long term, this has created what I term The Marcello Effect. Year by year, I see more and more mobile DJ’s decked out in suit and tie, even when it might not be absolutely necessary. Hopefully, they are continuing that fashion statement in their local networking opportunities, not just at national DJ conference, because it looks good.

Darcy Anderson, Fashion Director, JC Penney: Darcy was a client, when my first DJ company, Music Man, provided music for many fashion shows in the San Francisco Bay Area.

stand outDarcy was a stylish dresser, but what stood out was her singular fashion accessory, a bumblebee pin. Actually what stood out was not the pin, itself, but where she wore it. Darcy always wore it on the right shoulder, on the back of her jacket.

Invariably, people would see the pin from a distance, and come up to her to let her know she had ‘something on her shoulder’ only to see it was not a mistake, but a fashion accessory.

This staple of Darcy’s wardrobe made her distinctly memorable. Here I am, blogging about it thirty years later.

What are you doing to make yourself distinct and memorable? In this case, not your company, YOU. When you walk into a room of 125 people, many of whom haven’t met you, is there anything you’re doing by your presence or actions that makes you memorable?

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Your Brand: What image and identity does your business project?

Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

This week, yet another mega-hotel opens in Las VegasThe Cosmopolitan. It will likely be the last big hotel opening for quite a while, due to the glut of hotel room  inventory.

The Cosmopolitan has a struggle on its hands because it has no brand legacy and no customer base. It did work out a deal with Marriott to become part of their reservation system, and that should help. However, their brand image must begin from the ground up.

The Sunday papers were full of grand opening news. The article in the Las Vegas Sun is worth a read, particularly as it relates to brand image.

Most people reading this post already have an existing business (lucky you!). I would challenge you to do a little research to determine how your company is identified by your peers, as they are the likeliest source of sizzling qualified leads.

Start with an open ended question: When you think of ‘My Business,’ what comes to mind?

The responses will come in all shapes and sizes. Some will please you. Others may surprise you. Yet others may concern you.

  • Do they clearly understand what you do?
  • Do they envision you for certain bookings, but not others? Is this a correct perception or a misperception?
  • Are you seen as expensive or exclusive, and is that correct?
  • Does your business have an image or is it your personal image? Is that a problem?

Building a business identity from the ground up is a tough task, but at least one begins with a clean slate. Modifying an existing image that is ingrained in the mind of customers/peers is far tougher.

The place to start is understanding where you are in the minds of others.

It’s a good time of year to spend some time asking the questions. Don’t  you agree?

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority

Social Media Identity Crisis

A funny thing has happened during the stampede to online social media… many of the burgeoning masses are showing visible signs of a business/personal identity crisis.

My friend Bob Swartz is always amused by the/my saying, ‘When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.’

One online tool that has multiple uses is the 140-character text message. A few of the ways you can use 140-characters from your cell phone or your computer are:

There is one big problem. All online social media are not created equal. In clearer terms, although 140-character texting is the same mode of updates, each of these sites has its own specific use.

There are excellent tools, such as, that allow you to make multiple updates, simultaneously; however, if you use without thinking you exacerbate the problem.

Breaking it down.

  • LinkedIn use is roughly 80% business – 20% personal
  • Facebook, has grown its business sector, dramatically
  • Text messages by phone are person-to-person
  • Tweeting on Twitter is a single message that reaches all of your followers. You can also Tweet, directly, to one or a few people who follow you.

Bad habits from email and message boards seem to have continued into this generation of technology. On Twitter, the same people who hit reply-all, instead of reply, often send a Tweet to their entire following, when they should be responding to an individual.


The same people who post a public rant on a message board, often do the same thing on their status line on LinkedIn or Facebook. once you do that, you can’t take it back. If your audience is both business and personal, it looks like we’re peering into your thought bubble. Trust me, the world does not need to know everything. You might as well just howl at the moon.

When you write in any medium, remember who your audience is: Business, personal, all, a few, just one. If you fail to understand the subtleties, often enough, people will tune you out, unfollow you, unfriend you, disconnect from you, and generally think you’re unfocused and self-centered.

Whether business or personal, write for your audience, period.

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog