retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Today is the final day on which entries will be accepted for the MNB Mantra Contest, which began on a whim a few weeks ago and has generated more than 300 suggestions to this point.

The contest began with a Fast Company story about the importance of a company "mantra," which is defined as "a Sanskrit term, meaning 'sacred utterance' or 'sacred thought,' depending on the dictionary. Traditionally concentration aids given by Hindu gurus to devotees, mantras are words or phrases repeated to facilitate transformation. In business, a mantra is akin to a motto, albeit more fundamental to a company's internal purpose than simply a marketing slogan. It's concise, repeatable, and core to a company's existence ... Unlike mission statements, mantras are pivot-proof. They transcend current target markets and quarterly quotas."

Examples cited in the story:

"Think different." (Apple)

"Don't be evil." (Google)

"Make something you love." (Huge, a digital agency)

"Style to the people." (Stylecaster, a fashion website)

A mantra, the story suggested, is necessary because it is "the guiding star, not the operating manual." And every company needs a guiding star.

This got me thinking. While MNB always has been built around the phrase, "news in context, analysis with attitude," it sounds like the folks at Fast Company would define that as a mission statement. Not a mantra.

So I started a contest...

Come up with an original mantra for MNB, and if you create the winner, you get an MNB goodie box, which includes a t-shirt with that mantra printed on it, an autographed copy of "The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies," and an MNB canvas shopping bag and an MNB canvas wine bag.

I'm going to go through all the entries, will pull out a couple of dozen of my favorites, and then will send them along to a small panel of friends and associates for their input. They'll tell me what their favorites are, and then I'll make the final decision....
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