The March-April issue of Semper Fi, the Magazine of the Marine Corps League, examines some of the most pressing institutional and cultural challenges facing the United States Marine Corps. These challenges are of keen interest to our client, the Marine Corps League.

As if downsizing and belt-tightening as a result of planned budget cuts and sequestration-enforced cutbacks were not enough, the Corps is also grappling with suicide, post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, hazing, sexual assaults, how to integrate women into previously off-limits combat roles and increasing its diversity.

But Marines thrive on challenge — “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome” being almost as much of a mantra as “Semper Fidelis” — and they are exploring a wide array of approaches to find their way forward.

Speaking of budget cuts, February’s Marine West Expo sponsored by the League made it clear to defense suppliers that, like the Corps itself, they would have to watch costs while innovating ever lighter and more versatile equipment. Despite the budget issues, the Marines remain “America’s 911 force.”

The new issue also reports on Grand Rapids, Mich., the host city for the League’s 90th National Convention in August. The city boasts a variety of outdoor recreation as well as a vibrant arts scene; in fact, Men’s Journal recently declared that “Few cities anywhere do more to support creativity than Michigan’s second-largest metropolis.”

[For nearly a decade, Hammock has been honored to assist our friends at the Marine Corps League in publishing their award-winning magazine. For samples of covers and editorial features in issues since 2007, visit the Hammock Portfolio on Flickr.]

Celebrating Chesty Puller
Posted in Clients, by Bill Hudgins
January 22, 2013

Celebrating Chesty Puller Semper Fi magazine Our client, the Marine Corps League, brought a long-cherished dream to larger-than-life reality in November with the dedication of a bronze statue of the late USMC Lt. Col. Chesty Puller at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

Eight feet tall and standing atop granite pedestal, “the Marine’s Marine,” the most-decorated Marine in history, looks out over acres of parking toward the Museum entrance, his right arm extended and pointing to the treasure trove of Leatherneck legacy.

The League has long dreamed of honoring Puller in this fashion. It launched a campaign to sell commemorative bricks to underwrite the cost. In 2012, the League hired famed sculptor Terry Jones to design and cast the monument. It was installed in October and commemorated on Nov. 12, just two days after the Corps’ 237th Birthday.

The January-Fedruary issue of Semper Fi, the Magazine of the Marine Corps League, which we assist the League in publishing, covers the dedication in depth.

The issue also reports on the Corps’ role in U.S. Special Operations, and on a wide-ranging educational program intended to give both enlisted Marines and officers greater professional skills for both war and peacetime operations.

RexBlog, penned by Hammock Inc. founder Rex Hammock, has been honored by as one of its top business founders’ blogs.
Other business founders honored by the site include Bob Parsons, the CEO and Founder of GoDaddy; Guy Kawasaki, the managing director of the venture capital firm Garage Technology Ventures; Virgin founder Richard Branson; and Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.
Youngentrepreneur said of the C-suite bloggers: “If you’re serious about being an entrepreneur, we highly recommend checking out these blogs and spending some time learning more about these CEOs and founders. They have remarkable success stories that inspire and educate us on how to be better entrepreneurs.”
An early adopter and explorer of blogging, Rex started his blog in August 2000. With his commitment to melding strong functional design with compelling content to provide a rich, accessible experience for readers, the RexBlog easily met Youngentrepreneur’s standards for its award.

Between stringing lights, wrapping presents and having just one more little piece of pie, Hammock folks plan to also share their blessings with others less fortunate.
Several of us plan to attend the 85th annual Waffle Shop at Nashville’s beautiful and historic Downtown Presbyterian Church on Dec. 2, from 11 to 2. A major fundraiser for the church’s ministry among the homeless, the Waffle Shop has become the holiday power lunch in Nashville. City leaders rub elbows with students at the crowded tables. Get there early, since there is always a line!
Individual plans include:

Happy 235th, USMC!
November 5, 2010

The November-December issue of Semper Fi, The Magazine of the Marine Corps League, celebrates the 235th birthday of the Corps’ founding, as tradition has it, in Tun Tavern in Philadelphia on 10 November 1775. The cover shows a Marine Corps color guard participating in a Sunset Parade at the Marine Barracks at 8th and I in Washington, DC.
If you know a Marine, bid him or her happy birthday!
The Marine Corps starts its 236th year with a new Commandant, General James Amos, who assumed command on 22 October. We present excerpts from his testimony before Congress in this issue.
Marine Corps Special Ops comprise an elite group of warriors chosen from among America’s elite armed service. Relatively new to the SpecOps segment of our military, the Marines have quickly reached the upper echelon of this select group.
In September, the Marine Corps League put on its 30th annual Modern Day Marine Expo, a gathering of Marines and defense industry suppliers held at Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA. Held under looming budget cuts and a drawdown in size, the Expo was the largest yet, with more than 8,500 visitors and 500 exhibits.
The Marine Corps Commandant’s annual birthday message is below. To view it, go here.

Although a deluge of rain on the last day of the 30th Annual Modern Day Marine Expo threatened to close the show early, Marines, vendors and attendees gutted out the rough weather to bring the event to a record-breaking close.
The first exposition was held in one tent in Tucson, AZ, on 18 August 1981. More than 8,500 attendees perused over 500 exhibits at this year’s Expo, held 28–30 September aboard MCB Quantico.
The most sought-after visitors were the Marines whose lives and fighting capabilities depend on the equipment displayed at the show. From socks to computer servers, the Marines gave the suppliers incisive critiques on what works, what doesn’t and what they need.
This year’s Expo took place under the shadow of looming defense spending cuts and reductions in manpower, exacerbated by a renewed debate over whether America needs a Marine Corps.
Present at the opening on 28 September was Lieutenant General George J. Flynn, Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, who was “on his way to Capitol Hill to save the Marine Corps,” from extensive budget cuts, said Lieutenant General (Ret.) Ronald Coleman, MCL Exposition Coordinator, during his introduction.
Lieutenant General Flynn recalled that the late Lieutenant General Victor “Brute” Krulak wrote that “the United States does not need a Marine Corps … the United States wants a Marine Corps.” The Marine Corps, he added, “will continue to be ready when the nation is least ready … it will remain naval in character and will be truly expeditionary” in protecting America and her interests.
Innovation was a key theme of the show. Lieutenant General Flynn noted that much of the Corps’ success in battle has been due to equipment first seen at the Expos. “You can never get the future 100 percent right, but you can’t afford to get it 100 percent wrong,” he reminded the crowd.

This year Hammock once again hit the events trail for our client, the Marine Corps League, making 2010 a record year in event-related advertising and expo sales.
The old saying “you can’t tell the players without a program” holds for trade shows where strapped-for-time attendees want to know what’s on display and where.
Since 2006, in addition to relaunching its member magazine, Semper Fi, Hammock has produced directories for each of the three annual Marine Military Expos sponsored by our client, The Marine Corps League. In that time, both Semper Fi and the Expo directories have experienced significant growth in advertising sales and print quantity.
Managed by Nielsen Expositions, a part of the Nielsen Company, these shows bring defense industry suppliers together with the Marines for frank discussions and critiques of the products and services.
The Expos are held at the Marine Corps bases at Camp Pendleton, CA, Camp Lejeune, NC, and Quantico, VA, outside Washington, DC. The latter is by far the biggest, drawing as many as 450 vendors and thousands of attendees.
In 2006, the guide for the Quantico event was 24 pages long, contained only two paid ads and was printed as part of the magazine. Since then it has doubled in size to 48 pages this year, with more than 19 pages of paid advertising that generated significant revenue for our client. The other two guides have seen similar growth.
Robust ad sales efforts and opportunities for vendor listings to be highlighted have helped fuel this growth, but advertisers say a redesign of both magazine and guides in 2006 plus a strong—and very Marine—content strategy make them increasingly desirable media buys.

The September-October issue of Semper Fi, the Magazine of the Marine Corps League, highlights two extremes of military might: the stealthy, lethal sniper and the massive force of tanks, amtracks and other armored vehicles.
Today’s Marine Corps snipers carry on a lengthy military tradition – that of the solitary elite marksman patiently stalking his quarry often behind enemy lines. Today’s Devil Dog snipers usually work in small teams, and may spend as much time gathering intel on shadowy terrorists as getting into place for a lethal shot.
Marine Corps armor also bears a proud tradition, one that made its legendary battles in the Pacific in WWII unforgettable as amphibious vehicles and tanks fought their way ashore. Today’s tankers operate the mighty M1A1 Abrams; the Corps has upgraded and refitted its old amphibian assault vehicles to meet modern needs as a stopgap for the next generation of amphibs.
Also in this issue of Semper Fi which we produce for the Marine Corps League is a look back 60 years to another famous Marine flag raising, this one above the US Ambassador’s residence in Seoul, South Korea. And we report on the 87th National MCL Convention, held this past August in Greensboro, NC.

Does good editing make a difference to people who receive your content? It does, according to a test run by IBM and reported at
Big Blue’s researchers took sample pages from the company’s site, gave them to an editor, and then randomly displayed both edited and unedited versions over the course of a month and measured “engagement” – defined as clicks to desired links on the page.
The edited pages got 30% higher engagement than the unedited ones.
While far from conclusive, the small test underscores the need to present not only content your readers will find interesting, but also to take time to craft and polish that content.
A side note: In referring to the editing of the Declaration of Independence, the writers are correct about the impact of changing one crucial word. But by all accounts, Thomas Jefferson felt each change personally, though he kept largely silent as the committee hashed over his comments. Your editor should always look at the work as a way to teach and improve your contributors’ writing, as a way to soothe ruffled feelings.

As mentioned here earlier, you’re knocking it out of the park if your readers and viewers eagerly await your latest update.
As described by Ardath Albee, “Contagious Content” is about your clients, customers and prospects – about what you can do and have done for them, not how much better than sliced bread your product or service is.
As Steven Covey would say, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
Contagious content catches readers’ attention during that brief moment (about as long as it takes to sneeze) that they allot to decide whether it’s worth reading more. It’s also contagious because others may decide to pass it along via e-mail, Twitter or a blog.
You can make your content more contagious by following three basic steps:
* Define and refine search terms to improve your visibility
* Define and research your audience and their needs
* Using what you’ve learned, create compelling content that employs your optimum search terms.

Actually, there’s a fourth step: Analyze what works and what doesn’t, and further refine your search terms or your content or both. It’s an art, not an exact science, and it requires a commitment to improving your skills using what you’ve learned.