Tuesday, April 26

Auto China 2016

I had the honor and the pleasure of attending the Beijing Auto Show this week, one of the world's biggest and most extravagant trade shows of any trade, including automotive.

As I walked around and took in the sights and sounds of the show, I marveled at the high-energy music, lazers, lights, videos, and yes even some dancers. Oh, and avalanche of balloons and the loads of party favors.

I marveled yes, at first, and then it got to be too much.

It quickly became total sensory overload, and a bit overwhelming. More than just a bit. Sure, if you love your car brand then you are going to be all in on the display. But when looking at the show in its totality, it was overload of car after car after car.

There were some old cars, and some new cars, some China cars, and some out of the blue cars. Cars. Everywhere the eye could see, all you could see was cars.

It is the Auto Show, after all, but that's not the point.

All I really saw was an overload and a sea of sameness. All the brands looked and felt the same. Bright lights, big city, big brands...and a big extravaganza. Big time. In looking back, I couldn't tell you one thing from another. Other than it was big. "Go big or go home," must have been the theme of the day.

The lesson learned? Big isn't always better. Louder just might be just louder, not necessarily clearer. And what others have done before you, is well, just what others have done before you. As in five minutes ago.

Differentiate! Break through the clutter! Separate from the noise! Be your brand, not someone else's brand.

That's what makes a trade show an ownable trade show, regardless of the category. That's what makes a brand, actually.

What's your experience? JIM.

Monday, April 25

The Brands of Coachella

I'm 53 years old and I've never been to Coachella. I'm 53 years old, and I just went to Coachella. I'm proof, along with a few others, that you really can be over 25 and attend Coachella. Double 25, as I like to say. #Double25

Actually, truth be told, I was there for work but I brought my under-25 daughter so I could have some street creds, or festival creds better said. She wore the part perfectly, and it inspired me to try to do the same, at double 25.

The work portion included two client activations on site, which were fabulously done. Perfectly in keeping with #CoachellaStyle, and perfectly in keeping with brand essence. As all good marketing should.

I have to say, though, that our two clients were among a very short list of brands on-site. I went into it thinking that there would be dozens of brand activations, but honestly there were very few.

Apple was heavy-handed with Apple Pay, as was American Express as their partner. You basically couldn't buy anything, beer included, without getting hit with an Apple device and a message about American Express. You could only buy one kind of beer, Heineken, and one kind of wine, Cupcake.

The other brands were less in-your-face, in separate tents that provided a more personalized experience... rather than waiting in line with loads of people.

The lesson learned? There could easily be a lot more brand activations! Lots more. But if your brand is going to Coachella, you need to offer a Coachella experience. You can't force fit your own persona without customizing it for the occasion...or you risk looking like you're just trying to sell stuff.

H&M was actually selling Coachella fashions. Brilliant.

So in other words, if you are going to do Coachella, then you have to do Coachella. #CoachellaStyle

What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, April 20

Authenticity - Lessons Learned for Entrepreneurs

Our agency just finished its fourth annual study on brand authenticity. Since I write for Entrepreneur, I thought it might be cool to show how it authenticity applies to entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Entrepreneurs can have a unique hold on brand authenticity, IMHO.

Click here to give it a read.  

Tuesday, April 19

Upworthy - Dads Doing Braids

This video captures it all, as far as I'm concerned.

The modern day dad. The modern day dad helping other fathers be dads.

Organizations designed to help the modern day dad be a good dad.

Video content that celebrates it all.

'Nuff said, other than...Well done, Upworthy! You're establishing quite a brand for yourself.

What's your experience? JIM