Friday, June 29

The Green M&Ms Effect



Ahhhh ... the urban legend around green M&Ms.  To my knowledge, and please comment otherwise, the brand has never really addressed it, not head on anyway.  But it's an urban legend to beat most others.

So you can imagine my surprise the other day when I spied out of the corner of my little eye a package of green M&Ms.  All green.  Right on display at the checkout of a little deli here in NY.

Now what transpired is classic marketing.  I always tell people that you have to think broadly about your competition.  Here I am in line with only a few dollars of cash in my pocket with a bottle of Snapple in my hand, ready to purchase.  I see the package of green M&Ms and at the last minute I put down the Snapple and buy the green M&Ms instead.  Pow.

Now I am sure that Snapple does not think of M&Ms as competition.  But right there, at that moment, these two brands were competing against each other for my time, attention, and money.  Which is why I always tell people that you have to think broadly about who you compete against and think of all the factors that can get in the way of your consumer purchases.

But back to the green M&Ms.  I bought them, they were fantastic, and I have to say they gave me a little spring to my step.  And then once I got home, I realized that the green M&M is quite active on Twitter.  But of course.



Urban legend ... or smart competitive marketing?  What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

Thursday, June 28

Greek Yogurt



I love food marketing.  It's so much fun watching how a trend ignites, and then spreads, and then swells, and then well kind of goes away.  Low fat, non fat, low carb, red velvet, chocolate chip .. you name it.


The latest to my eye seems to be Greek yogurt.  There's a bit of a Greek yogurt war going on, with each brand introducing its own version and touting its features.  A short while back Chobani seemed to hit the ground running, and now everyone else is trying to pick up their share.  Most of the big guys are in it now, with Yoplait finally entering the game (although a bit late at this point).  Greek yogurt is about 25% of total yogurt sales, and just a couple years ago it was almost non-existent.

For me, Greek yogurt is nothing new.  I grew up eating it, and in fact we made it fresh at home.  Don't quite know how, but we did.  And it was amazing.  So when the craze hit grocery store shelves, I was all in.  The thicker and richer the better!

The fun part is seeing how Greek yogurt is now entering other categories as well.  One of my favorite brands of all time, Ben & Jerry's just introduced its line of Greek frozen yogurt.  A bunch of varieties that all look delicious.  I have not tried them yet, but I'm betting that they are thick and rich and full of protein just like their non-frozen counter parts.

So have you joined the movement ... what's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

Wednesday, June 27

Dallas Reboot



It's not very often that a tv show can have a second life ... it just doesn't happen very often.  But if any of them had a "shot", it would be Dallas.

Dallas was a defining show in tv history.  "Who Shot JR?" became not only a classic moment and tagline, but a repeatable cliff hanger formula to carry an audience through the summer hiatus from one season to the next.  The iconic characters of the original Dallas set a standard in night time "soaps."

So now along comes the next generation.  But unlike so many previous attempts to revive an old television show, Dallas also brought back the characters we loved and loved to hate back in the day.  So the original Bobby, JR, Sue Ellen ... they are all there with the next generation.

With great drama and initially some great ratings.

What's the big difference between this generation and the last?  Digital!  On the Dallas website, you can watch video, learn about the characters, enter contests, and play games.  In social media, you can watch the characters play out their feuds ... so much fun.  Table stakes for the new age of television but new fanfare for those of us who were around for the first installment.

The best part?  On the website you can also relive the classic moments of Dallas 1.0.

While this genre may not be unique anymore, it was one of the first of its kind.  It's a blast to see it come back with such success.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

Tuesday, June 26

The Adidas Cuff Sneaker


This is certainly not the first time I am writing on this topic, and it certainly won't be the last time that's for sure.  Simply put, brands have got to get used to the court of social media public opinion.  Our marketing efforts and new product launches are being instantly judged and shared, sometimes before we even know it, on social media.  And often our marketing becomes more newsworthy than our brand itself.

Of course the smart brands recognize this and test the waters.

Now I don't know this for sure, but it appears that's exactly what Adidas did with its new cuff sneaker designed by Jeremy Scott.  Jeremy Scott is known for his out-of-the-box designs and has done previous work with Adidas, but none that made quick headlines quite like this one.

The Adidas Cuff sneaker.

The brand released details of this new product a few months ago, and no one noticed.  In preparation for the upcoming August launch, the brand started promoting it heavily on Facebook and that's when the crowd kicked in.

Instantly, comments about images of slavery started rolling in.  So much so that the brand cancelled the launch and we now have another brand enter the social media 2012 Hall of Fame, right along Burger King, Nike, Huggies, and Marie Callender.  It's been quite the year for brands on social media!

The question is .... Was the brand simply crowd sourcing to get feedback or did it really innocently under  estimate the reaction?

We probably will never know ... what's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

Monday, June 25

My Third Book



I was recently visiting our Mexico office, and I came across this anonymous quote that instantly reminded me that I need to get working on my third book.

Life is not about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself.


I love that!


My original vision for my book is actually a three-part series.  The first, The Experience Effect, is all about big brand marketing.  My second, The Experience Effect for Small Business, is all about how to apply big brand theory to small business resources, and it just came out this past March.  Now my third book is about people, personal branding if you will, and it will be called Your Personal Experience Effect.  The book is about how each of us is a brand, our own unique brand, that offers an "experience" to our world.  The key is to figure out what you want out of life ... and then go create it.


So this past weekend I finally cracked open my original book proposal and reviewed the outline I had submitted to my publisher.  There sat the outline, waiting for me to come back and flesh out.  Waiting for me to give it some life.

I never considered myself to be a writer, and here I am starting my third book!  Turns out that I really enjoy the writing process, partly because it's all mine.   I write a little every day, most days, on my own watch and my own calendar.  Some days it comes so easy, and other days not so much.  But it's all me, 100%.  No committees, no meetings, no debates.  Just me writing.

I love that!

So stay tuned.  Your Personal Experience Effect should be out in about 12-18 months.

Then the question really will be, "What's your experience?"  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

Friday, June 22

The Breakers Palm Beach



If I were to define a consistent brand experience in hospitality, I would quickly jump to The Breakers in Palm Beach as a shining example.

I just got back from experiencing The Breakers brand, spending time there celebrating my parent's 50th wedding anniversary.  We chose the resort as the destination for this celebration because we knew what the experience would be and it certainly delivered.

Old world charm combined with flawless customer service combined with great food and wine ... complete with 5 different pools all situated beautifully along the ocean.  The Breakers delivers on all fronts.  We never had to leave the resort to satisfy our needs.


What's also cool about this experience is that the old world charm is offset with our current contemporary needs.  Right along side the tourists were convention attendees, in complete harmony with those of us just relaxing.  WiFi where ever we went - iPhone confirmations of our restaurant reservations.  Most hotels that I know can't provide both kinds of guests the kind of experiences they each need, but The Breakers does so just perfectly.  Not to mention that the pool and beach areas are also a private club.  Three different target markets experiencing a brand in harmony!  It's hard to have multiple target markets in any industry, let alone in hospitality as I've pointed out several times in my book about the Marriott brand.

I'm a big believer in defining your brand and its experience, and then sticking to it.  The Breakers is one for the record books.  Of course being in the town of Palm Beach adds to the branding, and to the experience!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU