Friday, November 30

The NYPD Brand

The NYPD "brand" got a serious boost yesterday from two random acts of kindness:  one from an unsuspecting police officer and the other from a tourist who gave him some well deserved props.

Long story short:  nice police officer buys homeless man a $100 pair of Skechers boots.  Tourist captures it on camera and sends it to NYPD.  NYPD posts it to their Facebook page and it goes viral.  Strings of sharing and comments comes next ... and a press conference.  (by the way, it's been really cold in NY and the homeless man was barefoot)

Yes, the NYPD has a Facebook page!

I think the truth is that we needed a little boost right now, and so did the NYPD.  As many people are saying, in many ways this is the role of police officers every where ... to serve and protect.  I've personally been helped many a time by a police officer.  We tend to forget that.

All of this made me realize that the NYPD (and any other like organization) is also a brand.  It has a mission and an audience and a way that it wants to connect.  Plus an equity and an image that it needs to uphold.

The NYPD even has a tagline ... CPR:  Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect.  In this case, it doesn't hurt that the officer is quintessential NYPD.  Classic ... now we know what this guy's personal brand is all about.

I also say "bravo" to the "tourist" for taking time out to acknowledge and put this officer on a pedestal.  So many of us would notice but not do anything (and many of us wouldn't even notice).  Proof again that brands are made up of people too.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU

Thursday, November 29

Gilda's Club

News broke yesterday that several local chapters of Gilda's Club will be changing their name.  For those of you who don't know, Gilda's Club was founded by Gene Wilder in memory of his beloved wife Gilda Radner who succumbed to cancer.  It's a support center for family and friends of those living with cancer.
"For those of you who don't know" is the key phrase here.

The local chapters who are changing the name are doing it because they fear people don't know who Gilda Radner is anymore, and therefore losing meaning to the younger generations who need the help.

They want to call it the "Cancer Support Center."

A noble quest for sure ... and I'm sure that these are the best intentioned people in the world.  But I just gotta say that it doesn't make any sense to me.  From a marketing perspective.

As with any brand, if you want to keep up with the younger generations and stay relevant ... look to the principles of good brand management and marketing.  Washington DC isn't changing the name of the monuments because the tourists are too young to remember Thomas Jefferson.  They continue to promote them and also add new ones.

Brands keep evolving by weaving in new things for the younger generations, not by taking away what made them what they are to begin with.  Bring in some other new names, broaden the perspective ...  embrace the younger folks who are now going through the same struggles that Gilda and Gene did by growing, not shrinking.

IMHO, the Cancer Support Center is generic and unmotivating.  Honoring those who have struggled before you is quite inspirational.  Brands are built on emotions and built on adding value to people's lives ... Gilda's Club has both so why take it away when it can be easily evolved.

The irony is that by changing the name, the "brand" is doing exactly what I would bet most of their audience doesn't want to have happen:  with cancer, after awhile, you are gone and forgotten.  I doubt that's the "brand equity" that the organization would want.  It's an awful feeling and the wrong emotion.

Now I'm looking at this from a marketing perspective and to me it's an intellectual discussion and very simple.  But I've had a lot of very personal experience as well.  And from that perspective it's very emotional and sad.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU

Wednesday, November 28

Anti-Aging Jeans

It's not secret that personal style is a big part of your personal brand.  And (sadly), as we get older personal style plays an even bigger role in how people perceive our "brand."

Now I've worked in skin care for most of my career, so I've studied a thing or two about anti-aging products.

But guys ... I've got an even more effective way to take 10 years off of your "look."

PULL YOUR JEANS DOWN!


Clearly this is a personal pet peeve of mine, but older guys tend to wear their jeans too darn high above their waist. It's something I was personally guilty of as well, until a sales associate at a mens' store was brave enough to clue me in.  He literally grabbed the belt loops of my jeans and pulled them down about 3 inches and declared, "now you look so much younger!"  And he was right!

Low rise jeans make you look younger, they just do.

Now I'm not talking about the down around your butt look ... that has to be a very specific part of your "brand" if you are going to pull that off.  I am talking about not having them pulled up way above your waist, halfway across your stomach.  Pull 'em down to a more natural place ... you'll feel better and look better ... younger.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU

Tuesday, November 27

Friday, Saturday, Monday

The holiday shopping season has officially begun, as witnessed by our inboxes, social media outlets, and of course our favorite television shows.  It's been a full-on assault of our shopping senses ... all aimed to get our dollar quicker ... before we spend it somewhere else.

Remember when nothing went on sale until AFTER Christmas?

This month is the marketer's marathon ... many businesses make it or break it in the next few weeks, so it's no wonder that machines are on full blast.

So let's talk about Black Friday ... a holiday in and of itself.  I have to admit that I did not participate this year.  Although it's fun to get swept up in the fury, it's gotten to be too much.  I'd rather visit my favorite retailers when they are "themselves," not when they are hyped up into a frenzy and packed up and down every aisle.

Saturday was Small Business Saturday ... which I enthusiastically participated in, for sure.  I went to quite a few boutiques, actually, and supported entrepreneurialism at its finest.  It felt fun being out although it didn't feel as much like a "movement" as Black Friday.

And then of course we have Cyber Monday.  I too participated in this shopping event, not so much because of the sales, but more because it was just on my mind.  I didn't do as much as on Small Business Saturday, but I contributed to the economy and shortened my holiday gift list.

Where do I net out on all of this?  It's wonderful that we've turned shopping into a sport, and I love to see how the retailers all get into it.  It's become a part of pop culture, and I embrace it.  On my terms, just like every other consumer.

How did you "celebrate" ... What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU

Monday, November 26

Glee - The Movie

Full disclosure here ... I'm a big fan of the tv show Glee.  Big fan.  So I'm not sure why I have not engaged with the concert movie until now (which has been out for a LONG time).  I guess it's because everyone told me, "it's just a concert," and I figured that would be boring.  It's the story line mixed with the music that I love so much about the tv show, so why just watch a concert?

Well I finally got a chance to watch the movie over the holiday weekend.  Yes, it was definitely a concert movie, no doubt about that.  And there was not a lick of a scripted plot to be seen.  So my peeps were right about that.

But no one told me about the real life fans that were profiled, and how each of them got to tell their story, and how we got to see them in the audience throughout the show.

It's not so much that their stories were all that dramatic, although to some extent they were.  It was more about the message that they were sending that really got me.  And suddenly made me realize the point of the whole show.

Acceptance.

One of the fans captured it the best:  "I know I'm different.  I just didn't realize that everyone else is different too."  I particularly liked the one "number" where each of the characters in concert had a t-shirt on that captured what made them different.

Bravo.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU

Friday, November 23

Temporary Holiday Help

With Black Friday upon us, I am reminded of a guest blog post I wrote last year about temporary holiday help and whether it's helpful to the brand experience or not.

If you are interested in reading it, you can click here.

Happy shopping ... what's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU

Tuesday, November 20

#SaveTheTwinkie

There's been a lot of buzz in the last week about the beloved Twinkie ... I think we love it more than we realized.  Hostess announced that it is closing down operations after that appears to be a long struggle.  So people are coming out in droves to #SaveTheTwinkie.

As I have said many times before, this is brand equity in action.  Years of emotions and memories, pouring out of a Hostess HoHo.  When people see one of their favorite products potentially come to an end, we often see the "branding" come back to life.

I don't know much about the story, but evidently the Company is blaming the Union for having to close.  While that might be true today, I do find that a little hard to believe over the long haul ... partly because many of the people who are screaming #SaveTheTwinkie have not had one in years.

The Company was certainly quick to shut down their website too, with a statement that points to the Union.  But I have to imagine that consumer demand is down, way down.  To me, that would be the reason for the financial crisis with the Company.  They need to keep up.  If they want consumers to stick with the brand, then they need to evolve their brands to meet changing needs.


I too think the products are adorable and are every bit a part of Americana, but I have not actually bought one in probably thirty years either.  If that's the norm, there's no way that a company could survive with or without a union involved.

The lesson learned here is that when you have a set of amazing brands, you need to nourish them and keep them actively a part of the culture, keeping up with consumer needs so that demand and affinity keep growing.

On the flip side, though, there is also a huge opportunity for someone to come in and actually #SaveTheTwinkie.  Wouldn't that be a fun project to reinvent those iconic brands ... or maybe that was the plan all along.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU