Thursday, January 31

#SBExp 2013

This year's spot from Go Daddy!
It's Super Bowl time again ... the marketer's holiday.  The pregame buzz is louder than ever with intense speculation about who's going to win.

Not the game, I'm not even sure who's playing to tell you the truth.  I'm talking about what brand will be "best in show" for advertising from the game!

Based on all the social media previews, teasers, and network bans, we are gearing up for a night of brand reinventions, super stunts, user-generated content, and a great mix of celebrities.

And lots of branded entertainment.

Now I am not one for watching the commercials before the game, I like to "experience" them in real time.  This year is a little different for me though, since I'm going to be a guest on Fox News reporting both before the game on Friday (Good Day New York) and then after as well on Monday (Fox and Friends).  So I need to know what's up!

The big trend year over year is the second screen ... social media viewing, sharing, commenting, and posting has gotten even bigger than the big game itself, and that's not done on the wide screen but on the small screen.  Multiples of them.  We've already started commenting, but surely during the game we'll have multiple devices for experiencing the game on multiple levels.

I know that's what I'll be doing.  Don't forget to join me during the game for live tweets about the advertising at #SBExp ... I'll be looking for your running commentary, and then talking about it the next morning on Fox.

For a little inspiration, here's my take on last year's winner from VW:



And then the brand's submission for this year's game.  My what a difference a year makes!


What do you think?  What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Wednesday, January 30

Breaking Up With Your Consumers


They say that breaking up is hard to do ... especially when you're a brand trying to figure out how to manage your loyal consumers.  Consumer loyalty programs are a great way to keep consumers connected to the brand, but they are often costly in terms of time, energy, and money.

So when a brand has spent years developing a loyalty CRM (frequent flyer) program, how do they gracefully back out of it when it's no longer feasible?

It's like breaking up a relationship.

The answer?  There's no easy way, no easy way.

Which was exactly my reaction when my friend sent me her "break up" note from Stonyfield Farms yogurt.  They told her that they were canceling their loyalty program (My Stonyfield Rewards), toot sweet.  It was a "Dear John" letter of the marketing kind, and just as awkward.

Now I am sure that the brand struggled with this decision and how to execute it.  There's no easy way to break up with consumers.  I am sure that they did the best they could under the circumstances with a very sincere email letter.  These programs are incredibly expensive ... trust me, I've designed and executed a bunch of them.

The problem is that when we break up, we always want to know why. So how far should a brand go in explaining the cancellation of such a loyalty program?

My suggestion?  Full transparency.  Say why, say when, say how ... and maybe throw in a little parting gift.  Sort of like sending white roses afterward.  And say you're sorry.  Just like when you're breaking up any relationship.

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

PS - Join us Sunday night for live tweeting during the Super Bowl at #SBExp - all about the marketing!


Tuesday, January 29

Respect the Sense of Smell


Next week I am speaking at a really cool conference here in New York ... Scent World ... the largest scent and sensory conference in the world.

In preparation, the organizers asked me to write a guest blog post, which I was very happy to do, on Jeff Esposito's blog.

It's all about respecting the sense of smell in our marketing and how fragrance should be a part of a brand's consumer experience.

You can give it a read here.  Appreciate it.

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

PS - Join us for live tweets during the Super Bowl, all about the marketing, at #SBExp

Monday, January 28

Lip Syncing My Blog Posts


All of this hoopla about Beyonce potentially, allegedly, possibly lip syncing the National Anthem has my mind spinning.  We don't know what really happened, yet the national debate rages on about whether it matters or not.

It matters.

Sure, we've got bigger fish to fry, that's for sure.  Which is why I am sure that Obama has not commented.

We are talking authenticity here. 

Now I don't necessarily want to spark more debate here, but I will say that it got me thinking about my life, my job, my books, and my blog.

What if I lip synced all of those things?  What if I didn't really write my books or my blog posts?  How would that make me feel ... how would that make you feel?

Now I realize that many people use ghost writers for such things, and that's totally cool for them.  They have to manage their own priorities and their own brands.

But for me, my blog is my voice.  I can't imagine lip syncing that.  It's my point of view, my perspective, my thoughts, and ultimately my words.  It's me.

Do I have people contribute with thoughts, ideas, comments, edits, and sometimes guest posts?  Absolutely.  But it's still ultimately my work and my voice.  It's me.

Can't imagine lip syncing through that.

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Friday, January 25

Wrangler Spa Jeans


I'm all for product innovation, but even this one has me scratching my head (or should I say butt).

Wrangler just introduced a new line of jeans for women ... with moisturizers ... Spa Jeans.  Say what?!?

Yes, you read that right ... jeans with moisturizers.  Anti-aging jeans?  Yes.  Skinny jeans?  Yes!  Smooth legs jeans?  Yes!!  There are actually three versions for women with different moisturizing treatments.

One of them even tackles cellulite ... the Achilles heal of all things jeans.

A little hard to believe?  Perhaps, and that's the head scratching part.  But do I want to believe it?  Absolutely.  Just like I want to believe that my skin care products will make me look miraculously younger.

Do I salute the innovation?  Absolutely.

The key is will it differentiate Wrangler and bring it back on the hit list of jeans.  The brand has been off the radar for quite some time so it needs something dramatic to get back in the spot light.  Time will tell if this is the kind of innovation that will do it.  Certainly giving an added benefit to women, central to the things that they worry about, is a really good start.

How about you ... will you try them?  Does it motivate you to buy Wrangler?  What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Thursday, January 24

Therapy @ Lady Gaga


Now I know that Lady Gaga does not appeal to everyone, so I am not going to comment on her music or her personal style here.  But I am going to comment on her brand.

As I have been known to say in some of my speaking engagements, Lady Gaga is one of the first true "brands" in the music industry.  I mean "brand" in every sense of the word.

She has a clearly stated mission to help the underdog, and everything she creates center around that.  Just like a brand would have a mission to benefit to their target audience and would then center everything around it.

The latest demonstration of her brand activity is something I believe is pretty unique to the music industry.  Her Foundation, The Born This Way Foundation, is offering free counseling during "tailgate" parties at each of her shows.  The "Born Brave Bus" will offer anyone from 13 - 25 a chance to gather together and either in groups or individuality talk about bullying, depressions, relationships ... anything that these "kids" are dealing with.

I can already hear all the critics jumping all over this.  Is this for real?  Is this credible?  Who does she think she is?

All right, all right, all right.  But it's a HUGE start toward helping solve what is becoming quite an issue, and quite honestly always has.  I say BRAVA to Lady Gaga and her brand ... may you fight for every underdog under the sun.  With a beat.

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Wednesday, January 23

HBO's "Girls"

HBO's "Girls"
After hearing all the hype on The Golden Globes and feeling a little left out, I watched a few back episodes of Girls on HBO this weekend.

I have to say that at first it reminded me of a younger, modern day Sex in the City, also from HBO back in the day.  A tale of a few women friends who are trying to make it in the big city, struggling all along the way.  A boyfriend here, a gay character there ... it had shades of its fore bearers.  Sex scenes and all.

On further viewing, though, not so much.  It's much grittier and much more raw then Carrie and Samantha ever were, and a bit more depressing.  I watched a few shows and had to take a break.  Sex in the City had a brightness to it ... so much so that I could watch episodes over and over again.

Sex in the City was a bit fantastical and Girls is, well, much more real.

HBO's "Sex in the City"
It's definitely unique for sure, mostly because Lena Dunham conceived it, writes it, directs it, and produces it.  Amazing.  I can totally see the sensation, and it's probably not fair to compare it to any other show.  It stands on its own.

Why did I like watching it?  Yes, but not necessarily for its entertainment value.  I love watching pop culture phenomenons and shows that take us into the lives of people ... it's a glimpse into our consumers and what they are going through.

I'm certainly not in that target, so it's incredibly interesting and insightful to watch them play out their day to day struggles and to feel some of their emotions.  Even if it's through Hollywood lens.

Will this show have the longevity of its predecessors?  Not sure, but for now it's great market research.  One thing for sure, it's certainly continuing HBO's brand of unique, ground breaking, creative television.

What's your experience?  Jim.

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


Tuesday, January 22

Inauguration Inspiration


All week I've been muttering under my breath that I didn't quite understand why we needed an inauguration ceremony for a returning POTUS.  It seemed to me to be a huge waste of time and money, and we certainly have bigger fish to fry.  Since Obama is continuing on in his job, I couldn't help but ask myself ... do we need all that pomp and circumstance?

Well having watched it yesterday (and having a few misty eyed moments), the answer is clearly YES!

These are cherished traditions that we all need, especially at a time like these ... at any time.  We need to celebrate our due process, and celebrate our democracy.  It's amazing that we are able to determine and then transition power so smoothly, and we need to celebrate it.

Obama is entering a new term with a new lease on life, and I find that incredibly inspiring.  I spent the entire day thinking through what I myself am going to do differently, and the initiatives that I am going to lead in my little circle of the world.  As he faces his challenges in office, we all face our own.  We too should celebrate that we have the amazing opportunity to face them on head on.

It was also inspiring to see the entire country, regardless of point of view, rallying around the newly elected President and rallying around the country ... feeling hopeful for what's about to come next.

I'm going to revel in that for as long as I can.  What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Here's a little Beyonce for a little more inspiration:


Monday, January 21

Always the Cover-Up


Lots of people have written, commented, and shared their thoughts about the whole Lance Armstrong issue, especially after his big reveal on Oprah.  #Doprah as they say on Twitter.

We all know about the inherent risk in using a celebrity spokesperson.  No news there, my friends, and I don't really think that's the real issue here.  We've learned that lesson over and over again.

What #Doprah showed me was a different kind of marketing issue.  When it comes to managing a brand - whether a personal brand or a business brand - it's always the "cover-up" that gets you in trouble, never the crime.

Never the crime, always the cover-up.

Just ask Martha Stewart or Tiger Woods.

Brands make mistakes all the time - whether accidental or intentional.  The key is to own up to it right away.  Tell your "audience" the truth and come clean.  Apologize and makeup for it.  Then move it ... chances are that your audience will too and will "forgive and forget."  Don't wait years for a big television audience, do it in the moment when it's sincere.

It's the string of lies that gets people in more trouble - far more trouble than they generally would have been from the original mistake.  When we see the crazy web of lies that was woven to try to prevent anyone from finding out, then we question the brand even more than we would have originally.

Never the crime, always the cover-up.

We feel deceived and manipulated and thought to be stupid -- emotions that a brand should never make consumers feel.   The cover-up becomes about US, not about the brand, and we react far more harshly.  If the brand had come clean to begin with, then it would have been about the brand making a mistake and learning from it.  We are pretty forgiving in these situations, but not when it comes to a cover-up.

Never the crime, always the cover-up.

A good lesson for all of us who manage brands, personal or business.  If we make a mistake, big or small, then talk about it.  Learn from it and share it.  Tell your people that you messed up and you just might be able to keep the brand.

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Friday, January 18

Westin Branded Fitness


I'm traveling this week, and happen to be staying at a Westin Hotel.  To be honest, I haven't been to one in awhile, and this one is quite nice.  I generally don't "pick" a hotel for business travel, I just go with what's most convenient or easiest.  And that's often gotten me in trouble, but this time I've got no issues ... the lobby is fine, the room is comfortable, and the bed is particularly inviting.

I walked into the bathroom, though, to quite a surprise.  There was a little sticker on the mirror encouraging me to continue my fitness regimen, encouraging me to work out in the gym.

Westin Workout.  They've branded their fitness approach.  But there's more.

The hotel also offers its guests to use, for $5.00, a trial pair of New Balance sneakers and work out clothes.


Not only have they branded their fitness approach, but they also have a marketing partner!  It's called "Gear Lending."  Brilliant!  Or as the little sticker on the mirror prompted me, "Pack Light!"

Now for this trip, I packed appropriately so it's not going to help.  But imagine if I hadn't packed quite right, I'd be all set.  Or imagine the next trip ... I won't even bother to pack knowing that the hotel is looking out for me.

It's hard enough packing, but having to throw in a pair of sneakers, gym clothes, and socks is just a pain.  Not to mention carrying them.  Not to mention bringing them home after sweating in them.

Gotta say, I'm impressed.  And it might even get me to "pick" Westin ahead of time, next time.  Isn't that the point?

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Thursday, January 17

Mug Cake


It's the latest DIY sensation in the kitchen, and right in sync with food trends of indulgent single servings and controlled calorie counts.

The Mug Cake. 

It's a cake that you bake in a mug ... just your little own private Idaho, or in this case private Betty Crocker.  You mix it in, stick it in the microwave, and out pops a tasty cake (no pun intended) sized just for you.

Back in the Fall, it was making the PR rounds of all the morning shows and cooking shows, like it was the latest food craze since, well, the cupcake ... or the chocolate chip cookie ... or the brownie.

Then, all of a sudden, it appears in the grocery store.  A package of Mug Cake (not to be confused with Mud Cake) ... prepacked deliciousness for the laziness in us all.  Swirl it, pour it, nuke it ... and revel in it.

Could life get any better?  What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Wednesday, January 16

StreetSmart



There's a very cool campaign running in the UK whose sole mission is to help the homeless ... or shall I say making it very easy for all of us to help the homeless.

The company is called StreetSmart, and since its start in 1998 they have raised over 5.5 million British pounds for the homeless.

The concept is so easy ... you simple eat at a participating restaurant and when you pay the bill you pay an extra British pound.  You just add it to your bill.  In fact, the restaurant has already added it so you don't really have to do anything except pay the bill like you normally would.

The company has expanded the concept to hotels now as well ... SleepSmart ... where one British pound gets added to your hotel room every night.

The insight here ... who is going to ever notice one British pound being added to their bill, or take it off if you do notice?  Yet when you think about the number of people who are eating out and staying at hotels then you quickly realize how quickly it can add up to a lot of support.  Quickly.

Through the years the organization has also added sponsors, particularly from the media like "Time Out London."  That one certainly makes sense.

I just found the whole idea so gut-level simple and easy to participate ... I want to see it come to the States.

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Tuesday, January 15

Beyonce Super Bowl Contest



Well we just had our Twitter party for The Golden Globes, and had a blast as usual.  Lots of commentary on the marketing, but of course, but also the dresses, the looks, the acceptances, you name it.  You have no idea how much fun it is watching a live event while commenting on Twitter until you give it a try.  You'll never do it alone again!


So now we turn to the big marketing holiday of the year ... The Super Bowl coming February 3rd.  The hype is already beginning as all the big advertisers are getting ready to debut new advertising, and many of them have already previewed on YouTube. 

It's the biggest day of the year for us marketers, so I plan to celebrate with another Twitter party at #SBExp.

One of the most anticipated moments is always the half time show, and this year is no exception.  Beyonce is coming on full force ... joining forces with her own Destiny Child (WOW) and a big-mega-brand.  She's building branded hype with a social media contest where fans can win a chance to come on the field with her during the show, sponsored by Pepsi (who by the way has stayed away from the Super Bowl for the last few years). 

She's even got a can!  Super Bowl is also big retail season so the brand is smart to have that component covered in its fully integrated campaign.

Beyonce + Destiny's Child + Pepsi + Rapid Fans = SENSATIONAL MARKETING

This is the first half-time show, to my knowledge, to do a pre-promotion of this type before the game.  

There's always a lot of speculation and chatter about it ahead of time, but I believe that a full scale promotion of this nature is breaking new ground.  And it was announced in December in the midst of all the holiday buzz no less.  Good for her ... and for us ... and for Pepsi ... more to tweet about.

It's never too early to prepare so mark your calendar and join in on the live tweeting!  The advertising will not disappoint.

Get ready to tell us ... What's your experience? Jim.

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

PS - Just for fun, here's my favorite spot from last year's Super Bowl ... from Volkswagon.


Monday, January 14

Golden Globes - The Recap

Like any good pop culture enthusiast, I spent the evening last night watching The Golden Globes.  It is, after all, the kick off to the biggest pop culture season all year.  From this we go to the Super Bowl, then the Grammies, the Oscars ... with a lot of stuff in between.  It's high season!

I of course also hosted one of my Twitter parties, which is such a blast to be commenting, sharing, and observing while we all watch live.  So much fun.  Now we are supposed to be commenting on the marketing, because that's my "brand," but we can't help ourselves for an event like this.  The conversations go all over the place.

So what's my recap of the evening?

First of all ... I will never understand why these accomplished, trained actors can't give a decent acceptance speech.  They drone on and on, with barely a message buried in what feels like fake surprise.  It kills me because they each have an opportunity to say SOMETHING in front of a worldwide audience.  Why don't they say something meaningful!  I don't get it.  The closest we got to anything substantial was Anne Hathaway's show of respect to Sally Field for the trail she blazed in covering a variety of roles.  It was still buried in a lot of noise, but at least there was a message in there.

Secondly ... brands need to be aware of wear out.  By the time we had seen the same Diet Pepsi spot over and over, we were all over it.  Our desire to seek out the brand faded with each repeat.  Brands have to know that fans are watching most of the show, so we get sick of the same message over and over.  Keep it fresh.  Target had a few executions of their campaign, so they were headed in the right direction.

Thirdly ... how about some new content.  I can't tell you how many brands ran the same old same old that they've been running for a year now.  Events like these attract a huge audience and offer a huge opportunity to represent your brand in a fresh way.  Go for it. This was particularly true of E's coverage of the red carpet.

The hosts ... Tina and Amy, we amazing.  I've never laughed so hard at an awards show ever, so I've got to give them major props for turning the boring into the truly engaging.  Great great work!

And finally ... need I say anything more than than just:  Jodi!

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Friday, January 11

Golden Globes - #GGEXP


Awards season is upon us.  The Oscar nominations were announced this week and the Golden Globes are this coming Sunday ... the official launch of the season.

We all know that the Golden Globes are the most irreverent, and this year it seems to be reaching a whole new level.  The hosts Tina Fey (love her) and Amy Poehler (love her) are dishing it up before anything ever starts.  The teasers have been hysterical, and the social media posts even better.  But yesterday they hit an all time high by announcing a drinking game to be played during the broadcast.

You can read about it here.

Brilliant!  Turn the Globes into even more of a party and capitalize on what's already happening in pop culture ... tv show drinking games have become quite the rage, so why not embrace it and own it?

Bravo!  I mean Brava!

If you know me, then you know where I'll be ... on Twitter, doing my own kind of partying.  I'm hosting another pop culture Twitter party during The Golden Globes so that we can all comment on the marketing, and honestly anything else as well. 

It's at #GGExp, starting at 6:30pm EST on Sunday 1/13/13.  We'll start on the red carpet with E!, and move on to the ceremony from there.

#GGExp

Join us, with or without the alcohol part.  But be prepared to share ... What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Thursday, January 10

My Grandmother's Ravioli



I caught a new cooking show over the holiday break that really captured my interest.  It's on the Cooking Channel which it seems to play second fiddle to The Food Network, yet the programming is just as good.

What caught my interest is the fact that this show is based on an insight.  An insight!

My Grandmother's Ravioli.  Hosted by Mo Rocca, who I love. 

The premise is that Mo used to cook with his Grandmother all the time, but now she is no longer with him.  So he goes around and "borrows" other people's grandparents and they teach him new things in the kitchen.  Presumably, she made incredible ravioli so now Mo wants to see what other things grandparents make that are also equally incredible.  Generations teaching generations.

My favorite episode so far
BTW, brilliant that he included men and women ... right on trend with men and their domestic abilities, regardless of age.

The range of cooking activities and the kinds of people that Mo meets is mind-boggling, and so much fun.  He seems to genuinely enjoy the interactions, and the "grandparents" seem to love being with him.  Some get his sense of humor, and others not as much ... but they all love the experience of passing down their signature dishes.

Completely authentic, in a sea of cooking shows that sometimes feel inauthentic and are rarely based on an insight.  I've been using this show as inspiration for brainstorm meetings since the minute I saw it.

Have you seen it?  What's your experience?  Jim.

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