Monday, September 30

Branding Yourself for a Happier Life

I'm enjoying the launch of my new book, The Personal Experience Effect. My goal is to take big brand theory and apply it to everyday life.  My hypothesis is that if we think of ourselves as brands, and do proper brand marketing, then we have a better chance of being happy and prosperous.

Entrepreneur Magazine is helping me launch the book with a weekly series of articles that examines the personal branding process.  I'm into the second week!  You can click here to read it if you are so inclined!

Do let me know what you think.  What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

PS - If you are interested, you can check out my new book here.

Friday, September 27

Tastes Like Chicken

Forget the cola wars, seems like everyone's fighting over the chicken category ... with marketing activity, claims, and creativity at what feels like an all time high.  Just wanted to point out two new pieces of activity that have hit my radar mostly because of how they depict two brands at a crossroads.  One staying true to itself and one perhaps taking a slight (or not so slight) turn ... you be the judge.

Chipolte.  This brand appears to be sticking to its guns, despite some recent buzz that may have indicated otherwise.  In support of a new app, there's a mini-movie and trailer (mostly online but also appearing on broadcast) that's been picking up steam, all supporting its quest for "fresh" ingredients.  I have to say that this brand firmly knows what it stands for, and has been consistent at every turn, as any brand should be.



Perdue.  We've been familiar with the Perdue "style" of advertising, or shall I say the brand's "voice" for years ... one of the first to use a CEO as a consistent spokesperson.  This season we're seeing a radical departure, in a similar vein to Chipolte, talking about the "purity" of ingredients.  Better sell?


"It's not what you eat ... it's what you eat eats."  Very clever.

These are just two examples of why I always say "marketing is a spectator sport."  It's great fun to watch and learn from all this activity.  Can't wait to see the results!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

PS - My company announced the launch of my new book on Personal Branding this week!  The Personal Experience Effect!

Thursday, September 26

Bourbon Steak - Part Two


There are times when I feel like what I write about is so gut level obvious.

The brand should be all about the experience it offers to its customers.  Check.

That experience should be directly tied to what your brand can uniquely offer.  Check.

Consistency is key, without consistency you have no brand.  Check.

Well ... not so fast.

Over the summer I wrote about a fabulous experience I had at the restaurant Bourbon Steak in Washington DC.  Fabulous, top 10 ever.

So of course, when visiting San Francisco recently I jumped at the chance to go to Bourbon Steak there, thinking I had another fabulous experience waiting for me.  Bourbon Steak is a brand, after all.

Well ... not so fast.

It was awful.  From the very beginning to the very end, it was a disaster.  Food, service, atmosphere ... it was so incredibly loud that we couldn't even carry on a conversation.  It was awful.

Now my intention here is not to trash the brand, not at all.  But let's learn from it.  Marketing is a spectator sport, right?!?

So what seems obvious, like a brand should always be consistent, turned out to be not so obvious.  What was at one point a benchmark brand for me, suddenly fell off my list because of the inconsistencies.  I'm no longer as interested as I once was.

Truth is that I'll give it another shot for sure, but with eyes wide open.

Lesson learned?  Consistency is indeed King when building and maintaining a brand.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

PS - My new book on personal branding is out!  The Personal Experience Effect.

Wednesday, September 25

Honda Save A Drive-In


It is certainly marketing du jour to give back to the community ... it's the "new black" of marketing that has actually been around for years.  Virtually every major (and minor) brand is working on how it can build a purpose around its marketing, and how to build a meaningful connection to people where they live.  It's becoming a price of entry in many categories as consumers want to see how the brand is bettering the world.


But I always say that it has to make sense.  As a brand you have to be doing good in a way that is authentic and sincere, and ideally in a way that no other brand could deliver the goodness.


If a brand is giving back just to give back, then consumers will see right through it.  The purpose has to match the equity to be seen as coming from a good place.  And "good" can come in a variety of ways.

Which is why I love the new program from Honda to save the American drive-in.  Granted, the brand isn't trying to cure a horrific disease, or provide fresh water to those in need.  Heavy duty CSR, probably not.  Giving back in an ownable way, yes.  

Advances in digital projection, and the costs associated with it, are slowly killing off the iconic drive in theater.  These often locally owned and maintained  businesses just can't keep up.  They are a part of our iconic culture and quite honestly a part of car culture that is slowly going away.

In walks Honda, or "pulls in" I should say.  

The brand is contributing to the remake of drive-in theaters all over the county, five at a time.  Makes perfect sense, when you consider that you have to be in a car to go to one!


A purposeful program tied to the spirit of the brand and the lifestyle of its consumer, giving back to the community in which the brand thrives.  

Makes perfect sense to me, much like the Haagen-Dazs program to save the honeybee.  Lots of buzz on that one.  Ba dump bump.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph - President, Cohn & Wolfe NA- Author, The Experience Effect series- Professor, NYU- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post









PS - My new book is out at amazon ... The Personal Experience Effect.  Big brand theory applied to personal life.

Tuesday, September 24

Becoming a Cultural Icon

I find the recent debate about "bearing arms" at Starbucks to be quite fascinating, from a marketing perspective.  Not that I want to enter the debate and not that I really think it has much to do with Starbucks, actually.  But it is about the role that Starbucks, and other mega-brands, play in our society.  We can't deny the societal impact of branding.

Here's a Huffington Post blog that I wrote on the topic.  Not so much on the gun control part, but more on how some brands become cultural icons.

Let me know what you think ... what's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

PS - My new book on personal branding is out!  The Personal Experience Effect!

Monday, September 23

The 2013 Emmys - A Recap, The Impact


For most of the big pop culture events, I host a Twitter party to discuss brand marketing in real time.  We gather together to talk about how the brands are participating in events like The Super Bowl, The Oscars, and last night ... The Emmy Awards.  #EmmyExp was alive and well last night!

I generally do a recap after each session, but quite honestly there wasn't a lot that stood out this time around.  The general consensus was that the show didn't deliver, despite host NPH extreme efforts to provide a flow of entertainment.  The man is amazing, I have to say.  His opener with all the former hosts and then mid-show song/dance number did not disappoint.

Sure, there were a lot of big brands to be consumed.  Samsung was continually promoting its new tv throughout the night, and in many markets was then featured in the news program following the show.  Integrated pr?

AARP talked up its "Real Possibilities" rebranding with the hook, "not everyone peaks in their 20's."   Good one there!

Target, Cover Girl with #CoverMoment, Audi with Claire Danes, and Mercedes hit us hard as well.  I chuckled when my entire party noticed that the Mercedes spot was from the Super Bowl.  We are paying attention, folks!

I think more striking than any of the awards or any of the brand marketing were all the references to pop culture.  Literally, within the show's first fifteen minutes, there were highly topical. multiple mentions of moments or movements in pop culture:
- Binge television watching (note that "Breaking Bad" was a huge winner last night)
- Watching television on multiple screens (I myself was doing that real time)
- Taking a selfie (actually did my first yesterday)
- Twerking (not tired of that joke just yet)
- The Thai sisters (obscure, but those who knew the reference got the pop)
- Over hosting, where the hosts just make too much of everything ala Ryan Seacrest (loved!)
- Gay humor (well considering the host, not surprising ... but even Michael Douglas got into the act)
- Facial hair is still hot with the men (trimmers anyone?)

The hashtag is thriving ... the crew in my Twitter party was very quick to point out when brands were using hashtags, which seemed to be more often than not.  Great way to connect on that second screen plus data has come out recently from Nielsen showing that when viewers are tweeting or posting during a show, they are more likely to stay engaged and amp up the ratings.  I'm sure the show last night needed the boost to keep viewers glued while a new session of "Breaking Bad" was competing for attention.

There were so many tributes ... made me sad, made us all sad ... one right after the other.  But a sign of the times as we are starting to lose so much of our great talent in an aging population. despite the rise of the Millenials.

I must give an honorable mention to one brand in particular though - Yoplait - who launched a new commercial that outlined their newest product innovation that was sparked by a consumer post.  Brilliant, they even called the consumer out by name!  They certainly take consumer feedback seriously, as they say on their website too.  Plus they offered a download of the song used in the spot via Shazam (not the only brand of the night to do that BTW).  Really brilliant.

I know that lots of people were commenting on how the show was long, tedious, and dragging.  Maybe.  But the importance to sustaining our pop culture is immeasurable and worth a full view IMHO.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

PS - My new book on personal branding is out ... The Personal Experience Effect ... loaded with great examples from Hollywood about people who have functioned as brands.  Click here to check it out.

Friday, September 20

New Yahoo! Logo - Crowd Sourced



I've been watching the saga of the new Yahoo! logo with great fascination over the last couple of weeks.  I wasn't quite sure where I was landing on it, since truthfully logo changes are very hard to accept.  We get very used to a brand logo and it's uncomfortable to the eye and to the brand equity to suddenly change it up.

I decided to "crowd source" the topic with my graduate studies class at NYU to get a sense of what they think.  No surprise, they had definitive opinions, which I just knew would be the case.

Their first take was that this was news for news sake.  The brand doesn't have a lot to talk about, so let's talk about a new logo.  Fair enough, it did make for a lot of buzz just like when Gap and Starbucks launched new logos seemingly overnight.  Those were a bit of a shock and so was this one.

The class then quickly went to "doesn't she have better things to do?"  "She" of course is the new Yahoo! CEO, who has been in the news much more than the new logo.  She's a bold woman who hasn't kept away from bold moves, polarizing media (social and otherwise), consumers, and employees along the way.  The consensus was that a CEO shouldn't worry about a logo.

The last comment, which I found fascinating, was the CEO's apparent talk about creating the logo over the weekend with a girlfriend.  Not sure if that's completely true, but it is out there in social media so it's worthy of an opinion.  The class thought that her approach (and commentary) was disrespectful to the design and marketing community (which by the way is a part of the Yahoo! community), and completely denounced the creative process and all the work that goes into these kinds of initiatives.  I have to say that when I first heard this account, I had a similar reaction so I wasn't surprised to hear it from the class.  I've spent months redesigning and planning new logo launches ... they are indeed a lot of work.

While all of this is opinion, hearsay, and speculation, the truth is that a new logo is a new opportunity.  It should be taken seriously as a way to signal that your brand is evolving, and it can be a way to bring your customers along the journey with you.  Those who have done it successfully have created a entire plan around the development, launch, and rollout so as to incorporate it into a much larger initiative to propel the brand.  I hope that's the case with Yahoo!.

As a side note, I don't mind the logo really, but I do kind of like the version that leaked from the Yahoo! intern.  I thought that one was much more progressive.  Kind of made me want to "click" on it ... very smart.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

PS - My new book is out on Personal Branding!  The Personal Experience Effect!

Thursday, September 19

The Personal Experience Effect


Four years in the making, almost to the day, I'm releasing my third book in the The Experience Effect series.  The first was all about big brands, the second one examined small business marketing, and now the third one takes big brand theory and applies it to personal life.

The Personal Experience Effect.

The inspiration came as I was writing my first book during the recent economic collapse.  As many of us were forced to reinvent ourselves, it struck me that thinking like a brand would help the process and perhaps get us all to a better place.

I couldn't be more thrilled.  To kick off the book launch, I'm starting a new column over at Entrepreneur.com and it will be called "Branding a Better You."  Week by week I will examine the principles of personal branding that I cover in my new book.  It should be fun.

Here's the first in the series, hope you like it.

What's your experience?  Or should I say ... "Love Your Brand!"  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post


Wednesday, September 18

Prank-vertising


I was recently asked by Fox & Friends to comment on a new phenomenon in marketing that they call "Prank-vertising."  I had not labeled it that way, but I see the point.  And the trend.

It's quite fascinating actually to debate whether it's ok for a brand to put its consumer on the hot seat.  This is where I'm a bit old school, because I would say "never!"  But I'd love to hear what you think.

Click here if you are interested in reading my post at our blog at Cohn & Wolfe.

What's your experience? Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

Tuesday, September 17

#TeamDigital at Entrepreneur


For the past several months, I've been participating in a very cool little experiment over at Entrepreneur.  It's called #TeamDigital ... it's a bunch of us commenting on "challenge questions" about digital marketing posed by one very cool editor at the magazine.

One of my faves ... "The 12 Social Media Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make. "  It's amazing how we were each able to tackle that question from a different angle.

We tackled the digital world from all sorts of angles actually, and it was a lot of fun.  I even did a Google Hangout along the way with a real digital expert.  The sad part is that it was a limited engagement, so like most good things it has to come to an end.

We just answered our last question ... appropriately themed "what's next?"  So I'd thought I'd end the engagement with a blog post here myself along with a sincere thanks to the editors of Entrepreneur and my fellow participants.  It truly was an honor.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

PS - My new book The Personal Experience Effect launches this week.  Check it out here!

Monday, September 16

Poo-Pourri


My daughter sent me a link on Facebook for a new product that she said, "you just have to check out."

Poo-Pourri.  It had the smacking of a spoof, and in fact if it had been April Fool's Day then I would have been convinced it was a joke.

But oh no, it's very much real.  It's a spray you use on the toilet right before you use it, to avoid all the stinky odors and the embarrassment that can come along with a good old fashioned poop, or "poo" as they say.

Poo-Pourri.  Even the creative looks like it could be a joke, but it's very purposefully done.  I guess the tonality helps to tackle a sensitive topic with ease.


The best part ... there's a line extension that is "styled and scented" for men.  Trap a Crap.  I kid you not.  Love the segmentation!


You can't make this s#@t up.  What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

PS - My new book on personal branding launches this week!  Click here to check it out!

Friday, September 13

The Three Year Plan


Here's the last in my series on Small Business Marketing for Entrepreneur.  It was a fun run!

This one is all about the importance of planning.  One, two, and three years out.  Makes a huge difference.

Give it a read here if you'd like.  Appreciate it.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

PS - Next week we launch my newest book all about personal branding.  With it will be another series at Entrepreneur.  Looking forward to it!  See you there I hope!

Thursday, September 12

Guinness Turns the Tables

I love when a brand turns the tables and breaks a paradigm ... and that is exactly what Guinness is doing with their new television advertising campaign that is breaking through the clutter.

I've written a lot recently on the new male consumer.  Men are no longer the stereotypical versions of prior generations, and this beer commercials shows that the brand is no longer a stereotypical version of prior brands either.

There are no bikinis, no dogs, no beaches, no parties ... just men being men.  Today's men.  Bravo!




I don't see evidence that this is part of an integrated campaign, which would be a miss, but I may just not have seen it yet.  Maybe there's more to come given the positive response to this campaign.  It's a huge opportunity for the brand.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

PS - My new book on personal branding launches next week.  Take a look at my new website to learn more about it!  Thanks!

Tuesday, September 10

Acknowledging September 11th

We've got another September 11th upon us, a day that is filled with the mixed emotions of sadness, remembrance, and of life moving forward.

I've struggled with how to acknowledge it, but found inspiration in the random kindness of a stranger last year and decided that his method was absolutely perfect.

I now think of 9/11 as a National Day of Kindness.

Here is my blog post on Huffington Post to show how I now acknowledge this day.  Here's to a little human kindness.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

Monday, September 9

The America's Cup


I was in San Francisco last week and over the weekend, and got totally caught up in all the America's Cup fever.  It was a lot of fun ... something unexpected that I'd never experienced before.  It was Day One of the Finals, so people were definitely into it.  A pop culture moment that was a totally new thing for me.

I've never seen so many logos in my life!  So much so that in some cases it was hard to separate the logos from the event.  Even Team USA was really Team Oracle.  Well played from a branding and marketing perspective.

The America's Cup "village" was filled with sponsor activities, much like you'd see at the Super Bowl but the brands were all very all very high end (not a lick of Bud in sight).  It was amazing to see these kinds of brands doing all of this event marketing.  Think Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, which is ironically this week.

Louis Vuitton had a pop up store with custom merchandise.  A $4,000 duffel caught my eye, but stayed right on the shelf!  Prada had a cap for sale at the schwag store (where btw none of the items were give-aways).  Lexus had a number of cars on display, just begging for a test drive.  And Charles Schwab was showing sailing footage in a special pop-up screening room.

There were some mainstay brands as well.  Nespresso also had a coffee cafe, Red Bull installed an energy bar, and Gillette offered men a shaving experience (given all the facial hair on display, that may have been the most appropriate spot at the event ... at least for a trim!).  And Puma had created a lot of the merchandise for sale at various venues, including the official store.

Not to mention all the team sponsors ... watching logos soar across the water was quite a sight to see, even from quite a distance.  A real source of pride, I am sure, for each of those brand teams.

The best part is that each brand did something in keeping with their equity ... and tied it to why consumers are a the event.  All tonally done in a very casual "sailing" kind of way.  It was like a bazaar of mega-brands, all situated along the San Fran bay, while we watched these amazingly beautiful ships fly over the water.  Quite the experience!

BTW, not bad for the San Francisco brand either.  At night the Bay Bridge is now also the backdrop for a dramatic lightshow.  Best time ever to be in the city by the bay.

Have you ever been?  What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

Note:  my new book on personal branding is now available during pre-launch on amazon.  Click here if you'd like to check it out!  The Personal Experience Effect!

Friday, September 6

Good Time to Be an Entrepreneur

We're at an interesting time in our lives and economy ... it's never been better to be an entrepreneur.

So why not write an article about it for Entrepreneur!  Click here if you'd like to read my submission on the topic.  Appreciate it.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

PS - my new book on Personal Branding is now available pre-launch from Amazon.com!!

Thursday, September 5

The Esquire Channel

Fall TV season is upon us, and there's no shortage of new programming.  Including a new venture between NBC and Esquire Magazine ... a new network targeting men.

Hmmm.  Old school or a sign of the times?  You be the judge!  You can read my take via Huffington Post by clicking here.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

Wednesday, September 4

The Getty Center in LA


I had the experience of a lifetime this weekend in LA at the Getty Center.  Amazing.

World class art.  Incredible views.  One of the best lunches I've had in my life, with a glass of rosé wine.  And an architectural experience that blends indoor and outdoor visual feasts with indoor and outdoor lighting all among a stone structure that is to die for.  Amazing.

Not sure what I like more - the art, the views, or the architecture.  Or that fact that I enjoyed them all with a glass of rosé.

A must-see in LA.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post

Tuesday, September 3

BTS in the Empty Nest

I don't think I ever graduated from that back-to-school "BTS" feeling ... you know how every Fall it seems like there's a brand new start to life?  It's an even stronger feeling than on New Year's Eve for some reason, at least for me.  BTS is the beginning of a new year, at least in my book.

This year is a very different BTS for me, on a variety of levels.  It's an entirely New Year for sure.

I'm teaching the second semester of my NYU graduate class, all about Product and Brand Management.  It starts tonight, and I'm thrilled to be teaching it again.  It'll run all semester.  It really is back to the classroom for sure, which is a different way to celebrate BTS.  I'm loving it.

Even more importantly, this is my first BTS as an empty nester.  Wow.  My daughter started her junior year at Penn State, and my son started his freshman year at IUP.  I'm so excited for both of them as they live their lives and grow towards their life goals.  I'm loving it.

But for me, admittedly, it's very strange.  We didn't have the run to Staples to gather new backpacks and school supplies.  No first day of school sign to wish them well at the bus stop.  No bag lunches with hidden messages written with a Sharpie.  None of that.  They'd kill me if I did that now.

Just an empty nest.

Now it's not that I'm having separation issues, really, because I don't think I am.  I am thrilled for them.  It's just so different.  Twenty years of taking care of kids - and getting ready for BTS - is just hard to change overnight.  I'm not worrying about their whereabouts, nor am I thinking about how we'll get dinner tonight with so much going on.  It's just weird, that's all.

So while BTS is a time for change, I wasn't quite ready for this year's version.  You'd think after twenty years I would have been.

Thankfully, I've got plenty of work and an NYU class waiting for me!

Good luck with all your BTS and your New Year!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post