Thursday, October 31

Helping Young Talent


I just love my job, I really do.  Though the tough weeks can be a challenge, they get completely negated when one of those "pinch me" weeks comes along.  Last week was a "pinch me" week.

I spent a big chunk of time last week working on helping "young talent," which to me is the most rewarding part of my job right now ... helping the next generation of our industry get the experience they need to eventually lead their own agencies and brands.  Future leaders in action, shall we say.  It's this next generation of brand builders who will make our industry even better, so we have to nurture them.  I was so lucky to have a host of mentors when I started out at Johnson & Johnson.  I'm not sure that happens as much anymore, so these young folks need a place to learn.

It's the reason why I teach at NYU to be honest.  I love being in touch with the students that are learning our craft ... so I teach a full semester graduate level class plus a weekend intensive for those continuing their education.  Both classes for the Fall Semester hit last week, my favorite time of year in New York.

I also attended my first Board Meeting for the VCU Brandcenter, which is the nation's #1 graduate program for branding.  Helping the school build better programs to teach students what we do everyday is a blast.  And the company I keep there is off the charts ... very inspiring.

Lastly, I also announced the winner of the "Take Flight with PR" video contest for the Council of PR Firms at their annual dinner.  The winner won a round of interviews at a few NY-based firms plus $2,500 to help with their education.  Young talent in the making.

What a week!  I write in my personal branding book that we all need to find our own way to give back and to find a purpose.  I guess this is mine, although I receive a lot in return and it hardly feels like "giving" at all.

I want to do even more as time goes on, and make it a bigger part of my brand.  Thanks to you all for the continued inspiration.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Wednesday, October 30

Stella Cidre

This is the most logical line extension on the planet, or is it?

Stella Cidre.  A new apple cider beer from Stella ... You know, the brand with the cool glass.

I don't know what to make of it, quite honestly. On the one hand, you've got an iconic mega brand capitalizing on a hot trend ... cider beers are all the rage in the UK and they've been not-so-slowly making their way stateside.

On the other hand, you have an iconic mega brand capitalizing on a trend.  While Stella is hot in and of itself, I wouldn't consider it trendy.  It's more sophisticated and classic than that.

Apple ciders are hot, so why wouldn't you?  But it just feels awful coming from Stella, and I can't really articulate it.  It feels wildly opportunistic, which isn't what Stella is about, at least not to me.  I first thought that Stella was from Italy, and wondered if Italy has apples ... I don't know.  I've since discovered that it's from Belgium ... do they have apples in Belgium?  I don't know!

We were just talking about Stella in my NYU class last weekend ... the students were marveling about the brand's leadership in a very cluttered category.  I guess I expected more.  Not just following a trend but leading one.  Like they did with launching a truly high end sophisticated beer.  Arguably, the first really sophisticated beer.  And they changed their glass to a white wine glass - why wouldn't they keep their signature glass?  Their glass put them on the map, at least from a marketing perspective. 

I honestly don't know what to make of it ... do apples have that much of an impact?

What's your experience?  Jim.

Tuesday, October 29

Who's Your Enemy?


As the economy and the marketplace get more and more competitive, I've heard a lot of talk lately about "having an enemy" in business and using that as a focus for getting ahead.  Not sure where it's coming from, but it's counter to how I personally think.  So I wrote an article for Entrepreneur to capture my thoughts on the topic of being competitive.

You can click here to read it if you'd like, and let me know what your think.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Monday, October 28

AICP Awards - Best in Show IMHO

Last week I attended a screening of the AICP Awards ... The Association of Independent Commercial Producers, the folks who make television advertising.  The AICP picked the best of the year's past advertising, across several categories. 

We watched the screening in an old theater in the middle of Richmond, VA of all places, because we were all in town for a Board Meeting for the VCU Brandcenter ... the #1 graduate program for branding in the country.  The Board of Directors is an amazing cast of characters from the industry, and I am so honored to be a part of it.

So here's my top 4 picks from the awards.  They will be the topic of conversation in my graduate NYU class this week (so students, if you are reading consider yourself warned)!  Should make for a lively discussion.

Volkswagon:  this little ditty debuted during the Super Bowl last year, to great debate.  Looking back, I'm not sure any of that was necessary.  I love how the creators try to capture an ownable mood for  the brand.



Durex:  this won for best "spec spot," meaning that it never aired.  Certainly shows off the product benefit without saying a word, perhaps the most convincing of advertising approaches.



Dollar Shave Club:  An entrepreneurial brand that is looking to reinvent a deep-seated category.  Awesome go at it with a real flare for engagement.





Expedia:  the show stopper by far.  I had never seen it before, and it stopped me in my tracks and brought tears to the audience.  Brilliant storytelling ... "Find Your Understanding."  I later found out that this was not only a true story, but the creator was the one getting married in it!  She's one of us!



I think the best part about the awards was watching them in a big theater on a big screen.  For one of the first times in my life, I was watching advertising as pure entertainment and didn't really over analyze any of it until much later.  Pure enjoyment ... we laughed out loud, we cried, we smiled, and we rejoiced in our industry of creativity.  Doesn't get any better than that!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Friday, October 25

Katy Perry: Is It The Music or The Marketing?

I wrote this article for Huffington Post, posing a question about Kay Perry and her intense success.

Is it the music or the marketing?  Click here to read it.

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

Thursday, October 24

Take Flight with PR - Contest Winner


Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Council of PR Firms annual dinner, where I announced the winner of the PR Takes Flight video contest.

Part of The Council's mission is to attract young talent, so we've put together a comprehensive program to showcase how exciting a career in PR can be.

Part of that was asking young folks to submit video entries of how they would view a PR career opportunity.  The winner received $2500 and a series of interviews at NYC PR firms.

Ashley Varner from The College of William and Mary was the winner, and she sat at my table for the entire dinner last night.

Take a look at her incredible video by clicking here.

What was amazing about the evening was the attention that Ashley was getting.  First of all, we were all blown away by her video.  Incredibly insightful and professional, especially when coming from a college senior.  She created a concept within the video with a great set up, story line, and execution.  Amazing work.  The audience literally sat stunned watching it.

But probably more importantly, we were all struck by Ashley as the symbol of the next generation of our industry.  Articulate, savvy, and creative ... and ready to apply her talents.  It's so energizing to be around the new folks coming in because we can all continue to learn and grow from them.  It's why I teach my classes at NYU.

Congrats to Ashley and all the upcoming talent ... we're waiting for you and we need you!

What's your experience?  Jim.

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


Wednesday, October 23

Warby Parker


I've been meaning to spotlight this brand for a long time now, because I think it's a great example of "marketing is a spectator sport":  Warby Parker.

Warby Parker is the online prescription eyewear brand that sells a huge variety of frames.  Actually they started out online but now have brick and mortar locations as well.

If you know anything about buying glasses, you know that it's an expensive and stressful process.  Did I say "expensive?"  There have been a few new entrants to the scene lately to try to overcome those two facts (glasses.com is one of them), but none do it quite like Warby Parker.

The brand clearly picked up on the do-good success of Tom's shoes ... for every pair of glasses purchased, another pair goes to someone in need.  "Marketing is a spectator sport" indeed ... the brand paid attention to a winning concept and replicated it in their industry.  Nothing wrong with that, especially when there's a note of giving.

But they did it so well!  Buying glasses is an expensive proposition, and it's filled with stress.  An "ordinary" pair can get upwards of $1000 without even trying that hard, and then who knows if you are really going to like them.  Making the glasses more affordable takes out some of the risk, and makes it easier to create fashion accessories with the frames ... you can buy multiples with the same amount of money.

The brand also has a home try-on feature where you can experiment with five frames at home for five days, getting your friends and family to help you choose.  Again, eliminating some of the risk.  There are also social features that allow you to share pics of yourself in the frames, to do more crowd sourcing selections.

The fact that you are giving someone else a pair of glasses in the process just makes it so much better.  Classic contemporary marketing.  But the brand took it one more layer ... they are setting up micro-entrepreneurs in areas around the world and setting them up to sell affordable eyewear in their communities.  Taking the concept on the road, shall we say, and making sure that people have access to glasses.

So while it's hard to say that this brand is brilliant, because it basically modeled itself after Tom's, I do have to say that I love how it "searched and reapplied" a marketing idea and made it all theirs .... addressing consumer concerns of pricing, risk in product selection, and ability to get friends' feedback all at once ... bringing it all to those in need.  Addressing consumer concerns, in a beautiful fashion, is what marketing is all about.  Creating a business model out of it is even better!

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

PS - Glasses are a big part of your personal statement, and of your personal brand.  Check out my new book on building your own personal brand by clicking here!  Thanks!

Tuesday, October 22

Queer Eye For The Straight Guy


I watched the ten-year reunion show for Queer Eye For The Straight Guy over the weekend, and I have to say it was such an eye opener.

A lot has changed in ten years!

Although I was a big fan of the show, I had completely forgotten how breakthrough this show was at the time.  Five gay men hanging out and giving advice to straight men was a major cultural shift at the time.  We have to remember that ten years ago it still wasn't necessarily cool to be "out," and straight guys weren't really looking to make friends with gay guys.  At least not so publicly.

And guys were not talking about personal grooming issues with each other either -- like back hair, the unibrow, or skin care.  And there 'taint nothing like the visual inch.  The Fab 5 basically launched man-scaping, much to the delight of many a woman I might add.  This is now a natural part of the younger generation of guys, gay and straight.  We've seen the boy cultures collide, this show being just one of the many reasons.



I had also forgotten, that this show basically put the Bravo network on the map.  This is way way before The Housewives franchise, way before we knew Andy Cohen.  This show launched not only a cultural phenomenon, but also a channel and a few careers.  It even had a theme song that became a big dance hit.

I have to admit that I shed a few tears while watching the reunion show.  Watching how lives were transformed, and how these "straight" guys really quickly built relationships with these five "gay" men is nothing short of amazing.  Guys got engaged with their girlfriends, reengaged with their wives, connected with their homes, and of course amped their personal style to get more out of life.  They became better versions of themselves, and appreciated it ... and opening their eyes along the way.

I was left with the feeling that I wanted the show to come back!  Given how much more receptive our culture is now, it would perhaps be even more transformative.  Or was that truly what made it magical at the time?  Perhaps that was the emotional draw and impact.  It sure was for me watching the reunion show.

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

My new book about personal branding is out ... check it out here!

Monday, October 21

Make a Living, Not a Killing

Personal values and philosophies are part of what makes us who we are, or in my terms makes up our personal brand.


I was recently reminded about one of my own, from a very unusual place.  So I wrote about it on Huffington Post, and thought you might like to read it.  Just click here.


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 - click here to check it out!

Friday, October 18

Your Personal Target Audience

This week's article in my series on personal branding at Entrepreneur may leave people scratching their heads.

Can a person really have a target audience?

Sure!  If you know what you want to achieve in life, then you absolutely should know who your target audience is, just like the big brands do.

I know it's not the way we normally talk about it, but if you really think about it then it kinda makes sense.  Take a peek at the argument over at Entrepreneur.com.

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 want to read more about personal branding, then check out my new book The Personal Experience Effect .. targeting is just one of the chapters!

Thursday, October 17

Camoflage Is Back

If there is one fashion trend I am totally digging this Fall it is Camoflage ... it's back again big time in virtuallly everything from pants to tops to backpacks to sneakers to accessories.  Camo is everywhere.

What's fun this time around is that a lot of it is "deconstructed."  So yes, there is the traditional camoflage that many of us have had in our closets for years now, but there's also new variations where the pattern is stretched, zoomed in, broken apart, and reinterpreted.  It's fabulous.

There's also a wide variety of fabrics this time around too ... cottons, wools, cashmeres ... the entire range.  It's not limited to just the standard camo cargo pant.  Yet that too is also very much in style, so we can still pull those pants out of our closet from the last time they were in style and wear them again.  Generally speaking, when a trend comes back into fashion it's changed just enough to make the last versions look out of date.  But not this time around because vintage camo is just as hot as the new stuff off the rack.

I say indulge in camoflage.  It's like a neutral or like a pair of jeans because you can pair it with anything and it'll look good.  Bright colors, soft earth tones, other patterns ... just go explore your camo self.

Make it yours ... what's your experience?  Jim.

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

Tuesday, October 15

Meatball Obsession

The title of this post isn't just one of my random likes, or just my Sunday night tradition ... it's something I discovered out of the corner of my eye the other day while whisking up 6th Avenue in a cab in New York.  Meatball Obsession is the name of a series of restaurants opening around NY and NJ that seem to have my name all over it.  I had to run back at the end of the day to seriously check it out.


Not to be confused with the Meatball Shop, that I also recently wrote about.  That restaurant is more full service, while Meatball Obsession is more for on the go.

Meatball Obsession is a little pop up shop where you can grab some meatballs, all kinds of meatballs actually, either in a cup or on some bread.  Along with some "Sunday Sauce" (marinara sauce) to go along with it.  It's a quick experience that completely satisfies any meatball craving.  I particularly liked it in a cup along with some dipping bread.  Satisfying for sure.

I also particularly like the "Sunday Sauce," because for those of you who know me that's part of my family's tradition.  Every Sunday night we have spaghetti and meatballs, all kinds of meatballs actually, whether at home or while traveling.

The brand also has a nice social presence, sprinkling in commentary and an occasional contest to win meatballs.  Gotta love it.

The meatball food obsession seems be alive and well ... thanks to people like Dan Mancini and his Meatball Obsession who are keeping his own family traditions alive.  I'm going to pop in again today, since there's close enough to my office.  I don't mind walking a few blocks to feed my meatball obsession.

What's your experience?  Jim.

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

Check out my new series over at Entrepreneur.com -- all about building a personal brand -- as well as my new book The Personal Experience Effect

Sunday, October 13

Making Decisions for Your Personal Brand

I'm into the forth article in my Entrepreneur series on personal branding ... to go along with my new book The Personal Experience Effect.

This week it's all about making decisions; specifically how to make the right choices in your life based on how you've created your own personal brand.

My theory is that if you use your very own personal positioning statement as your guide, you'll be on the right path.

Give it a click here if you'd like to read my article.

What's your experience?  Jim.

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