Friday, July 31

Entrepreneur - Ask the Expert #4

For the month of July, I've been the "ask the expert" at Entrepreneur. Here's the fourth and final here to read.

What's your experience?  JIM.

Monday, July 27

Windex "Birds"

How many times have you seen a window so clean that birds actually fly into it?

Well that's the premise behind this new campaign from Windex, featuring two feisty birds who are fed up with windows that are too darn clean. It's fun to see how the campaign has been rolling out, with this the video that sets it all up:

Introducing the world's first smudge stick! Clever!

But then it goes on, with official word from the brand:

Clever again! And so true!

While I think there's a lot more that they could do, I do think this is a clever way of showing product performance and in some ways product superiority. Seeing a bird bang into a window is something we can all relate to, and feel bad about! I'm betting we'll see more of this campaign!

That's the lessons learned here ... showing a universal truth that we can all relate to, no matter who we are, is a great way to engage people into your brand.

What's your experience?  JIM

Measuring Products and Brands

I'm winding down my series about products vs. brands at Entrepreneur ... only two posts left!

The next to last topic is all about measurement. Last week, forecasting, and this week measurement.

Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience?  JIM

Friday, July 24

Entrepreneur Ask the Expert #3

For the month of July 2015, I'm the "expert" at Entrepreneur for their column "Ask the Expert." Week three is all about boosting a social media presence.

Click here if you'd like to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, July 23


Here's the next installment for my series at Entrepreneur on the difference between products and brands.

This one is all about the all important forecasting ... something I learned in my early days at Johnson & Johnson.

Click here if you'd like to give it a read.  

What's your experience?  JIM.

Monday, July 20

More on Tylenol #HowWeFamily

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post on this amazing new campaign from Tylenol called "HowWeFamily ... creatively showing how we none of us should have to fight to be a family.

Well the brand has been continually pumping out content ever since, each piece more inspiring then the next. I wanted to pay tribute to the brand's efforts and also showcase two pieces that I find particularly meaningful.

The first is from a campaign spokesperson, Gabrielle Union:

I love how she says that she wishes people could just "be." Exactly.

The other piece of content I wanted to share is from a real life family, one that's been a family ever since the two gentlemen met only to be further solidified by the addition of their son:

I love how he spoke about "not needing permission" to be a couple or a family. Exactly.

I feel like this campaign could live on forever, because the concept of family lives on forever. I even mentioned it in an article on Huffington Post all about "perfect timing." Exactly.

I hope you are as inspired as I am! What's your experience? JIM

Saturday, July 18

Nike for the Disabled

A friend sent me a new video from Nike and said "anyone with a disable family member will appreciate this."

I beg to differ. Anyone with children can appreciate this. Scratch that. Anyone can appreciate this.

Witnessing the commitment of a brand to help its consumers is nothing short of awe-inspiring, and it completely elevates our opinion and respect for the brand.

Enter Nike:  "If you have a body you're an athlete. And that means every body."  

Now we may think of Nike as a mega-brand and a mega-business, but all it took was one employee and a simple letter with a simple requested that was posted onto social media. The rest is life changing.

You simply must take a look at this video where the brand describes the launch of their new technology, FLYEASE, designed for people with disabilities.

You'll be inspired.  I know that I was.

"I felt a wave of independence that I never felt before." Incredible.

"If you have a body you're an athlete. That means every body." Everybody indeed.

What's your experience?  JIM.

Wednesday, July 15

Ask the Entrepreneur Expert #2

This month I'm the "expert" at Entrepreneur...and folks are sending in questions.

The editor picked one about maximizing webinars.

Click here to read my answer.

What's your experience? JIM.

Monday, July 13

Testing and Validation

I'm running a series at Entrepreneur all about the difference between a product and a brand.

This week's topic? Testing and validation.

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

What's your experience? JIM

Friday, July 10

Ask the Entrepreneur Expert #1

For the month of July, I'm the "Ask the Expert" for Entrepreneur! Woot!

Every week this month, the magazine asks people to pop in questions and then I answer one per week. It's a little fun, I have to admit, because I have no idea what I'll be writing about until the editor sends me the question she picked.


Click here to read week #1, which speaks to the #1 marketing strategy for really any business.

What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, July 8

30 Years with American Express

I had reason to contact customer service at American Express yesterday...nothing anyone really ever wants to do but I have to say that the brand always makes it a pleasant experience. There was a transaction on my statement that I hadn't authorized so I asked them to look into it.

After we finished discussing the details, which was totally satisfying, the customer service representative said to me, "I see you are celebrating your 30th Anniversary with us this month. Congratulations and thank you for 30 years of your business and your loyalty."

Wow, 30 years!

It obviously hadn't occurred to me and why would it really?!?

But then again, I did just celebrate my 30th college reunion so clearly I must have applied for the card right after graduation. At the time, I was about to head to Boston to start my first job, so I guess I needed to establish some credit. I don't really remember.

But as soon as that rep said that it had been 30 years, I felt a rush of memories about my financial status through the years. Starting out with my first job and wondering how much rent I can afford. Then eventually a new mortgage after I got married and started to "settle down." College funds once the kids were born because I had to start thinking about their future too. Separate (and very thin) budgets after my divorce. Soaring interest rates and credit card debt that came with the Great Recession. College tuition and then double college tuition as the kids started to move into their own journeys. Coming to grips with the empty nest and changing where and how we live.

I've chronicled much of that in my new book, Out and About Dad, along with all the other twists and turns that come with raising a family and managing a career. We've all been through these things, or at least a collection of them, and we can learn from each other. American Express just reminded me of that again. Thank you for reminding me of that again.

It's been a roller coaster financially for both our culture and for me personally. I've survived those ups and downs, thankfully, and can now look back on the financial pressures that could have crushed me and realize now that I made it through. Still making it through and will probably always still be making it through. We all are.

While I'd never thought about it before, I guess American Express has been there all along the way...with me every step of the way.

Which is exactly what a brand should do. It's exactly what any brand should do. Brands should be there every step of the way as their consumers live their lives and face their challenges. Loyalty will result. I mean, really, how many brands have you been loyal to for 30 years?

I've been loyal to American Express my entire adult life without ever second-guessing it. That's pretty amazing, from a branding and a personal perspective.

What's your experience? JIM.

Tuesday, July 7

Under Armour Follows Through

I love when you see a brand follow through on not only its own marketing, but its intentions as well.

Back in December, I wrote a blog post about the amazing work from Under Armour with Misty Copeland in "I Will What I Want." Click here to give it a read.

To me, this piece of film was a work of art, a salute to incredible bravery and determination, and a rebranding of two brands...Misty Copeland and Under Armour. Well, maybe not a rebranding but an evolution of two brands.

You can take a look at the video here:

Last week when Misty Copeland was named the first African American principal dancer in American Ballet Theatre's 75-year history, Under Armour did a follow through for her with this simple little tweet:

Well after thousands of tweets, an SUV pulled up with a boat-load, or shall I say car-load, of flowers:

For tons of amazing social content for both brands:

Proving that follow through is a good branding technique. Well played, and congratulations to Misty Copeland. "I will what I want" indeed.

What's your experience? JIM.

Monday, July 6

Entrepreneur - Emotional

This week's installment for my Entrepreneur series on products vs. brands is all about emotional benefits. After all, that's what makes up a brand.

Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, July 2

Functional Benefits

I'm continuing my series at Entrepreneur on the difference between products and brands.

This week we examine functional benefits - the essence of any product or service.

Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, July 1

Similac Sisterhood

One of my clients begged me to take a look at this "viral video," so I obliged. I didn't say a word. I didn't know what to say. I had trouble framing an opinion on the spot.

Since then, I've shown it to everyone who will indulge me, and no one says a word. I don't think they know what to say.

Is it offensive? Is it funny? Does it pull you into the brand? Are the stereotypes, all of them, accurate? How does it make you feel? No one will tell me!

I will say that the portrayal of the dads bothered me a bit, particularly since they were completely left out of the "sisterhood" at the end. But I'm sensitive to all things dad if I'm going to be honest, so I'm not sure I'm being objective.

I will also say that I give the brand credit for "going there" and tackling a very sensitive topic.

Please tell me what you think, because everyone I show doesn't say a word.

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