Thursday, September 29

Content Marketing Takes Time, But Adds Value

Content marketing is the buzz word du jour, but good marketers make it much more actionable than just that.

Here's my take on it via Entrepreneur.

Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM.

She's a Lady - H&M

I love when brands challenge societal norms...particularly when the brand's point of view is both relevant to its audience as well as true to the brand's character. I'm a big believer that brands both reflect and inspire our collective culture...and it's our responsibility as marketers to take that responsibility seriously. We have to remember that people are watching and taking note.

Which is exactly why I like this new campaign from H&M, as in the fashion retailer. The brand is challenging what it means to act like and and look like a lady, and boy did they nail it IMHO. The brand is sending an open invitation to be yourself, with your own unique style, regardless of what you are "supposed" to look and behave like.

I love the realness - of the women, of the situations they are in, and of the fashions they are wearing. And I love the real diversity the video reflects of our culture. We are a diverse group, and we are all our own person.

Bravo! More than a few conventions put to rest in that little spot. Complete with a cameo from Lauren Hutton, among original for challenging conventions.

Very inspirational and very easy to emulate.  What's your experience? JIM.

Wednesday, September 28

America's Breakfast Debate 2016

Admittedly, this is more than a little cheesy but I think we could use a little levity right now.

Drafting off the Presidential election, the arguments, and the debates, Bisquick is running a campaign where Waffles are running against Pancakes to be the clear choice for America's breakfast. Let's face it...this is an age old rivalry that's really never been solved. Which one makes a better breakfast candidate?

I see your eyes rolling, but just suspend belief and dig in.

Each "candidate" has its own valid argument, just like you could say in the real Presidential election.

Here's "Make America Pancakes Again..."

And here's the pitch for Waffles...

What say you? #VotePancakes or #Vote Waffles? It's a tough choice.

Despite what you might say about the production of it all, it's just plain fun to see a brand insert itself in pop culture and spin it a bit. It puts a heritage brand like Bisquick into the middle of what's relevant today, in a light entertaining way. And nothing more than that. What's not to love, provided you don't take it all too seriously. With syrup on top, how could you? And there's a lot of syrup on top of the real election if you ask me!

What's your experience?  JIM

Sunday, September 25

Measurement - A Roundup Article

Stating the obvious here...the measurement of any marketing program is a key component to the strategic planning process for any brand or business. And while there is universal agreement to that obvious statement, there is no universal protocol to making it happen. Hence, it's not so easy to put into practice.

I was lucky enough to recently participate in a roundup discussion on the topic of measurement, where I along with other industry folks offered my point of view on the topic.

Give a click here to give it a read.

What's your point of view? What's your experience? JIM

Friday, September 23

Bobbi Brown and Uber

Bobbi Brown, as in the makeup brand not the singer, did an interesting little promotion with Uber the other day that caught my eye. It captured my attention because Uber has made its way so intimately into so many of our lives, that for many brands it makes perfect sense as a partner.

But for makeup?

Well, think about it. How many women put their makeup on in the car? Or a taxi if you live in a big urban center? How many men primp a bit in the car? Especially little touchups to make sure you're all put together?

Research shows...a lot! So perhaps there is a natural tie-in for Bobbi Brown makeup and Uber...

To launch their new line of Retouching products, Bobbi Brown wrapped and stocked 20 Uber cars in New York and 20 Uber cars in LA with makeup artists in the backseats from 5:00pm - 9:00pm...perfect touchup time to go from day to night. Or from day to "heeyy" as I like to say.

Lucky riders simply ordered this special car on the Uber app. Pretty smart, and a great way to bring attention to a new line of products in the exact environment where they are likely to be used.

Perhaps this is something they should continuing...

What's your experience? JIM.

Wednesday, September 21

Skittles and the Refugees

Let me first say that I am only commenting on this situation from a marketing perspective. That's all folks. And I find it fascinating, albeit certainly the real issue is far more serious than any bit of marketing.

With that said, what's a brand to do when it's suddenly caught in the cross fire of a no-win political issue?

Evidently Donald Trump's son sent out a tweet comparing Skittles (as in the candy) to the Syrian Refugees.

You literally can't make this up.

Now, truth be told, Skittles isn't the first brand to either voluntarily or involuntarily jump into a social debate. And in fact, it's not the first time for Skittles either. Back in 2012, Trayvon was holding a bag of Skittles when he was shot, propelling the brand into the news instantaneously.

Like then, the brand handled this issue with such care and professionalism and tact and composure...I can go on and on. Here was their response to one of several inquires from the media, that then spread into social media:

Bravo! And a lesson for us all in understanding who we are as a brand and our role in people's lives. And when we should comment and when we should just let it be.

Of course, the original tweet and the response took on a life of its Skittles more exposure than they could ever imagine. And I'm sure not the kind of exposure they want. At all.

In some ways, this is what happens when your brand is an iconic part of pop culture. How they chose to handle the situation is what keeps them there.

What's your experience?  JIM.

Can I Go Bucks County?

We recently did a sentimental journey to Bucks County, PA where we raised our two kids. We got a lot our of the trip. Click here to read about it at Huffington Post.

What's your experience? JIM.

Tuesday, September 20

Bodyform Femojis

From the UK feminine hygiene brand that brought you this new attitude in response to a Facebook post....

... now presents Period Emojis, or Femojis as the brand likes to say.

Yes Bodyform has created an entire range of emojis so that women and young women can use to express themselves while dealing with their periods. The brand says that it's not easy to talk about this stuff, so perhaps having these Femojis at the ready will help with self-expression, communication, understanding, and ultimately self-confidence. Can't argue with that.
Truthfully, why not?!? Why not have a brand, with a great attitude, be supportive of women communicating what they are going through? As a dad and a marketer, I say YASSS.

What's your experience?  JIM.

Monday, September 19

My Roundup from The Emmy Awards 2016

Here's my personal take on The Emmy Awards 2016 - a bit of a peek into pop culture. It appears on Huffington Post so click here to give it a read.

What's your experience?  JIM

Thursday, September 15

A Lesson from New York Fashion Week

Pop culture can give us lots of fodder to learn from, particularly in marketing. Case in point...New York Fashion Week.

See my take at Entrepreneur...Click here to give it a read. 

What's your experience?  JIM

Thirty Years of New York City

This fall marks my 30th anniversary being in New York City. Hard to believe, but I've got the smiles, hugs, bumps, and bruises to prove it.

New York has been my backdrop and support system the entire time. I decided to commemorate the occasion with a post on Gays with Kids. Click here if you'd like to give it a read.

What's your city and your anniversary? What's your experience?  JIM

Tuesday, September 13

Babies On Board

We've all been there...we board a plane only to find out we are sitting right near a crying baby. Bringing a whole new meaning to non-stop.

I've also been on the other side of the aisle as well...I board the plane with my baby only to have him immediately start crying. Bringing a whole new meaning to non-stop.

A collective "ugh" heard all aboard.

Well there's been some social media chatter on this very topic lately, all of which has brought a smile to my face, from both sides of the aisle. Here's three examples of "babies on board" that have literally made (social media) headlines.

First up, a couple with two newborn twins handed out little "survival kits" to fellow passengers in case their girls started to cry. Brilliant...and a product idea in the making. Someone snapped a shot.

Then just recently, we had a dad sitting next to a mom who was wrestling (not literally) with her crying newborn and also trying to take care of her restless toddler. The dad swiftly offered to pick up the baby and walk her up and down the aisle, instantly soothing her. His response? "I'm a dad, and I get it." Way to go dad! Someone snapped a shot.

And perhaps my favorite brand example comes from JetBlue who for Mother's Day offered discounts to all passengers aboard one particular flight because there were so many babies crying. The offer was for every baby that cries, passengers receive a 25% discount on their next flight. Four crying babies led to free flights all aboard. JetBlue snapped a shot.

C'mon, doesn't that all bring a smile to your face, despite the painful experience? We've all been there.

What's your experience? JIM

Monday, September 12

Kenneth Cole Courageous Class, Fall 2016

I'm in the midst of a New York Fall Fashion Week blog post spree, and I couldn't complete my thoughts without showing the return of this campaign from Kenneth Cole.

The brand has long been known for shaking up the industry and for taking a stand on social issues. I may even be able to argue that Kenneth Cole was one of the first brands to make social statements in its marketing. While it's becoming more common now, albeit still a risk, back when Kenneth Cole started speaking out it was downright bold.

Dare I say courageous.

Which is why the current campaign is such a natural fit for the brand and a mere continuation of the voice it's already established.

For the second season in a row, Kenneth Cole is featuring a line up of very bold and courageous people who have overcome barriers to make a major difference in the world. Click here to meet them.

The Courageous Class of Fall 2016.

As the brand says, "Those determined individuals who confidently overcome life's challenges to become the inspiring role models they were meant to be.

Bravo. Now of course, they are wearing the clothes. Could you blame them?

What's your experience?  JIM

Making Fashion Week Affordable and Accessible

Right in the middle of New York's Fashion Week, we have two retail brands touting runways of their own, in an effort to make Fashion Week more shop-able and more obtainable.

First up is Kohl's, inspiring women with a fashion sense: The world is your runway. Go ahead -- own it! #everydayrunway

The new campaign includes what I would consider solid advice on their to create certain looks for certain situations with Kohl's fashions. Practical and easy to follow.

Next up is Macy's who's making a big splash in New York, online, and on air with E! Entertainment Television: Macy's Fashion's Front Row. 

To kick off Fashion Week, the retailer hosted a concert and fashion show at the Theater in Madison Square Garden that will run on E! this coming Thursday night on September 15th. During the show, viewers can shop the runway that features fashions and certain fashion brands only available at Macy's, including a new collection from Betsy Johnson.

Pretty clever...taking the hype and buzz of Fashion Week and making it affordable and accessible to anyone. Fashion Week is fun because it's so inspiring, but the truth is that it's very unattainable. It's nice to see some marketing action to address that.

Both brands are doing a great job, IMHO.

What's your experience? JIM

Friday, September 9

Tom Ford, Four Seasons, Fashion Week

Yesterday marked the start of Fashion Week in New York...always a bit of a treat for me personally because I generally have clients doing events in and around the shows which makes for a lot of fun. And a lot of marketing.

This season the "week" started the day before with a couple of high profile shows including the one from Tom Ford. I'm a big fan, and I love what he did this year.

Rather than doing a standard runway show, he created a full on party experience in the old Four Seasons restaurant that just recently closed. The space holds a lot of meaning for me and my family, so I was thrilled to see it put to good use by a brand I admire.

The models literally walked over the infamous "pool!"

The evening was classic New York in an iconic New York institution from someone who is now an industry veteran...all working to keep it fresh. Kicked off by current "it" model Gigi Hadid.

I think Tom Ford understands that yes, it's about the clothes, but when it comes to introducing them to the public then you need to make it all about the experience. It's the total experience that will generate the buzz from those in that room and those following on social media, that will drive shoppers to the racks. Which, after all, is the whole point of Fashion Week...building brand experiences that will sell clothes.

The best part is that he didn't feature next season's wears, he showed his line from Fall 2016...instantly shop-able right now. No waiting for the Spring. Hmmm, that's a logical twist.

Well done, Mr. Ford.

Oh and BTW, Tom Ford is also designing the uniforms for the restaurant that will replace the Four Seasons. And he just got off a plane from premiering his new movie at the Venice Film Festival. Proving, once again, that there are no coincidences in marketing.

What's your experience? JIM.

Thursday, September 8

Lessons Learned for Marketers from the Olympics

Not sure many folks were into the Olympics this year. When you are a "brand" that's been around awhile (as in thousands of years), that's not where you want to be. There's something to be learned here, so I explored the topic on Huffington Post.

Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, September 7

Monday, September 5

Coca-Cola Replenishes Its Water Use

I love when a company or brand sets out to achieve a very specific goal...a goal that gives back to the society from which it takes.

That's exactly what the Coca-Cola Company recently did in regards to water conservation.

The Coca-Cola company recently announced that it has replenished all of the water it uses to make its entire lineup of beverages. No small feat given their expansive portfolio and global reach. But the company made this a stated goal awhile back, and now they can say that they achieved it.

Honestly, that's a wow.

The company claims it was able to replenish all of its usage through treating wastewater from its manufacturing and through several initiatives to capture clean water around the world. I always say, "You gotta have a goal." Because when you have a goal, then you can work (and align resources) towards making that goal a reality.

To my eye, this is true sustainability practice in action...and humbly communicating about it. I'm impressed with the efforts and I commend the company for letting us all know. Taking a stand on something that is important to the world and that is so tied to the essence of your brand is true benchmark CSR work.

You can read more about it.

What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, September 1

What is a Logo?

A brand's logo is literally one of the most important elements of a business and a marketing campaign Yet, it's often overlooked.

So I asked myself, "What exactly is a logo?" And I answered myself on Entrepreneur.  Click here to give it a read. 

What's your experience? JIM.