Wednesday, November 30

Run the Organization

I once received a very important piece of advice, and it has stuck with me to this day.

Read about it here on Entrepreneur

What's your experience?  JIM

Tuesday, November 29

Facebook Takes Flight

We think of Facebook as the ultimate medium for connectivity. For me personally, I'm connected to friends from so many aspects of my life...childhood, high school, college, jobs...some I've never even met but we share a common experience and have chosen to connect over it.

It's the magic of Facebook IMHO.

But the problem is that if you don't have internet access then you don't have access to the connectivity of Facebook. Big problem on many levels, especially when you think about how the world operates today.

This is a problem that Facebook is trying to fix itself.



Self-serving? A bit...if you don't have internet access then you can't become a Facebook user and presumably the brand is looking to constantly expand its community to meet its business goals.

But truthfully, the initiative is so much more powerful than that. Providing internet access does more than just open up Facebook to those rural and under-served communities, it opens up the world.

Opens up the world! And for that I commend Facebook.

What's your experience?  JIM.

Black Friday 2016 Recap


This past weekend was Black Friday...and I say "weekend" because Black Friday is no longer just on Friday, it's the entire holiday weekend. I, for one, am a good example as I went Black Friday shopping on Tuesday night before any of the crowds hit.

This year saw more shoppers than ever, although with very different shopping behaviors. I, for one, am also a good example as I never participate in Black Friday yet this year I couldn't help myself and bought a tv. For myself, not even as a gift!

Deep discounts ruled the shopping carts, to no surprise (the tv I bought was under $300!!). So although there were more shoppers, the average cart was lower than prior years. Most analysts are thanking deeper discounts for that phenomenon from retailers across the board including luxury outlets like Neiman Marcus.

Online shopping wasn't reserved just for Cyber Monday, another "weekend" event. Online sales on Black Friday were bigger than ever too, thanks to the proliferation of shopping and price comparison apps that made shopping online easier than ever, even if you were standing in a brick and mortar outlet. And of course thanks to Amazon as they took the lead online. Naturally.

Online sales on Monday did end up surpassing Friday, but again it's better to measure total weekend impact than just one day...proving once again that online sales keep growing and growing year over year not only in volume but in household penetration as well.

The question is...Is Black Friday over? Not by a long shot. Calling it a "weekend" isn't even fair anymore, as it's more like a season that is just beginning. Analysts are calling for more and more deep discounts as we count down the holiday shopping days.

So stay tuned...what's your experience? JIM

Sunday, November 27

How to Spend The Rest of the Year

They say it's the most wonderful time of the year ... so use the time wisely.

I wrote about three specific tips for Entrepreneur, so click here to give it a read.

Happy Holidays! What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, November 22

John Lewis and Sainsbury Holiday Advertising 2016

I find myself looking for any excuse to find something "different" on my social streams other than politics these days. Luckily, the holidays are approaching which gives us many opportunities to escape.

And escape we shall...into holiday advertising, one of my favorite things of the year. I posted a few classics last week, which you can take a look at here.

But I've been keeping track of new ones this season, and I have to say that the Brits never disappoint.

We can always count on luxury retailer John Lewis, and in fact one of my all time favorite holiday commercials is from John Lewis in 2015 featuring a sellout plush toy named #MontyThePenguin:



But this year we have #BusterTheBoxer, complete with a continuing story online if you keep clicking:



Sainsbury is another British company, a grocery retailer, that never disappoint either. Here's a classic from 2014 that put this company on my radar, for good reason...it was inspired by real life events:


Sainsbury returns this year with a blockbuster spot featuring James Corden of Carpool Karoke fame:


I could go on and on, mostly because this is a lot more fun than reading my Facebook feed right now.

Do you have a favorite commercial for the holidays? What's your experience? JIM

Monday, November 21

I LOVE NY, Then and Now


Given everything going on around the world, I was so proud to see Governor Cuomo stand up and make a statement. It reminded me of why I love NY. 

So I wrote about it for Huffington Post. Click here if you'd like to give it a read.

I LOVE NY! JIM

Friday, November 18

Watching Holiday Commercials

We're heading into the holiday season, which from many perspectives is the most wonderful time of the year. Particularly for the amazing advertising we see come from the brands at

I'll admit that I'm a bit obsessed with seeing what comes out at this time of year.

I think my obsession started with this now famous spot from Folgers from back when I was a kid:


That commercial was so inspiring to me at the time, and in fact was part of why I myself ended up going into marketing.

Flash forward to a time when I really am in marketing. This Apple spot from a few years ago (2013) I found equally inspiring, and a great indication of how our culture has changed:


And then from last year, a bit of a shocker:


So what's in store for this year? I'm imagining we'll start to see next week over Thanksgiving.

Do you have any favorites? What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, November 16

Listen

We learned a very important lesson this election season here in the US...an important lesson learned in many other parts of the world too.

Listen.

I wrote about it this week for Entrepreneur...click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

Sunday, November 13

This Isn't America


I realize that our social feeds are filled with people expressing their opinions. And so they should. I appreciate all of the sentiment, I really do. And while I didn't necessarily want to pile on, a colleague said something to me the other night that has stuck with me...and I think it best captures how I'm feeling.

You can read about it here at Gays with Kids.

Thanks for the open mind. JIM

Feedback is a Gift...That Keeps on Giving

Food, shelter, water...just a few of life's necessities.

When it comes to working as a team, I'd also throw in "feedback."

I wrote about it for Entrepreneur...click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, November 10

Love Trumps Hate

This one picture, for me, captures my post-election feeling on 11/9/16:




As does the incomparable concession speak from Hillary, just that morning:



And then this healing performance a few days later on SNL:


'nuff said.  JIM

Tuesday, November 8

Don't Advertise, Solve a Problem


I'm a bit obsessed with a new business book...Cool is the New Good, Market Like You Give a Damn. So obsessed that I had to write about it on Huffington Post. Click here to see/read what I wrote about it.

What's your experience?  JIM

Monday, November 7

The Final Election Spots Are In





(this article also appears on Huffington Post, so click here if you'd like to read it there)

Well it's finally come...election day...perhaps one of the most important political moments in our collective histories. I personally cannot wait for it all to be over! I'm tired of the arguing and the debating, mostly because it's all arguing and no debating.

But from a marketing perspective, I thought it would be fun to take a look at what I believe are the last television ads produced by each candidate. Just for fun, if there's any room left for fun this election season.

It's fun to see the stark contrast between the two...something we can agree on despite who we support.

Ladies first. Here's Hillary's final words:



And now here's Donald Trump's final words:


Like I said, I'll be glad when it's over.  I'm hitting the poles at 6:00am Tuesday am. What's your experience? JIM

Sunday, November 6

Facebook and the Election

I think I can safely say that almost all of us can't wait for Election Day to be over. It's been exhausting, to say the least. The very least. I'm looking forward to the calm that hopefully comes after the storm, and I'm looking for some of the hate to go away.

I'm also looking to get my social feeds back. Our streams have been littered, and in some cases poisoned, by the intensity that has been this election season. I've been ready to turn it all off at a moment's notice, but am now happy there's only a little bit of time left.

But I have been impressed, I must say, at one particular feature on Facebook that is new (at least to my eye) this year...you can view your ballot directly on your news feed. I didn't quite believe it at first, so I clicked. And sure enough, there was my ballot based on my neighborhood. Upper West Side of Manhattan. Now I know not only where to vote, but who to vote for when I step into the booth. Hopefully making the voting time shorter, and the lines shorter too.

Now that is public service, geo-located public service at that. Adding true value to what has been a bit of a value-less and endless debate. And hopefully, at the end of the day, making it easier for people to go out and vote. Because that's what counts.

VOTE! What's your experience? JIM.

Friday, November 4

Nike Celebrates the Spirit of the Cubs


Something monumental happened in sports happened this week...the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, an event that was 108 years in the making. Unbelievable.

While I'm not a big sports fan, I am a fan of pop culture. And I'm particularly a fan of how pop culture unites us. Even if you're not a Cubs fan, you have to smile just a little bit at this win after so many years.

I am certainly a big fan when a brand jumps in and becomes a legitimate part of the celebration.

Nike did just that...they jumped in when the Cubs won, as they've done before with big iconic moments in sports. This one takes the cake, however, in capturing the spirit of the Cubs win and the spirit of sports in general. It's a must-watch.


This is what makes Nike, well, Nike.

Along the same spirit, Budweiser brought back an icon to celebrate the win:


I mean, what's not to love here? What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, November 3

Starbucks Green Cup!?!

Every year, right around this time of year, Starbucks releases its holiday red cup. It's a brand tradition that is generally met with great fanfare and great social commentary. Last year was one for the record books, when the cup was just plain 'ole red with no holiday decoration on it.

There was upset, to say the least. I know it might sound crazy, but consumers wait for the red cup reveal every year. I know consumers were hoping for a good red cup release this year...but we were all caught off guard...with green cups.


Green!?! Is green the new holiday cup? Green!?! Even I was caught off when I saw one sitting in a colleague's office.

Turns out it's not THE holiday cup, but it's a unity cup...presumably trying to bring us all together during this time of great debate and anger.

Yes the cup is green, but it also features a continuous line drawing that goes from one person to another to another in a symbol of unity. Honestly, we could use it right now.

So I guess we have to hang tight for the red cups while we get through this current period in our culture. I think that makes sense, quite honestly, because it's hard to think about holiday cheer right now when there's so much rhetoric and so much mud-slinging. Let's get that behind us and then come together for the holidays.

In the meantime, I'll be drinking out of a green cup.

What's your experience? JIM.

Tuesday, November 1

Black Friday - It's Coming

Halloween happened literally just a minute ago, and we are already seeing messaging about Black Friday. The social feeds are coming alive with Black Friday!

Every year, Black Friday is a virtual and literal circus of deals with retails competing for attention online and off. With each retailer trying to outdo the other in terms of deeper and deeper discounts (online and off), earlier and earlier deals (online and off), and more and more hours open at brick and mortar locations. How early to open, particularly into the actual Thanksgiving holiday, has become just one of the latest games.

It's dizzying to say the least.


Last year, we saw a movement towards some retailers pulling back on the hysteria. Some stopped opening on Thanksgiving Day, and one in particular decided to stay closed on Black Friday...REI with their #OptOutside campaign.


Time will tell what happens this year, although certainly the hype has started. Will more retailers go the REI route or will more not be able to resist opening their stores earlier earlier earlier?

Here's a bit of a prediction, from a PRWeek article in which I am also quoted. I'd love to see more brands stick to who they are as a brand, and make the decision on how to handle Black Friday based on their brand equity. You're nothing as a brand if you're not consistent. We have REI as inspiration for that.

How will you show up for Black Friday? What's your experience? JIM

Chipolte Ingredients Reign


Every week in my graduate studies class at NYU, I ask the students to bring in something they observed in marketing that week. The examples they bring provide a rich buffet of marketing fodder to discuss.

One such example from the students was this "come back" video from Chipolte. Let's give credit where credit is due...the brand built its brand on content marketing that featured the essence of its business strategy: sustainable ingredients. The content marketing, over and over again, supported the business strategy and built a base of loyal consumers who bought into the concept.



But the brand has had some struggles along the way, and was forced off message for a bit. While dealing with supply chain issues, it had to put its content marketing strategy to the side.

Well Chipolte has recently come back to its roots, with a new campaign where Ingredients Reign...


...putting the brand right back on strategy. But is it enough to overcome what has become blurred messaging? Will it overshadow the noise of the business struggles that the brand has encountered?

According to my class, they aren't sure. They had envisioned a more dramatic shift from the brand to right the ship again. To which I reminded them that consistency is king when it comes to marketing. Consistency Reigns, to use the words of the brand.

Time will tell, as they say. What's your take? What's your experience? JIM