Thursday, August 31

Google and Vogue - The September Issue

The September Issue is one of my favorite documentaries...documenting the making of Vogue magazine's largest content and sales month every year, September, when it showcases the fall fashions. The cast of characters are completely engaging and the creative process is so exciting to witness. While I was already a fan of fashion and respectful of the magazine's impact on the industry, the documentary brought it all into light for me.

Take one look at the breadth and depth of content for each September issue, and you'll see why it takes so much to bring it all to life.

And it's not just Vogue, by the way. All the magazines, especially those covering fashion, dial it up for September. It's the start of the new season, a return to a post-summer regime, and then there's that back-to-school thing. The competition for attention is fierce.

Part of the excitement and stress of the September issue of Vogue (and any other magazine) is not only making sure that it is indeed the largest month of the year, but also making sure that it tops the year prior. And beats out any competition.

If you're in business, you get that...every year we have to do better than the year before. It's called growth, staying relevant, and increasing the creative game. It's called staying alive, in business anyway.

And then there's Vogue, with a history of setting the trends. That's a lot to live up to.

Well this year I think they've done it again for the September issue. By partnering with Google, as in Google Home, the magazine is bringing alive voice-activated content to enhance the original editorial content.

So a reader can asked Google Home for behind-the-scenes information on a celebrity interview, a runway show, or a specific fashion look...and get an answer from someone at the magazine.

So what was it like to meet and talk to Oprah?

Behind-the-scenes isn't new. Nor is expanded content. But having it be user-activated via voice on a Home device is taking it to the next level. Growth year over year.

I mean it is the September issue, after all.

What's your experience? JIM.

Tuesday, August 29

Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg's "Potluck Dinner Party"

It probably no longer comes as a surprise that Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg are good friends...and television partners on their successful cooking show on VH1 called Potluck Dinner Party. She's a veteran at this cooking show thing and he's, well, quite the personality.

The met years ago on the set of her cooking show, making lots of mashed potatoes with a whole lot of chemistry in the making.

As a way to intro Season Two of their show together, the pair filmed a remake of the infamous and rather sexy Ghost pottery scene, but this time with Martha throwing a cake instead of a pot.

Fabulous. I just love how the two are separately (and together) reinventing themselves over and over. And VH1 for that matter...reinventing itself as well.

What's your experience? JIM.

Monday, August 28

Taylor Swift Partners with UPS

If you haven't heard, Taylor Swift is launching a new album. And partnering with UPS to deliver it. Something I wrote about on HuffPost. Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM.

PS: Just for fun, here's the first single...

Friday, August 25

Naked Egg Taco at Taco Bell

First there was the Naked Chicken Chalupa at Taco Bell, part of what the brand calls "shell innovation."

Now here comes, for a limited run, the Naked Egg Taco...Taco Bell's latest attempt to capture the highly coveted breakfast market. Much to McDonald's am all day success.

In the Naked Egg Taco, there is no shell...well, actually the shell is a fried egg.

Innovation? Not sure. But certainly clever and a fresh new take not only on breakfast but on tacos too.

And a great example of a brand keeping it fresh too.

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

Thursday, August 24

Rose in a Pouch?

I've been drinking rose wine year 'round, long before rose wine became a "thing." Long before "rose all day!" Despite the second looks from waiters when I'd order a rose in January, I've always enjoyed the dryness, the crispness, and yes even the color...any time I can get it. Even in the middle of winter.

And through the years I've seen rose evolve its packaging (across many brands) from cork to screw top to box and even to can. Yes, a can of rose.

But I've yet to see a pouch...until now. Secretly billed as the "Capri Sun for Adults," Electric Rose Wine Company is introducing a rose pouch. Easy for travel and the beach or really anywhere where glass and glasses could present a problem.

Making "rose all day" even more meaningful..."rose all day any way."

Like it? What's your experience? JIM.

Wednesday, August 23

Cheetos Pop-Up Restaurant in NYC

Last week Manhattanites were treated to a true rarity...a fine-dining pop-up Cheetos restaurant, with dishes conceived and prepared by celebrity chef Anne Burrell.

Yes, you heard all of that right. Fine-dining. Restaurant. Celebrity Chef. Cheetos.

It was called The Spotted Cheetah and it operated for a mere three days. But diners said the food was delicious, although perhaps a little overwhelming in flavor. "Classy" was what many said. I checked the spelling to make sure they didn't say "cheesy," although I'm betting the flavors were full of cheese as well.

This on the heels of the brands Cannes award-winning online museum that had fans in a frenzy. Rightly so.

Pretty brilliant engagement, if you ask me. And if you were to ask me if they should turn this into an established establishment instead of just a pop-up, then I would absolutely say "YES!"

Crunch! What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, August 22

The Veuve Clicquot Journey

I love this packaging promotion from the classic Veuve Clicquot champagne brand. 

To my naked eye, it's a creative attempt to get consumers to remember that the champagne is made in the Champagne Region of France, at the Maison Veuve of the most iconic champagne houses of the region and of the world. Made famous by one of the original business women of the world as well, Madame Clicquot.

Each package shows the distance from a major world city to the Maison, as if you can journey there when you sip the fine beverage.

The packaging made for a great display in the store I was shopping over the weekend. So much so that I just had to buy "LA."

I was feeling a little California-France journey. What's your experience? JIM

Monday, August 21

Let's Eclipse Hate Today

There's a total eclipse of the sun happening today. Sure, we can run into the streets and watch it, but we can do more.

We can eclipse hate today. Click here to read my thoughts on HuffPost.

What's your experience? JIM

Sunday, August 20

Luvs Loves Gay Dads

I wrote a piece for HuffPost about finding the "insight" and I used Luvs as the ultimate example. They've done a great job, for years, of understanding the difference between first-time and second-time parents.

The latest installment of their long-runing campaign features two gay dads...something that gives me great pride.

You can read my HuffPost article by clicking here. Or you can go straight to the new Luvs spot below.

What's not to love? What's your experience? JIM

Friday, August 18

Smog Bikes in Beijing

I've written before about how China is implementing innovative ways to fight smog, like the columns that suck in smog and spit out diamonds.

Well it looks like soon enough there will be bikes that suck in smog as well, making cyclists the latest do-good-er for the environment. And the bikes are being prototyped by the same company, Studio Roosegaarde from Holland, with a launch date aimed for end of the year 2017.

It's quite simple, actually. As the cyclists pedal their way down the street, the front of the bikes suck in and filter polluted air and then pushes it back out, right in front of their faces. Quite brilliant.

The firm also has a partner that provides bike sharing, to the tune of 6.5 million bikes in Asia and the UK, with their sights also set on the US. Amazing alignment.

The even more amazing part...not only are you NOT contributing to pollution by riding a bike but you are also making the air cleaner in the process. Doubly good.

Doing good never felt so good.

What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, August 8

Martha's Meal Kits

Just recently, Amazon filed for a trademark to get into the meal kit business...looking to give Blue Apron a run for its money.

Well evidently Martha Stewart (yes she's alive and well) is already there with Martha & Marley Spoon...meal kits that get delivered to your door so you can pop together dinner for the evening.

"Cook Martha's Best Recipes," as the brand says.

A given for Martha fans for sure, and quite smart actually. Back in the day, her fan base could have easily supported this business and surely they are still banking on that happening.

But she's not alone in the space. There are tons of "make at home" options, with more popping up by the minute. I'm anxious to see how these various brands within the space start to differentiate themselves...because on a functional benefit basis they all appear to be the same.

Is "Martha" enough to win at this game?

And as I teach in my NYU class all the time, you're never going to win on functional benefits. It's the emotional benefits that make a brand, so it'll be interesting to see how the brand's leverage their various emotions.

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

Monday, August 7

I'm Glad I Don't Have to Explain This to the Kids

We are living in confusing times, that's for sure. I'm just glad my kids are old enough to think this stuff through for themselves.

Here's a piece I wrote for HuffPost to capture my sentiment...Just click here.

What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, August 3

Dunkin' Drops the Donuts

"America runs on Dunkin'"... and so too will the brand name if a California test market proves it worthwhile.

While many people refer to the chain as "Dunkin'" (or even "DD"), the brand has forever been "Dunkin' Donuts" in homage to its roots serving donuts. Infamous donuts if you're from the Boston area where the company originates.

But through the years, the brand has expanded its menu far beyond just donuts so perhaps it's time to give that a nod.

So at some locations in California, the stores will simply be called "Dunkin." Sort of like when Starbucks dropped "Coffee" from its logo and signage.

Not a bad idea...let's see what happens. What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, August 2

How to Eliminate Buzzwords from Your Vocab

If you've read my book The Experience Effect, you know how much I try to avoid buzzwords. "Buzzwords Need Not Apply," is actually the name of one of the chapters.

As industry folk, I have to admit that we do tend to use too many buzzwords too much of the time. It can become routine, actually. But I think sometimes buzzwords get in the way of good communication.

So I wrote some tips to avoid that for EntrepreneurClick here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

PS - If you'd like to check out my book, The Experience Effect, then click here!

Tuesday, August 1

Matthew McConaughey Changes His "Brand"

In my personal branding book, The Personal Experience Effect, I use celebrities as emblematic of how to create a personal brand. Celebrities, after all, are really businesses and the roles they choose and the behaviors they exhibit all shape the public's perception of them. Those perceptions shape their brand and the good marketers make sure those perceptions are purposeful.

Successful celebrities treat themselves as brands. Meryl Streep. George Clooney. Madonna. All of these celebrities instantly project imagery in our mind as the kind of entertainment they offer. We instantly recognize their brand, whether we are brand fans or not. We buy their "products" if we think they will give us value. Entertainment value, in this case.

In a recent article, I was happy to see Matthew McConaughey describe himself this way, saying that he needs to change his brand from "rom-com" hunk to "serious" actor. He's trying to shape perceptions of who he is. He choosing roles based on what he wants his brand to be.

Smart thinking.

So too should you do the same with your brand. Make sure people's perceptions of who you are match what you want them to be. Make sure your choices and your behaviors are in line with the kind of brand you want to be. Be purposeful!

Good fodder for some personal thinking. What's your experience? JIM

PS - Click here to get a copy of my book The Personal Experience Effect. Also available as an audio book!