|Original articles from Emory Brown.|
|Looking to Improve Your Business Strategy? Try 'How I Did It'|
You know, for a school that started off as a divinity school and transformed into a major power in the world of business, Harvard University never ceases to amaze me. They even set the stage for one of the best moments in Black history: the movie The Great Debaters. Yet it gets better! Harvard Business Publishing is one of the most influential publishers in the business segment, and they’ve got a book dedicated to the business strategist in all of us called How I Did It.
If you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best. How I Did It is built around the Harvard Business Review’s most popular section — the How I Did It column — and the book is amazing. It features great stories, like the story of how Zappos improved...
|Japan’s Ultimate Marketing Strategy: The Mascot|
I used to think mascots were only for sports teams and some major brands here and there. You know — the Green Giant, Mr. Clean, Benny The Bull….Chicago rocks! (That last comment was a little random, but hey, I’m a Bulls fan.) The list, as you know, is a little lengthy in America, but in Japan...
|Creating Home Life in America: Home Partners of America|
America lost something during the recession that was greater than money, greater than jobs, and greater than investments and companies. Americans lost homes. In the aftermath of the pain caused by the recession, a new company has emerged to help Americans get the homes that they love for their families.
|Want to be Big in Content? Be Like HBO!|
In the beginning of broadcast television, only the mega production houses could produce truly original content. Then came syndication, where we were forced to watch movies that we’d seen at the movies already. Television shows? We watch all seven seasons of those already. Don’t trip, but I still watch Friends and The Wire when they come on.
|Who Needs Four Wheels When You Can Roll With One?|
Scooters have always been fan favorites among young people. From the two-wheeled handlebar/skateboard type to the cool, almost-motorcycle version (minus the kickass engine), scooters are truly part of the transportation culture. Now we are embarking on the new way to roll: a one-wheeled scooter called the Ninebot One.
The Ninebot One is dope!
|Get Suited and Booted with Suitsupply|
I love a great suit, a fly tie, a pair of shoes that makes the ensemble complete, and a hat to top it off. Suits have been a staple in men’s fashion for more than a century now. They’re the armor of presidents, the distinction of great orators; a symbol of male power. Yet buying a suit can be kind of tricky — and pricey. When you need a double-breasted or single-breasted suit, go to Suitsupply.
|Crazy About Chicken? So Is El Pollo Loco|
Normally, when thinking of traditional Mexican food, the novice would consider tacos, burritos, and enchiladas — the foods most Americans eat on the regular — yet there are Mexican dishes that will make your mouth scream with pleasure. El Pollo Loco is a franchise in the Southwest that is driving taste buds crazy with a specialty chicken menu.
Launched in 1980 in Los Angeles, California’s El Pollo Loco...
|Cannabrand, the First Marijuana Ad Agency|
“I’m your mother. I’m your daddy. I’m that cat in the alley. I’m your doctor when you need — thank God they legalized weed. You know me; I’m your friend. I’m your main boy, thick and thin...."
|Jay Z is Adding Tidal to His Music Empire|
Guess who’s back. Jay-Z! Once again doing what he does best and that’s distribute some of the hottest music on the planet. Yet, this time it’s not just his music…. it’s an universe of music from artist all around the world. “Tidal” is Jay-Guess who’s back? Jay Z! Once again, he’s doing what he does best — distributing...
|Forget the Liquor Store: Make Your Beer at Home|
I’ve always been fascinated by the process of beer making; how distilleries take grain and turn it into liquid gold to fill the taste buds. The beer world is serious on selection and taste...
|Creating the Future of Design: Project Osmosis|
Recently I went to a great event at the University of Illinois Chicago: a pioneering Design Youth Forum for high school students hosted by Project Osmosis. The theme for this year’s forum was STEAM...
|Working to Make Helicopter Flights the Norm: Gotham Air|
Traffic jams are the worst, especially when you’re stuck in a cab and the meter is running. You’re looking at your watch. You're looking at the meter. You think to yourself, “If I run five blocks, I can make it to my meeting on time.” Then you reconsider. “If I run five blocks, I might not smell too becoming.”
|Forget Designer Shoes; Get Designer Doughnuts|
I have seen a lot of “make-your-own” options in various product categories. From designing your Honda to Subway’s patented system of helping you prepare the perfect sandwich, I thought I had seen it all. Yet, as the saying goes, “the wise man knows he knows nothing at all.”
I’ve seen doughnut heaven, and I’m going to use McDonald’s line: “I’m lovin’ it.” Heaven is Fractured Prune Doughnuts. Yes, the name may sound kind of weird, but they have a cult following that will soon make them a household name.
|Need Some Health Advice? Teladoc.|
In the world of medical consultation, the age of waiting in line to see a doctor is over. More and more medical practitioners and insurance companies are cashing in on the new world of medical consultation: the medical app. Apps can provide advice from a network of professionals who can be in your presence in times of sickness or worries about the unusual pimple.
|Giving Impoverished Women the Wings to Succeed: Same Sky|
The world can be an ugly place, and poverty is the ugliest face I’ve ever seen, especially in underdeveloped nations. Daily, we see women and children suffer sickness, disease, and even death due to the cruel face of poverty.
However, there are brands that become angels for people in areas of the world where poverty lives...
|The JPEG is Being Replaced by BPG|
There’s going to be a sad day coming soon. The jpeg is on its way out. Our beloved friend has competition — someone vying for our coveted comfort with a tech term that lets us know our pictures will be cool if we save them in this format. The new file format is called BPG, which stands for “Better Portable Graphics.” Hopefully it’ll live up to the brand promise.
Now I know what my dad is talking about when he’s looking for an old product that just works and he knows is reliable.
|Google Balloons: New Heights for Internet Connections|
I always loved the power of balloons. There’s something very fascinating about them. Remember The Wizard of Oz? A whole new world was discovered in a balloon by a nutty scientist.
I think this tradition of brilliance is going on at Google with Project Loon, a brand effort to give the Internet to parts of the world...
|From Hip-Hop Star to Social Responsibility: Akon Lights Africa|
We’ve seen many artists in the world of hip-hop become activists for certain causes, from Puffy Daddy with “Rock The Vote” to Russell Simmons with his Hip Hop Action Summit and his pledge to promote peace. Now we have a new entrant into the social responsibility space. Mr. Akon, who has thrilled the world, has decided to make the move...
|When a Brand is Losing Mind Share, Who's To Blame?|
You know we see it happen all the time…. brand losing mind-share. The great Sears has fallen from the top of our consideration set. From once all star to who’s that brand. The We see it happen all the time: brands losing mind-share. The great Sears has fallen from the top of our consideration set, from “all-star” to “who’s that brand?” The company continues to close stores in the Midwest...
|$37 Billion In Pizza Sales: Hungry Howie's|
America has to be the coolest place in the world. Some people scoff at the “American Dream,” while others use the “Land of Opportunity” to take the opportunity to create their dreams. Hungry Howie’s is one of those American dreams that has become a reality by making some of the best pizza pies in the country. Born in 1973, Hungry Howie’s started out as one store.
|Carl's Jr Put Sexy on the Menu and Won Big |
Sex sells! This is true, from promotional models to the Victoria’s Secret Angels being serenaded by Ed Sheeran. Lucky bastard! Excuse me — a severe moment of jealousy.
Whatever the case, pretty women have had a way of helping brands create sales and establish brand loyalty for customers all around the world.
|eHarmony Has The Love Potion|
It’s official: Cupid has competition. It’s not the cute little Valentine’s Day bears or bunnies from Hallmark; it’s a social tech behemoth named eHarmony. Cupid misses his mark sometimes, and we all know it — but E-Harmony has a love potion that is locking lovers in love for life.
600,000 marriages in six years is quite a feat for an online dating service...
|Qui: New York, Houston, and the World|
I used to think that there was enough tequila in the world. Patron, Jose Cuervo, Casa Nobles — this is an international list. However, New York City has a way of pushing things into the marketplace and into our glasses that we didn't expect. Add to the list of all the other great things conceived in Mexico and born in New York's social life: Qui.
Qui hasn’t been on the market for long, but it is becoming a household and club name quickly. Positioned, and rightfully so, as the world’s first platinum extra añejo tequila, it’s an extra-aged tequila at its finest. I know this sounds like the next hit hip-hop song, but it’s true. Qui won the 2013 Spirits of the Americas competition as the best extra añejo tequila.
|Craftsmanship That Counts Your Minutes: IWC's Portofino Watches|
Timepieces have been a part of culture for a very long time, from classic pocketwatches to stopwatches and everything in between. Yet there is something about Swiss watchmaking that has commanded the attention of people around the world. IWC Schaffhausen is commanding great profits...
|Sony the Defiant: 'The Interview' Has Been Released|
I am all about freedom of speech and artistic expression. However, Sony’s executive team may have reconsidered "The Interview," or hired a political consultant, or formed an alliance with the U.N. to talk about. Brilliantly funny (I assume from watching the trailers and commercials)...
|Remodeling To Rev Up Profits: Denny’s|
Bacon and eggs are classic sellers in the breakfast market. When you eat bacon and eggs at home with a sink full of dishes while wearing your boxer shorts, it’s all good. However, breakfast (and every other meal) has to be a custom experience when you go to a restaurant, from the server attending to your needs to the menu you pick your eggs and bacon from.
|Branding Christmas Beauty: Christmas Decor|
Everyone can remember the joy of pulling those old boxes out of the garage to begin the Christmas “beautification process,” also known as decorating. Trees, lights, the very special ornaments you made for your mom in third grade; all these items work together...
|Violence, Sex, Mayhem, and $1B in 30 Days: Grand Theft Auto|
Now, I’m all about sales, because I am a salesman. I do believe a good product sells itself, but $1 billion in 30 days? That’s $1,000 million dollars. That’s crazy. Well, they say America loves sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. I think new American gamers love violence, sex, and mayhem. Grand Theft Auto has been a staple in every gamer’s life since forever.
|When Drivers Attack Women, Uber Gets Defensive|
There are some things that are just plain despicable — one is to attack someone in an effort to fulfill selfish lusts of sexual pleasure. It’s better known in some circles as sexual assault. Uber drivers have attacked several women over the last several months, and the company’s answer to these attacks is that they were the womens’ fault. Can we say chauvinistic douchebags?
|The True Batman Returns with Adam West|
There is something about nostalgia; something about the original. Something about a story that’s so good you can’t do anything but watch it over and over again. The Batphone is ringing again and people are tuning in. The Bat is back.
Why Batman circa 1960? Why now? Why not? Batman — the original series that aired from 1966 to 1968 — is a blockbuster in Technicolor magic.
|Bluesmart's Suitcase: The Tech-Age Carryon|
The carryon bag used to be the bag. The bag where you stored the valuables you didn’t want to get lost. The bag where you had that extra package of Doritos just in case you had a layover somewhere. You know what I’m talking about. The bag! Yet, just as evolution is like the undying winds of change, in comes the new bag. The Bluesmart suitcase, a carryon that's like having a rolling office.
|Management or Marketers: What Drives Business?|
Some people say that marketing is 80% of a corporation’s business plan. Others will say that CEOs like Jack Welch and CMOs like Nike's Global CMO Trevor Edward are the secret sauce that makes marketing work. Some school of thought would say that it takes smart advertisers to make the dream work. I was wondering, “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?”
|Move Forward: A Trait for Everyone's Personal Brand|
Life is always full of ups and downs for marketers. You spend days working on new business pitches. Sometimes you win big. Sometimes you lose big. You spend hours working on an ad campaign and you win big, but have to make changes via the client's request.
|Who Needs Keys When You Have a Smartphone?|
Who needs keys when you have a smartphone? Enter Smart Lock, the next generation of door locks. .
Everyone has misplaced their keys. Lost their keys! Forgot their keys. Even had their keys placed around their necks as kids. Yet no matter where you are in the world, it’s the worst thing to the world to lose your keys. So what do you do? It’s easy, my comrades.
|Is Your Personal Scent Worth $35k?|
I'm like any other guy on the planet who loves the smell of a woman when she is wearing perfume. Hell, body wash from Vicky’s can get it going. But I learned the other that you haven't met a woman until you’ve met a woman that has a custom scent. Not “custom” like she bought it at the store. I'm talking “custom designed.” One designed specially for her and by her.
|iPhone 6: The Golden Apple|
I know Steve Jobs is sitting in heaven thinking, “Man, we did something marvelous.” The Apple iPhone 6 made history in one weekend with 10 million phones sold. How do you sell 10 million phones in a weekend? Matter of fact, where do you store 10 million phones?
|Advertising Done Right: Amazon Fire Phone|
There is something magical about an advertising campaign that touches home; like some of our finest practitioners say, “when it becomes art.” And the agency that created the campaign and the client that approved it have struck gold.
I can remember the first spot I saw like it was yesterday.
|Smartphones & Smartwatches: Apple’s Branding The Future|
Revolution and evolution have been the ideals of Apple since the beginning. These very ideals have driven the teams at Apple to create some the world’s finest technology, which has shaped and changed culture. As we know, with each generation of innovation, Apple gets better and better. Now they are moving — from pods, pads, TVs, and phones into smartwatches.
When you think back to all the characters we’ve seen in movies, like James Bond and the classic television show's superhero Maxwell Smart, they had watches that can work wonders.
Anyone can make a product, take it to market, and sell it. Yet, it’s another thing to create a brand that becomes rooted in the fabric of your customers’ culture. A brand that creates jobs and changes the community. A brand that transcends the product or service that it sells.
Some people build companies and others build legacies.
|Brewing Billions Without Advertising: Stone Brewing Co.|
The saying goes that “word of mouth is the best advertising.” I can agree on most accounts, but what we sometimes forget to mention is that “word of quality” is what’s driving the “word of mouth.” Stone Brewing Co. has created a mega brewing business right under the noses of Americans who are not even aware of the vast number of brewers that exist around the world. They have created a loyal consumer base of drinkers who are helping usher this brand into the German beer market...
|HealthTap: The New Way for Doctors to Make House Calls|
There seems to be an app for everything these days, but HealthTap is right with the times. With the increasing use of new breakthroughs in consumer technology being integrated into the field of medicine, such as products like Google Glass, HealthTap is taking the doctor–patient relationship to a new level. Your doc doesn’t have to make a house call; all you have to do is make a HealthTap.
|JetSmarter: An App That Makes Private Jet Rentals a Breeze|
OK, I have to say, I was rather impressed by Uber. Pick up your phone and order a car. But Uber is “chump change” compared to JetSmarter. Actually, JetSmarter is, in the paraphrased immortal words of Jay-Z, “Big pimpin’, sending Gs. We big pimpin’ on the W.I.N.G.s.”
|Long Live The New Taco: US Taco |
Taco Bell has been in the taco business for some time. I remember running to the nearest Taco Bell after school to get their famous chicken burritos with my guys. At that time in my life, there was nothing better in the world than Taco Bell. Plus, they had the coolest ad campaign around with the little Chihuahua.
Taco branding hasn’t seen a better campaign. Yet, despite all of this, when you become a true fan of Mexican cuisine...
|When Children Speak Out: Lost Friends|
A voice is something everyone should have. It’s a place to showcase our feelings and share our opinions; a venue in which ears are active and awaiting our message. As marketing professionals, we always talk about brand voice. We are eager to listen to what the brand has to say.
|Professional Bull Riding: A Brand To Be Reckoned With|
Cowboys are as American as apple pie. Some of our culture’s most iconic images are based around cowboys. The Marlboro Man. Clint Eastwood, pre-political rants. Woody from Toy Story. However, the most popular cowboy image in America today...
|Refusing to Cooperate with Injustice: The 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act|
Over 50 years ago, America was in a very bad place as an international brand. People around the world tuned in as American youth fought for the rights that were due to them based on the Constitution. African American men and women, young and old, marched, shouted, and stood firmly against the injustices...
|Big Event! Little Event! Share Yours with Livestream|
Technology is the great equalizer, some say. It gives those who may have been at a disadvantage the advantages to help them play on a level playing field.
Hence the invention of Livestream, a service dedicated to democratizing broadcasts by giving event producers and broadcasters the ability to stream video live from anywhere, at any time, in HD quality, for free or pay.
|The New Meat Ain’t Sweet, But It May Save The World One Day - BTB Draft|
We’ve had crazy epidemics like the “chicken flu,” which raised egg prices and cut the chicken lines down in some establishments. We’ve had bouts with Mad Cow disease that scared the Sugar Honey Iced Tea out of everyone.
|Google Glass is Reinventing the Surgeon|
Expertise in the medical field is a very sought-after skill, and surgeons are the heroes of the operating rooms who save and change lives for the better every day. Over the decades, medicine continues to improve, and its enhancements and innovations are remarkable compared to those of yesteryear.
With each year, we come closer and closer...
|Branding torture through TV & Film. |
Torture has become a hot topic as it relates to terrorist around the world. We’ve have seen the beheading of people. Gun shots to the head. Kidnapping and lists goes on. Yet, some people in the world think that America is the most barbaric nation in the world. Especially when it comes to getting information for high security threats or terrorists. Yet, how does a country that so anti-torture gain such acceptance of from it citizens to hurt people potentially innocent prisoners in times of crisis a little America macho branding.
|Golf Carts or Golf Boards? Choose How You Ride|
For years, there have been two ways to get around a golf course. One? Walk. Two? Ride in a golf cart. And this has proven to be very effective in getting your nine holes on. Many men and women have won various championships and become famous while exploring these time-tested ways of navigating the course.
Today, there is a new era of golf course travel surfing its way...
|Armed-Vehicle Advertising At Its Best: The Rhino Group|
Archive Magazine has to be one of my favorite ad mags of all time. You can go around the world in a matter of an hour and see brilliance lace its pages as you grin with creative cheer. I’ve been reading Archive for almost 18 years now, and I have seen some kickass campaigns. But today when I opened up Archive to indulge in my peers’ brilliance...
|Keeping Consumers on Track: Lamborghini's Track Academia|
In the car industry as a whole, the only major lesson you get on driving a car is…well, as I think about it, no one actually gives lessons on how to drive your new vehicle. You roll into a dealership for a test drive and roll out on the streets.
However, in the luxury car market...
|A World-Renowned Brand Struggles With European Racism|
In the ‘60s and ‘70s on America shores, there was a revolution called the Civil Rights movement, where leaders like Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, and millions of others faced the truth of racism with a fierce spear of social consciousness that helped change the landscape of America forever.
|Building a Brand One Brick At A Time|
Lego has a way of bringing out the kid in everyone. They have a way of taking imagination to new heights. For years now, this toy maker has been a household name; a fixture tied in the fabric of creation around the globe. A brand like no other.
In 2004, Lego was a company in bad shape. They were losing a million dollars a day.
|Rebranding New York One Business At A Time: Startupny.gov|
Starting a new company can be a very exciting and cash-draining venture. Most companies don’t last five years, according to most statics. However, New York state is working to create a start-up culture to take the state into new heights of entrepreneurship with the assistance of a cool website and business incentives to make Silicon Valley kids think about moving East.
|Time Warner & Comcast: Gentle Giant or Godzilla?|
Mega-mergers have a way of disturbing people in the marketplace in a very crazy way. Long gone are the days of mega-monopolies in which workers were treated unfairly and customers were forced to pay outrageous prices. Yet, one thing I have to say about the government is that they keep an eye out...
|Partnering With a Pro Can Improve Your Customers' Experience: Lowe's and Porch.com|
As a home improvement guy or gal, you know there’s a love that exists when you envision remodeling your kitchen, adding a deck to your backyard, or even building your kids a tree house. Working with your hands or working with others to help those dreams come true is priceless.
|When Someone Steals Your iPhone…Hit the ‘Kill Switch’|
Okay, the headline may leave those of us with submerged deviant behavior in a state of pure glee. But I am sorry to report that you can’t take an iPhone-stealing hoodlum out with the use of a voice command and a micro-explosive that’s embedded in your iPhone. Yet, I have to admit, it would be kind of secret-agent-cool...
|When Return On People Trumps Return On Investment, We Can Create 'Love Brands'|
We’ve witnessed our economy crumble with the rebranding of the American working man and woman through a process called “outsourcing labor to foreign countries.” Long gone are the days when “Made in America” meant truly “made in America.” Now our products and services are made with an American mindset, but not but by American hands.
|Just What the Doc Ordered|
Whole Foods has to be one of my favorite grocery chains. Healthy everything. Everywhere you walk in the store…healthy. And they have a knack for finding these excellent vendors who create awesome products. And when you can truly make popcorn — you know, the salt-filled, butter-covered lover we all date at movies and stadiums — a healthy life-partner, you have a winner.
|Forget McDonald’s Iced Coffee: Drink Grady's Cold Brew|
The world of start-ups is amazing. Anyone can become a success if they have a great idea, then put their dream to the grind and actually sell big with their customers.
Only lucky guy by the name of Grady one day started making “iced coffee” at work for his pals. As they palled around, his iced coffee soon became a hit with new customers emerging from various companies throughout his office building. Soon, Grady was selling his delicious New Orleans–style chilled morning joe at the elevators while his colleagues entered the building in the morning. Now, Grady has a Northeast-based company called Grady’s Cold Brew.
This is one the many stories that make dreamers into believers and branders happy to see America’s next generation of clients emerge. I am an advocate for the destruction of all things coffee. I can’t stand the stuff, but I have to say that I truly like what this brand is doing.
Grady’s Cold Brew can be taken cold or warmed into the steamy cream dream that drives consumers to the state of addiction we call coffee drinkers.
|Don't Look for a Good Guy; Rent One|
We have heard about the magical list that all women keep about their perfect guy. You know; height, career, teeth, whatever their pleasure.
Some ladies’ lists are simple, and some are as complex as the Egyptians’ pyramids. Yet, at the root of it, every good woman wants a good guy.
|SolarCity is Coming to a Best Buy Near You|
Solar-powered calculators used to fascinate me when I was a child. Place them in the sun and homework time is on!
Since then, we have witnessed the power of solar soar to new heights, from solar-powered cars to solar energy being harnessed by the International Space Station to SolarCity, a company whose goal is to change the way that American energy consumers are getting their daily supply of power. SolarCity was started in 2006 by Lydon Rive...
|Powering Computers with Google's Tech: Google's Chromebook|
Google has to be like the ultimate tech octopus. They are building digital libraries. Creating robots. Mapping the world. And God only knows what else. But recently they have announced that they've partnered with some of personal computing’s finest companies to create the Chromebook. Is Google going to dominate computing altogether? I guess we'll know soon enough. HP and other industry heavy-hitters like Samsung...
|Billion-Dollar Biscuits: Bojangles’! |
When it comes to breakfast, McDonald’s is king of the morning with one-fourth of their sales coming from our stomachs’ morning craving. Yet, for those of us who are not in the QSR business, you may not know about the original chef who masterminded the morning biscuit: North Carolina’s own Bojangles’. As a connoisseur of southern cuisine and even a brand guy who worked on McDonald’s launch of “Southern Fried Chicken,” I have to say that there is something about chicken and biscuits in the morning that can jump start a day...
|On Sale Now! Apple iPhones in Brazil|
Okay. I have to say that as a creative person, I have “Mac-it is.” I have an Apple iPod, an Apple laptop, iTunes, and once I had an Apple email account. I’m stopping now; someone may think I have an Apple shrine in my basement in a minute. Either way, I am a member of the Apple tribe and I love being a tribesman. However, when I found out that Apple will be opening new stores in Brazil...
|Protecting the Future of Sound: Sound Exchange|
Not-for-profits are always cool because the people who normally run them have revolutionary ideas and contagiously generous spirits that are willing and ready to share love in seconds of meeting someone in need. However, sometimes the people who need a not-for-profit’s help...
|Connect Ed: Apple is Giving Away $100M to Connect America's Kids|
Fewer than 30% of America’s schools are equipped with the broadband connectivity needed to expose our youth to the wealth of knowledge and educational tools available via the internet. Yes, this is true. It’s a reality in America that our administration in Washington and companies like Apple are working together to bridge the digital divide...
|Casting Vision For New Age Filmmakers: The Padcaster|
What I love most about innovation is that it inspires others to innovate as well. Apple products have done wonders in the world of innovation. From uniting the world through music to starting revolutions in product design to even unintentionally orchestrating patent wars, Apple has engraved its brand in history...
|To Be a Brand Champ, You Have to Take Some Bumps and Bruises|
Recently, I have seen some brand debacles that have just been outright horrifying when it comes to brand management. McDonald’s hacked website, Target’s 40-million-plus customers’ identities being stolen, Healthcare.gov born with a serve case of jacked up programming. I know you can add a few of your own to this list, but the real question is, what does a brand do when they’re against the ropes and the world is giving them what my lil bro calls a three-piece spicy? Translated: left jab, right hook, upper cut. Flat on your back and the world is waiting on your comeback. Some would suggest “run,” but I say, stay in the fight. Don’t hire a crew of ex-marines.
|Teamwork is What Makes the Brand Work|
The old adage "Together Everyone Achieves More" (TEAM) is true. Two heads are better than one and seven heads can be better than two. Yet when it comes to branding, it’s about cross-organizational teamwork...
|John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile: The Ultimate Spokesman|
I have seen spokesmen throughout the years and they come all shapes, colors, and sizes. From the Jolly Green Giant to Allstate’s Mayhem, America has a knack for creating these characters that give new life to brands and make lasting impressions on their consumers and ultimately their sales. Yet to date I have never seen a CEO/Spokesman like John Legere of T-Mobile.
|Teaching Kids Programming with Robot Turtles|
When I was growing up we played games like Mouse Trap, Monopoly, Go Fish…those of us old enough to remember know the drill. Yet today...
|1871: A Tech Renaissance In Chicago|
There is a saying that “invention is the mother of necessity.” Yet sometimes innovation is the desire born in a passionate heart, or the mind of a soul that is eager bring visions to life.
When we look at great thinkers throughout history, there seems to be a common thread in which schools of thought emerge and give life to marvels.
|Giving Christmas Wings: Red Bull’s RC Cars|
I was watching Bloomberg West the other day and after my darling Emily Chang got through speaking, I was left with the total boredom of business advertising Now, I know that may sound crazy coming from an ad guy, but let’s be real…some ads will put you to sleep.
I will attest to that in a focus group for free. I can’t wait to become a judge at Cannes. Or start an org dedicated to protesting against bad ads. Anyway, after going through my creative rant, suddenly creative genius came across my screen. I didn’t know if I was watching a Hobby Lobby commercial or what. Yet right in front of me was an ad from Red Bull promoting their remote-control cars. Christmas is here!
|Redefining Express Delivery: Amazon’s Amazing Drones|
Until a few days ago, when I thought about the word “drones” I had vast visions of violent air attacks in which hundreds or even thousands of people were killed or injured by death-dealing missiles. You know…the remote-control airplanes on kill steroids. However, Amazon, our favorite online retailer, is on the way...
|Imagine, Build, Create: BlackGirlsCode|
Some say that technology is the great equalizer, and in some communities around America you have kids who aren’t computer savvy or interested in the sciences at all. However, there is an organization located in San Francisco, California that’s dedicated to teaching young African American and Hispanic girls to become the next techies and leaders of tomorrow’s tech start-ups. Watch out, tech boys; your company may get trumped by a girl!
From gaming design to programming, little girls from various communities walk into an interactive world after school that is teaching them the inner workings of the technology that invigorates the world around them. Girls learn programming languages such as Scratch and Ruby on Rails as they set out to prove to the world that women of color can and will be a dominant force in the world of technology.
|Sometimes the Best Marketing Comes in a Yellow Book|
Leo Burnett once said that “the best ideas are deceptively simple.” And in a world of integrated marketing that allows us to engage with consumers at various touch points, it is easy to think that we’ve got all the bases covered when it comes to marketing business. Yet some things are tried and true and will always be a part of helping businesses grow in America.
|Being Late Is A Personal Brand Killer|
As a marketing professional that manages teams for agencies and for my own clients, I have witnessed an interesting trend among some young creatives that may be a sign of the times. Or maybe I have just been groomed to expect certain behavior from the industry. We hear marketers say that generations X and Y are the kids who are independent...
|Bringing Virtual Reality and Reality Together: Anki Cars|
When I was a kid I had a racecar track. My brother and I would create different tracks and race our two little cars around and around until someone won or one of our cars ran off the track. It was awesome! I can still remember those days, just playing for hours on end and never getting tired of it.
|The Revolution Will Be Televised: Revolt TV|
The shiny suit man is back at it again as he graces the world with another wonder of music joy…Revolt TV. We thought we loved Puffy for “Making The Band,” “Sean John,” and of course “Bad Boy,” but now he is trying to up his fan loyalty by creating a television network that is dedicated to music news...
|PayPal Beacon: The Days of Card Swiping Are Almost Over|
We've watched the evolution of money over history, from people carrying around small pouches of gold to silver coins to paper bills. And just when we thought we reached the pinnacle of trade with the credit card, innovation surprises us again.
|Disney Love & Care: 427 Part-timers Made Full-timers for Free Health Care|
Over the last week, we have witnessed some battles in government that have left baby pandas in the dark. Military families missing benefits. Conversations between politicians that were supposed to be top secret being taped to reveal their true intentions.
|The Importance of Delivering on Brand Promises|
Promise is a very important word in the world. Especially for brands…. it’s like a pinky swear on steroids. Customers are expecting the brands they trust to deliver on their brand promise. If a corporation says the new car you’re considering purchasing is going to run for 100,000 miles without the need of a tune-up you expect it to happen.
|Branding Masculinity to Hide Disgrace: Military Rapes|
Since the beginning of time there have been vicious acts during war, and during war men are at their ugliest. From murdering and destroying civilizations to turning entire cultures into slaves, we have seen the horror of wars. Yet, there has been a lethal secret that has been covered up for centuries by military officials and soldiers, and that is the raping of soldiers, male and female, by their fellow soldiers.
|Extreme Sports Gave Red Bull Wings To Extreme Profits|
Red Bull, the energy drink company, sold over five billion cans of Red Bull last year. Yes, the super drink that gives us the boost that keeps us up for days has figured out the magic formula to keep its fans running to the store to give themselves wings. Yet most of the people who consume Red Bull on a regular basis literally love...
|No Electric or Gas Payments for 10 Years? Now, That's a HOUZE!|
I used to think that Hyundai had the best warranty in America. Well, it still does when it comes to cars, but if you’re a homeowner and you’re looking for the deal of a lifetime, I recommend you talk to the guys at Advance Building Science Inc. They are revolutionizing the way homes are built in America, one lot at a time.
The HOUZE is a zero-energy home that utilizes a combination of innovation and traditional energy methods to keep its owners from paying high electric and gas bills.
|If You Dig It, You Can Play Gig-It|
Watch out, world. Zynga may have taken a blow, but Facebook is still rocking with a new game called Play Gig-It. Yes; Farmville/Cityville players and Mafia Wars maniacs, there is something for the artist in all of us. The makers of this game know that we all want to rock a crowd at least once in our lifetime. But now us true Facebook Fanatics...
|Canva Designs: Alleviating Designer Headaches|
One thing I have to say about Silicon Valley is that you can start up an idea and if it’s catchy enough investors may throw a few hundred thousand your way. Over the span of my career, I’ve seen many start-ups with great ideas...
|BMW Has Gone Electric: Will Gas Become Extinct?|
For centuries now man has worked tirelessly to improve his ability to travel. From walking to taming wild horses. From swimming to building grand ships to navigate the sea. From being envious of the birds of the air to flying internationally. And of course we all know that man has an enduring love affair with cars.
|'Harvey' the Harvesting Robot|
Agriculture has always been an industry known for painstaking work and long hours. These very qualities have turned generations away from even considering doing work as farmers after they've received their educations. Even though there have been considerable breakthroughs in technology in the agricultural industry...
|Creating Hope One Step at a Time: Esko’s Bionic Skeleton|
When I was growing up, I used to love the show “The Six Million Dollar Man.” A dude that could run faster, jump higher, punch harder than any guy alive and it only cost the government six million dollars. By today’s prices, the U.S. got this guy for a steal. But as they say, sometimes movies are the fortune-tellers of what the world of technology will give birth to next, and now it’s time for Tony Stark to put his Iron Man suit down and pay homage to our real-life heroes at Esko Bionics...
|Is Hip-Hop Being Strangled By Radio?|
In the formative years of hip-hop, the music was free. It was an expression the trials and creativity of inner-city youths. Emcees and D.J.s graced the stage with style and everyone had a moment to shine in their own way. Today we are witnessing a control over the hip-hop genre that we marketing folk would say is “off-brand.” Somewhere, the art has lost some of its texture and depth...
|T-Mobile Has Taken Away the Pain for Financial Gain|
There was a time in cell phone history that buying a phone meant making a commitment to love, to cherish, and to stay with the phone until you were eligible for an upgrade. As consumers, we watched new phones come out and people with upgrade status get our “Beyoncé” on when it was time for our service providers...
|The Tablet: P.C. Destroyer?|
Who would have thought that this day would come? The day that the father of modern computers, the P.C., would be challenged by its sibling, the tablet. Yes, it's true that the tablet is slowly but surely working to dethrone dad. Yes, it’s happening, one tablet at a time. The tech in tablets and applications are rendering...
|Game Time Profits are Over: The NCAA May Have to Pay|
Video gamers and sports fans worldwide unite! Our beloved college sports teams are on the verge of making history as former NCAA player Ed O’Bannon champions the cause to have big college sports stars and players receive compensation for the their likenesses and names being used in the creation of video games, memorabilia, and even broadcast sports deals. As he said, “College athletes who generate revenue deserve a cut.” And I think he’s right. If you’re shooting the big shots, you deserve a big check. As a result of college athletes and their commitment to their teams, the NCAA has become a multi-billion dollar business.
|Is Instagram Going to Be Facebook's Mini-me?|
Technology evolves every day and every day some tech giant goes out into the market place and buys itself a little tech company they can groom and call their very own. Silicon Valley is the breeding place for these types of business deals and many companies come under the umbrella of tech behemoths to their betterment. Yet the most interesting tech adoption of late...
|The Brand Most Needed In African American Homes: 'Brand Dad'|
A few weeks prior to Father’s Day weekend, I took the time to reflect on some of the great leaders that have graced America’s consciousness with the depth of their understanding of life on the natural and spiritual planes; leaders such as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Frederick Douglass, and many more African American leaders who have contributed...
|Apple vs. Samsung: The Smartphone Wars|
Having competition has always been the thing that has kept the best businesses performing at the best levels. So when you have two tech firms boxing it out for market share in the real world, product innovations become awesome. People rave about the “Spartan Race;” an army of geeks working to out-geek another army of geeks is Clone Wars on steroids.
|Google Glass: The Ultimate Fashion Item for Nerds|
Well, it had to happen; it has been coming for some time now. The “Geek Squad” has destroyed the stereotype. This is the true “revenge of the nerds.” The one piece of fashion that epitomized the “Geek Culture” is now a demi-god. Glasses have evolved with the help of Google’s new product, Google Glass.
Wearable tech has been around for a little while.
|National Security or Not? The Sprint and Softbank Deal|
America has been a major player in the world of creating wealth in emerging markets for years. And most countries in most cases are open to development. For instance, the move McDonald’s made into China that introduced the Chinese to the power of the almighty fast burger and the “drive through.” Apple is also a big player in China and has recently been in sessions with Congress...
|Use Your Talents: Be an Awesome Creative|
Last night I was teaching my Thursday night class and for the opening I used a sermon I saw last week by minster T.D. Jakes, a world renowned-speaker and teacher of God’s word, to introduce my students to their very own greatness. The gifts that God has given them are the most unique gifts in the world and it makes them as special as anyone else God has made in this world.
|Breaking Barcodes: Is Japanese Tech Changing the Retail Game?|
Just when the world was getting over the amazement of QR codes, technology has smacked us in the face again with brilliance. Brain Corporation and the University of Hyogo in Japan have created a way to take customer service and sales tracking to a new level with the invention of the “Bakery Scan.”
|Polaroid Casts Its Spell on Smartphone Photography|
Since the 1970s, Polaroid has become a staple in the lives of its customers by giving them the opportunity to capture memories in an instant. All of us who are old enough to remember or have a family historian know the magic of a Polaroid instant camera.
|Kohler Reinvents the 'Porcelain God'|
Long gone are the days when people would throw the contents of their chamber pots out of the window and into the streets below. And believe me, we are all glad! For some time now, the modern toilet has served as a means of separating us human beings from the rest of the wild kingdom by assisting us with proper disposal methods for number 1 and number 2.
|Don’t Educate Her: The Marketing of Inhumanity|
Withholding education from select groups has been a way to deprive people of privilege for thousands of years. Powerful and educated men have wielded their knowledge as a weapon to dominate entire civilizations and violate humanity in unforgivable ways. Women have suffered at the brunt of this ideal for as long as it has existed. However troubling this might seem, some people in the world find the mistreatment of ladies to be culturally acceptable...
|Collective Genius: The Ultimate Creative Juice|
In the creative industry, people aren’t always celebrated as a team when it comes to the limelight. You know, the “Red Carpet” moment when the cameras and fans are praising “The One.” You know, like Neo from the Matrix…“The One.” However, in the world of creative, this is very far from the truth, like the opening dialogue in ‘Stars Wars.”
|Learning to Negotiate for 'Creative You'|
“Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.” This is what the infinitely wise Forrest Gump said. The truth is, you never really do. No matter whom you are! Especially in business, because the cards can change at any time and opportunity comes knocking whenever she wants. Every day, negotiations are being made around the world between people, governments, and businesses.
|Is the “Sex Sells” Strategy in Overdrive When it Comes to Getting Attention?|
Once upon a time ago in an America far, far away, being caught in the “Buff” was a no-no. Yet today sexting, sex tapes, and paparazzi nudity attacks can change a personal brand in a matter of seconds, either elevating people to new heights or embarrassing people in ways they never thought were possible. Privacy arguments are being held every day when it comes to the Internet giants who have tons of people’s private information. However, when it comes to the world of entertainment and news...
|Now Your Little Ones Can Text and Call; You Pay Nothing at All … Apps are Amazing!|
Flabbergasted! Floored! Speechless! The kids of this generation have it made. I have to agree with the older kids from the Comcast commercials with the sentiment, “Why do they always get all the cool stuff?” We thought we were doing something big with the beepers when we were young. Now kids can call and text people without a real service plan using an app called Pinger.
|Great Things Happen When You’re a Weirdo|
Some of the greatest creative people in our history were consider to be weirdos; strange and sometimes considered to be outcasts that lived outside the lines of cultural and social acceptance by their peers and families. Shunned, ridiculed, and even exiled in some places in the world, these weirdos took the blows the world threw their way like a champ in a heavyweight bout and came out triumphant with ideas that changed the world.
|Labor Laws are Being Defeated with a Clever Brand Name|
Throughout American history we have seen stories of people fighting for their labors rights. From women to minorities to child workers, America has had to chastise entrepreneurs with lawsuits and new legislation to protect people. Unfortunately, we are going to have to call Lady Justice once again because the scales are unbalanced in the American workforce.
|Do Marketers and Media Professionals Need Moral Clauses?|
Ye without sin among you cast first…This is what Jesus said to the mob that wanted to stone a woman for committing adultery. And as we know, the mob had to find another unknowing victim to attack because Jesus put them on “The Spot” for acting as if they were above reproach. However, in the world of big marketing and media, we have brands throwing big stones at spokespeople all the time. Do we need a moral clause to help regulate our industry? Moral… hmmm! Is this what every entertainer or athlete or celebrity strives for?
|From Making Head-Bangers to Selling Head-Bangers|
Now in the days of old in the land of hip-hop, a hip-hop mogul’s dream was to own a label, get a fashion line, and maybe a part in a hit movie or a starring role in a sitcom. Well, that was the days of old.
|From Tablets to Tables: The New Way to PC|
Just when we thought the world of computers was getting smaller and thinner, CES 2013 introduced the world to a regal idea. Table PCs! Not tablet. Table! Like kitchen table. We’re talking about 27-inch to 40-inch screens that you can play the video game version of tabletop hockey on. Awesome, the puck doesn’t fly off the table! Brilliance brought to us once again by...
|Beware, Painkillers: The 'Black Mamba' is Coming to Kill the Pain|
Now, I’ve heard that in the jungles of certain places in the world you can find a cure for anything…cancers, inflammations, headaches, stalkers! You name it, and a natural medicine practitioner can pull something out of the ground or off a tree to cure your aliment. However, no one ever told me anything about deadly snakes like the “Black Mamba” being the new thing in painkillers.
|Cash for Cuddle Buddies |
In certain places in the world, "cuddling season" is the time when winter sets in and you’re looking for someone to brave those cold winter nights with. Cuddling is a very warm and intimate expression that almost allows you to feel the actual warmth of someone’s soul. Comforting, loving, and beautiful, "cuddle buddies" can take the cares of your day away in a matter of minutes and in Tokyo, Japan you can pay to lay with a beautiful woman and experience the warmth of her affection. Watch out, "cat ranches," mama may have been right…guys are buying the cow and ain’t getting the milk.
|Above and Beyond Thinking for a New Year |
“Baby New Year” is here, and just like the beauty of seeing a new life come into the world…the New Year is the perfect time to rethink our outlook on how our work will affect our families, consumers, and clients. We’re all used to the usual business goals that are outlined in our projections as they relate to profits or R.O.M.I., but 2013 and every New Year is a great time to be thinking about going above...
|The Gift of Being Cool: Give it Away Every Day|
Sometimes the best thing we can do in the world is just be cool. Kind. Considerate. Down to earth. Humble. It’s an amazing experience. It creates bonds. It creates friends. And for brands and the people who develop their marketing communications programs...
|Youth Branding: The Danger of Influence|
I watched a TED video the other day on TED youth by a great poet named Lemon Andersen. His piece was called “Please Don’t Take My Jordans.” He exploded on stage with his story of how a young man planned to hunt down and rob another young person for his Jordans because he didn’t have the money to buy a pair. The performance was riveting.
|Watch Out, Big Brother! Any Dummy Can Be a Spy|
For years we have been afraid that personal privacy will be taken away from us at the wink of an eye by the almighty “Big Brother." The movie “Enemy of the State” reinforced this idea by showcasing what “Big Brother” really can do when he’s after you. Fortunately for consumers, the government isn’t ready to invade their shopping habits as viciously as the retailers...
|Looking for a Creative Outlet? Tap into Taproot|
We’ve all hit the wall of boredom when it comes to being a creative. I call it an “ad overdose” as an advertiser and I’m sure that every creative on this planet from car engineers to interior designers has a name for their creative boredom. Yet there’s an organization for us marketing folks to share our skills with the world in order to help people who are working on the grassroots side of community empowerment. This organization is called Taproot.
I’ve been a Taproot volunteer for several months and I love it.
|How Brands Could Help Us All Win on Black Friday|
On Wednesday, November 21, 2012, people across America were doing more than stuffing their turkeys; they were planning their strategies to get the best deals on “Black Friday." Outdoorsmen camped outside stores days ahead of time. Families turned into Special Forces units with objectives to infiltrate various ticket lines to capture the all-valuable number that would ensure they'd receive the products they’d come for.
|Profit Design: The Design Degree Assembly Line|
Scene One: A young adult is sitting on the couch watching television and suddenly a commercial comes on. The announcer speaks, “Earn 45,000 dollars a year or more as a graphic designer.” Images of creativity fill the screen with great working conditions and perks. The young person becomes smitten and declares in that moment, “I’m going to live the good life. I’m going to become a designer.” This person enrolls in school and then comes the day of truth: a portfolio show in which this kid doesn’t realize he or she doesn’t have a chance of becoming a designer.
|Brand Demand: The Destruction of Tigers for Tiger Bone Wine|
"Supply and demand" has always seemed to be a simple economic theory. A certain market required a product and a manufacturer made it. Simple, sweet, to the point, and easy to carry out from a business standpoint as it relates to creating commerce. Unfortunately, we have two types of markets in the world. One is the market we all function in day-to-day.
|'By the Way' Branding and the Rise of 'Medical' Marijuana|
Have you ever watched a pharma commercial? I know you have! We all watch them. Viagra commercials are hilarious. We see the older guy who once had a problem in his lower region suddenly become a bedroom rock star! Yet, after this moment of triumph is over, suddenly comes the reality...side effects. These often dangerous and in some cases inhumane side effects can cause additional health problems to consumers.
However, it’s not really the fact that drugs have side effects; all of our classic household medications, such as aspirins or cold medicines, can wield death-dealing blows if they aren’t administered correctly. The overlay for the underlay lies in the fact that pharma spots sell people hope...
|Camera Phone Chaos!|
The invention of the mobile phone was a feat in itself. This device allows people to roam the earth and have conversations with their loved ones and friends in a matter of seconds, regardless of where they were in the world. I remember when the world thought beepers were the hottest thing since sliced bread. Now, with the evolution of video recording phones, we are witnessing a new kind of motion film revolution: Camera phone chaos.
|Did the Way She Was Portrayed Stop Her from Getting Paid?|
It’s funny when you think about the fact that in 2009, we the people of the United States had to pass a law to ensure that women are receiving equal pay, considering that women have been a dynamic force in this country since WWII. Which, by the way, for those that didn’t know—these ladies were building airplanes, tanks, and a whole lot of things that kept our boys on the front lines in tip-top fighting shape to ensure they made it home safely.
|Changing the World of Branding to Do Good|
We can change the world of branding with visions to do good!
“My people will perish without a vision…” I always loved this bible verse because it sheds light on the power of having foresight for your life, family, and business. It’s paramount because who have we seen in this lifetime that didn’t have a vision for success?
Walt Disney had a vision to become an animator. Thereafter, his vision grew into becoming one of the best full-feature animated movie storytellers. From there he created an organization that has become a powerhouse in the world of entertainment, and all this came from the vision of a little mouse that was the captain of steamboat! Amazing!
|Where Are Super-brands Born? |
So what’s a super-brand? Is it some product, service or person developed in a top secret lab through an alliance of the world's top scientists? Is it a person born with superhuman powers that gives him or her abilities to give life to ideas that harness wealth at will? Let us think about it for a second... o.k. that’s enough here’s a short list:
- Oprah is a super-brand
- Sean Puffy Combs is a super-brand
- Apple is a super-brand
- Wal-Mart is a super-brand
|Branded Hate: Is Hip-Hop Content A Message of Life Or Death?|
Once upon a time there was a culture called Hip-Hop. It was vibrant, exciting, and breathed life into the masses of youngsters across America and the world as it broke down barriers and opened doors to the paths of success for many artists from the days of Funk Master Flash to the antics of Kanye West. Hip-Hop has served as a vehicle of opportunity for brands and artists alike.
|Helping Out the Little Guys Can Reap Big Rewards|
A wise man once said that “all come out of small." When you think about it, what really comes into the world big? You’re a kid before you’re a teen. You’re a teen before you’re an adult. So on and so forth. So when looking for your next big client, why don’t you think small?
Nike was once small! McDonald’s was once small! Walmart was once a small organization.
|The Big! The Good! The Bad!: Political Bashing|
Well, it’s that time again...time to hear the pre-show before we go to the polls and cast our vote for the best man to win the ultimate prize: four years to be known as the President of the United States of America.
However, the most disturbing thing about the political bout that we watch take place over a series of weeks is that advertising and social media are like ironclad boxing gloves in which millions of blows are delivered in a matter of seconds, sending the opinion polls rallying in any direction at any given time. This in turn makes for great claims about who’s the good guy.
|All-Star Creative Leaders Aren't Afraid to Coach All-Star Creatives|
When one makes the transition into the ACD or CD position you know you are moving up the food chain, which can be a joyous time in your career. Yet, as time moves on, the big salary, super cool man cave, or, for you ladies, the entire home, kids, and other responsibilities can oftentimes make a person very territorial in regards to the management of ideas that may give tremendous light to their subordinates. We all know that there are different agency styles when it comes to producing creative work and creative chemistry.
|Our Service and Our American Dream|
Marketing is and always will be a service-driven industry. As the old adage goes, we are in the business of building businesses, and for the most part, over the years, we’ve become pretty good at it. Yet, we still have an opportunity to grow and expand in what we call service.
This service is a deeper connection to consumers, a deeper connection to clients, and a deeper commitment to bringing substance back to American business and to this business art form that is adored by clients and agencies alike. It’s bigger than a social marketing program. This service is being in the business of creating and serving new American business.