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Original articles from Cindy Wendland.
Fitness Goes to a New Level with #FASHionablyfit
We all have our own reasons for exercising or not. Mine is for social reasons primarily and health secondarily. I run with my friend once a week, and I take a few classes with another friends on a different day. We joke about our therapy session as we run the track...

Nordstrom’s National Brand Campaign is Full of Mirrors
There is very little that Nordstrom does that we don’t like. More positively, we love what we see at Nordstrom, in store and online. The latest tidbit to hit our inbox was their Spring 2016: “See Anew” video. We played it a few times then looked at the behind-the-scenes video to get our fill of spring brands...

Louise et Cie Is a Class Act Brand
The Camuto Group is a remarkable fashion house. Though we lost the founder, Vince Camuto, to prostate cancer in January of 2015, his capable wife, Louise, continues on the tradition. Louise et Cie is one the latest brands in the Camuto Group to make a branding impact. Louise Camuto is the creative director of Vince Camuto. Louise et Cie encompasses her beauty in design. The Louise et Cie brand has some beautiful shoes.

Doritos Targets Babies and Dogs
Sometimes, actually oftentimes, it shocks and surprises us the comments that people make. We tend to use social media to voice thoughts that should stay inside our heads, if they materialize at all. Doritos used a contest to get ideas for their Super Bowl commercial. The baby submission that won set off a flurry of Twitter activity that got a little heavy.

When Your Best Branding Plans Get a Virus
You’ve figured out everything with your marketing and branding. You have a winning design, a strategy, and you have executed everything perfectly. Then a virus hits, and your plans have to change. Well, that just stinks. That’s just what happened to India’s Tata Motors. Their Zica car was set to debut when the Zika virus hit.

Advil Scores a Touchdown with Super Bowl Commercial
Usually a few commercials stand out from the Super Bowl plethora of advertisers. We love athletics and amazing feats and Grey New York, the agency chosen by Advil to create their 30-second spot, called “Distant Memory,” about people who can do amazing things. The message of the commercial was to make pain...

Gearing Up for the Big Game of 30-Second Branding
Hey everyone – Super Bowl 50 is Sunday! The National Football League (NFL) is masterful at branding and has taken over the city of San Francisco in preparation for the big game. They set up a Super Bowl city complete with music and entertainment. The Super Bowl is so much more than a football game. It is an annually heralded event and a lesson in branding. Each year a select group of companies will put together their best thoughts on marketing and branding and create a 30-second commercial to air in the Super Bowl. This will cost them a pretty penny.

Discover Differentiates Its Brand with Freeze It
Credit card companies make special offers to entice consumers to sign up for their credit cards. Consumers can then use the credit card to make purchases and get cash advances. Consumers have many choices for credit cards and “Discover It” is differentiating their brand with the “Freeze It” option. Credit card transactions are handled by the four major credit card networks...

Cool Technology Revealed Through Organic Marketing
Just point and shoot and . . . you don’t have a great picture, but you do have an accurate temperature reading of your cooking. How did this great use of technology escape us? During the holidays when we made our toffee candy, we used our old-fashioned candy thermometer to measure the heat of the toffee. We would have loved to use a laser infrared thermometer. When we think of point and shoot, we think of using a camera to take a picture. Or we think of a sheriff using a radar detector to locate speeding vehicles.

Take a Lesson from Brahmin for Creating Loyal Customers
Brahmin handbags are distinctive in their look, feel, and strategy. They are an American company with production in Massachusetts. Their bags feature embossed cowhide leather and mixed media. They look like no other bag on the market, and they have customers like none other. The company has been around since 1982 — not too long and not too little.

The Ted Cruz Campaign’s Marketing Blunders
Ted Cruz is a junior senator from Texas. He is a Republican candidate for President in the 2016 election. He just made a major marketing blunder in his campaign. He sent an election violation mailer to the people of Iowa calling out their voting violations. How much will it hurt his campaign? We can’t seem to stop comparisons.

Food Pharmacy Opens in California
Second Harvest Food Bank in California donates food to the Samaritan House Health Clinic where patients come with a prescription to buy food. It is the first of its kind in an effort to help low-income residents eat healthier.

What’s The Skinny on #WaistTraining?
Kim Kardashian, Jessica Alba, Khloe Kardashian, and Lily James are just a few of the celebrities promoting waist training. Remember the movie Gone With the Wind where Mammy was strapping Scarlet O’Hara into her tight corset, and it just wasn’t working? We watched that scene and celebrated that we no longer had to wear those tight, painful contraptions. Yet now celebrities and others are telling us to have the best figure possible...

Fine Art Marketing Goes 3D With Dali and Disney
A winning combination in the art world is Dali, Disney, and 3D. At the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, they are getting contemporarily creative with technology. A new exhibit, "Disney and Dali: Architects of the Imagination," is being marketed as an immersing 3D experience.

There’s No Shame is Being a Prudent Fashionista
There is no shame in being prudent in your shopping, especially when you are a fashionista and appreciate style and brands. Note: we did not say prude; the word we chose was prudent. Prude means a puritan, a killjoy, a goody-goody. We used prudent, which means wise, sensible, sagacious, and shrewd. We think it is smart to be a shrewd shopper, which is why we like Goodwill Industries. When you clean out your closet or your garage, there are extra items to donate. Goodwill accepts donations of clothing and household items and is happy to take those items off your hands. What happens next is a great story. Every time you shop or donate at Goodwill, they provide employment...

New Brand 'Maven' Enters the Auto Market
General Motors (GM) has created a new brand called Maven to head up their car-sharing efforts. GM recently invested $500 million in Lyft, a ride-sharing company, and purchased the remainder of Sidecar, which closed at the end of 2015. Maven will head up their future in providing driverless cars for the public.

Facebook to Change the Face of Sports
Sports fans, say hello to Facebook Sports Stadium! You’ve already used Facebook to share your life and stay connected with friends and family. Now Facebook is gearing up to be the channel to use to have those conversations revolve around sports. Facebook tested the concept for two years during Super Bowl and had 65 million people follow the conversation called Trending Super Bowl. They realized they were on to something and went into development for Facebook Sports Stadium.

Save Money on Your Next Purchases
Our last trip to the grocery store yielded some coupons. There was one in particular that caught our attention. It said “Our Thanks to You! Save $1 on your next purchase.” It was from Roundy’s Simply Organic. What a great way to get our attention!

$95 Billion Sports Gambling and Tennis Match-Fixing
The initial stories coming out regarding match-fixing in professional tennis seemed like a story unworthy to write about. We always felt the sport of tennis was a classy and sophisticated sport filled with respectable players. More commentary and comments from readers inspired a reaction to the claims regarding tennis match-fixing. We try not to be cynical, yet we try to be realistic...

Is Your Brand Identity Right for 2016?
We love the end-of-the-year reviews on branding and marketing. A favorite looked at logos and revised logos. Rebranding is expensive. If you are considering making a change this year in your logo, take a look at some companies that did that last year. In some cases, the change hurt them more than helped. BrandNew, a division of Under Consideration, took a look at some logo changes from last year and why the changes were not beneficial.

Oscar Snubs and Diversity Issues Create #OscarsSoWhite
One of our favorite neighborhood parties was our Oscars party. The invites were glitzy and the attire was black tie. Guests arrived to a red-carpet entrance and the food was in keeping with the evening. It was a wonderful time and so much fun that we really didn’t hear much of the awards program. But we love the Oscars...

How To Make Millennials Want to Work for You
Hiring great talent for your company can be challenging. Hiring adult Millennials (those aged 18 to 33) to fill those openings can be easier if you offer this benefit: Help paying off student loans. Millennials say they evaluate a job offer based on whether they can afford to make their loan payments, and whether the company will help. Many Millennials are entering the workforce with an average of $28,000 in student loan debt.

One Taste and You’re in Love
We still play with our Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads. This classic toy has always seen a child (and parent) favorite. Its popularity increased even further with the three movies of Toy Story. Lays Potato Chips is capitalizing on the popularity of Potato Heads with their new commercial.

Our Tech-Savvy President Gets on Snapchat for #SOTU
When asked about my political views at a party, I usually leave the room to refresh my drink and get some food. My self-declaration about politics is that I am Switzerland. While it is true that I am 33% Swiss from my parents, I like to “be Switzerland” and remain neutral about most political issues. I do respect the challenges and issues and appreciate the hard work done to benefit us all. I’m just not going to debate you on any of it. With that stated, it doesn’t matter to me if you are a President Obama fan or foe. From a neutral perspective, President Obama is tech savvy...

Be the Light in Their Darkness — Like 'Star Wars'
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the latest film in the blockbuster series. It broke all records at the box office and has popped on promotional and licensed items across all industries. McDonald’s features them on their Monopoly game. You will see Star Wars characters licensed on pajamas, stationery...

Hudson Bay Buys Very Cool Brand — Gilt
Hudson Bay, which owns Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Saks Off Fifth, just made a deal to acquire flash site Gilt. Gilt offers 70% off of designer brands and insider access. Hudson Bay made this move to compete with Nordstrom’s acquisition of Haute Look. Affluent Millennials are the people who primarily shop on Gilt. This is a good market segment to have. They have money...

Get Fresh with #LushTime
When you walk by Lush in our local mall, the fragrance will capture your attention. Lush sells fresh handmade cosmetics. The younger girls in our house like their bath bombs. We recently went to buy some after Christmas and found they are working as fast as they can to replenish their stock.

Intuit TurboTax Plays The Genius Card
Now that 2015 is over, it is time to start preparing your financials to file your tax return. You may have noticed that commercials have begun promoting tax return software. Intuit is spending a lot of money to promote its TurboTax software and doing it with a clever theme of geniuses.

What Do Europeans Know About Branding?
It’s still humorous to think about a conversation we had with a small business owner from Europe. We were talking about expansion plans for our respective products. While we were trying to raise brand awareness in merely our city, this person was building sales in several countries simultaneously. Perhaps it is because our country is so large that going outside of it seems more involved. Perhaps we are just different from Europeans who are accustomed to traversing country borders. Whatever the reason, we could learn from their ways. European branding is different than American branding. We worry about the various demographics in...

Oprah Endorses Weight Watchers and the Stock Market Reacts
Celebrity endorsements are a key way to build a brand. More celebrities are appearing in commercials and being the faces for perfume and other products. The hope is that the celebrity will bring additional attention and publicity elevating the brand. In some cases it works, and in other cases it works extremely well...

Bill Cosby’s Brand Crashes and Burns
For the New Year, it is a good time to review the status of our personal brands, how they’ve done, and what can be done to enhance their brand identity. One brand that has fared poorly this year is Bill Cosby. One brand that continues to do well year after year is Oprah Winfrey. Bill Cosby had allegations levied against him by numerous women.

Learning from Forbes' 25 Most Innovative Consumer and Retail Brands
Forbes writer Ryan Caldbeck feels that technology innovation gets more than its share of press. He sees great innovation happening with consumer and retail brands and compiled a list of 25 consumer and retail companies that are blazing the way with innovation. Some of the companies were familiar, like Harry’s and Tough Mudder.

Effectively Handling Returns Showcases Your Brand
“I’d like to return this, please.” Those words may not be the favorite ones heard by retailers, especially after the holidays. Those words can be received differently if you use a return as an opportunity to showcase the excellent customer service offered by your brand. Remember a few facts about your customers. The customers may not like the fact that they have to return a gift.

Wanderer Bracelets Keeps on Giving in Bali
Did you return any of your Christmas gifts? It sometimes happens that the gift you receive is not your size or to your liking. In our case, we received a very special gift that keeps on giving. The gift was a hand-carved Eiffel tower bracelet made in Bali. Wanderer Bracelets makes hand-carved bracelets from sustainable water buffalo bone to fight ivory trade and support jobs for village artisans. The bracelets are attractive, good quality, and support a good cause.

Send Love From Your Brand With a Christmas Card
This year we didn’t send out a Christmas card from either our family or our business. A friend posted a picture on Facebook of the image she would have put on a card if she had found the time to do it. A realtor friend created a humorous card on Jibjab.com. Others sent photo Christmas cards highlighting key events of the year. Whatever option you choose, connecting to people and offering a sincere greeting is the objective. Christmas cards don’t always come through the mail.

Excuse Me, I’m Mobile VIP
Whether we like to admit it or not, we all like special treatment. It makes us feel good. It makes us feel “special.” It makes us want to be with or patronize whomever made us feel that way. Can Taco Bell possibly make us feel special? They are attempting to do this with their Mobile VIP app. Other retail businesses offer some form of VIP program. Panera allows you to order ahead, pay...

The Silent Heroes That Keep Christmas on Track
There are belated birthday cards for us to send when we forget and want to send wishes after the fact. But unless you celebrate the holidays early or late because of schedules, Christmas falls on December 25, and those gifts must be there on time. To make those deadlines, shippers use herculean efforts to get those packages delivered and deserve some extra kudos.

When You Make a Mistake...
How do you correct an epic mistake? That is the situation the Miss Universe pageant faced when the wrong winner was announced. Host Steve Harvey read the wrong name. The actual first runner-up was already wearing the crown and had to have it removed. He apologized, but how do you fix such a mistake? Most organizations have a contingency plan in place...

Can You Learn From the Elf on the Shelf?
Imagine if your product was hidden each night and searched for each morning. That’s what happens during the Christmas season with "The Elf on the Shelf." Each morning the mischievous elf is found in a different place in the house. The children look forward to this holiday tradition and find the elf in creative and unusual places. The elf also likes to eat sugar and, typically, after his strenuous game of hide ’n seek, will be found spooning sugar into his mouth. The Elf on the Shelf is based on a children’s book...

The Unexpected Can Delight
When we see things together that really shouldn’t be together, it catches our attention. We pause to see if our senses took in the information correctly, then we try to make sense of it. That is just how our minds work. Nonn’s carpet and flooring used this method effectively in their YouTube advertising.

Make This Christmas Unisex
When you shop for gifts this holiday season, you may not need to go to the men’s department for those special men in your life. We are not implying they have feminine tendencies. Rather many products can be used by men and women alike, and men can feel comfortable embracing more products.

Don’t Shame, Says Reese’s
Sometimes it seems that people have too much time on their hands. When people criticize or get into a word battle online, it seems like that energy could be better used somewhere else. When people started criticizing the shape of the seasonal Reese’s peanut butter tree, Reese’s had a great response. For those unfamiliar, Reese’s peanut butter cups normally come in a round shape with ridged edges. The peanut butter cups are shaped like a heart for Valentine’s Day; like an egg for Easter; like a pumpkin for Halloween; and like a tree for Christmas.

Walgreens Gives Unexpected Joy This Holiday
The latest Walgreens holiday commercial shows a scruffy dog delivering great Christmas presents to his family. It is a fun and effective commercial that showcases not only the products Walgreens offers, but also their flyer and staff. Two big elements of winning commercials are kids and pets.

It’s Brand Story Time
Our children are teenagers. Perhaps that’s why we ogle at toddlers and try to make those little creatures smile and laugh. We fondly remember story time and the closeness and magic it evoked. Transfer that to your brand, and look at whether you have left brand story time behind. Your brand is not too old. In fact, storytelling is important no matter the age of your brand, so let’s gather round and read a brand story.

Talitha Kum Steps Outside the Box
In this month of getting in the spirit and donating time or money to good causes, it would seem we have an example to follow that not only raises the bar, but will be difficult to emulate. The Talitha Kum sisters are nuns who dress like prostitutes and infiltrate brothels worldwide to rescue victims of sex trafficking...

Give Customers What They Want With Christmas Branding
Branding is not done just once a year. It is a continual, consistent process and series of activities and efforts. But, once a year, branding can take on a new form and shape. Christmas branding, done well, can serve to reinforce all your efforts the whole year through. What do your customers really want this year? Do they want something with your logo?

Thankful Holiday Commercial Falls Short
This time of year we get nostalgic. For some of us, we bring out our ornaments and decorate our trees. We use special candleholders and dinnerware that have been passed down through the generations. We remember special gifts used each year in our celebrations.

Tory Burch Scores with Social Media
For the latest in style and fashion, people are buying Tory Burch. You can buy clothing, handbags, shoes, eyewear, and so much more. Her logo is distinctive. Her style is described as classic but bohemian, and people are buying up her products. She is known for her social media efforts...

Holiday Branding at Its Best
December just arrived and already retailers are talking about leveraging the holiday season’s home stretch. What does that mean to you as a brand and what are some of the best ideas out there? First of all, holiday branding should offer a great customer experience that solidifies your reputation. Make sure everything works — from online lay-a-way to credit card chip readers to in-store holds to redeeming gift cards. Make sure the customer experience is as positive as possible...

Does Your Brand Have a Gift Guide?
For the holidays, some people need help with gift ideas. Some people browse options in a store or online. The number of choices can be overwhelming. That’s when a holiday gift guide comes in handy. If your brand has one, you can help your shoppers narrow their choices and be led toward your best items. The Charming Charlie Holiday 2015 Gift Guide arrived in our mailbox. The cover was attractive and red-and-green colorful. The fold-out pages were clean, crisp, and had alternate pages outlined in the theme's colors. The design pulled us in to see each of the ten ideas. It was a great way to make shopping easy at Charming Charlie. Many companies and publications offer a gift guide, from Huffington Post and Real Simple to Macy’s and Nordstrom. Gift guides showcase products, give shoppers ideas, and make shopping simple. Gift guides are great tools for any brand looking to advertise in a helpful way.

Don't Gross People Out with Your Commercial
Edible Arrangements is airing a holiday commercial called “Share Something Sweet.” The scene begins with a man walking down the street carrying an edible arrangement of fruit. He then shares it with those he meets on his way home. It seems a little strange. For those who are unfamiliar, edible arrangements are fruit pieces...

Your Dance Moves Might Show Your Age
You realize you’ve gotten older when your children look at you in disdain because of your dance moves. At one time, those moves might have been “good,” or even appropriate. Now they just look outdated. It’s a sad day when this realization sets in, but it eventually does.

How Good is Cyber Monday?
Shoppers were out in full force on Black Friday. Not everyone embarked on their journey before the sun rose, but many still made it to the stores to look around and capture some deals. Those deals extended over the weekend for many retailers. Now Thanksgiving weekend is done, and Cyber Monday is upon us.

Wellbeing Beauty Brand Supports Mental Health
We love companies that give back and demonstrate not only social responsibility but community involvement. We spent the afternoon going through all the cosmetic counters at a fashion retailer learning about their specialties. Philosophy Skin Care stood out from the rest with their community initiatives, in particular their Hope & Grace Initiative. Philosophy believes that beauty begins within. They want to be the wellbeing beauty brand that inspires women to look, live, and feel their best.

Lexington Police Get Positive PR for the Holidays
Often, when you try to do good for others, a lot of the good comes back to you. The Lexington Police Department is offering a new way to pay for parking tickets this holiday season. “Food for Fines” runs for a month and allows residents with parking tickets to waive $15 off their fine by donating ten cans of food.

Stove Top Stuffing Makes Thanksgiving
One of our coworkers told us the story about the year of the stuffing mishap. They converge up north, with every family responsible for bringing certain items. The person in charge of the stuffing forgot it. That year they had to pick up stuffing from a restaurant. Everyone thought the Thanksgiving meal would be ruined. Turns out they loved the restaurant stuffing, and thus a new tradition began.

How to Win a Chaos-Free Holiday
It’s time to finish your Thanksgiving food shopping. We like to shop at Woodman’s. Woodman’s is a local supermarket chain in Wisconsin and Illinois that solely focuses on providing the widest variety of grocery items at the best prices. When you need that unusual item, it can be found at Woodman’s. As we were browsing the aisles, we found some special treats...

What Would Burberry Be Without Its Tartan Plaid?
Imagine if Burberry hired a new advertising agency who recommended that they retire the familiar tartan plaid and go with something more progressive. Burberry changes all their coat linings, handbag patterns, sunglass temple arms, scarves, and clothing. They introduce a series of stripes and polka dots and go to market. The public becomes confused and Burberry’s branding flounders all because of a pattern change. Could it happen? Absolutely, when their brand is as much about styling and quality...

How to Get Millennials to Love Your Product
In an ideal world, it would be great for everyone in the world to support and buy your product. In the real world, your brand tends to appeal to a certain demographic or group of demographics. One such important group is the Millennials, especially since they comprise 21% of discretionary purchases.

Remember, Support Black People, Black Businesses
That may not be the most memorable line from YouTuber James Wright’s “Chanel” musical review of Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie, but he managed to throw it in during his video. Walmart developed the pie with LaBelle and sells it exclusively. Wright was unknown until this video and now both he is well-known and the pies are selling faster than they can be made.

What It Means to Live Beautifully
We heard a rumor that Canada is going to make it harder for Americans to enter their country because they think we will soon come running for safety. While we are not sure about that, we do know that Matt and Nat from Montreal will have you come running for their products. Matt and Nat is a company with a great motto offering vegan handbags.

Identify Webroom Customers For the Holidays
Online shopping and smartphones have changed the face of retail. Shoppers have graduated from years of online shopping and now yearn for product touch and feel. Shoppers are coming back to the stores to get a tactile experience. These customers are great to have and can make a huge impact on holiday sales if you understand the opportunity they offer. Amazon recently opened their own brick-and-mortar store. Perhaps they are recognizing the importance of webrooming...

When You Need One, You Can Rent a Mom
It is not close to Mother’s Day, yet we are going to discuss how important mothers are to all of us. Fathers are important too, but a mother’s role in the family and for her children is unique and special. In many cases she is caring, understanding, nurturing, wise, and loving — to name just a few characteristics...

Clooney and DeVito Give Star Power to Nespresso
Danny DeVito and George Clooney star in the commercial for . . . Nespresso. Sometimes star power will capture your audience’s attention and keep you watching to the end. Sometimes star power will be a key success factor in communicating the message of your brand. George Clooney has star power and when he appears on our screen, we pause and take notice. We enjoy his humor, his good looks, and his delivery. When we saw in the commercial that he was interacting with Danny DeVito...

Glamour Mag's Women of the Year Awards #GlamourWOTY25
If you like fashion, you’ve most likely read Glamour magazine. They hosted their women of the year awards and honored some fantastic women. First off, let’s define glamour. It is the attractive or exciting quality that makes certain people or things seem appealing or special. Glamour is what the magazine is about. Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards honors glamorous (special) women for their contributions. Recent experiences have taught us that the progress we think we have made as a nation...

The KAMRA Inlay Will Open Your Eyes
Wouldn’t it be great if those reading glasses on chains were the hippest thing possible? Everyone would be wearing them, from 13-year-olds on up to the coolest grandmas. When someone figures that out, it will be wonderful.

What is Spirit Airlines Thinking?
The countdown to Christmas has begun. There are officially only 7 Sundays left before Christmas. We’re not sure why the measurement of the number of Sundays was brought to our attention, but it definitely brings the nearness of the holiday in perspective. While we like to think we will keep the spirit of Christmas in our hearts all year long, it can be difficult.

What Makes Your Brand Unique?
Nordstrom started as a shoe store and now is a full-line fashion specialty retailer. Ted Baker London started as a British company known for men’s shirts. Now they have expanded into full-line designer apparel for men and women. A brand’s heritage is important and can form the basis for brand growth.

What is Amazon Doing Opening a Brick & Mortar Store?
Amazon is morphing into a traditional retailer. They pay tax on online orders. They have opened fulfillment centers. Now they opened a brick and mortar, real live store in Seattle. What in the world are they up to now? Amazon drove many independent bookstores out of business with their aggressive pricing strategies...

Brand Loyalty Like None Other
Are you familiar with MZ Wallace nylon handbags and totes? If you own one, you think everyone knows about that brand. If you don’t own one, it is time to become familiar. The reason is that brand loyalty among MZ Wallace owners is higher than most...

Want to Be Fashion Forward? Think Logistics
"Fashion forward" is a term used in the fashion industry. It means that you are interested in fashion and adopt the latest fashions. Simply put, you are stylish, hip, slick, and cool. You may shop nice department stores, and you know brand names. The fashion industry caters to you and tries to reach you through marketing and social media efforts.

If You Like Old World Italy, You'll Like Patricia Nash
We asked a friend of ours where he finds his inspiration. He said he finds it all over in everyday life — the sunrise, the flowers, and the people around him. We find inspiration at 30,000 feet when we are flying by plane. Perhaps the altitude and lack of distractions makes our brain work more freely.

Jim Beam Introduces Apple Bourbon to #makehistory
A friend of ours is a bourbon drinker. She finds it very soothing and full of taste. Others find it an acquired taste. The primary time we drink bourbon is during Kentucky Derby days when we drink mint juleps. Jim Beam wants to make history and change that with their introduction of Jim Beam® Apple. With the onslaught of everything pumpkin, we are grateful Jim Beam didn’t introduce a pumpkin bourbon! Apple bourbon makes more sense.

We Missed You, Adele!
It seems we are fascinated with singers and music. We play music on our phones, iPods, and laptops and listen everywhere we go. We watch American Idol and The Voice and hope to see new talent discovered. The other day, we heard a great song...

'Fat Amy' Releases Rebel for Torrid Fashion Line
Rebel Wilson is an Australian comedian who is well known for her character Fat Amy in the movie Pitch Perfect. She was bound by her contract to remain the same size during filming of those movies and has found success in roles featuring a larger size woman. She is now releasing a line of fashion clothing for plus-size women.

Boo! To Scary Food Additives
Chipotle’s popular Halloween fundraiser, Boorito, has returned. On Halloween, October 31, from 5 p.m. to closing, Chipotle is offering $3 burritos, bowls, salads, and tacos to customers who wear costumes with something unnecessary.

Can a Brand Serve Both Teens and Mature Customers?
Michael Kors makes designer luxury handbags, watches, shoes, and women’s and men’s clothing. You may have a few of his pieces and chances are your friends do too. Looking through our closet, we found a knit dress with stud trim and a pair of red sequin gold-heeled pumps (reminded us of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz).

Can the Smell Help Sell Your Brand?
If your product is a fragrance, then the brand is entirely about the smell. If your product is not a fragrance, can smell help sell your brand? Do people buy new cars for the new car smell? Probably not, considering cars cost thousands of dollars, and you can actually buy a spray of “new car smell.” But, does the smell of the leather help sell the 100% leather handbag?

Do Consumers Trust Bloggers More Than Brands?
Ugg believes that consumers trust bloggers more than brands. For this reason, they are working with eight bloggers to create content that they hope their followers will find compelling. The bloggers state their affiliation with Ugg when they write the pieces, which they post on their sites and on Ugg’s. Have the bloggers crossed over from being unbiased sources? Will the trust be compromised?

Reach the Elusive Fashion Customer with Social Media
Fringe is a big fashion trend this year. Burgundy and chain straps are hot in handbags. Cashmere scarves are always in style. With all that happens in fashion each season, it is difficult to capture the attention of the high-fashion customer. One designer that has been doing it well is Rebecca Minkoff. Minkoff’s designs have been described as playful and subtly edgy.

Should You Sue to Protect Your Brand?
Amazon thinks you should sue to protect your brand. They are taking legal action against more than 1,000 people who have posted false reviews on their website. They believe their brand reputation is being damaged by false, misleading, and inauthentic reviews.

Throwback + Digital + Theme = Product Success
During the last house move, we reduced clutter. As part of this process, we donated some favorite shoes that we thought very out of date. To our dismay, they came back in style the next season. Similarly, you may feel some remorse if you got rid of your vinyl records, only to learn that our teenage children want...

Designing From Your Inner Voice
Fashion is a big, beautiful business. The market is over $3,000 trillion. Notice it is not reported as $3 quadrillion because people don’t even know what that number is. That tells you how remarkably large the market is. With over seven billion people on the planet, it is no surprise that the garment industry is of such significance, yet the numbers are still eye-opening. In fashion, designers produce collections of clothing and related items. Those items get sent to stores. Consumers buy the items from the stores. The consumers are happy with their purchases. The designers are happy with the satisfaction and the money from the purchases. Then it all starts over again for the next season. Sound simple? Well, there is actually quite a bit more to the whole process...

When Your Brand Puts Its Clothes On
Playboy just announced that their magazine will no longer feature nude pictures. Their website banned nude photos a year ago, and now the U.S. print version follows suit. Playboy feels there are far more explicit photos available for free online, so in a sign of changing with the times, their models will be clothed. Readers claimed they read the magazine for the articles...

A Social Media Campaign to Emulate #coachpups
It seems we love our celebrities, our pets, and our luxury items. When you combine all three together, you get a successful social media campaign called #coachpups. The company that started it all is Coach. Coach is an American leatherware company providing affordable luxury handbags and accessories. To bring attention to their branded products, they had a little fun using celebrity pets.

Homemade Competition Gets Fierce
Amazon is launching a new store called Handmade by Amazon for artisans to sell their unique, homemade items. For people who have homemade items to sell, being included on this platform will allow them to get marketing and exposure from a marketing giant. Amazon says people were asking for this addition...

Southwest Goes Tropical and Transfarent
The weather is turning colder, and Southwest Airlines wants you to know they can now fly you to more tropical locations. Does Aruba, Jamaica, Costa Rica, the Bahamas, or Belize sound appealing? Belize and Costa Rica will be opening up in the next 30 days...

Your Chance to Become a Famous Brand
There is nothing like a contest to discover raw talent. Right now legendary French director Luc Besson, together with Yahoo Style, are promoting a contest where they are hoping to discover that talent. The contest involves creating a costume for an epic space cocktail party.

When a Product Truly Satisfies a Need
If you ask people to name their favorite holiday, many people will say Halloween. The reasons are many. You get to dress up. You receive candy. You run around with friends ringing doorbells. There may be lots of additional reasons, but not all people get to enjoy Halloween. Kids in wheelchairs are at a disadvantage...

When You Have to Put 'Brand' in Your Name
It makes us pause when we hear a Band-Aid commercial. The tunes are catchy, and the messaging is good. The commercials take us back to our childhood and our scrapes and scratches. They also bring us back to the present as we lovingly care for our children through their tears and bloody knees. Placing a band-aid on their cut is a sign of our love. The name has become so common that the commercial has to remind us it is a brand and states so throughout the messaging.

Ten Tree Makes Buying Clothes a Planting Experience
These days you can buy a pair of shoes and the company donates a pair of shoes to a needy child — think BOBS brand from Skechers. That is very admirable. If you are interested in our planet and trees, you can make a purchase of some clothes and the company will plant trees in another country. Your buying takes on a whole new meaning.

Get Your Own Personal Assistant App
We watched the Charlie’s Angels movie recently. We love the timeless crimefighting and undying allegiance to a man named Charlie, who directs their activities but only ever allows them to hear his voice. Now there’s a mysterious app that can direct activities for you, too — by providing background information about people in your upcoming meetings. It feels a little sneaky and a little underhanded, like it is a classified FBI file they slide across the table in the interview room.

With Verizon, Better Matters
Shouldn’t things work the way they are supposed to? Should we really have to accept poor quality? Verizon feels that when something is important, it should just work. Keep it simple, but make sure it works. The Verizon “Better Matters” commercial is very entertaining and drives the message home.

Costco Takes to the Street Corner
We have a Costco opening in our community. This is big news for those who like wholesale clubs. Costco came into our metro area a few years ago but the locations were quite a distance away. This new Costco will be smack dab in the middle of our community.

#BabyGuyBox Reason for Success
Some of the best authors will tell you that when they are writing, they don’t know what will happen next until they begin to write. The reason for this is that the characters take on a life of their own and live out the story. The author records what they live. This also happens in my research for a blog topic. A company promotes Barkbox on Facebook. The blog begins with how dogs get better treatment than cats. Further research shows that a monthly subscription box does exist for cats...

Paper Books are Making a Comeback
Neighborhood bookstores closed their doors when Barnes & Noble and Amazon became entrenched in the book business. It was sad to see those stores close. E-books surged in popularity and sales, and analysts predicted doom and gloom for print publishing. But then something interesting happened...

Does Your Brand Need an Algorithm?
Google has algorithms and when they change them, which changes how search results are tallied, we all pay attention. The cochlear hearing implant has an algorithm that led to its development and allows deaf people to hear. Check out the video on Huffington Post of deaf people hearing for the first time.

What are 33% of USPS Shipments?
Answer is...We have a great relationship with our local post office. Actually, it is the postal worker that we love. He is friendly. He is fun. He is super helpful. It is not even the post office in our city. Milwaukee suburbs are not large, so within a small amount of miles and short amount of time, we find ourselves in other suburbs. We visit this particular post office because the workers are so nice. At Christmas time this postal worker helps me select the best shipping package and method.

Cha-Ching Goes the Sound of Apps
We were shopping at our local mall and saw signs for the RetailMeNot app. RetailMeNot offers website coupons and promo codes to help you save money at over 50,000 stores. We downloaded it to try to save money on our back-to-school shopping. Who doesn’t like to save money? It’s a convenient way to lower your bill in store and online. One of our favorite features of the RetailMeNot app is the sound of the alert.

Ask People For Money For Anything
The company Honeyfund was on Shark Tank asking for funding, which they ended up receiving. They offer an online wedding registry. Their future plans are to offer online fundraising for all of life’s events through Plumfund. They call this market crowd-gifting. Imagine a platform where people can ask for anything, and sometimes get it.

Pumpkin-Scented Branding Everywhere
We have heard that people count down the days until Starbucks brings out the pumpkin spice lattes. It wasn’t a big draw for us until our daughter tried them. Now that is her new favorite drink and the clock is ticking...it won’t be here long, so she wants to go often. Seasonal flavors and scents are a great way to increase a brand’s sales and awareness.

Lenny Kravitz Plus CB2 Equals Wow Furniture
If you’re looking for new furniture, you may want to wait until October 1. A new line of furniture will debut from the collaboration of modern furniture company CB2 and retro rocker, actor, and songwriter Lenny Kravitz. Some newly released photos of some of the designs show a mix of retro, boldness, gold, and flashiness. Artistic people are creative. Their creativity doesn’t just reside in one area. Oftentimes they are creative in whatever they touch. That seems to be the case with Lenny Kravitz.

The Food Truck Surprise
Food trucks have become amazingly popular all across the country. Where we once had roach coaches coming in to industrial parks selling lunch, with the economic recession and chefs out of work, food trucks are more commonplace and seen as a way to launch a career. As such, there is high acceptance of food trucks. A recent commercial used a food truck to offer customers a chance to sample a new buttermilk crispy chicken sandwich.

Who is the Champion For Your Brand?
We read the grave story of ovarian cancer, the silent killer of women, on Yahoo Health. The story states that in the 40 years since the war on cancer began, little change has been made in the survival rates for women who have ovarian cancer. The five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 90%. The five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is only 45%. Why is there the difference? Perhaps it is the champion behind breast cancer. Most people know the name of Susan G. Komen.

Dare to Take Your Brand into a New Category
Keurig and Campbell’s Soup are teaming up to offer soup K-cups. Now you can use your Keurig machine for lunch and have a nutritious bowl of soup. Keurig is daring to take its technology into a new category. When brands try to cross over into a new category, it is difficult. Sometimes it is successful and sometimes it is not. It depends on if the consumer sees the crossover...

Ellie Lou’s Brews & BBQ
We love trying new restaurants when we travel. On our way to southern Florida, we stopped in Ocoee/Orlando and had lunch at Ellie Lou’s Brews & BBQ. The place was on fire!

Developing Trust in the Relationship
Two big winners in commercials are kids and pets. People love them, and end up loving the commercials because of the cuteness factor. This commercial for Chase started out with dogs and the dog trainer Joel Silverman. If you miss the beginning of the commercial, you miss the point of the commercial...

When Your Brand Makes Broccoli Scary
We lived without cable for a while, but since our move, we are back to service from AT&T Uverse. This means we get to see commercials again. One commercial we thought was fantastic. The next one just downright scared us.

Halloween is Going to the Dogs
At a recent trip to the pet store, after wandering through all the aisles, we stumbled upon a dog food display. But it wasn’t any regular dog food display; it was Halloween dog food. There have been Halloween dog costumes for a long time. It looks like now they can have Halloween doggie treats too! The two Halloween products we saw for dogs were Greenies Pet Treats and Dental Chews and Blue’s Boo Stew and Boo Bites.

Would You Buy and Drive a 3-D Printed Car?
3-D printers are an amazing technological breakthrough. It is hard to believe all the things that can be created (printed). What is most difficult to believe is that a car could be 3-D printed. Will it be safe? Will it possibly work? How can this be? To research a 3-D car, Arizona State University and an Arizona-based...

Allstate Puts 'Big Data' in Your Car
In Enemy of the State, Lisa Bonet played the wife who distrusted communications companies because she thought they were spying on families. In the movie, her belief turned out to be true. In the real world, it is also turning out to be true. Allstate just received a patent for a system of sensors and cameras to monitor drivers. They are putting “Big Data” in your car. Allstate wants to gather data on potential sources of driver distraction.

When the FDA Talks, People Listen
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has jurisdiction over food, meat, prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and much more. They control which new products make it to market and which don’t. They also control whether products can be sold direct to consumers.

HGTV Problems and Solutions Marketing
My daughter and I each took a friend with us to the Parade of Homes. Both of our friends are natural decorators. They have “an eye for decorating.” While my daughter and I were struck by the beauty of the homes, our friends took notice of decorating details they felt enhanced or detracted from the homes.

There is No Average Girl
On a good day, self-esteem and confidence are high. We live by the mantras: We are loved. Things always work out for us. We aspire to be better each day and take inspiration and motivation wherever we can find it. As we were looking through a fashion magazine, we saw a fabulous three-page ad for Keds.

The New Place for Men’s Clothing
The latest “must have” clothing for teen girls and fashionable women comes from yoga-inspired athletic apparel company Lululemon. They are a Canadian company that opened three stores in Wisconsin in January of this year. You won’t find their name on the outside of the store.

Almost Makes You Like Tommy Hilfiger Again
Thanks to one of our friends for sharing the new face — and body — video of Tommy Hilfiger’s underwear collection. For those of you who follow tennis, you will find none other than Rafael “Rafa” Nadal as the new spokesperson for Tommy Hilfiger. Quite a teasing and tantalizing video.

Condolences to Justin Wilson's Family
America loves its sports. We are passionate about our teams, our players and our athletes. We feel like they are part of our family. The sports brand and marketing people do a tremendous job drawing us in and connecting to us.

Luxury Ice Cream With a Lot of Pink Décor
Our final stop on our recent travels was in West Palm Beach, Florida. We went to City Place Shopping Center to take in all the shops. The sparkling décor and overwhelming color of pink drew us in to Sloan’s Ice Cream. Our family thought it was a whimsical place to visit and tasty too! It’s fun to get ice cream. It satisfies our sweet tooth, and it reminds us of our childhood.

General Mills Puts Leah Still’s Face on a Wheaties Box
To be featured on a Wheaties box is a great accolade for an athlete. General Mills started the tradition of putting athletes on the front of their cereal box back in 1934 to coincide with their slogan, “The Breakfast of Champions.” Since that time, many athletes have been featured. Recently General Mills made a commemorative box featuring a pro football player’s daughter, Leah Still. Devon Still is a defensive lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals. His daughter Leah Still is undergoing cancer treatment for stage 4 pediatric cancer. She has been courageously fighting this cancer...

Say Hello to Addyi, A Drug to Boost Female Libido
The Wall Street Journal was one of the news sources to announce that the FDA has approved a drug to boost female libido. They refer to it as Viagra for Women or pink Viagra. After approving 24 drugs for male sexual dysfunction, the FDA finally approved one...

The Unusual Animal
Our collection of stuffed animals is quite large. We seemed to express our love through stuffed animals. When the children wanted to buy a gift for their sibling or friends, they often chose stuffed animals. During one of these times, we found StuffedSafari.com. Stuffed Safari offers unique and unusual animals. We bought a sloth with a customized bandana. It is still a favorite stuffed animal in our family. It was special because it was unique and it was customized with a special year birthday message. How often do you see a sloth? It makes for lots of fun “sloth” conversation, and he ends up in many interesting places. Slothy, as he is affectionately called, looks very realistic.

Charge Your Phone Without Plugging It In
We’re on a road trip. There are four of us and that means we all have multiple devices that need to be charged at the end of the day — phones, laptops, GPS watch, etc. We are scrambling around the hotel room looking for outlets to connect everything. In the restaurant, we saw Samsung’s commercial about the wireless charging pad for the S6.

Delish Electrolyte Water May Save Your Teeth
You just finished a major workout. You just had the flu or worse. You are feeling tired. In these types of life situations, many of us would reach for a Gatorade or Vitamin water. Are you doing yourself a disservice and would buying a Delish Electrolyte Water be better? A study recently came out claiming that sports drinks are worse for your teeth than soda. That was a shocker. We eliminated soda from our diet years ago. The children have an occasional soda but find it gives them a stomachache...

Let Your Brand Bloom
Summer flowers are in full bloom. If you planned the garden well and watered and fertilized it, the flower garden will be a beautiful display of color. It is synonymous with your brand. Your brand can be blooming right now if you properly planned, reviewed, and fine-tuned it. One company that does both at the same time is a local landscape contractor, Terra Firma. Terra Firma is a full-service landscape contractor in a Milwaukee suburb. During the recession, when other landscape companies were struggling, they continued to grow.

Oreo Overload
When we were young, there were just regular Oreos. The marketing revolved around whether you ate your Oreo whole or opened it and ate the filling first. Then there was marketing around whether you dipped the Oreo in milk or just ate it and drank the milk afterwards. Recently, a former U.S. soldier started shipping cases of Oreos to servicemen overseas. The primary thing he missed being stationed abroad was Oreos. He was asked how he shipped the milk, and his response was they would have to get a cow. With Oreos being over 100 years old...

Maddie Ziegler Represents Target for Back-To-School Season
Maddie Ziegler is a 12-year-old star on Dance Moms. She has a huge social media following, and she is Target’s latest spokesperson for the back-to-school season. Back-to-school is about getting school supplies and new clothes for the season. Maddie Ziegler is a stylish young girl...

Make Your Benefit Crystal Clear
It is all about comfort at our house. The kids love the duvet because they say it is like sleeping in a cloud. They like the softest blankets and the cushiest beds where they feel cuddly and cozy. Perhaps that’s why the Skechers commercial caught our attention with their comparative wording. “Like yoga pants for your feet.”

Does Clinton’s College Affordability Plan Have a Chance?
Sad for some and thrilling for others, it is time to send our young adults back to college or there for the first time. Hillary Clinton is introducing a college affordability plan as part of her campaign platform. Does it even have a chance? It is true that college is expensive and that students have a lot of debt. President Obama had an initiative for free community college...

Board Your Yacht and Head to Cuba
The U.S. and Cuba have made up. They patched up their problems from 50 years ago and want to start fresh. Legislation needs to happen to eliminate some of the embargos that exist, but the two governments are working to make sea travel available. Yachts are headed to Cuban waters.

What's a Designer Handbag to Do?
My friend just returned from vacationing in Nashville with two new Michael Kors purses. During the holidays, my oldest sister bought the Michael Kors purse she had been watching. I don’t own Michael Kors. The only designer purses I have are small Coach purses that were gifts from my sister...

Selfridges’ Christmas Décor on Sale in August
When is the right time to put Christmas decorations out for sale? People tend to argue about it in October and think stores should wait until after Thanksgiving. That just doesn’t give retailers enough time to bring in the holiday sales. Wait...Selfridges department store in London just started selling Christmas in August! Christmas décor for sale in August does seem a bit early.

Alyssa Bereznak Reviews Political Websites
Wasn’t there just a presidential debate? Oh, for the politically uncouth such as I, it was a Republican Presidential Candidate debate in New Hampshire. I’ve always been fond of New Hampshire because of great business clients there as well as the beautiful Autumn colors and the turbulent descent into the area on small planes.

Insider Tips on Back-to-School Strategies
School is beginning soon. For those students living in the south, it will be starting in about two weeks. Those children living in the north have anywhere from 3–4 weeks remaining of summer vacation. Back-to-school shopping is in full swing.

Magnetic Art: Affordable Redecorating
Homeowners and renters — take note! Now you can update your kitchen for 90% less than buying new by evolving your appliances. We were looking at small kitchen ideas on Pinterest and learned about Appliance Art. They offer covers, panels, and film to allow you to change the surface and look of your kitchen appliances...

Are Naked Crackers Sad?
We just saw the billboard “Naked Crackers are Sad.” We love personification and how it makes ordinary things come to life — crackers. Those things can have emotions once they are “living” — being sad. We never realized that crackers were sad without cheese, but that makes sense. Eatwisconsincheese.com, the website for the Wisconsin Cheese and Dairy Board, will provide lots of ideas to make those crackers happy. We come from a family that loves cheese and loves Wisconsin. Our great-grandmother came over from Switzerland to meet her husband and help him make cheese.

Way to Go, Ms. Coach!
You didn’t think we were going to pass this one up, did you? We were so excited when the NFL added a female referee last year. This year, the Arizona Cardinals football team added a female NFL coach. What is this world coming to? Equity or something like that? Jen Welter is the new coach. She’s been in sports a long time and played rugby at Boston College, played 14 seasons in women's pro football, and was the first woman to play a non-kicking position in a men's pro league — as a running back for the Texas Revolution ...

So Fresh You Can Feast Like a Grizzly!
Except you’re a human and get to use a fork, and drink wine. That’s the message Bonefish Grill is sending about their salmon. They have salmon hitting their grill that is incredibly fresh. It looks delicious on the 20-second YouTube video. Bears love to catch and eat salmon.

Dyson Supports Solar Pedal-Powered Water
If you think the blog title is a mouthful, try to get your arms around the invention. First of all, the Dyson owner has a foundation that supports engineering projects and encourages young minds. He offers awards for designs that solve problems. One design winner was Kristof Retezar of Vienna, Austria. His product is called Fontus, and it's a device that pulls drinkable water from the air as you cycle.

17 Million Likes for Boo
Who hasn’t wanted a stuffed animal to be alive? Kids have dreamt about it forever. The Velveteen Rabbit, written in 1922, is about a stuffed rabbit that comes to life. One of our favorite Christmas books, that I still can’t read without getting choked up, is Peef, the Christmas Bear. Santa brings him to life until he gives him away one Christmas to a little boy who wishes for a stuffed bear to love.

As Strong as The Weakest Link
Marketing execution is where the rubber meets the road. This is where all those grandiose ideas dreamed up at marketing meetings get implemented. In a retail setting, this is where the planograms, pricing, signage, and display features come to life. This is also where things can go astray. I recently took a merchandising job to gain additional experience at retail level. The pay is peanuts but the experience is invaluable. For a major retailer, I am responsible for merchandising jewelry and sunglasses on a weekly basis. As a newbie, I wonder why things are what they are and in due time, I will learn. At this stage, I was taught to make the section look full and fill in where necessary. I’m excited to take ownership of the area and to make it look and perform as best as possible. To accomplish this, I will be talking with my manager to understand why there is not as much merchandise available...

The Volvo Brand is Synonymous With Safety
When you think of Volvo, do you think of a safe car? They have done a great job over the years making the name Volvo synonymous with safety. So, it is a natural extension for them to develop a new child car seat that is safe and built into their car. The Volvo concept car has a child car seat built into the front seat.

I.N.C. Clothing at Macy’s is Our Staple
Our favorite brand at Macy’s turned out to be their private label brand. “I.N.C. International Concepts is a lifestyle brand that brings runway-inspired fashion, accessories, handbags, bedding and bath essentials to style-minded consumers.” We like being grouped in the style-minded consumer category, but had no idea the cool brand we enjoy wearing is Macy’s creation.

Does Your Brand Have a Legacy?
We made s’mores the other night, and thankfully there were a few chocolate bars left over so we could snack on them another night. The Hershey's chocolate bar had an interesting package. As we were eating almonds and chocolate, we read the package...

TrackR Plays Up on a Society That Loses Things
Are you the person who keeps misplacing their car keys? Have you lost your keys on vacation? Have you lost your purse or gym bag? The TrackR Bravo device will help you track it down through a smartphone app and their device. Some people just have trouble locating things.

Is The Iran Nuclear Deal About Economics?
The United States and five world powers reached a deal with Iran on nuclear arms. Many of us, or maybe just a few of us, thought the deal was about safety and security. Yet what you’ll read in the press is all about the economic impact of this nuclear deal. What was really being negotiated?

20 Things About Your Brand
The 4th of July holiday has passed, but the patriotism remains. Our fondness for our flag is rekindled, and our pride in our stars and stripes stays stronger through the year. This holiday reminded us of a Yahoo story by Courtney Subramanian on “20 Things You Only Understand About America After Living Abroad.”

Needle in the Haystack: Hayneedle.com
We just received a mailer from Hayneedle.com. It was an 8½” x 11” nice card stock folded in half, with that wonderful sticky, peel-off glue sealer. The outside was a patterned two-tone blue. Peeling it open revealed a colorful, full-page hammock ad, creative copy, and 10% off card. It was lovely, but who is Hayneedle.com?

Bigger Deals on July 15 Than on Black Friday
Amazon Prime wants you to shop. Amazon Prime wants you to join Prime. Amazon Prime is offering a special shopping for their Prime customers on July 15 that they say will have better deals than Black Friday. Yikes, can this be true? This must be Christmas in July!

Does Your Brand Take a Stand?
CVS earned kudos for their decision to stop selling tobacco products in their drug stores. Now they are leaving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of differing stands on tobacco.

How Will 100 Years of Fashion in 2 Minutes Make You Feel?
Designers, what happened to our fashion? Mode Fashion magazine put out a two-minute video showcasing women’s fashion over the last 100 years. A model is dressed in the style of the day from 1915 to 2015. It shocked and saddened us. Take a look for yourself. Maybe it’s because my oldest child is leaving for college this fall...

As Writers, Shouldn’t We Know You’re from Your?
OK, I have a pet peeve about people using the wrong word. Choosing to use it’s vs. its is not that hard. Choosing when to use you’re and your is simple too. Why do we struggle with this and keep getting it wrong? Why do I read articles in print that can’t get it right? Let’s take a little grammar lesson and move past this. You’re is a contraction for you are. Your is possessive...

Summerfest, You Have 11 Days to Deliver Your Brand
Imagine if you only had 11 days to deliver your brand to your audience. You have 355 days to lead up to it and build the anticipation, awareness, and engagement, but only 11 days to deliver and satisfy your customer. That is the case with Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival in Milwaukee.

AP News Stands Out with Follow-Through
There are jokes about which news source people follow and what slant they are provided. Some media sources feature only stories on certain topics and only slanted to a certain direction. It’s difficult to ascertain whether the information provided to the public is true or propaganda. In stark contrast, AP News is a quality source of information.

Would You Go to a Dog-Friendly Tavern?
Attention dog owners. There is another great place to visit and yes, you can bring Fido! A dog-friendly tavern is opening in the mid-sized town of Janesville, Wisconsin. While dog-friendly bars and restaurants do exist, this one has some unique features you and your pet will enjoy. The new tavern is called Barkley's Burgers, Brews, and Dawgs.

Same Sex Marriage a Boon to Wedding Industry
Celebrations are exciting and big business. Whatever your view on same sex marriage, it will have an impact on the wedding industry. Many couples were waiting for a ruling to have a celebration. Now that the ruling has been handed down, more marriages will be planned. This could be good for your brand.

Turning An Athlete Into a Global Brand
Athletes make some of their money from their sport. They make the rest of their money from endorsements. Petrina Kvitova is a tennis champ. She has won Wimbledon two times, yet she does not have the name recognition that other tennis players possess. Now she is working with a branding team who want to build her brand globally.

Should Your Brand Be Used For Good or Evil – Rihanna?
Rhianna has a new fashion line called $chool Kills. It is starting out to be an accessories line and then will eventually move into clothing. Rhianna is known for fashion, so this is a natural progression for her. She is also known for not caring about the example she sets. $chool Kills is a horrible brand name to use considering the problems we have with violence in our schools. So this makes one wonder rhetorically, should a brand be used for good or evil?

Buy a Car or Share a Car – The Future is Changing
The future is changing in the world of car ownership. Driverless cars are in the headlines regularly. Some people may own or some people may opt for the Uber-type lifestyle where they call a car as needed. Some of those cars called may be driverless cars. In an effort to keep up with the changing world, Ford is launching a car-sharing program in 6 U.S. cities and in London.

Finally a Personal Medical Tool to Evaluate Drug Benefits
From past health situations, we learned that the medical system is difficult to traverse. We learned the family needs to be the advocate for the patient. We also learned that the patient will receive better care if you never leave your family member’s side during their hospital stay. Now there is a tool doctors are developing that will help the patient and family evaluate if a medicine is worth it. It’s about time.

Way to Go Hawaii – For Raising Legal Smoking Age to 21!
Hawaii is the first state to raise the legal smoking age to 21. It goes into effect January 1, 2016. This will also ban the sale, purchase or use of electronic cigarettes for those under the age of 21. It is a notable move and statement the governor is making.

Taylor Swift Speaks Out Against Apple Music
Taylor Swift is the most successful recording artist. She is a young woman with incredible talent. She also has clout in the music industry. In a TIME magazine article, she said “Everybody’s complaining about how music sales are shrinking, but nobody’s changing the way they’re doing things. They keep running towards streaming, which is, for the most part, what has been shrinking the numbers of paid album sales.” So, she took a stand and pulled her 1989 album from Apple Music.

Is Your Brand Predictable or Adventurous?
Some brands pride themselves on predictability – Lexus for example. Other brands build their name around being adventurous and exciting. Magical Mystery Tours is one company that builds sales on providing something unknown to its customers – the final travel destination.

Pharmacists Affect Brand Purchases
The number of over the counter (OTC) health products on the market totals over 75,000. That is a huge number of products. So imagine a consumer trying to select the best product for their needs and many times not feeling well at the time they are doing it. The decision can be overwhelming. Pharmacists to the rescue! Pharmacists make recommendations to their patients and recommend certain brands which US News and Pharmacy Times compiles each year. What a great place for your brand to land and what a great resource for consumers!

Donald Trump for President?
Donald Trump is running for President of the United States. He wants to be POTUS. He is running as a Republican who says the “The American Dream is Dead”, and he wants to make this country great and strong again. Is his personal brand strong enough to win the nomination?

Target and CVS Will Be Joined in Branding
Can you believe it? Target is selling their pharmacy and clinic business to CVS. Being involved in healthcare and pharmacy for many years, this comes as a shocking news story. Imagine what all the other chains are thinking and wishing: wish we could have gotten that contract! It has huge branding ripple issues for both Target and CVS.

Can You Rebrand Hard to Soft?
You think you know what you like – those great Maine lobsters. People talk about how delicious the hard shell lobsters are. Then you find out, that really 70% of the Maine lobsters in the summer are softshell and you’ve been eating them all the time. Maine fishermen are working to rebrand softshell lobsters and make them a sought after item.

Land Rover Pothole Finder
Jaguar Land Rover is developing a car that can detect potholes and missing manhole covers. The information is uploaded in realtime to the cloud and then can made available for others to use. The technology is interesting. Would it make someone buy a Land Rover?

Take Notes from the Personal Branding of Robert Downey Jr.
Facebook is great for catching up with friends’ lives and posting pics of our kids’ last day of school. It can also be inspiring and a great lesson in personal branding. A celebrity can elevate a cause because of their reach. Robert Downey Jr. did that for Albert Manero, OneNote, and #CollectiveProject.

FDA Approvals and Healthcare Marketing
There are so many issues to take with healthcare that it is hard to focus on just one. Drug approvals by the FDA is the current focus, so let’s talk about the limited approval of Praluent. Praluent is a new injectable cholesterol lowering drug.

Maybe Instagram Can Get You a Book Deal
The joke at our house is that if the source is Instagram, you should verify it again. That’s about the extent of how often I view Instagram. The teenagers in our house love it, and many others do too. Many people on Instagram love the couple who have been photographed around the world holding hands. They have wowed the Internet masses with their love story and even gotten a book deal. Who knew Instagram could achieve that! Stories with pretty pictures and stories with happy endings are precious.

Love and Longevity Can Sell Cars
During the Tony awards, the commercials were short and sweet. One that we found captivating was from Subaru. A man is cleaning out his Subaru and reliving many parts of his daughter’s life. It was a theme about love and longevity called "Making Memories."

Capture Your Share of the New Smart Water Bottle Category
We love technology. We love the time-saving features it offers us. We love the reminders. When there is an event on the calendar, it reminds me to leave on time. Some of us need that. Some of us also need to be reminded to drink more water. Smart water bottles are coming on to the market to remind you to drink water and to help keep you hydrated.

Can Inspiration Sell Your Brand?
Ritz’s “Life’s Rich” YouTube video is inspiring and sweet. Their message is “May you be rich. Not rolls of money rich. Rolling on the floor with laughter rich.” Will this message help them sell their brand, Ritz crackers? People love to laugh. People like to have fun. People like to eat food.

Disney Breaks Into The Wearables Market with Playmation
Is there anything that Disney doesn’t do well? Not that we can think of. The latest area where Disney will make its mark is in the wearable market and specifically for children. Their latest endeavor is to incorporate technology into active play. These days kids are online and expect to be connected...

#MichaelStanger Qualifies for 'American Ninja Warrior'
Reality TV continues to thrill TV audiences. There are so many choices to watch like The Voice, America’s Got Talent, and Dance Moms. The latest one to grab our attention is American Ninja Warrior. If you haven’t watched it, it is an intense obstacle course competition. It requires upper body and grip strength, balance, and endurance.

Apple Wants to Change Your Cooking
We always wanted to put all our recipes on the computer. That was the motivating reason we told our aging parents why they should buy a computer. (Turns out they did it to get on dating sites and play computer games!) Now Apple, via their iPad, is doing exactly what we wanted to do, but they have done it the Apple way and taken it up a step.

No Kissing in the Backseat of My Volkswagen
Volkswagen is using an interracial ad to market its Tiguan. The couple is dressed for the prom and the girl’s father is driving them to the dance. The male is white and the female is black. We’re not sure why there are so many comments on the actors of this commercial, because color of skin is irrelevant. The only time Volkswagen customers should care about color...

Tesla Pop-up Stores
Site selection for a business can be time consuming and costly. Other formats allow businesses to try out options without a huge investment. One such option is a food cart. Food carts allow a business owner to be mobile with their business and have low fixed costs. Extend that concept and you have what Tesla is offering in resort cities — pop-up stores to showcase their electric cars.

Swipe a Code, Meet Your New England Fisherman
Food tracking technology is apparently an $11 billion industry. The New England fishing industry is trying to survive and feels this tracking technology may be their best bet to differentiate themselves. The app is under development and will allow the buyer to scan the fish and follow the path all the way back to the smiling fisherman. They will be working with This Fish to deliver the technology. Already you can scan a code on the fish you bought and trace its journey from the ocean to your plate.

Snarky Puppy’s Smart Marketing Builds a Feeder Program
We look at restaurants where most of the clientele is older, and we wonder what will happen to the restaurant when those people stop dining out or, worse, pass on. While this may be an odd intro, it points to the fact that businesses need to continue to bring in new blood to be successful.

The Marketing Stack Can Earn You Business
We recently lost business from a customer because we stayed too narrow in our focus. We answered the RFP to their specifications. We gave them a speedy timeframe. They liked us — we thought! But we did not get the business. (In our minds we lost business even though we did not yet have it.)

Flats or Heels? At #Cannesheels Film Festival It Does Matter
The Cannes Film Festival has turned away women from a red carpet screening that arrived in flats. (For those unfamiliar with shoe terms, flats are women’s shoes with low or no heels.) The attire is black tie/evening dress. If women weren’t wearing heels, they were not allowed entry into the event.

Selfies Will Be Transformed with the Nixie Drone on Your Wrist
Put down those selfie sticks and get the selfie-drone that you can wear on your wrist, called Nixie. You take it off and throw it like a boomerang to capture that impossible action shot or get a shot past your arm’s reach. It looks like a sci-fi device or secret techie item. Even James Bond would like it...

Say Yes to Virginia Through Ben Duffys
The state of Texas was successful in their past efforts to woo businesses to move there. Now the state of Virginia is making their pitch for business in their state. Their website says, “With low operating costs, a pro-business environment, access to global markets and a skilled and educated workforce..."

Chili’s is Egg-Washing Its Buns for Instagram
My sisters are foodies. They were even partners for a while in a white tablecloth Italian restaurant. They will tell you it is all about the sauce. Chili’s may agree, but in this age, to get more of their food in pictures and on Instagram, they will tell you it is about the egg-wash on their buns. Chili’s is one restaurant that is focusing on making its food more picture-ready so that younger customers will share it online.

Domino’s Takes the Lead on Twitter Ordering
Domino’s is no longer Domino’s Pizza. They are more than pizza, so they changed their name to just Domino’s. They are also more than just a walk-in, call-in, online-ordering restaurant. They are blazing the trail on allowing customers to place an order via Twitter. Domino’s went through a successful turnaround. They admitted their pizza was bad, and they fixed it.

Progressive Campaign Adopts New Look
Progressive Insurance has done quite well with creating their brand. Once known for insuring high-risk drivers, they are now in the top five of auto insurers. Their spokesperson, Flo, the Progressive Insurance Girl, has become a pop culture icon...

Olive Garden Introducing Breadstick Sandwiches to Bring You Back
We haven’t visited an Olive Garden restaurant in a long time. Apparently other people haven’t either. Sales at Olive Garden are down, and in an attempt to revitalize sales, the chain is introducing breadstick sandwiches. Olive Garden is well known for their salad and breadsticks.

A Good Example Of How Claritin Does Humor Well
Claritin created a “Real people every day” video on YouTube. The humor in the video shows how people can be distracted and the problems it causes. Claritin Clear comes to the rescue, and now people can perform to their full potential. It’s effective, funny, and memorable.

Local Blue Egg Restaurant is a Marketing Gem (Good Food, Too!)
Celebrating birthdays among our friends is one way we ensure we spend time together. We recently took a friend out for brunch for her birthday and found a local gem of a restaurant. In Milwaukee, Maxie’s is well known for their southern food and good cooking. They recently opened two more restaurants, BKC and Blue Egg. Blue Egg was the brunch spot we chose and here’s why we will go back. Taking after their parent restaurant, Blue Egg offers southern hospitality and warmth. Living in Wisconsin, we enjoy any extra warmth we can get. We also enjoy the good service that they provide as part of their hospitality. The first thing we liked was the big coffee pot and mugs set out for customers to help themselves. Since they are busy and there is a little bit of a wait, they allow you to serve yourself coffee and have it added to the bill later.

Glitter Bomb Shows That Many Ideas Are Valid
Sometimes we come up with a brilliant idea and others agree with its brilliance. Sometimes we come up with an idea we think is so far-fetched that we don’t even tell others. The point is that one never knows if an idea will gain traction until it is tried. Case in point is shipyourenemiesglitter.com. An Australian had what he called the stupidest idea — mail an envelope of glitter to your friends/enemies.

Starbucks Shared Planet on Tropical Tuesday Produces Mixed Messages
On Cinco de Mayo, before our meeting at the Mexican restaurant, we spent some time working at Starbucks. Turns out they were celebrating as well. They were celebrating Tropical Tuesday during their happy hour promotion from May 1–10. Our normal routine upon entering Starbucks is to visit the bathroom...

Google’s ‘Project Fi’ Will Change Smartphone Data Plan Pricing
Google wants you online more often and longer. They are developing a new program, Project Fi, to make it easier for you to be on online. “Project Fi is a program to deliver a fast, easy wireless experience in close partnership with leading carriers, hardware makers, and Google users.” There will be no more dropped calls; no more not having wireless. Google will switch you from your cell carrier to wifi when it is available and back again when the signal drops. They are planning to do this for $10 per Gb and charge you only for the data you use.

What in The World is Red Nose Day?
Well, Red Nose Day is an event held every two years in the UK. People get together and do something funny for money at home, school, and work. There’s a great night of TV that is designed to inspire the public to give generously. Comic Relief UK raises money for poverty-related issues. A sister organization, Comic Relief Inc., is bringing Red Nose Day to the U.S.A. on May 21...

Secret Outlast Deodorant Gives Fearless Protection
While listening to our new favorite song over and over on YouTube, we stumbled across Secret Deodorant’s Outlast video. Secret has a new deodorant. It is a Clear Gel deodorant that goes on clear for no white marks and gives you 48-hour odor protection that lasts. It is supposed to outlast whatever hectic things happen in your day.

Menards' $9B Man Believes Cheaper and Bigger Are Better
Forbes released their list of the richest person in every state. Residing in Wisconsin, we were curious who it would be. It is John Menard, Jr., with a net worth of $9.1B. If you are unfamiliar with the Menards name, Menards is a big-box DIY store based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Mastering Brand Elements is Sexy
“Master brand elements and customize on the store level.” This was the take-away from a conversation with a colleague recently. Talking branding is so sexy to some of us. When our colleague said this, we immediately sat up and took notice. She was talking about how to work with the master brand elements that are provided nationally and bring them down to customize on the store level.

'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Movie Has a Smashing Opening
Disney and Marvel make quite a team. As do Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and other costumed characters. The new Avengers movie opened worldwide preceding the U.S. opening this weekend and smashed box office records. Why do people care so much for fictitious characters?

What You Should Tweet About
We’re sitting on the hard tile floor surrounding the high school swimming pool watching our children learn freestyle. We’ve known each other for years and are catching up. The topic turns to social media and one of us lights up and the other grunts and sighs. Composing social media messages is fun and exciting for those who like to write. For those who prefer number crunching or operations, it can be laborious.

How Referrals Should Be Part of Your Marketing
There are those people who seem to know where to go, who to call, and how to get things done. They know the best restaurants, best dry cleaner, best accountant, and best party planner. Those people are relied on to help grow their businesses and get more done in the business world.

Pandora’s Emotional Blindfold Video Got Us
Marketing is based on emotional triggers. The best ads/commercials connect with you on some level and bring you to action. Around the holidays, we tend to see much more of this type of advertising. Going around on Facebook right now is a video Pandora created about the mother/child bond...

Mobilegeddon is Looming for Websites
It seems things don’t happen until there are consequences. Children don’t pick up their rooms unless they lose privileges. Students don’t study course material unless there is a quiz. Companies don’t mobilize their website until Google decides to demote them if their site is not mobile-friendly.

Prevnar 13 is One and Done
These days people want to pop a pill. Want to lose weight? Take a pill. Want to gain weight? Take a pill. Want to be protected from heart disease? Take a pill. Prevnar 13 is a vaccine that can protect older adults from pneumococcal pneumonia. Their ad, “ONE,” says, “What if one push-up could protect you from heart disease? Wishful thinking, right? But one step can help with pneumococcal pneumonia.” We want easy solutions. We don’t want to be sick. Prevnar 13 capitalizes on this by showing a man doing a push-up.

Marketing Execution at the Retail Level
We like to use organic cleaning products at home. One of our favorites is Full Circle. The problem is, we can’t get the product any more at our local grocer. We tried Target and had no luck. We tried Amazon and still no luck. We searched the company website and it appears it is still available. We found it on CoburnsDelivers.com, but we are outside of the New Hope, PA delivery area. What happens with marketing execution at the retail level to make products available? Ideas, policies, and procedures are generated and then passed down through the company.

Dell’s Marketing of Smallest Laptop is Huge!
We must confess: We are Dell users. We love the company and since owning laptops have only purchased Dells. They have lasted five years each, and their support have been wonderful. So, when we receive a Dell mailing, we are receptive and perhaps biased. Whether you are a Dell fan or not, their latest marketing mailing promoting the world’s smallest 13” laptop is impressive. Once our daughter was old enough to get the mail, she took it on as her job. She became disappointed when most of the mail was bills (me too!) and there was little mail addressed to her. We had to enlist our family to send her mail, and we sent her some ourselves just to delight her. Many of us can identify with the thrill of getting something exciting in the mailbox. It might be a package, envelope, catalog, or in this case, a Dell laptop replica promotional piece. The off-white with gray shadowed edge piece looked like...

#SharkTank, #Tree-T-PEE, Johnny, and DeJoria
Shark Tank has attracted a lot of attention. Even our middle school is using the Shark Tank approach when the children are tasked with creating a new product. They have to pitch it to the other students, and those students ask questions and can choose to invest in the novel ideas. Johnny George recently pitched his Tree T-PEE on Shark Tank. We missed the show, but we did see it being shared on Facebook. Mr. George is a citrus grower in Florida. He and his father worked together for 20 years, and in 1984 came up with a design to protect young trees and save water. Their Tree T-PEE allows a farmer to achieve a 30% increase in their trees' growth and allows them to decrease annual water usage...

Employment Branding at a Reverse Job Fair
We recently attended a reverse job fair as part of NEWaukee’s YP week. Those concepts may be a lot of new ideas happening all in one sentence, so we’ll explain. YP week is for young professionals — the millennials. NEWaukee is a “social architecture firm that inspires a collision of all Milwaukee has to offer.”

Oxgut Creatively Repurposes Fire Hoses into Modern Furniture
We’ve never considered ourselves wasteful...until someone came into our family who makes conserving an art form. We now look at what we use and what we throw away differently and have developed a deeper respect for others who conserve.

Nestle Pure Life is a Bottle of Love
What is quality? Nestle produced videos aired on YouTube with their employees defining what quality means to them in regards to family. They overwhelmingly say that quality is about caring for your family and caring about the products you give them. Then, naturally, they talk about the quality water that makes Nestle Pure Life. They say giving their family this water is like giving them love — a bottle of love.

5-hour ENERGY Marketing is Great, Whether You Like the Product or Not
During the NCAA tournament, 5-hour ENERGY advertised heavily. If you watched the games, you should know by now that they offer a new flavor, Strawberry Watermelon. You should also know that it is made for hard-working people, people like you, or so they say. When we are tired, we have many options to re-energize...

The NFL’s First Full-Time Female Ref
Draft Day has become one of our favorite movies. Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner are the leading actors in a story about the NFL’s draft. We like the writing where Kevin Costner chooses his picks based on character as well as skill. We also like Garner’s line where she asks why in the most macho sport is the biggest prize...

Will Aetna’s Targeted LGBT Marketing Pay Dividends?
Health insurance provider Aetna is beginning some targeted marketing to the LGBT community. They are following a trend of marketing directly to consumers for health insurance. They are also following a trend of targeted marketing to demographic groups with unique messaging. No more one message fits all.

Reese’s Capitalizes on NCAA Basketball
Who doesn’t love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Only those people who don’t like chocolate or peanut butter. Do those people exist? Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are the tastiest treats there are. But what do peanut butter cups and NCAA basketball have in common? Reese’s is a big corporate sponsor of the NCAA games. Why? One aspect of marketing is evaluating what works...

Educational Marketing More Appealing Than Hard Selling
We recently attended two networking meetings that turned into some potential business opportunities. (That is the point, right?) During the discussion, we talked about what components of the networking meeting we liked and those we didn’t. In one group, one member per meeting is selected to give a five-minute presentation...

Easter Branding Fun
Marketing is more fun and people are more engaged when there is a theme. The current theme is Easter. There have been some interesting and clever ways marketers have tapped into Easter with their brands. Here are a few. Clementines were shaped like orange Easter eggs in a print ad. Absolut vodka displayed their bottle in the shape of an egg. The Kolner Zoo did some great Happy Easter ads putting eggs on the bodies of animals such as a flamingo and a crocodile. Target stretched their round bullseye logo into an egg shape. McDonald's turned their Big Mac into a camouflage/Big Mac egg. Some of these designs were used on Pinterest and social media to have a little fun.

Can Your Brokerage Firm be Trusted?
When we ask for financial advice, do we typically trust our broker? Yes. Well, maybe we should be more cautious. The Obama Administration is backing a bill that would require brokers to have fiduciary standards. This would require brokers to put the client’s interests ahead of their own and put more weight on the risk analysis versus the potential commission.

Happify: A Service to Stop Negative Thoughts
Do you have Negative Nellies in your circle? Do you have gregarious, fun, crazy, always-happy people in your circle? Did you ever wonder why each person acts the way they do? They say it is a mix of nature and nurture, but it can also be trained. Happify is a service that attempts to do just that — stop your Negative Nellie thoughts and make you a happy person instead. Happify says that “worrying is a waste of your intelligence. ..."

#MPOWR Our Daughters and Sons
April 23rd is National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. The same name foundation started this day in 1993 and has the support of President Obama who urges expansion of the program to private businesses. The foundation’s goal is to “help create tomorrow’s world by re-imaging today’s through the eyes of our children.” When we think of taking our daughters and sons to work, we may think of what we can show them.

Duluth Trading Buck Naked Underwear is Out There
“Feels like wearing nothing at all. No stink, no pinch, nothing at all.” If that is appealing to you, then you may be interested in buying Buck Naked–brand underwear from Duluth Trading Company. The ads are illustrations with no real people and the humor is male humor targeted at tradesmen.

Disturbing News in the Fish Industry
AP News reported the findings of their yearlong investigation in Benjina, Indonesia. They found the fish industry is filled with men who are trapped and enslaved. The islands are remote, with little chance for the men to be seen, found, or helped. What do you do when your industry becomes tainted by reports of slave labor? CEO Richard Stavis from Stavis Seafood said his business cares about abusive labor practices, and visits international processors...

Kraft and Heinz Unite Their Iconic Brands
What is better than one strong family of brands? An extended family of brands. Kraft and Heinz just announced the merger of their two companies, which is expected to be completed later this year. When they merge, they will create the third-largest food and beverage company in the U.S.

Buick Owns Its Image Problem #ThatsaBuick
Some companies refuse to acknowledge when they have an image problem. That’s what is so appealing about Buick. They know it. They own it. They are using their image problem to their advantage. For those of you wrapped up in #MarchMadness (go Badgers)...

The Watch Market is Under Fire at #Baselworld
Times are a-changing, and change can be a glorious thing if you are riding the wave of change. Change can be a burden and frustration if you are fighting for your old way of life. Technology has infiltrated the watch market in a new way with the advent of smartwatches and wearable tech.

Will Mindfulness Meditation be the Next Trend for Kids?
Mindfulschools.org advertised on Yahoo next to a story where ABC News anchor Dan Harris was interviewed on Charlie Rose. To bring everyone up to speed, Dan Harris had a public nervous breakdown and stumbled upon meditation on his road to recovery. He is now a public advocate of mindfulness meditation...

Out with Internet Explorer and In with Project Spartan
As a web designer, Internet Explorer is a thorn in our side. It forces web development to support old versions of a web browser that just doesn’t work quite right. Firefox, Chrome, and Safari are much-preferred browsers that display what we want to have displayed. Microsoft is making us very happy with their announcement...

Capture Your Share of the Big DIY Market
When you have a home project to complete, you have two choices. 1. You can hire a professional to do it. 2. You can do it yourself (DIY). There have always been “handy” people who wanted and liked to do the projects themselves. When the economy tanked, more people became do-it-yourselfers and the market has stayed strong.

Effective Branding on Cars
We are driving around and suddenly we see a mobile pet-grooming van. Hey, that’s exactly what we’ve been hoping to find for our cats. We quickly grab a piece of paper and jot down the phone number and/or website. The finish is coming off the wheels on our truck. We see a truck drive by promoting a refinishing service for wheels.

McDonald’s Day of Bad Press
Recently my parents were some of the lucky ones who received their meal free during McDonald's “Paid for with lovin’” campaign. Our circle on Facebook thought it was fun and loving. Other circles have not had similar experiences and the campaign has had mixed reviews.

Mophie to the Rescue at SXSW #mophieRescue
Mophie, the smartphone battery pack maker, rescued smartphone users with dead or low batteries at South by Southwest (SXSW), the annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin. To stand out in the crowd, especially a crowd of 72,000 people, you have to be creative.

Unprecedented Honda Media Campaign for Airbag Recalls
Takata Corp.’s airbag inflator is defective. It can cause harm to the driver or passenger of the automobile in a crash. Honda is one of ten carmakers affected by the defective part and the recall. Honda is planning an unprecedented media campaign to reach the remaining 86% of its customers who haven’t had the part replaced for free. To reach Honda owners, Honda will spend...

Avalanche Energy Creates Satellite Dish for Hot Water
Avalanche Energy created the SunTracer, a satellite dish that promises hours of hot water rather than entertainment. The SunTracer has a feature that uses GPS to track the sun during the day, targeting its mirrors to capture the most energy. Rather than solar cells, it uses two heavily polished mirrors to collect energy and concentrate it into one energy beam. People who like solar will like several features of the SunTracer. First of all, there are no solar cells. This product is made of stainless steel and lightweight recyclable aluminum.

When is Inspiration Actually Copyright Infringement?
“A jury awarded Marvin Gaye's children nearly $7.4 million this week after determining singers Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied their father's music to create "Blurred Lines," the biggest hit song of 2013.” Gaye’s children believed the two artists copied the Marvin Gaye song “Got to Give It Up Tonight”...

Follow Amazon’s Lead and Expand Your Brand in China
Trade restrictions have made it challenging for a company to offer its products in China. It is easier now that Jack Ma’s Alibaba started the Tmall marketplace. Chinese e-commerce is a rapidly growing market. Amazon’s first shop on Tmall.com focused on Kindle e-readers. Amazon is opening its second shop on Tmall.com, which expands them into food, women’s footwear, toys, and kitchenware and leads the way for others to follow. The former ways for entering into the Chinese marketplace were having a representative office, doing a joint venture, or a wholly owned Chinese corporation. Selling online is a way to build a presence much more easily, and Tmall offers that ability. Other companies that have done a good job in making inroads in China have some lessons to offer.

I Am Generation Image by Nikon
Nikon wants to share pictures and photos and sell cameras. They feel the generation of 18–30-year-olds speaks through its images more than any other, so they sent a Nikon camera on a journey to help seven people with something to say make their mark. On their website they show you their stories, images, and statements.

Now You Can Drink Those Marshmallow #Peeps
Those sugary marshmallow sweet treats called Peeps have brand staying power. We had them as kids, and our kids ask for them at Easter and beyond. Now Peeps & Company, in conjunction with Prairie Farms, is offering a Peeps drink to get that same great flavor in another form. Remember when Coke teamed up with Prairie Farms a little while ago to bring a higher-protein, lower-sugar premium milk...

Duracell 'Quantum' Name Questioned
We love the ads on Yahoo Mail. Today we saw one for Duracell Quantum. Our children are older, so we don’t buy as many batteries as we used to, so somehow this product got past us. Who knew? We didn’t. Two of the ways Duracell focused on reaching people was through football and disaster relief.

Extending the Brand of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' to Wine #redsatin #whitesilk
You love it or you hate it. You read it or you didn’t. Originally, we didn’t want to read the trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey because we didn’t want to have to admit we had read it. We finally broke down and read all three, and found the final book the best (love happy endings). On a recent catch-up night with a friend, we found the Fifty Shades of Grey wine being promoted at a local German restaurant. We sampled both the red (Red Satin) and the white (White Silk) and found them both to be enjoyable. My friend drank the red for the evening. Since wine played a big role in the stories, the author E.L. James thought it would be fitting and fun...

A Phone System for Entrepreneurs
Identifying, targeting, and reaching your client base can be tricky. Grasshopper is a virtual phone system designed for entrepreneurs and small businesses. They define themselves as being...

Is Nickelodeon Ruining Our Preschoolers' Social Skills?
Nickelodeon is rolling out a new service aimed at preschoolers. The $6-a-month service, called Noggin, will have new games and activities along with archives of shows no longer on any of Nickelodeon's TV channels. The service will be free of ads and initially available on Apple mobile devices with the Android version coming soon. We have mixed feelings on this. In this era of “faces down to the screen,” are we advocating that preschoolers watch more on the screen? We understand kids need things to do and enjoy watching games and shows.

Waffle House Teams Up with Roadie to Deliver Packages
They say the best ideas start on bar napkins. In this case, it started at a nighttime, glow-in-the-dark golf tournament with the CEO of Waffle House. Waffle House agreed to team up with a new company called Roadie. Roadie is a shipping app that is like “cheap carpooling for your cargo.” It is aimed at having people help each other out with a little altruism and a little cash.

Go Totally Green and Eat the Cup Your Coffee Came In
Reduce, reuse, and recycle are three green objectives. We must admit that we are not as good as others at trimming waste and being conscious of all we produce and throw out. When the solution is easy, we are must more likely to participate. KFC’s new edible coffee cup in the UK is an interesting step toward being green. First of all, KFC is not known for their coffee.

Anything is Possible with Betty
Our family loves to bake. Actually, our family loves to bake and then eat what we bake. Today we made an angel food cake from a Betty Crocker cake mix. While most of our desserts are made from scratch, all of our cakes — except the triple-decker coconut...

Honesty is the Best Branding Policy
We are some of the lucky ones. Our tobacco-addicted father is still alive. Our father smoked for over 25 years. He quit for five years, then started smoking again. He finally quit after his third heart attack, when a nurse told him he had better stop or she would be seeing him again in 30 days, and she, herself, was a smoker. Our father quit smoking cold turkey. Now he uses chewing tobacco, which is another story, but he doesn’t smoke cigarettes, and he doesn’t affect us with secondhand smoke. It seems the tobacco companies are still fighting in the courts about corrective statements relating to warnings about smoking. Tobacco companies did not make factual statements about the dangers of smoking in the past.

Researching Your Competition with a Masculine Diaper Bag
Pregnancy time is exciting. The baby is growing. The mother’s tummy is expanding. Baby showers and gifts are plentiful. But what about Dad? It’s easy to forget about Dad during pregnancy. A few men got together to design a jean backpack diaper bag when the selection of diaper bags was too feminine for them. They came up with a mouthful of a name: Genes Daddy Men's Sporting Jeans Baby Shower Macho Diaper Bag Backpack. One of the unique things about this diaper bag is that it was designed by men, for men.

Attention Bacon Lovers: Little Caesars Has New Pizza!
The first time I met one of my clients, he shared some stories of the bacon cook-off at his home on the lake. The radio personality we listen to in the morning loves bacon and his viewers know it. Our State Fair serves up all kinds of food wrapped in bacon. Apparently there are a lot of people who love bacon. If you fall into this group, Little Caesars is targeting you with a new...

Barbie’s Comeback is a Little Creepy
Driving to school this morning we heard about 78 new Barbies coming out this year and the new Hello Barbie talking doll. We love Barbie dolls and thought that was exciting news. The Barbie talking doll prompted some interesting discussion that ended in a summary of “That’s a little creepy.” The Barbie townhouse was the favorite toy from childhood.

Is Your Brand Human?
Social media is one factor that has helped companies transition to being more human and showing other aspects of their personalities. What does being human mean to your brand and how can it help your brand’s performance? The rate at which things change today can be overwhelming. Our attention spans have decreased. Technology usage has increased.

Coke Spreads Happiness Through the Internet
Have you noticed more emphasis on kindness and positivity in branding? Coke was one company who took this approach in their Super Bowl commercial. Their message was that the Internet can be used to spread happiness or hate, and Coke would be a catalyst for spreading happiness.

Nutella For Breakfast: Founder Ferrero’s Success
Nutella, the chocolate spread made from hazelnuts, celebrated 50 years in 2014, and in 2015, its founder, Michele Ferrero, passed into chocolate heaven. Nutella was a marketing success in offering affordable chocolate to the masses. When Ferrero came up with the idea for Nutella, times were hard...

Nationwide Shocks Viewers, Wins Men, and Loses Women
Nationwide Insurance ran two commercials during the Super Bowl. One was positive and one was negative. One commercial was favorable with women, and the other was favorable with men. Did they ruin the positive relations they built with the first commercial...

Have Your Brand Show the Love
This weekend is Valentine’s Day. It will be a busy shopping time, and the big winners will be retailers, especially florists and jewelers. There is no reason why your brand can’t ride on the wave of the biggest weekend of love, especially on social media, to tell your customers you care and show them some love. We have a social media client in the field of science.

Corona: The Pride of Mexico
Our latest adventure took us to Cancun, Mexico. Already being Corona aficionados, we were excited to travel to the land where Corona was made. Corona signs were everywhere and the country showed their pride in their beer product.

Blue Lizard Sunscreen Stands Out with Smart Bottle Technology
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen has no chemicals, no fragrance, and no parabens. For people looking for natural, effective sunscreen, Blue Lizard is a strong choice. The company hails from Australia, where they say sunscreen standards are the highest. The goal with sunscreen is to avoid a sunburn, avoid harmful rays, and enjoy time outdoors. Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen is a broad-spectrum sun block that is extremely water resistant. It retains its SPF after 240 minutes in the water.

Steinhafels' Furniture Happiness Guarantee
Many of us have experienced buyer’s remorse at some point in time. Steinhafels, a Milwaukee-area furniture store, has a statement on their delivery trucks that will let you rest easier.

Does Your Brand Have Credibility?
Call me old fashioned. Call me idealistic. Either way, I believe you should say what you do and do what you say. That is true for your brand, whether your brand is a product or a person. People expect to be able to count on the product to fulfill their needs and expect to be able to count on a person to do what they say.

The Royalton All-Inclusive in Punta Cana
If you’re looking for a beautiful, relaxing destination in a warm climate, consider Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. In February the weather is in the 80s with a light breeze. The Royalton is one of the many all-inclusive hotels on the island. We experienced it firsthand and found it wonderful. Your options for a vacation are to buy ala carte or go all-inclusive. If you buy ala carte, you book your own flight and hotel accommodations and then pay for your meals and drinks as you go.

Buy a Coke or Buy Premium High-Protein Milk?
Coke is partnering with Fairlife to bring a higher-protein, lower-sugar premium milk to market. It will cost about double of what other milk costs and will be distributed by Coke with the advertising done by Fairlife. Will this milk partnership help offset...

Budweiser's Super Bowl Commercials
Budweiser continued with strong branding with their 2015 Super Bowl commercials. The friendship between the golden lab puppy and the Clydesdale was a terrific theme to build positive emotion toward Budweiser. The commercial appealed to all age groups and created good feelings toward Budweiser.

Southwest's In-Flight Advertising to a Captive Audience
Our girls’ trip started in the early morning. It began with a sunny-side-up egg-topped breakfast pizza, which looked appealing but never passed these lips. We boarded our Southwest flight at 6:30 a.m. to leave to a warmer climate. Southwest had us as a captive audience for several hours. How did they do?

Yahoo Email Ads Favored by ASPCA
Usually when we sign in to our Yahoo email account, we sign in for the day. The Yahoo email ad fills up the entire screen with the exception of our email log-in box. It’s huge, colorful, and eye catching. Sometimes we just refresh the screen to see how many ads there are and to see which ones are displaying.

Early Access to Promoted Pins on Pinterest
One of our clients received an email from Pinterest saying it was “Time to Shine." They were selected to get early access to Promoted Pins — Pinterest’s new advertising vehicle that launched in January. The email message encouraged the business to shine now in their advertising before Promoted Pins are opened up...

Coolest Picture-Printing Technology Ever
The excitement is making us giddy. We didn’t know which part to share with you first, so decided to tell you to go to Kickstarter and look at Prynt. It is an iPhone- and Galaxy-compatible case that will print pictures in 30 seconds. The coolest part is the augmented reality portion — we’ll get to that.

Future Advisor Stops Leaky Investments in Less Than 2 Minutes
Are you a smart investor? Do you make money hand over fist? Or do you leave your money in your 401K and just glance at the quarterly report? Future Advisor is a premium online investment service that can automatically manage your investments...

Orange Theory Fitness is a Game Changer
It’s January, and the gyms are packed with people. It may be people with New Year’s Resolutions or just people wanting to be healthy. As we make our way around the indoor jogging track, we have to dodge and swerve to avoid all the other runners...

Finally, an Online Invisible Boyfriend/Girlfriend
There really is a product/service for everyone and everything. On K Love Christian radio, we heard an ad for an Invisible boyfriend and checked it out. There are many reasons why people are interested in an invisible relationship, yet it will be interesting...

Is Target Ticket the Way to Watch?
While using our Christmas gift cards at Target today, we noticed the sign on the counter in the TV/game section promoting Target Ticket. We thought perhaps someone got it right, and we could finally watch all our programming from one source. Apparently we missed the media frenzy when Target introduced it, because Target Ticket is over a year old.

TD Ameritrade's Spike Commercial is Effectively Funny
TD Ameritrade is offering no IRA rollover fees, no setup fees, and help from rollover consultants. They are communicating this through their “spike” commercial. After each person hears the news, they spike something. Many components of this “For all the confidence you need” commercial are noteworthy.

Mercedes-Benz's Ridiculous Big Race Teaser Ad
Jerry Rice was a great athlete. Mercedes-Benz has a lot of promotional money. Stephanie Branton is a pretty lady. That’s about all the good we can say for the Mercedes-Benz teaser ad promoting their Super Bowl Big Race commercial. The Big Race is a race between the age-old tortoise and hare.

Watch Out! State Farm Agents Keep Disappearing
“Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” This has been a classic tagline for State Farm Insurance since 1971. That tagline has been important to maintaining consistency with their brand. State Farm updated their marketing message to focus on service, not price...

BelVita Breakfast Bites Claim Four-Hour Energy
One of the problems with eating cereal for breakfast is that after an hour, hunger pangs creep in. It just doesn’t seem to satisfy for very long. BelVita Bites caught attention from their claim that their product contains slow-release carbs that will help fuel the body for four hours. That could help you make it to lunch without massive snacking in between or at least make it to snack time. BelVita claims nutritious sustained energy. That sounds great. We all look for our food to help us feel good and sustain our energy.

Chipotle Wins with Integrity
Quality is directly proportional to cost. A high-quality diamond without flaws will cost more than a lesser diamond with flaws. Processed chicken nuggets at fast-food restaurants will cost less than organic chicken at a gourmet restaurant. Higher quality food will cost a little more. Chipotle is a Mexican restaurant that positions itself as serving higher quality food than other fast-food restaurants.

Does Facebook’s Video Warning Make Their Brand More Decent?
Facebook has started placing warnings over videos posted to its site, stating their contents might "shock, offend and upset" if viewed. This is to help prevent some of the younger viewers from seeing inappropriate content and allowing older viewers a choice before select videos play. The move was at the suggestion of Facebook’s safety advisers. Facebook’s community standards on graphic content state, “Facebook has long been a place where people turn..."

Budweiser Clydesdales Give You Quite a Lyft
We’ve experienced the joy of Black Uber service in Chicago. Uber is available in Milwaukee, but not in our suburb. So if we want a ride, we have to choose Lyft. Over the holidays Budweiser teamed up with Lyft and surprised riders with their Clydesdales and wagon. That would have been a memorable way to get home. Budweiser takes a light-hearted approach to responsible driving.

Nationwide Insurance Uses Toddlers to Show Priority Service
Nationwide Insurance highly promotes to the football-viewing public. Quarterback Peyton Manning is one of their spokesmen. During the Packers/Cowboys football game, Nationwide Insurance aired their Toddler TV commercial and scored some points. The Toddler Nationwide TV commercial put toddlers in adult situations...

Intel Introduces Smart Clip at CES
The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is happening right now. It is one of the biggest events surrounding electronics and technology with over 20,000 new products being introduced during the show. The tagline to CES is “Explaining CES to someone who hasn’t attended is like explaining particle physics to a cat.”

Nike Stands Tall in Customer Relations
Most of the stories we write about are national news — Facebook mentions a "dislike" button or a company’s inappropriate tweeting or the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. The stories told less often are about one-to-one contact with a major company. Nike has such a story that took place this afternoon. Our son is an avid tennis player. He wears Nike tennis shoes when he plays tennis.

Dish TV Offers Online Service to Prevent Fate of Blockbuster
Do you remember Blockbuster? Visiting the Blockbuster store was our Friday night activity. We would pick up a movie or two to watch over the weekend. We tried to get there early, before all the “good” ones were taken. But Blockbuster is no more. They fell to the likes of Redbox and all the other online entertainment sources. They didn’t change with the times.

Want a Revolving Shoe Closet for 150 Shoes?
At first, we were appealing to women in this blog since the product is called Woman’s Dream. Then we realized that some men (my daughter’s English teacher) have more shoes than their significant others. So, since we do not discriminate, who wants a revolving shoe closet that can hold 150 pairs of shoes? Since a move was in our recent past, we are familiar with updating closets and trying to make room for things when you have less space or different space. We settled for two tall shoe racks so we could see the shoes. After all, we like to look at our shoes. This revolving shoe closet is a great space saver and beautiful way to display shoes. The product is made by Logical Design Concepts by Lazy Lee. It was promoted on Facebook and that’s where we saw it. The standard 94” high rack is $2,495, with other colors an additional $200.

Pottery Barn Streamlines Paint Color Selection with Sherwin-Williams
Pottery Barn has established itself as a high-end brand in the home decorating market. Pottery Barn catalogs and stores appeal to a diverse group of people from teenagers to adults. Pottery Barn is now making it easier to redecorate your home by offering a paint palette in their catalog. To redecorate a room or an entire home can be a daunting task. Things to consider are flooring, furniture, draperies, artwork, and wall color.

Is It OK to Stare at People’s Butts?
Weight Watchers launched a new campaign called The Story of My Butt. We were out on New Year’s Eve and the commercial popped up during either football coverage or Times Squares coverage — can’t remember which. The TV commercial pans...

The Flow Puck Challenges the Computer Mouse
When you have something really good, you like to share it. When you really like something, you tell people about it. Our computer has a touch pad for the controls. We don’t use a mouse, yet my friend tries to convince me I would prefer a mouse, because he really likes it. Yet people have a system that works for them.

Just Ask the Google App
In our house the phrase, “Just Google it!” is overused. But there is a reason for that. It works. Google has become the go-to resource for directions, phone numbers, and information. On an Android smartphone, they teach you how to use the Google app...

Ford’s 'Dream Big' with Fusion Delivered by a Child
Did you see Ford’s latest holiday commercial for the Ford Fusion? Santa and an elf are FaceTiming a little boy. The little boy tells Santa he doesn’t want a video game this year. He wants a Ford Fusion, and he knows all the facts and figures behind why it is a good decision.

Burger King Brings Back the ‘70s Yumbo
Some of us want to keep the '70s and '80s in our past; others want to bring portions of them into the current day. Burger King is bringing back the Yumbo, complete with a throwback commercial. Burger King has some great costume designers and prop people in their latest TV spot advertising the Yumbo ham and cheese...

Apple Brands Homemade Gifts
What do you give your loved ones for the holidays? Do you buy them something from the store or do you make them something meaningful? We are not talking about cookie exchanges or fruitcake or even the adorable gifts our youngsters make in school.

The Lexus December to Remember Annual Sales Event
There are those commercials that resonate and really evoke emotion. We are car buffs, so we really enjoy the automotive commercials. The most memorable commercial for us is the holiday version where the Lexus is wrapped in a big red bow and parked in the new owner’s driveway. While others may dream of sugar plums, we dream of a gift-wrapped Lexus.

Cheerios Expands Ancient Grains Under Health Halo
The cereal aisle at the grocery store is quite extensive. For those who love cereal, there are options galore. Did you know that Special K makes a variation called Chocolaty Delight? When did chocolate become a breakfast food? Oh, maybe after Nutella became a lunch sandwich spread. Did you know that Cheerios makes a flavor called Ancient Grains? This is their way to offer a healthy option to incorporate the ancient grains that have come into popularity. The health craze that has overtaken the nation continues. Ancient grains are one of the latest areas of interest. “They are seen as more healthy, more natural and better for us, providing more vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein..."

Use or Lose It Changes with T-Mobile's Data Stash
If you are a saver, you may be happy with the new plan change coming from T-Mobile. T-Mobile will now let customers carry over their unused cell data. This is part of their “un-carrier” strategy and new program Data Stash.

At Christmas, Shop by Brand
The goal of marketers is to have customers ask for your product by name or by brand. Then you know you have filtered through all the clutter and made a memorable connection with your customer. Some brand examples where this has been achieved are North Face jackets, Bean boots, and Coach purses. Many times websites can make it easier.

'12 Days of Deals' Begins at Amazon
“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me — a partridge in a pear tree.” At Amazon, the '12 Days of Deals' promotion has begun. On the first day of Christmas, Amazon deals offered to me — a huge sale on Disney items. It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but it was still exciting.

Let Pinterest Lead to Your Website
Some people decorate for Christmas in one fell swoop. Others, myself included, do it in phases. One project that is still in the works is decorating the outdoor urns in the front of the house. When people think about project ideas, one of the leading idea places is Pinterest. That is where we went for ideas on decorating Christmas urns. Our favorite idea for decorating Christmas urns came from Creeklinehouse.com. This was an unfamiliar site before we saw their great images on Pinterest.

Victoria’s Secret Has Legs with Sneak Peek
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show took place this week. If you watched it, you saw gilded angels, angel ball, dream girl, fairy tale, exotic traveler and more. It was a highly promoted event and helped CBS achieve the highest ratings for that night. It is said an event has legs when it extends past its event date. Just like there was a lot of leg showing during the fashion show, the actual event continues to have legs.

Target Evaluates Racing Sponsorship Success and Shifts Resources
Prizes, promotions, and contests typically have the best results on social media. A Facebook post on the Target page last week congratulated NASCAR driver Kyle Larson on winning rookie of the year. This post received 3,500 percent more "likes" than any previous posting on the official page.

Tennis Tuesday: Make the Day Work for You
We like to label the days of the week and give them themes. It makes life more fun and memorable. At our house we have Manners Monday, Taco Tuesday, Wacky Wednesday, Thrilling Thursday, and Freaky Friday. It makes our dinners and evenings interesting. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) promotes Tennis Tuesday in their email blasts.

21 Days of Gift-fest with McDonald’s and American Express
The holiday season brings a time of giving and receiving. In the corporate world, it is a time when companies try to give back, help the needy, and show they are “good” companies and socially responsible. This year McDonald’s and American Express...

Hope You Already Ordered Your L.L.Bean Duck Boots
Who knew those duck boots that our parents wore would be so wildly popular now? L.L.Bean is seeing such a demand for their duck boots that orders placed for Christmas may not be received until February. One of the most thrilling parts of the surge in demand is that both younger consumers and older consumers are ordering these boots. L.L.Bean is seeing growth from both ends of the age spectrum. To be able to spot a trend before it happens and capitalize on it is how some become rich. According to a college student in Chicago, the dress code at the school is a North Face jacket and L.L.Bean boots. If you want to fit in, that ‘s what you wear. Other areas have their own fashion code.

How Much Are Your Brand Management Skills Worth?
Microsoft just announced the new $84 million shareholder-approved pay package for their CEO since February, Satya Nadella. For Microsoft's current fiscal year, Nadella is receiving a compensation package of as much as $18 million, including a salary...

Jump from YouTube to Pinterest for Recipes
The YouTube commercials airing before the videos we watch are actually good. That is where we learned about Poo-Pourri, and now every bathroom in our house has a Poo-Pourri bottle stationed on the toilet.

A Continent in Need of Rebranding
In The Wall Street Journal, there was a story about the Pope’s visit to Strasbourg, France, where he delivered a tough message. The Pope told the European Parliament that Europe was "elderly and haggard." He further described Europe as weary and aging like a grandmother. He said that the fertility and vibrance of the countries are gone.

Cyber Monday is Here — or Was It Here Yesterday?
We went shopping on Black Friday — twice. Our favorite jean store said they didn't have sales, yet online we found some of our favorite jeans...on sale. We plan to see what great deals are available on Monday. We are hoping to see something special rather than just the same sales extended to Monday.

OPEC Oil Price Drop and Economics
The only course in college that really was difficult to grasp was economics. How supply and demand and pricing could alter the course of businesses didn’t seem to add up. Our extra credit project included a situation and variables. By adjusting the variables properly, we could bring about the desired outcome...

How to Quickly Thaw Your Turkey – From Martha Stewart
Who is the best source for cooking advice? Many of us would say Martha Stewart. Around the holidays, she really builds her brand. She partners with Macy’s to offer the Martha and Macy’s Quick Tip Videos on everything home, ranging from cooking to baking to bedding.

Creative Hemingway 15-Second Instagram Movies
Literary Classics are just that — classics. One hopes that every person reads them at least once. Thanks to our school English programs, many of us have read the classics — or at least some of them. One of our personal favorite authors is Ernest Hemingway. When we learned that his classics had been super condensed...

How Important is Price in Your Marketing Mix?
Back in Marketing 101 we learned the 4Ps of marketing — the right product, place, price, and promotion. Selecting price as the variable on which to focus, we learned that pricing can help us sell a lot of product or sell very little. Pricing needs to equate to the value people feel they get out of the product. Now apply pricing to prescription drugs, and generics in particular.

Joss & Main Helps Customers with Top 10 Picks
Do you have some people in your circle that give valuable opinions? Do you pick your new appliance based on ratings from Consumer Reports? Do you only buy from an eBay seller with 100% positive ratings? We tend to like to know what other people think.

'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay' Movie Release with Promos
Ever explain to someone the theme of the book series The Hunger Games? It comes off sounding pretty bad, and the listener is wondering what interest that topic would hold. Well, The Hunger Games is big business, and Marcus Theatres just email blasted all the specials they are offering for this big release. If you like a movie, would trinkets make you want to see it more?

Macy’s 'Wish Big' Guinness World Record Attempt
In-store holiday promotions attract attention, especially if they are bright and well done. Macy’s delivered amidst all the other distractions in store and got us to act merely by their inviting merchandising. We were shopping for a special item and ran across the Letter to Santa display. We had to sit down and write our letter to Santa and be part of the Wish List contest. The Macy’s display features an adorable dark-haired girl holding up the long wish list to Santa. It is situated behind a red table and clear acrylic chair and next to a big, red mailbox. You can write a letter to Santa on the back of a postcard and put it directly in the mailbox. You can also scan the QR code inside the Macy’s star on the cellphone on the display and be part of the official attempt at making Guinness World Record history. Creating a Santa Wish List is a great way to spur kids to get involved. Allowing Christmas wish lists to be created both in-store and online is a nice touch.

Strong Target Branding with Marshmallowland Commercial
We were watching some TV program this weekend when Target’s latest holiday commercial aired. We didn’t catch it all the first time. Luckily they aired it a few more times so we could see all of it. It was cute, fun, and made you want to shop at Target. With a fun twist on Alice in Wonderland...

Is Lowe’s Annoying Holiday Marketing Successful?
Do you have someone at your office who wears Christmas sweaters, decorates their cubicle, and has Christmas music playing while they work? That can be annoying. Even more annoying are the holiday commercials that make no sense but air over and over again to promote a simple product.

Critical Holiday Social Media Strategies
According to VentureBeat, “Retailers can’t be successful this holiday season without a sophisticated social media strategy.” Their survey further found that 67 percent of marketers budgeted to spend more on social media this year than last.

Black November Mystery Savings From Treetopia
Rather than Black Friday, Treetopia extended their special savings a whole month, calling it Black November. We like that. Alibaba with their Single’s Day sale started promoting it and taking orders one month ahead of time, too. Seems like having a whole month to have special pricing helps draw in more sales. With only 42 days to Christmas, Treetopia, an artificial colorful Christmas tree retailer, is in its prime selling season and sent us our first seasonal email.

Is It Black Friday Already?
Traditionally some of the best shopping deals come out on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. It’s a time when many people do holiday shopping.

There’s a Sense of Urgency with the New Echo from Amazon
We have this gargantuan speaker sitting on our kitchen counter. It has some pluses to it. You can plug in your iPod or smartphone and it enhances the quality of that music. It’s black and dusty and just not attractive. We’ve talked about getting a new one to mount underneath the kitchen cupboard.

Microsoft At It Again in the Health Arena
Today we talked about which of the five senses we would be willing to give up. My daughter suggested smell, but that affects taste and there goes chocolate. We really couldn’t think of one. So, when we hear about some technology that helps improve quality of life for someone lacking a sense, we are thrilled. Microsoft has entered the health arena in several areas...

Toymakers Marketing Through Kid YouTube Channels
Remember Tom Hanks in the movie Big? He was a boy in a man’s body who ended up working for a toy company. He was so great at his job because he was really a kid, knew what kids wanted, and knew what they liked. Toymakers are doing a similar thing by promoting their products on YouTube channels created by kids.

Tinder for Hotels Allows You to Socialize While Traveling
It’s exciting when we find new useful apps. The last app that got us really excited was Dropbox. It is still one of our favorites, since it is so useful and functional. We use it to have our pictures automatically transferred from our smartphone to our computer. Now the app HelloTel has us intrigued. HelloTel has been compared to Tinder, but for the traveler. Tinder is Facebook’s dating app where you scroll through pics.

Clash of Clans Marketing Lessons
If you are a core gamer and haven’t tried Clash of Clans, you are missing out. It is a wildly exciting game that draws you in and captivates you. The graphics are terrific, and the clans you build to fight other clans build relationships and get quite touching. The game is wildly popular and can offer a few good marketing lessons.

Microsoft Introduces Wearable Band For Fitness That’s Different
We keep hearing about the tech giants coming out with new products and many times in industries that we don’t expect. Microsoft was one of the later tech companies to introduce a wearable fitness product to the health industry.

Google’s Entrée into Health and Cancer
Google is great. When you want to find out about something, you “Google” it. Google has made a name for themselves in developing an effective paid advertising model, in developing the most effective search engine, in developing a driverless car, and is now in the health arena with cancer.

Rob Lowe Promotes DirecTV with Charm and Creepiness
Rob Lowe is a great-looking actor. He brings charisma and attention to the screen. His recent commercial for DirecTV played up on his charm and surprisingly some creepiness. DirecTV created a series of commercials with Rob Lowe, showing two versions of him in each.

Camry Combine with #CoachT
Advertisers expect (and pay for) a big audience during NFL football games. During the Packer/Saints game, Toyota advertised the Camry in a memorable, light-hearted, and fun way. Their pitch was the Camry Combine and it was great. You may have heard of the combine, but if you haven’t...

Kevin Spacey Aids 'Call of Duty'
We were eating dinner out during the Packers–Saints football game and saw Kevin Spacey appear on the TV screen with the date of 11/3/14. He’s a great actor, and we were excited to see a new movie of his coming out. The ad progressed and we saw animated figures fighting. We realized it wasn’t a movie he was promoting but the video game Call of Duty.

Care.com Survey is a Great Brand Builder Tool
Finding quality childcare is a concern. We had a couple in our neighborhood who chose not to have children because they didn’t feel confident they would have quality childcare while they worked. If you are fortunate enough to have family nearby...

Six Flags Uses Fright Fest to Extend Season
Six Flags Amusement Park is a popular attraction for kids and families. It is a fun-filled place to ride roller coasters, see shows, and enjoy the water park. When summer ends, Six Flags has only weekend hours and fewer customers. Most families have already done the “amusement-park thing” and weekends bring soccer games and football, so there is less time.

Branding Driverless Cars
The Audi driverless car just topped 140 mph and beat the live driver around the track. That is impressive given the concern that the Google car was designed to drive 25 mph. Other auto makers are working on driverless versions of cars including Daimler, Volvo, Toyota, Tesla, and BMW...

Can Someone Simplify My TV Service?
AT&T U-verse, Netflix, Hulu, Time Warner Cable, Amazon Prime, Direct TV, and Dish are some of the service options for having channels available to watch TV programming. We used to have Direct TV, then we switched to U-verse. Now we are thinking of going with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

iMac with Retina 5K Display Impresses
Do we need a retina 5K display? A techie friend says our screens are getting too realistic, and it seems we are not even watching on a screen any more — it seems too real. Manufacturers are working to make things crisper, sharper, with more detail, and Apple has accomplished that with their new retina 5K display. Apple’s new iMac has a screen resolution of 5180 × 2880 pixels...

Will Captain Citrus Save the Day for Orange Growers?
The orange juice industry is hurting. Their sales are at a 16-year low. The Florida Department of Citrus paid $1 million to Marvel to redesign Captain Citrus with the hopes of spurring growth. Redesigning the raisin mascots worked for the raisin industry, and orange growers are hoping it will work for them too. A four-ounce serving of orange juice has 54 calories and 100% of your RDA of vitamin C. That seems like an easy way to get your vitamin C for the day, but fewer people are eating breakfast at home and drinking orange juice with their breakfast. If you drive through Starbucks, you could get your orange juice there if you want to order two drinks for yourself. “I’ll take a tall white chocolate mocha espresso, non-fat, with whip and give me a Valencia orange Refresher too."

Zumba Gets You Moving
When we find a great commercial, we don’t fast-forward through the show on DVR. When your teenage son asks you to watch something, you watch. The commercial he found that was terrific was about zumba. It was promoting zumba across the country. The commercial started out showing people in different settings having a body spasm.

Microsoft Took A Hit With Women
Microsoft’s new CEO Natella angered women when he said women shouldn’t ask for a pay raise but should trust in the system. He was speaking at The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, a conference to celebrate women in technology. Not surprisingly, his comments triggered much commentary...

Samsung To Make Wi-Fi 5 Times Faster
Do you like the commercial where the 14 year old talks like our grandparents, regaling us about the long walk to school, “Remember when data was this speed and it took five minutes to download a movie?” The nine-year-old sibling just rolls his eyes. Amazingly, our children are already witnessing dramatic change.

Bedhead Tigi Doesn’t Fit In, It Stands Out
Bedhead haircare is popular with teens. Bedhead is popular with people who want to stand out and be different. Bedhead is the product for people who want their hair to have that special stick-this-way-and-that-way look. When your product is meant to be radical on some terms and highly functional in others, the marketing strategy can be quite fun.

Do You Want Your Meat Grilled or Flavored to Taste Like Grilling?
Our neighbor loves grilling. His license plate is BRISKET. Sometimes he grills the meat for over 24 hours. Ask him to make food for a party, and he excitedly starts planning, and the more people the better. His food is home-cooked and healthy.

State Branding with the Death with Dignity Act
A 29-year-old Portland woman has chosen November 1, 2014 as the day she will die. She has the deadliest form of brain cancer that cannot be treated and will take her painfully and terribly. She moved to Oregon, where their Death and Dignity Act will allow her to die with medication from her doctor on the day of her choosing — two days after her husband’s birthday.

An Author Recommends You Lie in Your Interview
Isn’t it great how Gmail separates all your mail into four groups?! Spam gets siphoned out and placed under More. Then Google separates the rest of your email into Primary, Social, and Promotions. This allows you to focus on the important stuff under Primary. Then, when there is extra time, you can go to the Social tab and peruse those messages.

An Author Advertises His Book on TV
When something works we tend to do it again and again. In 2011 James Patterson, the former ad agency creative director turned author, used TV advertising to promote two of his books. Just yesterday he was promoting another new book in the same manner. The TV ad featured Patterson holding up his new book, Burn, and saying a few words about it. Having not seen or else not remembered his commercials from years before...

An Apple Watch for You, A LeapBand for Your Child
Name two of a child’s favorite things. They are playing with pets and jumping around. Leap Frog is a great learning tool that has combined both with the Leap Band. What a great way to make kids feel grown-up and just like their parents. You can get an Apple Watch for you and a LeapBand for your child.

'Who Do You Know Wants to Buy a Car' From Berkshire Hathaway?
Warren Buffett came onto Twitter in May 2013 with the tweet, “Warren is in the house.” He has only tweeted five times but has 886,000 followers. Mr. Buffett just extended Berkshire Hathaway into the automotive dealership because he sees fragmentation on which he can capitalize. We love how Warren operates. He likes to go big. He didn’t just buy one dealership.

BAG Helping Halloween Express Ready for a Scary October
Five years ago, people were worried about the economy and the impact it would have on Halloween costume sales. Popular costumes were Kate Gosselin, Michael Jackson, and Twilight vampires. The big focus was on organic marketing and being in the number one ranked position. This is the month of Halloween, and Halloween Express stores are open everywhere, filling up vacant store fronts.

How Will California’s Plastic Bag Ban Affect Your Product?
At the grocery store, there are people that bring in their own bags — conscious consumers. There are people that use the plastic bags the store offers — most consumers. There are people that ask for paper in plastic — high-maintenance consumers. California is proposing a law banning single-use plastic bags by 2015 that would change shopping habits for a lot of consumers.

Local Food Truck for Dogs Makes National Splash
Dog food and treat trends closely follow people trends. So, the food truck trend that is sweeping the nation naturally was extended to pets. Fido To Go is one food truck making appearances in Chicago and San Diego.

Silent Flights May Become a New Option
European airlines are now allowing constant phone calls on flights. You may have the person next to you on their cell phone the entire time you are seated on the aircraft. As impersonal and public as air travel was before, it may now become even worse and even more annoying.

Nike’s Revamped Website Brings Impressive 70% Sales Jump
In the brick-and-mortar retail world, a store remodel will typically bring in a 30% sales increase. In the online world, Nike is leading the way in revamping their website and bringing in a 70% sales increase.

Branding Partnership with Nordstrom and Etsy
My daughter describes shopping at Nordstrom as “shopping heaven.” We think she sums it up beautifully. Then there is Etsy. Etsy is a global marketplace that is artsy, fun, and was the source for decorating our son’s bedroom in all things Minecraft.

Money Managers Need to Upgrade Their Image
The latest Money report from TIME magazine offered a market overview on how to invest and make money. They say that respected investors, such as CalPERS, who manages a $300B pension fund, are shifting money into passive investments. Simply put, the index funds run by robots are outperforming mutual funds managed by Ivy League M.B.A.s. In the world of finance, it is a long-argued discussion over which option produces higher returns — passive investing (index funds run by robots)...

How to Apply the Pope's Message to Your Brand
Pope Francis is the head of the Catholic Church. He is a contemporary pope. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter. His message is still true to Catholic teachings, but he is skilled at recognizing changing times and adapting to these changes. In September in an unusual break from tradition, he married 20 couples of all backgrounds...

Alibaba Wants to be Bigger Than Walmart
IPOs are exciting! Alibaba’s IPO on the NYSE on Friday was exhilarating! If you were a hedge fund or institutional investor, it was even better, as you were able to buy shares for $68 while the stock opened on Friday morning at $92.70. Alibaba raised $21.8 billion compared to Facebook’s $16 billion.

'Made to Matter' by Target Unites 17 Brands
In our hometown on the four corners of a busy highway intersection, you will find Kmart, Shopko, Hobby Lobby, and Target. It is a savers shopping paradise. Unless you are my father, who insists on price comparing at all four, you probably have your favorite. Target is hands-down our favorite mass merchandiser, and they reinforce that ranking with their new "Made to Matter — Selected by Target" line of 120 organic products.

Using IBM Supercomputers to Determine Business Strategy
Are you trying to analyze business data and determine a new strategy? Wouldn’t it be great to use a supercomputer to evaluate all the possibilities to determine the best approach? IBM is offering you that possibility through cloud-based Watson analytics. Watson is a computer system capable of artificial intelligence.

Cultural Sensitivity and Instagram Accuracy
Our daughter’s go-to news source is Instagram. Any time she quotes a piece of information that she is certain is correct, we ask, “Did you find that on Instagram?” Then we take it with two grains of salt.

Masterful Elements from Master Chef
Our kids DVR Master Chef, so we end up watching it as a family. In addition, a local 19-year-old made the show, so our interest was piqued and we tuned in to see how he would do. As a result, we all became quite enamored with the show and watched each episode. As the competition narrowed down to only three people, Master Chef stepped it up and displayed a masterful marketing technique.

City of Burlington, Vermont Shines Green
Burlington, Vermont is a city of 42,000 people just 45 miles south of the Canadian border; a city is as strong as its people, its business, and it tourism. Burlington markets itself as a vibrant, entrepreneurial city. Burlington markets itself as a city with a great quality of life; historic, yet modern and hip.

Minecraft Moving in with Microsoft?
What’s all the fuss about Microsoft buying Minecraft? Minecraft is a game and cultural phenomenon whose developer, Mojang, has not always had good things to say about Microsoft. Yet now it appears they might be joining forces, and if that happens, Mojang says he will not be staying on.

Acura’s New TLX Launch Is That Kind of Thrill
Facebook advertising is on the rise with Facebook Q2 advertising revenue topping $2.7 billion. Automotive manufacturer Acura contributed to that large number. Today’s Facebook post had an Acura commercial for their new TLX that was worth watching.

Are Personal Brands Above the Law?
It sometimes seems that no matter what personal brands do, the public and the market continue to love them. At least the public does have some boundaries. In the case of Ray Rice, he may not be forgiven. Ray Rice had it all. He had a terrific position on the Baltimore Ravens football team. He had multiple endorsements from Nike, EA Sports, and others.

Brand Madness, Tournament Style
Milwaukee is known as a “Great Place by a Great Lake.” For the next six weeks, Milwaukee will also be a place where a serious branding competition is taking place. The Milwaukee Business Journal brought back the tournament-style competition...

Use the U-Haul Brand to Build Your Business
As marketers, any time the word "brand" is used in a slogan, it grabs our attention. On the Saturday morning drive to take the girls to dance, we passed by the usual car repair shop and noticed something different. Parked right in front was a brightly colored U-Haul truck with the words “Use the U-Haul Brand to Build Your Business.” It made us pause and think. Advertising on vehicles has always been an interesting way to communicate a message. We are in our cars so much, it seems. It still surprises us that a billboard for Rolex watches continues to be displayed over a busy Milwaukee freeway. Apparently the ROI figures are in, as the billboard stays up! So if we are in our cars so much, vehicle advertising and things we see while in our cars, such as in business parking lots, seem to be effective.

App Smashing
So you’ve developed your app and marketed it to your audience. Check. Done. Wait! There’s more. In the iPad education environment, teachers are showing students how to get more out of each app by app smashing. App smashing is where content is created in one app, then transferred to and enhanced by a second app and sometimes a third. Some educators embrace technology and push the envelope to make it relevant for students. . That is what is happening in schools that have one-to-one technology...

iTunes U Makes Learning More Accessible
The Stephen Perse Foundation in Cambridge, England is an expensive independent school that boasts great exam results. They are making headlines because they have uploaded reams of course material onto iTunes U and iBooks, where they can be accessed for free by teachers and students at other schools. Wow — making learning accessible and free!

George Takei’s Brand Mixes Honesty with Activism
We recently watched Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. It was ironic how the Star Trek crew landed in San Francisco as we were discussing George Takei. He was great in his role as Hikaru Sulu. Since that time his activism and honesty about his personal life have become pillars in the strength of his personal brand. TIME magazine profiled Takei as the documentary film ...

Is Delta’s Touch2O Technology Troubled?
How many times do you turn on and off your faucet in the kitchen? How many times do you turn on the faucet when your hands are dirty? Delta offers Touch20 Technology, which uses touch-sensor technology to allow you to turn on the faucet by touching any part of it with any part of you. We have become accustomed to motion sensor cleaning in public restrooms.

South Korea Restaurant Says Goodbye to Dog and Embraces BBQ
A strong brand will be culturally sensitive. A strong brand will pay attention to generational preferences. A strong brand will change as the market changes. In Korea, eating dog meat was a cultural delicacy. Now a popular South Korean restaurant, Daegyo, will change from serving dog meat dishes and reopen as a Korean beef barbecue diner. How times have changed. Traveling the world will open up new food dishes...

Do You Recline or Not Recline?
Knee Defender has been getting publicity from being used on an airplane to prevent the seat in front from reclining. The two passengers had an exchange of words, then some water in the face, then the United flight diverted and both passengers removed from the flight. The company that makes the clips called the Knee Defender that kept the seat from reclining...

Kind Healthy Grains Appeals to Your Health and Conscience
We are a holistic family. We limit refined sugar and flour. Some of us don’t eat any bread. Some of us are gluten sensitive. We aren’t the hippie-type family. We just feel better when we do these things. So when we are going up and down the grocery store aisles, we look at ingredients and brands and assess quality. Kind Healthy Grains makes it into our shopping cart. Learn why. Kind markets their products as "healthy." Their tagline is “ingredients you can see and pronounce.” The benchmark for healthy products is an ingredient list that is short. The shorter the better. The easier to pronounce the better.

Sacai: The Japanese Power Brand
Designer Chitose Abe from Japan started the Sacai clothing line in 1999 and then spun off the Sacai Luck brand in 2006. Her claim to fame is to take a classic, traditional item and change it in a way that has never been seen before.

Why Secret’s #MeanStinks Campaign Stinks
Secret Deodorant wants to put an end to bullying. That is an admirable social activity. They want you to join the movement by painting your pinky blue. Nearly all of what Proctor & Gamble does is successful and worthy to copy. However, this #meanstinks campaign just stinks. According to a study at Elon University, this is the background of modern-day bullying: “Bullying has been engrained in American society since the country’s founding. Bred from a capitalistic economy and competitive social hierarchy..."

Macy’s Slapped for Racial Profiling
We love Macy’s. We hated them when they bought Marshall Field’s and changed the Chicago flagship store. We forgave them when they kept Frango mints alive and well in the store. We love them for their “Turn Over a New Leaf” and “The Magic of Giving” campaigns. Now we hate them again for their racial profiling problem.

The Cruise Lines Set Eyes on China
International expansion is an important aspect of branding. The huge potential with the Chinese market is alluring, but the difficulty with gaining access to that market makes it challenging. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has a $935 million ship that will be sailing out of Shanghai next year. Carnival Cruise Lines will have four ships based out of Shanghai next year...

Emotional Branding by Citi
Nothing is more appealing than when it has an emotional tie. It grabs your heart and soul. Marc Gobe wrote Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People in 2010. He says, “Emotional Branding is about this amazing relationship and connection people have with some brands. But I wrote my book Emotional Branding because I could see...."

Marketing Intersection of Technology and Big Problems
Dean Kamen the “Segway Guy” recently talked with Katie Couric about one of his company’s latest inventions, the “Luke” arm. The Six Million Dollar Man was the first time we thought about man and machine together in a body. In Star Wars after Luke lost his arm, it was replaced with a bionic arm. Amazingly that technology is now real-world thanks to Kamen.

Shampoo Makers Get Ready to Reinvent Your Brand!
We used to use Suave shampoo growing up. Once we were old enough to choose our hairstyle at the stylist, we ventured into “better” shampoos and used Nexxus Humectress. From there. we tried all kinds of high-end shampoos and styling products. Once we became parents and adopted a holistic lifestyle, we were interested in shampoos that were sodium laurel sulfate free. (We didn’t want all those chemicals in our environment.)

Innovate Your Brand
SAP is a powerful software and service provider of business applications. Vivek Bapat, Global Vice President, Portfolio & Strategic Marketing of SAP, highlights six ideas to transform your business with disruption innovation. We all try to innovate our brands because people get bored and want the new and improved; we want to maintain customer loyalty..

Robin Williams and Marketing the Acceptance of Depression
On Twitter, Johnson & Johnson tweeted “Major #depression is a major illness that affects every aspect of life.” If you or a loved one has been touched by depression, you may understand some of what it entails. If it hasn’t touched you personally, then the death of Robin Williams may touch you. This talented actor was struggling with serious depression and addictions and took his life. How tragic!

Live-Action Game is Drawing People to Budapest
Play up your strengths. Location, location, location. Society is bored, so entertain them. In Budapest, the game Claustrophilia delivers on all three and is drawing people to Hungary. Claustrophilia by definition means "to derive pleasure from being in a confined space." That is exactly what the live-action game delivers...

Are L’Oreal’s Pore Vanishing Claims True?
Our mothers used to only worry about laugh lines, and for some reason they seemed to age beautifully. Now there are so many products focused on reducing the appearance of wrinkles, brown spots, and reducing pores. When did the discussion on pore size heat up and a new category of skin care products emerge? According to new research conducted among more than 2,000 adults in February 2014 by Harris Poll...

Capitalize on Wojcicki’s YouTube with GoPro
YouTube has a new management style with Susan Wojcicki at the helm. Wojcicki plans to hugely promote a select group of brand-ready YouTube stars — those with millions of subscribers. One of those stars, Bethany Mota, started uploading video to YouTube when she was 13.

The Beef Industry is Facing a Formidable Opponent
Beef lobbyists are used to exerting influence to prevent meat safety initiatives from becoming legislation. Two companies spending the most on lobbying efforts are Tyson Foods and McDonald's. Their efforts may need to change now that the Lone Star tick is here. The Lone Star tick comes from Texas and is responsible for biting people and then causing beef allergies. It is unusual, according to allergists, that eating a burger or a steak could land people in the hospital with severe allergic reactions...

Square + Caviar = Yummy Gourmet Food Delivery
Square leveled the playing field for businesses when they offered an amazing opportunity for anyone to accept credit card payments simply by attaching a small device to their smartphone. Their focus was on small vendors, and that’s who is using the product. Now they have to earn more revenue...

Scrabble Tries To Stay Relevant
One of the strong branding principles is to stay relevant and at the same time make your competitors irrelevant. Differentiation is important to help your product stand out. Successful brands continue to stress their differentiation and show consumers how they remain relevant to their lives. The Scrabble Dictionary has some new additions to help them stay relevant. The Fifth Edition of The Official SCRABBLE Player's Dictionary went on sale this week. It makes news because this Scrabble dictionary has 5,000 new words that show signs of the times. Some of the additional words are selfie, hashtag, sudoku, schmutz, texter, and buzzkill. It allows more word options for young people and keeps them interested. It will also spur purchase of the dictionary, as the older players will question some of the new words played!

56 Days Left to Win $5.6 Million
Last year Dunkin’ Donuts sponsored the “Beat the Heat” contest with a chance to win New York Mets and Yankees baseball merchandise and Dunkin’ Donuts prizes. This year they are offering the “Beat the Streak” contest with a chance to win $5.6 million. The contest is: Break baseball's toughest record — the legendary 56-game hitting streak. Pick up to two players every day who you think will get a hit.

GPS Hidden in Your Shoes
GPS has become such a commonplace use of technology. We use it many ways in our daily lives. Many of us may not even remember that GPS stands for global positioning system because it is such a common term. We thought technology had really made it when GPS running watches were available...

Using a Blog to Build Everything
Guy Kawasaki has our attention. We follow him on Twitter and find his information pertinent and educational. An article today titled “5 Tips to Make Your Brand Pop” made us click through. The article wasn’t earth shattering, but good. Then we realized the whole blog was promoting Canva, an online graphic design tool.

The Brands Behind Duct Tape
In Seventeen magazine, Duck Tape brand is running an ad promoting back-to-school style with Duck Tape. Their website shows many back-to-school projects called "ducktivities." In our house, a binder from the last school year was patched up stylishly with a pickle design duck tape...

OKCupid’s Experiment is Dishonest Branding
There are many dating sites for people to use to meet that special someone — Match.com, eHarmony, Tinder, Plenty of Fish, OKCupid, etc. Each site targets people in a different way and offers something unique. Dating website OKCupid has revealed that it experimented on its users, including putting the "wrong" people together to see if they would connect. OKCupid told users that matches were good...

Customer Retention and Loyalty Marketing
When it’s time to celebrate a birthday, there are many reasons to get excited. Any age is a good age to celebrate and loyalty marketers make good use of this occasion to connect with customers. In addition to birthday cards and gifts from family, the mail brings other goodies from retailers. Kohl's Department Stores sends a $10 birthday gift card with no strings attached. Boston Store sends a $10 off a $10 or greater purchase. These gift cards get used, and we feel more goodwill toward these retailers.

Marketing Fashion for Fall That is Unavailable
Have you ever picked a day to go clothes shopping, went to stores, and just couldn’t find anything? It happened today, so we switched gears and told family members to look for something and they had no problem finding what they wanted. Maybe it’s just tough to be a woman shopping for fall fashion. We used to wait for the three-inch thick Sears and JCPenney catalogs to come out in the summer. Then we would spend days browsing through the catalog and bending down the corners of all the pages where we found outfits we loved. These days the fashion magazines show spreads of great fall fashions, and we fill our heads with ideas of clothes and shoes we want for the season.

For Your Next Cruise, Consider Cargo Ship Travel
Cruises are a popular way to vacation with wonderful destinations. Disney even takes travelers to a private island for a unique experience. Another novel way to travel at sea is on a cargo ship. We recently ordered Olaf (the snowman from the movie Frozen) online and the arrival date was six weeks in the future.

Does Cultural Branding Beat Strategy?
What impact do cultural differences have on the success of a product? Some people feel that culture beats strategy every time. No matter how good your strategy is in your market, if you haven’t modified your product to cater to the culture, the product will not succeed. This is the case not just if you are crossing the oceans to other countries, but also right here at home.

Are You Lucky to Have a Dick’s Sporting Goods In Your City?
At family gatherings we talk about the great shopping at Dick’s Sporting Goods — a well-merchandised store with a huge selection of product. Occasionally, we take a trip just to go there because it is fun. And we usually buy something. Dick’s has three store prototypes they use based on market characteristics. They have traditional 50,000 sq. ft. single-level stores...

Shazzlemail: Email for the Paranoid
Are you worried big brother is reading your email or that your privacy is being invaded? Once it became public that the government was intercepting private emails, alternative email options started coming to market. Coming in August, Shazzlemail offers a free privacy-protective...

Can You Build Your Brand With Tattoos?
Tattoos used to be primarily for bikers and people in the service. Tattoos became more acceptable and mainstream, and now teenagers to businesspeople have them. Can you promote and build your brand with tattoos on your customers? To go so far as to put a brand tattoo on a person’s body is to show very high emotional commitment.

McDonald's Does Icons With No Branding in Paris
Some of the best billboards lately are created by McDonald's advertising their drinks. Some really nice print ads by McDonald's are promoting breakfast, their classic Egg McMuffin, and the “I’m lovin’ it” logo. Europe has always done things a little differently, and here McDonald's is no exception with their new icons and lack of branding.

Crazy Ciaté Branding Pays Attention
Innovation is exciting. In the beauty industry, it continues to happen on a regular basis, as seen with Ciaté. Ciaté is a UK-based brand specializing in nail polish colors, nail treatments, accessories, and now makeup. It was founded by celebrity nail artist Charlotte Knight. Ciaté introduces innovative nail trends that push the boundaries of beauty. Knight tries to create things people have never seen...

Effective Marketing Slogans
Tooth-whitening products are a large market segment valued around $3 billion. P&G controls a large portion of this segment with their Crest 3D whitening products. Their latest slogan is an effort to teach people that “if you’re not whitening, you’re yellowing.” First impressions being first, the ad seems effective. It elevates tooth whitening to a necessity if you want nice-looking teeth rather than a luxury for people who can afford extra treatments. This is a significant shift in consumer behavior. Researching the category turned in some negative feedback...

Marketing Without a Conscience
Looking through a women's fashion magazine, there was a two-page spread for electronic cigarettes, complete with the nicotine warning label. It was appalling. How could this be? Wasn’t all that advertising banned as part of the tobacco settlement? How could someone actually be the product manager for e-cigs...

Brand Inspiration from Nanotechnology and Structural Color
One never knows when true inspiration will hit or from where it will come. Being versed in many subject areas and having a broad range of experiences is a great way to be present when inspiration hits. A family member is an expert in nanotechnology. We always hoped that someday, nano would impact the marketing and branding world. It finally has.

Francophile Branding During Bastille Days
Local events and festivals are great things to tag on to with your brand. Bastille Days tends to be a more upscale festival, so higher-quality and cultural products fit better with this crowd, but you can make most products fit. The annual French holiday commemorating the storming of the Bastille...

Your Own Cabana Boy
Many of us have dreams about a fit, tanned, sexy-bodied babe cleaning our pool, doing yardwork, or slathering us with suntan lotion. That wouldn’t bode well for our relationships. Instead, to make sure you have covered yourself well with suntan lotion...

The French, The Italians, The English, and The Bidet
Our first exposure to a bidet in America was while watching the movie Crocodile Dundee. Mic Dundee yelled out the swank hotel window the purpose of that bathroom fixture. Bidets are not commonplace in the U.S., so some Americans are not familiar with bidets.

In the Digital Age, Should We Put Money in Direct Mail?
Direct mail has an average response rate of 4.4% and isn’t as popular as digital media. Marketers are spending more of their budgets on social media and trying to build relationships with customers through Twitter and Facebook. It might just be our age, but every once in a while, we actually read the direct mail...

32,000 iPad Minis in the Hands of Mormon Missionaries
iPads are cool. iPads Minis are mini cool. Now Mormon missionaries can be cool too! The Mormon church decided that their missionaries should have iPad Minis to reach people interested in joining the church. In a smart move, they conducted a test with 6,500 iPad minis and found it to be successful. Now they are rolling the technology out to 32,000 missionaries.

Could New 'Added Sugars' Label Change the Food Industry?
Nutrition labels on products have not been in existence for very long. In 1990, the label was mandated for most food products under the provisions of the 1990 Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA).

Work Easy. Play Hard. And #bendtherules
When your teenage son finds a video you “just have to see,” you know the company has done a great job in engaging a part of the teen market. He showed me the #bendtherules campaign YouTube video with professional surfer Ian Walsh. The product advertised is the HP Pavilion X360 touchscreen laptop.

Always #likeagirl Gender Branding
Does your brand stand for something? Following suit with Dove helping women to feel better about themselves, P&G with their Always products is helping girls develop and maintain their confidence at a young age.

Ambush Marketing at the World Cup
Brand image, brand personality, brand voice. Not every brand wants to be “good.” Some appeal more to their customer base by being “bad,” being rebellious. It’s part of what makes the brand cool and the product appealing.

How to Market a Product That is 90% Effective But Full of Poop
The world is full of amazing products people invented to help solve problems. Sometimes we don’t hear about them because the problem they solve has not touched our lives. Sometimes our awareness is limited because marketing efforts are focused on a narrow market. How can these companies effectively reach the people who need their product?

Branding Personality Gone Astray
When the CIA launched their Twitter account, it seemed like everyone had jumped on the Facebook and Twitter bandwagon. There was nothing wrong with that. As long as the brand message stays consistent across platforms, social media can be a supportive tool. The problem seems to be that some organizations think their tone and personality should change on Twitter. The Education Department recently had to apologize for an inappropriate tweet.

Will Robert Morris University Make a Name for Itself with eSports Scholarships?
Robert Morris University (RMU) is a small, private university In Chicago. This university is leading the way with new scholarships for eSports; in particular, players of League of Legends. League of Legends is one of the most popular video games. RMU states that the ability to play League of Legends...

Auction Your Parking Spot with Monkey Parking
Have you ever thought about putting up orange cones to save your parking spot for someone? Or considered standing or lying in the parking spot to save it? An app called Monkey Parking allows you to post your parking spot and let people bid on it.

Will Harley-Davidson Destroy Their Brand with Electric?
​Harley-Davidson owners might have to make room in their garages for a second, third, or fourth Harley. This one won’t require any gas and will have a completely different sound than the roar for which Harley is currently known. Harley-Davidson is launching an electric motorcycle prototype called Project LiveWire. The new bikes will debut in New York and Milwaukee...

Belief and Meaning Should Be Every Brand’s Holy Grail
Clarity comes at unexpected times. Today it came on a bike ride past an office building. At first glance, the brain fills in missing letters with what it knows, and the sign was read as "Redbox." On further inspection, the office building sign was actually nonbox, with the tagline “Helping People Trust Brands.” Intriguing. The rest of the bike ride was filled with thoughts about trusting and branding. Do we trust brands? Do we believe that brands deliver on what they promise?

Poor Timing on Release of Top Brands in Car Quality
J.D. Power released its car quality survey. Some of the highlights: Porsche topped the list for the second year in a row; GM had six winners in segment categories; and the introduction of technology into cars caused some quality ratings issues. At the same time this report is being released, GM and Chrysler are in the news for some quality issues they didn’t fix. GM is taking heat right now for failing to take care of faulty ignition switches on some of their vehicles when the problem arose a decade ago. Chrysler is also being investigated. Timing is poor considering the release of the J.D. Power quality survey. Any good press that GM would have received...

Amazon Again?! The Latest Brand Extension
Amazon should have its own devoted press section on websites as it is in the news often. Last week, it was for offering streaming music with their Prime Music service. This week, it is for the leaked release of a new smartphone. The press conference announcing Amazon’s new smartphone doesn’t take place until Wednesday afternoon, yet journalists and bloggers...

Starbucks Makes Its Most Significant Company Announcement
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz got Oprah to work with him and launch Oprah Chai Tea. That was huge. Now, in what Schultz considers the company’s most significant announcement, Starbucks is partnering with Arizona State University to offer part-time employees tuition reimbursement for online classes.

The Branding Impact of Eating Butter Again
The June 23rd TIME magazine cover story is called “Eat Butter: Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong.” This story highlighted that when Americans were told to cut back on fat to lose weight and prevent heart disease, it appears to have been misguided. Scientific experts are saying our low-fat options have hurt us more. This could have huge branding implications for many companies. Butter is a fat we were told to avoid and use margarine and other lower-fat substitutes instead. “The anti-fat message went mainstream and [became] so embedded in modern medicine and nutrition that it became nearly impossible to challenge the consensus.”

Amazon Offers Streaming Music to Build Customer Loyalty
Who can argue with Amazon? They do nearly everything well. Their recent announcement that they're going to offer streaming music as part of their prime service adds additional value for customers who like free shipping.

Google's Car Makes iRobots Seem Normal
Our neighbor had a robot that mowed his lawn. It was a round little “thing” that moved around the yard cutting grass. We thought it was kind of weird. Another neighbor had an in-ground pool. They had a robot that cleaned the pool. They named it Oscar. We thought it was cool. iRobot has a robot, Looj...

Branding a Month with Health Awareness
Can a month be a brand? Or can a brand claim a month? How about a year? Companies celebrate anniversaries, such as Harley-Davidson did with their 110th Anniversary last year.

City of Dayton’s Branding Strategy: Make Them Feel Welcome
Just like businesses develop growth strategies, so do cities. The City of Dayton, Ohio wants to grow its economy by bringing in immigrants. The TIME magazine article “Put Out the Welcome Mat” highlights Dayton’s efforts. Since 1960, Dayton has lost 40% of its population due to loss of manufacturing jobs. Dayton’s initiative to bring in new residents is called "Welcome Dayton."

Telemedicine is a Differentiation Life-Saver
If you live in a big city, you most likely have access to quality health care. If you live in a small town or remote area, that access used to be lacking. With telemedicine gaining acceptance, partly from young doctors embracing the technology, patients are able to receive quality care without costly transportation costs. In Oregon, an eight-year-old boy is hit harder than the rest of his family with influenza. After treatment, he continues to get worse. Rather than have him transported to a larger hospital facility in Portland...

A Novel Way to Build Your Brand with Social Media
To build a strong brand requires marketing collaboration and full utilization of all media outlets. Social media is the latest addition to our toolkit. Social media, as we know it, has been around a little more than ten years. There have been some creative uses of it for brand building. Recently Random House Publishing was promoting one of their books, We Were Liars. In efforts to create more excitement for the book, they enlisted the help of their entire company sales force. Typically only the people in their young adult division would be involved, but they took a novel approach and asked all their salespeople from all divisions to read the book and comment on it via social media. Then on the sale date of We Were Liars, they asked everyone in that same group at the company...

Any Publicity is Good Publicity for Your Brand?!
We heard on the radio that the Diaper Bank in North Carolina was robbed and then replenished with donations from Kimberly Clark and other businesses.

Examples of 5 Key Branding Elements
There are many examples of great branding. It might be interesting to look at how several companies perform in relation to the five key branding elements: brand position, brand promise, brand personality, brand story, and brand associations. Brand Position. Positioning is about striking the right tone with customers...

What is the NBA Brand Worth?
Mark Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks basketball franchise for $285 million in 2000. Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry bought the Milwaukee Bucks last week for around $550 million. Now Steve Ballmer is buying the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion. Prices are rising, or expected values, anyway. Are these NBA basketball franchise brands worth this much?

The U.S. 'We Don’t Negotiate' Brand
Have you watched Air Force One with Harrison Ford? He plays the role of the President of the United States and repeatedly states, over and over, “We don’t negotiate with terrorists.” Yet as the plot unfolds, his family is at risk and he folds to the terrorist demands.

Google Prototype Car Crashes
Google is making news again with new technology. This time it is with a driverless car. This technology has appeal for people with disabilities, those who wish to work on their way to work, and poor drivers. What we were taught in driver’s education is to always be on the lookout for the other driver.

Learn to Apply the Powerful Goodness of Maya Angelou
Many times people think you have to be edgy or different to be remembered or successful. Perhaps that is true in some cases. Maya Angelou is being remembered for all she did that was good and meaningful. There are a tremendous number of tributes being written about Maya Angelou in the short time since her death.

Best Dad Ever, Best Gift Ever
Father’s Day is coming up on June 15. Now is the time to consider your gift. We know that much of the Mother’s Day shopping occurred the weekend prior to Mother’s Day, when the flower section at the local grocery store went from overflowing to totally empty in the two days before.

The Party with the Least Advanced and Most Vulnerable Technology Will Pay
Credit card breaches at Target, Neiman Marcus, and Michaels have made the public concerned. Data breaches at eBay raise this concern even higher. Visa and MasterCard are now pushing for higher data security and one way to accomplish this is through microchips.

When Your Mother is an Addict: California Counties’ Pharmaceutical Lawsuit
It used to be a great job to be a pharmaceutical rep. You worked hard but schmoozed with doctors, traveled to great places for training, won trips, made great money. All that has changed as products came off patent and generics captured market share and profits in addition to other factors. Pharmaceutical companies merged, and many reps lost their jobs.

Finally, Cool Sunglasses You Can’t Lose
Some people like expensive sunglasses. Some people lose expensive sunglasses. No more! An Australian Company Tzukuri is marketing cool sunglasses that are Bluetooth enabled with tracking and text alerts available through their app. Some people buy the $9.99 sunglasses because they continually lose them.

Give Your DNA to Ancestry.com and Find More Cousins
Ancestry.com helps you build your family tree. It goes further and lets you and others share their work. This helps people complete ancestral lines that were formerly dead ends. Now Ancestry.com offers a DNA service that allows them to match family to you based on your DNA.

Try to Solve World Problem and Win $17 Million
Britain is offering $17 million to the person who can solve one of the world’s greatest problems. The British public will choose from among six world issues and then the contest will be to solve the problem while providing economic benefit to Britain. The world issues to be voted upon include: reversing paralysis, overcoming antibiotic resistance, improving the lives of people with dementia, providing food and clean water for all, and ensuring air travel is not environmentally harmful.

Will 3D Printing Be a Game Changer in Your Industry?
3D printing is here. One of the firms offering 3D printing is Makerbot. Their latest offer is printing a replica model of one of the Sesame Street characters, Snuffleupagus, for $1.29. Would you pay $1.29 to be able to print out a replica of something like Snuffleupagus?

Technology with Personal and Immediate Impact
True innovation that solves a problem is exciting. For the people it benefits, it is thrilling and life changing. For those who learn of it, it is inspiring. Lift Labs designed Liftware, a spoon that shakes to counteract hand tremors. A million people struggle with shaking from Parkinson’s Disease. Ten million people suffer from a disorder called essential tremor.

Does Your Company Have Enough Creativity to Stay on Top?
FASTCOMPANY just released their list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. The article is fascinating in the people and companies that are profiled. Each is worthy of a discussion in itself. This blog started out to be on Nest, the home automation company acquired by Google for billions.

BlackBerry May Have Failed...Except in Indonesia
BlackBerry used to be the phone when cell phones branched out to include services other than simple calling. The early users became so hooked on checking their email on their phones anytime, anywhere that the phone was nicknamed the CrackBerry. You won’t find many people using BlackBerry phones any longer...

Design & Creative Branding from the Twins
Joseph & Joseph is a family business that grew out of a family business. The twin brothers started the company knowing only that they were going to be design-led. Their father asked them to join the family glass business. The sons branched out and went on to start their own company. Early on, they listened when their customers rejected some items and told them to focus on others that were selling well.

Will Target Savings Have Us Doing Cartwheels?
Do you ever look at the inserts in your credit card bills? This time we looked and were introduced to Cartwheel by Target. Cartwheel offers additional savings on products in store. Cartwheel seems similar to the deals the grocery store offers...

Know Your Customer on Mother’s Day
The smart marketers make any product seem appropriate for Mother’s Day. The typical gifts are jewelry, flowers, and gift cards, although homemade gifts can be the most touching. Many online sites offered suggestions on what brands to offer to Mom. A top-advertised item is 100 long-stem pink roses from Home Depot for $100 with free delivery.

Point, Scan, and Know The Product Makeup with SCiO
Crowd-funding sites are one of the highlights of the 21st century. They allow entrepreneurs to gauge the appeal of a product from people who financially put a stake in their opinion. SCiO is one of the latest innovations to get excited approval on Kickstarter.

'Do You Want to Build a Snowman?' Part of Disney’s Branded Movie Strategy
Disney’s second-quarter earnings beat Wall Street expectations. Disney shifted their focus a few years ago to more Disney-branded movies, and it is paying off! Frozen is one of the hottest Disney movies. One of the theme songs, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” has captured the hearts and attention of many moviegoers.

Extend Your Branding with New Domain Extensions
All the good domains are gone! If you are starting a business or want a new domain, it’s hard to find a good web address because after nearly 30 years, many of the best domains are taken. So over the next two years, ICANN...

Lucha Vavoom's Marketing for Cinco de Mayo
Happy Cinco de Mayo! Many will celebrate today just because. The real reason behind Cinco de Mayo is to commemorate the Mexican Army's 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Another reason Mexico is on our minds lately is because of a smash show hitting LA and traveling worldwide called Lucha Vavoom.

Boom Chicka Pop — Grow Some Boom!
It sounds like a children’s book. In actuality, the name is close to an old campfire song called Boom Chicka Boom and the name of one of Johnny Cash’s albums. Boom Chicka Pop is actually a health snack recently introduced by Angie’s Artisan Treats from Minnesota. Angie’s is a home-grown business that got its start selling kettle corn at outdoor events and then became the official kettle corn of the Minnesota Vikings. From there it expanded nationwide. They recently worked with an agency to help them develop a new health snack and an attitude to match. Boom Chicka Pop was born. The brand attitude is light, sassy, and fun. The packaging is bold and bright. The product claims are straightforward: naturally simple, totally fantastical.

Walmart Adds Auto Insurance to One-Stop Shopping
The nation’s largest retailer wants to grow even bigger. Walmart just announced one-stop shopping that now includes auto insurance. This comes as part of their strategy to add more services. Walmart is an impressive operation. Consider these numbers. Every hour of every day $36M is spent at Walmart. Walmart has 2 million employees.

Upscale Branding Can Live Harmoniously with Green Branding
China is number 1. Paris is number 2, with the largest bike-sharing system in the world. New York City has a solar-powered bike-sharing system that has recently taken some heat. Turns out The Plaza didn’t like the bike-share station right across the street from its grand entrance. A Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice ruled that The Plaza hotel...

Taxes Driving Acquisition More Than Branding
Pfizer, the monster pharmaceutical maker well-known for Viagra, Celebrex, and Enbrel, just won’t take no for an answer! It has tried to buy Astra-Zeneca two times and has been rejected. Pfizer revised their offer just Saturday in another attempt to bring the two companies together.

Strengthen Your Brand by Being a Good Corporate Citizen
What is a good citizen? A good citizen is one who properly fulfills his or her role as a citizen. There are many opinions as to what constitutes a good citizen. Theodore Roosevelt said, "The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight." Corporate Responsibility (CR) Magazine just published their Top 100 Corporate Citizen List. Their view of good corporate citizenship involves seven categories...

Can You Say You Have a Big Ass Brand?
Haiku Fan is advertising a Big Ass Fan®. The two page spread appears in the April 29 edition of Autoweek. The copy and claims are impressive: award-winning design, quality craftsmanship, unprecedented performance. But calling it a Big Ass Fan? Will that help or hurt their brand? According to Eli Altman, creative director at branding company A Hundred Monkeys...

Going Solar Can Strengthen Your Brand
Solyndra Solar, backed by huge government grants, left a bad taste in people’s mouths towards solar when it went bankrupt. Unfortunately, bankruptcy happens in many industries, but it does not represent the significance of what is happening in solar today or how it can expand a company’s sustainability efforts. First Solar is helping to change all that. First Solar is based out of Tempe, Arizona and is run by a Texan who spent many years at Enron.

Pole Advertising to Build a Brand
Not pole dancing — pole advertising. Emerson sells products and services that operate deep inside plants and factories. David Farr, Chairman and CEO of Emerson, explains that in the product business no one knows Emerson. But big business knows Emerson, and he deals with the top CEOs.

Miracle Therapy is a Diversion for an Embarrassing Situation
Ever walked out of a public bathroom with toilet paper stuck to your leg, hanging from your nylons, or even worse, your dress tucked into your underwear? Well, now if you use Infusium 23’s new Miracle Therapy product, your hair will look so fabulous no one will ever notice! Miracle Therapy “captures the healing benefits of moringa oil..."

Are People Responding to Type E?
E*Trade’s talking baby commercials were thrown out with the bath water. At the time, the campaign made sense to illustrate the point that online investing is so simple that a baby can do it. It helped people get past the barrier and invest online. The message got old and the market changed and wisened. E*Trade needed a new message, changed ad agencies, and came out with Type E. Type A people are very organized and efficient; tightly wound, as some would say. Type E became a new personality type. Here’s what they tell us about Type E. A Type E always has a plan. A Type E reads the fine print. Type E color codes and organizes their information.

The Product of the Two Most Powerful Brands in the World
FastCompany describes Chelsea Clinton as the product of two of the most powerful brands in the world. That’s not a warm and fuzzy way to describe her, yet it is accurate. Imagine being the child of a President and of a powerful Secretary. What are your job options? You have incredible opportunities opened to you, and it would be a shame to turn those down.

Volvo Gets Parents Excited
Pack the diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, snacks, bibs, toys, books, change of clothes. Pick up the baby, and oh yeah, remember to bring the car seat. When traveling with an infant, there is so much to pack. Forget about bringing many of the parents’ personal items, there’s no room...

Taking the Sexy Out of Bras
Good marketing is about filling a need. Megan Grassell did just that when she started Yellowberry, a bra company for young girls. Frustrated by the lack of age-appropriate bras for her younger sister...

Be #Pretty Powerful
Happy Belated Birthday, Bobbi Brown! The makeup artist and founder of makeup line Bobbi Brown Cosmetics celebrated her birthday yesterday on April 14. Her birthday wish is to have you support Girl Rising in three ways: see the movie, host a screening, and buy Pretty Powerful mascara.

What if Your Boss Tells You to Bring Your Toothbrush and Jammies to Work?
Thirty-five-year-old Whole Foods had its highest sales yet in 2013. Annual sales were $12.9 billion. CEO and Founder John Mackey believes spending time with other staffers outside of the work environment creates more trust and far-reaching relationships. Occasionally, he has executive staff stay together in the same house and make breakfast or dinner together.

Obama’s Exciting Presidential Brand
The Presidential Brand has many, many components. The newest brand component is made up of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship. In the United States, where the American dream built this country to greatness...

Do You “Love Your Selfie”?
Dove has run campaigns in the past called “Dove for True Beauty,” Dove “Love My Body,” and Dove “Real Beauty.” Now they are running Dove “Love Your Selfie.” In this age of bashing those who post selfies, it is an interesting way to connect to modern-day women.

Amazon is Coming After You
Amazon, the leading online retailer, sent a postcard mailing and it surprised us. We thought it was from a local retailer and used it as a scratchpad to write down a phone number. The large 20% off in red did cause us to take a second look, and then the name Amazon jumped out at us. Amazon doesn’t do a lot of offline advertising. Their numbers dropped over the years to less than $10 million a year in offline advertising. It makes sense. They sell online, so they advertise online...

The Product You'll Like More Than Music
Gain flings were recently introduced as a simple, more effective way to clean your clothes. Just toss a single-use Gain fling into your washing machine to have your clothes come out clean and fresh.

Does Your Logo Mean Anything?
Your logo is the symbol of your company. It derives its meaning from the association it takes to your company or product. Many good logos also have hidden meaning in the negative space. Some logos have such rich meaning and heritage in their background. Others are simply designed to be bold, masculine, or girly. Some feel the purpose of a logo is to tell a good story. However, many of those stories have turned out to be urban myths as efforts to confirm them have not succeeded. Sometimes the design is done for scalability, yet people find meaning in it.

Get Your Saturday Back
Angie’s List was started in 1995 by Angie Hicks. She grew the company from 50 members to 1.5 million members. Now Angie’s List announced their new app called SnapFix, which they claim will give you back your Saturday. Does your Honey Do list contain a lot of wonderful projects? Normally Angie’s List can allow you to find a recommended service provider to complete the project.

The Best Airlines in the World are Not American
We just booked a flight for spring break. Some of the flight options involved 12–24 hour total flight times. It was ridiculous. After searching and searching, we finally found a direct flight that avoids the problems of missing connecting flights, bags being lost, etc. Why should we have to worry about these things?

Chick-fil-A Topples the Colonel
Kentucky Fried Chicken was long the king of chicken. Not anymore. Chick-fil-A, with fewer numbers of stores, has surpassed them as the leader in the fast-food chicken market with sales of over $5 billion. In addition to fewer stores, Chick-fil-A is even closed on Sundays, so they garner more sales in only six days a week.

Final Four, Baby!
In Wisconsin we love our cheese, sausage, and Packers. Come March, we rally around our Wisconsin basketball team. For the first time since 2001, Wisconsin is in the final four of the NCAA tournament. Go Wisconsin! Sports have a way of pulling people together. Few other things can bring people with different interests, education, and nationalities together like their college basketball team.

Do You Know Your Brand Values and Personality?
Associated Press (AP) is a not-for-profit national news source cooperative in business for over 160 years. They have received 49 Pulitzer prizes and are recognized as the definitive source for news. A few years ago the AP developed a masterbrand strategy. The purpose of the strategy was to define what makes them different from other news organizations...

Pinterest Branding Success Stories
Just when you think you have your social media under control — you’re scheduling content-rich tweets and Facebook posts with HootSuite — you read about Men’s Health, Lowe’s, the Four Seasons, and Nordstrom doing amazing things on Pinterest. Don’t worry. Learn from the best and build your own Pinterest strategy. Are you responsible for an online magazine? A top Pinterest board of Men’s Health is their MH Covers. It’s great to scan through and see who all has been featured. It shows the depth of their brand. Two personal favorites are Barack Obama and Paul Walker.

Oprah and Starbucks to Offer Teavana Oprah Chai Tea
What’s new? Isn’t that the statement we usually ask our friends when we get together? How are you and then what’s new? The answer Starbucks has to that question is Teavana Oprah Chai Tea. Starbucks is doing well these days. They are noted for their innovation and their sales since Howard Schultz...

Enfragrow Utilizes Old-Fashioned Marketing Samples
Does anyone remember marketing before Twitter and Facebook? Remember those samples that came in with the newspaper (that printed news source delivered by people in the early hours of the morning)? Some samples arrived today in the mailbox — even more archaic — and caught our attention. Social media is all about customer engagement, building loyalty, and getting those customers to buy products. Old-fashioned marketing samples bypass these steps and put the product right in the hands of the consumer. Mead Johnson & Company sent some samples of Enfragrow Toddler Transitions to our mailbox along with some $10 coupons. We always say, if you saw $10 on the ground, you’d pick it up, wouldn’t you?

Gates Foundation Addresses Pooping in Public
Solar projects are exciting and their applications are limitless, but who would have thought that solar would help to power new toilet facilities in India? The Gates Foundation challenged scientists to reinvent the toilet and present their inventions in New Delhi this past weekend.

Fiberfix is Duct Tape on Steroids
Duct tape is a universally appealing, manly product for repairing things. It came out in different colors and patterns and launched a whole new set of applications — duct tape wallet, duct tape prom dress, and more. FiberFix is a product competing against duct tape with increased strength. There are great product innovations, like Velcro and duct tape...

Harry’s Blades Caught Attention on Twitter
Twitter is really a good news source. As some clients work to promote themselves, they continually say that the news media looks to Twitter first. So, for today, Twitter's news feed supplied the inspiration.

Nasty Gal is a Living, Breathing Brand
Looking for vintage clothing, shoes and accessories with a lot of attitude? NastyGal.com is for you. This is definitely not a conservative mother’s closet of clothes. These clothes are sexy, hot, and daring — dashed with vintage looks. Sophia Amoruso started an eBay store selling vintage clothes...

Disney vs. Hollister: Who Wins in Physical Image?
Hollister was just slammed for a model’s image used on Facebook and Twitter after people complained her legs were too emaciated and skinny. From a contrary point of view, the Disney channel seems to continually cast an overweight child actor in their sitcoms.

Tough Mudder Claims to Be the Toughest Event on the Planet
The race season is beginning in the Midwest. It’s time to register for events and bump up the training. Some people will run 5Ks, others will participate in triathlons and marathons, and yet others will try the Tough Mudder. The Tough Mudder is an obstacle course where participants are exposed...

Celebrity Branding in Health
Advocates wishing to raise awareness for health issues can only hope for a celebrity to champion the cause. Katie Couric raised awareness for colon cancer and Angelina Jolie is raising awareness for women’s health issues. In our circles of family, friends, and acquaintances, we all have stories...

Buffalo Wild Wings Tweaks Their Marketing Mix to Get You to Stay Longer
Buffalo Wild Wings is high-intensity dining for sports-minded people. TV monitors showing games and sports broadcasts are viewable from every seat. Trivia and games are available for entertainment.

Two Great Kickstarter Campaigns: Pono and Veronica Mars
Pono Player, the Veronica Mars movie, and Kickstarter. These three things are a music player that keeps the audio quality high, an extended TV episode in movie form, and the crowdfunding platform that made them happen.

Cheese Branding Without a Name
The fourth round of trade talks are taking place this week in Brussels with the European Union (EU) and the U.S. The European Union wants to ban the use of European names like parmesan, feta, and gorgonzola on cheese made in the United States. How will the U.S. market a product that no longer has a type? The talks are aimed at removing trade barriers between the EU and the U.S. Some EU sausages cannot access the U.S. market because of a zero tolerance to listeria in fermented meat products. The U.S. poultry industry wants the EU to accept chickens washed with chlorine. Both of these demands sound nasty. At least on the cheese front, it is only about a name. Only a name? “The European Union is determined to write into any deal its system of geographical indications, which protects countries' or regions' exclusive right to product names.” The EU argues that parmesan cheese should only come from Parma, Italy and feta cheese should only be from Greece, even though feta isn’t actually a place. The EU has already accomplished this in agreements with Canada and Central America.

Billion-Dollar Bracket
Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge with Yahoo Sports has just arrived. In order to win the billion dollar prize, a person must correctly select the outcome of all 63 games in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Austin Celebrates Six Degrees in SXSW
The South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival in Austin features an interactive track that includes the “Soap Lady”, gaming awards, acting workshops and more. This year it includes Kevin Bacon on Six Degrees turning 20 years old. Six degrees is the concept that everyone and everything are connected with six or fewer steps by way of introduction. It is a social phenomenon that has survived for 20 years, has been made into games and books...

Febreze Car Vent Clip Successful with C+D
P&G revitalized the Febreze brand by determining their marketing message needed to be changed. After interviewing customers and determining they didn’t think their homes smelled bad because they had become desensitized, P&G changed the marketing to have Febreze be the celebratory part of a cleaning routine. Sales increased. Now P&G has gone after other smelly areas — our cars — with the Febreze car vent clip.

Shark Tank Winner Daisy Cakes Returns to Branding Strength
New companies gain momentum and expand and try new ideas. Some of them work and some of them don’t. The companies that survive return to their branding strengths and the growth continues. Such is the case with Shark Tank winner Daisy Cakes.

Why is the University of Phoenix the Largest Online Education Advertiser?
The University of Phoenix is an online college. Adults who want to earn a degree can do so while they continue living life. Chances are, you learned about them online.

Purina Pro Plan Promotes Extreme Dog Dreams
Purina Pro Plan has developed a commercial where dogs dream of extreme fetch games with big woods and a humungous stick. Purina Pro Plan wants owners to know that if their dog can dream it, Purina Pro Plan can help him achieve it. In this time of extreme sports and reality TV for humans, Purina Pro Plan is offering similar options to dogs. They have a P5 training app to help dogs and their owners with easy and effective training. For those ultimate pet owners, Purina Pro Plan offers dog sports bars.

Universal Solves the Phone Addiction Problem
Family vacations create memories. Family vacations are the highlights of many people’s years. Family vacations are special times together, except...when the children are glued to their phones. Have you taken a scan at family gatherings and noticed that 90% of the people are looking down at their smartphones doing something?

Put a Red X on Your Hand
The Christian radio station, K Love, asked us to put a red X on our hands. We didn’t really know what it meant but it caught our attention. The story of human trafficking followed and we listened. Only recently at a gathering of women did we learn that Milwaukee is a human trafficking hub. Milwaukee?? It was startling and shocking, but we did nothing about it. What could we possibly do?

Do You Feel the Joy?
They guarantee you’ll feel the joy or if you don’t, they will make it right. That’s quite a promise. And it’s all for a pen? PaperMate InkJoy is all about bringing back the joy to writing. With our digital society, we tend to write less and less. Some schools don’t even teach cursive writing anymore. But when you do write, it is nice to have a writing instrument that doesn’t blob or smear.

Employees are the Brand’s Whipped Cream
Marketing and branding strategies are developed in various ways. Customer feedback and social media may play a role. Strategies may be top-down driven or bottom-up created. Implementation is where the strategy can shine or flail. Commercials, videos, social media engagement, in-store displays, couponing, and more convey a brand’s image and message.

Is Budweiser Black Crown a Distinctive Beer?
Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser, set out to rejuvenate their product line with a new beer. Black Crown was born from a collaborative process where 12 beers were created from their brewmeisters. Customers then taste tested the beers to select the final version. Budweiser set out to create the smoothest, most distinctive beer. Did they do it?

Do Ad Campaigns That Don't Mention Brands Work?
The Sochi Winter Olympics just wrapped up. Proctor & Gamble (P&G) was a proud supporter of these games. Now P&G is running ads for the Paralympic Winter Games. The P&G Proud Moms campaign recognizes athletes in both events as they target women and mothers. The Paralympic Games is a major international multi-sport event...

If You Eat Cheerios, You'll Get a Puppy?
One of the Viewers’ Top 10 commercials from Super Bowl 2014 was Cheerios “Gracie." Pieces of Cheerios cereal were lined up on the table to visually count members of the family and how the family was going to be expanding with a new baby. The endearing part of the commercial was how this cute little girl added one more Cheerio to the group and was able to also add a puppy to the family. Cheerios is a classic breakfast cereal made by General Mills that has been around since 1941.

Do People Care About Toll House’s 75-Year Anniversary?
As the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition celebrates their 50th anniversary by teaming up with Barbie, it makes people wonder why the two teamed up. Target celebrated 50 years in 2012. Coca-Cola celebrated 125 years in business recently. Now Nestlé's Toll House is celebrating 75 years...

Radio Shack Tries to Shed Its ‘80s Image with D.I.T.
There is nothing better than when someone “owns it." Respect flows when there is a problem, the company admits it, steps up, and says, “Yep, it’s not working. We’re going to fix it.” That is what Radio Shack communicated with their newest commercial — our ‘80s image has to go, and look at where we’re going.

Phenomenally Branded Online Platforms
Facebook’s ability to connect people and share information plays out all the time. Today a friend shared a post about Paul C. Brunson’s 20 successful habits he learned from working with two billionaires. That interesting read led to another of his posts on new-age entrepreneurs featuring “on fire” Marie Forleo. If you don’t know Marie Forleo, she is the creator of B-School. It is an eight-week online training program that teaches you everything to you need to know to “Make Money. Change the World.” The eight online modules include topics like website development, killer list building, social media and marketing writing secrets — basically smart online marketing. The modules include videos, templates, resource lists, and action guides.

Asian Airlines Exploding with Separate Brandings in Specific Markets
The U.S. airline market is mature. The Asian airline market is in its infancy and showing signs of exploding. At the recent Singapore Air Show, Boeing and Airbus saw significant orders...

Nike's Emotional Patriotic Branding
The 2014 Sochi Olympics have many stories behind them, as all Olympics do. One of the stories this year is about the Nike Olympic jacket. As the medal-winning Olympians prepare to receive their medals, they receive a special Nike Olympic jacket. Inside the jacket there is a special message and in a special pocket, there is another message.

Sometimes Buying Local is Better Than Online
Some things are better in person. Live concerts are better than watching YouTube. The book signing by Donald Driver was better up close and personal than watching it on the news. (Classy guy with some huge biceps!) On Valentine’s Day if flowers are in order, finding a local floral shop to deliver your roses or special arrangement might be better than ordering online.

Can Brick & Mortar Beat Counterfeiters?
Pandora Internet music is very popular, which is why iTunes now offers iTunes radio. Pandora jewelry is very popular, which is why their website focuses on brand protection. Knockoffs negatively impact their business and they make efforts to curtail that and maintain the excellence of their brand. In fashion, style and quality separate the upscale brands from the bargain brands. The bargain brands may mimic colors and patterns, but the quality is hard to mimic.

Sleeping Beauty Yuengling Ice Cream Awakens
The original Sleeping Beauty story has the princess sleeping for 100 years. In the case of Yuengling Ice Cream, the company slept for 30 years, and has now been revived. For those who love this ice cream, it is a great celebration.

Beats Music Pulls a Goldilocks
Beats Electronics made a name for themselves with high-quality headphones. They made it cool to have something big on your ears, instead of the little earbuds. Beats Music service is all about finding music that is just right for you. Just like Goldilocks’ experience. The classic Goldilocks story is about trying this and trying that and finally finding something that is just right for you. Ellen Degeneres starred as Goldilocks in the Beats Music commercial.

A Lesson in Classic Branding
Emotional advertising is most effective. Budweiser has built up the association between Clydesdale horses and Budweiser beer since 1933. Over 80 years of branding, consistency has made the Budweiser Clydesdales beloved by the public. The most recent commercial, “Puppy Love,” aired during the Super Bowl.

Will Global Brand Ambassador Scarlett Johansson Help Sodastream?
With half a million Facebook fans and 26,000 Twitter followers, Sodastream introduced their new global brand ambassador Scarlett Johansson. The new commercial...

GoldieBlox is Disrupting the Pink Aisle
Products that go against the norm and attempt to create new categories or change the nature of how categories are defined deserve accolades. Easy Bake Ovens now come in colors other than pink because boys do like to bake and cook too! Building blocks and inventor sets now come in pink and purple because girls to like to build and create too!

Did Subway Fumble the Ball with their Super Bowl Commercial?
Peyton Manning had a few mishaps during the 2014 Super Bowl, and his team just didn’t bring their A game. Subway seemed to follow suit. They made a last-minute decision to run a Super Bowl spot with their new Frito commercial...

Will Bank of America Get More Customers Because of U2 and RED Donation?
The Super Bowl commercial by Bank of America featuring U2 combines many elements. Will it bring them new customers and more awareness? If you didn’t see it, Bono and U2 are singing their new song “Invisible.”

The Real Matchup: Super Bowl vs. the Super Bowl Commercials
Late night talk show hosts are already joking about the Super Bowl commercials, and the Super Bowl hasn’t even been played yet. This year the commercials were released early. The joke was that you have to watch a commercial just to see the commercials. Has the NFL lost control of their brand?

What do Brita, Michelle Obama, and Eva Longoria Have in Common?
Brita markets a personal and home water filtration system that has ties with a lot of famous people — including Michelle Obama and Eva Longoria. Brita is behind campaigns to reduce the use of water bottles. They have also partnered with one of the First Lady’s initiatives to encourage Americans to drink more water. Why is drinking water important? The human body is over 50% water. Water is needed in the body to help it function properly. It keeps your body temperature normal. It lubricates and cushions your joints.

Don’t Get Sick, Just Peel and Stick
Yahoo just followed up on a company to see how they are doing since turning down a $4 million offer for their business on Shark Tank in 2010. The company is First Defense Nasal Screens. They offer a self-adhering nasal filter and use the tagline, “When you feel sick, do you peel and stick?” For those not familiar with Shark Tank, it is a reality TV show...

Will Road & Track Disappear?
Industry trends can accelerate the decline of brands. If the brands fall behind in innovation, efficiency, or financing, or maintain high production costs, they can be on a path to disappear. Road & Track is one such brand that 24/7 Wall St. has noted shows all the signs of decline. Road & Track is a print publication owned by Hearst Corporation. Hearst declares they focus on growth, inventiveness, and an entrepreneurial drive. The battle they face is the decline of print advertising revenue. With all the current choices of where to advertise, including all the new social media options, print advertising is suffering. It is reported that 80% of car buyers search online before making a car-buying decision.

Can You Go 13 Hours with No Music?
The new Volkswagen Passat TDI commercial shares some impressive numbers and drives the message home convincingly. The message is that the Passat, a product of “powerful German engineering,” can drive a long way on a single tank of fuel. 795 miles per tank is what Volkswagen claims with the Passat. That is the distance from Pittsburgh to Pensacola, Florida.

To Reach Generation Next, Tap into the Insights of Higher Education Marketing
If you have a child in college or nearing college age, you are well aware of how universities are reaching out to this market segment. If you have a product you want to sell to 16–25-year-olds, pay attention. Generation Next has a few things on their minds that could help in your marketing. Some universities are drawing the link between student passion and careers. Like any emotional pitch, appealing to the passion helps the connection begin.

Will Hillary Clinton Be a Presidential Brand?
Politics is a controversial topic. In some circles, it is debated vigorously. In some circles, it is not discussed at all. For some people (Hillary Clinton) every aspect of her life is political. Every aspect of her life is a continuous campaign. Hillary Clinton is a powerful brand. She can command any camera, captivate any audience, and is good for business. She is busy writing a book about her experiences as Secretary of State, which will no doubt fuel more speaking engagements and related activities.

Jimmy John's: Freaky Fast and Fun Branding
Jimmy John's has spread their message of freaky fast delivery. If you need lunch fast, you know who to call. The delivery person seems to arrive before the people do. That’s fast and memorable. Jimmy John's offers unique sub combinations. While Subway promotes their prices and healthy food, Jimmy John's caters to people that want their sandwiches fast. Taking a deeper look, Jimmy John's differentiates themselves with the types of sandwiches they offer as well.

BMW's Ultimate Driving Machine Dream
BWM’s tagline is the Ultimate Driving Machine. It has also been used as their slogan. The latest slogan they developed is Sheer Driving Pleasure. In the economic downturn, BMW recognized that a different approach to luxury car marketing was necessary to attract customers. It seemed to work as 2012 was BMW’s most successful year as it led the luxury auto market.

Childish Innovation with Crayola Ultra Clean Washable Markers
Childhood products are fun to market. The colors are bright, the messages fun and to the point, the commercials energetic. Crayola is the epitome of keeping it simple and fun! These days childhood is gone too quickly, and high-tech gadgets a common part of children’s days. Our children grow up faster than in the past and rely on their imagination less and less. So it makes sense to help them get more enjoyment out of their days in simple ways. The new-ultra clean washable markers are a dream come true for parents. These markers are a “whole new level of color [for the kids] and clean” for the parents. It seems like children’s favorite toys are many times...

Get Your Billion Back with Block
H&R Block says Americans are leaving about a billion dollars left behind on their tax returns when they do their own taxes. That amounts to about $500 per seat in professional football stadiums across the country. They claim to find money for 1 out of 5 people, about $460 on average. The numbers sound good.

Branding Tips from the Green Bay Packers
American football is even more beloved than baseball. We love our teams. Some proclaim the deep love for their football team is almost a sickness. What is there to be learned from the branding of football teams, in particular the Green Bay Packers? A beloved brand is hopefully recognized nationally, or in the case of the Packers, recognized around the world.

Hello Kitty Megabrand Makes Cute Cool
Hello Kitty was a popular brand in the 1970s, and popularity came back around in the 1990s as the market was expanded to include teens and grownups as a retro brand. Today as Hello Kitty nears 40 years of age, Hello Kitty is a billion-dollar success story loved by all ages. Many adult women fondly remember Hello Kitty from their childhoods.

Penzey's Spices Brand Kindness
In this world of rushing to get around and get ahead, Penzey’s spices promotes their brand with kindness. Metropolitan billboard ads read “Love People. Cook them tasty food.” Penzey’s Spices sells over 250 herbs, seasoning blends, and spices...

Hearsay Social Makes Social Media Incredible
As companies strive to make social media relevant and profitable, those in highly regulated industries like financial services need to make sure their social communication is compliant.

Can Your Profession of Faith Be a Brand?
People brands are the most interesting. Products and services can be branded. Experiences can be branded. What many don’t realize is that people can be branded, and few better embrace personal branding than Joel Osteen. Joel Osteen is the son of a minister and the leader of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. He delivers Christian messages...

The Planet Fitness Brand is Not Intimidating
The start of a new year, and one would think that health clubs are packed with people making good on their New Year’s Resolutions to get healthier, lose weight, be more fit, etc. Apparently we are procrastinators, as Planet Fitness claims their best month is March. Planet Fitness isn’t waiting, though. On NBC’s The Biggest Loser, Planet Fitness promoted their health club and offered fitness equipment to the winner of one of The Biggest Loser challenges.

Baked Lay's Brand is Healthier Than What?
Frito-Lay introduced Baked Lay's in 1996 as a healthier potato chip in their Lay's brand. The packaging displays “baked” as the prominent part of the wording. The nutrition label displays less than three grams of total fat and no trans fat. Sounds good! Potato chips are the largest group in the salty snack category. As healthy food choices became more important for consumers, Frito-Lay removed trans fat before the rest of the industry and changed how their chips were made.

Subway's $5 Footlong Sub Complete with Celebrities
Subway continues to pound the message about "Eating Fresh" with healthy food and good deals. Celebrity spokespeople have stayed with the Subway brand for a long time and continue to bring excitement to the ads. Beginning with Jared Fogle, who became worth $15 million from eating Subway — that’s right — to celebrities like Apolo Ohno, Michael Phelps, Robert Griffin III, Nastia Liukin, and more, Subway knows how to do celebrity sponsorships.

Old Spice Brand Gets Hilarious and a Little Creepy
Old Spice commercials played heavily during the NFL playoffs and have most people laughing. “Smellcome to Manhood” and “Sprayed a Man of My Son” are some of the fun phrases Proctor & Gamble (P&G) used to promote the Old Spice re-fresh body sprays.

Proactiv Shows How a Brand Can Get Vulnerable
Many times a brand projects an image of being macho, tough, and strong, as in the Marlboro Man. Other times the brand can be exquisite and feminine, as in Tiffanys. Proactiv has a different approach. Proactiv gets vulnerable. Marketers want the consumer to identify with the spokesperson. Proactiv is selling a solution to an awkward problem — acne. No one likes acne. No one wants acne. Yet many people are confronted with the situation. What’s a good way to build a connection with the consumer to allow them to accept a solution for the problem?

Bring Fantasy to your Brand
Nissan Rogue is lighting up TVs and motion billboards with its new high action commercials. Nissan hired a feature film director for the spot and prints the warning, “Fantasy. Do not attempt.” on the bottom of the screen.

Brand Yourself in the New Year
As the new year approaches, people consider changes to their lives. Working on your personal brand may well enhance how you market your product brand.

Use Poo-Pourri Before You Go and No One Will Ever Know
When a product solves a real problem, hats off to the company. When a product approaches marketing on an awkward topic with grace and humor, kudos. Poo-Pourri toilet spray does both. The Poo-Pourri ad appears on YouTube featuring a beautiful redhead in a blue dress sitting on a toilet. In the ad, the setting shifts from a public bathroom to a private living room to a cow pasture to a meadow field of flowers. The humor of the ad and the opening shot of the toilet puts the topic immediately at ease.

The Tastiness of Frango Mints Lives On!
When Marshall Field's was renamed to Macy’s in 2006, it was a sad day. Nothing was like shopping at Marshall Field's. (Some loyal shoppers still hold boycotts on the anniversary and attend shareholder meetings voicing their complaints.) Then the concern extended to the future of Frango mints — the tasty chocolate truffle.

Victoria’s Secret Feeder Brand Pink
Victoria’s Secret has done such a great job with their brand appearing to be English that most people believe they are based in England. Interestingly, the Columbus, Ohio-based company opened their first store in London in 2012. Part of the brand’s image is to project a romantic, English feel so that undergarment shopping is acceptable, fun, and luxurious.

Are AT&T’s Commercials Adorable or Misguided?
AT&T’s “It’s Not Complicated” ads were one topic at a recent Christmas gathering. The older spectrum of the group found them adorable and felt the need to replay them on YouTube. The younger members did not find them funny. What do you think? The ads feature a man sitting around a child-sized table...

Why Time Warner Cable Shouldn’t Get to Wear the Brand Name
Time Warner Cable is a telecommunications company that operates in 29 states. They offer phone, cable, and Internet service. In 2009 they were spun off from their parent Time Warner, a media and entertainment company, but continue to license the brand name. Many customers refer to Time Warner Cable as Time Warner, when in fact they are separate entities. Does it hurt Time Warner to have the business actions of Time Warner Cable associated with them?

Cookie Monster Friends Other Brands
Cookie Monster continues to run with the popular crowd. Last night he appeared on Michael Bublé's TV Christmas special. “As the Cookie Crumbles” was a silly parody running through the special. Cookie Monster was the third Sesame Street character to appear on Michael Bublé’s Christmas specials. Sesame Street is known for partnering with other brands/celebrities.

The Salvation Army is More Than Red Kettles
Whether your organization is for profit or not-for-profit, branding still applies. The Salvation Army is synonymous with the Red Kettle. It is part of their brand. Beginning November 1, The Salvation Army kicks off the Red Kettle campaign — their yearly fundraising drive. The proceeds from this drive fund their humanitarian efforts for the coming year. The consistent branding efforts of the Salvation Army for over 100 years have cemented the image of the Red Kettle bell ringers with the Salvation Army good works. Over the years, the expectation and familiarity of the red kettles at Christmas have made their presence blend in with their surroundings.

How You Can Build a Strong Brand Like Ford
The Ford Fusion commercial “Loud and Clear” further supports Ford Fusion’s goal to deliver a great ride and fuel efficiency. Ford promotes choosing AND instead of OR and has the greatest brand loyalty of any auto manufacturer.

Nuts or Bolts? Fusion Says AND is Best!
Going through life having to choose this or that...Ford says it is better to choose And, and have this And that in its Fusion commercials. Do consumers want a great ride or great gas mileage? Ford contends that consumers want and should have both.

Zappos.com: Powered by More than Service
Zappos offers a satisfying shopping experience, a culture that is different, and a product that is continually evolving. Treating customers as VIPs immediately elevates the shopping experience. Typing in the “secret” web address of vip.zappos.com...

Hasbro Family Game Night is a Win-Win
For many families, Wednesday night is game night. Some families designate that night to stay home and play a board game. The purpose of the night is to build and strengthen family bonds and create memories. Hasbro is encouraging this with their Hasbro Family Game Night commercials. Hasbro makes many board games — Monopoly, Twister, Candy Land, Sorry, Battleship, Life, Jenga, Scrabble, Scattergories, Cranium, and more.

Charmin Yule Log Intermission: Stay or Bring Back Mr. Whipple?
In a break in TV programming, a commercial of a fireplace with burning logs appears. A hand continues to throw logs on the fire to keep it burning. The message tells consumers that there is nothing worse than getting up and missing a good part of the show, and to Enjoy the Go. This Charmin Yule Log Holiday Intermission is getting positive responses from followers.

When Weather Makes The Dallas Marathon Go Horribly Wrong
Planning a marathon puts the best event planner to the test. The months of preparation, promotion and coordination culminate with the big event. Who would have thought that an ice storm would cancel this year’s metroPCS Dallas Marathon?! The 2013 Dallas Marathon was expected to draw 20,000 runners.

ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas Flails
Christmas. Family. Countdown. Giveaways. Fun! The ABC Family channel is bringing excitement to the countdown to Christmas. With fuor million Facebook followers and 59,000 Twitter followers, they reach their audience with regular communication. Particularly fun is the way they reached out to expand their market...

Target Brings Pinterest In-Store
Target transcended the image of the mass merchandisers. Kmart, Shopko, and Walmart have their own clientele, but Target is for everyone. Adults and children both enjoy shopping there. Target has a great ad agency and promotes their store and products well. The latest thing they are doing well is in-store.

Dyson is Such an Animal
Time to clean house. Households with lots of children and pets stir up a lot of dust and hair. Shoes bring in dirt. Just moving around in a house stirs up dust. Running the furnace or air conditioner moves air and dust through a house. So, we clean on a regular basis to get rid of dust and dirt on floors with a vacuum. Vacuum cleaners were invented over a 100 years ago. Traditional technology used a vacuum bag that sucked up dirt and dust and stored it in a bag on the vacuum that was changed when it was full. Most vacuums had rollers to move them across the floor. The Dyson DC41 Animal as well as the other Dyson models use a ball as the basis. Dyson’s marketing message is: Four fixed wheels go in a straight direction. A ball can go in any direction. A clear choice. Easy turns with minimal effort.

Zippo Makes the Man
The half-page ad in the Sunday newspaper introduced the Zippo stainless steel wallet, pen, and watch. Doesn’t Zippo make lighters? Makestheman.com did not mention anything about lighters, although the Zippo logo does have the fire symbol dotting the “I.” This must be the same company?! The Zippo.com website provided the answers. Zippos is transitioning into a lifestyle brand and as a result is offering more than just lighters.

Power Brand in Your Target Market
Not all businesses will be a globally recognized power brand like Calvin Klein, but you can be a power brand in your target market. All it takes is commitment, discipline, and consistency. Treesanta.com in Chicagoland is a great example. Treesanta.com caters to Chicago-area residents that want a real Christmas tree delivered. They promote their message of: Deliver. Remove. Recycle. For some people, selecting or chopping down their Christmas tree is an important part of the holiday season.

Uber is Awesome!
Word of mouth is how many businesses and apps grow. Dropbox, the app that downloads pictures off your phone onto your computer, offers extra space when you refer a friend. Facebook is full of friends posting requests asking for recommendations on anything from dance teachers to soccer classes to landscape contractors. This past Thanksgiving weekend, family gave the ultimate recommendation with Uber. Visiting the Windy City of Chicago over the Thanksgiving weekend provided the opportunity to spend time with family. Getting from place to place was the simplest it has ever been with the help of an app called Uber. If you are fortunate enough to have an extravagant sister, you may get pampered, or in this case, Ubered.

The Power Brand of Calvin Klein
Interested in some jeans, some underwear, a new suit? You may shop at various stores for your purchase, or if you have the disposable income, you may go straight to your favorite designer and purchase the brand. Outlet malls are great for being able to shop an entire store of one brand. Otherwise you can go to your favorite department store and find it featured there.

Know Your Audience — Even If It’s a Little Bit Gross
As the full weight of the shopping season is upon us, advertisers vie for our attention with commercials of products we may wish to give as gifts (or put on our wish list). One of the most interesting products being advertised this season is Gooey Louie. Their tagline is “Put Your Finger in His Nose…and Pick a Winner!” Most children love gross things. Most children need to be taught the lesson about not picking their noses. But face it; slimy things, stretchy things, gross things make children giggle. If it appears the game will be fun for children, people will buy it. The toy market is a lucrative market. The games and puzzles portion of the U.S. toy market is nearly $2 billion. (Couldn’t find a sales figure for the gross segment of the toy market.) Gooey Louie is made by Goliath Toys, a European toy and game manufacturer.

Chromecast $35 Deal or No Deal
Transferring information from one medium to another is powerful. Viewing the video from your phone on your TV is exciting. It seems we all want to watch things bigger. Want to watch a movie or TV show, listen to music, or view pictures? Now Google is offering the ability to do that from any device — mobile, tablet, or PC.

Is Conair the Secret Behind the Perfect Curl?
Beauty is big business. The global beauty market is forecast to reach $265 billion by the year 2017. The barrier to entry is low and new products flood the market. One of the latest new entries is the Conair Infiniti Pro Curl Secret for $99. The 30-second video shows a beautiful woman with straight blond hair...

Kmart's 'Jingle Balls' Commercial Has Them Talking...and Shopping
Advertising is effective, plain and simple, when the ad causes people to purchase the product. Kmart has a new holiday ad out promoting Joe Boxer underwear. It is creating a lot of conversation, but will it sell underwear? Kmart sells a private label clothing and underwear line under the name of Joe Boxer.

Kindle Fire HDX Scores with the Mayday Button
Mayday, mayday! How often have you wished you could say that and help appears? State Farm Insurance plays on this theme with their commercials showing people in trouble calling for their State Farm agent. Kindle Fire HDX has an actual mayday button on its tablet with a live person appearing on-screen to assist. Companies have found many ways to help customers. The original way was snail mail...

Coricidin HBP Preventing Problems
High blood pressure sufferers, pay attention! A new product formulation of Coricidin is safer for you to take when you have cold symptoms. Coricidin HBP (high blood pressure) does not contain decongestants, so therefore will treat only your cold symptoms and not interfere with high blood pressure treatment. Remember the Dr. Seuss book The Cat in the Hat Comes Back? He eats cake in the bathtub, which creates a messy ring in the tub. He cleans it off with a dress, then cleans the dress on the wall, then cleans the wall with a shoe, then cleans the shoe on the rug, etc. He tries to fix one problem but creates another.

Baileys Irish Cream's Stylish & Elegant Relaunch
For nearly forty years Baileys Irish Cream has been pleasing the taste buds of people worldwide. The irish whiskey and cream based liqueur was the creation of R & A Bailey. It is made by Gilbey’s of Ireland with the trademark owned by Diageo. It is the biggest selling spirit brand at Christmas in the U.S. In 2012 several marketing innovations were begun. The company began doing bilingual Facebook posts. This was well received and helped them capture more of the Hispanic market. This year Baileys redesigned their bottle — for the first time ever. Since Baileys is targeted mainly at women, the bottle was streamlined to be more stylish and elegant in an effort to capture the new generation of progressive and savvy women. As an added plus, it is also easier to fit in the refrigerator door. Stylish yet practical. Then, adding to their four-star line-up, Baileys introduced a new flavor...

Get Your Hashtag On
Want an effective way to measure feedback on a commercial or an ad and learn what people think of your brand? It’s simple. Add a brand hashtag. Then join the conversation and learn and engage. Can you match these up? #pretzellovestories, #brewthelove, #thegifter, #cmaawards, #hailstate. If you scored 100, you answered Wendy’s, Keurig, TJMaxx/Home Goods/Marshalls, Country Music Association Awards (that was a gimme), and Mississippi State Athletics.

Keurig Brewing Coffee and Love
Holiday marketing attempts to capture nostalgia and stir up warm family feelings, love, and closeness to have consumers transfer these good feelings to their products and ultimately to buy them. Folgers did a masterful job of it with their “Peter Comes Home for Christmas” commercial in 2008. Many people will recall that commercial and more importantly that product if asked. Keurig is doing it now for their single-cup coffee makers and coffee. Keurig is heavily promoting their coffee system right now...

Under Armour Builds a Brand House
Online the rule is: content is king and experience is queen. Well, the queen is about to have her own house. Companies such as Under Armour, who sell a lot of product online, are looking to enhance the strength of their brand through real-life experiences at stores. So in addition to merchandise assortment and store flow and layout, the focus when the consumer enters the store is on a positive, memorable experience with the brand. In a market dominated by big-name players, Under Armour would do well...

Cialis Comes Out on Top
Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis are a huge market — totaling over $3 billion annually — making it worthwhile to take notice of their marketing. Viagra was the leader in the erectile dysfunction market by making it acceptable to discuss the topic in homes and on TV and paved the way for others. Cialis, interestingly, took over the market lead with two key branding elements — product formulation and positioning.

Noodles Capitalizes on Nostalgia
Remember growing up and having mac ‘n cheese? People love noodles! Noodles & Company capitalizes on that emotion when attracting people to their restaurants. Noodles is known for fast, reasonably healthy food with a family friendly atmosphere. It is reasonably priced food that satisfies most.


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