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Showing posts from December, 2010

5 Personal Care Tips for 2011

1. Eliminate stress where possible
2. Be your own parent (not like a child) when it comes to nutrition
3. Enjoy a nice walk anywhere, anytime
4. Eliminate sugar from your life
5. Get enough sleepGood luck!

REI, Invent This Brand: Rugged Childcare Gear

These days it is common to see fathers taking care of their kids in public. While this is a great step forward I find myself asking why the men must be "punished" by having to use childcare brands that look like they were meant for a mom to use, not a dad.

I wonder: If a well-known sports equipment brand would come out with items meant for taking care of kids, could this be a vehicle for supporting father-involvement?

Imagine that REI or Coleman or even Nike would develop a line of childcare items that included such things as:

* Strollers
* Diaper knapsacks
* Snugglies (those things where you hold the baby in public)
* Car seats

Or, how about a line of organic food for kids that was marketed to dads? (Read: pureed steak! Uch, that sounds gross, but you get the picture.)

Consider too the minivan meant for a Dad - whereas now they basically look like they're meant for soccer moms. (I saw a commercial for one of these the other day but I can't recall the name.)

For too long the…

Personal Branding for Women in 5 Items Or Less

If you're a busy person like I am, you don't have time to look high and low for fashion statements. Get these 5 things.
1. Blazer - tailored - this should be the item you focus on most - go anywhere for inspiration 2. Pants - long and a bit loose - I like Banana Republic Martin Fit 3. Shirt - white - collared or a T - I like Banana Republic 4. Earrings - the bigger the better - I like H&M 5. Shoes - black, well-cared for - I wear black men's construction shoes from Wal-Mart actually!
Remember - it's not about paying a lot of money, but make sure that your clothes:
* Fit you well (not too tight or too loose) * Are clean and well-pressed
Finally, don't forget good grooming. Great resources for this include Target and CVS...you don't have to break the bank.
Good luck!

The Perverse Psychology of Selling At An Airport

What a strange marketing setup.I walk in and see an enormous array of shops, storefronts and
eateries. I want to stop at all of them. Especially the one that says
"20 Minute Teeth Whitening Here." And Brookstone – they're flying
gadgets in the aisle over there. And the others ones too.The problem is, I'm whirring past them fast trying to make sure that I
get through the TSA on time to get to the gate.And when I get through the TSA line, what do I see?McDonald's.Famiglia Pizza.And a couple of other no-name stores. (Let's not forget Hudson News,
boy is that exciting!)There must be some regulation preventing the good stores from living
behind the TSA line.When I get to the gate, G-d help me, all I see is a Quizno's, a
Pizza-Hut Express, and some other no-name place selling Budweiser.What happened to the fun places? What happened to the Disneyland of
brands that existed seemingly so long ago?If retailers want to make money at the airport, they should locate
their stor…

Rude Brand Value: When Customers Want To Be Mistreated

While it is often true that treating people well is key to
establishing a strong brand, this is not always the case. As Woody
Allen once famously said, "I wouldn't want to join any club that would
have me as a member."Consider these examples:• The "Soup Nazi," made famous on Seinfeld because if you said one
thing wrong he wouldn't let you in
• Big-city nightclubs where the draw is precisely that the bouncer
will probably exclude you
• Fraternity hazing rituals, traditionally humiliating, often
dangerous, and sometimes illegal, that typically involve an assault on
the initiate
• Gang initiation rituals (see above – and yes, gangs are a form of brand)
• Exclusive co-ops, country clubs, etc. that don't admit "just anyone"
• The Devil Wears Prada (entire fashion industry) with its cruel
idolization of the anorexic waif
• New York, period.In Miami there's a pizza place that serves salad, Pizza Rustica.
Unfailingly they get the order wrong – every time. They m…

9 Days of Atkins Hell & And 1 Great Lesson: No Sale Is Too Small

What an eventful 9 days it has been.
On a positive note, I am emerging from Week 1 of the Atkins Diet Plan relatively unscathed by the usual trio of "induction flu" symptoms: brain fog (left me literally dumb), tiredness, and a bit of muscle pain. Thank G-d for Google and the many Internet sufferers who reminded me to drink a lot of water, take calcium and potassium (salt), and be patient. 
Also a note of thanks to Chicken of the Sea for coming up with packets of wild-caught tuna and salmon that you can take anywhere and rip open at a moment's notice, relatively discreetly, so that you don't starve while in the company of others who aren't suffering quite the same way as you are. I am buying these for $1 apiece at CVS, which is a pretty good deal, and you can get them online too.

While I'm on this I will note that although I don't endorse any company or brand, Chicken of the Sea has a nice FAQ section on their website that addresses typical questions about m…

5 Issues Needing "Good Branding" - Not "Mental Environmentalism"

The L.A. Times reported yesterday on the decision to stop a planned anti-Israel ad campaign in Seattle from moving forward. Under the slogan "Israeli War Crimes: Your Tax Dollars At Work," the "Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign," attempted to brand Israel as a vicious victimizer of the Palestinian people that violates human rights on the Americans' dime.
In a brilliant response to this cover for anti-Semitism, the David Horowitz Freedom Center came up with some ads of its own that said "Palestinian War Crimes: Your Tax Dollars At Work," with countering images.
The point here is not to debate Mideast Politics. It is that the best response to "bad branding" is not "no branding," also known as "mental environmentalism" (clearing your head from branding altogether and refusing to add more brands to the fray.) Not only is this unrealistic in a capitalist economy, it also doesn't make sense from a psychological perspective. 

How the "Little Fockers" Brand Makes Sexism, Racism, and Anti-Semitism OK

First of all, don't believe the low IMDB rating of Little Fockers - it deserves a 9.5/10, not 5.5. I don't know who these 855 people were who voted but clearly they have no sense of humor. We were laughing literally the entire time, from beginning to end. We even clapped when it was over. 
I enjoyed the movie tremendously, even though it was full of objectionable messages.
For example, while it's true that the movie is fairly anti-sexist, telling us that the equality & emotional openness of the Fockers is healthier than the old-fashioned "he's the boss, keep everything hush-hush" style of the Byrnes family, there was an essential sexist message in the movie that bothered me: "Wives are there to be seen and not heard, and don't cause trouble with their emotions." 
Let's put aside the obvious example of sexism that is the cornerstone of the plot of the movie. I don't want to give it away, but if you watch it you'll know what I'm t…

Better than junk cereal brands: Good Mood Kid Friendly Natural Oatmeal

I made this up to get "certain people" to ingest lots of omega-3 and healthy oatmeal. Don't have to have all the nuts, of course, or the whipped cream, or even all the sugar, though it makes it edible for those used to processed junky cereal brands.I am strongly against resorting to artificial sweeteners unless you have to.Overall, this is a nutrition bargain that someone will actually eat.


Ingredients

1/2 cup oatmeal, unprocessed

1 cup water

3 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 cup walnut pieces

2 tablespoon Whipped cream



Steps

1. Boil water

2. Add oatmeal and let cook on low 5 min

3. Top with brown sugar, walnuts, and whipped cream

Try This Brand Mix @ Home: Pizza Rustica Salad, Made The Chop't Way

When you cross Pizza Rustica's ingredients with Chopt's emphasis on fine chopping, good mixing, freshness, and quality, you end up with the BEST salad on earth. If you're on Atkins, emphasize the greens, proteins and olive oil and watch the carbs. For low-fat diets, you can season it with lemon juice. I try to avoid processed dressings with artificial ingredients.


This salad makes me feel great. Enjoy!
Ingredients

3 cup spinach, arugula, or spring greens

1/2 cup chopped roasted eggplant

1/2 cup artichoke hearts

1/2 cup red onion, thinly chopped

1/2 cup red pepper, sliced

1/2 cup olives, black, chopped

1/2 cup cucumber, matchsticks

1 cup tomatoes, fresh, chopped

1/2 cup carrot, matchsticks

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, in oil, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, roasted or minced

1/4 cup basil, fresh

1 cup sliced hardboiled eggs

1 cup albacore tuna, plain, water-packed

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

3 tablespoon olive oil or dressing

1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt

1/2…

Brand Success Goes To Those Who Study It

Talk to someone who "gets" branding and they will likely be able to recount the Oprah-like "aha" moment when they started to comprehend how it works. I've heard things like:

* "It was like a lightbulb went off."

* "It's like a domino effect...once one domino fell into place, they all did."

When I began working as a brand consultant in 2001, the going was tough. Most of the time, what passed for "branding" was really advertising. And of course, if you aren't into marketing, pretty pictures that say "Buy Me" are more appealing and more intuitive as an investment in communication.

Man was it tough.

Customers had questions like:

"Where's the ROI in what you are suggesting?"

"I don't have time to do all this assessment and strategy - can you get me something fast?"

The ROI part was huge. (Similar in fact to trying to sell social media to those who have never used it before.) Of course it's a def…

With this brand the Nazis killed 6 million of my people (Jewish Museum, Miami)

The Pope's Call To Action

A portion of the Pope's Christmas message for 2010 has left some
people hopping mad:"In the 1970s, pedophilia was theorized as something fully in
conformity with man and even with children."In other words, he seems to be saying, "Excuse us for not doing
anything all these years—we thought the sexual abuse of children was
normal."I don't believe that this is what the Pope meant at all. But still, it
doesn't sound good. Singer and prominent Church critic Sinead
O'Connor, wrote a furious open letter to the Pope that reads, in part:"Exactly who held the theory [and]….Why in all the years since these
scandals broke out was yesterday the first mention of this
information?....The Holy Spirit requires you to familiarize yourself
with honesty and respect if you retain any desire to salvage the
remains of the church which has been ruined by its being allowed to
live by its own laws and not God's."I am a huge fan of Sinead O'Connor. But I don't thin…

Brand opportunity: Kill the puffy coats!

Ever noticed that women hate puffy coats, regardless of their age?

This winter I have heard from several women that they would rather look good than be warm. Literally I have heard, "I will not wear puffy coats because they make me look fat!"

I have also heard the opposite - "I wear puffy coats and I don't give a **** whether they make me look fat."

Either way though, the worry about fatness is always there.

Even though the coat makes no difference, truthfully.

Nevertheless - there is a real opportunity for someone to come in and generate buzz around affordable, stylish, super-warm coats that are NOT PUFFY.

Good luck!

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Lessons from the Trumps: Your Haircut & Your Personal Brand

The cornerstone of personal branding is trustworthiness. Did you ever stop to think that people might trust you, or not trust you, because of your haircut?

Exhibit A: The Trump family of personal brands.

Donald Trump and his son both have variants of the comb-over. The elder's haircut is non-greasy, while the younger one's is definitely of the greasy variant.

It is noteworthy that the "original" Donald manages to maintain a good brand, probably because of his straightforward demeanor and signature tagline, "You're fired!"

The younger one's definitely comes across as non-trustworthy. I venture to say this is in large part due to the hair grease. Similar, I think, to the issue Scott Disick faces in his battle to win the trust of Kourtney Kardashian's family.

Ivanka Trump, both in haircut and in demeanor, always looks and sounds trustworthy. Thus she is hire-able anywhere, a born CEO.

Ivanka's mom, Ivana, has an even better hairstyle in my view. It …

Who decides what is "common knowledge" when it comes to marketing claims?

Watching the movie Supersize Me, I was struck by something McDonald's said in response to a lawsuit against it by two obese young women.Apparently McD's defended itself in part by saying it's "common knowledge" that processed foods are less healthy than unprocessed foods.Actually in my experience this assertion is far from true. Just the opposite sometimes - there is the thought that if someone has "cooked the hell out of it," processed and pasteurized it and sealed it up tight in plastic, then it's much more safe than "unprotected" natural food.I myself did not know there was a difference between chicken nuggets and regular chicken, actually, because so often you see things like "100% white meat" on the package.Similarly I really thought Papa John's tagline, "Better Ingredients. Better Pizza" was a statement of fact.I am no rocket scientist but I do have a Ph.D. And I have been working in and studying marketing for…

Love is not a "flaky crust"

There is a TV commercial for either dough or cinnamon rolls (I can't remember which) that portrays the problem perfectly.Woman is shown holding up a tray of steaming-hot, freshly-baked, drizzling-sweet cinnamon buns before her gaspingly grateful husband and children.Of course all is orderly at this family dinner table. Mom's love, represented by cinnamon rolls, keeps everyone seated and smiling.In the fantasy world that advertisers create, food is love. More specifically, commercially prepared fast food is a stand-in for the fantasy of the perfect mother - or father. The real wish of the child, of course, is not for food. Kids, and adults, want attention and nurturance most of all. But since there is no way to commercialize this, we are bombarded with substitute symbols. We are supposed to feel that preparing and eating these foods either means giving love, or being loved by a caring parent.The culture during holiday season reinforces this. It's all about either shopping o…

Menschlachkeit: A Personal Branding Lesson from Apprentice Winner Brandy Kuentzel

The New 'Apprentice' Winner Is Brandy Kuentzel

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that my mother was finally victorious in getting me to watch The Apprentice.

I told her last night that I was watching and she got all excited. This was a great moment for her, I believe, as I never listen to anything she says, especially when she starts going on and on about it. (She absolutely hates my cooking, you should hear the lecture about my FANTASTIC chicken recipe: chicken thighs, skin on, broiled 5-7 minutes a side. She has to cook everything at 350 degrees for 1 hour and then let it sit out for 2. But that's another blog altogether).

Anyway, following is a slightly edited transcript of our conversation last night:

Ma: "So did you watch all the episodes?"

Me: "No, just the first two with the Kardashian perfume display and the commercial for Flo TV."

Ma: "So you don't know who won." (Yes, ma, you know more than I do - yet again!)

Me: "No.&q…

My Mother Was Right About The Apprentice

Over the past few months I've been telling my mom to watch The Millionaire Matchmaker. That show is so much fun to watch and so hilarious. I really get a kick out of it.

In turn she's been telling me to watch The Apprentice, but like a stubborn kid I've been putting her off.

Well you know what happens when moms suddenly stop telling you to do something. That's exactly when you become open to the idea that they've planted in your head.

So yesterday, when I happened to see The Apprentice available on Video on Demand, I decided to watch an episode.

It was fantastic TV! It taught me a lot about the workplace. And there were a couple of brand things in there that I would like to highlight today.

The episodes I caught were "1009" and "1010." Let's pull out three brand issues:

1. In 1009, they have to promote Kim Kardashian perfume in massive retailer Perfumania through an in-store display.

2. In 1010, they have to promote AT&T Mobile TV and "…

I have a problem with Valerie Bertinelli

Maybe Valerie Bertinelli didn't like herself when she looked like this, but I did.

I liked Valerie Bertinelli when she was regular-looking for the same reason I liked watching "One Day at a Time" when I was growing up.



If you're not familiar with the show, it was about a woman struggling to raise her daughters alone just after a divorce. There was something about that show that felt very honest and real. I felt like I understood where each character was coming from. The time I spent watching it was akin to reading a really good book. It was very far from junk TV.

Anyway. I read Valerie Bertinelli's book Losing It, and again found her to be refreshingly real. I admired her honesty and her willingness to share her feelings of shame with the world. (I don't think I'll ever look at a jalapeno cream cheese popper the same way again - let's just say I've lost my taste and leave it there.)

Similarly, I read Mackenzie Phillip's book High on Arrival (sh…

Music as a Vehicle for Nation-Branding

Three songs, three messages from both Israel and the U.S. about the desire for peace.

Amid all the hatred, a powerful and unifying vision that anyone, in any language or culture, can understand and relate to.

#1 - Subliminal & The Shadow - Tikva (Hope)



This is an English translation of the song.

I saw how many they went
Too many of them did not return
Friends separated, houses broken,
tears of families spilled

Buds of people flowers that didn't flower
The hope in our heads, the love in our hearts, the dream in our spirits so we continue in our path.

The silence has disappeared for it, again sounds of war
Another soldier returns, wrapped in what? In the flag of the country
Blood and tears absorbed by the land
And another shocked mother is left with just a picture
The hope is locked in the heart, the strong nation will not fold over
Because the son of a bitch that can stop Israel has not been born.

Give me the hope to accept what there isn't
The strength to change what there is.

Come let'…

The Real Future of Advertising

For too long, the ad industry has relied on their audience to be idiotic. The fashion brand Diesel doesn't mince words. It tells us directly: "Be Stupid."Are we really dumb? Or is Diesel just smartly confronting us with our intelligence, and then telling us to let go? More on that in a bit.But first: How pliable are consumers, still? Do we carelessly absorb marketing messages the same way Silly Putty picks up the ink from a cartoon book? Clearly, marketers think so, or want to. It's hard to understand, since social media is so mainstream now, and everything is on Twitter in about five seconds. They know Wikileaks is coming for them, and yet they still embrace terms like "neuromarketing." The fact of the matter is, despite all the talk about "engaging the bloggers," marketers continue to put the reputation of the industry at risk by doing things to purposefully deceive and confuse the customer. They flood people with enticing images and create a pe…