As the world has gotten more complicated, managing through chaos has become extremely profitable. The Harvard Business Journal regularly features the topic. Leadership institutes have increased programs around the subject. Specialty business books abound. It’s a fascinating topic. Perhaps because it’s so elusive. How do you reach a goal when obstacles are constantly put in your way? How do you gain control when your world starts to spiral? How do you get your brand back on top? Continue reading
Welcome to the South, ladies and gentleman. Where people choose sweet tea over water, complete strangers act like they’ve known you for years and butter is a major food group. Imagine my delight when I stumbled across an article in Advertising Age entitled “Butter’s Back–Sales Rise as Consumers Seek Pure Ingredients”. Could it be? We’ve been saying it for years down here: butter is better. It’s the real thing–no substitutes, no artificial imitations. According to the article, butter sales totaled $1.5 billion last year, higher than both its competitors, margarine and olive oil. It doesn’t end there: predictions indicate that butter will grow volume sales by 10% in the next five years. It seems that consumers just can’t get enough. Why the sudden change of heart? It all has to do with being real. Continue reading
This morning we read an article by Brian Miller, strategy director at Sense Worldwide and contributor to Fast Company. He argued that those who focus on branding above all else are at best misguided, and at worst wasting their company’s (or clients’) valuable time. He believes that brands are merely a by-product of a company’s offerings and the communication that accompanies them—that companies should focus on the product, and let the branding chips fall where they may. It’s a compelling argument, but it’s not without flaws. Continue reading
Instant gratification is running amok. Why does easy access demand an immediate response? This notion is more understandable in a business setting—where the weight of a company’s money and time is constantly pressing—but it doesn’t end at the office door. I, rarely witnessed in the wild without my iTether, have been ridiculed by friends for not responding within minutes to casual, generalized salutations. There was no topic they wished to discuss, no statement they wished to make, no question they wished to pose, and yet I was saddled with their demand for an immediate, even superficial response. Continue reading
Ever been to a Denny’s at 2:00 a.m? Yes you have don’t lie.
You might not remember the debauchery that preceded your need to order recuperative food stuff at questionable hours, but you might remember executing your fine gastronomic decision-making with the simplest of gestures: pointing lazily at a photo.
No, it isn’t the most elegant example of our visually-fixated culture, but it is a demonstrative one. Also, it’s funny. I heard you chortle. Continue reading
My favorite president brand is Ronald Reagan. I was not a fan while he was in office, and am not sure how much I am now because there are still some things he did that I didn’t agree with, but as far as a legacy that millions of people still hold in the highest regard, Reagan is hard to beat. Every president is remembered for this and that, but Reagan gets “The Eighties” in his library. The fall of communism, the rise of fajitas, bands like Yaz, U2 and Run-D.M.C., parachute pants, “Thriller.” It all happened on Ronnie’s watch. It happened because of unprecedented prosperity. Whether you did well under trickle-down economics or got swallowed by its tide, Reagan’s impact was enormous. You can make the case for the strength of any presidential brand over another, but this is how I see it and I’m sticking to my guns because I’m American, it’s President’s Day, and Obama, for now, still says I can.
(While my role is in marketing, I remain a journalist at heart and therefore retain the right to be politically nebulous.)