Originally posted on Tennessean.com.
Nashville has seen a dizzying explosion in population and reputation. That has pros and cons. Continue Reading →
This is the ninth of Havas PR’s “11 Trends for 2016.”
What stops a great world city from being the place to be? Some people might think it’s terrorist attacks such as 9/11/2001 in New York; London on 7/7/2005; and Paris on 1/7/2015 and 11/13/2015. There’s no argument that all were horrible. It’s too early to say for Paris, but it looks now as if the New York and London terrorism acts barely touched the appeal of those big cities. The population of New York City has grown to its highest ever. Admittedly, a lot of the growth has been in Brooklyn rather than Manhattan, but that has far more to do with affordability than security. And the population of greater London has grown by 12 percent since 2001, with 100,000 a year growth since 2008.
Pharma Marketers: Don’t Ignore Men
(Medical Marketing & Media, 05.11.15)
As direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising spend continues to increase (to $4.5 billion in 2014, according to MM&M), the billion-dollar question remains: Are pharmaceutical marketers effectively engaging the right audience?
The Growing Connected Health and Smart Home Industries
The smart home is an emerging, high-growth market attracting many players, both old and new. With aggressive marketing and word-of-mouth campaigns, smart home products and services are gaining awareness and adoption among consumers. Many purchase one smart device at a time to solve an individual problem, while others purchase through a service provider that offers a bundle of products and services. Currently, about 10% of U.S. broadband households now have some smart home product, service or both.
This Is Your Office, if Ex-Goldman Twins Have Their Way
(Bloomberg Business, 23.10.15)
Last October a New York startup called Delos, run by twin brothers who were once partners at Goldman Sachs, published what may be the most marketable proposition in real estate short of a front lawn overlooking the Fountain of Youth.
With Its Eye on Consumers, Health Care Attempts a Shift from Volume to Value
(Ad Exchanger, 20.10.15)
I used to hear that health care was behind other industries when it comes to digital technology adoption and delivering immersive consumer experiences. It may be behind CPG, retail, finance and travel, but it is by no means slower. The industry is evolving quickly, largely because it is finally putting the consumer at the center of its ecosystem, as opposed to the health system, provider, channel or technology. The moment the consumer becomes the center of an industry ecosystem, the opportunities and the challenges become fairly consistent and industry agnostic.
“We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.” —George Washington
[Originally posted on Forbes.com.]
It’s hard to imagine an American equivalent of “Coronation Street” or “EastEnders,” those far-from-bubbly soaps that have been constant features of British TV for 55 years and 30 years, respectively. To American eyes, those scripted shows look amazingly and depressingly realistic. It’s all gritty slice-of-ordinary-life stuff in humdrum, ordinary places where no normal person would aspire to live. Americans like their soaps to be more aspirational—or at least have plenty of intriguing characters (likability isn’t a prerequisite, but it does help) and sparkling one-liners. Two words: “Downton Abbey.”
[Originally posted on the Huffington Post.]
For any serious student of marketing and media seeking a perfect pop culture storm, I give you the man currently dominating the race to be the U.S. Republican Party’s 2016 presidential candidate. Before Donald Trump wisecracked and bad-mouthed his way to global media prominence as the political maverick of the moment, he had already had a decade of celebrity as the host and hard-assed boss of the reality show “The Apprentice.” And before that, he had made megabucks as a real estate developer and dealmaker.
Burberry to Launch First Brand Channel on Apple Music
(Mobile Marketing, 15.09.15)
British fashion label Burberry will be the first brand to have a dedicated channel on Apple Music, following a deal between the iconic luxury designer and the tech giant.
How Is Digital Changing the Real Estate Game?
Digital has played a pivotal role in shortening the time cycle of property purchase process by making the much-needed market intelligence available to those who need it the most.
The Secret Ingredients to a Successful Branding Strategy
When it comes to branding, there’s no easy recipe for success. Branding is an imperfect science that boils down to constant change—based on where you are, where you want to be and, most importantly, what the market is doing.
Brands’ Inane ‘Visions’ Have Lost Touch with What Consumers Really Use Them for
(Marketing Week, 20.05.15)
Brand purpose, content marketing and the belief that millennials are looking for ‘more than just a brand’ are leading to brand managers creating brand visions that have nothing to do with their actual product or consumer.
“A brand is a metaphorical story that connects with something very deep—a fundamental appreciation of mythology.” —Scott Bedbury
“A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels.” Albert Einstein said that, but we don’t need to be geniuses to implement new thinking in business. We only need real leadership that’s innovative and courageous enough to evolve and take action now. That’s how we close the growing opportunity gaps within the three pillars of workplace/workforce, external partnerships and the marketplace/consumer. We must see these opportunities everywhere every day and anticipate the unexpected, sow those opportunities and unleash our passionate pursuits, grow those opportunities with a strategic focus and entrepreneurial spirit, and share opportunities with a generous purpose.
Forget Omnichannel: The New Goal Is Omniexperience
Every retail business in the world is on the hunt for solutions to help ease the growing pains caused by digital disruption. Omnichannel strategies that provide a seamless experience for the consumer across multiple platforms–online, mobile, in-store–have been an evolution for a lot of brands, but for some companies it’s not enough.
Can Subway Freshen Up Its Image After Jared?
For 15 years, Fogle has been known as the “Subway guy.” His story of dramatic weight loss became the centerpiece of Subway’s marketing campaign. Now, the chain has suspended its relationship with Fogle after law enforcement searched his home in connection with a criminal investigation.
Why Don’t More Big Brands Realise the Importance of Personalised Attention?
(Marketing Week, 20.05.15)
Why are most brands unable to convey a feeling of personalised attention? Are big brands just lazy, expecting customers to fall into their laps?
“I did everything in my power to give my brokers brand identity and clout in the market. I saw my job as parent to build them up and if I took care of them, then they would take care of their customer.” —Barbara Corcoran
Real Estate Marketing: The Allure of a Lifestyle Brand
(Gensler on Lifestyle, 10.02.15)
Consumer brands have long been able to attract customers by creating an entire lifestyle around their brand: images, messages and experiences that suggest a common point of view, a shared set of beliefs, membership in a tribe. The same holds true with hospitality brands. Just think of the letter W and not only does an aesthetic spring to mind, but you can also guess what kind of music will be playing in the lobby, what items will be in the mini bar, even how the other guests will be dressed. That’s the power of branding. Brands are about more than just a product or an ad; the logo is really just a shorthand symbol for a whole series of attributes and experiences—physical, verbal, and emotional.
Lifestyle Brands Are Acquiring Their Way to Becoming Tech Companies
It’s no fun playing catchup. In the fall Under Armour overtook Adidas for the first time in sportswear sales, but the athletic apparel and gear company is still far behind Nike. Under Armour is now trying to get up to speed in the digital space, accelerated by its recent acquisitions of the fitness and nutrition-tracking tools MyFitnessPal and Endomondo. In 2013, the sportswear maker also acquired MapMyFitness.
Use Lifestyle Content to Revamp Your Company’s Marketing Strategy
Disney knows what its customers love and that’s just what it gives them. The entertainment media giant understands that a well-proportioned content strategy is crucial to effective marketing.
Airlines as Lifestyle Brands May Be the Future of Air Travel
With competition increasing from all corners, airlines have to find a new way to adapt or die. Profiting from a lifestyle association with their passengers and building that brand loyalty could well be the missing link in airline evolution. Survival of the fittest isn’t just a Nike thing.
“Thought, not money, is the real business capital.” —Harvey S. Firestone
[Originally posted on Forbes.com.]
I recently got a humorous pitch from a real estate agent in New Hampshire, where, he wrote in his email, “there is a theme-branding wave that is part capricious, part serious business.” At first his proposal made me giggle, but then I saw how it reflects the ways in which personal branding is growing into community branding and vice versa.
People have long considered where they live to be a central part of their identities and personal brands. Being based in New York City sends a different message from being based in Connecticut, and both tell a vastly different story from having chucked it all to live on a ranch in Montana. States are part of our narratives.
The libertarian-leaning “Live Free or Die” state seems particularly suited to this phenomenon. Its population is small, its political persuasion clearly contrarian and its living conditions harsh. The realtor who pitched me, Mark Warden, had figured out how to take “Brand New Hampshire” to an extreme that, in turn, helped him build his own brand as a property broker and political candidate.
His Free State Project, he told me, has inspired more than 1,000 “liberty activists,” in his words, to move to New Hampshire. The project’s motto is “Liberty in Our Lifetime,” and its concept is to concentrate a large number of libertarian-leaning folks in a place where they can reduce the size and scope of government and improve individual freedom.
Here’s where it gets funny: The FSP mascot is the porcupine—“certainly cute and non-aggressive, but you don’t want to step on them!” says the group’s website—which points out how personal branding can require an occasional willingness to sacrifice some dignity in order to create a memorable identity. The project has spawned an array of branded events, including an annual festival that draws nearly 1,000 people from across the country, the Porcupine Freedom Festival (PorcFest for short). It’s held in a private campground, and Warden calls it “Burning Man meets FreedomFest.”
Warden built his real estate business model around this same branding and focuses his marketing on New Hampshire transplants who are drawn to the state for its ideology, telling “liberty-minded activists” that he speaks their language and understands their needs.
He’s not the first to have adopted the state’s politically oriented branding and the FSP’s particular strain of it for his own personal brand: Porc Manor is a website that caters to landlords and renters of libertarian persuasion, and Porc Therapy is a New Hampshire–produced live radio show and podcast that offers “pro-freedom relationship talk” and focuses on “happiness and freedom” and “explores an eclectic mix of topics, all of which fall under the umbrella of ways that we can all free our minds and attain more liberty in our lives.”
Using the mascot to such an extent might be borderline silly, but nonetheless it seems to be working for these porcupreneurs. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) And it’s yet another clear illustration about how branding is everything and everything is branding these days.
This is the eighth in a series of 12 posts expounding on the 2011 forecasts in the annual trends report from Salzman, president of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR and an internationally respected trendspotter.
What is anything, or anyone, worth today? It’s clearly a question for which the old “lies, damned lies and statistics” quote could be resurrected. This is to say that when talking about worth, things have gone—frankly—berserk. Paul Krugman, way back in January 2009, editorialized on “Wall Street voodoo” and illustrated it with a case study of fictional “zombie bank” Gotham, still operating as if alive but actually dead bust.
Just last week, we heard a lot more about how the Fed kept dead banks alive. Risking the taxpayers’ dime (or bullion), the Fed paid out about $3.3 trillion as the “lender of last resort” in overnight loans—daily during most of 2008 and 2009. The recipients were not just U.S. financial companies such as Goldman Sachs, but international banks, too, plus Harley-Davidson and GE (the Fed bought commercial paper from them) and Verizon (for which the Fed picked up debt issued by the company twice, totaling $1.5 billion).
If you’re seeing double, well, that’s exactly what I’m getting at. “Worth” discrepancies, whether you’re a Living-Bigger-Than-the-Joneses or a Downsized-Me, can make your head feel like it’s about to explode. Remember Big Daddy from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and the “powerful smell of mendacity” he whiffed? Burl Ives’ ire applies today to the “worth” question, because people just don’t really trust in what worth means, much less whether it sticks. And why should we? With lines on graphs swinging as erratically as a derailed roller coaster—gold and silver rising one day; bonds leveraging stocks, and vice versa; bonuses here and gone, then back—it’s a world of confusion over what “worth” really is.
Even if the equation behind relativity were seminal in modern times, the term “it’s all relative” depends on where you sit. You might be throwing darts at your old Albert Einstein poster if you’re the one who paid $500,000 for your house in 2006 and it appraised for half that last week. Or you might be kissing it if you bought an ounce of gold for $550 that same year and sold it for $1,300 in October.
It’s all relative in offices across America, too. Consider how the downsizing of workers has evolved through the camera lens, using two movies released a decade apart. In 1999, Office Space introduced “the Bobs,” bad guys who behaved like bumblers riding the elevators down from corporate to issue pink slips. By 2009, there was George Clooney’s character in Up in the Air, no bumbler but a spotless, soulless “termination engineer.”
In real life, lots of people have found this reward after years of solid work and overtime: half an hour to clean out your desk, with a security escort watching. In the meantime, the boss might still be seeing six-figure bonuses, a Rolex and a humidor filled with Cohibas on retirement. And the No. 1–paid CEO of 2009 was Oracle’s Larry Ellison, at $84.5 million in compensation. Big money will keep smelling like bad eggs in 2011, for certain, as many Americans have either personally experienced unemployment or know somebody who has been a victim of the zero net job creation of the past decade or of inhumane layoffs.
Look for issues of worth and compensation (and overcompensation) to be very much on people’s minds next year, although we might find more questions than answers. Wal-Mart is facing a multibillion-dollar class-action lawsuit on gender pay equity, with allegations it has paid women less than men and given them fewer promotions. According to the latest Census, U.S. women still earned only 77 cents on the male dollar in 2008 (African-American women earned 68 cents, and Latinas 58 cents). But a recent survey found young women’s salaries overtaking those of their male peers to the tune of 8 percent across major metropolitan centers. So which is it: worth more or worth less? Getting the picture?
Even as these topics continue to dominate the news, and people hear about executive parachutes, multimillion-dollar bonuses and even tax cuts for the richest—and as confusion continues about “pay” versus “compensation”—what’s going to be more and more valuable now are emotional connections. The word “worth” for many Americans will return to that real worth that lies in emotional wealth: the love and respect of family and dear friends. And compensation will be far more about emotional currency. Emo bling (that’s emotional bling) is going to be compensating people for their losses, supporting them in their new ventures, and creating systems of relationships that not only feel real but also are real, as friends go the distance for one another.
Everything from the business handshake to the three-cheek kiss will start looking different—on a measurement of trust through deed. It’s a values-set shift possibly unparalleled, and it looks quite the contrary of the famous painting of businessmen in mackintoshes dropping out of the sky. (Or was Magritte being psychic about parachutes, like the one that let Dick Cheney down easily into the office of the vice president a decade ago?)
For all of us, lightbulbs about worth will turn on in 2011, showing relationships to be a much better bet than the cold bling of fleeting fancies and luxuries. As Thomas Edison once said, “I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world.”
“Mad as Hell—and Only Getting Madder”
Photo Credit: creativecommons/ Marion Doss