Thursday, April 17

Keep Your Customer at the Center

Here's the latest installment of my Entrepreneur series on content marketing.

All about keeping your customer at the center.

Give it a read here if you'd like ... hope you enjoy it.

What's your experience?  JIM.

Wednesday, April 16

Even Beard Transplants

I spent the day out in Williamsburg, Brooklyn last weekend, a place recently noted as the "hipster" capital of the country, if not world.  Easy to see why ... it was quite a cool crowd and the streets were filled with boutiques, restaurants, bars, and lots in between.

A couple things to note:

No tourists.  These were all NYers, no doubt about it.  While Manhattan has become the land of the visitor and the part-timer, Williamsburg is feeling like NY used to be back in the day.  A big mix of ages, races, and flavors living and socializing together, as is NY.

In addition to no tourists, there were no chains.  Not one in sight, not even a Starbucks.  The store fronts were filled with entrepreneurs and small business owners, and if there was anything that might resemble a chain (like the Goorin Brothers hat store), it certainly didn't feel like a mass market chain.

And just as noticeable ... facial hair.  It's been noted that the craze for facial hair started with the hipsters in Brooklyn and I can now certainly see why.  There was barely a clean-shaven guy around, sans me.  Facial hair is where it's at.  So much so that it's been reported that many in the neighborhood are starting to get beard transplants.  Transplants of facial hair!  You know, to fill in the patches or to add scruff to what otherwise might be a baby-face.  Even beard transplants!  Evidently the procedure takes hair from another part of your body and transplants it on your face.  It grows naturally to fill in either a five o'clock shadow, a scruff, or a full on grown-out beard.  Wow!

It was quite the day, I have to say.  Something I plan to rinse and repeat often.  Next time I won't shave though.

What's your experience?  JIM.

World's Toughest Job

Here's a must see video from a surprising brand.

Hint ... we are ramping up for the next pop culture moment.  But it's not what you might expect.

This video has gone completely viral, very quickly, to celebrates this moment.  It starts with a simple question ... would you like to apply to what looks like is the "world's toughest job?"

In a very unexpected way.  From a very unexpected brand.  Give it a look ... "World's Toughest Job."  You have to watch the video to find out the brand who created it, and why.

That's a wow.  Wow!  What's your experience?  JIM.

Monday, April 14

Mad Men, As Tweeted

(this article also appears on Huffington Post)

Sunday night was the Season Premiere of Mad Men, the final season I should say.

With so much hype, you'd think we were gearing up for the Super Bowl.  But honestly other than the big game, this is the biggest event in marketing/advertising of the year so I guess it all makes sense.

So what's a guy like me to do with an event of this magnitude?  Hold a Twitter party!

A bunch of us jumped onto the hashtag #MadMenExp to chat about the show, the marketing, and of course all the brands participating.   Here are a few observations:

First of all, we got a serious lesson in marketing with the "4 P's".  I felt like I was a freshman in college again!  Fascinating to note that if you flash forward to modern times, we are well past the 4 P's at this point.  But at the time, it was a marketing format that just had to be followed.

Secondly, we got a sneak peek at integrated marketing ... the buzz word du jour.  The "client" actually coached his team by saying, "advertising is just a small piece of the marketing mix and it's better when it's integrated with the other P's"  Indeed.  A man after my own heart.

The "tagline" was alive and well Sunday night, signaling a by-gone era when the art was in cracking the code on a  tagline.  Ah ... the way we were ... life was so much simpler then ... or has time re-written every line?

The surprise of the night, if anything, was the lack of brands running contextual advertising ... having a Mad Men theme that is.  Southwest Airlines did it best in social media by "serving Mad Men since 1971."  Charles Schwab talked about "accountability" which I'm sure was a nod to Don.

Finally, we caught a glimpse of what is perhaps fueling today's current craze:  facial hair!  It seemed to be bubbling at the surface on the show while today it's almost impossible to find a clean-shaven agency man.

My predictions for the final season ahead:  more of the same in terms of plot lines but hopefully much more activity from the brands.  That's what makes it all the more interesting in my book.  Oh, and more facial hair.

What's your experience?  JIM.