Wednesday, July 24, 2013


“Life is change; growth is optional.” – Peter Watson (Astrologer)

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Change is a topic I often post about – rapid as everyone claims or slow and gradual?

Saturday morning I read a post (Will You Be Ready?) from one of my favorite bloggers, Tanveer Naseer, a leadership coach from Montreal.  Tanveer had the opportunity recently to make a commencement speech at a regional high school.  His speech addressed how this generation of students, the next wave, has grown up in a world where change not only has been grand in size, but great in speed.  Consequently, change is a new constant, quoting Tanveer.

Later in the weekend I visited the National Constitutional Center here in Philadelphia to view the extraordinary exhibit “The 1968 Exhibit.”  Let me try and summarize what happened back in 1968.  Our country was overwhelmed by the war in Vietnam; struggling with civil rights, women’s lib, and migrant workers rights (Cesar Chavez); experiencing a new culture of drugs, rock & roll and sex; witnessed the assassinations of MLK, RFK as well as riots in Chicago during the Democratic Convention.  I was a teenager back then.  I remember it all very clearly, turbulent times, except I was too engrossed by Major League Baseball, the Year of the Pitcher.

After viewing the exhibit I asked myself what is different about the change we witnessed back in 1968 compared to the students Tanveer addressed in Montreal.  Have they witnessed change in the last five years, greater than what I witnessed back in 1968?  I concluded: change is change; change is a constant in everyone’s life, whether it is rapid or slow and gradual.  As I stated in my blink: “Life is change; growth is optional.”  If your goal is to grow, the key will be to adapt!  

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Just Like Apple

They’re back!  Twinkies from the newly formed Hostess Brands LLC hit supermarket shelves yesterday in great aniticipation thanks to their advanced marketing movement titled “The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever.”  Brilliant!  As a marketing geek, I recognized they created pre-launch buzz just like Apple! 

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Hostess Brands LLC began revving up their marketing machine back in June with a website that featured a countdown clock and a Facebook page that was updated every day.  As of this morning they had over 452k likes.  Consequently, back in June, people began tweeting about Twinkies hitting supermarket shelves 7/15.  In addition to generating online buzz, the newly formed company based in Kansas City implemented some classic marketing touch points for both Twinkies and their other snack cakes – a giant billboard in Time Square, a giant picture of a chocolate cupcake on the side of the Hotel Figueroa in Los Angeles.  In addition, they handed out T-Shirts (“Prepare Your Cake Face”) and buttons in NYC, Chicago and Los Angeles.  In return they are encouraging consumers to post their Vine and Instagram videos on  They even launched a Twinkie food truck that will leave Times Square later today and travel cross country passing out samples.

Hybrid marketing (the utilization of the collaborative tools of Web 2.0 blended with classic marketing) at its very best.  Pre-launch buzz just like Apple!

Time to check out #Twinkies and follow the buzz.   


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Social Enterprise Smarts = Profitability Plu$

Recently I moderated a round table discussion on social media at a conference.  I am amazed how many people still have not boarded the bandwagon.  Consequently, they are not positioning their organizations for the future – Social Enterprise Smarts = Profitability Plu$.

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The 2013 CMO Survey, a group created back in 2008 (Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, McKinsey & Company, AMA, etc.), predicted earlier this year, social media spending as a percentage of marketing budgets, will more than double over the next few years.  Currently social media accounts for approximately 8% of marketing spending according to the CMO Survey; 11.5% within a year; 22% within five years.  A year ago, IBM published their Global 2012 survey of 1,700 CEOs.  The survey revealed that only 16% of CEOs were active on social media.  They projected that 57% were expected to be more involved over the next 3-5 years.

Why are companies waiting?  It is time to build a social enterprise!  Based on what I have learned as I continue my online experimentations, the foundation of a social enterprise will require four basic steps as follows:

1.      Knowledge Workers – Employees who exhibit “social smarts” thanks to their ability to embrace social technologies that improve their overall communication and collaborative skills.  Consequently knowledge workers will be better informed.  This first step requires training and resources!

2.      Social CRM (Customer Relationship Management) – Once trained, knowledge workers will connect and get closer to their key customers via ongoing engagement.

3.      Collaboration – McKinsey projected back in 2012, knowledge workers will increase their productivity as high as 20 to 25 percent due to their ability to collaborate more effectively via social tools (e.g., company intranet) both internally and externally (e.g., key suppliers).

4.      Big Data – The final step!  Big Data will be the byproduct of any company that embraces social technologies.  The key will be to assign skilled resources to analyze Big Data in real time.  As a result, social enterprises will make better decisions across the board that result in increased profitability.

Social Enterprise Smarts = Profitability Plu$.  Are you ready to walk the talk?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Positioning! Positioning! Positioning!

Last week, four full page ads for Rolex, the official sponsor of Wimbledon appeared in the International Hearald Tribune.  Elegance is an attitude,” is the new tag line for Longines watch’s television ad. This is a good time to check out what is going on in the luxury watch industry.

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In researching this post, I learned watch brands U.S. advertising spending reached an all time high in 2012.  Total spending was approximately $400 million, an increase of 9.3 percent from 2011.  The list included 60 brands that spent more than $1 million.  For the record, Rolex was the biggest spender for the third straight year – U.S. ad spending of $52.1 million.

We all know that media expenditures does not necessarily translate into sales, but in the luxury watch category, brands know that they need to be highly persuasive, thus differentiate themselves from their competition.  Positioning!  Positioning!  Positioning!  Consequently three segments have evolved in luxury watches.  They are as follows:

·    Fashion Brands – Watches that represent an expression of trends and style (e.g., Swatch).

·       Personal Lifestyle Brands – Brands in this segment (e.g., Tissot) connect with their target audience by focusing in on their personal lifestyle interests thus include travel and music in their advertising.

·   Luxury Indulgence – The primary communication for these brands (e.g., Rolex) is quality craftsmanship/exclusivity equals opulent luxury.

As a marketing geek, over the years I have learned the value of a concise positioning statement which consists of three elements: 1.) Target Audience, 2.) Frame of Reference; and 3.) Point of Difference.  To me there is more clutter than ever in every market category, both in the number of products and services that are being offered and the amount of noise thanks to the new collaborative tools of Web 2.0.  Therefore I recommend marketers exercise the discipline to take time out and revisit their positioning statements on a regular basis and get into the heads of their target audience.  

What is the position of your brand?