New Hats for a New Year

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New hats for a new year. Once again the symbolism is so elegantly peeking through by virtue of new hats. Out with the old, in with the new.  New hats representing new beginnings and new possibilities. Regardless of what we choose to celebrate in the month of December we love to postpone the “new beginning.”  We hear the verbiage all around us “I’ll start my diet tomorrow” and “I’ll workout after the new year.”  The anticipation of a new start is in the air and the motivation is stirring. We are all fluttering with the excitement of a new beginning and a clean slate for another year that will bring more possibilities than the last.

The diet commercials are filling the airwaves with encouraging promises of a motivating start to 2013. Make this the year.  A brand campaign that I find rather nicely done is the recent Special K message. Having people weigh themselves in Times Square with messages of encouragement.  I have seen this commercial about seven times in the past 18 hours so they understand the importance of timing with consumers and despite the overly obvious messaging the commercial is rather nicely done. Personalizing a weight loss program to the individual based around their goals, their lifestyle with personalized messages of encouragement is a great concept. Customizing and focusing on the positive reinforcement rather than the negative is the right path for a positive future.

As we enter a new year, we continue to evolve the personal health care message from a negative concept like dieting, into weight loss and whole health.  Branding is creating a message for consumers to focus on the positive outcomes of mind, body and health.  Makes sense.  The human soul has a stronger urge to fulfill positive outcomes rather than negative ones.  Our brains our wired to succeed when we are constantly being sent positive reinforcement.  The marketing arena has caught on to the fact that much like a child sitting in the classroom who wants to be praised and told they can succeed, the brand message also needs to send a message of positivity and inspiration to its audience encouraging success for the new year. We rely on this passive encouragement to sustain our resolutions and goals.  The brand message becomes a partner as to how an individual will define and achieve success in the new year.  At least the goal of a good brand is to form this partnership.  A relationship one might say, but not an unhealthy reliance.

As we enter 2013, new hopes and dreams are filling our minds.  Take a few extra minutes every day for yourself and make this YOUR YEAR.  Focus on the positive influences.  Focus on the positive experiences and maintain the plans you set in January.  It is always difficult to get a treadmill or a bike at the gym in January, but it amazingly begins to open and by March you seem to have no problem finding a spot.  Most of us procrastinate and give up because we forget about the good things that we can do and focus on the painful journey.  Don’t give up!  The end result is worth it.  I wish you much success in choosing your brand partnerships along the way.

There’s an app for that, right? (The best 50 free app’s of 2012 according to pcmag.com)

Photo Credit: pcmag.com

I feel that we live in a society that believes that there is an app for everything.  The next generation of children thinks that all of life’s problems can be solved by an app.  That the Apple mothership is going to one day pull us up from wherever we are, locating us by the GPS function in our iPhone’s to connect us with something that is bigger and greater.

Well I’ve got news for everybody out there that believes that the world’s problems can be solved by an app, it’s called reality.  We need to work hard as a society to address these problems in the world and make sure that they are taken care of.  We cannot continue to believe that someone else or something else will take care of them for us.

The simple development of the app itself captures the entire entrepreneurial spirit that this country was founded upon.  The drive to have a happy and successful life and create a world that is better for our children than it was for us.  The development of something that makes our lives easier is exactly what we strive for on a consistent basis.  Just remember these apps don’t develop themselves. They are developed by smart people, enthusiastic people.  These hard-working individuals stay up nights and days on end and work endless hours to make sure that we have the ability to find out how many of our friends are located within a mile from us.

They make sure that we understand how many calories we ate at lunch or how many minutes it takes for someone to go to the restroom.  They enlighten us with the complexities of exploring the solar system by simply aiming our phones in the air and keep us entertained with angry birds and popping fake plastic bubble wrap.  They have the ability to both amaze and entertain.  That is their beauty.

However, in a generation built on instant gratification and mobile technology we need to realize that it takes hard work for something to actually come to life.  We need to understand and teach our kids that not every day is great, not every day is easy and not everything can be solved by an app.  We cannot hide behind our iPhone and pretend that we don’t see the person next to us.

Here’s am experiment for us all to try.  Tomorrow, try putting your phone down or in your pocket as you are out shopping or waiting in line for the Hobbit premiere.  Try actually looking up to say hello to the person next to you.  You might realize that the world’s problems could be solved by a simple smile and a few kind words, instead of a complex algorithmic formula or code chain.

The iPhone is an amazing device.  Technology is a beautiful thing.  We just cannot forget what created it in the first place – human thought, ingenuity, hard work and a drive for a better world.  Regardless of how we all feel about this technological world we live in I am also a tech geek who loves the iphone.  It has transformed how we interact with each other as much as it’s older brother, the ipod, did to revolutionize how we listen and share music.  This is the world we live in and love and one I look forward to for the future.

For everyone looking to score the best app’s for the new year, I have a review of the top 50 apps of 2012 as decided by experts at PC Magazine.  Enjoy.

PCMag.com The 50 Best Free iPhone Apps of 2012 http://bit.ly/Ta11QT

A marketers dream…my wife

A marketers dream...my wife

Anthropologie.  Have you ever been in this eclectic mainstream shop?  It’s my go-to for my wife, Holly.  I can never go wrong with Anthropologie.

Aside from shopping at the actual location I know when Holly has received a catalog in the mail.  She takes the matte finish book filled with artsy photography, pours a cup of tea and settles herself into a cozy spot to study each and every detail.  It is beautifully done, but we’re not talking about a novel, we’re talking about a catalog.

Once the catalog ritual is over I will find the pages earmarked and neat little inked stars placed next to “most wanted” items.  Sometimes I wish it was electronic and I would automatically be notified when an item was selected so I could order it for her with simplicity and the confidence of a successful purchase.  I know this is possible, but until then I will have to rely on those folded and scribbled pages for guidance.

Last weekend we drove to Cincinnati to go shopping and have dinner.  Shopping is code for “I want to go to Anthropologie.”  Much like her cozy catalog ritual, once we enter the shop I’ve lost her.  She’s lost to the smells, engulfed by the colors and the maze that will keep me looking for her at an hour at the minimum.  Luckily,  they have realized this is a common factor in many men’s lives and placed very comfortable couches at the entrance when the search becomes exhausting.

Anthropologie loves my wife.  Our house is adorned with small European style wine glasses, vintage style linens and coffee table books.  She has retro-style sunglasses, scarves and dresses reminiscent of the 1920’s.  All thanks to Anthropologie. On our recent trip she handed me a rich green box.  She delicately opened the box and a thin glass tube filled with perfume was adorned with an ornate floral lid.  She told me that she loved the smell, but I knew better.  Underneath the fragile glass vile, a bright floral fabric lined the box.  They had done it again. Holly was not in love with the product, per se, she was in love with the packaging.  The product was a bonus.  They could have placed water in that bottle and it wouldn’t have mattered, its all about the experience.  Price, irrelevant, it’s more about the presentation than the product in her eyes.  The art of packaging is a clear winner in her book and quite often gets rewarded handsomely.

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Holly is a marketers muse.  She is an empty canvas for us to paint our product masterpiece.  She seeks the extravagant from the ordinary.  She rewards the efforts of the Brand Manager’s consumer insights with an open wallet and strong voice that tells everyone around her how great the product is.  She is the ultimate consumer who we all dreamed about in our Marketing classes and appreciates the beauty and effort that goes into the complete marketing mix.  She applauds each “P” being carefully thought out, not just completed.

I love my wife for the deep appreciation she has for the black art of marketing that has been my life for the past eighteen years, but my wallet has also felt the pain of this perfect purchase experience that she seeks on a daily basis.

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