Monday, May 13, 2019

Does Your Brand Walk in Your Customer's Shoes?

Call me a little old-fashioned because I may be one of the last remaining people on the planet who still use a printer, and specifically, a color printer. The reason is simple: sometimes, I encounter documents that I want to keep or re-read at a later date. But to do that, I need a printer. For those of you who may be concerned, I support the environment and always use recycled paper. Recently, I had an in-store experience at office superstore Staples that was not worthy of clicking the brands “easy button.”

I wanted to purchase new ink cartridges for my printer, and I needed four: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Unfortunately, the store only had the individual cartridges for my printer. Normally, the four cartridges come in one single package at a lower price than each individual cartridge. Each cartridge costs about $20 for a total of $80. But when the four cartridges are sold as a set, the cost is somewhere between $60 to $70. So, there was a difference of $10 to $20, that I was now going to have to pay.

At the check-out counter, I explained the price difference to the salesperson and mentioned that there were no sets on display. So, I asked if Staples could match the price of the set and charge me the lower price – instead of charging me the total of four individual cartridges.

The salesperson adamantly shook his head and told me that my request could not be honored. He did not even attempt to find a manager or ask any other employees. He made the decision immediately.

So, since I had items to print and didn’t really have time to waste, my hands were tied. I purchased the four individual ink cartridges and left the store, but as I walked to my car, I wondered about the amount of customer service training provided at this particular Staples store. Was the Staples mantra of every customer interaction being easy, or a click of the Staples “easy button,” merely words? Do the stores only carry limited products to force customers to spend more? Would the salesperson have treated members of Staples
leadership team the same way if they had been customers and secret shoppers? And finally, did the salesperson realize that he was providing a lousy customer experience?

Had I been the salesperson and not been able to match the lower price item, I would have responded in one of the following ways:

  • “I’m really sorry that we don’t have the set you want to purchase in stock. How about if I order it online for you and expedite shipping to you at no cost?”
  • “I’m so sorry that we don’t have the exact item you want in our store. I’d like to make your next visit a better one, so here’s a ten-dollar gift card with no expiration date.”
  • “I’m so sorry, but I’m unable to price match. But here’s a free ream of paper for you.”

If you had been the salesperson, what would you have done to avoid alienating me – and making sure I go to Office Depot the next time I need ink cartridges or any other office supplies?

Finally, a reminder from Shep Hyken (@Hyken on Twitter), “When I refer to amazing customer service, I’m not suggesting that every interaction you and your company has with a customer has to be an “over the top” experience. The key is that they are always at least a little better than average. (Always is not easy). ”

Image Credit: Jenn David Design (

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Five #BrandTips from New @SussexRoyal on Instagram

With the focus on user privacy in social media circles and in Washington, there is rarely good news in this arena. But this past week, there was the launch of a new account on Instagram, and based on its popularity in record-breaking time, there are five brand tips all brands can learn from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their new Instagram account.

Pick One Social Media Account
There are many social platforms where you can build your digital brand's presence. But do you have the personnel to handle updates and responses? Do you have a marketing plan for each platform, and how does each platform align with your overall marketing strategy? This past week, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, launched a new Instagram account, their sole social presence. According to their first post, "Welcome to our official Instagram; we look forward to sharing the work that drives us, the causes we support, important announcements, and the opportunity to shine a light on key issues." The first post was liked by nearly 1.3 million viewers; and the account has attracted 4.6 million followers.

Create a Memorable Name
Is your brand name the name for all your social sites? If not, what did you choose for your name? Do your customers and fans easily remember it? The Duke and Duchess of Sussex followed the naming pattern of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who chose @KensingtonRoyal for their Twitter and Instagram account names. The new account is called @SussexRoyal, not a name for their new home 25 miles outside of London, but a nod to their title, which has been synonymous with Prince Harry since he wed the former Meghan Markle. After their wedding, Queen Elizabeth gave them the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Create a Memorable Logo
Does your logo match your brand? Are the colors easy to understand? The Duke and Duchess of Sussex created a memorable logo for their Instagram account that is fun and youthful. Their initials of H and M are intertwined, and a crown sits on top of the initials. The color matches the same shade of blue that appears on the main Royal website (

State Your Social Guidelines

As with all other Royal Family social media sites, there are guidelines. Does your brand have guidelines that are prominently displayed on your website or elsewhere on your social platforms? These are different than terms of use, terms of service, and privacy policies. If you don't have any, read the Royal Family's Social Media Community Guidelines in full at

Launch When You Have Something Important to Announce
With the baby Sussex planned to arrive sometime during the next month, the timing for the launch of this new Instagram account was clear: The couple wanted an easy-to-use social platform where they could share their news on their own terms. How does your brand use Instagram?

What other brand tips did you notice from the @SussexRoyal's new Instagram account and early posts? Chime in and share.

Image Credits: @Instagram, @SussexRoyal and @TheRoyal Family.

Monday, April 1, 2019

It’s the Little Things that Create Memorable #BrandExperiences – A Conversation with Jake Poore

Twitter serves as an amazing water cooler in today’s social media era, and thanks to Twitter, I met Jake Poore due to two things we share in common: work experience with Disney and a passion for excellent customer service. We recently discussed why the brands that provide positive customer experiences will surpass their competition, and highlights follow below Jake’s brief bio.

Meet Jake Poore. As President and Chief Experience Officer of Integrated Loyalty Systems in Orlando, Florida, Jake’s on a mission to elevate the human side of healthcare. For more than two decades, he has worked with healthcare leaders sharing the blueprints needed to create a culture that delivers exceptional patient and customer experiences. For 18 years, Jake worked for the Walt Disney World Company, where he helped launch the Disney Institute. Nearly 80 percent of the people who attended the Institute were from healthcare, and that’s where his passion for improving healthcare began. He is the author of the forthcoming book, “99 Lessons Learned from Disney to Improve the Patient Experience.” You can follow Jake on Twitter @JakePoore and read more about him on his website at

QUESTION: As a big fan of the Disney Institute (and I’d definitely attend all of its training seminars if I lived in Florida!), and as an alum of the Walt Disney Company (I worked in the Consumer Marketing Department at Disneyland Paris in France for my summer internship during graduate school in 1995), I wonder if most companies would benefit from having something similar to Disney University to train all employees about a brand's core beliefs or something similar to Disney Institute to help train a brand’s leaders. What are your thoughts?

JAKE POORE: There are two types of employees in every organization: those who are making brand promises and those who are delivering on the promise of the brand. Both groups would benefit from understanding the brand’s core purpose and strategy. So, the answer, of course, is yes. Who we are, why we do what we do, our story, how we got here...all of those things are foundational. Everyone has to know these things.

It’s also important for every employee to know and fully understand what we stand for and what we won’t stand for as an organization. And, to know what adds value to the brand and what unintentionally distracts or detracts from the brand.

In the end, you either have brand owners, protectors, or proponents. Or, you have brand poachers. People in the organization who are tarnishing the branding (intentionally or unintentionally) by doing their own thing in silos focused solely on their job tasks. These are the folks who are not delivering on the promise of the brand.

Organizations like Southwest Airlines, Zappos, Ritz Carlton, and Disney know that the Net Promoter Score of their brand is determined by how well every one of their employees knows, understands, and can behavioralize the brand in actions and words. (The Net Promoter Score, NPS, is a marketing measurement used to determine the percentage of customers who would recommend your brand to family and friends, based on a series of questions including, “On a scale of one to ten, how likely are you to recommend us?”)

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” This is true for healthcare and every business or organization. There must be a consistency, a continuity, — where every employee is working under the same set of operational priorities and toward the same end in mind: delivering a world-class experience.

QUESTION: In my blog post entitled, “Want Your Brand to Soar Above the Competition?,” I shared six amazing #BrandExperiences (link follows below). Could you share some of YOUR favorite brand experiences and your reasons why?

Blog post link:

JAKE POORE: One of my absolute favorite brands is Apple. The online Apple helpline is fantastic, but the service at their brick and mortar Apple stores is second-to-none. If I need a repair or service on my laptop or iPhone, I try to get to the store just prior to opening. Of course, the whole store is glass, so I get to watch them have their team meeting about 15 minutes before the store opens. The employees end the meeting with applause as they walk toward the front door (nonverbal communication) to open up for the day. This builds excitement and makes the customers feel welcomed. Once the doors open, you meet a greeter who “triages” you, plugs your information into their iPad, and makes note of the clothing you’re wearing or some other identifiable feature (glasses, business suit, etc.) so that an Apple associate can find you with ease. I’m familiar with Apple products and have used them for many years, but I still appreciate that they talk to me in a language I understand. I travel frequently for work and if I walk in to the Apple store and tell them I’ve got a problem, but I have to get on a plane in an hour, they jump all over it. A great brand experience is when your organizational culture meets your customer where THEY ARE – not the other way around. Apple does this exceptionally well.

Southwest Airlines is another brand experience done well. Their waiting area is exceptionally well done. Their check-in processes are always friendly, always relaxed. And their terminals are always decorated or themed for holidays or sporting events. And notably, their employees seem to be having fun. And while in flight, it’s the only airline where I take off my headset because I can’t wait to hear what they’re going to say or do next. It’s an organization that is continuously improving and elevating the experience by using the people closest to the experience.

TWEET THIS: Every employee needs to know and fully understand what adds value to the brand and what unintentionally distracts or detracts from the brand. -@JakePoore

QUESTION: You’ve written on your blog that, "Creating great experiences doesn’t require lots of money or huge effort. Instead, focus on the little things, the little wows, the little ways you can exceed your customers’ or patients’ expectations. When you add them all up, these little moments that delight your customers and patients are what define a world-class experience.” Can you provide some examples?

JAKE POORE: I think that before we can delight, we must first remove the emotional hot spots in healthcare. Hospitals are notorious for creating lots of self-inflicted wounds in the patient experience, daily! Florence Nightingale, the mother of modern-day nursing said it best, “Apprehension, uncertainty, waiting, expectation, fear of surprise, do a patient more harm than any exertion.” In every patient or customer interaction, we are either elevating their fear and anxiety or unintentionally adding to it.

So, a good place to start is to list the anxiety hot spots that put anxiety chips on patient’s shoulders before they ever get to see a provider and seek simple, low, or no cost ideas to solve them. For instance, can we answer these questions: Where do I park? Which of the four entrances is the right one? Is there a wheelchair there for me? Where do I check-in? How long will I have to wait? How much will this cost? Will they speak my language, or will I need a need a healthcare jargon translator? Will they call me by my preferred name or am I just a clinic ID number, procedure or “the hip” in room 103? What is that smell? Will there be something to do if I have to wait a long time? Is there any art or music to enjoy? Who is who on the care team? Who is who in the operating room behind those surgical masks? Will they respect me and treat with dignity (even down to the patient belongings bags)? Will I remember where I parked in three days when I leave? Most of the answers to these questions can be answered creatively and with a keen eye toward stewardship, but they must be answered through the patient’s eyes.

Customers tell us that world-class experiences don’t happen because of one big thing; they happen because of lots of attention to the small things, the little wows. One way to create these little wows is to identify and proactively anticipate a patient or customer’s “pain points” or “friction points.” What things do people see or encounter that might leave a bad impression? Once you identify these things, you can take steps to proactively address them by removing the pain and friction and adding more little wows.

A good starting point is perhaps someplace you might not even think about: the hospital parking garage or parking lot. Consider the perspective of an elderly patient arriving at the hospital for scheduled knee surgery. We know she is coming, she is scheduled after all. But does she feel like we’re expecting her? Her first point of anxiety shouldn’t be entering the hospital from the parking lot or parking garage, but too often, it is. Where should she park? How does she feel when she has to drive past 35 parking spots reserved “ONLY for medical personnel” and then she has to compete with other hospital employees arriving in their scrubs for the remaining spots? She’ll need a wheelchair. Is there one close by? Will someone push her? All of this causes her blood pressure to rise.

But, lucky for her, we have anticipated this and have volunteers in golf carts to pick her up and take her to her appointment. Along the way, they chat, and the volunteer hands the patient, “Margo”, a slip of paper with her parking spot number and floor and his phone number to call for a ride back to her car. He then texts the surgical front desk with a heads up: “Margaret ‘Margo’ Jones on her way. From volunteer Bill.”

When she arrives to the pre-surgery check in, she is immediately greeted by her preferred name and a hand shake from the front desk personnel, “Hello Margo, welcome, my name is Joanne, we’ve been expecting you! Heard you got a limo ride from our Bill, isn’t he GREAT! Now, let’s get you checked-in.” Margo is very impressed. After checking in, she sits in a crowded waiting area. Minutes later, a medical assistant walks right up to her and quietly says to her, “You must be Margo. Hi, my name is John, I work with Dr. Williams. I can take you back now and get prepped for your knee surgery.” Margo suddenly remembers her doctor’s office experience and how they just shout out people’s names to the whole waiting area. She liked it here at the hospital much better!

During surgery, every one of the surgical team members have their names printed on the skull caps and their role (Dr. Williams/Surgeon, Dr. Smith/Anesthesiology, Jennifer/Nurse), and they all introduced themselves before she went to sleep. She liked that!

And after surgery, on the way out, she noticed that her patient belongings bag was opaque white with a nice message of thank you from the hospital – not the clear plastic bag used last time (revealing all of her undergarments to the world)! She called the number on the piece of paper, and then a volunteer named Betty arrived, picked her up, and dropped her at her parked car. How much money did that all that cost? And what impact did that make on Margo? How did it make her feel? Priceless, right?

QUESTION: You’ve stated on Twitter that you believe “how employees treat each other should MIRROR how everyone treats patients, customers, fans, etc.” While that is a noble goal, how can leaders create a culture where everyone practices kindness, fairness, inclusiveness, etc.?

JAKE POORE: Like the old adage says, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Leaders must lead by example. In our patient example earlier, Margo did not know how technically or clinically competent her caregivers were, but she will surely tell you how caring they were, right? The question is, how can we expect our employees to continue to do that with patients if we (leaders) don’t do that with them as well?

One simple technique we teach our clients is a powerful, yet simple tool called Human-Business-Human, or HBH. The premise is simple: Human first, Business second, Human third. Start every interaction or meeting on the human side, conduct your business, and then end every interaction on the human side, seeking to make some kind of human connection in the process.

When we scheduled Mrs. Margaret Jones for her surgery, we simply asked her (on the human side) what name she would prefer to be called by the care team members, and she said, “Please call me Margo.” That answer went into HER (electronic health record), on the medical chart, and the many patient dry erase boards, and the happy result was that everyone called her, “Margo.”

If this one simple thing made her feel special and engendered her trust, why don’t we do the same simple thing for every new employee when they are hired as well? When new employees or doctors arrive to their work location, there should be a “welcome to the team” card (signed by all the team members) with their preferred name that they want to be called featured on it. Their name and business cards should all follow suit and include the preferred name. (How often has this NOT been the case at your new job?)

Leaders can also practice HBH in the way they answer the phone, respond to text messages, or conduct team meetings. For example, you can start team meetings “on the human” by sharing an inspirational quote or by asking, “Who has a celebration (work related or personal)?” Celebrations include work recertifications, birthdays, graduations, vacation plans, new baby announcements, etc. Then, we conduct our team meeting and get down to business. Finally, we end the meeting “on the human” by sharing appreciation for employees’ time, input, and each another.

TWEET THIS: Look for the things the organization is doing well so they become business as usual and not random acts of kindness. -@JakePoore

QUESTION: Do you think every business should have a Chief Customer Officer? What should the person’s role be? And is this a necessary C-level position?

JAKE POORE: The short answer is absolutely yes! It doesn’t have to be a C-Suite level position, but I absolutely believe that this person must report directly to the CEO. Why? Because it’s THAT important. While customer service is everybody’s job, someone has to be working on it 100% of the time. That person cannot and, quite frankly, should not have skin in anything else (COO, CNO, CMO, etc.). If they do have other responsibilities, and anything happens in their department, they’re more likely to protect their own specialty area than find out what really happened. That hurts the whole process and does nothing to advance the patient or customer experience.

Someone needs to collect the research by interviewing patients, walking the entire guest experience every day and looking for the things the organization is doing well so they can share and hardwire them – so they become business as usual and not random acts of kindness. Someone needs to help build the processes, not remain stuck in the trenches battling the day-to-day complaints.

And when things go wrong, and their team is handling customer service concerns or complaints, this officer can gather stories of what is happening and find the solutions that were offered and then build what I call a “Play” for the “Always Playbook”— just like in sports — to prevent the problem or issue from happening again. This Always Playbook is shared with every team member so that everyone knows what to do, should a similar situation arise again.

The key question here is: Who is advocating for the customer every day? A Chief Customer Officer should also be doing the research and following up. Because if you spend some time walking the customer experience, you can spot the things that need to be fixed or changed. A dedicated Chief Customer Experience officer needs to be looking through the lens of the customer — not SOME of the time, but ALL of the time. Always. Because if they’re not focused on it 100 percent of the time, then they’re not advocating for the customer. All they’re doing is dancing between random acts of kindness and complaints.

TWEET THIS: Walt Disney said, “Sometimes I think of myself as a little bee. I go from one area of the studio to another and gather pollen to stimulate everybody.” This is a great way to describe the role of a #ChiefCustomerOfficer. -@JakePoore

My gratitude and appreciation to Jake for appearing on my Blog and sharing his amazing and inspiring business insights.

Image Credit: Jake Poore via Kim Court.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Super Bowl 53 Summary: Boring Game, No Apple Ad and No Oreo Tweet

Super Bowl 53 will go down in the history books as a low scoring game, and as far as the accompanying ads go, well, no ad rivaled the pomp and circumstance of Apple’s 1984 ad, and no Tweet made as much of an impression as Oreo did during the 2013 big game's power outage.

However, with a staggering cost of “$5.2 million for 30 incredibly short seconds,” is it possible for a brand to tell its story effectively and memorably? Can YOU recall any of the ads?

While noted in my post last year, this quote from Landor Associates is worth repeating:

"Here are three tips to help you, your dad, or even your football-crazed grandma decide which brands scored a touchdown with their commercials: Is the ad on-brand? Will you remember the brand tomorrow? And, does the ad speak to the times?"

During the game, Jim Joseph (@JimJosephExp) hosted his annual #SuperBowlExp party on Twitter (minus chips and guacamole). Although it's always fun to see what fellow branding and marketing pros say about the ads in real time, there are a couple of challenges. First, some ads run in regional or local markets, so there were some instances that Tweets referenced ads I didn’t see. Second, there are so many hashtags that draw attention to the ads that it’s sometimes a challenge to keep up – for instance, #BrandBowl, #AdBowl, #SuperBowlAds, and #KelloggBowl led by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

This year, many brands and brand icons were noticeably absent, including Oreo, Coca-Cola’s polar bears, Chrysler, and Tide. And according to Tim Calkins (@TimothyCalkins), Professor of Marketing at Kellogg, "Brands generally stuck to a lighter tone than in previous years, avoiding political messages and focused on either humor or uplifting themes."

Without further ado, here were my five favorite ads:

MICROSOFT: This ad focused on inclusion with its tagline, "When everybody plays, we all win." Nothing more need be said as to the power of this ad’s message. However, one thing to note, with Microsoft’s domination of the tech industry, was this ad off brand?

BUDWEISER: As a fan of this brand’s Clydesdales and Dalmatian, I am always thrilled when they appear in the big game’s advertising. (Who can forget the ad following September 11 featuring the Clydesdales that only ran once? You can watch the ad here: This year’s ad focused on clean energy and wind turbines – and how they can be used to produce beer.

WEATHERTECH: This brand is known for its American-made mats for cars and trucks, but now, it has entered the pet product arena. This ad announced its pet care line, and while a possibly strange line extension, remember that many customers are truck owners. Who doesn’t recall that ad of long ago "Dogs love trucks?" (You can watch the ad here:

BUBLY: This ad provided some humor to a slow-moving game. The name of the product was similar to the celebrity pitch man, Michael BublĂ©. He happily changed the spelling on the packaging – but he should have added his signature singing voice to the ad.

WASHINGTON POST: Politics finally appeared in the ad from this brand, but despite anyone’s political opinion, the message was something everyone can agree on, "Because knowing empowers us. Knowing helps us decide. Knowing keeps us free. Democracy dies in darkness."

And lastly, Jacques de Cock, a faculty member at the London School of Marketing, said the game will have been watched in half of US households.

"The Super Bowl is a phenomenon unsurpassed in the world. It is one of the few national social events, which is also why social media traffic during the game is so high...What is also remarkable is that advertising is not viewed as something to skip, but is seen by 77 percent of viewers as part of the entertainment and therefore more watched and engaged with than any other television advertising during the year."

So, are you counting the days to Super Bowl 54, scheduled on February 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Florida? Or will you simply tune in to watch and critique the ads either on TV or on your mobile device?

Image Credits: Bubly Water, WeatherTech, and Washington Post.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Mastercard's Brand Evolution: A Wordless Logo

In the first significant branding news of the new year, Mastercard has announced that it is removing its name from its logo.

According to a company press release, "Following in the footsteps of branding legends Apple, Nike, and Target, Mastercard is choosing a wordless logo using only its iconic, intersecting yellow and red circles. It will be used as the brand symbol on credit cards and at retailers, as well as at events and on advertising. The new logo was also chosen to “work seamlessly across the digital landscape."

For over 50 years, since its founding as Interbank Card Association in 1966, Mastercard's red and yellow circles have been recognizable for the brand and go hand-in-hand with the tagline, "Priceless."

Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer at Mastercard, said that the company undertook more than 20 months of global consumer research to ensure that people could identify the brand solely by its circles. “With more than 80% of people spontaneously recognizing the Mastercard symbol without the word ‘Mastercard,’ we felt ready to take this next step in our brand evolution."

“We live in a time where, increasingly, we communicate not through words but through icons and symbols,
” said Michael Bierut, partner at design consulting firm Pentagram, “Now, by allowing this symbol to shine on its own, Mastercard enters an elite cadre of brands that are represented not by name, but by symbol: an apple, a target, a swoosh.”

Is Mastercard's logo stronger with or without its name? While every brand aspires to possess the strength of Nike's swoosh or Amazon's arrow, not every brand is as strong as its leadership team thinks it is. When you choose to pay for something in the future, will the fact that the word Mastercard is missing from a credit card or store display make an impact? Only time will tell if this was a smart move by Mastercard.

Image Credit: Mastercard.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Top 10 Marketing Highlights of 2018

With 2018 now history, it's time for my annual "Top 10" marketing highlights post – incredible to believe this is my 9th annual post featuring annual marketing highlights. Without further ado, let's get to it! What campaigns were great? Which were duds? What stood out as marketing innovation, and what will go down in history as memorable as Apple's 1984 Super Bowl ad? What do you remember from the 2018 marketing reel?

With a quick nod to David Letterman for the format, here's my list:

Number 10: After 68-years, Dunkin' Donuts dropped the word "Donuts" from its name to focus on a more beverage-led product line.

Number 9: After 55-years, Weight Watchers changed its name to WW to focus on wellness. Its new tagline has become "Wellness that works."

Number 8: IHOP changed its name in time for summer barbecues and became IHOb. After a surprise move, social media suggested a variety of new names, such as, International House of Breakfast, International House of Brunch, International House of Bacon, International House of Brownies, International House of Bananas (suggested by Chiquita Banana), and International House of Burgers.

Number 7: Following a television episode of THIS IS US, where a key character died due to a faulty Crock Pot, Crock Pot released a statement that its products were safe – and also created a Twitter account to continue the story: @CrockPotCares.

Number 6: During the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Market covered its name with a large banner for all 10 of the Boston-based restaurants in the Los Angeles area during the World Series so that the name became LOS ANGELES Market.

Number 5: During the World Series, a social media conversation appeared on Twitter with the hashtag #MuseumWorldSeries. Museums in Boston and Los Angeles posted Tweets featuring famous artwork sporting a rally towel, cap, or hat supporting either the Dodgers or Red Sox. The Museums included the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston), Davis Museum at Wellesley College (near Boston), LACMA (Los Angeles), J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), Huntington Museum (Los Angeles), Descanso Gardens (Los Angeles), Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), and Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida. In addition, The Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the Boston Mayor's Office of Arts, and the Boston Symphony chimed into the conversation on Twitter.

Number 4: The house with a famous exterior in a Los Angeles suburb used by the television show THE BRADY BUNCH, from the early 1970's, found itself in a bidding war. Ultimately purchased by HGTV, it remains to be seen how it will be renovated, or if it will get its own renovation series. All the original Brady kids (now adults in middle age) reunited for a photo-op in front of the house.

Number 3: While England's Royal Family expanded with marriages and births, the two most notable included the birth of Prince Louis, son of Prince William and fifth-in-line to the throne, and the marriage of Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle. One can only imagine the increase of international visitors to England for the Royal Wedding, and the amount of items for sale promoting the new family members.

Number 2: Amazon launched a new grocery store called Amazon Go in Seattle, featuring no employees at check out and no cash registers. Is this the future of shopping? Is Amazon preparing us? Time will tell.

And Number 1 on my 2018 Marketing Highlights List:

Drum roll please...

"The iconic Volkswagen Beetle became the latest casualty in America's newfound love affair with crossovers and other light trucks. Volkswagen of America announced that it is ending output of the iconic Beetle in 2019, closing another chapter for one of the auto industry's most storied nameplates. The company said production of the modern, third-generation Beetle will end at a plant in Puebla, Mexico, in July 2019. The Beetle, with roots dating back to 1938 in Germany, was revived and updated in 1998 with U.S. sales of the modern Beetle peaking at 83,434 in 1999. The car was created by Ferdinand Porsche," wrote David Phillips in Automotive News.

So many of 2018's highlights may damage the integrity of the referenced brands. Brand awareness, brand identity, and brand experience are so intertwined with customer loyalty that only time will tell if these altered brands will be embraced by their fans and customers.

What would you add to this list? Here's to 2019 and another year of marketing highlights. Happy New Year!

Image Credits: J. Paul Getty Museum ("Spring" by Edouard Manet
tweaked for the World Series), and Volkswagen.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Tips for Leaders to Inspire and Empower

One of the amazing things about social media is that we get to meet people all over the world. My social media activities have led me to meet people on all continents and in a variety of industries. One friend I made hails from the country of South Africa – half a world away from California. Chantaul Jordan and I connected thanks to Twitter, when her leadership account shared many of my leadership Tweets.

Recently, Chantaul Jordan and I had a discussion about international leadership, and highlights follow an introduction. Chantaul inspires personal development within individuals and for teams at seminars and at team-building retreats. Her mission as Principal of Expressions, a training consultancy, is to inspire, empower, and transform. She is dedicated to holistic wellness and passionate about philosophy, meditation, and yoga. Her other positions include: Facilitator of Mastermind for Speakers; Past Chairman of EXAS (Executive Association of South Africa); Honorary member of KZN Women in Business; Founder member of PSASA, KZN; and Immediate Past President of the PSASA (Professional Speakers Association of SA, KZN). Follow Chantaul on Twitter @ChantaulJordan, @LeaderRepeater, and @SpeakerRepeater; and check out her website at

You lead a Twitter account @LeaderRepeater, whose description is: "For leaders, by leaders. We promote success and strive to add value to the lives and careers of others." How did this get started, and where do you find your inspiration for Tweets? On a side note, I've been honored when you've shared some of my Tweets – many thanks!
CHANTAUL JORDAN: A global communications platform, like Twitter, is astounding. I wanted an easy way to see what individuals all over the world were saying about enhancing emotional quotient in real time. So, I was inspired to create a Twitter account focused on EQ*, especially for leaders. After experimenting with Twitter's versatile search feature, adding my own search filters for quality control, and writing an app for my phone, @LeaderRepeater was born.

What are three things a President/CEO can do to establish a corporate culture that all employees will enthusiastically follow?
CHANTAUL JORDAN: Here are my three recommendations:
[1] To create a positive and uplifting working environment, where employees can learn, grow, and thrive.
[2] To encourage open and honest communication, especially in times of stress. The connection between staff can dissolve in a brief aggressive outburst. Although regrettable, these encounters stain relationships and leave waves of negativity in their wake.
[3] To inspire meaningful expression and contribution within an organization, by developing each individual's personal strengths and/or special talents. A company’s success relies on employees who enjoy their work and feel fulfilled.

A company’s success relies on employees who enjoy their work and feel fulfilled. –@ChantaulJordan #LeadershipTip #EmployeeExperience #EmployerBrand

How can a President/CEO become an organization's number one brand ambassador?
CHANTAUL JORDAN: I am of the opinion that a President/CEO should NOT be an organization’s number one brand ambassador, as it can be dangerous for the brand to be linked too closely to a fallible (and, indeed, mortal) human being. The CEO should adopt a lifestyle and morality that’s congruent with the values of the organization and should be seen as a competent and effective leader and manager – nothing more.

What are some traits to be a good leader, and why?
CHANTAUL JORDAN: The ongoing responsibility to do better and achieve more is hugely stressful, and the pressure is exhausting, and ironically leads to sub-standard work and ineffective relationships. A leader who practices self-mastery and demonstrates continued learning and personal well-being, is by far the better leader. If the leader’s mind is disturbed by worries and anxieties, not only is his efficiency and productivity affected, but the majority of his time is spent in crisis management, setting the tone throughout the business. So, it’s important that the CEO is a role model for equanimity, in good times and bad times. Also, effective communication of a clear vision and inspiration. How to achieve this? Deliberate engagement will result in better collaboration within teams, and therefore a more profitable business! (And a healthier option for all concerned.)

TWEET THIS: A leader who demonstrates continued learning is by far the better leader. –@ChantaulJordan #LeadershipTip #EmployeeExperience #EmployerBrand

One of your recent Tweets featured a quote from Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person to summit Mt. Everest: "You don't have to be a hero to accomplish great things. You can just be an ordinary chap sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals." How does this apply to the office environment whereby one doesn't need a title to be a leader?
CHANTAUL JORDAN: People who are popular for their talent, their expertise, fashion sense, charisma, to name but a few, can be natural pacesetters and visionaries who others naturally want to follow. This is true, and let’s not forget that some of the greatest influencers aren’t in the office, but rather, at home. Family can be empowering catalysts! Why? We’re hugely inspired by love and care, and a sense of belonging – where there are mutual interests to work on and achieve together. Perhaps that’s what we need in the workplace, just a little more heart connection. A good healthy environment that’s conducive to thrive in!

My gratitude and appreciation to Chantaul for appearing on my Blog and for sharing her inspiring leadership insights!

Image Credit: Chantaul Jordan.

*Emotional Quotient is different from Intelligence Quotient because instead of measuring your general intelligence, it measures your emotional intelligence. Emotional Quotient is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions to facilitate high levels of collaboration and productivity. In the business environment, Emotional Quotient is important because it helps you leverage your awareness of emotions for effectiveness in the workplace.