Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Marketing Highlights from 2014

With 2014 history, it’s time for my “Top 10” marketing highlights list. What campaigns were great? Which were duds? What stood out as marketing innovation, and what will go down in history that can rival Apple’s 1984 TV ad? What do YOU remember from the 2014 marketing reel?

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

Number 10:
Budweiser's Super Bowl ad with a puppy and a Clydesdale horse tugged at the heartstrings as only a Budweiser ad can.

Number 9:
While the Sochi Olympics took place in February, the biggest story was that Bob Costas, the legendary broadcaster for the event, suffered from an eye infection.

Number 8:
In typical Apple fashion, the release of the next iteration of the iPhone (the iPhone 6 and 6s), was unveiled to long lines and much anticipation.

Number 7:
Manhattanhenge took over New York City. Twice during the summer of 2014, the Manhattan sunset illuminated both the north and south sides of every cross street. For two days, half the sun sat above and below the horizon, thus creating a sort of Stonehenge effect.

Number 6:
Instagram stood out as the social media platform for the most fun and the most engagement. Sorry to Facebook and Twitter.

Number 5:
Pizza Hut redesigned its logo: the roof was history, and in its place was a red and white pizza.

Number 4:
Lego launched its Science Line "Research Institute Set" for girls, the first female offering to feature women in a professional setting rather than partying. The set consisted of a female paleontologist, female astronomer, and female chemist - although it was a limited edition and sold out within days.

Number 3:
SeaWorld continued its damage control due to the 2013 film, "Blackfish," about how it captured and treats Killer Whales.

Number 2:
Data breaches became too common, as evidenced by breaches announced by Target, Staples, AT&T, Albertson's, The Home Depot, and Apple's iCloud.

And Number 1 on the 2014 Marketing Highlights List:
As a result of a security hack and possible threats to viewers' safety, Sony Pictures pulled the distribution of its film "The Interview" from major movie theater chains. While the company eventually released the film through small and independent theaters and via online outlets, the issue of free speech became a bigger issue than the hack. People who had not planned to view the film added it to their "must-view" list to support free speech.

What would you add to this list? Here’s to 2015 and another year of marketing highlights. Happy New Year!

Image Credit: Krishna Arts via

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Continuity of Leadership

Today, too few businesses plan for change - especially what will happen when the person at the top, the CEO or President, moves on or retires. So, the businesses that do plan provide the inspiration for many others. A nonprofit that believes in planning is the Special Olympics of Southern California (SOSC).

In a book produced by the SOSC entitled, "The Continuity of Leadership," President/CEO Bill Shumard provides his insights about leadership and why all organizations must have a continuity plan. The reason is simple: when leaders change, cultures change, and as a result, organizations change. This much change is definitely not in the best interest of any organization.

The secret for Shumard's success can be found in his mantra: "Everyone is a leader." This type of leadership belief builds a culture of project ownership, teamwork, and people development. At the end of the day, team members want to work together, which results in high quality work and positive morale. Employees go above and beyond, not because they are thinking about their paychecks, but because they all believe in the cause.

Enjoy these other inspirational leadership quotes from the book:

"Communicate as a person, not a boss - have a conversation." - Anne Sweeney, Disney/ABC Television

"Leaders and leadership teams working together will run a business more effectively than a hierarchical, command structure." - Marvin Bower, McKinsey & Co.

"It doesn't matter if you have a perfect product, production plan and marketing pitch; you'll still need the right people to lead and implement those plans." - Bill Gates, Microsoft

Image Credit: Stuart Miles via