Monday, September 14, 2009

CHECK OUT MY NEW BLOG


Hi. I've moved over to word press and a new blog design to add more interactive functionality and fun. Check out www.BrandTwist.com and let me know what you think.

I'm still working out the kinks so I'd love your comments.

Thanks!

Julie

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Stop Recording...Start Living!


Often the wisest words come from the mouths of babes.

Or in my case, the mouth of a very bright 8 year old boy...my son Sacha.

On our recent holiday in France, I was so busy trying to record every moment to share (via Facebook, and email etc) with friends and family back home...that I wasn't fully experiencing the moments as they were happening.

In this particular instance I was trying to capture an adorable picture of Sacha during his circus lessons.

Obsessed with gettting the perfect shot, I wasn't really watching the trick he was trying to show me.

"Stop taking picutres, and look!" he cried.

Instantly I knew he was right. The real value of the moment was in the moment.

Not in the picture or pithy update quote to be posted or tweeted later.

So I put down the camera and I really watched. And it was pretty cool.

And then I took a few quick shots.

And maybe I didn't capture exactly the perfect smile or get the ideal shot.

But when I close my eyes I can see it vividly and I can hear the excitement in his voice when he realized I was really present and paying attention.

Experiences are great to share, but first they should be...well...experienced.

That's my point of view. What's your twist?
Has recording gotten in the way of experiencing for you?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to School Blues


Today is the first day of school for my kids and I've got the blues.

It's not because the summer is over (although it did whiz by).

It' not even because the passage of time is so clearly marked as my kids march through the grades (it really does seem like yesterday my 7th grader was starting Kindergarten).

No, I'm blue for one simple fact- that they are the ones going back to school and not I.

I feel this way every fall.

In the real (working world) those of us who are lucky, and who make an effort to seek it out, do continue to learn.

But it's just not the same as the larger "unknown" that students face this time of year.

I miss the anticipation of learning new things, delving into unfamiliar territory, discovering new teachers and even making new friends that comes with official "Back to School".

So this year I've decided to do something about it. I've decided, in my own way, to go back to school.

I'm not talking about a graduate school kind of commitment.

I'm talking about taking stock this September of what I'd like to learn and setting out a plan (class schedule of sorts) to get there.

Right now I am still in the audit phase. High on my list are yoga, Hip Hop, Conversational Hebrew, and finally mastering the art of advanced Twitter.

OK it's more of a varied Freshman liberal arts curriculum - but it works for me.

The important thing is I am committing to learning something new.

And the prospect of this is exciting...hey maybe I'll even get a new backpack...or at the very least some new back to school clothes.

That's my point of view. What's your twist?
What are your back to school plans

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kennedy- The Brand


I'm too young to have experienced the assassination of JFK.

But I did grow up in Boston and the Kennedy clan has always held a certain mystique.

I remember being glued to the TV the weekend that JFK Junior's plane went down at sea -and feeling like I'd lost someone I actually knew.

I also remember marvelling as a one-legged Ted Junior swooshed by as I was skiing with my family at Waterville Valley in the 70's.

I, like many others, have always been fascinated by the Kennedys.

Not necessarily as a family, or even as individual people, but by what they stand for.

In layman's terms... I guess by their Brand Essence.

A carefree "Martha's Vineyard" sense of style
Youthful optimism
Perseverance in overcoming adversity
A clannish family unit

And most recently with the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy - who served 47 years in the senate- a synonym for public service.

And in some way perhaps similar to another public figure so recently lost, Michael Jackson, a brand full of contradictions.

Ted Kennedy overcame great moral failings publicly displayed in Chappaquiddick to be regarded as a moral compass on issues like health care reform.

JFK a great leader is well recognized for his own personal infidelities.

Even JFK junior, the golden boy who still rode the NYC subways to work, failed several times (very publicly) to pass his bar exam.

Maybe it's this display of both good and bad and the acute attempts at redemption that make them seem so human and relatable and that draws us in.

Or maybe it's the opposite. Maybe it's their "otherworldness". The golden family. Like a J Crew ad- but even more stylized - that's part of the allure.

President Obama said they have been synonymous with the Democratic party and ideals.

However, I think there was and is something more universal about their appeal.

I believe people all over the political spectrum are feeling a loss this week. A loss of someone we feel we knew.

A man admired both for his approachability and for the aspirational ideal which he embodied.

That's my point of view. What's your twist?
What does the Kennedy brand represent for you?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Gone Fishing


Well not literally.

But I have gone away to unwind and recharge.

I will be back in a few weeks.

Full of new insights and fresh perspectives around branding and innovation.

And hopefully a killer tan!

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Julie

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

You Tube & Customer Service

There's been lots of talk about social media and the power of a disgruntled few who can get their message out to to the masses through You Tube and other social media.

Check out this video from a Halifax group singing about a bad experience they had on United Airlines.



It received 500,000 views in it's first 3 days, almost 5 million views to date and over 20,000 comments.

Worth paying attention to.

That's my point of view. What's your twist?
Is viral complaining an anomaly or the shape of things to come?

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Joy of Less


Lately I've been paring down my shopping and loving it

I think it started in the Fall with the onset of the Recession. I suddenly felt a need to save more and to be more careful with my spending.

Thankfully this wasn't in reaction to a significant change in my own financial situation.

It was more an underlying sense of unease about the economy, and possibly I also got caught up in the national wave of belt-tightening.

But what started as an act of deprivation has turned in to a source of joy.

Instead of shopping for clothes this summer. I've been shopping my own closet.

And as part of this, I've done a serious purge of all the frivolous "well, it's only $20 dollars, how can I resist?" items that crammed the shelfs and racks.

These superfluous little splurges weren't adding up to too much monetarily. But they were choking my closet and keeping me from seeing the clothes I have and want to wear.

It's like I had so much stuff... that in the morning when I went to get dressed for work... I felt I had nothing.

Which would prompt a need to go shopping again, and the vicious cycle continued.

The joy of passing these clothes on to friends of mine and to charity made this purge even more satisfying.

As part of my new pared down approach, I've also decided I am going to adopt a sort of uniform in the Fall. Black, white (and occasional grey) separates and only accents in color (e.g. belts,scarfs, jewelery).

I only made this decision a few weeks ago, but already it's proved to be very liberating. I can walk right past the stores in Soho crying to me with their many colored dresses, tunics, shoes etc.

Since these items don't fit my simple dress plan I keep on walking.

I have a few friends that have also taken this approach in terms of their homes.

Because of job transfers, break-ups etc. they are renting furnished apartments. The majority of their stuff has been disposed of or put in storage. They took with them only what would fit in one or two suitcases.

To a person, they have told me that being unburdened from all their stuff is an incredibly positive and freeing experience.

Now as a brand person, I feel a bit guilty about this new philosophy.

Isn't conspicuous consumption, the oil that greases the wheels of the economy?

I don't claim that my actions alone are bringing the economy to a grinding halt.

(Although I do bet the DSW Shoe warehouse in Westchester is feeling the pinch of my abstinence).

But as a human being I feel lighter, healthier almost. And when I do occasionally buy something now, I cherish it's significance more. I value it more.

I wonder what will happen when the money and optimism starts flowing again. Will consumer go back to their free-spending ways?

There are different points of view on this. But I have a hunch that the "joy of less" will remain with some of us even when the world goes back to "more".

That's my point of view. What's your twist?
Have you experienced the joy of less?

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