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.


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?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Thrill of Flying (and Trying)

Yesterday we went on a company outing to a Trapeze School.


What an experience.

A while ago I wrote a post about getting out of your comfort zone and feeling butterflies.

Well, this was easily a 100 + on the "Monarch scale".

Those butterflies were fluttering like crazy as I climbed the extremely steep ladder to the top of the platform.

The whole while I was wondering how I could gracefully turn around and go back down the ladder and not make too much of a fool of myself in front of my friends and colleagues.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) backing down the ladder wasn't an option. It was already being climbed up by the next victim (I mean participant).

So I listened to the instructor, took a deep breath, and took the plunge.

And it was hard. And I didn't quite do it right. And I was horribly ungraceful.

(By the way, this is not just me being modest. Later, over drinks I actually won a trophy for the "worst grabbing of the bar" from my crew at Virgin).

But I did it. And much to my surprise I actually put my name on the list to go up again.

And the second time was slightly better than the first, but still not great.

But I am glad I did it.

All the trite sayings about taking risks, feeling alive, etc. are true.

And although I wasn't perfect, I still felt good about challenging myself.

But do you know what was actually the coolest?

Watching other people conquer their fears and triumphing.

During the day, on the ride over to the location, and certainly during my long climb up the ladder it was all about me, me, me.

But once I completed my two turns and felt I had done enough, I got changed back into my street clothes, sat down and watched everyone else.

That's where I got the biggest thrill.

All around me, people were taking risks, climbing ladders, swinging on bars, and crossing a very high and scary metal tight-rope.

And although they were sweating, and shaking, and sometimes missing and falling...they were trying and succeeding...definitely succeeding in pushing themselves to try something new.

Hours later I can still vividly recall the look on my friend Paul's face as he nailed a challenging swing and catch into the arms of a waiting staff member.

A beautiful, pefect, s*** eating grin.

Watching him was definitely the best moment of the afternoon.

Reflecting on the highlights of the outing, it hit me that sometimes the reward doesn't have to be in the risks you take.

It can also be in sharing and celebrating the triumphs of others.

Maybe that's obvious, and probably it's a bit corny. But it's still true and worth remembering.

That's my point of view. What's your twist?
Whens the last time you celebrated someone else's victory?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dance to a Different Drum

I love this video. It takes something traditional and turns it on it's head.

What fun and joy (and creativity).

From what I've read, this innovative entrance was the bride's idea.

The group only had one quick practice before the big event.

What a daring risk to take on the "biggest day of your life."

Sometimes it pays off to just go for it.

I have a hunch these two are going to have a happy life.

That's my point of view. What's your twist?
What do you think of this reinvented tradition?