God dammit this is timeless.

Now I think I know where Simon Sinek directly got his Golden Circle principle from.

Steve Jobs’ talk back in 1997 is just classic, timeless marketing and advertising. Identify your values and lead with them.

It’s simple. Three super clear takeaways that he mentions could literally drive your marketing forever:

  1. Be very clear on what we want consumers to know about us
  2. People want to know who we are and what we stand for – where do we fit in this world
  3. We believe ___________________

This helps you feel like a human, not a brand.

It gives something for consumers to associate with (and strive for), so you’re not simply buying a product (that a competitor can outmatch).

The guy was fucking brilliant. May have been an asshole, but he really appreciated the long-term building of brands.

And so even if Dell came out with a better product, they couldn’t beat him in brand.

And people buy brand.

And in the words of Simon Sinek, people don’t by what you do, they buy why you do it.

Payce.

It’s the little things.

No idea if this was intentional, but if it was, it’s simple … and brilliant.

Walked out of Union Square subway station today and into Food Emporium to get groceries, like the domestic boyfriend that I am.

And first thing I noticed is the ‘Grab n Go’ station. PLEASE tell me whomever designed this store did this on purpose.

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People commuting at the beginning and end of the day who want something quick to grab and go to / from the office. It makes total sense.

So why do I give a shit about this? If it was intentional, it’s someone thinking like the consumer.

Most supermarkets have some stupid fruit aisle or long walkway up towards cash registers when you walk in. Antithetical to your shopping needs.

Instead, right outside a subway, whomever planned this put the commuting consumer needs FIRST and made this the first thing you hit when you walk in that entrance.

And that says a lot about a brand.

Whether you’re a grocery store, Under Armor or restaurant, tailoring your retail to what most benefits the consumer (rather than manipulates them) is f-ing awesome. Good for business because it’s good for the consumer.

You go, Glenn Coco.

Just get out there.

You can read stats and opinions and reviews all day.

But until you actually go out and experience a product and service for yourself, you won’t truly get it.

It’s that simple.

So when Brian Roberts, crazy boss CEO of Comcast and bajillionaire, goes to the mall and takes a London cab to get there to understand the product from the consumer’s POV, you have to love it.

“The cab driver was incredibly knowledgeable about the difference between Virgin and Sky in every feature. We were learning a lot there. Then when we to the Sky store, we spent at least an hour going through every feature and comparing it to our own … We were really terribly impressed.”

Lesson here? Whether you’re working for a haircut company, mop-manufacturer or considering buying a TV network for $31B, just go out and try the product, hear how salespeople pitch it and ask people what they think.

No amount of white paper research or stats can compare to that.

Nailing company culture.

Trickle down effect at work right hurr.

Crush the recruiting process. Bring in personalities who have innate energy and spunk.

Unleash them on your customers (after you’ve trained the basics or the job) to create an amazing experience.

Reward and retain these employees and give them freedom to grow personally while professionally.

Then slowly take over the coffee game.

Sports Teams = Brands, Too

Running a sports team isn’t that different than a regular company.

You’ve got a fan base (aka customers). You rise or fall in the standings, as does your revenue (like being publicly traded). And fans have no shortage of opinions on the team (aka customers + shareholders).

But regardless of which you are, fostering the relationship with your customer helps maintain a great, sustainable relationship and reminds them you truly value their business.

So whether that’s a brand responding to you in social to help repair a bad customer experience (think Uber or Amazon) or Glen Sather (GM of the NY Rangers) writing an open letter to fans about the state of the team, it helps foster my fan hood (aka brand loyalty).

An awesome lesson in transparency that is both self-aware and relatable.

#LGR

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Elon is lightyears ahead (literally).

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Launching a car into space. WTF.

A) How the fuck do you even get that kinda thing ‘approved’. Like who signs off on that?

B) Musk is an insane marketer. He does epic stunts like this for the PR that help make his company well-known and favorably thought of.

So what if that doesn’t drive sales today?

Things like yesterday’s Falcon Heavy launch and the release of the Roadster into orbit (with that awesome dude strapped into the seat belts) make people care.

And when people know what you do and get excited about it, it makes it easier to raise money, generate future demand / sales and partner with forward-thinkers. All of which helps advance his mission.

So keep doing you, Musk. Your stunts even have non-space-geeks like me interested in what you’re doing.

Brands would benefit to think along the same lines.

Start a blog. Just do it.

When I first graduated from college, I worked in Internal Audit.

Yes, Internal Audit. I hated it. It was a total mismatch for my personality. Some great learnings in hindsight and amazing bosses, but not for me long-term.

I badly wanted to get into the VC world and work with startups. I dug the energy and teamwork and risk and pace.

So I reached out to college alumni for connections and advice. And a VP at Google Ventures responded. A f-in VP at Google Ventures – amazing.

I asked him for advice on how to make the transition. But I don’t remember any of those answers. Instead, I remember one thing he said when I asked him what career advice do you have:

Start a blog. And see where it takes you.

So tonight, when grabbing dinner with a friend who’s looking to make a jump between companies and maybe industries, I said the same thing.

Blogs show people HOW you think, which you just can’t get from a resume. It’s like a better interview into how you are and what your potential is, so a company knows if you’re a potential fit before wasting their time (and yours).

It also helps you build a personal brand. Who gives a shit if it doesn’t directly lead to a job. People may start reading it and follow you and recommend you to other people (or things to you when you need it).

And who gives a shit if no one reads it. Because as this VP said, it’ll show you what you’re interested in. It’ll change a million times, just like his blog did, but it helps flesh out your interests and thinking.

Want free career advice? Start a blog and see where it takes you. And put it in your email signature.

PAST BLOGS OF MINE:

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Influencers, So Hot Right Now

We are in the golden age of influencers.

That’s a loaded statement. I don’t actually know that. I’m not an expert. I’m also not saying anything that’s new.

But common sense, a few headlines and practical time spent on these platforms makes it obvious. 

Facebook is the latest example. You don’t even have to read the article, just the headlines:

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Layman’s terms: Facebook wants to go back to its roots. Less of an ad platform with publisher content / news, more of a place to connect with friends, family and local areas. AKA more personal.

So when publishers have a harder time getting their shit in front of their audience, they need individuals to do so. AKA influencers. 

And for good reason. Influencer content already does well, as evidenced by the below:

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So if you’re a publisher, company, brand, winery, whatever – what does this mean?

Lean more on your existing influencer network. Then grow it to find more influencers who make sense for your brand. These influencers should be creative, communicative with you as a client and powerhouses of content. Then deploy the content on channels like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. – whether the brand channel or influencer channels (with shout-outs). I’m not saying anything new or groundbreaking, but doing more of it today will be more effective than ever.

Want a sign of the times with this Influencer shift?

Check out Danielle and Ryan and @theguidinglens. They’ve got a relatively small social following (800 on IG at the beginning of the partnership). But they’re a good-looking, fun Millennial couple who wants to explore the world and buys into a mobile, minimalist lifestyle.

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Now think about Airstream. A brand who did well with our grandparents / parents, but now wants to connect with Millennials as they age up, have more disposable income, continue to be mobile / explorative, work remotely / freelance and become increasingly open to a minimalist lifestyle.

Regardless of who contacted who, Airstream likely thinks “Well we’ve got these young peeps who are cool and want to explore. Even though they don’t have a massive following, they can create content for / with us which won’t look like an ad and make us more relatable to Millennials. And then we can post that content on our channels or whitelist it and boost their following to help spread our message. And it’ll likely be more cost-effective (and authentic) than us trying to do it ourselves with hired talent.”

And boom. You’ve got a smart partnership (with their own section on Airstream.com).

Influencers that align with the brand, check. Young, active and creative, check. Cheaper alternative than shooting that content ourselves, check.

Moral of the story? Platforms favor individuals’ content more than ever. Because as consumers, we have enough ads in our lives. Meaning it’s the best time for influencers to grow their own brand while helping brands grow theirs. And the Airstream example is a great example of this.

Nice job peeps.

Uber // Eating the PR Elephant

When you’re GEICO, you help people save 15% or more on car insurance.

When you’re Uber, you have a PR problem. People think you’re sleazy, have sketchy drivers and simply don’t trust you.

So what do you do to earn back trust?

One of the things you do is to be transparent. So if riders suspect you’re invading their privacy or misusing their data, you pull back the curtain.

The ‘Uber Movement’ is Uber’s way of taking data and helping local markets to improve infrastructure. And emails like the below show:

  • Uber wants to have a relationship with me beyond the car – they email me directly
  • Uber admits they collect data, but show it’s done for good
  • And prove it’s in service of helping you and your local communities, so it’s purposeful

Whether or not this directly impacts me, hearing from them makes it feel like they have less to hide. And that slowly makes me think they’re less sketchy.

So as Uber, when you have a PR problem, you eat the elephant one bit at a time. And transparency is one of those bites.

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