Tiffany Feelin’ It

Came across THIS on CNN. Basically textbook for how you take an old, expensive, stodgy brand and give it new life.

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This is the type of thing ALL brands wish they could do. Think Mercedes. Ralph Lauren. Etc. Brands who are expensive, but there are cooler, more hip options now. And they need to carry that brand’s legacy and leverage into new momentum with younger audiences.

Now, it’s likely this wasn’t just done with ads and building a cafe to get people in the door. By the sounds of it, there were also revamps in design and fresh new collections that got the audience they wanted excited – like their new Paper Flowers campaign. Doesn’t hurt they tack on a young celeb too who’s likable and embodies the change in direction.

With a wide range of prices and collections that distance Tiffany’s from the ‘classic’ jewelry store that our parents would go to, it opens the door and gives young people the ‘permission’ to like the brand. Because it’s not what the previous generation did. Because what worked for them doesn’t work for us. And while there are also cheaper options at Tiffany’s now, this quote from an analyst sums up the route that Tiffany’s confidently takes:

“Certainly, products are not cheap, but neither should they be as Tiffany is an unashamedly luxury brand that wants to create an aspirational feel,” Saunders wrote.

Watch as the stock keeps on soaring, like it did back in May with a near 30% spike. Kudos to Tiffany’s CMO too, who appears to be a Tiffany lifer. Incredibly impressive to be able to think differently after being at the company for that long.

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Watch them keep soaring using the money and legacy they already have to further distance themselves from the David Yurmans of the world with a cool, aspirational and hip feel, while staying far above the low-brow Jared’s of the world. They’re onto something and have given themselves even more runway.

Boom.

Filson // In-Store Experience

Retail stores are typically just retail stores.

You walk in. Someone gives you a half-assed ‘Welcome’. You poke around. You might buy some shit. Then you leave.

Unless you’re at the Filson flagship store in Seattle, WA.

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Because if you go to Filson, you might encounter a local BBQ joint posting up outside handing out free sliders, jerky and roasted nuts.

Or you might then walk in to get greeted by a guy who looks like Grizzly Adams who gives you a genuine WELCOME! – letting you know all the fun shit they have going on today.

Then before you even make it to the second floor, you might get intercepted by a hot dog stand. Yes, a hot dog stand. From Dante’s Inferno Dogs. BOOM.

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And if you’re able to make it past the massive giveaway they’re doing with a canoe full of Dad’s favorite products (see below), you might see the setups they have for a local knife-making company or even everyone’s favorite local Molly Moon’s ice cream (also below).

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THEN, and not until then, you may start actually browsing around and buying some really high-end, well-made outdoorsy gear. Regardless of whether it’s 100x out of your budget.

So, why does this matter? What does a hot dog stand have to do with buying high-end outdoors gear?

It’s so simple. It’s about creating a positive experience so you’re happy when you’re in there. Because if you’re happy, you’re more likely to think happily about Filson and buy something (whether that day or in the future).

Filson brings in vendors and has nice employees and a beautiful store where the history of the brand is woven throughout and books all about the outdoors scattered throughout the store to get you in the mindset – whether that’s the outdoors mindset or the positive vibes mindset.

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When I get a free pulled pork slider out front, I’m already feeling grateful. I was pleasantly surprised about the free stuff I was getting (slider, hot dog, ice cream) and thus felt like I’d ‘saved’ money already. Then when I feel positive and inspired by the things around me, I’m more likely to do something ‘for myself’, like buy a product if I see it.

Let’s say Filson had 1,000 people walk through their store that day (there were at least 50 in the store when I was in there on Saturday). Let’s say they spent $400 to get the BBQ company to come by (great exposure for them too – everybody wins) and they served up 250 sliders that day ($1.60 per slider). Let’s say they spent $200 to get Dante’s to come and served up 150 hot dogs ($1.30 per dog – also great exposure for Dante’s. Hell, I never would have known them, nonetheless blog about them). Then they paid $300 to get Molly Moon’s to come and served up 150 root beer floats ($1.50 per float). And let’s say the average person spent $10 in the store, meaning the vast majority of people don’t buy something but when they do, the product is expensive and the margins are large. So if 1,000 people spend $10 each, that means revenue on the day would’ve been $10,000. And let’s assume 75% margin on their products, so profit would’ve been $7,500 on the day. Less the $900 assumed spent on vendor presence (now at $6,600) then paying employees and other operating expenses, it’s possible they only netted a few grand on the day.

But the marketing exposure (of having a high-trafficked storefront), positive long-term consumer relationships they built (new relationships like me or reinforcing existing ones) and cold hard cash they earned at one retail location means that Filson’s mindset is on long-term value with consumers. And having a kickass in-store experience on a Saturday in Seattle for 1,000 people is a critical way of getting there.

Any brand could take after Filson. Have a great, well-designed in-store experience supplemented by things that make the customer feel valued so they’re happy, inspired and grateful – and they’re way more likely to spend their money with you. Or talk about the brand and store to their friends.

Or blog about it, like this.

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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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