Brand Consultant & Coach, Published Business Writer, Brand Author & Speaker, Harpist, Composer, Mom & Wife, Spiritual Student, Educator ... and that's just on Monday. A blog about brand leadership, innovation and anything else I want to write about.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Twitter Brand Agency Takes A Gamble

Did I hear that right? A brand and marketing agency for Twitter only? Chris Brogan calls it a "Twitter-Flavored Agency" in his social media blog headline, but mince no words, Cherp is a Twitter ONLY agency. The raison d'etre? Perhaps it's one part Twitter passion and one part betting on future micro-blog site aggregation falling under Twitter's moniker. Brands on Twitter can engage Cherp to navigate the unique culture and landscape with perhaps the largest goal of simply not turning or ticking people off. Launched just a few days ago, time will tell how successful the group is ... and just how many eggs can be laid in the Twitter nest.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Whole Foods Swearing - How To Lose Brand Respect

Leigh Duncan-Durst, principal consultant at LivePath, a marketing and customer experience consultancy, blogged about an interesting experience with the upscale healthy foods grocery store chain, Whole Foods on Twitter. Yes, @wholefoods - the Twitter account representing the brand - actually did swear about its Hatch chiles from New Mexico being on sale - and she has the screen capture to prove it. A breach in brand etiquette and common sense? No question. As I commented on the post, there's no place for any brand acting and talking like a gum smacking, disrespectful teenager in social media - no matter how casual the mediums may seem.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pint Sized Olympic Brand Marketing

Amongst Visa, Coca-Cola and McDonald's as iconic Olympic sponsors sits Win, the little sports detergent that leverages its official Olympic status as its main means of marketing and credibility. Read my full brand profile for Win at

Sunday, August 17, 2008

12NEWS MPG Challenge Finale - LIVE!

Wasting gas while navigating too many traffic lights and stop signs in town? Trading a few gallons of gas for a cup of java from the local Starbucks drive thru? I must be ranting about my last days as a participant in the 12NEWS MPG Challenge! Check out the highlights of the challenge in my special AZ Central/12 News blog and catch me live Monday, Aug 18 at 6 p.m. on Channel 12 News (Phoenix NBC affiliate) for the MPG Challenge finale with Rick DeBruhl. Missed the broadcasts? Check out video clips here of past MPG Challenge video.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Social Responsibility in 2008: Little Gifts, Big Impact

Being a socially responsible brand has several layers of meaning these days – from green business practices to supporting a worthy cause. But not all socially responsible practices are about being a large multi-national company or spending large amounts of cash. Most entrepreneurs know the value of the dollar and the challenges in accumulating and keeping it for long periods of time.

Back in the dotcom heydays of the 90’s when Internet millionaires were minted on paper every few minutes (it seemed), I would hear story after story of these same people creating non-profits, foundations and trusts in order to funnel their new-found riches into altruistic (not to mention tax-exempt) interests. Everyone seemed to be doing well and the money was flowing. But fast-forward to 2008 and the economy? Not so great as we all know. And as always in downtimes, it’s the little guys who feel the largest impacts – from the local libraries and arts groups to the elementary teachers and high school band group.

As I sit in my desert cloister, the state of Arizona is facing some of its largest deficits lending to the incredible challenges of funding public schools, city governments trying to keep up with law enforcement funding and public roads kept up to par. The quality of many of the basic amenities we all take for granted as citizens are threatened.

Librarians are being booted from elementary schools across the state; arts groups seem to be dropping like flies and to my own personal horror, local community symphonies are dropping from existence as well. Overwhelming it is, and the overall picture is far from how I would design it.

So what’s a socially conscious person to do? Give. I know, I hear your protests already: “But I don’t have the extra money!” “We’re not that big a company.” “We have to watch every dime as it is!”

The reality is there are a myriad of ways to give:

Small gifts of money: Can you honestly say you can’t afford $10, $20, $30? Even the smallest sum of cash donations goes a long way. The cost of a moderate dinner out can pay a community musician, neuter a cat, or buy books for a public school student.

Gifts of time: Can you listen to a child read for 30 minutes to help with reading? Foster care a kitten? Spend a couple of hours at the holidays reading to the elderly? Spend an hour consoling a crime victim in conjunction with your police department? The volunteer opps are endless, and I don’t know of any organization who does not appreciate even 30 minutes of your time.

Gifts of supplies: Sometimes even the most mundane items make a huge impact – a few extra office supplies donated to an arts group; an old cell phone donated to be refurbished for a domestic violence victim; magazines of interest to a nursing home or health practioner’s office who assists low-income populations; an unwanted gift card donated to an overworked, underpaid teacher just because. I just started donating my own read Wall Street Journals to the local high school down the street for their AP government and economics classes. Their response? Thrilled! Better than going straight to the recycling bin!

Take a brief moment to think. How do you make a difference? What are more ideas to give?

It doesn’t take a web mega-millionaire to have impact. There is power in numbers and a little goes a long way. Just start in your own backyard. Someone will thank you for it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Brands Twitter

Wondering what all the Web 2.0 fuss is about with brands? It's called using new communication and publishing technologies to actually have a real dialogue with customers and consumers. Rather than talking AT a consumer, social media gives instant, interactive opportunities to talk WITH a consumer. Some brands do it well by creatively exploring new trails, while others follow the technology instead of the purpose and are there as the proverbial copycat.

The microblogging phenomena known as Twitter is finally gaining traction in terms of the actual brands Twittering with real-life people. From Obama's campaign to JetBlue and H&R Block, brands, media outlets and politicians are using Twitter to its advantage to gain exposure, trust and (hopefully) capitalize on the viral effect of a positive brand image. The Twitter Brand Index put out by Fluent Simplicity is a growing, master list of brands represented on Twitter by category including higher education, professional services, government, media, and entertainment among others.

Note: my thanks to Elizabeth Albrycht for the Index heads up on FriendFeed.