Monday, May 15, 2023

PR Is Finding and Telling Compelling Stories

As a member of the Twitterverse for 14 years, I always enjoy meeting new people and learning from them. One of my new connections is Bridgette Borst Ombres from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and I invited her to appear here on my Blog in a Q&A about public relations and brand messaging. Highlights of our conversation follow a brief introduction.

A former TV news reporter turned PR and marketing professional with 15-plus years’ experience, Bridgette Borst Ombres left Corporate America during the pandemic and turned her side hustle into her main gig. Founder of The Commsultant, a boutique PR agency, Bridgette explains that B2B tech leaders and larger PR firms around the world hire her to consult on media strategy, thought leadership, and communications plans. Bridgette has media-trained more than 350 spokespeople and spearheaded communications efforts for a variety of companies from early-stage startups to large, multinational corporations. In addition, she is passionate about professional development, and over the years, has worked to place hundreds of students and young professionals in internships and jobs around the country.

QUESTION: According to Daniel J. Boorstin, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.” As a PR professional, how do you interpret that quote?
BRIDGETTE BORST OMBRES: Every business leader and brand have a unique collection of experiences, distinct values, and attributes.

Savvy PR pros are naturally curious and skilled at peeling back layers to uncover the beauty, marvel, authentic, and relatable experiences in executives and brands. They’re gifted storytellers who can paint your true picture with words.

To me, PR isn’t about "dressing up" the mediocre or crafting an ingenuine message. It’s about sniffing out the compelling, untold stories or brand attributes and knowing which parts resonate most with which specific audience.

SHARE THIS: Savvy PR pros are gifted storytellers who can paint your true picture with words. ~@BridgetteBorst #PR #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: What first attracted you to the field of public relations?
BRIDGETTE BORST OMBRES: I stumbled into a career in public relations and marketing while I was still working as a TV news reporter. I wanted more flexibility and creativity in my job, but still had a strong desire to keep my finger on the pulse of news, information, and storytelling. Through my network, I discovered I could earn my master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications online from West Virginia University. That terrific program introduced me to a wide range of marketing communications and job opportunities, including traditional public relations.

QUESTION: You were featured in an article for Business Insider entitled, “I cut my weekly work hours down from 70 to 20 after realizing the impact it had on my kid, and it's put me on a better career path.” Can you please share highlights?
BRIDGETTE BORST OMBRES: Leaving Corporate America six months into the pandemic to prioritize family and more flexibility has been one of the best decisions of my life.

The turning point for me to re-evaluate my priorities was when my toddler started imitating me on back-to-back Zoom calls. At that moment, I realized I wasn’t giving her the best version of myself and needed to make some changes. After transforming my side hustle in PR consulting into my primary source of income, I’ve maintained a much better work-life balance.

(Full article can be found here:

QUESTION: Please share your three favorite PR campaigns with reasons why.
BRIDGETTE BORST OMBRES:’s Ukraine campaign was a great example of how brands stepped up to support refugees. Airbnb partnered with international and regional nonprofits and governments to secure housing for up to 100,000 refugees free of charge.

As a female founder and mother to a little girl, Mattel’s New Career campaign for Barbie and Dove’s Real Beauty campaign were both so powerful in spreading positive messages, fighting toxic beauty standards, and celebrating women.

QUESTION: How do you think public relations aligns with branding and social media?
BRIDGETTE BORST OMBRES: PR, branding, and social media all help shape the PERCEPTION of the business and share some of the same foundations such as research and writing. But, while PR and social are about managing key relationships, branding is centered on identity.

The lines between traditional PR and various areas of marketing have grown thinner and thinner. Today, communicators need to think more holistically to ensure that all promotional activities across the marketing mix are aligned.

QUESTION: What are your favorite brands, and why?
BRIDGETTE BORST OMBRES: I’ve been hard-pressed to find brands that deliver more consistent, quality products and service than Costco and Cover Girl.

My gratitude to Bridgette for sharing her public relations, brand storytelling, and messaging insights.

Connect with Bridgette at these links:

Image Credit:  OnyxRain.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

King for a Day - and a Lifetime!

Today was the long-awaited Coronation for King Charles III.

Since today's event was the first British Coronation in 70 years, it was a unique event. All types of music were part of the service, and British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (famous for CATS, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and EVITA) wrote an anthem specifically for the service.

Following the Coronation service at Westminster Abbey, highlights of the Coronation weekend include a star-studded concert at Windsor Castle, a nationwide series of street parties nicknamed "The Coronation Big Lunch," and a national volunteering campaign scheduled for Monday branded as "The Big Help Out."

According to the New York Times, "On Monday, when many Britons will take advantage of a one-off May 8 holiday, Buckingham Palace hopes that some will undertake volunteer work, Charles, as Prince of Wales, emphasized volunteer service through his charities and views that as a major legacy of his Coronation."

King Charles's face will appear on more than coins and stamps. There were souvenirs galore created for the Coronation featuring the likenesses of both King Charles and Queen Camilla...everything from a stuffed teddy bear wearing a crown and other royal attire from British retailer John Lewis to plates, mugs, tea tins, flags, and more.

With all the pomp and pageantry, is the monarchy something the regular Brit cares about? Only time will tell, based in large part on what King Charles III actually accomplishes during his lifetime as King.

Image Credit: Debbie Laskey.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Is LOVE Part of Leadership? You Bet!

Do you know what today is? It’s GLOBAL LOVE DAY, and according to The Love Foundation, “We honor each May First as a symbolic day of unconditional love and call upon all people and nations to come together in the wisdom of peace and love.”

With this theme in mind, I recalled an incredible post by my friend and leadership/employee experience colleague Julie Winkle Giulioni and wanted to share highlights.

In January 2023, Julie wrote a post entitled, “All You Need Is Love,” as an early Valentine’s Day gift for leaders. She wrote, “Leaders who want to make a positive impact on their employees and their organizations will benefit from showing their love through these four strategies.”

Julie wrote: “Information is the lifeblood of productivity and achievement. And connections with others nourish employees, contributing to qualitative outcomes like happiness, and quantitative outcomes like loyalty, retention, and customer satisfaction.”

Julie wrote: “Ensure that people have the equipment and materials they need to succeed. Make training available so they have the necessary skills and knowledge. Remove the roadblocks – systems, processes, rules, and limitations – that undermine employees’ ability to do their best work. Then step back and see results follow.”

Julie wrote: “Allow people to explore different tasks, learn different skills, play in different sandboxes. The expanded perspective that becomes available as a result of these opportunities enriches one’s current role, opens doors to possible new roles, and keeps everyone fresh, engaged, and growing.”

Julie wrote: “Employees crave inspirational leadership. Be the leader your people need and want. Earn trust and respect through your day-to-day behavior, interactions, and decisions.”

So, today, on Global Love Day, how will you show love to your employees? Remember, for your employees to love your customers, you must love your employees first.

My gratitude and applause to Julie for inspiring me to share her post on this most appropriate day!


Check out Julie's Q&A appearances on my Blog:

Feedback and Talent in the Post-Covid Era

How Can Leaders Become Architects of Unbeatable Brands?

Connect with Julie at these links:
Twitter: @Julie_WG
Facebook: /JulieWinkleGiulioni.Author

Image Credit: Debbie Laskey.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

How Magic and Happiness Impact Leadership


Today is National Tell A Story Day, and we’re celebrating an amazing storyteller and leadership expert, but first, a little background. According to National Today, “National Tell A Story Day was first celebrated in 2009 by George Rafeedie, who runs a creative marketing agency called Tell Your Story, Inc. His business relies on promoting and marketing a brand through storytelling techniques. By creating a story with the product as the main character, the product is central to the plot and is viewed as important in continuing the storyline. Storytelling, at its most basic form, thus, contributes to highlighting certain themes, be it for moral purposes, and/or entertainment.”

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Erika Andersen for many years, and she first appeared in a Q&A on my blog back in 2011. If you aren’t familiar with her books, blog posts, guest posts, Twitter feed, podcasts, or websites, get ready to be inspired. Highlights of our recent discussion about leadership and workplace culture follow a brief introduction.

Erika Andersen is the founding partner of Proteus, where she and her colleagues support leaders at all levels to get ready and stay ready to meet the future. Erika advises senior executives, and she also shares her insights through her books, speaking engagements, and social media. In addition to her latest book, Change from the Inside Out, she is the author of four previous best-selling books: Be Bad First, Leading So People Will Follow, Being Strategic and Growing Great Employees. Erika is also a popular leadership blogger at, and the creator and host of the Proteus Leader Show podcast.

QUESTION: In a post for Forbes entitled, "In This New Era Of Hybrid Work, What Makes A Great Team?" you described five key elements for success. What were the highlights?

(Read the full post here:

ERIKA ANDERSEN: I had written a post for Forbes in 2015 explaining the five high-performance team attributes that we use as framework to help leaders improve their teams. Last fall, my partner Jeff, pointed out that since we’ve found those same five attributes are key to success in hybrid and long-distance teams, it could be helpful to write a new article to share that truth – and thus, this post!

Our observation is that the most effective teams have these five things: clear goals that are meaningful to everyone on the team; agreed-upon, simple measures of progress toward those goals; well-defined roles that are aligned with the goals; consistent, efficient team processes – ways of working together; and high trust among the members.

It turns out that these things are even MORE important in hybrid and distance teams. When people are all in the same physical location, there tends to be a good deal of informal, ongoing communication and interaction that can make up – to a certain extent – for a lack of clarity around these elements.

But when people spend most of their time not being face-to-face with their teammates, it’s all too easy to get out of sync and operate at cross-purposes without those good “stakes in the ground” of goals, measures, roles, process, and trust.

Making sure that you and your hybrid or distance team clarify and then rely on these five elements will help assure that you can still get great results and enjoy your colleagues while operating in this changed world of work that we all live in today.   

QUESTION: In a post on your blog entitled, "Practical Magic," you wrote: "Next time someone in your personal or professional life suggests a way to move forward or solve a problem that you don’t understand, or can’t quite see, before you say no, take a moment and ask yourself, 'Do we believe in each others’ magic?'" Please explain.

(Read the full post here:

ERIKA ANDERSEN: As I noted in the post, I learned this phrase from my son. He is a deeply intuitive leader and collaborator – and people of all kinds love working with him.

What “believing in someone’s magic” means is having faith that that person – based on who you know them to be and the experiences you’ve had together – can imagine and do things that you aren’t capable of – and that you may not even understand.

Believing in someone’s magic is that moment when your spouse or colleague or friend, who you love and trust, says “I want to do this and I can make it happen” … and even if you can’t see it, even if you’re not quite sure what they’re talking about, you support their effort with full energy and hope.

Believing in the magic of those around you is a powerful way to let go of your own limitations, and it’s a powerful way for groups and teams of all kinds to be able to achieve new, exciting things that are beyond the capabilities of any single member of the team.

SHARE THIS: Believing in the magic of those around you is a powerful way to let go of your own limitations. ~@ErikaAndersen #EmployeeExperience #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: There is a relatively new title in the C-Suite: Chief Happiness Officer. What do you make of this, and can it, or should it, become standard in all organizations? And if so, how could it impact the overall employee experience?

ERIKA ANDERSEN: I’m a big fan of this if it’s real. That is, if it’s not just “the flavor of the month,” but signals an actual, practical effort to increase employees’ joy and satisfaction at work, then I think it’s great.

There’s so much research now showing a correlation between at-work happiness and productivity, retention, overall health, and even happiness at home. And that same data shows that younger workers have a much higher expectation that they’ll find happiness at work than their older counterparts – and that their expectations are increasing all workers’ hopes about happiness at work.

So, it seems to me that organizations do need to focus on how to create a work environment that nurtures their employees’ happiness, if they want to be able to hire and retain the best workers and support them to do their best work.

QUESTION: You've written an array of inspiring leadership books (THANK YOU!). What leadership books inspire YOU?

ERIKA ANDERSEN: My favorite business book of all time is Jim Collins’ Good to Great. Even now, more than two decades after it was first published, I find the insights valid and tremendously valuable. (Note from Debbie: I read this book during graduate school in 1995, and I often refer back to it for its timeless lessons!)

The two other business/leadership books that have had the greatest impact on me, I believe, are Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, and Stephen M. R. Covey’s The Speed of Trust. Both books clarified for me important ideas that I was wrestling with but hadn’t yet nailed down. I had that wonderful experience, on first reading each of them, of thinking:“Yes – that’s it. That’s what I’ve been seeing, but I didn’t know how to capture it!”     

QUESTION: If you could have dinner with three leaders from history or the modern era, who would you choose and why?

ERIKA ANDERSEN: I love questions like this. Sorry, though, I have to cheat, and choose four: Llewelyn Fawr, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt and Nelson Mandela.  

Llewelyn Fawr (Llewelyn the Great) was a Welsh prince who lived in the early 1200’s, and held Wales together for almost 45 years through a combination of diplomacy and warfare. Before him, Wales was not a single kingdom, but merely a collection of loosely affiliated fiefdoms. He had amazing vision and seemed far ahead of his time in many ways.

I’d choose Lincoln for his ability to navigate through such a fraught time in American history and his ability to self-reflect and change.

Eleanor Roosevelt is fascinating to me as an extraordinarily wise person and as a woman leader who had a powerful impact within the constraints of a very male-dominated society.

Nelson Mandela is hugely inspiring as an example of a leader having absolute fidelity to a cause and the ability to manage his own mindset through decades of unimaginable personal hardship.

Assuming all four could speak the same languages (or we could have a Star Trek-style universal translator), I’d love to just sit back and listen to these four very different people from very different periods in history discuss their understanding of human beings, their motivations, and how best to lead others. What an amazing conversation that would be!

My gratitude to Erika for once again spending some of her precious time to provide inspiration about leadership and workplace culture.

Image Credit: VectorStock.

Research that Erika mentioned in the question about the Chief Happiness Officer:

Connect with Erika at these links:
Twitter: @erikaandersen
Learn more at or

For more inspiration, check out Erika’s previous appearances on my Blog:

Tips to Become “Change-Capable (May 2022)

Three Leadership Secrets: Build Consensus, Be Open to Challengers, and Delegate (May 2021)

Review of: Leading So People Will Follow by Erika Andersen (October 2019)

Leadership + Strategy = Amazing Employee Experience (November 2018)

Review of: Be Bad First by Erika Andersen (October 2018)

Are You the Type of Manager or Leader YOU Would Follow? (January 2014)

Want to be Nicknamed Strategy Guru? (July 2011)

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Marketing News of the Week: Partnerships, Brand Identity, and More

This past week, there were many news stories that reflected marketing strategies, branding campaigns, and brand storytelling.

Fashion brand The Gap partnered with toy brand Mattel for a series of collaborations inspired by Mattel's portfolio of brands including Hot Wheels, American Girl, Thomas & Friends, Masters of the Universe, and others.

The first will be an apparel collection for "Barbie" that will be available for the launch of the film in late May, available on Gap's website and in select stores globally. The "Gap x Barbie" collection will feature T-shirts, skirts, logo hoodies, denim, button-downs, and accessories as well as pet apparel - retailing for $24 to $69 and featuring Barbie branding and Gap's typeface.

According to Christopher Goble, Gap's head of merchandising, "Gap's partnership with Mattel presents two iconic brands collaborating on products that customers can wear as a family, pets included, and have fun."

Netflix partnered with fashion brand Lacoste for a new collection inspired by some of the streaming service's most popular shows. Polo shirts, tracksuits, and sweatshirts inspired by shows "Stranger Things," "Bridgerton," and "The Witcher," will also feature the Lacoste crocodile. The new items will be available online at and as well as in select Lacoste stores.

According to Josh Simon, VP of Consumer Products for Netflix, "We think products can be a powerful medium for storytelling, and partnering with Lacoste presents a unique opportunity to blend the worlds of fashion and entertainment."

Color brand Pantone announced its "Mrs. Maisel Pink" color in honor of the AmazonPrime television series' fifth and final season. According to Pantone, "From her first full look in Season One, glowing in a baby pink coat amid a crowd of New Yorkers wearing the 1950's corporate palette of cool grays and neutrals, to taking her last bow in Season Five. Midge's sartorial color choices meticulously depict her as the wise-cracking, unapologetic, and self-possessed woman she is."

According to the show's costume designer, Donna Sakowska, "Every color is another country, and every color choice another adventure in Wonderland." According to Pantone, "And what adventures they've had. [The clothing's colors] transported its characters from the Upper West Side to the Lower East Side, from Paris to the Catskills, and from the late 1950's to the early 1960's, with countless personal revelations and reinventions along the way."

The Oakland A's finalized a deal to buy a 49-acre site to build a retractable-roof ballpark close to the Las Vegas Strip with a seating capacity of 30,000 to 35,000. The team hopes to break ground by 2024 with the plan to move to the new home by 2027. The team's lease at the Oakland Coliseum expires after the 2024 season, and the team has struggled for years to draw fans.

With an NFL team, the Raiders, and a NHL team, the Golden Knights, and a WNBA team, the Aces, baseball was the only major sport missing a presence in Las Vegas.

After six seasons as a co-host of the popular ABC morning talk-show made famous by Regis Philbin and his many hosts over the years, Ryan Seacrest said goodbye. Kelly Ripa welcomed her husband, Mark Consuelos, to join the show. The promotional tagline became "From Co-Stars in Life to Co-Hosts on Live." The show's name changed from "Live with Kelly and Ryan" to "Live with Kelly and Mark." Time will tell if viewers tire of the married couple's stories.

According to ABC, "Facebook users who had an active Facebook account at any point between May 2007 and December 2022 can now apply to receive a piece of parent company Meta's $725 million settlement related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal...The legal battle began four years ago, following an international outcry from the company's disclosure that the private information of as many as 87 million Facebook users was obtained by Cambridge Analytica."

However, while Facebook users can complete a claim form by August 25, 2023, to be included in the group to receive the settlement, the claim form requires information that the company never had before including a mailing address and additional email addresses. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want to provide MORE personal info to Meta, so count me out for what may turn out to be pennies.

This past week, retail stores David's Bridals and Bed, Bath & Beyond filed for bankruptcy protection. David's Bridal, the leading bridal and special occasion authority, expects to continue operations. But if you're a bride, this news will definitely make you into a Bridezilla!

Bed Bath & Beyond sent an email to shoppers: "We appreciate that customers have trusted us through the most important milestones in their lives - from going to college, to getting married, to settling into a new home, to having a baby. We have initiated a process to wind down operations." The 360 stores will shutter over time.

While stamps featuring King Charles III's face are now officially on sale to the British public, the new stamps feature a significant break from the past: None of the stamps include a crown. According to royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams, "His preference for a simple image is more contemporary. The Queen wore a diadem and the image of her was internationally recognized. In a different age, the King has wisely chosen a more human image."

Less than four months after experiencing an unexpected cardiac arrest during a Monday Night Football game on January 2nd, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has been "fully cleared" to return to play. Three medical specialists unanimously agreed that Hamlin can resume full activities on the field. All football fans became Buffalo Bills fans during that January game, and everyone wishes Damar a long and healthy career.

During Damar's recovery in March, he visited Congress to advocate for better access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools. His survival is widely credited to the rapid use of CPR and a defibrillator on the field.

Damar told Members of Congress, "For schools that have AEDs, the survival rate for children from sudden cardiac arrest is seven times higher. The Access to AEDs Act will help ensure that schools are just as prepared and trained to respond in a time of crisis as those on the sidelines on an NFL game."

While many in the comedy world will mourn the passing of Barry Humphries, most mainstream folks will miss Barry's alter ego known as Dame Edna. Who can forget the hilarious antics of Dame Edna? Truly one-of-a-kind! RIP Barry Humphries.

What other marketing news stood out to you this past week?

What will be the marketing buzz next week? Tune in to read all about it.

Image Credits: Live with Kelly and Mark and the Buffalo Bills.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Covid Brand Pivots, Marketing and Twitter

While many users left Twitter since Elon Musk took over, I chose to remain to continue to participate in discussions about brand marketing, leadership, and customer experience marketing as well as other interesting topics – and also to learn from fellow marketers and business leaders. And of course, there’s no better place to discuss Super Bowl ads in real time!

Do you recall what happened on this date in 2009? If you’re a Twitter fan, you’ll recall the race between actor Ashton Kutcher and CNN to be the first to reach a million followers. Ashton Kutcher became the King of Twitter by reaching that milestone on this date in 2009. Today, he has over 17 million followers.

Last year, I connected with Suzanne Huber from Toronto, Canada, and we had a Q&A about branding, marketing, and reading. The link is provided at the end of this post, and recently, we continued our discussion. Highlights follow a brief introduction.

Suzanne Huber is an award-winning digital strategist who has helped hundreds of companies and nonprofits attract new customers while growing brand awareness. She's a trusted advisor to entrepreneurs and executives growing their companies with a proven track record. Today, her company creates marketing strategies and provides outsourced digital marketing solutions that drive fast client acquisition. Suzanne also works with and trains small and medium-sized companies to launch their own innovative marketing campaigns that take their organizations to new heights. Her passion for driving results has made her sought after by business leaders actively growing their organizations.

QUESTION: You appeared here on my Blog in September 2022. I asked you then to share your three favorite brands with reasons why. Now, three years into the Covid pandemic, which three brands have pivoted during the pandemic and stand out from their competitors?

SUZANNE HUBER: This Is a hard question to answer. I will refer to industries and categories that are coming out on the other side since I am stumped on specific brand pivots. There are certainly some winners and comebacks that seem to be apparent.

Cruises in general have seemed to be bouncing back, likely not to where they were, but people are traveling on them again, which I personally think is wild given that they could not port in many countries, and this isn't technically over yet.

Baby formula is top of mind as well. As a new mom of twins, it's unbelievable how difficult it has been to source the last few months. There is high demand out there from all of the new babies that came to be during the pandemic.

QR codes are a winner too. Mass adoption for menus would not have happened without the pandemic – now users are asked to scan the QR codes to read menus.

The last category would be related to fitness/workouts. You can really source just about any kind now virtually. The pandemic forced the industry to go digital, and that can become a permanent fixture/revenue stream even though people are going back to gyms and studios in person now. Personally, I finally was able to work out consistently in my home (because I had to!) and will favour this approach moving ahead to save time going to and from the gym.

QUESTION: What are your favorite aspects of marketing?

SUZANNE HUBER: My favorite aspects would be starting and maintaining relationships with an audience of potential buyers by creating engagement with good content. This really allows you to scale yourself from a sales perspective. This is especially the case if you can generate interest and intrigue from an audience. It's technically selling at scale. Some sales professionals may disagree, but marketing really facilitates the sales process, and if your content isn't helping to bring buyers further down the funnel, then it isn't working for you. Marketing also provides the opportunity to stand out and be different with your positioning. Who you serve and how you connect with them. I love the creativity and ways to resonate with your ideal buyers through content.

SHARE THIS: Marketing provides the opportunity to stand out and be different with your positioning. ~SuzyHuber #Marketing #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: You Tweeted, "Is it normal to prefer some of your Twitter friends to your real-life ones?" Seriously, based on the chaos surrounding Elon Musk and Twitter, is Twitter still an important part of your digital footprint and social media marketing?

SUZANNE HUBER: It is. I still get decent engagement on my content and find new people to connect with. That said, the changes to the algorithm definitely have impacted the content on my feed, and I certainly miss the people who I am used to engaging with on the platform.

It is different now. I do periodically see some of my people stream, and I engage on their content, so I can see them hopefully again. I am not going to change my profile to private though, and I consume less news on there these days. I miss the good old days for sure, but I am also not leaving just yet either.

I have noticed, as well, that the people that Twitter suggests I should follow aren't really aligned with my interests, and they already have huge followings so not sure what props up that feature as the networking seemed to be more organic/authentic in the past versus growing existing large accounts by recommending them. Harder to reach people where you are at.

That said, I love my existing followers and people I follow, so I will stay in touch there for now and hope the algorithm gets some more tweaks in the days ahead.

QUESTION: What does this quote from @StorytellerAgcy mean to you? "Give something of meaning to your audience by inspiring, engaging, and educating them with story. Stop marketing. Start storytelling."

SUZANNE HUBER: People connect with stories as it is a way to absorb information by connecting with emotions, someone's perspective, and experiences. Stories help the reader to understand the underlying message more clearly as well. It is a great way to establish rapport and transmit valuable information to potential buyers by being engaging. The hero's journey, the challenge, the villains, can all be relatable to anyone reading, and it also allows the reader to get to know the brand on a deeper level. Personally, I am not the best storyteller, but I recognize their value and importance. Social proof really helps to influence and persuade as well as it is about customers sharing their personal experiences with products and services.

QUESTION: What do you think will be the central focus of our marketing discussions a year from now in early 2024?

SUZANNE HUBER: Artificial Intelligence has definitely hit the mainstream this year and will continue to integrate in how we live and work in the days ahead. We will be talking about how to use it as a tool while still maintaining creativity and personalization. Given the nature of how disruptive these changes are, there is currently a lag for regulations and the ethics of using AI. Personally, I believe in using tools and market innovations to get ahead and not be left behind. We are in the wild, wild west and like crypto, we will see how this new paradigm will be structured in the days ahead.

Also, another area that is still attracting a lot of attention is the changes in the workforce. With all of the layoffs taking place right now in tech and other sectors, more people will turn to self-employment. Viewing themselves as a personal brand/solopreneur. Companies conducting layoffs and how they are handled will impact their overall brand’s public perception in the days ahead, so it will be interesting to see how the concept of profits versus people evolves.

My gratitude to Suzy for sharing her marketing and business insights.

Image Credit: Rupert Britton via Unsplash.

Q&A featuring Suzy on September 12, 2022:
“Branding and Marketing Build Businesses”

Connect with Suzy at these links:

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Marketing News of the Week: Mrs. Maisel, an Emoji, and More


This past week, there were many news stories that reflected effective marketing strategies, branding campaigns, and brand storytelling.

The fifth and final season of this exceptional show returned on April 14 on AmazonPrime. As part of publicity for the show’s return, the cast rang the opening bell for the New York Stock Exchange, and New York City Mayor Eric Adams proclaimed the day as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Day” to celebrate the show’s creative and economic contributions to New York City.

According to NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, “Emmy-winner The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel created thousands of jobs for NYers, supported small businesses, boosted the local economy, and showcased the beauty of NYC over five seasons. The hires included:
*344 dancers
*580 musicians
*981 dayplayers
*35,619 background actors
*366 NYC locations shot.”

How many other shows have received such publicity?

With the coronation of King Charles III less than three weeks away, tradition met the modern age of communication. Buckingham Palace released the official “Coronation Emoji” for use with the hashtags #Coronation, #CoronationWeekend, #CoronationConcert, #TheBigHelpOut, and #CoronationBigLunch. According to the Coronation News and Updates account on Twitter, the emoji was based on “St. Edward’s Crown, recreated in 1661 for King Charles II and based on the ancient crown used for centuries before.”

Also, in Coronation news, after months of speculation, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Harry would attend the Coronation, while Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, would remain in California with their two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.

Eric Schiffer, Chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, said, “The impact to Meghan on a global scale in not attending is negligible and won’t damage her [personal] brand outside of the UK. Within the UK, there is a contingent that is anti-Meghan, and this becomes a further log thrown to the fire to power additional comments that are going to be unfavorable.”

The “Phantom of the Opera” musical took its final bow on Broadway today on April 16, after 35 years and nearly 14,000 performances – making it the longest-running show in Broadway history. This was more than Cats, A Chorus Line, Chicago, The Lion King, Wicked, Hamilton, and Les Misérables.

The show lays claim to the title of biggest job producer in U.S. theatrical history, according to CNBC: “During its run, Phantom created an estimated 6,500 jobs, including those of 400 actors, in New York City, and some have been with the musical since it opened in 1988.”

Tickets for the final weekend performances in New York City were as high as $4,000 each. But don’t worry…if you absolutely, positively, must see Phantom, you can still buy a ticket for the show in London.

The new LG logo comes to life in an animation that turns it into a winking emoji-like face to appeal to a younger audience. The new LG logo is expressive and animated and nods, smiles, and winks. The tagline of “Life’s Good” will remain and will be used more widely in branding and product packaging in a new typeface.

According to William Cho, CEO, “Having a strong, consistent brand strategy enables us to better communicate our value proposition and unique identity, which harmonically blends innovation and warmth.”

This week, the streaming service that offers a variety of award-winning TV shows, movies, documentaries, and more on thousands of Internet-connected devices, celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Remember the 280-character limit on Twitter? This small limit forced users to consider their thoughts before writing concise tweets. However, since Musk took over the platform late last year, much has changed. Most recently, as part of the Twitter Blue option with a cost of $7.99 a month, users can write tweets with as many as 10,000 characters, which could be between 1,500 to 2,500 words.

According to tech expert Lance Ulanoff, “Twitter’s primary purpose is to be a fast, steady steam of news. It’s not the place for massive articles.”

This definitely changes the scope of the platform’s content – who wants to read that much content on Twitter? I definitely don’t!

First, the platform labeled NPR’s account as “state-affiliated media,” and then changed it to “Government-funded Media,” the same term it applies to propaganda outlets in Russia, China, and other autocratic countries. The news organization says that the label is inaccurate and misleading, since NPR is a private, nonprofit company with editorial independence. Further, it receives less than one percent of its $300 million annual budget from the federally-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

NPR’s CEO John Lansing said in an interview that NPR will no longer post fresh content to its 52 official Twitter feeds, becoming the first major news organization to go silent on Twitter. In an email to staff, Lansing explained his decision, “It would be a disservice to the serious work you all do here to continue to share it on a platform that is associating the federal charter for public media with an abandoning of editorial independence or standards.” In an email to readers and fans, Lansing wrote, “Now, more than ever, public access to factual, non-biased journalism is crucial.”

After NPR’s exit on Twitter, Boston-based WBUR announced that it would also stop posting on Twitter “in solidarity with NPR,” according to a statement from its CEO, Margaret Low.

Mary Quant died on April 13. She was a British fashion designer who pioneered the swinging style of the 1960’s and was often credited with creating the now-iconic mini skirt. Some compared her impact on the fashion world with the Beatles’ impact on pop music.

According to Huffington Post, “The look she created was sexy and fun, a sharp break with the predictable floral dresses commonly worn in the conservative, austere years after World War II. Quant introduced miniskirts with hemlines up to 8 inches above the knee to the London scene in 1966, and they were an instant hit with young people, in part, because they shocked and offended their elders…She named the skirt after her favorite make of car, the Mini, recalled how it offered a feeling of freedom and liberation…She soon diversified her interests, developing a popular makeup line and also moving into kitchenware and household accessories.”

A few items missed the last marketing update but are worth mentioning:

According to CNN, “The barcode, the rectangle of thick and thin parallel lines seen on nearly every grocery product, package, piece of luggage, and prescription bottle is turning 50 years old. Since its inception, the Universal Product Code (UPC) has become the most prevalent tracking tool for products around the world. Billions of items are scanned everyday around the world, and the laser-powered technology behind UPCs has changed the retail industry in particular.”

The birthdate of the barcode is celebrated April 3 (1973) because that’s the day the IBM version created by senior engineer George Laurer was approved as the industry standard. Laurer received no royalties. The first item scanned with a barcode was a package of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum for $1.39. Years later, the Smithsonian added a replica of the gum to its exhibition on the history of the barcode.

Finland became the 31st member of the NATO alliance on April 4. Previously, Finland had no plans to join NATO due to its close ties to Russia, but due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Finland changed its mind.

Fanta’s new visual identity aims “to inspire people to find the fun in life and make the plain playful, with a look that remains unmistakably Fanta.” In addition, the orange color is gone.

According to Sue Murphy, senior director of design at The Coca-Cola Company, “Fanta’s identity, and particularly the logo, has evolved significantly from the 1940’s to today. With this refresh, we aimed to crystalize each element of the brand to be bold and iconic so that we could ensure it would stand the test of time and be recognized around the world.”

What other marketing news stood out to you this past week?

What will be the marketing buzz next week? Tune in to read all about it.

Image Credits: AmazonPrime and Buckingham Palace.