Thursday, July 25, 2024

Introducing the #OlympicsLeadershipSeries on #DebbieLaskeysBlog

I've been honored over the last year to feature two thought-provoking leadership series that welcomed nearly 50 marketing and leadership experts to my blog. These individuals participated in my #FallBacktoReadingSeries and #SpringLeadershipSeries, and, without a doubt, inspired me and my blog's readers.

With the Olympics upon us, I'd like to announce the launch of another series here on my blog, my #OlympicsLeadershipSeries. I have asked 17 experts to answer the five questions below, and since I've asked them, I decided to provide my answers to kick off the series. I hope this series provides some new ways to think about the Olympics as you watch the competitions.

So, each day as you watch the Olympics during the next two weeks, tune into #DebbieLaskeysBlog to learn how leadership aligns with the Olympics. At the conclusion of the Olympics, I will share series highlights on August 12th; a recap of the Paris Olympics competition on August 13th; and Five Business Lessons from the Paris 2024 Olympics on August 14th.

QUESTION: What Olympic MOMENT do you most vividly recall, and why?
DEBBIE LASKEY: As with all winter Olympics, figure skating is a much anticipated sport, and 1980 was no different. However, despite being favorites to win a gold medal, American athletes and figure skaters Tai Babilonia (age 19) and her skating partner Randy Gardner (age 21) had to pull out of the competition at the last moment due to an injury to Gardner. This incident taught me at an early age that sometimes, even the best, most talented among us fall down or fail - but we should not give up on our dreams or working toward our goals.

QUESTION: What Olympic MOMENT OR EVENT stands out as either lack of OR evidence of leadership?
DEBBIE LASKEY: I need only mention two names, and the story tells itself: Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. According to Wikipedia, "On January 6, 1994, an assailant used a police baton to strike Kerrigan on her landing knee; the attacker was hired by the ex-husband of her rival Tonya Harding. The attack injured Kerrigan, but she quickly recovered. Harding and Kerrigan both participated in the 1994 Winter Olympics, but after the Games, Harding was permanently banned from competitive figure skating. At the Olympics, Kerrigan won the silver medal in a controversial showdown with gold medal winner Oksana Baiul. She then started touring and performed with several ice skating troupes that included Champions on Ice and Broadway on Ice. In 2017, she was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars."

Despite the injury and ensuing media coverage, Nancy Kerrigan rose above the bizarre drama surrounding this incident to compete, win a medal, all while demonstrating integrity, professionalism, and inspiration. Without a doubt, those are admirable leadership qualities.

QUESTION: What Olympic SPORT demonstrates effective leadership?
DEBBIE LASKEY: Do you remember the film "Cool Runnings?" Do you know where it got its inspiration?

The Jamaica national bobsled team represents Jamaica in international bobsleding competitions. The men's four-men bobsled team debuted in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta. Jamaica returned to the Winter Olympics in the two-man bobsled in 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2014, and 2022. According to Wikipedia, "The team's underdog status as an unlikely competitor in a cold weather sport represented by a nation with a tropical environment quickly gained them popularity. They had little experience in the sport and had to appeal to other teams for basic equipment in order to compete; sporting camaraderie across national boundaries followed."

If something looks difficult or impossible, the Jamaican bobsled team proved that teamwork can lead to unexpected success!

SHARE THIS: The Jamaican bobsled team proved that teamwork can lead to unexpected success. ~@DebbieLaskeyMBA #OlympicsLeadershipSeries #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: What is an important BUSINESS LESSON that we can learn from this international athletic event?
DEBBIE LASKEY: TEAMWORK: Even if an athlete doesn’t win a Gold, Silver, or Bronze medal, he/she/they is an Olympic athlete. For your business, even if an employee doesn’t make the biggest sale or develop the next iPad, they are still contributing in some way to the overall bottom line or working toward the same goal.

Here's a great example, thanks to Mark Herbert for sharing this story in his book, Managing Whole People, One Man's Journey:

A man went to a hospital in Texas because he wanted to meet a famous heart surgeon. As the man left the hospital, he met an elderly janitor who was mopping the floor. The man asked, "What do you do here at the hospital?" The elderly man replied, "Dr. DeBakey and I save lives together." The elderly man explained that Dr. DeBakey had told all employees that hospital infections kill more patients than disease, so while the elderly janitor was NOT a medical professional, he was doing HIS part to keep the hospital clean.

QUESTION: If YOU competed in the Olympics, which sport would you choose, and why?
DEBBIE LASKEY: I would choose CURLING because it's such an unusual sport and also MOGULS because they make all athletes look graceful. In addition, for moguls, a person is completely defined by his/her/their athletic ability - as a result of the ski pants, jacket, gloves, and head covering, the person's ethnicity/demographics are totally irrelevant. Athletes are judged solely by their ability, which is the entire point of the Olympic competition.

And a final reminder, as you watch the Olympics during the next two weeks, tune into #DebbieLaskeysBlog each day through August 14th. Enjoy the competition of the 33rd Olympiad!

For details about curling, check out this link:

For details about moguls, check out these links:

SHARE THIS: Only five countries have participated in every Summer Olympic Games: Australia, France, Great Britain, Greece, and Switzerland. #OlympicsLeadershipSeries #FunFact #DebbieLaskeysBlog

Image Credits: Paris 2024 Olympic Organizing Committee, Sporting News, and Snowbrains.

Wednesday, July 24, 2024

What's on Your Reading List for the Paris Olympics?

Are you ready for the Paris Olympics? Have you been counting the hours until the Opening Ceremony takes place along the Seine River? Have you been checking out the broadcast schedule so that you'll be able to watch your favorite sports live?

As the world turns its attention to the French capital and the thousands of athletes who will compete in a myriad of sports, there's something else you can do while you enjoy the Olympics and afterward: read a book that features the city of Paris as a central character.

SHARE THIS: Walking Paris is often described as reading, as though the city itself were a huge anthology of tales. It exerts a magnetic attraction over its citizens and visitors. ~Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust #DebbieLaskeysBlog

Since I've found many spellbinding and immersive books that will appeal to bibliophiles of all ages, I invite you to check out my list:


Rick Steves Pocket Paris by Rick Steves (c. 2023)


Doorways of Paris by Raquel Puig (c. 2017)


111 Museums in Paris That You Shouldn't Miss by Anne Carminati and James Wesolowski (c. 2023)


Art Hiding in Paris: An Illustrated Guide to the Secret Masterpieces of the City of Light by Lori Zimmer (c. 2022)


The French Ingredient: Making a Life in Paris One Lesson at a Time; A Memoir by Jane Bertch (c. 2024)


The Paris Daughter by Kristin Harmel (c. 2023)


Paris Is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay (c. 2020)


The Paris Novel by Ruth Reichl (c. 2024)


The Forgotten Bookshop in Paris by Daisy Wood (c. 2022)


Murder at the Paris Fashion House by Nancy Warren (c. 2024)


The Room on Rue Amelie by Kristin Harmel (c. 2018)


The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George (c. 2013)


The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Mahler (c. 2022)


Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan (c. 2018)


The Last Dress from Paris by Jade Beer (c. 2022)


The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff (c. 2019)


The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (c. 2011)


The Paris Assignment by Rhys Bowen (c. 2023)


The Paris Apartment by Kelly Bowen (c. 2021)


Sophie & Stephie: The Travel Sisters: Hello France! by Ekaterina Otiko (c. 2024)


Penny's Paris Tour by Bailey Clark (c. 2024)


The Girl with the Magic Ponytails: French Tales by Karen J. Young (c. 2024)


Two Mice at the Eiffel Tower by Donna McIndoe Dalton and illustrated by David Pfendler (c. 2019)

What's YOUR favorite book about the amazing city of Paris? Chime in and share. Merci beaucoup - and enjoy the upcoming Olympics!

SHARE THIS: Paris is always a good idea. ~ Audrey Hepburn #DebbieLaskeysBlog

SHARE THIS: What you don't know about Paris, is that when you live there, over time, an invisible thread forms around your heart, and so when you leave, it always tugs you back ~Robert Black, Novelist #DebbieLaskeysBlog

Image Credits: AP News and A Thing Created via Etsy.

Did you know that Paris has the most museums of any city in the world?

Five #PersonalBranding Lessons from Kamala Harris

By now, everyone has heard the surprising news from President Joe Biden, that he has agreed with his advisors and members of his Democratic party and has withdrawn from the 2024 Presidential race and endorsed his Vice President, Kamala Harris. By doing so, he has cemented his legacy of a half-century as a statesman and patriot – and is passing the baton to a younger generation of leaders.

Although Harris has not been in the limelight as much as we’d hoped back on Inauguration Day in January 2021, her time to shine has arrived, and as a result, we can learn five personal branding lessons from her as she begins the next chapter of her political career.


From the day that President Biden chose Harris as his running mate, she has been his political partner. She has explained, “It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve alongside our Commander-in-Chief, my friend, President Joe Biden – one of the finest public servants we will ever know…And I am eager to run on the record of what Joe and I have accomplished together.”


Once Biden made his announcement, Harris said, “I am honored to have the President’s endorsement and my intention is to earn and win this nomination.” She chose her words wisely, showed her appreciation for Biden’s support and spoke directly to members of the Democratic Party to demonstrate her desire for the party to nominate her at the upcoming convention in August.


According to The19th, “Harris has already become the administration’s leading voice on the importance of abortion rights, one of the Democratic Party’s top issues, at the federal and state level. She has spent the last year using rallies and interviews to make a clear-eyed case to voters on how a second Donald Trump presidency and Republican majorities in Congress could restrict abortion access.”


Harris is a stepmother to her husband’s two adult children and has often explained that they refer to her as “Mom-ala” to rhyme with her name “Kamala.”


Harris has often shared this quote. “My mother had a saying, ‘Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last.’” She has never shied away from her challenges as the first female Vice President, and as a result, has earned her place in history (or should we say, HERSTORY).

And finally, let’s not forget what Hillary Clinton said during her concession speech in November 2016, “I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday, someone will.”

What personal branding lessons have you learned from Kamala Harris? Chime in and share.

SHARE THIS: I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday, someone will. ~Hillary Clinton #KamalaHarrisforPresident #DebbieLaskeysBlog

Image Credit: Amazon.

Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Marketing News of the Month: Sharks, Personal Branding, and More

During the month of July, there were many news stories that reflected brand promotion, personal branding, co-branding, logo redesign, pricing, product launches, product positioning, rebranding, and more.


According to Yahoo Entertainment, "With summer in full swing, it's time to curl up in the safety of your air conditioner and tune into Discovery Channel's 36th Annual Shark Week from July 7th to 13th for your daily dose of apex-predator action, ranging from horror stories to fascinating adventure tales." Shark Week featured 21 hours of new shark-focused shows, and after previously employing Dwayne Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, Jason Momoa, and Eli Roth as hosts, this year's Shark Week was hosted by wrestler John Cena.

While it's hard to believe that this was the 36th annual Shark Week, from a marketing perspective, there were two appropriate partners. They included Beneath the Waves, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting ocean health and protecting threatened species (such as, sharks); and Oceana, the world's largest advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. However, an odd partnership was Major League Baseball, where fans saw Shark Week signage, trivia, and co-branded merchandise in ballparks.


Chicago Sky WNBA rookie Angel Reese has a history of wearing custom sneakers. Earlier this year, she collaborated with Reebok for custom pink and white sneakers featuring "Angel" written on the tongue and "Unapologetically Angel" written on the insole. Then, she unveiled her Joker-themed sneakers inspired by the infamous Batman villain, The Joker. Those shoes were purple and green, which referenced The Joker's attire. She also unveiled Barbie-themed pink sneakers with the name "Barbie" written on the front, a Barbie logo, and black dots.

And most recently, according to ClutchPoints, "Chicago Sky rookie Angel Reese has gone viral with her new custom 'Reese's Pieces' shoes, designed by Marvin Baroota, who is known for his unique shoe designs. This design, inspired by Reese's Pieces candy, features the candy's orange and yellow color scheme. Baroota's creation includes several personal elements for Reese. The shoes have an "A" logo in the Reese's Pieces font with a peanut butter cup in the background. One shoe has "Reese Angel" written on the front, while the other features an image of a buttercup with a bite taken out of it."


Due to the purchase of Cedar Fair by Six Flags Entertainment Corporation for $8 billion, Six Flags will now control seven of the top 20 most-visited theme parks in North America, more than any other single company. The new company will retain the Six Flags' name and Cedar Fair's stock symbol (FUN) on the New York Stock Exchange. Former Cedar Fair leaders will continue as CEO, CFO, and COO. Six Flags' current CEO will become the Executive Chairman of the new company, and the "new" Six Flags will be headquartered in Cedar Fair's home in Charlotte, North Carolina.

From a marketing perspective, will any of the former Cedar Fair parks adopt Six Flags branding? Will the company offer new annual and season pass products that allow fans to visit multiple parks across the now-combined company? Will any of the existing parks be shuttered? Without a doubt, operating 17 amusement parks and 15 water parks across 17 states representing different brands will be a challenging task.


According to CNN, "For the first time ever, Tesla cars have been placed on a Chinese government purchase list. Tesla is the only foreign-owned EV car brand on the purchase catalog published by the government. That means that government agencies can procure them as service cars, highlighting the cozy relationship China has with Elon Musk's company. Tesla, which has a massive gigafactory in Shanghai, manufactured some 947,000 cars in China in 2023, and most of them were used locally. China has become an increasingly important market for Tesla, as the country accounts for more than half of the world's total EV sales. Last year, Tesla derived nearly a quarter of its total revenue from China." 

In Tesla news in the United States, according to Reuters, "The company recalled 11,688 Cybertrucks from the 2024 model year because the front windshield wiper motor controller failed due to excessive electrical current. Non-functioning wipers could increase the risk of a crash in wet weather. The wiper recall covered all trucks built through June 6...[And let's not forget that] Tesla recalled nearly 4,000 Cybertrucks in April 2024 to fix an accelerator pedal pad that could come loose and get lodged in the interior trim."


According to a NASCAR press release, "NASCAR and ABB, a global leader in electrification and automation, announced the ABB NASCAR Electrification Innovation Partnership on July 6th and revealed a new EV prototype at the Chicago Street Race. ABB becomes the first Official Partner of NASCAR Impact, the sanctioning body's platform driving NASCAR's mission to strengthen its communities and contribute to a healthier planet, and together will work to advance NASCAR's strategic sustainability ambitions across electrification...While NASCAR is committed to the historic role of the combustion engine in racing, it is also committed to decarbonizing its operations and reducing its own carbon footprint to zero across its core operations by 2035 through electrification and innovative solutions...The prototype was developed in collaboration with NASCAR's OEM partners — Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota — and was built by NASCAR engineers."


HBC, the parent company of Saks Fifth Avenue, announced its purchase of the Neiman Marcus Group, which owns Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. The deal is valued at $2.65 billion. When the transaction is complete, Toronto-based HBC will form Saks Global, which will include Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off 5th, Neiman Marcus, and Bergdorf Goodman - and all stores will continue to operate under their respective brands. Current CEO Marc Metrick will become CEO of Saks Global. Amazon and Salesforce will be investors.

Richard Baker, HBC executive chairman and CEO, will also serve as executive chairman of Saks Global. He said, "This is an exciting time in luxury retail, with technological advancements creating new opportunities to redefine the customer experience, and we look forward to unlocking significant value for our customers, brand partners, and employees."

According to Chainstoreage, "The deal is subject to approval by the Federal Trade Commission. The combined company would have only two competitors in the high-end U.S. department store market: Bloomingdale's, which is owned by Macy's Inc., and Nordstrom."


According to Fast Company, "Verizon announced a new logo and updated brand system. Gone is the Verizon electricity-inspired checkmark, which has been with the brand in some permutation for more than 20 years. In its place is a more flexible and adaptive letter V. Nine years after its last rebrand, Verizon is still the largest wireless provider in the U.S., but it’s struggling with subscriber growth. And so, Verizon is repositioning its brand farther from what it's been known for (wireless infrastructure) and closer to the halo of media (from video games, to streaming platforms, to NFL games) that all of its partnerships, and perhaps, most notably, its lucrative premium-tier subscriptions, provide to its customers...The new red wordmark features a glowing ribbon "V" that is strikingly similar to Netflix's signature N...Verizon will turn the V into signage for stores and other installations. They also imagine the V in physical spaces, shaping an entryway as the brand, and as abstract designs on newly designed employee uniforms, a collection of casual, mix-and-match tees, totes, and cross-body bags."


For the first time since 2017, the membership store announced that it will raise membership fees by $5 for US and Canadian customers. This means that $60 will increase to $65 per year, and the high-tier plan called Executive Membership will increase from $120 to $130 a year. According to ABC News, this increase will affect 52 million memberships.


Ramen is not the first food that one thinks about when thinking of dessert. However, Cup Noodles launched a new limited-edition s'mores-flavored instant ramen. Ready to eat via microwave, the product comes with a sauce-based flavor blend of chocolate, marshmallow, and graham crackers.

According to Nissin Foods USA Senior VP of Marketing Priscilla Stanton, the limited-edition offerings of Cup Noodles are an effort to expand beyond a "pantry staple." The line-up of flavors includes Pumpkin Spice, Everything Bagel, and Breakfast (which is a mixture of the classic breakfast combination of maple syrup pancakes, sausage, and eggs).


Asics is an acronym for the Latin phrase 'anima sana in corpore sano,' which translates to 'sound mind, sound body.' Living up to its name, the sportswear brand has spent the past four years doubling down on mental health marketing to differentiate itself.


According to CNN, despite the fact that Judy Garland never recorded an audiobook of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," we will soon hear her rendition of the children's novel that inspired the classic movie that made her a movie star. This will happen because AI company ElevenLabs announced that it is bringing digitally-produced celebrity voice-overs of deceased actors to its newly-launched Reader app. So far, the voices that will be available include Judy Garland, James Dean, and Burt Reynolds.


According to the Associated Press, "Italian immigrant Caesar Cardini is said to have invented the the caesar salad on July 4, 1924, at his restaurant, Caesar's Place, in Tijuana, Mexico. It was a steamy night, and Cardini was struggling to feed an influx of Californians who had crossed the border to escape Prohibition. In the middle of the dining room, Cardini tossed whole Romaine leaves with ingredients he had on hand, including garlic-flavored oil, Worcestershire sauce, lemons, eggs and Parmesan cheese. A star was born...Around 35 percent of U.S. restaurants have Caesar salad on their menus, according to Technomic, a restaurant consulting firm; and nearly 43 million bottles of Caesar salad dressing (or $150 million worth) have been sold in the U.S. over the past year, according to Nielsen IQ."


According to Retail Dive, "Arts and crafts retailer Joann is launching a new brand campaign. The company said that its "Jo-And" rebranding will leverage influencer relationships, social media, and commercial spots to highlight the joy in the experience of connecting with others through hands-on creativity. Chief Customer Officer Chris DiTullio explained that Joann's is focusing on introducing Gen Z and others to the brand as a one-stop source for all of the tools and inspiration for crafting, sewing, and personalization."


According to Retail Dive, "Kohl's joined other retailers in holding summertime sales to answer Amazon's Prime Day. The department store's "Summer Cyber Deals," July 8 through July 11 in stores and online, offered up to 60 percent off across the entire assortment. Loyalty members earned double rewards and got free shipping on all online purchases throughout the event. Then, July 16 through July 17 (the specific dates of Prime Day), shoppers used a coupon for 25 percent off a qualifying purchase, or 30 percent off by using a store credit card."


According to Jake Coyle in the Associated Press, "After a historically bad first half of the year, the box office is suddenly booming. "Despicable Me 4," the Illumination Animation sequel, led the way over the July Fourth holiday weekend with $75 million in ticket sales Friday through Sunday and $122.6 million since opening on Wednesday, according to studio estimates Sunday, July 7th...The Independence Day holiday weekend haul for the Universal Pictures release further extends the considerable box-office reign of the Minions, arguably the most bankable force in movies today. And it also kept a summer streak going for Hollywood..."Inside Out 2," with $1.22 billion in ticket sales thus far, is easily the year's biggest hit and fast climbing up the all-time ranks for animated releases. It currently ranks as the No. 5 animated release worldwide."


According to the Associated Press, "Most medical students at Johns Hopkins University will no longer pay tuition thanks to a $1 billion gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Starting in the fall, the donation will cover full tuition for medical students from families earning less than $300,000. Living expenses and fees will be covered for students from families who earn up to $175,000. Bloomberg Philanthropies said that, currently, almost two-thirds of all students seeking a doctor of medicine degree from Johns Hopkins qualify for financial aid, and 45% of the current class will also receive living expenses. The school estimates that graduates' average total loans will decrease from $104,000 to $60,279 by 2029.


Paramount, the media empire behind CBS, MTV, and one of Hollywood's "most storied studios" that has been around for 112 years, has agreed to merge with Skydance Media. Lots of questions. Will assets be sold before the deal closes in 2025? What will happen to Paramount+? How will the company be run until the deal closes in 2025, and what will the new management team look like?


You may know that July 13th used to be National French Fry Day, but in 2022, fast-food chains Checkers and Rally's organized an online petition to change the day so that it would forever take place on the second Friday of July, making it happen on FRY-DAY! According to YouGov's regularly-updated list of "The Most Popular American Dishes," French fries earn an 84 percent popularity rating (hamburgers score an 85 percent rating). Many fast-food chains offer deals on this annual holiday, and here are just a couple: McDonald's offers free fries on July 12th and 13th and Burger King offers free fries on July 12th.


Alec Baldwin, lead actor and co-producer of the movie "Rust," received news that his latest legal case was dismissed by a New Mexico judge in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. According to the judge, the case was dismissed based on misconduct by police and prosecutors over the withholding of evidence. The case cannot be retried. Will the movie resume shooting? How will this dismissal affect Baldwin's career?


If you ever watched the original "Beverly Hills, 90210" TV show during the 1990's, then you knew Brenda Walsh. Sometimes, it was hard to tell the difference between Brenda and Shannen, who portrayed her for four seasons. While the actress developed a reputation in the industry, whether real or not, she left that series and another later in her career amid allegations of conflicts with co-stars. In the limelight again in her later years due to her cancer diagnosis, Doherty advocated for cancer awareness. She died on July 13th at the age of 53. Fans of "90210" will understand when I say that Brenda and Dillon have reunited at the Peach Pit in Heaven.


Postage in the United States is rising again, this time a first class stamp will cost 73 cents. What will the increase pay for that is not currently included with a first class stamp? Will someone write a letter for you and walk it to a friend's house? Will stamps be printed with a little bit of gold? How many of us continue to send items via snail mail? When will the cost outweigh usage?


The media was quick to label what happened on July 13th in Pennsylvania as an "assassination attempt" on FPOTUS, also known as the former President of the United States. A gripping photo will go down in history with Trump's fist in the air with blood clearly visible on his ear and face. Time will tell as to how this event will impact Trump's personal brand and also the November Presidential election.


A recent controversy erupted following two flight attendants who wore pins on their uniforms depicting the Palestinian flag, which made some Jewish passengers feel unsafe amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Delta said that pins representing countries and nationalities of the world had previously been permitted, but no longer. Beginning on July 22nd, Delta will only allow staff members to wear U.S. flag pins on their uniforms.


After 34 years, the iconic Mirage Hotel and Casino has closed its doors. Its sidewalk attraction, the exploding volcano, became a trendsetter that was followed by the Bellagio with its dancing fountains and the Venetian with its gondolas and canals. The Mirage was also home to Siegfried and Roy's white tigers show and the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat tours. Following the Mirage's closure, the 3,000-room resort will undergo a three-year renovation and re-open in 2027 as the Hard Rock Las Vegas with a soaring 700-foot-tall hotel tower in the shape of a guitar. The volcano will be destroyed to make space for new rooms.


Whenever comedians are mentioned, one name has stood the test of time. Bob Newhart died at the age of 94 on July 18th. Since my Dad was a CPA, Bob was a favorite in my house due to his previous occupation as an accountant. Perhaps, my Dad had dreams of being a comedian, or perhaps, he simply appreciated Bob's dry wit as a stand-up comedian. Whatever the case, "The Bob Newhart Show" and later "Newhart" were must-watch television in my house. And then, the way that the final episode of "Newhart" harkened back to the original series! Sheer genius! If you haven't seen it, check it out! According to the CPA Journal, "Newhart leaves blanks and pauses in his one-person phone routines to try to get his audience actively involved. This style could only come from an accountant." He was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 1993, and in 1996, TV Guide ranked him number 17 of the 50 greatest TV stars of all time.


According to Marketing Week, "Brand building is the most important factor in achieving company objectives, despite a preoccupation with performance metrics within business, according to Marketing Week's exclusive 2024 Language of Effectiveness research, supported by Kantar. While a third (33 percent) of the more than 1,200 marketers surveyed say brand advertising is the most important tactic for driving business objectives in 2024, nearly half of the sample (49.8 percent) also claim their campaigns are currently too focused on performance marketing. Beyond brand, a quarter of marketers say performance advertising (25.6 percent), brand partnerships (25.5 percent) and product or service innovation (25.1 percent) will be the most important tactics for delivering on business objectives in 2024."


On Sunday, July 21st, history was made (or shall we say, HERSTORY?) as President Biden announced his withdrawal from the 2024 Presidential race. While the dust is still settling, this decision will have an impact on American politics as well as international politics. In addition, this decision affects Vice President Kamala Harris' future and her personal brand. More to come about this turn of events in a future post.


And how can I share marketing updates without mentioning the elephant in the room, or in other words, the main sporting event of the year? Beginning on Friday, July 26th, the world's attention will be on Paris, France, for the 33rd Olympiad, which will impact marketing and leadership in a myriad of exciting ways. Have you purchased some Olympics merch? Will you be wearing a t-shirt or cap to support your country's team? Tune into my blog tomorrow as my #OlympicsLeadershipSeries begins, and then, swing by my blog each day throughout the competition. In addition, there will continue to be Olympic-related posts on August 12th, 13th, and 14th.

What other recent marketing buzz caught your attention? There's always something happening that impacts marketing, so tune in to #DebbieLaskeysBlog for the scoop!

Image Credits: Shark Week/Discovery and Despicable Me 4/Universal Pictures.

Read about all the 2024 Shark Week partners:

Watch the trailer for "Despicable Me 4" at this link:

Check out partners of the "Despicable Me 4" film:

Watch "Newhart" finale:

Monday, July 22, 2024


How would you describe your workplace culture? Do all the employees get together after work and talk shop at a local bar or restaurant? Or is it stifling, hard to breathe - and you can only breathe at 5pm when you leave the office? Do all the employees know the brand promise - and is everyone a happy brand ambassador?

These are all important questions to ask when creating and maintaining a positive corporate culture and why so many employers have high turnover and lose talented employees. Here's an easy solution for all leaders: Add an important book to your must-read list: Jumpstart Your Workplace Culture by Eric D. Stone.

Eric explains, "Every company should be built around founding values, and those values must be the heart and soul of your culture." And, "If your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room, culture equals the behaviors that happen when leaders aren't around to enforce the organization's behavioral code."

How often do you check in with your employees? Do you have one-on-one meetings with all employees? Eric proposes that you regularly meet with employees and ask a myriad of questions. These were my favorites from Eric's book:

(1) What's your employee experience been like so far?

(2) Do you know and understand the company values?

(3) What management style do you find most motivating?

(4) What's an opportunity the team might be overlooking right now?

(5) Do you feel challenged and encouraged to grow?

(6) Where could you use more coaching and training?

(7) Who's been your biggest influence here?

(8) Is there anything you think the senior leaders don't understand?

According to Eric, a strong culture "keeps your people engaged and wanting to stay with your company, focused on doing great work and meeting higher and higher expectations, all while staying in alignment with the company values and mission. A positive culture keeps revenues, profits, and market share growing. It's an energy source, and it's contagious...It feels great to come to work, and you and your team feel like a finely-tuned machine."

But a weak culture "is just as obvious, and the symptoms are everywhere. Employees are confused, angry, or apathetic. Expectations are unclear, training and development are lacking, follow-through and accountability are nonexistent...Instead of being united by a single clear 'this is who we are and what we stand for' idea, they're fragmented. It's every employee for themself."

Perhaps, it's time for your organization to re-think your culture. As Eric writes at the end, "Yes, you can check under the hood and quantitatively measure the health of your culture...You can repair your culture with some surprisingly simple initiatives." Remember, "a strong culture is obvious to onlookers," and will attract awesome employees and repeat customers!

SHARE THIS: Every company should be built around founding values, and those values must be the heart and soul of your culture. ~Eric D. Stone #CorporateCulture #DebbieLaskeysBlog

SHARE THIS: Leadership, at its core, is about making other people better as a result of your presence - and making sure the impact lasts in your absence. ~@FrancesFrei #CorporateCulture #DebbieLaskeysBlog

Connect with Eric at these links:





Image Credit: Amazon.

Monday, July 15, 2024

Do You Know Where ALL Your Digital Exhaust Is?

Is the term "digital exhaust" the latest buzz, the latest term of the moment? Or is it something truly significant?

According to tech expert and Twitter/X influencer Vala Afshar, "The resume is dead. Your personal brand = digital footprint + digital exhaust." So, let's dive into this new term.

Digital exhaust has been described by NordVPN as "the sum total of the data generated as a byproduct of a person's digital interactions and activities. Just like the smoke exiting the tailpipe of a car, one's digital exhaust reveals activities, interests, and location. The term can also be referred to as data exhaust and digital breadcrumbs."

Some examples of digital exhaust are the following:

(1) Web browsing data such as websites visited, clickstreams, search queries, and browsing history.

(2) E-commerce data such as shopping patterns and viewed products.

(3) Mobile app data such as usage, location, and user interactions.

(4) Information generated by smart devices that are connected to the Internet such as health data from wearables, home thermostats, and home cameras.

While organizations may analyze digital exhaust with the goal to improve user experiences and customize products or services, many people have expressed concerns about privacy and security.

So, what do you think? Is there any way to cover up one's digital exhaust? And, when job-searching, is there a better way to present oneself than from one's digital exhaust?

Share this: The resume is dead. Your personal brand = digital footprint + digital exhaust. ~@ValaAfshar #DebbieLaskeysBlog #PersonalBranding

Image Credit: Twitter/X and Vala Afshar.

Monday, July 8, 2024

What's Your Favorite Job Interview Question?

If you are a job seeker, do you go into interviews with a list of prepared questions for the interviewer, or rather, do you wing it?

With the hope that you have a list of questions to ask about the position, the training, the position's success metrics, the company, and more, I would like to share my all-time favorite question for interviewers.

When I was in job-seeker mode, I would always ask - whether one person interviewed me or several people interviewed me:


The answer for this question told many things. First, if the interviewer or interviewers took too long to answer, it looked as if they were hiding something. If responses from different people were vastly different, there was cause for concern. If there were examples within the responses that highlighted how mistakes were handled - for example, employees were treated fairly - those responses spoke volumes.

According to Chris Donnelly, "Understanding the company culture can help you determine whether you would be a good fit for an organization. It also allows you to assess whether the company's values and culture align with your own, ensuring a better cultural fit."

And to quote Richard Gallagher, "Building a successful corporate culture goes beyond business processes and into being a way of life. It gives meaning and purpose to the place where most of us spend over half of our waking lives. More important, it reduces the vast complexities of the business world into a clear sense of who you are and where you are headed. It is truly the soul of your organization."

So, what is your fave interview question? Chime in and share.

Image Credit: Daniel van den Berg via Unsplash.