Monday, May 18, 2020

Why Generic Marketing Won’t Work during #COVID19 Crisis

In 2014, while I watched the Super Bowl and the ads, I encountered a stream of live Tweets on Twitter led by Jim Joseph in New York using the hashtag #SuperBowlExp. While 3,000 miles away, I enjoyed the discussion about the ads with fellow branding and marketing experts. Each year since 2014, I've looked forward to Jim's Super Bowl chats sometimes even more than the Super Bowl itself. Based on Jim's expertise, I've invited him to participate in a Q&A about branding and marketing in the current COVID-19 era, and highlights follow his bio below.

To quote Jim Joseph, “Marketing is a spectator sport,” and he’s one of the industry’s most engaging, enthralling, and entertaining commentators. As the Global President of marketing communications agency BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe), Jim constantly puts his experience to the test. He is also an award-winning author of "The Experience Effect" series and an adjunct instructor at New York University where he teaches a graduate class in integrated marketing. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimJosephExp and check out his blog at

QUESTION: Tom Fishburne's cartoon accurately reflects how countless brands are interacting with customers and consumers during the COVID-19 crisis. What is wrong with the generic strategy?
JIM JOSEPH: In one word, fatigue. Consumers are getting tired of the same messaging over and over again. This proves that you have to be a first mover if you want to break through!

QUESTION: What brands do you think are doing a good job with their advertising and marketing during the COVID-19 crisis?
JIM JOSEPH: It's hard for me to specifically call out brands with so many being clients. But I will say that the brands that have pivoted their normal activities from trying to sell their products/services to instead focusing on adding value to their communities, be it small businesses, teachers, healthcare workers, etc., are doing a good job.

QUESTION: You last appeared here on my Blog in a Q&A in August 2018, and one of your pearls of wisdom was, “It’s nearly impossible now to separate an organization’s leadership and values from a brand.” In today’s COVID-19 era, how can leaders translate their vision into actions when many businesses are closed?

JIM JOSEPH: Connectivity is key here, more so than ever. As businesses close and employees go remote, engagement and connectivity are the only ways to keep teams feeling like they are still a part of something solid and sustainable.

QUESTION: Which five marketing books should everyone read while staying safe inside?
JIM JOSEPH: I’m currently reading:
(1) Superforecasting, the Art and Science of Prediction by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner
(2) Authentic Marketing by Larry Weber
(3) Mindset by Carol S. Dweck

And then, but of course, my two latest books titled “The Conscious Marketer” and “Out and About Dad.”

A final thought…while in the second question, Jim did not highlight specific brands, I’d like to share some excellent examples of brands who have stepped up their marketing and advertising during the current crisis – as featured on Jim’s blog: Cottonelle, DoubleTree Hotel, Jeep in Peru, McDonald’s, Nike, Honda, Fisher-Price (as well as Mattel). I urge you to check out the timely messaging presented by these brands. You’ll be impressed!

My gratitude to Jim Joseph for appearing on my blog and for sharing his amazing insights about our passion, branding. Hope you join us during the next Super Bowl on February 7, 2021, pending how the COVID-19 pandemic affects the 2020 NFL season, from the comfort of your living room and smartphone or tablet on Twitter for Jim's live TweetChat using hashtag #SuperBowlExp.

Image Credit: Tom Fishburne ( and @TomFishburne on Twitter.

August 2018 Post Featuring Jim Joseph Q&A:
Can You Build a Brand and Tell a Story with a #Hashtag?

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