Friday, January 25, 2008

2008, Here We Are At Last

It may have taken a few weeks, but
are we ever ready to wow you again!

First off, to those of you who've been reading the "blog" site, I'd like to make sure you hear our apologies regarding the erroneous obituary of O.D. "Slim" Whitman. Mr. Whitman is still alive (and very popular in Europe, as well as here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC!), despite the report we had received and passed on at the "blog" site. Again, our apologies to all and sundry.

It has been gratifying to carry on the conversation which is enabled by that back-and-forth medium (the internet "blog"), if only to hear from those of you who seem not to want to reply by e-mail. Thus far, we seem to have avoided most of the lunatic fringe that some other "blogs" seem to attract (apart from the fantastically-named "durwood quade" whose modus operandi appears to be name calling and political advocacy - I hadn't realized that Ru Paul was running for president this year), and for that we are quite grateful.

Now, on to the, if you will, "meat" of the newsletter: Experiential Marketing. While we promised to address packaging in a response to a comment to an earlier newsletter, as we investigated that topic, it became clear to us here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC that packaging is really only the gateway, or introduction, to the full experience of a brand.

The packaging can serve to invite the consumer in (cf. those new, no-can-opener-required cans of ground coffee - while we may have an issue with the rim left on the can, we can have no issue with the ease with which our respective kitchens - or anywhere else! - can be filled with that fresh-opened-can-of-coffee aroma), or to keep him (or her!) out (viz. that flexible, clear, yet nearly impervious plastic in which all manner of products are now encased, for the cutting of which my sister bought our mother (as a Christmas gift, no less!) some of those nifty Black & Decker® electric power scissors: which were packaged in that self-same plastic - perhaps said plastic is fortified with irony!).

Still, the packaging, however good (or bad!) is but the first part of the brand experience. First steps are important, no doubt (remember - a Journey of a Thousand Miles (or Kilometers!) begins with a Single Step!), but they are only first steps. What we, as savvy marketers, really want is for our customer (or customers!) to enter fully into the brand experience; not simply to see the brand, but to be the brand. (Ah, I miss Mr. Gianopoulos, my Junior High School P.E. teacher, who taught us all (in Dodge Ball, no less!) this sure route to success: "See the ball, Be the ball;" but I digress.)

Experiential Marketing has become one of those catch-phrases, or "buzz" words which seem to have a fluid meaning - terms which can end up meaning little or nothing due to their having been attached to too many disparate concepts. We here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC want to caution our readers to examine any proposed Experiential Marketing programs to make sure they're not just warmed-over, re-named products from your advertising and marketing partners. In this day of user-generated content, amateur commercials on the Super Bowl®, and general disinterest and confusion, it is imperative that our marketing efforts actually be focussed on where the consumer and the brand interact - in the consumers' heads and homes and lives.

Perhaps one example from our Experiential Marketing Practice will help to clarify. Jay Standish, Inc. LLC team members Morgan and Shannon are members of the up-and-coming (you can bet on this one!) Celtic-Punk band, Left Sister Down (perhaps you've heard of their underground hit, póg mása, cadránta ceanndána buaf!). Now, clearly their fans are their consumers, and they (equally clearly!) want to enter into the "band experience" (if you'll pardon the "play" on words!), and that is exactly how the band is marketed. They offer their fans the opportunity to join them in their bus (more properly, their minivan) as they travel from "gig" to "gig" around the country. These lucky consumers are then treated to the full experience of life in a traveling Celtic-Punk ensemble, from problems finding lodging to chipping in for gas money. These folks are then used as "seed" fans at each concert "venue" to encourage the others in attendance to enjoy the music.

Apple (formerly Apple Computers) calls this kind of consumer "evangelists" (named, apparently, for Linda Evangelista, the first leggy supermodel ever to program an Apple computer using the Hypercard® program once included with each purchase), and they are, perhaps more than any other single marketing effort, responsible for the immense wealth (yet lack of couture) of Mr. Steve Jobs. We here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC ask you this - who wouldn't want that "gig" - especially knowing one could dress in any way one thought proper! - who indeed?

Last time, Jay wrote to send his holiday best:
Ham Hiroki responded:
"Jay, it's all very well and good that you mention the standard holidays in your note, but relegating the rest of us to a 'blessed whatever' seems a bit cavalier, even for an american..."

Ham -
Based on your note, I'm glad to see that you took no real offense at the omission of various and sundry other celebrations (most specifically your own, Shinto matsuri), and hope that you had a wonderful 大晦日 (
Ōmisoka to the rest of us).

-- Jay

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Further Sad News - UPDATED

A faithful reader in the Detroit area has passed on yet another sad notice. Fabulous vocalist, Ottis Dewey "Slim" Whitman has passed away at the (far too young!) age of 84.

Many of you know that I have a particular fondness for various and sundry artists, ranging from the delicious Parker Posey to the dreamy Josh Groban; but most of you probably didn't know that my first musical love is that yodelling country music exemplified by Wilf Carter (aka Montana Slim, for those of you "in the know" as it were), Ranger Doug (of the Riders in the Sky), and Ottis Dewey O.D. (an unfortunate confluence of initials, that) "Slim" Whitman.

His like may never be seen (nor heard!) again. One could only wish that he had been as popular here in his native land as he was in Europe.

RIP, "Slim." RIP indeed

(Oh, Rosemarie, I lo-o-ove you!)

As noted in the comment from rosemarie (really?!) this seems to have been another instance of exaggerated reports of demise. (Would that such events never took place, eh, faithful readers?)

After doing some "digging" on the "internet" about this article, Leslie (from our Public Relations practice) tells me that it appears that there was an inadvertent release of one of those "just-in-case" obits that all news organizations have "on hand" for celebrities and the like. (Does anyone out there remember the fabulous SNL skit showing Dan Rather recording every possible post-mortem for former President Gerald Ford? Sadly (or perhaps not!) it took some of the solemnity out of the event when it really came to pass. But I digress.)
Shortly after being posted on the website of a newspaper (I'd rather not name them, as I may be able to help them with some marketing and public "relations" activities in the future!), the erroneous report was identified and removed.

To those who may have had their days ruined by this ill-timed and inauthentic report, I apologize; please put it down to the quick actions of a fan, too distraught to think about checking the facts as they were (temporarily!) presented.
And to "Slim" himself, I say: Excelsior!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Another RIP

In the past (mere!) couple of months, we've lost two of the premier adventurers, bon vivants, and teste del formaggio. One begins to wonder how many of us there are left in the world - how many of us can there be left in the world?

First, at the end of November, we lost Evel Knievel - well known to all for his many and varied jumps, leaps, crashes, and fractures.

Now comes the news that our favorite Kiwi (that's a person from New Zealand, for those of you not "in the know" about such things!) has passed away at the (still far too young!) age of 88. Yes, Sir Edmund Hillary (Sir Eddy to his friends) has scaled that final peak into the beyond. The first man to scale Everest - who went on to find a route to the South Pole - is no longer with us.

I once remarked to him that the latter feat didn't seem all that impressive to me, once he had described it as simply, "go South until you can only go North - then you're there, Jay; then you're there." That remark was more than half in jest, and it is with wry amusement that I recall it here.

To both Evel and Sir Eddy, I raise a glass and say: