Intergenerational brand management



The Harry Rosen brand is over sixty years old now. Because it served my father’s generation so well it now serves my generation as well as two younger generations of customers as well. Harry Rosen has rightfully earned gobs of valuable brand equity in the Toronto area with their reputation for superior apparel and service. This is a smart little brand that has its shit together.

But now this.

A really dumb banner above their entrance that really says: "we're under new, stupid and inexperienced (brand and ad agency) management".

While the message is all wrong I bet the price was perfect.

HINT: when you’re working with intergenerational brands, you need to review the brand's design and copy across all relevant generations – as though you're working with different languages. In this case what may be considered profound to a younger generation is bullshit to an older one.



To bring or not to bring bling . . .

My dog Charlie could be a real prima donna at times. Charlie was pretty happy with the stuff we found along the way, but he wasn't immune to bling. There was a guy in one of the parks we used to go to. He liked to buy his Setter the cheap + chearful squeeky balls, boomerangs and other toys that are available at the local dollar stores. When Charlie saw them he dropped what he had and chased after the Setter's blingy toy-de-jour. Worst of all - whe he finally got it, Charlie would chew it up on no time while the Setter and his owner looked on in disgust or frustration.

I'll let you decide if there's a lesson here.

My take-away is this: display your bling at your peril because you might just loose it - which is O.K. as long as you're not too attached to it.

One of my Gurus taught me that it's O.K. to desire the good things in life so long as you don't covet them and become attached to them.

Kind of like now: those who sweat the losses in the stock market are worse off than those who embrace the rise and fall of the market and enjoy, rather than worry about, the ride.



Say no to Black Friday

say no to black friday

Across North America everybody wants more of everything faaster and cheaper than ever. Plus they want the vendor to absorb increases in carrying costs, inflation and shipping. Oh yeah - they also want a "no questions asked" lifetime guarantee. And amid the onlging Covid 19 lock-downs they also want all their stuff delivered for free. 

To satisfy this insane desire for more cheap food, goods and services, we’ve sent millions of jobs and billions of (C+US) dollars overseas. In the process we've taught our kids that if you shop online you can find whatever it is you want cheaper.

Not better, just cheaper.

We’ve also taught our kids that most manufacturing jobs are not worth doing or having.

Now they're impossible to do at all in North America because our workers want to earn a fair wage (and rightfully so), but the desire for cheap, cheaper and cheapest products and services (rather than good, better and best products + services) has shuttered industries and laid waste to cities, towns and individuals all across America and Canada.

Where will this end?

When companies don't earn decent profit margins their foundations crumble.

  • They cannot compete and pay the best and brightest.
  • They cut back on the full time staff, along with training, development and employee benefits.
  •  Then full time staff are rehired as part-time staff with no benefits.
  • They can no longer afford to do research and development.
  • Without leading edge research and development their managers blindly follow the “best practices” of their competitors, and fail because they can't create or defend any sort of relevant USP.
  • Part time staff juggle two, sometimes three, jobs to make ends meet. "Employee loyalty" dies along with any remaining brand loyalty - often because they can't afford the products and services they produce.
  • Because they are just making ends meet, time and money to support the arts in their community and those who are less fortunate also declines.
  • It impacts their time with family and friends - as well as their physical + mental health.
  • Because the business is marginal, it has no rainy-day savings fund to get the business and the  staff through these tough Covid 19 times.
  • And the shit-list goes on and on and on.

As a business owner . . . why not charge a fair price and invest the profits in your people, your communities, your industries and your home and native land?

As a consumer . . . why not shop locally and pay a fair price so that the businesses in your community can invest in the community it serves?



Honda Men’s washroom


Recently I went to the washroom at my local Honda dealership and was intrigued by the floor under the urinal. While I’m very accustomed to seeing urine on the floor below and beside the urinal because many men can’t or won’t aim – and also used to the smell, this solution is a first.

It makes me wonder in a few ways:

1.  How frustrated did the business owner get and for how long before resorting to this (rather expensive solution)? Note: Below the grate there’s a drain so-that the urine that drips onto the grate and the pan below can be rinsed away easily.

2.  Does the grate encourage men to be more considerate and aim, or more indifferent – and just piss on the floor?

3.  In marketing, and life, all we say and do helps people form a more positive or more negative opinion of us. What does the need for this kind of drastic urinal hygiene solution say about this Honda Dealership’s owner, staff and patrons?   



Deep-fake dubs will mess with your head and finances


Deep-fake dubs can modify or change an 

actor’s original film and TV performances.

A new start-up is helping TV shows and films effortlessly reach new markets around the world. Customers feed the company’s software with video from a film or TV show along with dubbed dialogue recorded by humans. Machine learning models then create new lip movements that match the translated speech and pastes them onto the actor’s head. The results aren’t 100% flawless (yet), but they are pretty good. What makes this technology particularly interesting is its potential to scale. These deep-fake dubs offer tremendous value for money: they’re cheap and quick to create, especially when compared to the cost of full remakes. And, with the advent of global streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime Video, it’s easier than ever for such legitimate and illegitimate dubbs to reach international markets. 

The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted, reported that the demand for streaming services in the US is saturated + companies are looking abroad for future growth. In the first quarter of 2021, for example, 89 percent of new Netflix users came from outside the US and Canada. To create shows with domestic and international viewer appeal you can now roll out versions with local V/O that seem more authentic because the deep-fake dubs preserve, to some degree, the performance of the original actors. The dubs are more sensitive to the facial expressions of the performers, retaining their emotion and line delivery.

My concerns are these. 

Like all other technology that makes something faster or cheaper to make, or replicate, this deep-fake dub technology will quickly get better and cheaper. 

The machine learning aspect scares me because the goal of that learning is to make the deep-fake invisible (to the human eye and brain).  

Once that happens this technology will be embraced and used by unscrupulous people to coerce, confuse and steal from groups and individuals. What is now being done with robo-calls will be done on video platforms like zoom™.