Rebranding? No problem. Do it the Old Spice Way.

All businesses age. They get old and tired, irrelevant and dated. If you’re a business owner or a CMO, you get this; sometimes you feel it the hard way. So let’s all take a breather because life is too short to be anxious about your marketing efforts. Taking action is the way to go. Today, I’m gonna teach you how to learn from other brands to give your marketing juices a mojo-type of swagger. Let’s look at Old Spice. Their business was slowing down and they needed a jolt. They also did some persona development before putting a campaign out there and behold… their audience was more than 50{63cfed81e5ee0c7ab5cf55993eb5d73c9de8e5e524777fe96b15185ad23a5289} women. So how do you sell a man’s wash or scent to women? You put a gorgeous man on a horse, on a boat, on a beach, and half naked in a towel. There ya go ladies… you wanna buy Old Spice now, donchta? And it wasn’t just images, Old Spice’s Smell Like a Man campaign became a video sensation. The coolest part of the campaign that most of you don’t know is that Old Spice actually reached out to its fans and customers to engage, ask questions and connect with their audience to ask them what they wanted to hear, see, and perhaps smell. That was a huge move because most advertising and marketing these days is one sided. Two sided conversations get you that much closer to an increase in brand awareness and a few drives up in sales. They went even further creating a campaign with you guessed it, yet another gorgeous hunk of a man, Fabio. The Old Spice Guy and Fabio battled it out in “man responses” on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube and viewers got to vote on their favorite responses during what was called the Mano a Mano En El Bano, a YouTube Event. I could go on and on. But this lesson comes to all of us who feel stale, boring and irrelevant. Here are a few tips to consider: -Pump out great content. Damn girl, go get it. Create… and keep it going. -Make it short and poppy. People don’t have time to figure out your campaigns anymore. Make an impact in a few seconds and you’ll draw the loyalty. -Engage. Make it a two way conversation, make them laugh, tell your story, evoke emotion. -Get out there! Stop placing content on your site or one social channel and wish that the whole world sees it. Because A. They won’t and B. That’s silly! Create partnerships, open an Insta account or share your content on sponsored emails or at events. Get it out there when it’s good and let your brand feel the relevance it deserves. -Get help. Stop spinning your wheels to come up with the ideas yourself. That’s what marketing consultants are for. (hint, hint, that’s me!) At the end of the day, The Old Spice Campaign was created by a huge ad agency and yes, it probably cost, no, it did cost a lot, which we may not have that budget, BUT… we do have our will to succeed, create and manifest a new relevance that gets our mojo risin’. No need to create a sexy ad campaign if you don’t want to. Although men in towels don’t hurt, your brand deserves the best. I work with clients on building fresh ideas through my strategy session and I’d love to take you through my brand experience to learn what’s missing, what may be wrong and fix it with you to execute on your next sensation. Now I’m gonna go watch some of those ads… you should too. Feel the jolt and do something about it! Love EB

Success and Failure with the Starbucks Brand

Whether you’re a fan or not, there’s a Starbucks on practically every corner. And if you order a small Pike, ahem, excuse me, a “tall” Pike or a Grande-Frapa-Mocha-Lacha-Chino-Extra Foam-Extra Pumps yada yada, you’ll agree that they’re doing many things right, from naming products to employee training to branding and evolving their story and penetrating new markets and offerings. This winter, I went in to take advantage of their “Buy one get one free” Share the Love campaign so I could get a free Peppermint Mocha for my doorman and I saw a big sign on a large piece of candy-like bread that stated, “Be the Office Hero”. Hello Corporate groups and morning meetings! This was for you! Did you pick it up? Very curious. It was obviously great marketing to New Yorkers saying, “After you buy your $6 coffee, think about your peeps in the cubicles that work beside you… after all, it is the holidays.” Great work, Starbucks. You made some office heroes feel like heroes this holiday season. Obviously, Starbucks is consistently innovating. And since I specialize in vulnerability and branding for mid-size companies, my point here is that we can always look at the larger behemoths to see how we can learn. In taking a sip of Starbucks and their not-so-great moments, we learn that expansion isn’t everything and over-expansion doesn’t always mean better. They got a little backlash over the years from this and we can all learn from this mistake of being too big, too soon. And then, from their Fizzio to Mazagram brands that kinda sorta, well, you know, flopped big time, they learned a great deal from “trying to be something” other than coffee or expanding into markets that their consumers did not want or need at that time. They wanted a Starbucks, not a gelato sorbet brand or coffee-soda drink! Geez, Starbucks! The good part about these failures is that they tried. They did some research, sampled and although the flops happened, they learned from them. Not every business idea is the big Kahuna. In fact, their Vivianno brand which was a smoothie line, did not win either, but they still sell the smoothies because some customers do want a smoothie, but they don’t necessarily want it under the former branded/given name of Vivianno. They just want a smoothie, plain and simple. You see, Starbucks knew their customers wanted healthier options, but not everyone related to the brand name, so they dropped it and just kept it as a menu options. So think about it folks? Each obstacle has a gift and some obstacles do present opportunities, you just have to be open and actively listening to bounce back from the fall. It might not be a fall at all, sometimes. Mmmm, Fall, Pumpkin Spice latte….. Ok, shoot. back on track here… Beyond their brand failures, which they will continue to have and we will continue to learn, their success is always soaring. They’ve become a place for everyone, expanding their brand with snacks, teas, real food, green drinks, kids treats and more. Practically every Starbucks in NYC is filled with buts in seats, first dates, entrepreneurs on laptops, and mommy-stroller brigades. And their ambiance is different and unique. It’s one of the reasons many are so attracted to the coffee house in the first place. Everyone can sit and chat over a coffee, study, or simply relax and people-watch without being bothered, listening to light cool music just released looking at artwork on the walls. It’s kinda awesome as tacky as it may sound. It may be a chain, but it certainly has life. And one of the most intriguing parts, probably one that keeps me questioning myself some days whispering to my wannabe desires of careers I’ll never have such as, “I’d like to try and be a badass barista throwin’ it down on the espresso machine all day- even if just one”. Starbucks by far, has an incredibly well-trained staff. This is an attractive brand story quality. Many employees know their sh${63cfed81e5ee0c7ab5cf55993eb5d73c9de8e5e524777fe96b15185ad23a5289}t. And even watching them in action behind the machines becomes entertainment. Enter-coffee-tainment. So, my point today in the vulnerability of brands is that we somehow often hold ourselves back from a brand launch, a new name launch, a new market to reach or an experience we’d like to shift. And if we learn from Starbucks and their product flops we realize that at least they are trying. At least they are transparent (even though the smoothie line was silently dropped… well played.) they keep striving. And yes, they’re much bigger than our brands, but we can learn something about company growth, strength and weakness by understanding that markets do shift and research can tell us one thing, but sometimes it doesn’t always work out. We’d all be devestated if they closed up shop because of failures… especially during Pumpkin Spice Latte season. It would be a travesty. So lift your glass, sip your foam and remember that you’re not alone when looking to achieve great heights. Get rid of your fear of failure. Everyone experiences it. So, stop holding yourself back. I’m off to get a mocha-choca-something or other right now. I got myself a bit of a craving after this post. Who’s with me? Anyone wanna meet next week to talk about their marketing obstacles over an Americano? My treat. subject: Starbucks Me Fail hard, fail fast and keep failing. There’s a win behind each fall. Oh and dear awesome boutique coffee brand rockstars like La Columbe, Gregorys Coffee, Birch and others, you rock too. I’m not just a fan of the big fellas. If you know a small to mid size brand who wants to talk vulnerability, strength and weakness and success and failure with me, please send them my way at Oh and if you have any insight, strength, weakness or success and failure that you like or dislike most about Starbucks- do share it. I’m in love with open discussions about these sortsa things.

Success and Failure with the Converse Brand

Owning Vulnerability in Business Series My favorite pair of sneakers have always been Converse. From the low cut, no shoelaces to the high top fuchsia currently in my closet, this is an iconic brand that has told many many stories over its time. As I work with more and more businesses to redefine and define their brand stories and strategies for marketing greatness, we stumble upon obstacles and failures to figure out and build upon. I’d like to think of one of my best talents as helping moguls own vulnerability in every facet of business and personal development, so I’ve prepared new blog series based upon my book, Own Your Vulnerability, and a way to approach the idea of owning strength and weakness in business and in life by seeing the gifts in the obstacles from the big brands we’ve grown to love. Today’s focus is Converse- the sneakers worn in the first-ever Olympic Basketball game (which they unfortunately lost), the shoes who have a pair in the Smithsonian made for their 75th Anniversary, Dr. J had a pair at the age of 7, in 1997 550 million pairs were made. Must I go on? This brand is amazeballs. Heck, they were bought out by NIKE. That says something there. But they also had their fair share of being kicked to the curb (pun intended) by Puma, Reebok and others. There was a time they became slightly irrelevant, had to declare bankruptcy and had to deal with the whole “Made in the USA” debacle and lose their iconic message on the shoe. So listen, every company has their falters, but there are ideals to feel great about. When Nike purchased the brand, they loved the retro feel and built incredibly memorable brand stories off of this motto to continue the stronghold on their purpose and mission. Converse were once able to break free of their “basketball shoe” mentality and story in the public eye to get the chance to meet new audiences each and every year. They even become a bit of a high fashion piece, including being the streetcar for musicians to show off their style, models to wear to the airport and celebrities to sport in front of the Paparazzi. And one of their biggest successes was choosing to outsource due to costs which helped grow the business tremendously leaving them with the knowledge that difficult business decisions can also lead to wins. So when you’re in your zone, down and out, feeling blue, focussing on failure, think about the giants in business and how they too had to swallow pride, figure out a way through, create a new brand story to reach new clients and to make more money, which we all want to do. Owning Vulnerability as a business mogul is priceless. It’s holding both success and failure in each hand equally knowing that you can stay grounded and one hand can be higher than the other at times, but at the end of the day, you can throw on a pair of Chuck Taylors and run around the park thinking, “I got this” and it’s all gonna get better just like the story of Converse. My name is Elizabeth Barry. I’m a brand storyteller and a marketing obstacle problem solver. I create new business ideas, find solutions to blind spots and create new revenue generating strategies that can take your brand to new heights. I also happen to wear converse. So what story can we create for you? What new target market can we push our way into? What do you like about the Converse brand story? Are there facets that you think can be made relevant for what you’re looking to achieve? I’d love to know. Let’s strike up a conversation on Skype, at the Met or over a glass of red wine on the Upper West Side. Converse included, or not. I look forward to solving your biggest marketing obstacles and to helping you own vulnerability in branding, marketing and more. *Featured photo includes me, Elizabeth, and John Bates, Executive Speaking Coach, when we first met up in NYC to discuss our TEDx mission and work together.