Archive for January, 2015

#iConnect2015 with Clorox in SF

Clorox’s 3rd annual iConnect event took place this week in San Francisco. AOL was a sponsor of the event and invited me (I am an AOL Board member) to join them. The summit was attended by Clorox marketers and partners with the goal to advance Clorox’s digital marketing capability. Presenters spoke about the digital economy, connecting with consumers, and utilizing social media to influence purchasing. They talked about data, content marketing, and everyone’s hot topic: video. They were all enlightening presentations, and I had the opportunity to give the closing keynote to end an inspiring day.

During my speech, I shared with the group where I see brand building going in the future. I took some lessons my team and I have learned from our clients and industry meetings and created my own “AHA!” on brand building. I encouraged the marketers to find and live up to their Ambitious purpose, to add an element of Humanity in everything they do, and to be Always connected with their consumers. I highlighted brands like Coca Cola, Beats Electronics, and NIVEA — all which are living up to their own version of AHA. You can read about the reaction to AHA and other speakers on Twitter.

The following evening, I had the opportunity to join the Clorox executives at a dinner to digest what we learned and how to apply it within their teams. I also addressed an important challenge I continue to see: why more leaders do not act with a sense of purpose. I talked about why purpose is so simple to talk about, but never easy to implement — and I gave them ways to start. It starts with linking every decision, every task to your purpose. It involves getting to know every team member, holding them accountable, and rewarding them for success. It means delegating work and giving yourself a happy work-life balance. Everything you do each day should be aligned with your purpose.

Here are a few photos from the week. Special thanks to Alex Shen for the photos!


 Chip Bergh (CEO of Levi Strauss) and Diane Dietz (CMO of Safeway)


Speaking at iConnect


With the Clorox team at the executive dinner


Visiting AOL in SF

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13 Questions You Should Be Asking Your Employees To Create A Culture Of Growth

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 The JSC Team at our annual meeting.


Each January, the members of our company get together to discuss the previous year and our objectives for the year ahead. We invite a few friends and advisors from outside the company to add a unique perspective to the discussions and to challenge our thinking. We ask ourselves the fundamental question: “why are we here?” This answer is our purpose, our ideal. And all of our discussions on our strategies and tactics need to come back to this purpose. Are we living up to that purpose? The decisions we make every day need to be aligned with that purpose. How often do you take a step back and challenge your team about why you do what you do?

Our agenda includes fundamental business topics: financial results, business development, and where we are heading as a company. Prior to these meetings, we interview every team member. We use feedback from these interviews to select agenda items and drive discussion. We ask the team members what drives them, what challenges them, and their vision for the future of the company. Yes, we’re a small company and it’s easy to interview 10 people. But, the information we gather is what helps drive our company further. And everyone is onboard for the ride, which is critical for creating a culture of growth. Are your team members onboard with your company’s purpose and vision?

The rookie on our team conducts the interviews. It gives her the opportunity to learn more about who we are and what we stand for. She gets a better sense as to what gets the team fired up every morning and what keeps them up at night. Understanding what motivates your teammates adds a human element that doesn’t exist in employee handbooks. How often do your leaders sit down with new employees and share their vision and excitement about the company?

Below is a sample of the questions we ask our team members. How valuable would this information be to your business?

  1. Do you truly believe we are the best at what we do?
  2. Are we living up to our ideals?
  3. Are we working with clients that are aligned with our ideal?
  4. What do you think is our biggest opportunity in the next 1/5/10 years?
  5. What can we do better?
  6. Is there anything we do today that is no longer relevant? 
  7. What is your dream project or client?
  8. What was your favorite project this past year?
  9. What was your biggest challenge this past year?
  10. Do you enjoy what you do?
  11. How is your work/life balance?
  12. What skill set do we need on our team?
  13. Are there any questions that we did not ask but should have asked?

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Brands That Won the College Football Playoff

We’re a little tired today at the office. It was a late adrenaline rush last night watching the second half of the Oregon-Ohio State game into the wee hours of the morning. It was also an exciting game to watch in Ohio, and as a proud Dad of an OSU grad, I was thrilled with the victory!

It was a great game to cap off a great season, the first of the new era of the highly anticipated playoff format. And, as a marketing guy, I noticed there were more winners than just the Big 10 and the Buckeyes. Here are our “senior superlatives” from the big college game last night.

Best Execution: ESPN

ESPN got it right all year and last night was a crescendo, starting with College GameDay and lasting through the confetti at the end of the game. They brought in the pomp and circumstance for the big event at AT&T Stadium. Their commercials pumped us up and brought tears to our eyes. They brought out the fan in each and every one of us – including those whose team had no shot for one of the bowl games. The College Football Playoff is going to be a worthy competitor of the Super Bowl. The TV spots will be just as expensive, the commercials just as entertaining. It’s obvious that ESPN loves what they do. They love sports and they show it in all they do.

Best Sponsorship Activation: Taco Bell

Taco Bell hit a homerun with the Student Section at this year’s big game. Bowl games have historically been for the wealthy alums that show up when their team is in the spotlight playing for the hardware. And the true fans that attend every game, sleep in tents to get tickets, and brave the frigid temps just to show off the pride painted across their bare chests. Taco Bell got a lot of exposure when their student section was filled with millennials whose lives are centered around tweeting, posting, and instagramming where they are and what they’re doing. It was a win-win for the brand and for the die-hard student fans. What an experience!

Biggest Potential: Sharpie

Sharpie missed the mark last night in their sponsorship of Jimmy Kimmel’s Lord of the Poster Board Competition. In an age where College GameDay is synonymous for hilarious signs, this seemed to be the perfect space for the Sharpie brand. But, Jimmy Kimmel missed all of the creative, witty, and humorous signs during the pre-game show and chose some average signs for the on-the-field presentation. He also chose a single-colored sign over an impressive piece of artwork made out of many Sharpies. It was the first run-thru and we’re looking forward to Sharpie knocking it out of the park next year.

Most Talked About: Nike

Nike hit the jackpot in early December when the final four teams were announced. All four were Nike teams – teams that have had a partnership for decades with the Nike brand, including one school where the brand was born – University of Oregon. As they always do, Nike put thought into every detail of the playoff uniforms, with a story for nearly every stitch. The uniforms paid homage to previous teams, created nostalgia for championship seasons decades earlier, and they were covered with the famous swoosh. Nike dominated pre-game chatter about the uniforms, had us talking about the commercials, and owned social media with a coin flip photo. Nike took advantage of a great opportunity and came out on top.

Biggest Question Mark: Dr. Pepper

Dr. Pepper was the first brand to sign on as a major sponsor for the College Football Playoff. The season-long campaign featuring Larry, the concessions guy, were just odd. They signed a six-year deal, so we’re looking forward to better brand activation in the coming years.

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DSCOOP X: Tenth Annual Conference

The 10th Annual Dscoop Conference takes place in March in Washington, D.C. I will lead a discussion on what I’ve learned about the power of activating an inspiring ideal within companies.

I look forward to seeing you all March 5!


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