Bad news: The Australian brush fires rage on, while the country’s east coast has been ravaged by thunderstorms, flash flooding and hail. Good news: Week two of the AO; Roger Federer is in the hunt for another Grand Slam title. Regardless of what he does, this much I do know.

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Brand Federer, a topic I have previously addressed, keeps rolling on – ka ching, ka-ching, ka-ching!

  • On – Roger’s latest brand endeavor. A Zurich, Switzerland based performance shoe company with a cult like following. Quietly, their shoe CloudTec is the second most-sold sneaker in Germany after Nike’s Air Max 270. America, thanks to celebrities, is their largest market. In addition to being a representative for the brand, Roger has invested in the company and is an advisory product designer.
  • Credit Suisee – The Swiss bank came under attack that they were financing investments in coal-fired power plants. Consequently, climate activists questioned Roger for being a long-time brand advocate. Their Twitter movement #RogerWakeUpNow precipitated Roger to release before the Australian Open a well-crafted, politically correct response. Key learning for the “Maestro” and his team, brand transparency is top of mind now for global consumerism. They need to select their brand endorsements carefully.

Noteworthy, life after tennis, Roger Federer will unquestionably be the highest paid brand manager in the world.






Everyday I am online aggregating information. I am continually amazed how many people (a.k.a. storytellers) throw out numbers/marketing data without a point of reference. Makes me think about the relevance of what I am reading. Relevance, a concept I learned from the Heath Brothers.

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Relevance (noun) – the quality or state of being closely connected or appropriate.

The Heath Brothers enlighten me regarding the concept of relevancy in their book titled: “Made to Stick.” The story I remember was the truth about movie popcorn. Art Silverman who worked for CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) analyzed the nutritional value of movie popcorn. CSPI learned that the typical medium size bag contained 37 grams of saturated fat. He then realized few people really knew what that nutritional data point meant. Was 37 grams good or bad? To communicate Mr. Silverman’s findings and make them relevant, the CSPI created a visual: they laid out on a table demonstrating how one bag of popcorn was equivalent to the saturated fat from a bacon-and-eggs breakfast, a Big Mac and fries for lunch, a steak dinner with all the trimmings — combined! Relevance!

In 2019 I aggregated information about influence marketing that lead to some interesting engagement with members of my Tribe. One individual referenced an article touting the future growth of influence marketing, therefore projecting $8 billion was going to be spent on Instagram influence marketing in 2020. My Query: What percentage of total marketing dollars worldwide is $8 billion? Answer: 1.4 % of the $563 billion. Earlier this week an article I read indicated that by 2023 brands will be spending 20% of their marketing budgets on influence marketing. What is the relevancy of that number in comparison to the $8 billion dollars I read about in 2019? In addition, 20% is a quantum budgeting leap from 1.4%!

Maybe it is time to question the true relevancy of content published online.



Multiplex Fatigue


A multiplex is a movie theater with multiple screens within one venue. To me, too many movie choices. Consequently, I use multiplex fatigue as a phrase whenever I witness too many choices we are confronted with in our society.

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Multiplex fatigue:

  • Streaming services.
  • Cable channels, especially TV sports.
  • Political debates and debaters.
  • Lobbyists.
  • e-Commerce.
  • Beverage choices.
  • Cars, thus carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Social media platforms.
  • Digital content, especially blogs.

Time to minimize multiplex fatigue.



Playground Lessons


I recently posted an article on LinkedIn titled The Creative Process. If you want to observe a spontaneous level of creativity, go to a playground and watch children play. Playgrounds are a blank canvas for their imaginations to flourish/grow. There are no boundaries in a playground environment.

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Children play to better learn about the world around them and how best to connect with other people (peers, family members). They have a strong desire to learn, thus use the playground as a transformative environment – create imaginative narratives, explore, test their physical skills, etc. I first introduced the subject of playgrounds back in May Playground 2.0. Detailed below are more things I have learned observing children play:

  • Children’s drive to learn is the mainstay of everything they produce. Consequently, it is what makes them creators of innovative ideas, stories and physical constructions. Observe how they interact/engage with their peers (a.k.a. make belief).
  • Spontaneity rules! Watch how they navigate and cavort the playground equipment. Blame it on their short attention spans, but they have no plans, they just want to explore.
  • Exploration of multiple solutions is part of their DNA. The next time you are in a playground take note of the number of children that go down the slide the proper way and then try to go back up the improper way.

Lessons: Earlier in the month I posted Lessons from a Top Winemaker. Today Playground Lessons. Do you have any 2019 lessons you would like to share?

Bonne Année!

Forever Relevant – Lessons from a Top Winemaker (4/6/18)


Customer journey mapping, people-based marketing, influence marketing, content marketing, etc., etc., etc.  I am weary of the daily bombardment of digital gurus preaching about the future of marketing.  Candidly, I think they are over processing and would benefit from the wisdom of Koji Nakada, a top winemaker.

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I have posted in the past about one of my favorite TV shows, a series on Japanese TV titled The Professionals.  A recent episode featured Koji Nakada, a Japanese winemaker in the Burgundy wine region of France.  His wines are coveted around the world (22 countries) and served in acclaimed restaurants.  Detailed below are some of the lessons I learned watching his special that I believe marketers would benefit from as they adapt to the continual transformation of marketing:

  • Don’t always follow trends; do what you think is right (integrity).
  • Experimentation, experimentation, experimentation.
  • Expect the unexpected. Cope with it, learn from it, move forward.
  • You cannot change the past, so just think forward.
  • Be passionate about what you do. Give it your ultimate energy.
  • Always think positive. Find joy in every day.

Thank you, Mr. Nakada.  As I experience the transformation of marketing, you made me realize experience still matters in our technological driven world.  There is no substitution for experience.

Marketers, trust your instincts!






In an age dominated by digital transparency, inflated online reviews for providers of goods and services, fake news, etc., the use of the word authenticity has grown in popularity. Candidly, as I have previously posted, authenticity has evolved into a repetitively, over used word.

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The definition of authenticity: (noun) – The quality of being authentic (of undisputed origin, genuine). Synonyms: Originality, legitimacy, validity, bona fide.

As a food-away-from-home channel marketing specialist, I recognize how food companies are facing more pressure/demand for supply chain related information. Consequently, the full disclosure of the sourcing/integrity of their ingredients is better known as biodiversity – sustainable farming and agricultural practices including regenerative ecosystem procedures, animal welfare, labor practices, etc. Last month at the UN Climate Action Summit, nineteen leading companies announced the formation of the OP2B (“One Plant Business for Biodiversity”) coalition to drive transformation in the food and agriculture systems for the benefit of people and our planet.

Authentic? Definitely, authenticity 2.0! However, I believe TMI. Some marketers are over subscribing and creating authenticity marketing ploys. Detailed below are two examples:

  • Nestlé® Toll House® – Nestlé introduced the Nestlé® Toll House® Artisan Collection, a line of premium baking chips made with single-origin chocolate from Ghana. “Cocoa beans are the top agricultural export from Ghana; its rich soil is ideal for growing the intensely aromatic cocoa that is captured in these new premium baking chips,” says Ruth Braden, associate marketing manager for Nestlé® Toll House®. “Made with chocolate sourced from a single origin delivers a premium chocolate to the Nestlé® Toll House® portfolio.” Something you will think about the next time you dunk your cookie made with premium priced chocolate chips in a glass of cold milk.


  • Starbucks – The brand juggernaut has always been dedicated to buying 100% ethically sourced coffee and was ahead of the transparent/authentic supply chain curve. But now, with 31,000 locations worldwide, their creative team has decided to publish their brand systems guidelines. Their iconic logo has been the same for years, but now we can learn about their regional in-store signage design elements complete with color codes and typographic weights, as well as the creative strategy behind their Instagram posts. Authentic? Definitely, but TMI. I am not convinced the average consumer that is purchasing a cup of joe cares about the design elements of their in-store signage/promotions.

Is TMI authenticity necessary or a new marketing ploy?

High-Tech Regulations


A provocative quote from Kara Swisher (technology thought leader, editor Recode): “We are giant digital cities that were built without adequate police, fire, medical or safety personnel, decent street signs or any kind of rules that would make them work smoothly.”

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The above quote resonated for me last week when I read that fifty state attorneys launched an investigation to determine whether Google is violating antitrust regulations. Interesting move, but candidly too little, too late. From my perspective, the tech giants have gone unregulated for too long. Case in point: The Cambridge Analytica, Facebook data scandal in March of 2018. Eventually, the FTC levied a $5 billion fine, a drop-in-the-bucket given Facebook reported $15.08 billion in 1st quarter 2019 sales. Most advocacy groups believe the FTC fine will not force Facebook to rethink their responsibility to protect user data in the future. Despite all the news, misinformation and controversies since the scandal, a study from Pew Research Center indicated that 26% of Americans deleted their Facebook app. Mixpanel, a research firm and The Guardian have tracked a significant decline (20%) in Facebook usage since the scandal was revealed.

I am one of the Americans who canceled my Facebook account. I was deeply concerned Cambridge Analytica was the tip of the iceberg and there were numerous situations Facebook was compromising their user’s data. In addition, I was alarmed that Facebook’s understaffed policy enforcement team was unable to police and establish advertising and publishing standards/policies. Recent case in point: Last month a BBC investigation revealed how Facebook was being used by traffickers to buy and sell antiquities illegally excavated/looted from tombs in Syria and Iraq.

To safeguard the beneficial growth of the web, time to reel in and regulate high-tech!


The Human Diet and It’s Influence on Climate Change


Back in May I investigated applying biomimicry for a climate change solution. Last week I read the UN released a special report describing how plant-based diets represent a major opportunity for moderating and adjusting to climate change. The current market value of plant-based foods indicate people are slowly adapting.

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The shift away from animal-based foods is good for the Earth’s health as it relates to reducing greenhouse emissions, as well as facilitating the opening to efficiently use water and energy. More importantly, observing a plant-based diet has numerous human health benefits, including reducing the risk of chronic diseases (e.g., heart, certain cancers, diabetes, etc.), plus obesity. Consequently, plant-based foods are achieving mainstream acceptance with more consumers (a.k.a. flexitarians) trying to eat less meat. By the numbers, U.S. retail sales have grown 11 percent in the past year, bringing the total plant-based market value to $4.5 billion (source: GFI & PBFA).

The UN Youth Climate Summit will take place September 21st in New York. It will provide a platform for leaders driving climate action to discuss their solutions, including changes to the human diet. Note: The United Nation’s projects by 2050 the world population will astounding be approximately 9.7 billion. Because I am a food futurist, I hope the young leaders will open dialogue about other potential food resources that could be beneficial to the Earth’s health. Specifically, encouraging consumers to eat more sea vegetables, a topic I will be addressing in detail later this month.




Raiders of the Fridge


Delivery sales are fueling restaurant industry growth. One consulting firm projects growth at more than three times the rate of on-premises revenue through 2023. Candidly, I am uneasy about the competitive impact online grocery shopping will have on overall restaurant sales as Amazon and Walmart step up their services levels.

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Beginning this fall, Walmart will be rolling out their “InHome” delivery option. Walmart’s delivery people, utilizing smart technology, will be enabled to pick an online grocery order and deliver the food items directly into their customer’s refrigerators as the homeowner is watching. Sounds like fridge delivery will make it extremely convenient/seductive for consumers to pass on ordering out food or dining away-from-home.

Food for thought: Thanks to smart technology, Porch Pirates will have the opportunity to evolve into Raiders of the Fridge.