A sneakerheads review – people who collect, trade or covet sneakers as a hobby.  Resellers, capitalizing on the growing trend of these sneaker fanatics demanding limited edition, exclusive athletic footwear are still considered a small segment of total U.S. sneaker sales of $38 billion.  However, exorbitant sneaker prices continue to soar.

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The two leading sneaker resellers are Stadium Goods and GOAT/Flight Club.  They both understand that sneakerheads do not buy sneakers for utility, but a way to communicate personality – making a fashion statement.  Examples:

  • Louis Vuitton, originally priced at $190, currently selling for $2,750.
  • Pharrell Williams (musician) designed Adidas for $12,350.
  • Limited edition LeBron Nike shoes sell for an average of $6,000 a pair.

Exorbitant pricing or extortion, a fashion shakedown?

Are you a sneakerhead wannabe?  

Influence Marketing


As a member of the SMRA (Social Media Research Association), I am their advocate for influence marketing (two guest posts):  The ongoing debate?  Should marketers utilize macro or micro influencers?  I have concluded when it comes to pop culture, the key is to find a macro influencer.

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American actress Meghan Markle, soon to be a member of the British royal family upon her marriage to Prince Harry, has exploded into a British fashion icon thanks to a photograph taken of her last September in Mother distressed jeans and sporting a Everlane tote bag.  Note: For the record she has deleted all her social media accounts.  However, every fashion statement she now makes circulates around the world exponentially.

Ms. Markle’s fashion influence by the numbers:

  • Mother experienced a 200 percent increase to their website; a 60 percent increase in Google searches versus the same period the prior year. The company sold out their inventory in 3 days and cultivated a waiting list of 400 people.
  • Everlane reported they now have a waiting list of 20,000 people for the tote bag she carried.
  • At her first post-engagement appearance, the Strathberry bag she carried sold out in 11 minutes and website traffic to the bag’s manufacturer (Scottish) soared 5,000 percent.

Fashion industry analysts believe Meghan projects the image of a modern woman with an undemanding idea of luxury.  Consequently, young women gravitate towards her fashion statements.

As I continue to research influence marketing, when it comes to pop culture (e.g., fashion), macro influencers deliver the robust numbers.  Food marketers need to take notice and find their circle of macro influencers.  Example: White Castle should find a celebrity (e.g., professional athlete) eating their new Impossible Foods high-tech veggie burger.

Show me the macro influencers!

Clichés 2018


Cliché (noun): A phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.

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  1. Authenticity.
  2. Awesome.
  3. Busy, Crazy.  I’m swamped.
  4. Collaboration.
  5. Disruptive innovation.
  6. Ecosystems.
  7. End of the day.
  8. Fake news.
  9. Start-ups.
  10. Sustainability.
  11. Transparency.
  12. Work/life balance.





“Change is frightening to people who lack resilience, but those who embrace it, usually find that they land on their feet and that fosters resilience.”  – Robert Brooks and Sam Goldstein (“The Power of Resilience”)

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How true!  Recently, I questioned when I read in the Well section of the International New York Times, all the books that are flooding the market guiding parents to better cultivate their children’s emotional resilience (a.k.a. life’s ups and downs).  To name a few titles: “The Yes Brain,” “The Good News About Bad Behavior,” “The Book of No: 365 Ways To Say It and Mean It,” “How to Raise an Adult,” etc. 

Definition: resilience (noun) – an ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change.  My query:  Is resilience something you can actually teach your children?  Or is resilience something one develops over the passage of time owing to experience?  Examples: broken relationships, career turbulence, an unexpected illness, death of a significant other, etc.

“Life must be understood backwards; but… it must be lived forwards.”  – Sören Kiekegaard (Danish philosopher)


Lessons from a Top Winemaker


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!

Future Communal Work Spaces


Office spaces globally are transforming to meet the needs of how Millennials and the generation following them, Gen Z, will work, live and play.

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The blueprint of future communal work spaces is to bring people together in the work environment.  Two cutting-edge examples are as follows:

  • WeWork – Founded in 2010, the company has built a global network of 212 shared, communal work spaces. Co-founder, CEO Adam Neumann’s mantra: “Create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living.”  In addition to shared office spaces (desks in common areas, private rooms), their latest project in Brooklyn, New York will include a regular bar, a juice bar, restaurants, a gym, an outdoor basketball court, as well as potentially dry-cleaning services and a hair salon.
  • Roam – The company, now operating in four cities (Miami, Tokyo, London and Ubud, Bali), is a prototype of the nomad hubs popping up around the world. Specifically, they cater to people (e.g., entrepreneurs, free-lancers, programmers, etc.) who travel the world while working remotely from the Internet.  “Roamies” (a.k.a. digital nomads) rent a sparse bedroom complete with its own bathroom (starting at $500 a week) and have unlimited access to all communal areas – wired coworking spaces (24/7), a shared kitchen (food not included) and laundry room.  Some of their facilities have a pool and a yoga studio.

Are you ready to join a future communal work space?

Big Incubators


In February I posted about FoodBytes! an event sponsored by a global financial services company that connects investors with innovators.  Major CPG food & beverage companies (e.g., Campbell, Nestlé, etc.) are also partaking in private market investments to fund/acquire unique start-up brands.

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Last week Kraft Heinz announced it was launching “Springboard”, an incubator program focused on start-up brands that produce healthy, organic or specialty products.  Last year Kellogg and Conagra joined forces to fund a project called “The Hatchery”, Nestlé invested in an accelerator program targeting food/agriculture start-ups and Tyson increased its original (5%) investment in California-based vegan company Beyond Meat.  The big company incubator strategy undertakes minimal risk and pairs the smaller start-up brands with the stealth expertise (e.g., R&D, marketing, distribution, etc.) of established CPG companies.  As a result, the innovative brands benefit from a fast-track new product entry.

Welcome to the age of Big Incubators.