Has Vogue Gone Rogue?It looks like Marissa Mayer and Kim Kardashian have more in common than business sense—both moguls are also talented at turning off Vogue’s high-fashion audience.  As I’m sure you have seen, Vogue’s April cover features a wedding shot of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West accompanying hashtag: #WORLDSMOSTTALKEDABOUTCOUPLE.

All personal feelings of Kimye aside (I have to, or it would cloud my judgment of whether or not this is a good brand decision), this is not entirely a rogue move for the magazine. Vogue also drew much attention and criticism from their decision to feature Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer in 2013.

Yes, I completely agree that Vogue’s brand is high caliber and does not exactly mesh well with the mass-marketed, over-publicized reality TV couple’s image. However, the magazine industry is facing a very difficult time in today’s culture. With so many people getting their news online and through tablet subscriptions, the printed publication has been slowly moving into the land of fax machines and flip phones. The average Vogue reader is currently 37.8 years old, compared to 30 in 2001. As the current market is aging, Anna Wintour knew she had to spice up her brand to help bring in a newer audience.

The Daily Beast put it best: “Between the two of them, Kim and Kanye have more than 30 million Twitter followers. Vogue has only 3.6 million.”

When it comes down to it, Vogue may have alienated several of their current subscribers, but they also potentially opened the door for a slew of new readers. I really don’t even think they strayed from their brand either. Sure, Kimye is no Kate Moss, but Kim is still wearing high-fashion gowns, and Annie Leibovitz’s photos also comply with the current brand standards. The cover has even inspired spoofs from James Franco and Seth Rogen (who are certainly not newbies when it comes to spoofing Kimye) and even Miss Piggy and Kermit, in addition to the many articles and newscasts that are talking about the “controversy”.

Whether or not you agree with Wintour’s decision, you can’t really argue that Vogue’s April issue is #THEWORLDMOSTTALKEDABOUTCOVER, thus making it a smart brand move.

Why I Will Not #BanBossyAs the oldest of three kids, I’ve done my fair share of bossing around, whether it was telling my sister the correct way to play Barbies with me or making the executive decision of what movie to watch despite everyone else’s opinion. My parents and siblings, like this dad, would tell me to stop being bossy, because that’s exactly how I was behaving. Did it stifle my leadership abilities? No. In fact—it did quite the opposite.

The #BanBossy campaign has received as much criticism as it has praise lately.  Women from Beyonce to Condoleezza Rice have joined the fight to help #BanBossy because “Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up.”

No—words like “bossy” are used to describe someone who is being…bossy. No one likes to be friends or work with someone who is bossy. In fact, a recent study from Pershing (client) shows that Americans prefer a more collaborative style of leadership—and 70 percent of people associate that leadership quality with women.

Furthermore, Google Definitions shows that synonyms for “bossy” include: overbearing, tyrannous, despotic, masterful, domineering, authoritative, and dictatorial. Synonyms for “leader” include: chief, innovator, trendsetter, pathfinder, and pioneer. According to this, the two are not completely interchangeable.  You CAN lead without being bossy.

Being told that I was being bossy at a young age helped me gain self-awareness and to develop a style of leadership that respects and considers others’ opinions. Just because a word does not have a complimentary connotation, it does not mean that it should be “banned” from our vocabulary. As a woman who is striving to create my own path of leadership in my career, I fully support the intentions of this campaign to help young girls take initiative. However, I believe that their way of going about it is misguided.

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For the past two days I have had the fun time of my favorite goddaughter Emma hanging out in my office.  I have been educated and entertained by The Adventurous Adventures of One Direction , realized how short I am without work heels, and most of all got a lesson is what is cool for the Almost-Millennial generation.  Let’s be honest, I used to brainstorm about reaching Generation Y, so I know how quick Millennials will be out as the target demo.  So where are the next gen hanging out.  According to Emma, it’s all about Instagram.  This may be because some of the other platforms are currently banned for said 12-year-old, but regardless this platform is offering her generation a lot to talk about.

Emma?

Instagram is definitely where kids my age are hanging out. We love to take pictures and share them with our little social circle of followers and followed people. Not only is Instagram a great way to reach out to friends, but it’s also a place for fan pages, business pages, and so much more! I think one of the big reasons Instagram is so popular is because of the fact that you can express yourself creatively. May it be through video or photo; whatever you have posted can have its own originality to it. Before you post a picture or video, you can choose an effect to add to it. You can also focus on certain parts and light it up a little, making even the simplest picture look professional. Unlike some social media, Instagram focuses on visuals, and then adds the option to add words to it. People use this instead of Vine, another mobile social media platform that allows you to take videos and post them, because it gives you the option whether or not to do just a picture, or an entire video. Also, you may edit the video with the effects, like I mentioned before, which Vine didn’t offer. Let’s face it, Facebook is dying. The younger generation is gathering in Twitter or Instagram. The only people who are on Facebook nowadays are parents.

As I mentioned before, many business pages are finding their way onto Instagram. And, while you’re there, you may as well do a promotional activity! Oreo is definitely an example of this statement. A little while back, Oreo hosted the #cookiethis #creamthis competition. The instructions were to take a picture of whatever you wanted Oreo-fyed, and hashtag it either #cookiethis or #creamthis. If the Oreo team found your picture interesting, they would begin to mold your picture into either cookie or cream, depending on what you hashtagged. At the end of the event, they looked at the total amount of hashtags in each category to see which ingredient was the favorite; cookie or cream. Cream won with an outstanding 21,050 to 17,060 hashtags. I can only imagine how cool it would have been to get your picture chosen as art! After looking at all of the pictures they put up, you really wanted to buy an Oreo cookie! Some of the things the artists made were very cool. (See picture). I, of course, would have gone Team Cream. Who wouldn’t?

Not sure which side I am on, but Emma’s reasoning seems to ring true for most social platforms.  Ultimately, it comes down to some of the same reasons people first migrated to MySpace or Friendster.  Its a cool new place to talk about what they want, where they want and how they want it.  It may not be the platform-du-jour for very long, but for now marketers can learn something from Oreo (heck they made it on the Today Show) and for sure something from Emma.

Hello FloNo matter what names we give menstruation, Aunt Flo, Time of the Month, Crimson Wave, The Rag, Period, it still sucks and tends to make others (ahem, men) uncomfortable.  So, when I saw “The Camp Gyno” viral video promoting the Hello Flo Starter Kit, I couldn’t help but laugh at the boldness of the campaign.  Not only does this video remove all stigmas attached to menstruation, but it makes it look cool and desirable for young girls!

The video shows a young, unpopular girl getting her period at camp for the first time- and her subsequent rise up the social ranks as she explains the monthly visits to her clueless peers.  She shows them the ins and outs of menstruation, provides tampons and gives tough love to girls moaning about cramps.  At the end of the video, she is put out of business by the Hello Flo Starter Kit that prepares young girls for their first period.  Each kit includes:

  • A handful of light and regular Tampax Pearl tampons
  • Enough Always pads and liners to get her through her first cycle
  • Get Ready Guide for Parents
  • Get Ready Guide for Girls
  • A cute canvas pouch for taking supplies on the go
  • A Do-it-yourself Feby Kit
  • Surprise Gifts and Goodies

Kotex definitely got the ball rolling on the whole “embrace your body” trend two years ago after making fun of previous ad campaigns.  While the new approach was definitely interesting, I didn’t switch brands. I appreciated the concept, but it just didn’t hit home for me.

The creators of the starter kit and subsequent viral video, however, are geniuses. If ever an age bracket were susceptible to merchandise, tweens are it! Looking back, I know that I would have BEGGED my mom for this kit.  If not for the candy, then I would’ve definitely wanted it for the simple reason of receiving a package in the mail. Hell, if this were marketed for 20-somethings I’d buy it.  Why? Because I absolutely love the premise and am very curious to see what the “surprise gifts and goodies” mentioned above might entail. So, the next time you are marketing a product geared towards a “don’t ask, don’t tell” problem, try to make it funny like the Hello Flo Starter Kit folks did!

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Most 20 somethings are addicted to technology.  When commuting on any subway or train, nine times out of ten you’ll see millennials glued to their e-readers, iPads or iPhones.  Not me.  Find out what differentiates me from my peers by checking out my blog, “FYI to My Fellow Millennials: Print is cool,” on Repmanblog.com.

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After coming home from work yesterday, I did what I do every night: check my Facebook newsfeed to see what all my “friends” were up to.  Among the normal status updates about upcoming shows, ridiculous work hours, and the plethora of complaints my generation makes, something very interesting caught my eye: a link to a new Internet Explorer ad on YouTube.  The ad’s screen shot had the game “Hungry Hungry Hippos” along with the caption: “You Grew up.  So Did We.”  I couldn’t resist.

Before explaining this ad, I think it’s very important to mention that I absolutely abhor Internet Explorer.  It freezes inexplicably, messes with website layouts and is generally less reliable than my browser of choice, Google Chrome.  Internet Explorer is to browsers as New Jersey Transit is to mass transportation.  It’ll kind of work, eventually.

So, you can imagine my surprise when Internet Explorer decided to connect with me, personally, by helping me remember my childhood.  In their new ad, IE reminded us that they were around for generation Y’s most iconic trends: yo-yos, floppy discs, Oregon Trail, Lunchables, fanny packs, wallet chains and tomogatchis.  Besides reminding me of my childhood in the early 90s, this ad was trying to tell people my age that IE grew up with us.  As we learned new things, so did they.  And, now they want us to come back.

The thing is, I really don’t care that Internet Explorer remembers the days when boys sported bowl cuts and girls cared for electronic pets.  Those days are long gone, and remembering them does nothing.  Sure, those days were simpler because we didn’t have deadlines or relationship drama- but that’s because we were young.

I love this ad.  It’s cool to see how far pop culture has come in the past twenty years.  But, why did it take IE this long to realize they needed to change their reputation?  This ad is too little too late.  Yes, yo-yos WERE amazing, but that doesn’t make me switch browsers from Google Chrome to Internet Explorer.

 

For the past few months I’ve gotten into running—something I never thought I’d be able to do (or at least do well).  Most runners have a set routine that typically involves a playlist on their iPod. While the majority of other Millennials listen to pop songs and other classic “Jock Jams” to keep their energy level up, I prefer to listen to public radio.

According to NPR.org, the median age for its audience is 50; about twice my age. People between the ages of 18 to 34 tune in at rates far below this benchmark.  That said, I am a complete anomaly.

I love public radio for many reasons. For one, the content is exceptional. It is well researched, thoughtful and human-centered. Unlike newspapers or magazines the content is presented in a more conversational tone. Audio sound bites piece together news and feature stories in a way that allows your imagination to play a part in the digestion of this new information. Unlike social media or television, segments often go deeper than the need-to-know facts and uncover pieces of a story that a network morning show would gloss over.

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I love living in New York City, but as a true midwestern girl I whole-heartedly appreciate vacations that take me far from the skyscrapers, crowded subways and hurried lifestyle. Recently, I took a trip to visit family in Denver, CO. With only a few days to tour around the area, we crammed a number of activities into our excursion. We spent the afternoon at the FREE New Belgium Brewery tour in Fort Collins, ate ballpark hotdogs at the Rockies game and meandered through the Old South Pearl Street Farmers’ Market.

While sampling some amazing carmel-chocolate popcorn from a food truck at the market, we began chatting with the business owner. In less than 10 minutes, I had her whole life story and she was well on her way to knowing mine. When she found out I worked in PR and marketing, she fired off a host of questions on how to grow her business. We discussed everything from social media strategy to strategic food truck parking destinations. When she found out my cousin was a senior at Denver University, she asked if she could make lunch for her and 10 friends in exchange for insight into what college kids are looking for in fast, quality food. Clearly, she was extremely interested in getting into the mind of her consumer and willing to make adustments to their menu and business opperations to meet their needs.

As we spoke, the owner whipped us up a cuban pork sandwich and a mango ginger spritzer – the best meal I had all week. We then slurped the last drop of our drinks, shook hands and wished her the best. Before we left, she asked if there was anything else I could tell her to help promote her business. I assured her that her friendly customer service, genuine interest in learning anything and everything about her target audience, and delicious, quality products are all she needs. The consumers will spread the word from there. And I think that’s true for any business.