Archive for the Perspective Category

A look back to the Olympics

Posted in Perspective with tags , , on March 2, 2010 by akila004

Growing up in Europe, watching the Olympics has always been a tradition. We could watch sports that were never broadcasted on TV, and even if we had no idea what these sports were all about, we would all stand behind our country’s team and cheer for them. I loved it!

Well, this year was no different. I looked at the schedule a week before the beginning of the Games and was stoked to know that there was no time difference, so no worries about missing something. I was ready to cheer for all my friends participating in the Olympics. But it ended up being more of a frustration than an enjoyment. As all of you probably noticed, there was barely any event shown live, and when NBC started to show the Olympics, at like 7pm I think, all the events were being mixed up, not giving me a chance to see one event in its entirety. And just when you think you could count on the Internet to follow the events live, well, no luck there either, all websites showing the Olympics Live were not working.

Of course, this problem comes back to NBC making its $200 million investment back. Yes, $200 million. When you see this number you can’t even imagine how much a network would charge its advertisers for this 2-week period. So basically, that was the only solution for them: previously record the events and show them later with the usual 5-minute commercial break every 20 minutes. What is even more frustrating to me is to see that ratings went up 17% since the Torino Games. And we are talking about ratings of viewership of events where we already knew who won.

If you’re like me, and got frustrated for not being able to see you relatives/friends, etc. competing Live, here is an interesting article I just read this morning. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to change for the next games!

– CG


Is this the way to market women snowboarding?

Posted in Perspective with tags , , , , on February 10, 2010 by akila004

Sex sells. Even though I don’t really like it, It’s a fact and women have to deal with it . But this morning, when I read TW Biz newsletter about the new SI Winter swimsuit issue featuring 2 female snowboarders of the US Team, and after I checked it out, I really wondered if there shouldn’t be some limits.

Check out the link for more info:

I think it is great that woman snowboarding is being promoted in mainstream media especially right before the most publicized sporting event in the world. But should have it gone this far? Because, seriously, when you are done browsing the gallery, you are more wondering whether this is a joke or what the hell Hannah Teter, Claire Bidez and their sponsors were thinking about when they decided to go for it.

From the sponsors’ perspective, I guess, this is the perfect scenario for product placement. You can see a Burton beanie here and there, a snowboard with bunch of stickers on it, etc.

And for these girls, they are no longer a nobody, they are becoming these “sexy” snowboard chicks. I think the idea is good originally, showing that female snowboarders can go big, but also be sexy. But whoa, when you look at every single photo, you wonder if this type of athlete’s publicity is good for the sport. And I don’t think so. It gives a completely wrong representation of what snowboarding is. There are limits to what you can publish when you try to sell using “sex”, and in this particular case, too many pictures of HT and CB were I think too ridiculous for giving a good impression.

I am hoping that in the future, if female riders need to be marketed to the general public, it will be done more accordingly to the standards of what our sports are about. This was just too much. And I think that in this case, this is bad marketing, at least towards the action sports community.

Everything Is On Sale…

Posted in Perspective with tags , , , , , on January 18, 2010 by Artform

It’s true. Damn near everything is on sale – Cars, Houses, Travel deals, Designer Apparel and yes… your products too. I recently has a conversation with an e-commerce specialist and he told me the Full Price retail business was dead. His position was that if you want to sell products at full price, you have to sell the illusion that the products are on Sale. This strategy is nothing new seeing how big box department stores have been running that tactic for years. The truth of the matter however is that the recession is far from over and the Recessionista may possibly be here to stay.

The average consumer is simply forced to change their spending/buying habits out of pure necessity. The jobs aren’t there, the nest egg is gone, the 401k is tapped and the prospects are slim. So when thinking of buying name brand Cereal for $3.99 or the generic brand for $1.99, guess what wins? Even more so when Mom takes Johnny in to buy some tee’s for school. The discount rack starts to seem much more appealing these days. Retailers know it, Consumers know it and Brands are scared of it. Rightly so. With out a customer willing to pay a premium price for a premium product, brands will compete at the bottom for scraps. This is why it is extremely important to maintain strong Brand Value/Perception.

Here is a bit of real world insight… I’ve been skating at the new Dyrdek plaza at Hollenbeck park in East Los Angeles, an area known for being “rough” to say the least. The locals obviously don’t come from high income homes and money for products likes shoes, t’s and skateboards simply isn’t there. However, one thing I noticed about the group of locals is that they all have one or two name brand pieces. Maybe it’s a tee or a beanie. Something small, but name brand. I got to talking about this with my wife and she said that you can really tell who supports what brand when it comes down to spending the little money you may have on that “One” piece. In this case Deathwish/Baker won, since the majority of the kids had an item or two from those companies.

Then I got to thinking. I didn’t grow up with money either and I remember how much it meant to me to get a Name Brand anything. I also took more care of my product since I knew it had to last. I remember buying a tee in the early 90’s that became my uniform for the year. I was so proud to of that damn shirt, it was worth any allowance I had or numerous lawns I had to mow (Kareem Campbell Blue Skateboards tee for any old timers out there).

To bring it all home, the point is this, people have less income now than they did in the past which means each purchase means more. Whether that purchase is to save a buck or two on a box of cereal or to spend two extra bucks on their favorite brand. So before you go and break out those “for sale” signs, try convincing the consumer that your product is worth the extra two bucks. If you can’t I’ll be seeing you at the bargain bins – size large.


Hey, Can I Come In…?

Posted in Perspective with tags , , , , , , on December 4, 2009 by Artform

The action sports industry is an industry built upon a lifestyle. Plain and simple. But what is a lifestyle? By definition it’s the habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, etc., that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group.

I think we could pretty much segment any board sport and get a pretty clear picture of the lifestyle. Surfers for example – habits? Surf all day. Attitudes? If it doesn’t have to do with surfing, I don’t care. Tastes? Tacos anyone (j/k)… You get my point though.

This guy does not skate...!

The lifestyles of the core practitioners are simply the complete immersion of their activity and anything that has to do with it. Repeat the last part of that sentence, “anything that has to do with it (their activity)”. For example music, videos, apparel, brands, Pros, websites, magazines and so forth.

It is because of this fact that non-endemic brands looking to enter into the industry must do so with an authentic approach. The lifestyle is there, the activity is there, the likes and dislikes are there, tastes, attitudes, habits and so forth are all there to learn from. So why do big brands barge in unannounced, unsympathetic and disconnected? Most big companies don’t do their research and are too focused on increasing market share that they overlook the most basic component of building relationships, which is interaction.

Ask yourself these questions before stepping foot into the world of action sports – what would this target group (skate, surf, snow, etc) like to see from my companies involvement, how do I open up that dialogue and how to I effectively and authentically fill that need?

If you can answer those questions, I’ll be seeing you on the inside in no time. Just don’t forget to knock.

This one takes the cake…


Social Communication…

Posted in Perspective with tags , , , on December 1, 2009 by Artform

This past four day weekend I spent a lot of my downtime researching tons of various social media sites. I even learned a few new tricks on old sites. I really wanted to fully immerse myself into the world of Social Networking just like the masses out there using these networks daily. My problem is that I see everything from a Marketing point of view, so I had to shed that and jump in head first as a Regular guy.

I started a few new accounts with various networks such as Ustream and Tumblr. I jumped in on chat rooms, listened to internet radio, twitted, blogged, added friends and even started a group. Funny enough though, i didn’t take one look at Myspace (go figure). I had a great time.

There was a moment where I was truly integrated into a virtual community – Saturday night, listening to BeatMinerz radio and chatting with old skool hip hoppers about current tracks, old tracks, artists, music, etc all while listening to the mixing of Evil D in NY at 4am (their time).

I then finished things up with a nice long chat about social media’s place in our current society with the wonderful interns at our office on Monday morning.

So what have I taken with me?
Humans have a need for personal interaction, whether physical, emotional, for camaraderie, etc even if it is via AIM or Skype. People have a voice and they want to be heard, even if they are speaking through 140 characters on Twitter. What social networks allow humans is an extra form of communication, one that has never existed in mankind before. We’re at the cusp.

How does this apply to marketing? Everyone is their own media outlet, your brand included. Social Media is more than a new language, rather a new form communication. A form that you need to learn to use immediately.

See you on facebook



Posted in Perspective with tags , , on October 26, 2009 by Artform

I’ve been thinking about this all weekend and I just had to get it out. I recently read an article on Christian Audigier in LA Magazine (article posted a few months back). First off let me say the guy is a marketing guru (there, I said it). There was a reference in the article that says, “what Christian does is imbue a $6 t-shirt with $98 worth of desire”.

That got me thinking – it is all about desire. True, other factors are important such as quality, durable materials, fresh design, innovation, etc, however without desire you simply have a product sitting on a shelf. So what is desire if nothing more than a longing for something that you perceive will bring satisfaction or enjoyment. I’m sure we’ve all bought something we’ve desired only to forget about the item in a few weeks/months. That goes to show how desire can drive someone to simply on impulse and want.

I am often approached by start-up brands for guidance and direction. I always start by asking who “wants” your products? You can’t bend someone’s arm backwards to buy your products, not the distributor, not the retailers and definitely not the consumer. The job of the brand is to inject desire into the products through their marketing efforts. Case in point… I just found out that if I drink Vitamin Water I’ll look like 50 cent!


The Cool Factor…

Posted in Perspective with tags , on October 14, 2009 by Artform

A friend of mine made a comment the other day that has been resonating with me since. He said “people will go out of their way to be cool. If they perceive something as being cool they will spend money on whatever it is. They will even go as far as to waste and lose money on being cool”.

The next day I was having coffee with a different friend and he said something similar. He said, “People will make themselves look ridiculous for the sake of being cool.”

Granted these are two very opinionated people and the context of each conversation was more in-depth than I have explained here, however the point from both ends was that “Cool” is very important to people. Cool is so important that people will go to great lengths to acquire what their perception of cool is. I have been guilty of this in the past, I mean who remembers the Baggy pants of ’92? I’m also guilty of spending $10 on a beer at a “cool” club when I could have went to the local dive and bought that same drink for $3…

Searching for Cool isn’t something new. In my opinion the desire to be cool comes from the need to belong while at the same time differentiate.

As a brand you need to understand the consumers desire to be cool and tap into that. My question for you is how do you factor “Cool” into your marketing strategies?