Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More Starbucks brand talk

First, I'm having mixed feelings about the authenticity of most of what I'm going to link on here, but I believe the overall conversation and content is more important than the parts that make up that conversation. John Moore, at Brand Autopsy (who spent years inside Starbucks marketing dept.) posted this on What Starbucks Must Do, in response to this "leaked" e-mail from Sbucks CEO Howard Shultz. I don't know if the leaked note is authentic, and I really don't care. Its content is important for branding folks/marketers/coffee drinkers alike and it does a great job highlighting the importance of brand experience, especially during brand growth. So take a gander. It'll be interesting to see what John comes up with as he recruits readers to submit ideas for taking Sbucks back to its core.

On a related note, I was in Tacoma, WA this weekend for a quick vacation. I've been to Seattle, but never Tacoma. It's beautiful. Seriously wonderful city. Reminded me of my beloved Lawrence, but with mountains, better infrastructure, water, mountains, better art, mountains, great outdoor community, mountains and mountains.

While I was in Tacoma, one of the people out with us one night mentioned that she knows a barista who works at the Sbucks Howard visits each morning...again, I don't care about the truth of this ("My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious.") but it made me think, a) it'd be good if your CEO interacted with your product daily and b) that's one high-pressure cup of auto-brewed espresso. "I said soy milk. Your mistake cost our shareholders .21 cents. And stop wiping cocoa on your organic cotton apron, don't you know it costs us $1.42 to wash that after each shift? Do you know how much that costs per year? Can I have another scone? And by have, I mean, for free."

Blogging's been light. I'm busy. I was out of town. And to tell the truth, other things are firing my synapses at a greater rate than Woolard Speak (more on this soon) and the hundreds of blog feeds backing up in my Bloglines. It's a phase. But it's a nice reminder that my priorities are in order.

Listening to - Joe Purdy, Canyon Joe.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Virtual reality

Even though I profess to be part of the "web 2.0" in-crowd, and dudes, I totally have a blog and all, there are still a lot of techie things that make me say, "I have no idea how that happened." Such was the case when fellow sheep-hater and interactive stud Seth started showing us the 3-D model of our office he was building to be included in Google Earth. Read the much more intelligent version of what I'm talking about over on American Copywriter.

The point is, our office is now on Google Earth, complete with the "Choose to be remarkable" banner I see every morning as I turn in to our lot. Check it out. Download the necessary plug-ins to view and add your own office/home/hot dog cart to what I am confident will be one of the most used and beneficial programs of our generation. I mean, seriously, how cool is it that I can explore the KC skyline (albeit only a small portion yet created), then "fly" across the world to see any sight I choose?

With new arenas for brand interaction opening daily, it's important that we "new marketers" be able to find the best places for our brands to develop relationships. Google Earth is just one (very large) example of the reality brands face virtually.

Listening to - Nathan, Jimson Weed

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Valentine's Day videos

Whether you're madly in love or mad about love, here are some lovely videos from the Woolard Speak vault (and beyond) sure to tug on your heart-day heartstrings.

Possibly my favorite love-themed music video of all time:

(First Day of My Life, Bright Eyes)

A charming ode to missing the one you love...even if you're a claymation monster:

("Love," by Joe, music by The Weepies)

A beautiful piece dripping with equal parts sadness and sweetness:

("I will follow you into the dark," from the Plans video series, by Death Cab for Cutie)

And just because it's almost impossible for me to be serious for this long...those with even the strongest stomachs for sappy crap will need some Tums:

("Can You Feel the Love Tonight," performed in both the real world and Disney's version of Africa, by Elton John.)

And speaking of Africa..."it's gonna take a lot to drag me away from yooooou.":

(Africa, by TOTO)

While we're diggin' on the TOTO, Topeka, KS' own Andy McKee plays "Africa":

(If Andy McKee and Elton John were in a musical duel, McKee would hammer-on chord a circle of life around Sir Elton.)

OK...I'm way off more serious love video, by the epitome of in-love husband-wife musical duos, Mates of State:

(I Like You Crazy, directed by Robert Schober, song by Mates of State)

Alright...I hope this provides you something to send your honey. Or your bunny. Or the Simba to your Nala. And to further the love, if you need some make-out music, download this romantic mixtape from Nettwerk Records.


At our shop, we constantly think of ways to rid the world of sheep-think. After a busy couple of weeks (spent slaying sheep in the fields of marketing...alright, I'll stop), I spent some time plowing through RSS feeds that have piled up in my Bloglines. I really enjoyed this piece by Seth Godin on "Sheepwalking."

A good reminder of the importance of a brand's people...are they sheepwalkers? At a store level? In the C-suite?

On another subject, if you're an outdoorsy/athletic/adventuring - and thrifty, type, you must add Steep and Cheap to your RSS feed reader. Your wallet will thank you.

Listening to - Fujiya & Miyagi, Transparent Things

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Psycho Wyco Trail Run was crazy fun

(taken above a very steep incline to the lake dam after I and about 30 others ran 3/4 of a mile the wrong way)

I'm sore. In places like my lower back, arms and shoulders. I expected to wake up with some leg burn after running the KC Trail Nerds' Psycho Wyco run yesterday morning. That initial "Why are my shoulders sore" question was quickly answered by the memory of crawling up steep grades covered in ice, pulling myself (and others) up ledges using tree branches and stumps and keeping a generally tense upper body posture to ready myself for wipe out (which luckily didn't happen!).

I ran the 10 miler, but some braver souls did the 20 mile and even 50K. 10 miles, normally, is nothing for me. I can clock it off on the road in 90 minutes, max. I ran yesterday's ice-covered, extreme incline and decline race in exactly 2 hours. That shows you how tough the terrain was. The overall elevation was 2,500 feet. However, the trail acted more like an Antarctic roller coaster track. I've run trails before, but this one was the toughest by far.

(coming out of the woods and into the homestretch)

It was one of the most gratifying and fun runs I've ever done. The organization was wonderful and the finish-line food (donuts, boiled potatoes, chili and PB&J) hit the spot. Crazy? Definitely. I realized that this was not going to be a normal weekend run on the way out to Wyandotte Lake, with my friend Kevin in the passenger seat drilling screws into the bottom of my shoes (for traction on the ice). I can't wait to hit the same trail when the ice has melted, and continue to run with this great group of crazies.

(no blood!)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I Am Loved

With Valentine's Day approaching, love is in the air. And it's in on your computer. In the form of the new Helzberg Diamonds widget. Get it here. Some of my very talented co-workers created this by means of who knows (I believe they actually go inside computers). It's above my head. Seth, our Widget Master, just posted some info on the newest I Am Loved widget - check it out at his blog.

For more fun with Helzberg Diamonds and the iconic I Am Loved buttons, go here to help choose the new language.

Listening to - My dog snoring over Van Morrison, Hymns to the Silence. I want a nap.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Humble Voice

It's a cold, cold morning in Kansas. I'm getting tired of this weather. Big plans to run the river trails in Lawrence are slowly evaporating..."It's too cold out," "I'm busy," "It's negative something outside, Andy...seriously." So, instead of heading out of KC at the crack of dawn, I'm all wool-ed up with coffee and my MacBook, checking out a very cool new social networking site: Humble Voice. I found this via Josh Spear. I love it already - mainly because Humble Voice gets and has capitalized on the best parts of social networking. Humble Voice is geared toward the arts community (music, photography, other visual arts, words). We'll see where it goes, but I was instantly impressed with the design and amount of fresh talent in the space.

One of my - and most of my friends' - favorite parts of MySpace is the opportunity to find new music through bands I already like. But MySpace has lost its "a place for music" mission and is almost a cost of entry for being a social human.

Take some time to explore Humble Voice. At the very least you'll expand your horizon and find some emerging artists you might want to keep tabs on in the future. Whether you're a designer, musician, wordsmith or experienced voyeur of the arts, help make this site succeed. Time for more weather widget says 5 degrees.

Listening to - Joe Purdy, Sessions from Motor Ave.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The power of place

Place is a big thing for me. I count on my surroundings for inspiration, comfort and mental health. This is just one reason why I've been so dang happy settling into my new place of employment. So, here are three of my favorite things that make of the sensory experiences of my days:

This is what I see when I walk in each morning.

And here's what I see out the window:
And when I lean back in my chair (for some reason, I love the ceiling):

So what scenery makes you smile during your day? What are the spaces that inspire, empower and comfort you?

Think about it during KC Coffee Mornings tomorrow (Friday). 7:30. JP's Wine Bar. Be there, get smart. Talk smart. Discuss crazy advertising stuff like the Boston LED Party. Check out pics from last week - we had a great turnout and molded some young minds.

Listening to - Mat Kearney, Nothing Left To Lose