Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


E-mail Steve
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    Listen to internet radio with Steve Boese on Blog Talk Radio

    free counters

    Twitter Feed

    Entries in advertising (14)


    Artisanal HR

    For the beer fans out there I have a question for you: When is the last time you had a cold, refreshing Budweiser? You know, the classic, iconic, King of Beers?

    I think I can hear the beer snobs out there answering 'Not for ages, who drinks Bud anymore?' You likely prefer some kind of triple filtered, quadruple hopped, double bocked India Top Secret super pale ale, (aged for 18 months in oak casks imported from Bordeaux).

    (For the record, I like Bud and Bud Light, so there.)

    But the reason I bring up Budweiser on the blog today was this interesting piece from Ad Week - Budweiser Woos Hipsters With Artisanal Wooden Crates and Throwback Logos. Here is an excerpt from the Ad Week piece:

    (Budweiser) today revealed it's planting 10,000 vintage wooden crates in stores across the country this week. The packages will contain 18 bottles of Bud adorned with a classic label from either 1918 (beginning of Prohibition), 1933 (end of Prohibition) or 1976 (the brand's 100th anniversary) as well as two pilsner glasses. The crates were handmade by a North Carolina shop called Vintage Editions.

    Additionally, the throwback labels will appear on 1.6 million Bud bottles to be shipped in the next several weeks.

    Why am I bringing this up?

    Because I think it is interesting, (the number one reason I blog about anything), and also because it is about beer, (the third reason I would choose a topic for the blog, the second reason being some kind of a take about basketball).

    What is interesting about the move by Bud, is that beyond a simple re-packaging tactic it is also a play to evoke and leverage Bud's rich history and mythos as America's traditional and largest brewer. Bud has been a part of America longer than any of us have, and likely even if many of us have moved on to more (allegedly) 'better' beers, that most of us have memories of family and friends and Bud.

    But somehow along the way Bud (and other mass-market brands), become not 'cool' any more. Bud is too generic, too large, too mass-produced for many folks. For them, whether it is beer or tomatoes or cheese or even physical products like furniture or clothes what is valued is new, unique, and something called 'artisanal.' I don't want the thing that lots of other people have, (or have access to). So while Bud can't change and somehow become hip or artisanal, what it can do I think, via smart messaging, packaging, and leveraging a strength of theirs, (their history), is remind a new generation of potential customers that they are still around, still relevant, still cool, (in an ironic way, see Blue Ribbon, Pabst).

    What's the connection to HR/Talent/Workplaces?

    Well, lots of what we do (and have done) in HR probably seems more like Bud and not much like Pliny the Elder (Google it).

    But just like Bud is still a pretty refreshing drink, especially on a hot day, lots of what we do in HR and Talent is still relevant and valuable - even if it doesn't seem cool anymore. Maybe there are a lot of old-sounding processes for training or leadership development or even mentoring that still have value (and you can prove it), but just need a refresh, some re-packaging, and a way to remind the new wave of customers of their value.

    Maybe instead of re-inventing everyrhing, you should start by considering re-packaging the best of what you already have first. 

    And don't be a beer snob.


    Job Titles of the Future #8 - 20 Jobs to Pick From

    My friend Raluca shared the below Slideshare presentation with me, a really fun look at a topic that I have also had some fun with here on the blog, of course I am talking about Job Titles of the Future.

    In the presentation, (embedded below, Email and RSS subscribers may need to click through), the folks at advertising and marketing firm Sparks and Honey offer up their take on how trends in technology and society are conspiring to create a new set of opportunities, i.e., jobs of the future that don't exist right now.

    Take a look through the slides and I will have a couple of comments after the jump:


    Pretty cool, right?

    Of the 20 jobs of the future I think my top choices for most interesting and/or most likely to pan out in some kind of material way have to be 'Corporate Disorganizer', (a kind of nod to all the hubbub going on about the Holacracy stuff), 'Alternative Currency Speculator', (any time a new market forms there are always going to be speculators. And I love the movie 'Trading Places.'), and also 'Digital Death Manager', (a little macabre but I think on the money. Just what does happen to your Facebook or Twitter accounts if you pass away?).

    Anyway, it is an interesting take with some ideas about what the future might hold. With the world of work changing every day, it pays to at least to attempt to stay on top of where the next year's and decade's opportunities are going to lie.

    Have a great weekend!


    Ten things to watch in 2014

    At the start of the New Year the marketing/branding/digital design firm JWT releases a really cool and interesting collection of '100 Things to Watch' for the upcoming year - a collection of new ideas, trends, technologies, societal shifts, etc. that are meant to stimulate thinking and generate discussion. Many of the 'things to watch' are kind of uber-trendy and destined to be largely unimportant and fleeting, (fast food tofu, Oculus Rift, and Chinese Wine), but others, particularly the tech trends that JWT identifies have the potential to be more significant, enduring, and even influential in the design of workplaces and the nature and manner in which work is performed. And last year we even had some fun talking about some of these items, 'Adult Playgrounds' in particular, on the HR Happy Hour Show in the past.

    The entire JWT slide presentation is embedded below, (email and RSS subscribers may need to click through), and after the deck I'll pull a few of the 'things to watch' that are likely to be more relevant and meaningful to work and workplaces.

    So which of the 100 things should you as an HR and Talent pro be on the watch for?

    Here are just a few from the JWT deck that I think you should keep an eye on.

    6. Ambient Commerce - As a means to improve customer service, 'ambient' systems will use data and signals to track consumer needs, anticipate them in advance, and provide products and services before they are even requested. This is the 'smart refrigerator' that orders more milk for you one day before it thinks you are going to run out (or it spoils). For our workplaces, meeting this expectation of our customers is going to require us to spend more time and resources on new systems and methods to better understand what our customers are likely to want to do next based on what they have done in the past.

    8. Arrested IRL Development - Growing up online and attached to your smartphone could mean an entire generation of new workers with less or even limited understanding of how to work, communicate, and socialize in real life (IRL). For HR and the workplace this could mean more time and attention spent in new hire onboarding programs on things like running and participating in meetings, writing and communicating more formally, and even how to handle yourself at a business meal or corporate cocktail hour.

    11. Beacons - These are the signals that network-connected smartphones send and that are going to be increasingly used to identify, track, and customize the on-site shopping experience for customers at all kinds of venues. Retail store, museums, and even sporting events are just a few of the potential applications of this technology. For HR and work the implications are vast - but the first and most likely could be in retail or other high customer touchpoint businesses. Workers can be given much more specific, targeted information about customers and prospects prior to making initial contact, and will be required to process and evaluate much more information prior to engaging the customer as well.

    25. Contemplative Computing - This is a big, catch-many things kind of idea, but the important element is meant to answer the question of 'How can our computing/devices/social networks become less of a distraction and burden and more of a helper, guide, and trusted advisor?' For work and workplaces, it is almost certain that many of our employees are already feeling significant information overload, (that is getting worse by the day), so smart organizations will take steps to ensure the systems and devices that employees use are not placing even more stress on them, and rather, are actually helping them get their jobs done, (which will make them less stressed out).

    35. E-cigarette Regulation - This could be a big 'nothing to see here' kind of trend, as it can be really simple, especially for workplaces, to interpret and treat E-cigarettes the same way most of us treat tobacco products already (banned at work, we won't hire you if you use them, if you do use them be prepared to pay 476% more for your company-sponsored medical insurance, etc.). But if the E-cigarette market continues to grow, and employees and customers push back on rules and regulations that restrict their usage, then HR will need to sort out the best way forward. Or you could just pro-actively ban them tomorrow and not worry about this one.

    37. Equal rights for men - This one might provoke some calls of BS from readers, as the workplace has pretty much always been a man's world, so rather than try and convince you on this, I will just pull the quote from the JWT slide and let you make your own determination if or when this trend might impact your organization. 

    According to our research, men feel it has become harder to be a man today, and harder to succeed in the working world as a father and husband. Watch for a rise in male-focused support systems and advocacy groups as society comes to understand that many me would be well-served by some of the mechanisms in place to boost women.

    41. Glanceable User Interfaces - Think about the best, most helpful, and easiest to use apps you have on your phone right now. Chances are they provide just the right amount of information to make a decision or get a needed update in just a glance or a swipe. So much of how we process, take in, and interpret signals and information is happening on tiny screens that we operate with one thumb that designers and developers are challenged to make what is presented on the first glance be meaningful and relevant. For you, it means one thing primarily - distill your delivery of information as far down as possible, and make it work on a 4-inch screen. Unlike this post, which is going to clock in at over 1500 words I bet.

    47. Hashtag fatigue - What once was a clever way to help organize and make findable related information on social networks has morphed in many instances into an incredibly annoying game of 'Look at me and look at my stuff'. If you are a heavy Twitter user you know what I am talking about - people and brands 'hashtagging' unrelated (or even every single update) content with a popular or trending hashtag in a desperate and pathetic attempt to be noticed. If you do this personally or as a part of your HR/Recruiting game, you should stop. #Imeanit.

    50. Human Touches - This is the natural backlash to an increasingly technology augmented and disconnected world. JWT sees opportunity for organizations that can figure out ways to supplement their technological interactions with customers (or for HR, employees or candidates), with personal and more human touches. This is not going to be easy for most, as the same technologies that enable processes to succeed at scale simultaneously work against the ability or capacity to allow more human contact. If you can figure our the best way to balance these conflicts however, you will likely have an edge in the markets in which you compete.

    63. Minute to read it - In our increasingly busy, over-stimulated, and time-crunched world accurate estimates for the length of time it will take to read a report, process a transaction, or even sit in a meeting or phone call are becoming more and more important. How much more could you get done if you could only be more precise about how long it will take to actually get something done? For HR and Talent - maybe pushing back on your HR Tech providers to build this kind of predictive estimation into their tools would be a start. Think of annual benefits open enrollment or processing a self-appraisal. Giving employees and up-front (and smart, as it should be a learning algorithm) estimated length of time to complete would be a real win in most organizations.

    That was 10 things that I thought were interesting and/or had some potentially relevant implications for HR and Talent pros, but looking through the entire list I could not stop at 10, so here are two more bonus trends to consider in 2014:

    72. Robotic Security Guards - You know I could not resist shoe horning some Robot content into a piece like this, right? To me, this one is kind of a no-brainer. The technology already exists, the demand for this kind of solution seems likely to be significant, and it could even be a way to slowly introduce 'companion worker' type robots into more settings. In 2014 you might just have your first interaction with one of these.

    97. Verified Reviewers - Ever wonder if those Yelp or TripAdvisor reviews that you rely on to make restaurant or travel decisions are actually real? Or if they are being left my people with similar tastes and sensibilities as yours? Well this trend, similar to the traditional old school newspaper movie or food critics, points to a future where the usually anonymous online reviewer ascends to a more verifiable (and possibly influential) position. What might that mean for your HR or talent role? Probably something that points to the importance of strong and trustworthy brand advocates, be they external to the organization, (thinking former employees most likely), or internal ones (that have developed a reputation for integrity that moves beyond company or brand shills).

    So that's it - another epic take on the upcoming trends for next year, (I am sure you are sick of them).

    What do you think? On the mark? Crazy?

    Time will tell.

    If you take a few minutes to have a look through the entire list, let me know what other 'Things to Watch in 2014' you think will impact the world of work.


    REPRISE: Christmas Past - Smokes, Guns, Chicken, and Beer

    Note: The blog is taking some well-deserved rest for the next two weeks (that is code for I am pretty much out of decent ideas, and I doubt most folks are spending their holidays reading blogs anyway), and will be re-running some of best, or at least most interesting posts from 2013. Maybe you missed these the first time around or maybe you didn't really miss them, but either way they are presented for your consideration. Thanks to everyone who stopped by in 2013!

    The below post re-runs my Christmas piece from a couple of years ago - a look back to a time when we were all far more innocent, less jades, and Christmas meant lots of firearms, booze, and smokes. 

    Merry Christmas!


    Christmas Past: Smokes, Guns, Chicken, and Beer

    Just a quick note to wish everyone a fantastic Christmas, Happy Holidays, and to simply take a well-deserved break from the hamster wheel.

    Like many folks, sometimes I like to look back over the years and reflect on special occasions and holidays and think about what is different about them today, when compared to the sometimes sketchy recollections of wonderful and idyllic holidays of yore. Sometimes our memories deceive us, certainly, and we often color our memories to fit our pre-determined conclusion, whatever that conclusion might be.

    After thinking about this carefully for some time, and trying hard to be as clear and unbiased as I could, I came to a conclusion: Christmas used to be WAY more fun. And here is the evidence that I submit in my argument that Christmases of year's past were much more of a white-knuckle ride of guns, booze, smokes, and chaos compared to the kind of tame celebrations of today.

    Exhibit A - Nothing says Christmas like some unfiltered goodness. Ron Reagan would not steer you wrong!

    Exhibit B - You know what is great to wake up to on Christmas morning? Guns!

    Exhibit C - And after the gifts are unwrapped it's time to eat! Pass the bucket of chicken.

    Exhibit D - Nothing like a cold drink to wash everything down. You know what would go perfectly with that bracelet? A cold Bud!

    I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.

    Anyway, I hope you have a fantastic holiday, even if your holiday doesn't include smokes, guns, greasy food and booze.

    Happy Holidays!


    Do not attempt

    Did you watch any TV over the weekend?

    Of course you did. We all did. And please no comments along the lines of 'I don't even have a TV' or 'I only stream Hulu to my iPad'. If you are one of those people, you are still the outlier, still the exception, still kind of annoying.

    So over the weekend I caught a new (I think new) commercial from the good folks over at Jeep. The spot (embedded below, email and RSS subscribers will need to click through), was one of those artsy kinds, with lots of quick cut scenes of people out and about in the woods or on trails or climbing up things, a soundtrack of an old Bob Dylan song with his typical incomprehensible lyrics, and an overall message of 'When you were young, you could do anything, be anything, go anywhere. Now you are older and you think you can't do all the crazy, adventurous, exciting things you used to do, (or wanted to do, but never got around to them before you took a boring office job, signed on for a (too big) mortgage, and became 'responsible.' But you still can do these things, well, if you drive one of these cool, off-road capable but probably won't see any terrain more dangerous than the mall parking lot on Black Friday, new Jeeps!

    It actually is a decent commercial as these things go, and in its final, dramatic, inspirational image we see someone about to embark on a base jump, leaping off a canyon or ridge of some kind, about to hurl his or her mini-parachute in the air that will ostensibly help guide them down to safety below. The voice over reminds us that 'You can still throw yourself at the world head first again' while we see from behind this amazingly exciting, probably dangerous, and likely something 99% of us would never try, leap off of a perfectly good mountain.

    But as we watch that tremendous leap of faith and adrenaline and courage, and internalize that since we are listening to an old, obscure Bob Dylan track that this must be cool, a tiny disclaimer appears on the screen. 

    Do not attempt.

    No, this amazingly exciting (potential) life and set of adventures we portray in our Jeep commerical, they aren't really meant for you to try. (We really just want you to buy a Jeep. And be careful.).

    And we don't want to be held responsible just in case anyone watches our little minute and one second of inspiration and actually thinks that yes, they can crawl out of their cubicle and climb mountains, walk around shirtless, and stare pensively into campfires.

    And yes, there are lawyers somewhere that told us we have to place Do not attempt right over the images just in case someone out there is crazy enough to Attempt and ends up lying in a broken heap at the bottom of the valley.

    What's the point of all this?

    As usual, there is not much of one.

    Except to think that maybe on some if not all of the 10,249 articles that will be published today telling you how to better engage your employees, or how to manage people, or to find and recruit 'top talent' that at least some of them should come with the same disclaimer.

    Do not attempt.

    Have a great week!