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    Entries in Brand (20)

    Wednesday
    Sep242014

    OFF TOPIC: Color of the Year 2015

    I am completely, and probably irrationally fascinated with Pantone's 'Color of the Year' designation and process.

    In case you are unfamiliar (shock!), with Pantone and the Color of the Year designation here is all you need to know. Pantone is the world's leading authority on color, color systems, and publishes the industry standard definitions of colors. In other words that nice new green shirt you just bought is not just 'green' it is 'Pantone Antique Green 18-5418 TCX'. Pantone provides guidelines and definitions for thousands of variations of colors, and it is the standard by which colors are classified.

    Each year the color experts at Pantone declare one specific shade the 'Color of the Year'. This specific color (in 2014 it is 'Radiant Orchid' in case you did not know), is meant to be a kind of reflection of trends in art, design, fashion, popular events, and branding and often will subsequently become more common in actual products like clothing and jewelry as a result of the Color of the Year designation. So perhaps if you think back on 2014 and think you have seen a lot of Radiant Orchid - an 'expressive, creative, and embracing purple', you have Pantone to thank or blame.

    But since 2014 is winding down, and 2015 fast approaching I think it is time to start to consider what 2015's Color of the Year might or should be.

    The short list of contenders, or at least what appears to be the group from which 2015's Color of the Year will emerge can be found here, and I will list a few of them below along with my personal comments and odds:

    Wood Violet - probably too close to the 2014's Radiant Orchid to rate much of a shot - 20/1

    Champagne Beige - kind of a cool name that does not mask the fact that the color is well, beige - 15/1

    Steel Grey - I like this one. Probably because I am prepping myself for the upcoming cold, grey winter - 8/1

    Red Dahlia - reminds me of South Carolina Gamecocks' Garnet. Which means it is awesome. This is your winner for 2015 - 3/1 odds.

    What do you think, what color should be the one to set the tone, (bad pun) for 2015?

    Friday
    Nov082013

    Off Topic: Honest Slogans

    It's Friday, you're beat, probably slacking off a bit at the office today (it's ok, I won't tell anyone).

    It's a grind for sure. If I really wanted to I could make us all more depressed about work by running some charts showing corporate profits continuing to reach new all-time highs, while wages and median family incomes remain at about 1983 levels. 

    But I won't bum you out about that today. It's almost the weekend.

    Instead, I want you to have a laugh or two courtesy of Honest Slogans, an amazingly simple and funny site that re-imagines many of the most famous and iconic corporate logos and taglines with what people really think about the companies and brands.

    I will embed a few of these 'fake but ring pretty true' logos below, but you really should head over to Honest Slogans and have some chuckles do some competitive research.

    I have to lead with what is seemingly every HR and Talent Pro's favorite company, LinkedIn:

     

    How about a blast from the past but is still, shockingly still breathing, The Yellow Pages:

     

    And one more before I close up for the weekend. You know that Motel 6 will always 'leave the light on for you'. Did you ever wonder why?

    Good stuff.

    Have a great weekend all!

    Monday
    Aug122013

    The Progressive Service and re-imagining the organization

    There are lots of fantastic aspects of being a college student - the parties, the football games, the almost complete lack of real responsibility when compared to what often comes next - the corporate world, the 9-to-5 grind, and trying reasonably hard not to screw up, (after all, all that fun in college came with a price tag, probably in the form of tens of thousands of student loans to pay off).

    But besides all the obvious fun and cool elements of student life, there is at least one other - the chance to work on projects, develop ideas, and present provocative concepts all safe in the knowledge that these ideas will usually be evaluated mostly on their creativity and inspiration, and not out in the real world where at most organizations they are likely to be met with 'That's not how we do things here' or 'That will never work' or 'Who are you again?'

    And out in the real world massive, transformational organizational re-designs almost never actually happen (and work). There is so much legacy baggage, locked-in contracts and structures, and often a substantial level of resistance to change that the change that anyone tries to make to an entrenched institution is usually incremental and small in nature.  All change is hard. Big change is just about impossible to pull off.

    With all that in mind, I recommend taking a look at a student project that focuses on the kind of massive change that is normally only talked about in the detached, theoretical setting of academia. The below presentation is titled United States Postal Service Thesis, and was created by Tom Calabrese for a Masters program. The deck, which presents some ideas and kind of radical concepts for the US Postal Service of the future, is below, and I'll have a quick comment/challenge after the break.

     

    Did you click through the deck? What did you think?

    A couple of things stood out to me. One, that providing, for a price, the ability to refine and tailor your own mail delivery preferences is an idea worth pursuing. And two, the more radical idea about somehow connecting the Postal Service social graph to other, more higher value add services and products.

    But the real reason why I decided to post about this was not any of the specific proposals for the USPS, but rather as it was a great reminder that we almost never spend any time thinking about re-imagining our own organizations in a similar manner. Now certainly most of our organizations don't face the same number and type of daunting problems the USPS faces, but it's also certain that we underestimate the problems, (maybe ones that have not yet even manifested), that face our organizations.

    So the challenge is this - what if you could (or had to), completely re-imagine your workplace?

    What if you were to start from a blank sheet, or close to it, and start over?

    What would you keep? What would you let go? What are you doing simply because of inertia and tradition and internal resistance to change?

    What would the 'new' organization look like?

    Have a great week all!

    Friday
    Apr122013

    Off Topic: This is how you sound when you talk about your 'Personal Brand'

    It is, perhaps, the most inane concept of the last 10 years.

    Source - Dinosaur Comics

    As an aside, you should really check out Dinosaur Comics, it has one of the most interesting concepts for a comic that you'll ever see. The artwork - meaning the characters, panels, flow, etc. is exactly the same every day, only the dialogue changes. It sounds crazy but it works, and as evidenced by the comic above, often times it really hits the mark.

    Have a great weekend everyone. And quit it with the 'personal brand' stuff.

    Thursday
    Feb072013

    What's your culture really like? Ask the new guy from out of town

    Company Culture, Employer Brand, Employer Value Proposition - there's been much written and spoken about these ideas and concepts in the last few years and for the most part a general acceptance has emerged that organizational leaders need to be very aware of internal culture, and its effects on morale, engagement, productivity and performance.

    While most HR and Talent pros 'get' that culture is important, and some even taking more proactive steps to promote their unique culture (mostly it seems through enhanced 'cultural fit' recruiting practices), there also seems to be quite a bit less written about revealing or unraveling the existing company culture.Where are the donuts?

    If you work in any type of organization today you certainly have your own opinion of 'What's it like to work here?', but I'd imagine most of us don't go around the office asking our colleagues for their opinion of 'What's it like to work here?'

    Aside from the annual employee survey where these kinds of questions are raised and the answers to them aggregated and placed in colorful bar graphs and pie charts, (Is there anything better than a pie chart?. I think not.), we can pretty easily get tricked into remaining comfortable that our personal view of 'What's it like to work here' is kind of the universal view of the place.

    But a more revealing (and hopefully honest) assessment of a culture or an environment might come from a different source than the aggregated and homogenized survey data, or from the long-held and personal views of organization veterans. It could be that the most refreshing look at the culture of a place comes from its newest members, and in particular, ones that by virtue of their past upbringing and history, would not have many deeply-held biases that might influence their opinion.

    Case in point - the impressions on American culture from a new visitor, the NBA's Alexey Shved from Russia, in his rookie season playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and enjoying his first extended period living and working in the USA.  

    Hey Alexey, what's it like in America?

    "Well, everybody loves donuts here, and I eat them too. People mostly drink beer and not stronger drinks, exactly like in The Simpsons.”

    Nice. American culture through the lens of a recent entrant, with his primary frame of reference being the Simpsons cartoon. 

    It's kind of amusing but also serves as a bit of a reminder that culture and the perception of a culture is a highly personal thing. And it also reinforces the point that no matter how much or how hard we try to shape the culture, (or at least the perceptions of a culture), people are going to have their own take on your place, your people, your vibe - you get the idea.

    Our pal Alexey's take about donuts and beer, while pretty funny, should also be a kind of wake-up call to those of us charged or interested in shaping, communicating, and propagating something as amorphous as 'culture'.

    No matter how hard you try, how slick your marketing campaigns are, and how much 'fit' drives your hiring, firing, and rewards processes - there is probably a new guy from out of town who looks around and sees donuts and beer.