Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is something that Unilever has embraced in their worldwide office remodeling. I find this absolutely super cool and I wish that more corporations in this country and around the world would embrace it as well.

One of Unilever’s US locations is in New Jersey, where I was recently invited to a meeting. I was positively impressed with the building, furniture, and the overall infrastructure.


What struck me the most was that I didn’t spot any plastic water bottles or any printed paper material anywhere—plus, エロ動画-無修正 they encourage you to bring your own coffee cup for your morning brew.

Their offices are open and bright, and no one who works there has a dedicated office – it’s truly an open office community with a bunch of alcoves, meeting areas, meeting rooms, and board rooms.

The Problem
I was invited in several times to consult on a brand that Unilever seeks to revamp. On my 3rd visit, as I was looking around (not snooping!), I spotted a display shelf with all the products Unilever owns/represents and I thought: Wait a second, why don’t they own/represent more organic and/or sustainable products? And why aren’t they making an effort to cut down on product packaging and plastic use? For that matter, why aren’t they changing their product formulations in order to make them less harmful to people and the planet? I had a lot of questions.

I couldn’t help it, my head was spinning: Is this all a “brain wash,” or are they just holding on until they get this battleship turned around so that they can eventually own only 100% organic and sustainable brands?

It was awkward thinking about this as I was hired to help them re-position one of their legacy brands! I was also a bit confused. Clearly, they mean well, but at the end of the day, they also have to sell products to keep the battleship afloat.

The Fix:
There is no instant fix as Unilever really doesn’t have the means to change anything that isn’t broken (at least from the corporate point of view). Money is flowing in and they keep their employees happy, providing them with flexible hours, environmentally friendly offices, and opportunities to travel and work abroad. Who wants this to change? No one!

Fixing the product formulations and the packaging would drastically change the dollar amount on their bottom line, not to mention the cost in time and manpower! Then, there is the geauxmaids.com home cleaning re-branding, re-marketing, and re-positioning work, including crafting the brand’s manifesto! The to-do list is lengthy and expensive.
My suggestion is to start small: one by one, begin to kill the current unhealthy brands while investing in start-up brands with healthy and environmentally conscious products. This is the way to remain a corporate leader, by caring for our children’s future as well as the planet’s!

VS2

While packing up for my trip to Tampa, FL., to escape the icy, frigid weather in NYC, I was so excited by the thought of wearing light clothes and bathing suits that I completely forgot to pack my knickers! To my utter shock, I unpacked and found I’d left them all at home! I immediately opened my laptop, Googled the nearest mall, and found a Victoria’s Secret 8 minutes away from my hotel.
Thanks
to Uber and Google maps, I found my favorite knicker provider, Victoria’s Secret, in a ginormous mall. I stormed into the store, found a sales clerk, told her what I needed and in what size, and I was done in 2 minutes flat.
Phew… Done (I thought).

The Problem:
I walked to the checkout desk to pay, and to my surprise, there was only one active sales clerk. The other one was on the phone talking to a customer (or so I assumed). There were 3 people in front of me, and within 5 minutes, I was second in line—but there were 6 guests waiting behind me. Meanwhile, the second sales clerk was still on the phone!!

No one showed up to help. It was getting a little ridiculous, as the person in front of me was returning a bunch of items and the active sales clerk was getting frustrated and seemed to be arguing with the customer! Oh, dear… I really don’t have time for this, I thought, and almost left, but then, seemingly magically, the other sales clerk hung up the phone and screamed, “Next customer, please”!!!

The fix:
I’m not sure where to start, but there seems to be a global problem with the VS staff and their training. There seems to be no attention to courtesy, integrity, or pride. I’m starting to think that this attitude comes from upper management and is trickling down to the sales floor.

It seems to me that management needs to be shaken up (for a lack of a better term) and the staff training needs to be both increased and more rigorous in order that the employees and sales clerks can feel pride in the organization they’re a part of. Right now, the attitude seems to be that no one gives a F*&^% 🙁 It’s a bit sad to see this…

A few weeks back, I was super excited to get the opportunity to travel to Tampa, FL for business and the chance to escape the frigid NY winter weather. Phew…a very much needed break from 26 º Fahrenheit to 72 º and sunny 🙂 A mani/pedi + bikini wax were required before my departure as I planned to spend some time by the pool between meetings.

I arrived at the Hyatt Tampa Bay in the late afternoon after a rather eventful flight, checked in, and immediately got in my bathing suit and went to the pool.
Oh, what a delight, I thought as I swam my 30 laps which felt amazing.

The Problem:
After my swim, the team decided to get dinner at nearby restaurant so we rendezvoused at the hotel bar for a drink before going to the restaurant. We sat at the bar for about 45 minutes and I noticed that I was really cold. I ran upstairs to get my winter coat and noticed my nose and arms were turning blue with cold. Then I saw that the room AC was on full blast! Wait, I thought, it’s only 62º outside—why is the AC on full blast?
When we got to the restaurant, it was the same situation: the AC was on full blast and I wasn’t sure I would last a whole meal without ordering a hot soup and a cup of tea – which I ended up doing because by the time the waiter showed up, I was shivering! My colleagues were freezing too, and we asked if they could turn down the AC. The manager came over and said that they had turned it down, but unfortunately, we couldn’t detect any difference 🙁 We got the check and left.

The fix:
If hotels and restaurants are going to insist on making “green” claims, such as: organic ingredients, non-GMO, farm-raised protein, and “we don’t change towels in your room unless they’re on the floor” (which is a big BS in my mind, just a typical Greenwash), why don’t they devote any thought to the energy they’re wasting? Do they ever think about how much CO2 goes into the atmosphere from cooling (and heating) buildings? If they really want to be “green,” then climate control is an issue that management must focus on!

I’ve been flying with JetBlue since its early inception and I flew with them every other week from SF to NYC from 2000 – 2008! I truly loved flying with them, and they loved me. I was even greeted by name by some of the flight crew as they all seemed to have seen me at least twice on this route. Some of them joked that I should come and work for the company as I knew the aircraft as well as they did! What I liked about JetBlue was they had a really friendly crew, a friendly ground staff, and they were forward thinking in terms of what they served onboard, such as Blue Chips, health snacks, and interesting drinks. The staff seemed to be well-trained and super proud to be part of the JetBlue Family.

The Problem:
Fast forward to 2018… JetBlue has lost its charm, hiring crews that don’t seem to have any interest in their job or any care for their customers. On a recent flight to NY, it was disappointing to see how ungraceful and inattentive the crew members were. If a question was asked, the flight crew members barked back bitterly.
The pilot only came on the PA system once, and the flight attendant walked through the cabin to take orders only once. After serving the drinks, the attendants quickly walked through the cabin with trash bags (or rather, they bitterly walked through elporno.org the cabin after serving the drinks and snacks!), only to sit and read or chat amongst themselves.
When my colleague rang the bell to ask for more wine, the flight attendant came over and asked, “What do you want?”!!! What happened to “How can I help you”?!?!

The Fix:
Whatever training manual was used in early 2000 should be brought back!!! HR should probably demand a fitness test before hiring crew members and a seminar on hospitality etiquette would also be helpful.
Advertising
and sales/marketing strategies can only take you so far if you don’t have a strong team of employees both on the ground and at 30,000 feet!

My absolute favorite fragrance house is diptyque, which creates the most amazing scented candles and perfumes. They had been my client for many, many years, but last year, they decided to move all operations, including global creative, to Paris.
Of course, my team was a bit disappointed, but hey… if the CEO and upper management feel they need to manage their global marketing out of Paris, that’s fine.
I signed up for their email campaign many moons ago, and I was always really pleased with their messaging and online design…until recently. I’m no longer sure what they’re trying to communicate. The emails I get are watered down, slow to load, and I really don’t “feel them” as the brand I used to know 🙁

The Problem
I found out from a good friend of mine, a diptyque insider, that the new agency doesn’t have a native English-speaking writer on staff! Nor do they have any expertise in e-commerce or any know-how in terms of optimizing on-line sales.
Apparently, the copy is written in French, then Google translated, and then edited by a Parisian copywriter! WOW, I thought to myself, that’s so weird. Why are they doing that? Well, my theory is that maybe they think that we, Americans we “don’t get it” and that the right way is the French way (no pun intended)…

The Fix
diptyque should go back to its roots: the founders (who were also friends), Desmond Knox-Leet (painter), Yves Coueslant (set designer), and Christiane Gautrot (architect) embraced exploration and localization so well.
Having your headquarters in Paris is fine, but localize each market, meaning: hire creative teams who know the local culture, language/slang, as well as the customers who are already fans—they’re the ones who’ve created the LOVE for diptyque!

Have you ever been in a store and seen someone get arrested and escorted out in handcuffs by the police? I’ve seen it a few times and each time, I think, “You idiot, didn’t you see all the cameras watching over us?” Plus, most products have built in metal detector which sends off a signal if it’s not scanned at the cash register.

Where am I going with this? Well, having been in the creative service industry for over 20 years, we can’t really escort our clients out in handcuffs to the nearest police precinct if they walk away without paying. I understand walking away if a service provider doesn’t deliver as promised in the contract or if the drinks and food that were ordered weren’t delivered. But if that happens, it needs to be pointed out and discussed. But in so many cases, especially in the creative service industry, clients walk away way with fully delivered work that they then use to promote and sell their products but refuse to pay the agents that helped them get there. I’m talking about photographers, copywriters, illustrators, web developers, media placement companies, PR agents, and the list goes on. I’m so sick of hearing this: “Well, we ran out of funds,” only to learn that the CEO received a nice bonus and the company bought a private jet!!!

The fix: Don’t hire a creative and/or branding team if you think that your wife, sister, husband, brother, old teammates, sorority sisters, fraternity brothers, or any other relatives and friends can do a better job. If you’re serious, set a budget aside for the task at hand and research agencies that serve companies with similar budgets. Set aside that budget and make sure you don’t spend the $$ on things to impress the board, your clients, or on lavish Christmas parties. If you cheat anyone out of money, it will eventually catch up with you.

Take it or leave it!!

After 20 years working in the branding, marketing, and advertising industry, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the question of why brands — legacy, startup, and everything in between — make the same mistakes over and over again. I’ve seen the same mistake in all corners of the world, and it boils down to internal ego issues, C level greed, and financial corruption. At the end of the day, there is an excess of damage control while no one seems to know what their North Star is, all of which causes confusion, frustration, envy, and hatred within the organization. So, where am I going with this? Well, internal ego issues and the covert and overt lack of attention to the brand’s value proposition, promise, and customer service will always lead to a slow death. In some cases, it can take decades but in others, it takes a mere few months. As we all know, you can’t smell your own shit, but others can! In this case, I mean customers and consumers won’t tolerate the smell: by the time you wipe your bottom, everyone has left.

The Fix: Hire a mixture of talents of all ages, from Millennials to Baby Boomers, and create teams that span the age gamut. Hire an ethnically diverse team and refrain from hiring your friends and former colleagues unless you’re 100% sure they can perform their duties in a proper and economic manner, bringing their know-how to the table while leaving their egos and pre-conceived notions behind.

The leadership team needs to understand and respect diversity and be open to new ideas and marketing efforts from both internal and external teams. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but make them as fast and as calculated as possible.