FutureCaster™

Human Sense makes Business Sense.

Musings, Inklings and Foresights at the Intersection of Human Understanding + the Cultural Landscape.

Kim Bates- Branding, Marketing, Innovation, Trends Expert & Philanthropist--trendeditor@gmail.com www.TheWSDM.com
                         Why Brands should think like a TV Show
Cultural Context: We are living in an era of marketing where consumer engagement and empowerment is at a level we have never seen before. Combine that with the massive proliferation of media vehicles and wearable technology in the past few years and the branding and marketing landscape as we know it has forever changed.
With the economy having an effect on annual marketing budgets, brand planning and marketing activation now takes razor sharp focus to effectively create emotional connection, engagement and profitable relationships with consumers.
Determining where to focus has become more complex:
· “Should we spend all our dollars on live TV when people fast-forward through commercials and look at multiple screens while watching more than ever? Or is the smarter move to go with on-demand and streaming TV where ad viewing is still mandatory, engagement is stronger and it can move with you?”
· “Should we buy print pages or digital print when print publications themselves are going digital to remain relevant?”
· “Should we invest more in Internet advertising when online ad spend reached $31.7 billion in 2013, eclipsing the $31 billion spent on cable, making the category second behind broadcast TV?
· “If Americans viewed more than 8.3 billion online video ads in March  alone, should our TV campaign be developed for the small screen from the beginning?
· “Should we expect people to come to our retail store or e-commerce site just because we built it? Or should we take our shopping experience to where consumers spend more of their leisure time enjoying themselves- on social media platforms, mobile devices, within apps and attending live events?” “The shopping toolbar could become the new storefront. Should we build one before our competition does?”
From the consumer point of view, they find themselves living in a time of constant catastrophe, scandal and economic instability. Life in “high-anxiety mode” is now the new norm. Forget about obesity, anxiety and depression are the new epidemics affecting more families and children than ever before and the “feel good” prescription drug market is booming because of it. If watching TV, staying in to play video games or eating fast food makes kids feel better, worried parents say go for it. And wasn’t this generation supposed to be our most optimistic yet?
Today, brands should feel like “little pills of joyful experiences and/or stability” to be more relevant and meaningful. But how do you accomplish this effectively when attention spans are lower and splintered, life is mobile and everything is transparent online?
No one knows how to do this better than the Entertainment Industry. Here are 10 ways brands can behave like a TV Show to better market themselves in this changing environment:
1) Consumers as Viewers: Tune-in ads are key in driving viewership for a show.  In today’s on-demand, cross-platform world, creating an “Episodic” communication and media strategy is key. In other words, messaging take on the spirit of “tune-ins” to drive engagement with your brand, its content and portfolio of products/services on a continual basis. Further, a continual brand story broken down into smaller bites entices viewers to come back for more. Can you think of ways to go beyond building or retaining your customer base to building and retaining your brand viewership? And, expanding this brand viewership across an ever-growing eco-system of devices- laptops, tablets, game consoles, smart tvs and smartphones?
2) From Viewers to Fanatics: It is not enough for a TV property to build viewership. To maintain viewership season after season, it is necessary to build and reward a strong fan community. To do this, it is necessary to have a storyline, cast, setting, cinematic feel and characters so engaging, enjoyable, suspenseful and addictive, it drives intense passion and buzz. Does your brand have a storyline, brand voice, personality and cast of characters (iconic products/services) so appealing and addictive it moves consumers from buyers to passionate fanatics? Is your brand identity system cinematic enough with stunning visualization, exhilarating language, dramatic feel and sound?
3) Fan Media: Many TV shows use their own Fan Fiction -blogs, Twitter feeds and websites to do the marketing for them. Fan Fiction is treated like paid and earned media today. And often, the most influential fans are given first dibs on previews and content. Old Spice and Kraft Mac n Cheese are good examples of taking fan engagement to a whole new level. Both brands created TV ads using Tweets from their own brand fans on Twitter and Facebook and airing the spots the same day or quickly afterward. This made their consumers feel famous, heard, empowered and appreciated- a psychological recipe for success. How can you utilize, engage and empower your brand’s fans, using their own media platforms, to do the marketing work for you?
4) Pre-season: It has been found that people who engage with a show’s content early on will influence up to five other people to watch it before the show even airs. Pre-season sneak previews are important. When launching a new product/service, how can you incorporate “The Leak as the New Launch” (http://bit.ly/IzOKCO)? And more traditionally, how can you make a product/service launch feel more like a Red Carpet Premier Event?
5) Character development:  As important as a compelling storyline are the strength of the characters within them. They can have a huge impact on fan following, fan fiction and licensing deals. Strong characters can be people, but they can also be places, sets and fashion as in the case of Gevalia’s Johan from Sweden, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Downton Abbey and The Hunger Games Capitol Couture. When developing your own characters (geography, products/services, experiences), how can you make them so iconic and irresistible that they themselves command their own fan following, sites, Instagram and Twitter Feeds?  For example, there are tons of iPhone handles on Twitter separate from Apple.
6) Characters among us:  One of the most intelligent, creative and successful TV show campaigns is for True Blood. The whole campaign targets the “Vampires living among us”. True Blood is marketing to their viewers as if they live in the fantasy world/set they have created.  This deepens the brand story and story is currency in the social media space. Can you expand your brand story by advertising/messaging to your audience as if they live on your “set”?
7) Game On:  Another way TV shows further deepen their story is to license their brand and characters across many categories from apparel, dolls and fragrance to live theatrical events. However, gaming is now one of the fastest growing platforms to allow fans to “go deep” with a TV show’s story and characters. Why? 72% of the American population plays video games, the median age is 37 and 42% of gamers are now female. Does it make sense for your brand to get into the gaming market?
8) Product Placement: Product Placement within episodes of scripted and non-scripted storylines has become so common place, it is now almost expected.  Often this brings in additional revenue. How can your brand get paid financially or in kind by placing other’s brands inside your story/campaign?
9) Secondary markets – Successful TV Shows today have secondary audiences who discover the show through syndication, DVDs and via streaming bringing in large after-market profit. Should you rethink target audience? While you market to a primary target audience, why stop there? Can you create a new audience with extended product formats and time-shifted occasions? In addition, “aftershows” create deeper engagement and dialogue with the show’s characters and even the people behind the show. Is there a way to create an “aftershow” for your ad campaign online where fans can engage and interact with the characters and/or even the people behind the campaign?
10) Content Check-ins: Social TV activity in the form of conversations and check-ins has nearly tripled in the past year. TV shows are carefully thinking through the right handles and hashtag naming conventions and architectures to make it easier and more fun for people to check in and drive buzz. When Girls launched on HBO, the handle name is strategically linked to the Network Masterbrand @GirlsHBO and the trending topic #mistakesgirlsmake links to the storyline.  Are you strategically naming and linking your brand’s user names and hashtags across the entire portfolio? And are the names simple enough for brand fans to easily check-in or create their own Fan Fiction around those names–Twitter feeds, fan sites/pages and Instagram- and do the marketing for you?

                         Why Brands should think like a TV Show

Cultural Context: We are living in an era of marketing where consumer engagement and empowerment is at a level we have never seen before. Combine that with the massive proliferation of media vehicles and wearable technology in the past few years and the branding and marketing landscape as we know it has forever changed.

With the economy having an effect on annual marketing budgets, brand planning and marketing activation now takes razor sharp focus to effectively create emotional connection, engagement and profitable relationships with consumers.

Determining where to focus has become more complex:

· “Should we spend all our dollars on live TV when people fast-forward through commercials and look at multiple screens while watching more than ever? Or is the smarter move to go with on-demand and streaming TV where ad viewing is still mandatory, engagement is stronger and it can move with you?”

· “Should we buy print pages or digital print when print publications themselves are going digital to remain relevant?”

· “Should we invest more in Internet advertising when online ad spend reached $31.7 billion in 2013, eclipsing the $31 billion spent on cable, making the category second behind broadcast TV?

· “If Americans viewed more than 8.3 billion online video ads in March  alone, should our TV campaign be developed for the small screen from the beginning?

· “Should we expect people to come to our retail store or e-commerce site just because we built it? Or should we take our shopping experience to where consumers spend more of their leisure time enjoying themselves- on social media platforms, mobile devices, within apps and attending live events?” “The shopping toolbar could become the new storefront. Should we build one before our competition does?”

From the consumer point of view, they find themselves living in a time of constant catastrophe, scandal and economic instability. Life in “high-anxiety mode” is now the new norm. Forget about obesity, anxiety and depression are the new epidemics affecting more families and children than ever before and the “feel good” prescription drug market is booming because of it. If watching TV, staying in to play video games or eating fast food makes kids feel better, worried parents say go for it. And wasn’t this generation supposed to be our most optimistic yet?

Today, brands should feel like “little pills of joyful experiences and/or stability” to be more relevant and meaningful. But how do you accomplish this effectively when attention spans are lower and splintered, life is mobile and everything is transparent online?

No one knows how to do this better than the Entertainment Industry. Here are 10 ways brands can behave like a TV Show to better market themselves in this changing environment:

1) Consumers as Viewers: Tune-in ads are key in driving viewership for a show.  In today’s on-demand, cross-platform world, creating an “Episodic” communication and media strategy is key. In other words, messaging take on the spirit of “tune-ins” to drive engagement with your brand, its content and portfolio of products/services on a continual basis. Further, a continual brand story broken down into smaller bites entices viewers to come back for more. Can you think of ways to go beyond building or retaining your customer base to building and retaining your brand viewership? And, expanding this brand viewership across an ever-growing eco-system of devices- laptops, tablets, game consoles, smart tvs and smartphones?

2) From Viewers to Fanatics: It is not enough for a TV property to build viewership. To maintain viewership season after season, it is necessary to build and reward a strong fan community. To do this, it is necessary to have a storyline, cast, setting, cinematic feel and characters so engaging, enjoyable, suspenseful and addictive, it drives intense passion and buzz. Does your brand have a storyline, brand voice, personality and cast of characters (iconic products/services) so appealing and addictive it moves consumers from buyers to passionate fanatics? Is your brand identity system cinematic enough with stunning visualization, exhilarating language, dramatic feel and sound?

3) Fan Media: Many TV shows use their own Fan Fiction -blogs, Twitter feeds and websites to do the marketing for them. Fan Fiction is treated like paid and earned media today. And often, the most influential fans are given first dibs on previews and content. Old Spice and Kraft Mac n Cheese are good examples of taking fan engagement to a whole new level. Both brands created TV ads using Tweets from their own brand fans on Twitter and Facebook and airing the spots the same day or quickly afterward. This made their consumers feel famous, heard, empowered and appreciated- a psychological recipe for success. How can you utilize, engage and empower your brand’s fans, using their own media platforms, to do the marketing work for you?

4) Pre-season: It has been found that people who engage with a show’s content early on will influence up to five other people to watch it before the show even airs. Pre-season sneak previews are important. When launching a new product/service, how can you incorporate “The Leak as the New Launch” (http://bit.ly/IzOKCO)? And more traditionally, how can you make a product/service launch feel more like a Red Carpet Premier Event?

5) Character development:  As important as a compelling storyline are the strength of the characters within them. They can have a huge impact on fan following, fan fiction and licensing deals. Strong characters can be people, but they can also be places, sets and fashion as in the case of Gevalia’s Johan from Sweden, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Downton Abbey and The Hunger Games Capitol Couture. When developing your own characters (geography, products/services, experiences), how can you make them so iconic and irresistible that they themselves command their own fan following, sites, Instagram and Twitter Feeds?  For example, there are tons of iPhone handles on Twitter separate from Apple.

6) Characters among us:  One of the most intelligent, creative and successful TV show campaigns is for True Blood. The whole campaign targets the “Vampires living among us”. True Blood is marketing to their viewers as if they live in the fantasy world/set they have created.  This deepens the brand story and story is currency in the social media space. Can you expand your brand story by advertising/messaging to your audience as if they live on your “set”?

7) Game On:  Another way TV shows further deepen their story is to license their brand and characters across many categories from apparel, dolls and fragrance to live theatrical events. However, gaming is now one of the fastest growing platforms to allow fans to “go deep” with a TV show’s story and characters. Why? 72% of the American population plays video games, the median age is 37 and 42% of gamers are now female. Does it make sense for your brand to get into the gaming market?

8) Product Placement: Product Placement within episodes of scripted and non-scripted storylines has become so common place, it is now almost expected.  Often this brings in additional revenue. How can your brand get paid financially or in kind by placing other’s brands inside your story/campaign?

9) Secondary markets – Successful TV Shows today have secondary audiences who discover the show through syndication, DVDs and via streaming bringing in large after-market profit. Should you rethink target audience? While you market to a primary target audience, why stop there? Can you create a new audience with extended product formats and time-shifted occasions? In addition, “aftershows” create deeper engagement and dialogue with the show’s characters and even the people behind the show. Is there a way to create an “aftershow” for your ad campaign online where fans can engage and interact with the characters and/or even the people behind the campaign?

10) Content Check-ins: Social TV activity in the form of conversations and check-ins has nearly tripled in the past year. TV shows are carefully thinking through the right handles and hashtag naming conventions and architectures to make it easier and more fun for people to check in and drive buzz. When Girls launched on HBO, the handle name is strategically linked to the Network Masterbrand @GirlsHBO and the trending topic #mistakesgirlsmake links to the storyline.  Are you strategically naming and linking your brand’s user names and hashtags across the entire portfolio? And are the names simple enough for brand fans to easily check-in or create their own Fan Fiction around those names–Twitter feeds, fan sites/pages and Instagram- and do the marketing for you?

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                                          Wisdom is the New Beautiful
Human Sense: Some refer to the Millennial generation as “The Owls”. They grew up with all the technology and tools to be more globally aware and up-to-the-minute wiser on any subject than previous generations. And with that, they brought back the popularity of thick framed glasses, a look symbolizing the Owl, and still hugely popular on the runways today. 
However, being Wise and having aged Wisdom are different. There is something innately beautiful about a woman with Wisdom, a woman who has “been there, done that” and experienced it all, a woman with a closet full of glorious, breathtaking stories and a someone who knows that whatever circumstances may arise, this too shall pass. 
Lindsay Pollack, an expert on Millennials, conducted a global study and found that “rather than wanting to “have it all,” Millennial women want to “try it all”… They want to sample from the web of life, not climb a straight and narrow ladder to reach their goals.” In other words, this generation consumes “Experience”.
And with that thirst for experience, they Millennials are increasingly connecting with and looking toward the “Senior Set”, who can share their valuable real life experiences and knowledge. Today, young women are really appreciating their grandmothers, as they both have experienced an attack on U.S. Soil as part of their Coming of Age (Pearl Harbor and 9/11). This has shaped both generations’ sense of purpose, mission, and service. 
Even though today’s beauty brands showcase young, flawless models in their advertising, a new definition of beauty is bubbling up in culture. And it goes far beyond showing “real women” in advertising. Having sagacity, discernment, and insight is the new “Stunning”. 
These feisty, fashionable and fabulous Octogenarians and Nonagenarians within culture are becoming today’s “It Girls”. 
(Inkling) Advanced Style:  Ari Seth Cohen, a millennial with a popular blog, www.advancestyle.blogspot.com, and soon to be released book, “Advanced style”, celebrates the style and wisdom of elderly women in New York. Through the eyes of Ari, one can meet the most stunning, elegant, smart and interesting women of wisdom living today. Ari’s most loved muse is the late model and actress Mimi Weddell, who is famous for never going without a hat.  A woman of great style and substance, she represents young Ari’s quest to connect to New York City and learn from the people who have made it the culturally rich place that it remains. 
(Inkling) Betty Knows Best: Betty White became the new “it Girl” in 2010 when a petition, started on Facebook by young fans, led to the Octogenarian becoming the oldest (and hugely successful) host ever on Saturday Night Live at the age of 88. And fans of all ages cannot get enough of her. NBC aired Betty White’s 90th Birthday Party, where it is rumored that she kissed the 31 yr. old “Chuck” star, Zachary Levi.
(Inkling) Iris Apfel Collection for MAC: MAC Cosmetics, a brand known for targeting youth, just released a new line of bombastically bright lipsticks, attention-grabbing nail lacquers and bright eye-shadows with bird-themed names, like Party Parrot, all inspired by the 90 year old and her 2005 Rare Bird exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 
Mrs. Apfel, the subject of a string of museum exhibitions, a coffee table book and even a fashion advertising campaign is always ahead of her time. She boldly mixed flea market finds with haute couture decades before doing it was considered de rigueur. Everything she wears has a larger-than-life story behind it.
(Inkling)  A Modern Tribute: Eva Zeisel, known for bringing a sense of serenity to American dinnertime with her simple tableware, died a month ago at age 105 in New York City. Mrs. Zeisel was widely regarded as a master of modern design. While there as a media frenzy around her death amongst the older set that day, surprisingly young people everywhere also paid her tribute through social media.
(Inkling) Martial Arts Maven: in 2011, Sensei Keiko Fukuda of San Francisco became the first woman to earn a 10th degree black belt in Judo. She is 100 years old. Only three others have this martial arts’ highest ranking: all men living in Japan. She has become new hero for women around the world.
Business Sense: Brands wanting to connect with today’s youth on a deeper level should recognize and leverage the magnitude of the effect the female “Senior Set” is now having on Popular Culture and the Culture of Beauty and Fashion.
Think about ways to go beyond “Brand Authenticity” alone, to “Brand Authority” with aged Wisdom. Enrich the consumer experience with the anecdotes and personal stories of women who have their own sense of style and “know-how” gained through years of real experience.

 

image

                                          Wisdom is the New Beautiful

Human Sense: Some refer to the Millennial generation as “The Owls”. They grew up with all the technology and tools to be more globally aware and up-to-the-minute wiser on any subject than previous generations. And with that, they brought back the popularity of thick framed glasses, a look symbolizing the Owl, and still hugely popular on the runways today.

However, being Wise and having aged Wisdom are different. There is something innately beautiful about a woman with Wisdom, a woman who has “been there, done that” and experienced it all, a woman with a closet full of glorious, breathtaking stories and a someone who knows that whatever circumstances may arise, this too shall pass.

Lindsay Pollack, an expert on Millennials, conducted a global study and found that “rather than wanting to “have it all,” Millennial women want to “try it all”… They want to sample from the web of life, not climb a straight and narrow ladder to reach their goals.” In other words, this generation consumes “Experience”.

And with that thirst for experience, they Millennials are increasingly connecting with and looking toward the “Senior Set”, who can share their valuable real life experiences and knowledge. Today, young women are really appreciating their grandmothers, as they both have experienced an attack on U.S. Soil as part of their Coming of Age (Pearl Harbor and 9/11). This has shaped both generations’ sense of purpose, mission, and service.

Even though today’s beauty brands showcase young, flawless models in their advertising, a new definition of beauty is bubbling up in culture. And it goes far beyond showing “real women” in advertising. Having sagacity, discernment, and insight is the new “Stunning”.

These feisty, fashionable and fabulous Octogenarians and Nonagenarians within culture are becoming today’s “It Girls”.

(Inkling) Advanced Style:  Ari Seth Cohen, a millennial with a popular blog, www.advancestyle.blogspot.com, and soon to be released book, “Advanced style”, celebrates the style and wisdom of elderly women in New York. Through the eyes of Ari, one can meet the most stunning, elegant, smart and interesting women of wisdom living today. Ari’s most loved muse is the late model and actress Mimi Weddell, who is famous for never going without a hat.  A woman of great style and substance, she represents young Ari’s quest to connect to New York City and learn from the people who have made it the culturally rich place that it remains.

(Inkling) Betty Knows Best: Betty White became the new “it Girl” in 2010 when a petition, started on Facebook by young fans, led to the Octogenarian becoming the oldest (and hugely successful) host ever on Saturday Night Live at the age of 88. And fans of all ages cannot get enough of her. NBC aired Betty White’s 90th Birthday Party, where it is rumored that she kissed the 31 yr. old “Chuck” star, Zachary Levi.

(Inkling) Iris Apfel Collection for MAC: MAC Cosmetics, a brand known for targeting youth, just released a new line of bombastically bright lipsticks, attention-grabbing nail lacquers and bright eye-shadows with bird-themed names, like Party Parrot, all inspired by the 90 year old and her 2005 Rare Bird exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Mrs. Apfel, the subject of a string of museum exhibitions, a coffee table book and even a fashion advertising campaign is always ahead of her time. She boldly mixed flea market finds with haute couture decades before doing it was considered de rigueur. Everything she wears has a larger-than-life story behind it.

(Inkling)  A Modern Tribute: Eva Zeisel, known for bringing a sense of serenity to American dinnertime with her simple tableware, died a month ago at age 105 in New York City. Mrs. Zeisel was widely regarded as a master of modern design. While there as a media frenzy around her death amongst the older set that day, surprisingly young people everywhere also paid her tribute through social media.

(Inkling) Martial Arts Maven: in 2011, Sensei Keiko Fukuda of San Francisco became the first woman to earn a 10th degree black belt in Judo. She is 100 years old. Only three others have this martial arts’ highest ranking: all men living in Japan. She has become new hero for women around the world.

Business Sense: Brands wanting to connect with today’s youth on a deeper level should recognize and leverage the magnitude of the effect the female “Senior Set” is now having on Popular Culture and the Culture of Beauty and Fashion.

Think about ways to go beyond “Brand Authenticity” alone, to “Brand Authority” with aged Wisdom. Enrich the consumer experience with the anecdotes and personal stories of women who have their own sense of style and “know-how” gained through years of real experience.

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RUNWAY ROUNDUP: 2014 will become The Year of the “Princess Warrior”
                                                (as she just made her runway debut)
2013 is seeing the rise of the POWER WOMAN like never before. This year, female CEOs and COOs are taking their rightful positions at the table. From Facebook’s “Lean In” Queen, Sheryl Sandberg, to Campbell’s Denise Morrison, Yahoo’s Marisa Mayer, IBM’s Ginni Rometty, HP’s Meg Whitman at HP, PHD Media USA’s Monica Karo, and the infamous rise of Anna Wintour to Artistic Director for Condé Nast.
In addition, there are more women back in the workforce. The U.S. Dept. of labor reports that women gained back 67%of the jobs they lost in the recession vs. men at 57%. Female “Power Conferences” such as: TEDWomen, Rich, Happy + Hot B-School, I can do it! Ignite, Get Radical, Sister Giant, Most Powerful Women Summit, are now all the rage and thousands of women are flocking. The entertainment industry is celebrating more and more strong female characters in TV and film including: Revenge, Shameless, Veep, Hunger Games, etc
And surprisingly, the rising Voice of Gun Ownership in the U.S. is now female. 
Along with this, traditional dichotomies are dying. Females once had to choose between “traditionally feminine” and “traditionally masculine” character attributes. But women today are dispensing with these old, irrelevant codes and creating new ways to express their personal identities. They are seamlessly integrating their powerful and feminine selves at the same time.
There is a new female emerging. She is the Princess Warrior and she thinks it is ok to be BEAUTIFUL AND TOUGH at the same time. The Princess Warrior made her fashion debut on the Fall/Winter 2013 Runways and will continue to charge forth into 2014.
Some of the fashion houses who showcased her are: Prabal Gurung, Jonathan Saunders, Gareth Pugh, Fendi, Emanual Ungaro, Felder Felder, Belstaff, Barbara Bui, Blumarine, Altuzarra, Augustin Teboul, Alexis Mabille, Alessandra Rich, Antonio Berardi, Anthony Vaccarello, Akris, Ann-Sofie Back Atelje, Anja Gockel, A.F. Vandevost, Rodarte, Ruffian and Vivienne Westwood.
But this Princess Warrior is not about WOMAN vs. MAN. She embraces and supports the modern man who is also seamlessly integrating his manly man side with his nurturing side. While he may be watching sports with a 6-pack in hand one day, the next day he is happy to pick out furniture or help plan the wedding.
The old rules and roles are gone and there is a new sense of personal freedom and acceptance amongst the Genders in Culture like never before.
Business Sense: Allow today’s modern woman to integrate both her sides of beauty and strength into one experience vs. having to choose one side or the other with the products she buys, the clothes she wears or the tech she devours.

RUNWAY ROUNDUP: 2014 will become The Year of the “Princess Warrior”

                                                (as she just made her runway debut)

2013 is seeing the rise of the POWER WOMAN like never before. This year, female CEOs and COOs are taking their rightful positions at the table. From Facebook’s “Lean In” Queen, Sheryl Sandberg, to Campbell’s Denise Morrison, Yahoo’s Marisa Mayer, IBM’s Ginni Rometty, HP’s Meg Whitman at HP, PHD Media USA’s Monica Karo, and the infamous rise of Anna Wintour to Artistic Director for Condé Nast.

In addition, there are more women back in the workforce. The U.S. Dept. of labor reports that women gained back 67%of the jobs they lost in the recession vs. men at 57%. Female “Power Conferences” such as: TEDWomen, Rich, Happy + Hot B-School, I can do it! Ignite, Get Radical, Sister Giant, Most Powerful Women Summit, are now all the rage and thousands of women are flocking. The entertainment industry is celebrating more and more strong female characters in TV and film including: Revenge, Shameless, Veep, Hunger Games, etc

And surprisingly, the rising Voice of Gun Ownership in the U.S. is now female.

Along with this, traditional dichotomies are dying. Females once had to choose between “traditionally feminine” and “traditionally masculine” character attributes. But women today are dispensing with these old, irrelevant codes and creating new ways to express their personal identities. They are seamlessly integrating their powerful and feminine selves at the same time.

There is a new female emerging. She is the Princess Warrior and she thinks it is ok to be BEAUTIFUL AND TOUGH at the same time. The Princess Warrior made her fashion debut on the Fall/Winter 2013 Runways and will continue to charge forth into 2014.

Some of the fashion houses who showcased her are: Prabal Gurung, Jonathan Saunders, Gareth Pugh, Fendi, Emanual Ungaro, Felder Felder, Belstaff, Barbara Bui, Blumarine, Altuzarra, Augustin Teboul, Alexis Mabille, Alessandra Rich, Antonio Berardi, Anthony Vaccarello, Akris, Ann-Sofie Back Atelje, Anja Gockel, A.F. Vandevost, Rodarte, Ruffian and Vivienne Westwood.

But this Princess Warrior is not about WOMAN vs. MAN. She embraces and supports the modern man who is also seamlessly integrating his manly man side with his nurturing side. While he may be watching sports with a 6-pack in hand one day, the next day he is happy to pick out furniture or help plan the wedding.

The old rules and roles are gone and there is a new sense of personal freedom and acceptance amongst the Genders in Culture like never before.

Business Sense: Allow today’s modern woman to integrate both her sides of beauty and strength into one experience vs. having to choose one side or the other with the products she buys, the clothes she wears or the tech she devours.

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                                  ARTIST-TO-KNOW: CONOR MCCREEDY
Cultural Context: The first newspaper to go online was “The Columbus Dispatch” in conjunction with Compuserve on July 1, 1980. Since then, the surge of digital news has grown causing major declines in the newspaper business. 
Today, 60% of Americans get some news online in a typical day, nearly half (47%) report that they get at least some local news and information on their cellphone or tablet computer and 65% of 18-29 yr. olds get most of their news online. This makes sense as Millennials were practically born with a mouse in hand and the idea of “working with your hands” means typing on a keyboard or video game controls.
There are many debates whether the Newspaper will ever survive in a digital world. One Millennial Artist still believes in the old-fashioned notion of tactile experiences.
ARTIST-TO-KNOW: Conor Mccreedy, a young storyteller, philanthropist, animal rights activist, visionary and artist beyond his years.
While Conor Mccreedy’s brand lives extensively in the online and social media world across multiple platforms, his art breaks the mold of his generation, representing the original notion of hand crafted techniques and the value of touch.  
Conor is a South African Artist who originally came to the U.S. to attend university in North Carolina on a golf scholarship, but art remained his true love. He then went on to attend the Pratt Institute in Manhattan and studied under many great illustrators. Since then, Conor has been mastering his rich talent as a painter, attracting many collectors and is making a big name for himself.  He is now one of the Top 10 Twitter accounts followed (@ConorMccreedy) in all of South Africa with over 250,000 followers. That is more than most major brands. 
His fans and collectors alike have been drawn to his sensual, stunning and sometimes hauntingly intense expressionist style. His most recent series of paintings, “Indigo Blues”, consists of striking skyscraper canvases that use rare indigo pigments found in nature. The series draws you into a world of characters, muses and objects that mysteriously take your breath away, in a cool, subtle manner, yet leaving you wanting for more. Every piece of Conor’s work tells a deeply intense story of his personal experiences, dreams, desires and relationships inspired by a dichotomy of life between South Africa and New York City. 
Conor is the youngest artist in history to have a solo exhibition at the National Arts Club. This past summer he delighted thousands of visitors to the Highline extension with his now infamous “Mandela Mural” painted on the side of his building. In May of 2012, the Charles Bank Gallery in Manhattan will be showing his next series of work, yet to be revealed, with much anticipation from his fans.
 Conor’s creative vision has created a surge of interest from many collectors and iconic people. One piece entitled, Secret Movements was sold to an undisclosed, reclusive collector in Manhattan for approximately $196,000 dollars. The current owner was offered $260,000 dollars for this rare piece in early 2013. An achievement Mccreedy, at such a young age, should be proud of as his art continues to rise in price as his popularity grows.  
He has a fascination for scents and colors, especially for the blue color he created known as MccreedyBlue. Much of his monochrome art is painted with shades of a soulful, intense Indigo Blue pigment that he has hand-crafted. Conor tells us that his “monochrome art has become a symbol for South African Nation to declassify race- the true end of apartheid.” He collects unique soap bars and candles whilst traveling Mccreedy has all of his suits hand made from Europe by his close friends and top designers implementing MccreedyBlue in most of his clothing. 
While his paintings are spectacular, Conor launched another art project that continues to showcase his talent as a storyteller and to make a profound cultural statement when it comes to the world of newspapers and his generation. 
He created an online newspaper called MCCREEDYWEEKLY (www.mcreedyweekly.com) where he tells a photographic and verbal story about special people and situations in his life that have made a lasting impression on his soul. The images are so arresting, they draw the reader in as if they are part of the story itself. Each of the original prints can be purchased online at www.conormcreedy.com or at the Charles Bank Gallery.
Counter-intuitive to where the world is going, Mccreedy has also created a limited-edition newsprint edition of the digital version.  In a world of digital overload he feels it’s important to still have meaningful real life experiences. When asked about the paper he stated, “To me, an actual publication is so much more personal. We all have our favorite reading material, like books that we have actually become emotionally attached to…the feel, the smell, the ability to physically share the content with another human being…No online experience can ever compare to that.”
The MCREEDYWEEKLY Newspaper is artistically designed with a keen eye for simplicity and quality and represents the nostalgic notion of the morning ritual-the crinkle, the smell and touch of the morning paper to go with your coffee. The same feeling that so many newspapers today want to remind people of before they turn their iPads on to read their morning news. 
Beyond art, Conor has become a well-known philanthropist and conservationist, hand-crafting programs to give back to others. Mccreedy has a passion for animals that not only can be seen in his art but also can be seen in his life. He has his very own African lion, which is kept in South Africa at the Ranch Conservancy. This conservancy is one of Mccreedy’s partners in the Lion foundation. Lions as well other cats remain dear to Mccreedy’s heart, which is why he donates a percentage of most of his art sales to the PAL-Protecting African Lions foundation. Mccreedy’s philanthropic nature does not end there he is also an ambassador for the Ubuntu Educational fund, founded by Jacob Lief, a close friend of Mccreedy.
The essence of Conor Mccreedy, who he is and what he lives for can best be summed up by his statement which can be found on his website: www.conormccreedy.com “I lose myself in a divine invention, where judgment is laid aside and my experiences in the world are left to breathe without the constraint of self-awareness or convention. The raw power and mysterious void of the ocean is my inspiration, the equalizer of mankind. We live in a volatile world where race, gender, time, and religion distract us from the real. My experiences of the human dilemma are archived in my mind; they arise in moments of unabashed and unbounded creativity. Tides of creation are painted and put into motion by pure adrenaline. This creative combustion has driven me to go beyond portraiture, and to explore new worlds of neo-expressionism and abstraction where volatile uncertainties are not only demolished but also become unheard of. The blue pigment that I use conveys a sense of ambiguity.  It is a unique substance out of which almost elemental water emerges.”
To see this artist’s passion first hand, I leave you with a sneak peek into a documentary being made about his life and work:   http://vimeo.com/groups/youngfilmmakers/videos/19854808

                                                  image    

                                  ARTIST-TO-KNOW: CONOR MCCREEDY

Cultural Context: The first newspaper to go online was “The Columbus Dispatch” in conjunction with Compuserve on July 1, 1980. Since then, the surge of digital news has grown causing major declines in the newspaper business.

Today, 60% of Americans get some news online in a typical day, nearly half (47%) report that they get at least some local news and information on their cellphone or tablet computer and 65% of 18-29 yr. olds get most of their news online. This makes sense as Millennials were practically born with a mouse in hand and the idea of “working with your hands” means typing on a keyboard or video game controls.

There are many debates whether the Newspaper will ever survive in a digital world. One Millennial Artist still believes in the old-fashioned notion of tactile experiences.

ARTIST-TO-KNOW: Conor Mccreedy, a young storyteller, philanthropist, animal rights activist, visionary and artist beyond his years.

While Conor Mccreedy’s brand lives extensively in the online and social media world across multiple platforms, his art breaks the mold of his generation, representing the original notion of hand crafted techniques and the value of touch. 

Conor is a South African Artist who originally came to the U.S. to attend university in North Carolina on a golf scholarship, but art remained his true love. He then went on to attend the Pratt Institute in Manhattan and studied under many great illustrators. Since then, Conor has been mastering his rich talent as a painter, attracting many collectors and is making a big name for himself.  He is now one of the Top 10 Twitter accounts followed (@ConorMccreedy) in all of South Africa with over 250,000 followers. That is more than most major brands.

His fans and collectors alike have been drawn to his sensual, stunning and sometimes hauntingly intense expressionist style. His most recent series of paintings, “Indigo Blues”, consists of striking skyscraper canvases that use rare indigo pigments found in nature. The series draws you into a world of characters, muses and objects that mysteriously take your breath away, in a cool, subtle manner, yet leaving you wanting for more. Every piece of Conor’s work tells a deeply intense story of his personal experiences, dreams, desires and relationships inspired by a dichotomy of life between South Africa and New York City.

Conor is the youngest artist in history to have a solo exhibition at the National Arts Club. This past summer he delighted thousands of visitors to the Highline extension with his now infamous “Mandela Mural” painted on the side of his building. In May of 2012, the Charles Bank Gallery in Manhattan will be showing his next series of work, yet to be revealed, with much anticipation from his fans.

Conor’s creative vision has created a surge of interest from many collectors and iconic people. One piece entitled, Secret Movements was sold to an undisclosed, reclusive collector in Manhattan for approximately $196,000 dollars. The current owner was offered $260,000 dollars for this rare piece in early 2013. An achievement Mccreedy, at such a young age, should be proud of as his art continues to rise in price as his popularity grows. 

He has a fascination for scents and colors, especially for the blue color he created known as MccreedyBlue. Much of his monochrome art is painted with shades of a soulful, intense Indigo Blue pigment that he has hand-crafted. Conor tells us that his “monochrome art has become a symbol for South African Nation to declassify race- the true end of apartheid.” He collects unique soap bars and candles whilst traveling Mccreedy has all of his suits hand made from Europe by his close friends and top designers implementing MccreedyBlue in most of his clothing. 

While his paintings are spectacular, Conor launched another art project that continues to showcase his talent as a storyteller and to make a profound cultural statement when it comes to the world of newspapers and his generation.

He created an online newspaper called MCCREEDYWEEKLY (www.mcreedyweekly.com) where he tells a photographic and verbal story about special people and situations in his life that have made a lasting impression on his soul. The images are so arresting, they draw the reader in as if they are part of the story itself. Each of the original prints can be purchased online at www.conormcreedy.com or at the Charles Bank Gallery.

Counter-intuitive to where the world is going, Mccreedy has also created a limited-edition newsprint edition of the digital version.  In a world of digital overload he feels it’s important to still have meaningful real life experiences. When asked about the paper he stated, “To me, an actual publication is so much more personal. We all have our favorite reading material, like books that we have actually become emotionally attached to…the feel, the smell, the ability to physically share the content with another human being…No online experience can ever compare to that.”

The MCREEDYWEEKLY Newspaper is artistically designed with a keen eye for simplicity and quality and represents the nostalgic notion of the morning ritual-the crinkle, the smell and touch of the morning paper to go with your coffee. The same feeling that so many newspapers today want to remind people of before they turn their iPads on to read their morning news.

Beyond art, Conor has become a well-known philanthropist and conservationist, hand-crafting programs to give back to others. Mccreedy has a passion for animals that not only can be seen in his art but also can be seen in his life. He has his very own African lion, which is kept in South Africa at the Ranch Conservancy. This conservancy is one of Mccreedy’s partners in the Lion foundation. Lions as well other cats remain dear to Mccreedy’s heart, which is why he donates a percentage of most of his art sales to the PAL-Protecting African Lions foundation. Mccreedy’s philanthropic nature does not end there he is also an ambassador for the Ubuntu Educational fund, founded by Jacob Lief, a close friend of Mccreedy.

The essence of Conor Mccreedy, who he is and what he lives for can best be summed up by his statement which can be found on his website: www.conormccreedy.com “I lose myself in a divine invention, where judgment is laid aside and my experiences in the world are left to breathe without the constraint of self-awareness or convention. The raw power and mysterious void of the ocean is my inspiration, the equalizer of mankind. We live in a volatile world where race, gender, time, and religion distract us from the real. My experiences of the human dilemma are archived in my mind; they arise in moments of unabashed and unbounded creativity. Tides of creation are painted and put into motion by pure adrenaline. This creative combustion has driven me to go beyond portraiture, and to explore new worlds of neo-expressionism and abstraction where volatile uncertainties are not only demolished but also become unheard of. The blue pigment that I use conveys a sense of ambiguity.  It is a unique substance out of which almost elemental water emerges.”

To see this artist’s passion first hand, I leave you with a sneak peek into a documentary being made about his life and work:   http://vimeo.com/groups/youngfilmmakers/videos/19854808

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Is having a PAYCHECK and a SOULCHECK the new “Having it All”?
Cultural Context: Many years ago, during a self-analysis exercise, I made a conscious decision to follow a career path that would tap into my strategic abilities, yet fulfill my passion for creativity at the deepest level.  Ever since then, I have wakened every morning excited to go to work, grateful for all the opportunities for my left and right brain to do the Tango. 
Some days I would play a brand visionary, a  strategist, a futurist, a collaborative leader and orchestrator of meaningful communications and customer experiences. Other days a storyteller, a namer, design director, anthropologist and catalyst for creativity and big ideas. And these days at PHD Media, I am helping to inspire more meaningful and creative brand behavior and experiences within the media planning process and across the ecosystem. 
With all of that goodness, something deep inside of me wanted to be part of something bigger than myself, something that would go beyond my talents and passions alone and touch my soul at an even deeper level through giving back to others. While I have been involved with charitable giving and community volunteering for years, this hunger was different. A part of me had awakened and there was no turning back.
One night, after I got home from an event in NYC, I was watching Deepak Chopra give a talk. In that moment he said, “The future is about survival of the wisest, not the fittest.” My body went to sleep that night, but I guess my soul did not. I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote in my journal: “My intention: To help inspire women through wisdom.” The next day, I founded the first Live Wisdom and Empowerment Salon for Women in New York called The WSDM™ (www.thewsdm.com).  I call it my “Soulcheck”, and sometimes my second full-time job.
Our mission is to help women become more aware of the infinite possibilities in life by sharing the authentic insights, experiences and life lessons of other women (of all ages). Every Salon, 3 Influential and Inspiring Women are interviewed to answer 5 simple questions about themselves and their life story and #SpreadWisdom. We are inspiring women, one story at a time. 
Women of all ages are speaking and attending our Salons. The energy in the room is indescribable and the feedback has been heart warming and overwhelming. 
With the only intention of wanting to give back and to help all women connect with an awareness bigger than themselves, it has been one of the best, most fulfilling things I have ever done with my life. 
Through this project, I have been meeting tons of fantastic women and it has amazed me how many of those women have come to the same conclusion.  The abundance we have gained has liberated us, but not completely fulfilled us. There is a hunger out there that is stronger than ourselves, bigger than ourselves and we are answering the call to whatever is our own personal story and truth.
Some women seem to already have it all from the outside, by having a successful career and being a fabulous wife and mother, all at the same time. Even with all of it, they are still yearning to tap into something deeper, a creative spirit that energizes them in a whole new way- whether it’s writing books, joining a band or creating their own beautiful art and film. Other women are starting their own philanthropic organizations on the side, giving back to their communities in bigger ways than ever imagined. And yet, others have figured out a way to combine both and create new careers for themselves with products and services that tie more strongly to their creative passion or have a socially conscious spin to them.
Most of these women are not saying good bye to their happy and successful careers to start something new, they are doing it in their spare time to increase their current level of happiness and satisfaction.
And what about the companies these women work for during the day? They will tell you they all support it 110%. Why? Employee satisfaction is now a key driver of customer satisfaction and thus, the success of a business. And employees who comes to work happier, more fulfilled and connected to their truth are able to contribute more than they ever thought possible. They are able to see problems from a whole new angle, to work with others in more collaborative and loving ways and to provide solutions they may not have otherwise thought of before their hearts and souls were cracked open in new ways. 
Into the future, we will continue to see this soul awakening trend amongst working women seeking this new vision of “having it all”.
Business Sense: What does this means for marketers? Consider going beyond targeting and messaging to women as a demographic or life stage  e.g. Moms, Working Women or Millennials. Women are connecting with each other across their passions regardless of generation or situation. How can your product or service empower them to make their “soul dreams” come true or to give them the courage and tools to take that “leap of faith” into the unknown? How can the values of your brand connect to her evolving values and her quest for deeper fulfillment?
And for Media? While capturing female traffic, eyeballs and engagement across the ever-growing devices she loves is key, she also sees Media as the new hero in her goal to make her vision a reality. There is an emotional connection beyond the content and information she craves across the media ecosystem, but to Media as a new platform of Empowerment. Social and mobile media, especially, are giving women greater opportunity to express themselves, connect with the bigger collective creative conscious, and to make things happen quickly. Google, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter and especially Eventbrite have been key tools in making The WSDM™ come to fruition. How can your brand weave your way into that experience and become her media hero?
And for Companies? In today’s transparent environment, we know that Corporate Citizenship is key to consumer connection and future success. But giving money alone is no longer enough. Companies should also consider creating “Corporate Replenishment Programs”, helping to replenish the World’s Volunteer Force. Whether its giving employees more opportunities to get out and participate on the ground during the work week, or giving employees the opportunity to participate in other employee’s Soulcheck projects. These experiences may even become some of the most enjoyable employee leadership training programs. Ultimately, the idea is to empower your people to empower the World and thus, form deeper connections with the Company amongst employees, customers, partners and shareholders.

                                       image

Is having a PAYCHECK and a SOULCHECK the new “Having it All”?

Cultural Context: Many years ago, during a self-analysis exercise, I made a conscious decision to follow a career path that would tap into my strategic abilities, yet fulfill my passion for creativity at the deepest level.  Ever since then, I have wakened every morning excited to go to work, grateful for all the opportunities for my left and right brain to do the Tango.

Some days I would play a brand visionary, a  strategist, a futurist, a collaborative leader and orchestrator of meaningful communications and customer experiences. Other days a storyteller, a namer, design director, anthropologist and catalyst for creativity and big ideas. And these days at PHD Media, I am helping to inspire more meaningful and creative brand behavior and experiences within the media planning process and across the ecosystem.

With all of that goodness, something deep inside of me wanted to be part of something bigger than myself, something that would go beyond my talents and passions alone and touch my soul at an even deeper level through giving back to others. While I have been involved with charitable giving and community volunteering for years, this hunger was different. A part of me had awakened and there was no turning back.

One night, after I got home from an event in NYC, I was watching Deepak Chopra give a talk. In that moment he said, “The future is about survival of the wisest, not the fittest.” My body went to sleep that night, but I guess my soul did not. I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote in my journal: “My intention: To help inspire women through wisdom.” The next day, I founded the first Live Wisdom and Empowerment Salon for Women in New York called The WSDM™ (www.thewsdm.com).  I call it my “Soulcheck”, and sometimes my second full-time job.

Our mission is to help women become more aware of the infinite possibilities in life by sharing the authentic insights, experiences and life lessons of other women (of all ages). Every Salon, 3 Influential and Inspiring Women are interviewed to answer 5 simple questions about themselves and their life story and #SpreadWisdom. We are inspiring women, one story at a time.

Women of all ages are speaking and attending our Salons. The energy in the room is indescribable and the feedback has been heart warming and overwhelming. 

With the only intention of wanting to give back and to help all women connect with an awareness bigger than themselves, it has been one of the best, most fulfilling things I have ever done with my life. 

Through this project, I have been meeting tons of fantastic women and it has amazed me how many of those women have come to the same conclusion.  The abundance we have gained has liberated us, but not completely fulfilled us. There is a hunger out there that is stronger than ourselves, bigger than ourselves and we are answering the call to whatever is our own personal story and truth.

Some women seem to already have it all from the outside, by having a successful career and being a fabulous wife and mother, all at the same time. Even with all of it, they are still yearning to tap into something deeper, a creative spirit that energizes them in a whole new way- whether it’s writing books, joining a band or creating their own beautiful art and film. Other women are starting their own philanthropic organizations on the side, giving back to their communities in bigger ways than ever imagined. And yet, others have figured out a way to combine both and create new careers for themselves with products and services that tie more strongly to their creative passion or have a socially conscious spin to them.

Most of these women are not saying good bye to their happy and successful careers to start something new, they are doing it in their spare time to increase their current level of happiness and satisfaction.

And what about the companies these women work for during the day? They will tell you they all support it 110%. Why? Employee satisfaction is now a key driver of customer satisfaction and thus, the success of a business. And employees who comes to work happier, more fulfilled and connected to their truth are able to contribute more than they ever thought possible. They are able to see problems from a whole new angle, to work with others in more collaborative and loving ways and to provide solutions they may not have otherwise thought of before their hearts and souls were cracked open in new ways.

Into the future, we will continue to see this soul awakening trend amongst working women seeking this new vision of “having it all”.

Business Sense: What does this means for marketers? Consider going beyond targeting and messaging to women as a demographic or life stage  e.g. Moms, Working Women or Millennials. Women are connecting with each other across their passions regardless of generation or situation. How can your product or service empower them to make their “soul dreams” come true or to give them the courage and tools to take that “leap of faith” into the unknown? How can the values of your brand connect to her evolving values and her quest for deeper fulfillment?

And for Media? While capturing female traffic, eyeballs and engagement across the ever-growing devices she loves is key, she also sees Media as the new hero in her goal to make her vision a reality. There is an emotional connection beyond the content and information she craves across the media ecosystem, but to Media as a new platform of Empowerment. Social and mobile media, especially, are giving women greater opportunity to express themselves, connect with the bigger collective creative conscious, and to make things happen quickly. Google, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter and especially Eventbrite have been key tools in making The WSDM™ come to fruition. How can your brand weave your way into that experience and become her media hero?

And for Companies? In today’s transparent environment, we know that Corporate Citizenship is key to consumer connection and future success. But giving money alone is no longer enough. Companies should also consider creating “Corporate Replenishment Programs”, helping to replenish the World’s Volunteer Force. Whether its giving employees more opportunities to get out and participate on the ground during the work week, or giving employees the opportunity to participate in other employee’s Soulcheck projects. These experiences may even become some of the most enjoyable employee leadership training programs. Ultimately, the idea is to empower your people to empower the World and thus, form deeper connections with the Company amongst employees, customers, partners and shareholders.


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The most important Color for 2013-Jade Green: Runway Roundup SS 2013
While many designers still can’t enough of Tangerine and people are talking about how Monaco Blue will be the next hot color (again), Jade Green will become the most important color in 2013, symbolizing something bigger -Wisdom, Growth and Well-being.
Tangerine was the Official Color of the Year in 2012, but it is not going anywhere in 2013. It represents enthusiasm, energy, creativity and endurance. It makes you feel alive and in charge and a great color to make a statement in 2013.
Many designers brought it back as a key piece in their SS 2013 collections such as:  Narciso Rodriguez, Marchesa, Josie Natori, and J. Medel.
While Blue was the big accent color in 2011, Blue becomes the NEW BLACK in fashion in 2013 and the “building block” color for our wardrobes and our homes. After a massive year of uncertainty and a Presidential election in 2012, the color will communicate trust, stability, and tranquility.  It will carry us 2013 with a sense of peace and going with the flow. 
Stunning Blues were celebrated on the runways from designers such as: Marchesa, Kimberly Ovitz, Jason Wu , Rachel Zoe and Eudon Choi.
However, the most important color of 2013 will be Jade Green.  We are living in at time where people are feeling more connected to each other than ever and becoming more aware of their higher purpose. We are seeking to become something more true to who we really are.  Deepak Chopra recently tweeted, “The future is going to be about survival of the WISEST, not the fittest. WISDOM makes us agents of change and transformation.”
All shades of Jade Green swept the runways of SS 2013 collections from designers such as:  Narciso Rodriguez, Jen Kao, Farah Angsana, Douglas Hannant, Donna Karen, Creatures of the Wind, Chado Ralph Rucci, Jil Sander, J. Crew and Rachel Zoe.
Bring on the Jade!

                                         image

The most important Color for 2013-Jade Green: Runway Roundup SS 2013

While many designers still can’t enough of Tangerine and people are talking about how Monaco Blue will be the next hot color (again), Jade Green will become the most important color in 2013, symbolizing something bigger -Wisdom, Growth and Well-being.

Tangerine was the Official Color of the Year in 2012, but it is not going anywhere in 2013. It represents enthusiasm, energy, creativity and endurance. It makes you feel alive and in charge and a great color to make a statement in 2013.

Many designers brought it back as a key piece in their SS 2013 collections such as:  Narciso Rodriguez, Marchesa, Josie Natori, and J. Medel.

While Blue was the big accent color in 2011, Blue becomes the NEW BLACK in fashion in 2013 and the “building block” color for our wardrobes and our homes. After a massive year of uncertainty and a Presidential election in 2012, the color will communicate trust, stability, and tranquility.  It will carry us 2013 with a sense of peace and going with the flow. 

Stunning Blues were celebrated on the runways from designers such as: Marchesa, Kimberly Ovitz, Jason Wu , Rachel Zoe and Eudon Choi.

However, the most important color of 2013 will be Jade Green.  We are living in at time where people are feeling more connected to each other than ever and becoming more aware of their higher purpose. We are seeking to become something more true to who we really are.  Deepak Chopra recently tweeted, “The future is going to be about survival of the WISEST, not the fittest. WISDOM makes us agents of change and transformation.”

All shades of Jade Green swept the runways of SS 2013 collections from designers such as:  Narciso Rodriguez, Jen Kao, Farah Angsana, Douglas Hannant, Donna Karen, Creatures of the Wind, Chado Ralph Rucci, Jil Sander, J. Crew and Rachel Zoe.

Bring on the Jade!

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                                     Top 10 Style Statements at Coachella 2012
Coachella fashion was mostly to be expected at this year’s festival. The majority of women wore the ever-common fringe, military boots, military jackets, cutoff denim shorts, rock tees, hobo bags, tanks, aviators, maxi dresses, wellies, swim wear, cropped shirts and headbands.
However, there were some breakout looks too delicious not to share.  FutureCaster™ takes a look at thetop10 style statements at this year’s festival:
1. Cutoff Sorbet Shorts
2. Energizing Neon Bags
3. Earthly Aztec Prints
4. Lucky Emerald Green
5. Mouth-watering Mint
6. Classic Chanel Bags across the shoulders
7. Bold Animal Prints
8. Sweet Cat Eyes
9. Fresh Floral Shorts
10. Luxurious Maxi layers

                                                  

                                     Top 10 Style Statements at Coachella 2012

Coachella fashion was mostly to be expected at this year’s festival. The majority of women wore the ever-common fringe, military boots, military jackets, cutoff denim shorts, rock tees, hobo bags, tanks, aviators, maxi dresses, wellies, swim wear, cropped shirts and headbands.

However, there were some breakout looks too delicious not to share.  FutureCaster™ takes a look at thetop10 style statements at this year’s festival:

1. Cutoff Sorbet Shorts

2. Energizing Neon Bags

3. Earthly Aztec Prints

4. Lucky Emerald Green

5. Mouth-watering Mint

6. Classic Chanel Bags across the shoulders

7. Bold Animal Prints

8. Sweet Cat Eyes

9. Fresh Floral Shorts

10. Luxurious Maxi layers

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                  Hungry for the Hunger Games- A Psychological Analysis
Cultural Context: In 2011, Suzanne Collin’s novel The Hunger Games was being called the next Harry Potter and Twilight sensation. And now, the 2012 film adaptation, grossing more than $200 million worldwide in its first weekend, is the hit of the year and having a huge effect on Popular Culture. It is action-packed, thought-provoking and addictive. People can’t stop talking about it.
So why are people so hungry for The Hunger Games? 
Below, FutureCaster™ delves into the Top 10 psychological underpinnings of the film that propels its audience from fan to fanatic:
1.    Something for Everyone: The film has mature themes like war, survival, sacrifice, repression, starvation, family and love that attract a broad mix of male and females, teens and adults alike.
2.    The Haves vs. the Have-nots:  The film strikes a chord with today’s inequality and injustice issues, further elevated by the buzz around the Occupy Wall Street movement and its 99% and the Trayvon Martin killing.
3.    Media as a Weapon:  There’s something in the zeitgeist right now about using media not just to entertain but to shape our world, such as the spread of the feeling of discontentment through broadcasts of oppressive governments and youth revolts going on around the world. Media broadcast played a big part in the film. 
4.    Environmental Concerns:  Nature is sustenance for Katniss and she is, after all, named after a plant. Her character reminds us of how we are using up important natural resources that we take for granted.
5.    Revered Female Lead:  The character of  Katniss Everdeen represents modern feminine values. She is smart, brave, self-reliant, strong and courageous, yet there is a tender and likeable vulnerability within her.  She doesn’t diminish or hide her abilities, but she is also happy to take on the traditional role of healer when she nurses Peeta’s wounds. And she is being revered as a female lead character who doesn’t rely solely on her looks or sexuality to be popular.
6.    Gender Stereotype Breakdown:  The Stereotypical gender roles between Katniss and Peeta are inverted. She is a skilled archer who hunts and barbecues, he bakes and gathers berries. They become a team, yet she’s the protector saving his life. 
7.    Strategic Fashion Statements: While there are on-going debates around the uniqueness and quality of the fashion in the film, the fashion played a very symbolic role. The dichotomy of looks, ranging from the Survival Chic of the Dystopian District to the Fantasia of Capitol Couture, represents a society trying to hold on to the past while being pulled into its future.  A mirror of today’s culture. And fashion is brilliantly used in the film to visualize the societal division of classes.
8.    Post-Apocalypse: Some believe that December 21, 2012 will be the end of the world, according to the legend of the Mayan Calendar. This film, gives a glimpse into such a terrifying dystopian future in the country of Panem.
9.    Family Values:  Katniss is a character who is motivated by love, but more strongly by dutiful love. She is only in the games because she offers herself as a substitute for her sister, putting her own life on the line to protect her little sister. As the U.S. discusses the importance of family values with the upcoming elections, this film shows that power of family ties.
10.  Survival of the ________: Survival is a broad theme on everyone’s mind today. From economic crisis to natural disasters, we are constantly living in a state of anxiety. Catastrophe and scandal seem to be the new norm. The film’s Underdog mentality symbolizes modern society’s quest to survive and thrive in such challenging times around the World.  
Business Sense: Studios, Independent film makers and programmers may want to take note of the psychological themes of this film that are creating such huge emotional connection with today’s audience. Does your next concept or pilot touch upon any of these?
 

                                              

                  Hungry for the Hunger Games- A Psychological Analysis

Cultural Context: In 2011, Suzanne Collin’s novel The Hunger Games was being called the next Harry Potter and Twilight sensation. And now, the 2012 film adaptation, grossing more than $200 million worldwide in its first weekend, is the hit of the year and having a huge effect on Popular Culture. It is action-packed, thought-provoking and addictive. People can’t stop talking about it.

So why are people so hungry for The Hunger Games?

Below, FutureCaster™ delves into the Top 10 psychological underpinnings of the film that propels its audience from fan to fanatic:

1.    Something for Everyone: The film has mature themes like war, survival, sacrifice, repression, starvation, family and love that attract a broad mix of male and females, teens and adults alike.

2.    The Haves vs. the Have-nots:  The film strikes a chord with today’s inequality and injustice issues, further elevated by the buzz around the Occupy Wall Street movement and its 99% and the Trayvon Martin killing.

3.    Media as a Weapon:  There’s something in the zeitgeist right now about using media not just to entertain but to shape our world, such as the spread of the feeling of discontentment through broadcasts of oppressive governments and youth revolts going on around the world. Media broadcast played a big part in the film.

4.    Environmental Concerns:  Nature is sustenance for Katniss and she is, after all, named after a plant. Her character reminds us of how we are using up important natural resources that we take for granted.

5.    Revered Female Lead:  The character of  Katniss Everdeen represents modern feminine values. She is smart, brave, self-reliant, strong and courageous, yet there is a tender and likeable vulnerability within her.  She doesn’t diminish or hide her abilities, but she is also happy to take on the traditional role of healer when she nurses Peeta’s wounds. And she is being revered as a female lead character who doesn’t rely solely on her looks or sexuality to be popular.

6.    Gender Stereotype Breakdown:  The Stereotypical gender roles between Katniss and Peeta are inverted. She is a skilled archer who hunts and barbecues, he bakes and gathers berries. They become a team, yet she’s the protector saving his life.

7.    Strategic Fashion Statements: While there are on-going debates around the uniqueness and quality of the fashion in the film, the fashion played a very symbolic role. The dichotomy of looks, ranging from the Survival Chic of the Dystopian District to the Fantasia of Capitol Couture, represents a society trying to hold on to the past while being pulled into its future.  A mirror of today’s culture. And fashion is brilliantly used in the film to visualize the societal division of classes.

8.    Post-Apocalypse: Some believe that December 21, 2012 will be the end of the world, according to the legend of the Mayan Calendar. This film, gives a glimpse into such a terrifying dystopian future in the country of Panem.

9.    Family Values:  Katniss is a character who is motivated by love, but more strongly by dutiful love. She is only in the games because she offers herself as a substitute for her sister, putting her own life on the line to protect her little sister. As the U.S. discusses the importance of family values with the upcoming elections, this film shows that power of family ties.

10.  Survival of the ________: Survival is a broad theme on everyone’s mind today. From economic crisis to natural disasters, we are constantly living in a state of anxiety. Catastrophe and scandal seem to be the new norm. The film’s Underdog mentality symbolizes modern society’s quest to survive and thrive in such challenging times around the World.  

Business Sense: Studios, Independent film makers and programmers may want to take note of the psychological themes of this film that are creating such huge emotional connection with today’s audience. Does your next concept or pilot touch upon any of these?

 

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                    The Primster Look Continues- FW 2012 Runway Roundup
After its initial appearance during Spring/Summer 2012, the Primster look continued to rock the Fall 2012 RTW Runways across the globe.
While the hit TV Show Downton Abbey has become an even bigger influence on fashion this season, seen in all its glory at Ruffian and Marchesa, and the Himalayan, Mayan and DeadMau5 Cultures influenced a ton of the catwalks on both sides of the pond, the chicest look continued to be the Primster.
Human Sense: One part Prim, the other part bold and cool, the Primster look is just the right combination for a woman living in a world where the new “norm” is on-going crisis. The modern women needs to appear bold, unapologetic, confident, yet grounded and always appropriate to handle anything that comes her way. And as her creative expression has skyrocketed through social media, she wants a look to navigate the many different “social scenes” that reflect her multi-dimensional lifestyle.
(Inkling) New York, Milan, Paris, London: The Primster was spotted at many fashion forward labels and classics alike such as: 10 Crosby Derek Lam, Altuzzara, Doo.Ri, Dsquared2, Aquascutum, Duro Olowu, Jen Kao, Julien David, Mother of Pearl, Suno, Vivienne Westwood Red label, Ruffian, Monique Lhuillier, Rebecca Minkoff, Alice + Olivia, Yigal Azrouel and Z Spoke by Zac Posen.
Business Sense: Showcase the Primster look for Fall and continue to tap into the female customer’s emotional need to appear appropriate, yet bold, multi-dimensional and ready for anything.

                                                         

                    The Primster Look Continues- FW 2012 Runway Roundup

After its initial appearance during Spring/Summer 2012, the Primster look continued to rock the Fall 2012 RTW Runways across the globe.

While the hit TV Show Downton Abbey has become an even bigger influence on fashion this season, seen in all its glory at Ruffian and Marchesa, and the Himalayan, Mayan and DeadMau5 Cultures influenced a ton of the catwalks on both sides of the pond, the chicest look continued to be the Primster.

Human Sense: One part Prim, the other part bold and cool, the Primster look is just the right combination for a woman living in a world where the new “norm” is on-going crisis. The modern women needs to appear bold, unapologetic, confident, yet grounded and always appropriate to handle anything that comes her way. And as her creative expression has skyrocketed through social media, she wants a look to navigate the many different “social scenes” that reflect her multi-dimensional lifestyle.

(Inkling) New York, Milan, Paris, London: The Primster was spotted at many fashion forward labels and classics alike such as: 10 Crosby Derek Lam, Altuzzara, Doo.Ri, Dsquared2, Aquascutum, Duro Olowu, Jen Kao, Julien David, Mother of Pearl, Suno, Vivienne Westwood Red label, Ruffian, Monique Lhuillier, Rebecca Minkoff, Alice + Olivia, Yigal Azrouel and Z Spoke by Zac Posen.

Business Sense: Showcase the Primster look for Fall and continue to tap into the female customer’s emotional need to appear appropriate, yet bold, multi-dimensional and ready for anything.

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                                                         Pandora Your Life
Human Sense/Cultural Context:  The next tipping point in the technology space beyond the Cloud and “Real Time” Data Analytics is true Personalization of the Internet.   
On the cutting-edge of this trend are Augmented Reality apps along the lines of Color ID, Word Lens, Metro AR, Layar, Tweet360 and Wikitude. These apps are appealing because they identify physical objects in someone’s personal space and overlay information on top of these objects real-time through a looking glass device such as a mobile phone. So they give people a 6th sense of the world around them, making every day real-time decisions easier.
However, ”recommendation engines” are even more appealing to the human psyche at the moment.  Why?  People are currently inundated with too many choices and suffering from information overload.  They are attracted to products and services that save them time, really understand them, know their tastes and preferences and help make the best choices “for them” without having to think about it. As time becomes more scarce and information more abundant, people like the idea of something automatically helping them to discover new stuff that will truly appeal to their likes and needs 
Have you ever wondered why people are so emotionally connected to brands like Pandora, Netflix and Amazon? Beyond the delivery of a best-in-class personalized entertainment or service experience, these brands deliver added-value through relevant personalized recommendations. People love the idea of not having to think of what to try, buy, listen to or watch next. What if you could expand that experience to every part of your life?
Look for an explosion of “recommendation engine” sites and apps to hit the market in 2012. The following beta sites and apps, available now, allow people to “Pandora their life” across many categories: 
 Inking (Fashion):  www.fashion-ade.com  is a virtual closet and e-stylist that captures women’s style preferences and allows women to record the contents of their closets, then presents them with style-relevant outfits and merchandise based on their overall personal style, taste and current wardrobe.  It makes it simple to find the perfect jacket to go with your favorite pants in your closet.  And in return, it delivers highly-qualified customer leads and real-time shopper insights to retailers by matching their own merchandise to the outfits in shoppers’ closets.
Inkling (Culinary):  www.Gojee.com  creates a personalized menu of recipes for you based on the food or ingredients you love, the food or ingredients you hate, or just what’s already in your fridge. Left over yogurt?  They will help you use it in a delicious recipe that also appeals to your taste. No more wondering what to cook, it plans your perfect meals for you.
Inkling (Entertainment):  www.jinni.com  is the preferred movie recommendation engine on the web because of its “semantic search” functionality.  Not only does it let you search and get recommendations of films and TV shows based on your mood, time available, setting, reviews, or plot preference, it let’s your search in your own terms. For instance, you can ask for “movies with vampire blood” and several will come back to bite you that match your query. Jinni generates and continually adjusts your Movie Personality based on your ratings, preferences, and other actions on the website and recommends new movies and shows you are guaranteed to love. 
Inking (Travel):  www.uptake.com  has become one of the most visited search and discovery travel sites in the world, with four million unique visitors per month and more than 30 million trips researched in 2011. Uptake has categorized the largest library of vacation experiences in the U.S., with more than 1.8 million destination ideas, hotels, restaurants, activities and attractions. With its new recommendation engine, Uptake creates customized trips by combining advice and recommendations from family and friends on Facebook with reviews, photos and other information from more than 30,000 web sites, so you can make the most trust worthy choice when planning travel.
Inkling (Art):  www.artfinder.com  lets you take a photo of a piece of art you like, whether it’s in a museum, gallery or on the street and identifies what you’re looking at. From there, it lets you find out more about the artist, see more work by the artist, give you the option to buy a print, a book or postcard right away and then recommend more art and artists you will like based on your tastes. It will cut out the time to search the world to find what you love. 
Inkling (Gift Giving):  www.giftsidestory.com is the “gift giving wingman” for men when they have to buy gifts for women. Based on a woman’s style, home décor, tech preferences and personality, it recommends nine hand-picked, popular indie-brand gifts to choose from so men don’t have to spend time choosing an item or brand that she might not like. It will also prevent two women in the same network from receiving the same gift.  The thought!
Inkling: (Just for you):  www.hunch.com feeds you recommendations based on your personal tastes and passions across many categories like travel, books, fashion, services and also connects you with people who are just like you. Other apps are using their platform to drive their own recommendations. They are onto something as Ebay just purchased them for $80 million.
Business Sense:  If you are getting into the Personalized Internet Space, think about how you can “Pandora” your product or service to give consumers what they crave: personalized recommendations that are truly relevant and trusted without having to do all the leg work.

                                                        

                                                         Pandora Your Life

Human Sense/Cultural Context:  The next tipping point in the technology space beyond the Cloud and “Real Time” Data Analytics is true Personalization of the Internet.   

On the cutting-edge of this trend are Augmented Reality apps along the lines of Color ID, Word Lens, Metro AR, Layar, Tweet360 and Wikitude. These apps are appealing because they identify physical objects in someone’s personal space and overlay information on top of these objects real-time through a looking glass device such as a mobile phone. So they give people a 6th sense of the world around them, making every day real-time decisions easier.

However, ”recommendation engines” are even more appealing to the human psyche at the moment.  Why?  People are currently inundated with too many choices and suffering from information overload.  They are attracted to products and services that save them time, really understand them, know their tastes and preferences and help make the best choices “for them” without having to think about it. As time becomes more scarce and information more abundant, people like the idea of something automatically helping them to discover new stuff that will truly appeal to their likes and needs

Have you ever wondered why people are so emotionally connected to brands like Pandora, Netflix and Amazon? Beyond the delivery of a best-in-class personalized entertainment or service experience, these brands deliver added-value through relevant personalized recommendations. People love the idea of not having to think of what to try, buy, listen to or watch next. What if you could expand that experience to every part of your life?

Look for an explosion of “recommendation engine” sites and apps to hit the market in 2012. The following beta sites and apps, available now, allow people to “Pandora their life” across many categories:

 Inking (Fashion):  www.fashion-ade.com  is a virtual closet and e-stylist that captures women’s style preferences and allows women to record the contents of their closets, then presents them with style-relevant outfits and merchandise based on their overall personal style, taste and current wardrobe.  It makes it simple to find the perfect jacket to go with your favorite pants in your closet.  And in return, it delivers highly-qualified customer leads and real-time shopper insights to retailers by matching their own merchandise to the outfits in shoppers’ closets.

Inkling (Culinary):  www.Gojee.com  creates a personalized menu of recipes for you based on the food or ingredients you love, the food or ingredients you hate, or just what’s already in your fridge. Left over yogurt?  They will help you use it in a delicious recipe that also appeals to your taste. No more wondering what to cook, it plans your perfect meals for you.

Inkling (Entertainment):  www.jinni.com  is the preferred movie recommendation engine on the web because of its “semantic search” functionality.  Not only does it let you search and get recommendations of films and TV shows based on your mood, time available, setting, reviews, or plot preference, it let’s your search in your own terms. For instance, you can ask for “movies with vampire blood” and several will come back to bite you that match your query. Jinni generates and continually adjusts your Movie Personality based on your ratings, preferences, and other actions on the website and recommends new movies and shows you are guaranteed to love.

Inking (Travel):  www.uptake.com  has become one of the most visited search and discovery travel sites in the world, with four million unique visitors per month and more than 30 million trips researched in 2011. Uptake has categorized the largest library of vacation experiences in the U.S., with more than 1.8 million destination ideas, hotels, restaurants, activities and attractions. With its new recommendation engine, Uptake creates customized trips by combining advice and recommendations from family and friends on Facebook with reviews, photos and other information from more than 30,000 web sites, so you can make the most trust worthy choice when planning travel.

Inkling (Art):  www.artfinder.com  lets you take a photo of a piece of art you like, whether it’s in a museum, gallery or on the street and identifies what you’re looking at. From there, it lets you find out more about the artist, see more work by the artist, give you the option to buy a print, a book or postcard right away and then recommend more art and artists you will like based on your tastes. It will cut out the time to search the world to find what you love.

Inkling (Gift Giving):  www.giftsidestory.com is the “gift giving wingman” for men when they have to buy gifts for women. Based on a woman’s style, home décor, tech preferences and personality, it recommends nine hand-picked, popular indie-brand gifts to choose from so men don’t have to spend time choosing an item or brand that she might not like. It will also prevent two women in the same network from receiving the same gift.  The thought!

Inkling: (Just for you):  www.hunch.com feeds you recommendations based on your personal tastes and passions across many categories like travel, books, fashion, services and also connects you with people who are just like you. Other apps are using their platform to drive their own recommendations. They are onto something as Ebay just purchased them for $80 million.

Business Sense:  If you are getting into the Personalized Internet Space, think about how you can “Pandora” your product or service to give consumers what they crave: personalized recommendations that are truly relevant and trusted without having to do all the leg work.

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                                                               Color Interrupted
Human Sense: Color triggers various hormonal releases in our brains evoking physical and emotional reactions in our bodies. Color is used in marketing, branding and design to represent symbolism, cultural tradition, business ideas, pricing strategy, segmentation and emotion. The meaning of color can vary across different geographies and cultures. For instance, white symbolizes innocence and surrender in the West, but death in the East. 
Colors can also have a range of meanings within the same culture. Blue may be used to define one brand as conservative and safe and another brand as fluid and customizable. Black is often used to symbolize luxury and elegance, but also used to signify mystery and discovery. Green symbolizes health, but it can also evoke cathartic feelings of renewal. 
And color can drive the physical type of experience you want a consumer to have around a product. The color Pink makes us crave sugar so many desserts and pastries are sold in pink boxes or on pink plates because the mind is tricked into thinking they taste better. 
Color is a strategic marketing choice that requires much thought, as it is the backdrop for the story you want to tell or the behavior you want to influence. 
Certain brands today are going against tradition and strategically using color in disruptive ways to generate buzz and appeal: 
(Inkling) Wedding Noir: Vera Wang, now with Senior Designer Keith Lissner on board, recently created quite a stir in the Bridal Market. During her Fall 2012 Collection, she sent stunning, show stopping black and nude bridal gowns down the runway with no whites or ivory in sight. It was a tribute to a more modern bride, one with a bit more sensuality, mystery and elegance. It is yet to be seen if brides in the U.S. will go for black on their wedding day, but Vera’s creative genius has made her brand Queen Bee of the Bridal Market this season with all the buzz generated. And bonus, if you only plan to have a “Hollywood Marriage”, these gowns are good investments as they can be used many times over beyond your wedding. 
(Inkling) Rethink Pink: Traditionally, brands like Mary Kay and Victoria’s Secret have used the color Pink to symbolize femininity. Today, Pink is more linked to Breast Cancer Awareness, and the pink ribbon has become a marketing power symbol on a global level generating a lot of revenue for those brands linking with it. 
One man is rethinking the meaning of Pink and making it part of his masculine brand. Karim Rashid, the infamous industrial designer, artist and interior designer has used the color pink when redesigning household items, appliances, furniture, restaurants and retail stores making everything he designs more joyful and playful for consumers. As far as his personal brand, he has infused the color pink into his living space, workspace and even his wardrobe. While many designers are often clad in dark colors working in white spaces, Karim is creating differentiation by showing the world the possibility of Pink. And given his global success rate, there is Power in Pink too.
(Inkling) A Red Square: Red activates your pituitary gland and increases your heart rate, sense of vitality, sexual desire and drives call to action. Not a typical color for a hotel pool that is usually associated with tranquility or refreshment while on holiday. The Library Hotel in Koh Samui, Thailand has a blood red pool that is warmly inviting, yet hedonistic, setting this hotel apart from its competitors in this upscale resort area. 
Business Sense: Next time you are considering colors for your brand, product, packaging or retail and hotel environment, consider the use of a very disruptive color to get noticed, create differentiation and generate buzz in a world saturated with traditional brand colors and combinations.

                                                         

                                                               Color Interrupted

Human Sense: Color triggers various hormonal releases in our brains evoking physical and emotional reactions in our bodies. Color is used in marketing, branding and design to represent symbolism, cultural tradition, business ideas, pricing strategy, segmentation and emotion. The meaning of color can vary across different geographies and cultures. For instance, white symbolizes innocence and surrender in the West, but death in the East.

Colors can also have a range of meanings within the same culture. Blue may be used to define one brand as conservative and safe and another brand as fluid and customizable. Black is often used to symbolize luxury and elegance, but also used to signify mystery and discovery. Green symbolizes health, but it can also evoke cathartic feelings of renewal.

And color can drive the physical type of experience you want a consumer to have around a product. The color Pink makes us crave sugar so many desserts and pastries are sold in pink boxes or on pink plates because the mind is tricked into thinking they taste better.

Color is a strategic marketing choice that requires much thought, as it is the backdrop for the story you want to tell or the behavior you want to influence.

Certain brands today are going against tradition and strategically using color in disruptive ways to generate buzz and appeal:

(Inkling) Wedding Noir: Vera Wang, now with Senior Designer Keith Lissner on board, recently created quite a stir in the Bridal Market. During her Fall 2012 Collection, she sent stunning, show stopping black and nude bridal gowns down the runway with no whites or ivory in sight. It was a tribute to a more modern bride, one with a bit more sensuality, mystery and elegance. It is yet to be seen if brides in the U.S. will go for black on their wedding day, but Vera’s creative genius has made her brand Queen Bee of the Bridal Market this season with all the buzz generated. And bonus, if you only plan to have a “Hollywood Marriage”, these gowns are good investments as they can be used many times over beyond your wedding.

(Inkling) Rethink Pink: Traditionally, brands like Mary Kay and Victoria’s Secret have used the color Pink to symbolize femininity. Today, Pink is more linked to Breast Cancer Awareness, and the pink ribbon has become a marketing power symbol on a global level generating a lot of revenue for those brands linking with it.

One man is rethinking the meaning of Pink and making it part of his masculine brand. Karim Rashid, the infamous industrial designer, artist and interior designer has used the color pink when redesigning household items, appliances, furniture, restaurants and retail stores making everything he designs more joyful and playful for consumers. As far as his personal brand, he has infused the color pink into his living space, workspace and even his wardrobe. While many designers are often clad in dark colors working in white spaces, Karim is creating differentiation by showing the world the possibility of Pink. And given his global success rate, there is Power in Pink too.

(Inkling) A Red Square: Red activates your pituitary gland and increases your heart rate, sense of vitality, sexual desire and drives call to action. Not a typical color for a hotel pool that is usually associated with tranquility or refreshment while on holiday. The Library Hotel in Koh Samui, Thailand has a blood red pool that is warmly inviting, yet hedonistic, setting this hotel apart from its competitors in this upscale resort area.

Business Sense: Next time you are considering colors for your brand, product, packaging or retail and hotel environment, consider the use of a very disruptive color to get noticed, create differentiation and generate buzz in a world saturated with traditional brand colors and combinations.

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                                      ARITST-TO-KNOW: WILLIAM QUIGLEY
Cultural Context: Currently, our media outlets are bombarded with images and videos of “Occupiers” behaving in ways reminiscent of the 60s-communal living, marches, demonstrations and sometimes violence.  While it is not clear what their single brand platform or message is, they sometimes speak to making a sacrifice for the greater cause, a theme that has been present throughout U.S history. Currently that greater cause is economic stability.
One artist in New York has been making big, bold political statements his entire career without having to camp out on Wall Street. His most recent show reflects the idea of making sacrifices.
Artist-to-Know: William Quigley, a creator of art with Power and Meaning.
I first met William Quigley in 2005 in New York City at his loft/studio where I attended one of his now infamous parties.  In the space were the darlings of New York’s fashion, film, art, music, design and social scene. It was a mixture of friends, collectors and party people reminiscent of the “Factory”. Makes sense for someone who had his first exhibition with Andy Warhol back in 1985 at the Henry McNeil Gallery in Philadelphia.  The crowd was fun that night, but the art was even better.
William Quigley is a contemporary painter and recognized philanthropist living in New York City and LA who creates bold abstract political stories on canvas and now tee-shirts. He is also well known for his portraits of Celebrities -Arnold, Kobe, George W., Eminem, Lincoln, Gretsky, Paris Hilton, Trump, Clinton etc. Beyond the celebrities that he paints and the ones who commission his art, his collectors include many of the movers and shakers in both the business and art worlds. Quigley’s art can be found in several Museums including: MOCA LA, Basel Museum of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art and many others.
His style is bold and fresh, yet raw and powerful. William is one of the most deeply analytical artists I have come across. Every painting makes a profound statement beyond what you might see on the surface. William recently explained, “so much about my work is about addressing the many pressing issues in education, morality of our country, respect for each other, manners, loss of nationalism and trying to make us think about our personal decisions before taking action.”  
His series of boxers subtly compares the life of a prize fighter to a painter.  Quigley’s line of “Skrapper” tee-shirts make political fashion statements and people just can’t get enough of them.  
His most recent showing of Silkscreen drawings at the Clic Bookstore and Gallery in NYC had a lot to say about the current cultural backdrop. The portraits showcased that evening (Michael Jordon, Audrey Hepburn, Abraham Lincoln and a knocked out boxer) were chosen because they all “sacrificed themselves for a greater cause”.  Something that William feels reflects current culture.
As Quigley explained, “Jordan came to realize his talent could assist so many younger kids who came from less fortunate worlds. Hepburn took the time to go to Africa, away from her money making stardom, to assist starving children before it was trendy like today. She was doing deeds Mother Theresa would do. The boxer is lying down, knocked out by this economy and within a culture struggling to redefine its identity.”
Abraham Lincoln was famous for saying “I freely acknowledge myself the servant of the people, according to the bond of service — the United States Constitution; and that, as such, I am responsible to them.” And later, he died for his people.
When asked why he was showing drawings he replied, “Drawing is a discipline that takes years to master. To use the figure as your mirror opens up vulnerability that a person with purpose must encounter in order for them to really convey power and meaning in their messages.”
For more information visit www.quigleyart.com

                                                    

                                      ARITST-TO-KNOW: WILLIAM QUIGLEY

Cultural Context: Currently, our media outlets are bombarded with images and videos of “Occupiers” behaving in ways reminiscent of the 60s-communal living, marches, demonstrations and sometimes violence.  While it is not clear what their single brand platform or message is, they sometimes speak to making a sacrifice for the greater cause, a theme that has been present throughout U.S history. Currently that greater cause is economic stability.

One artist in New York has been making big, bold political statements his entire career without having to camp out on Wall Street. His most recent show reflects the idea of making sacrifices.

Artist-to-Know: William Quigley, a creator of art with Power and Meaning.

I first met William Quigley in 2005 in New York City at his loft/studio where I attended one of his now infamous parties.  In the space were the darlings of New York’s fashion, film, art, music, design and social scene. It was a mixture of friends, collectors and party people reminiscent of the “Factory”. Makes sense for someone who had his first exhibition with Andy Warhol back in 1985 at the Henry McNeil Gallery in Philadelphia.  The crowd was fun that night, but the art was even better.

William Quigley is a contemporary painter and recognized philanthropist living in New York City and LA who creates bold abstract political stories on canvas and now tee-shirts. He is also well known for his portraits of Celebrities -Arnold, Kobe, George W., Eminem, Lincoln, Gretsky, Paris Hilton, Trump, Clinton etc. Beyond the celebrities that he paints and the ones who commission his art, his collectors include many of the movers and shakers in both the business and art worlds. Quigley’s art can be found in several Museums including: MOCA LA, Basel Museum of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art and many others.

His style is bold and fresh, yet raw and powerful. William is one of the most deeply analytical artists I have come across. Every painting makes a profound statement beyond what you might see on the surface. William recently explained, “so much about my work is about addressing the many pressing issues in education, morality of our country, respect for each other, manners, loss of nationalism and trying to make us think about our personal decisions before taking action.”  

His series of boxers subtly compares the life of a prize fighter to a painter.  Quigley’s line of “Skrapper” tee-shirts make political fashion statements and people just can’t get enough of them.  

His most recent showing of Silkscreen drawings at the Clic Bookstore and Gallery in NYC had a lot to say about the current cultural backdrop. The portraits showcased that evening (Michael Jordon, Audrey Hepburn, Abraham Lincoln and a knocked out boxer) were chosen because they all “sacrificed themselves for a greater cause”.  Something that William feels reflects current culture.

As Quigley explained, “Jordan came to realize his talent could assist so many younger kids who came from less fortunate worlds. Hepburn took the time to go to Africa, away from her money making stardom, to assist starving children before it was trendy like today. She was doing deeds Mother Theresa would do. The boxer is lying down, knocked out by this economy and within a culture struggling to redefine its identity.”

Abraham Lincoln was famous for saying “I freely acknowledge myself the servant of the people, according to the bond of service — the United States Constitution; and that, as such, I am responsible to them.” And later, he died for his people.

When asked why he was showing drawings he replied, “Drawing is a discipline that takes years to master. To use the figure as your mirror opens up vulnerability that a person with purpose must encounter in order for them to really convey power and meaning in their messages.”

For more information visit www.quigleyart.com

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                                           Predictions: The Digital Frontier 

Cultural Context: Three major buzz-worthy cultural events happened over the past few weeks: 1) Facebook changed its interface experience once again  2) Banks announced they will start charging for Debit Cards and 3) The death of the beloved Steve Jobs.

All three of these events spark ideas around a new “Digital Etiquette” and business ideas…

Prediction #1: In the future, there will be Facebook Butlers.

Spark: With all the changes going on at Facebook, and the angst felt by many who are still trying to figure out how to use the new interface, there will come a point when people will want to hire someone to help them deal with it.

Now imagine a world where you can hire a Facebook Butler to configure the interface just the way you like it every time there is an upgrade, teach you how to use it efficiently and alert you of new features, just like a personal shopper. Let’s face it, a Butler always know who the friends, lovers and acquaintances are in their client’s life.

There are already people today who skin their Facebook profiles with unique designs like a mobile phone to have a more personalized experienced and many who have someone else update their Facebook status for them.  Yes really. Will a Facebook Butler become the new status symbol?  

  

Prediction #2:  In the future, we will use “Digital Cred” to pay for one universal Digital Experience.

Spark: The original idea behind the Debit card was to help banks save money by reducing the cost of processing paper checks and help consumers have an easier time paying with a debt-free alternative to credit cards. Are the new fees really necessary if the banks are already saving money?

These new fees will anger people and drive them to figure out new “free” ways to avoid debt by turning to online, mobile and virtual currency like never before. This is just the tipping point that developers were waiting for to make mobile payment apps more appealing and a reality in the U.S. You may get charged for your debit card, but your mobile phone is another story.  In addition, more people will turn to PayPal at check out when shopping online. Virtual credits, already a big business, and peer-to-peer currencies, like Ven and Bitcoin, may finally become a more mainstream option for people buying and trading goods and services.  A new digital etiquette around shopping is coming.

Now imagine a world where you can buy “Digital Credits” online and use them for all of your digital services, data usage and consumption of content universally including: Entertainment, Internet, Voice, Gaming, Apps and Mobile Devices. It will be a new way to control your monthly spending and to allocate usage amongst family members.  You only pay for what you need and what you consume. It will not matter how many service providers you have, your digital wallet app will deal with them, just like online bill pay today. You can even refresh your wallet on the go. And no more monthly bill stack.

And who knows, maybe the people with the most Digital Kred and Klout will get free Digital Credits in their virtual gift bags and gifting suites in the future.

 

Prediction #3: In the future, when you die your “Cloud” and its password will be handed down in your will to your family, just like your belongings.

Spark: On the eve of Steve Job’s death I put a thought into the Twittersphere, “I wonder if you can download apps in heaven?” I was obviously thinking about Steve going to heaven, as was New Yorker magazine, if you have seen their latest cover. As I thought about the awful news that hit the world, I wondered who would take care of all of Steve’s iCloud content- his personal collection of music, films, shows, pictures, games, documents, etc. after he was gone.  His family? The company? A museum?

Cloud service—storage of documents, data and media on servers rather than on personal memory devices like hard drives—is hot business in 2011. Everyone is getting in the game. Popular services include Amazon Cloud Drive, Apple iCloud,  Google Cloud Suite and the very popular Dropbox.

As we get used to storing and sharing our personal documents, music, videos and pictures with each other in the cloud, this will become part of our legacy that we leave behind. Just like that box of family photos you have stored somewhere or grandma’s favorite recipes that get handed down.

Now imagine a world where you put your Cloud’s password into your legal will or “virtual will” and designate it to someone in the case of your death. There will be a business around helping a family with the passing on of the Cloud and to help sort through, reorganize and share all its “belongings” with family members. Future generations will be given a Cloud account when they are born to fill it with great things throughout life. Those embarrassing childhood pictures you may not want to share? Game over.

Will any of these predictions happen? We will just have to wait and see.

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                       The New Primster and Other Observations of SS 2012

Human Sense: In uncertain times, two key emotional needs have historically become more pronounced when it comes to fashion and style.

1)      A longing for the comfort of the past

2)      A sense of control

Many of the Spring/Summer 2011 Runway reports that have been coming out speak to Nostalgia. This has been an on-going trend for the past few seasons. Retro themes such as: Color blocking, Jewel tones, Neons, Florals, Farmer’s daughters and 20s inspired decadence are all the rage on the Catwalk this month. And Women will continue to gravitate towards these styles come next Spring as they long for the comfort of the past.

However, there is a new more aggressive Fashion Style emerging and with that, a new Female Spirit. And a new “it-girl” look will be born next Spring. She is Bolder and more Unapologetic, yet tasteful at the same time. Aggressive fashion will feed the psychological need to feel and appear more in Control in the turbulent times ahead.

(Inkling) Battle Chic: Many designers are gearing women up for a tough battle in tough times. Camouflage, Warrior Princess and Fight club themes were seen on the runways of Herve Leger , Tommy Hilfiger, Y-3, Alexander Wang and many others.

(Inkling)Show off:  The Sheer trend has been going for a few seasons, but it will continue to grow even more popular next year. As people cling to what is “authentic and true” again, women will unapologetically show the world who they really are. Sheer styles and details from Prabal Garung, Sophie Theallet, Adam and Vera Wang will reign supreme in the Spring.

(Inkling) The Primster: The new “it-girl” will be a little bit Hipster and a little bit Prepster. I am calling her the “Primster”.  This new girl carries herself with confidence uptown, downtown and around town.  Always appropriate, but always with an edge. Whether it is the Royal girls, Kate and Pippa’s, influence on the Hipster or the Cool girls, Pamela Love and Becka Diamond’s, influence on the Prepster, this look is the next big thing and will be the most fun to put together in the Spring. Labels like Proenza Schouler, Jeremy Scott and Rag & Bone get it, so grab it before it’s gone.

Business Sense: Designers and Retailers will be successful with maketing the Spring/Summer 2012 Season if they can tap into the female customer’s emotional need for Yesteryear, but more importantly this new spirit of Bold, Unapologetic and In Control.

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                                                     Summer Camp is Hot (for Adults)

 Human Sense: “In recent years, the number of specialized camp opportunities for adults has grown significantly,” says Peg L. Smith, chief executive officer of The American Camp Association (ACA).

An increasing amount of Adults are going back to “Camp” to escape and de-stress, tap into childhood pleasures and for personal growth. Today, there are Adult Camp Experiences that cover the gamut of learning and fun from Rock & Roll to Wine and even Gladiator training. The number of Adult Camp Experiences will continue to grow over the next 5 years.  

(Inkling) The Glamptons: The summer of 2011 in the Hamptons epitomized Adults going back to Camp. The hottest new place to hang this past summer came from the crew behind Surflodge called Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk (www.kingandgrove.com). This upscale resort with a casual vibe on an old camp ground had Hamptonites and Hipsters alike flocking all summer long to hear live music, enjoy food from the folks behind the Fat Radish in NYC and play ping pong in the Magic Garden before heading off to the cabins.

At the end of the summer, the same crowd took over Southampton to attend the Escape to NY Festival for 3 days of art, music and interactive performances. Patti Smith, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and food by the hippest NYC food trucks kept the crowd happy on site, while just down the road people “Glamped Out” overnight in lavish tee-pees and tents.

(Inkling) Catwalk Campers: Lots of Adult Campers are popping up on the SS 2012 Runways from the likes of such labels as Rag & Bone, Lela Rose and DSquared2.

(Inkling) Band Camp: There are now 85 different Adult Music Camps around the U.S. for people to choose from. “It’s just like this one time at Band Camp” has a whole new meaning.

(Inkling) Tokyo’s Yama Girls: Stylish girls who prefer hiking and “power spots” to Harajuku have made the hiking skirt the “it” fashion statement and hiking a national trend in Tokyo. From Festivals to weekend adventure trips, Yama Girls and Camp Chic is all the rage in Japan.

Business Sense: Tapping into the need for Adults to emotionally go back to Camp will create new business opportunities in the years to come. Creating unique, one-of-a-kind Escapist, Educational or Personal Growth experiences will be the keys for success.

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