penny for my thoughts


It is said in marketing and communication circles that all PR is good PR. There might be some truth in that, because your brand or organization is getting impressions and people are talking about you.

However, I tend to believe that the long term viability of brand success should rely on good marketing and PR strategies that are in line with company values.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be clever or push the envelope, but you should always stay true to what you stand for to build your brand.

Check back here often to read “A Penny For My Thoughts” and see what brands and experiences are influencing me and what has me talking.


Zombies Make For Entertaining & Meaningful Content – Not Just for Halloween

Posted by on Oct 26, 2011 in blog | 0 comments

I’ve never been a fan of horror movies.  In fact, Gremlins gave me nightmares for months, so zombies are definitely not on my radar.  Quite frankly neither are teenage vampires or werewolves, but that’s another story.    However, I am a fan of great content that engages consumers and I don’t expect that from the government.  So I was surprised to see that the CDC has recently achieved some PR genius for the nominal cost of $87.

So what did they do?  They wrote a blog, just like they always do.  They covered the mundane facts about emergency preparedness and reminded the readers to stock food, water and medications, have access to important paperwork and tools, etc.  So why is this content so interesting and how did they get over 3 million views and 537 comments, not to mention cover stories in the LA Times & USA Today?  Well, they wrote about “How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse” Read about it here.    As it turns out, your emergency kit requires many of the same things for zombie attacks as it does for natural disasters.

What a clever employee at the CDC understood is that the content wasn’t new, and it wasn’t  interesting and not enough people were getting the facts.  How could they flip the script and find a more compelling and contemporary theme that would make people pay attention.   Zombies were cool…and the CDC message has gotten to the masses.  In fact, they now have t-shirts and posters for zombie apocalypse and recently distributed a comic book version at Comic Con to rave reviews.

Great content needs to be easy to understand, but also interesting to read.   Good content is irrelevant if you are the only one that reads it.  Ask yourself – are you, your message or your brand ready for a zombie attack?  More importantly, are you willing to take a risk to engage new audiences and create exposure for your brand.


For Love Of Chocolate & All Things Marketing

Posted by on Oct 7, 2011 in blog | 1 comment

I think it’s only fitting that my first blog post capture the essence of who I am and the things I celebrate. Marketing and Chocolate of course. A little over a year ago, I had the opportunity to hear Katrina Markoff speak at a brand marketing conference. She is the owner and head chocolatier of Vosges Haut-Chocolat.

What I was reminded of as she spoke, was how important it is to fuse your passions into your career and celebrate what you know every day…it is far easier to be successful. It is also easier to find the shiny penny. What Katrina loved was chocolate, world travel and cooking. She merged those ideas into a luxury chocolate brand that redefines the luxury chocolate market.


Vosges has a tagline of peace, love and chocolate and their mission statement defines the core of what they stand for… “The Vosges Haut-Chocolat mission is to create a luxury chocolate experience rooted in a sensory journey of bringing about awareness to indigenous cultures through the exploration of spices, herbs, roots, flowers, fruits, nuts, chocolate and the obscure. We invite you to be aware and open to the many cultures, artists and theories of the world’s people, through the medium of chocolate. What better way to learn about a culture, person or object than through eating. If we can embrace the idea of trying something new such as the perplexing oddity of curry and chocolate, we just may come one step closer to bringing peace to the world through chocolate. One Love, One Chocolate.”

This mission is maybe a little complex, and some might find it pretentious…but it’s clear that they understand and maintain the culture of their company and the products they create. Before I even understood their brand, I understood the connection. Katrina took me on a journey to touch the different chocolates, to see their different colors and glosses, to smell the nuance of spices – AND I HADN’T EVEN GOTTEN TO EAT IT YET! But I’ll admit, when I took the first bite, my experience with the chocolate was even more amazing than I’d hoped. It was the build up to the eating experience.


There lies the even greater truth in the Vosges brand. They have beautiful purple boxes that exude quality, their chocolate is top quality, their herbs hand selected…their stories, captivating. The shiny penny was elevating the brand experience of chocolate by creating a personal connection and an emotional experience. What started as a variety of unique truffles has morphed into a variety of brand extensions that include candy bars, cake mixes and gift boxes to name a few. And each item invites you on a journey. Trust me, I love Hershey’s, Godiva, Dove and others; they make good and bad days better (my personal trainer would disagree) – but none create the experience of Vosges. Congratulations Vosges on creating a beautiful shiny penny.