The Latest

Sep 29, 2014

#Branding Moment: Your Content vs. “Their” Content

As always, I preach your written and visual content is important to the progress of your brand. It is ever changing based on the needs of the consumer along with any outside and internal entity that is invested in the success of the brand.  For most content marketing professionals, it is important to keep abreast of all things associated to the brand in order to present the organization in the best possible light. 

How do you control, monitor and express your brand’s mission and vision in the midst of a situation that is out of its control? Recently, I was in conversation with a person who I will call Katie (name changed due to severity of the issue).  Katie used a low cost travel provider called Megabus to travel from Chicago to Houston one way. According to its website, 

Megabus.com is the first, low-cost, express bus service to offer city center-to-city center travel for as low as $1 via the Internet. Since launching in April 2006, megabus.com has served more than 30 million customers throughout more than 100 cities across North America.  Our luxury single and double deckers offer free wi-fi, at-seat plug ins, panoramic windows and a green alternative way to travel. 

It is a brand extension of Coach USA, Inc., a luxury charter and tour bus company in the US. 

During her travels, Megabus made a stop in Memphis, TN.  Upon Katie’s arrival, the other passengers and herself were met by the City of Memphis’ Police Department Drug Tactical Team.  Led by an African American man, his team brought out a drug sniffing dog to check the luggage of those arriving to the city via the low cost travel provider. The passengers were not allowed to get off the bus until the dog smelled every piece of baggage. According to Katie, the Megabus staff said that this is just how Memphis operates with Megabus from time to time. 

After the everyone retrieved their belongings, it appeared to Katie that the Drug Tactical team was not done.  The group stopped a family (mother and her two adult sons) and asked to search their luggage. Nothing was found.  Actually, Katie felt like Memphis PD wanted to search her baggage. The woman was carrying a 62’ suitcase due traveling to Houston for business and friends for the month.  She believed law enforcement was on the bus in route as well. The family mentioned contacting a lawyer to see if there were any grounds to sue Megabus due to their inconvenience in Memphis, TN. 

As a branding professional, Katie realized the city of Memphis destroyed the image and potential revenue for Megabus and its parent company, Coach USA in one brief moment. Many people were left with the thought, “Should I continue using Megabus and Coach USA?” Many were grumbling that this bus is a cost effective way of travel and now people were wondering where to look for other travel arrangements. 

How does a brand recover after an incident that is out its hands? Megabus (Coach USA) cannot control the government’s actions nor can they control the movements of its consumers.  Brands die daily at the hands of people who do not have directly involved with the entity, intentionally and unintentionally. 

On a personal note, I told Katie a great deal about the City of Memphis and its leadership based on my experience there. I wasn’t really surprised. They were more concerned about my physical pretty factor and martial status then caring for needs of those with mental and physical disabilities. 

 On a professional tip, I just have no words for Megabus but to drop the stop in Memphis. Let them take Greyhound or other travel outlets.  To other branding professionals, my question is, “What is your thoughts on this situation?”

Until Next Time, 

Ndidi

Source: Megabus/Youtube

Sep 26, 2014

#Frankly Friday: The Pretty Factor, Again!

What do you say to someone who tells you that you don’t use your pretty properly? Coming towards the end of 2014, woman in the workplace today are still fighting that same question that their ancestors have fought to dismiss many years ago. Sexism and ageism are still bothersome issues for the female business leader.   

Now, “Using Your Pretty”  is different from “Embracing Your Pretty”. Embracing means that you have accepted and realized value, internally and externally.  In my mind, “Embracing Your Pretty” leads to women using it properly.  I just get tired of the stares and murmuring of those who believe I could get further in my career if I used my pretty more effectively and efficiently in their world. “Their” only focus is the physical pretty. My focus is not only on my physical beauty but also my spiritual and intellectual beauty.  Yes, you can be beautiful and have book and street smarts. It is not an anomaly. 

To “use” your pretty physically, it has a lot to do with sexual prowess which is not going to become a professional debate.  I find “pretty” women who use their sexual gifts as a way to boost their career as powerless not powerful.  Everything physical comes to end, ultimately. As a woman, it is a gift to be able to give birth. From what I see not many women who use their physical “pretty” factor to achieve their calling survive, mentally, bodily and spiritually. Something has to die if you going to just focus on the physical to “make due”. 

At the end of the day, you have truly know yourself in order to realize how to “use your pretty” properly. Some will use only the physical while others will use facets of their beauty to make strides. It is up to you. 

Until Next Time, 

Ndidi

Photos: Google

Sep 23, 2014

FYI: Availability Changes

Good day, y’all! 

Starting Friday, September 26, 2014, my availability will change. I will not be available most mornings until the end of October. Don’t be afraid to contact me, though. I am still open to working on other projects in the midst of my availability change.  Please feel free to contact me via email (indigo7marketing@outlook.com) for any inquiries related to Indigo7 Marketing & Events & L’ Atelier Indigo7 by Ndidi O.   

Give me 24 to 48 hours to respond to all emails sent.  

Thanks, 

Ndidiamaka “Ndidi’ C. Onukogu, MBA

Sep 18, 2014 / 1 note

#Event Moment: Don’t Forget the Babies…..

Someone told me recently, “Don’t forget Children’s parties!” as I enter back into the realm of being a real time Event Planner/Designer instead of Consultant.  I chimed in and said, “I have never done children parties.”  He stated, “Well, if you can work with children and youth in a large church setting, honey; you can do kids parties.”  LOL! True…..

If you know me, you know have to research. I am looking at pictures and pinning on Pinterest. The next thing I know, I am watching David Tutera’s Celebrations and loved how he created a themed birthday party for a set of twins. One of the biggest things that I took from the episode is the relationship between Event Planner/Designer with the parents and other relatives. It is vital to maintain a line of communication in order to have a successful event based on the family setting.  The power struggle that can occur between the Planner and family can definitely dampen the mood and creativity of the child’s gathering.

The most important component of an event for a child or youth is the design of it.  In the church and non-profit setting, I would reach out to parents and community to see what was working for the children and build from there.  Creativity and activity are the most important programming factors for a child regardless of ability. 

As I surfed on Pinterest, these photos sparked my curiosity to create a themed event for children:

 

 

Ndidi

Photos: Pinterest 

Fringe is in this fall……
Shown: Brian Atwood Pipi Fringed Suede Booties 
Read more about how to dress your fall attire with a little fringe here: 
http://contributors.luckymag.com/post/fall-trend-fringe-alert
Sep 15, 2014

Fringe is in this fall……

Shown: Brian Atwood Pipi Fringed Suede Booties 

Read more about how to dress your fall attire with a little fringe here: 

http://contributors.luckymag.com/post/fall-trend-fringe-alert

Sep 15, 2014

#Branding Moment: Multicultural vs. Cultural/Lifestyle

In the past, branding and marketing was last to consider based on a strategy focused on finances and operations/logistics of a corporate entity. As we move towards 2015, the dialogue of branding and marketing has shown great strides to become an important discussion for a brand to survive.   To maintain a positive alliance among the branding professional and the business executives, communicating the needs of the consumer has become the forefront of importance for the survival of the marketing, branding and even the event professional within the corporate community.

For the consumer to win in product strategies, the branding and marketing professional have to be able to present the target audience in a manner that is efficient and effective to the brand. The problem that arises is the lack of understanding among the branding and marketing community on tactics and techniques used.  To make matters worse, the relationships among the branding and marketing professionals have become stagnant.  Today, miscommunication, mismanagement and misunderstanding are the issues that have caused corporate America to reconsider and refocus its dollars from marketing to another important facet of the brand.

From a personal experience, I found myself in a conundrum based on the terms, multicultural branding and lifestyle/cultural branding.  Recently, I was told that people felt that I was focusing on multicultural marketing/branding instead of a cultural/lifestyle focus due the fact that I’m African American.  “They” believed that I was confused about the terminology. To be transparent, the dialogue was coming from other minorities in the industry not those who are of Anglo descent.  LOL!

I’m very aware of the difference between the two forms of marketing/branding.  I don’t want to live in the past and I see a more promising focus on looking at branding/marketing, media and events from a lifestyle/cultural viewpoint.  In my opinion, multicultural marketing is very outdated.  It shows a separation of race among customers that needs to diminish to help with the overall race relations in the US.  

For those who are unfamiliar with multicultural marketing (also known as ethnic or cross-cultural marketing), the term is focused on a form of branding/marketing that is directed to one or more audiences of a specific race and/or ethnicity. It usually a group of individuals who do not fit the country’s majority culture usually deemed the “general market”.

An example of a multicultural marketing is the “My Black is Beautiful” campaign for Proctor and Gamble. The premise is to help the P&G African American female consumer to find beauty through various experiential marketing and branding efforts focused on brands like Covergirl and Pantene.  

The technical term for Lifestyle/Cultural branding is the following:

Branding that attempts to embody the interests, attitudes and opinions of a group or a culture. Each individual has an identity based on their choices, experiences, and background (e.g. ethnicity, social class, subculture, nationality, etc.).

My definition of Lifestyle/Cultural branding is the following:

Concepts that exemplify the standards and ambitions of a society for the purpose of maintaining a certain existence through a brand.

An example of a Lifestyle/Cultural Branding campaign is the Honey Maid “This is Wholesome” Advertising Campaign.  From the focus, they depicted various family settings from the single parent to same sex relationships.

I bring those definitions to the branding and marketing community so that we began to get on the same page. I am not asking for you to agree with the terms but keep abreast with what is moving a consumer to purchase products and services.  Many brands that have adopted the Lifestyle/Cultural tactic of branding have seen great movements in sales and consumer base.  It is looking at the consumer from a holistic standpoint and helping them move through life with ease not hostility by creating products and services that fit their movements in society.

Just my opinion,

Ndidi

Source: Youtube

 

Sep 12, 2014

#FranklyFriday: Fanfare Isn’t Enough….

While scrolling through the usual entertainment blogs, I noticed several posts about a recent interview between Ebony Magazine and the Oscar nominated actress, Taraji P. Henson.  I figured it was the usual promotional rounds since the actress has a new movie (No Good Deed) coming out today. As I continued to read, I was taking back by a statement she made about her overall career and image. 

She states the following:

I’m still treated like I’m on the D-list,” Henson acknowledges. “I’m still being considered with actresses who haven’t done half the stuff I’ve achieved. When people tell me no, I get hyped,” she shares. “Because when I prove that I can and will, I love watching people eat crow.”

image

In my eyes, Henson is a crossover hit. She has worked with several prominent producers and entities in her industry. The thought that she wasn’t an “A lister” didn’t make sense to me and others in the community.  I’m a fan, though.  In reality, I’m not with her when she is bustling from LA to NYC for casting calls and branding meetings.   In the midst of my disappointment to Taraji’s philosophy on her career, it dawned on me what she was trying to convey in the interview.  You can be prominent but not wanted due to someone else’s insecurities and desires. Her survival is based on another’s requirements. If she is not seen as relevant or fun by the executives, funders and/or other actors, why have her on set? For those in the entertainment, sports and music industries, you understand exactly what I am talking.  “They” make the decision. The fans don’t….

I feel the same way about my career.  Even with the fanfare, my industry doesn’t make me feel like an expert. “They” makes me feel like the assistant.  I have over 15 years of marketing, writing, and event experience with a Master of Business Administration from a noted university. To humble myself in the room with people who don’t have anything on my capabilities and expertise, it’s starting to bother me more and more. 

The real conversation is who are “They”, anyway.  Folks, I have no idea. You probably wonder who the “they” in your life are. You’re doing all that you can and in effective way. You still feel like the stepchild in the situation.  For some reason, “They” control a major component of your livelihood.  Why? How?

 Everytime, I open a door to see if I can catch “they”; those jokers jump off of a bridge or something.  I was told once that I should stop worrying about “they” and live my life. I smiled. In my mind though, my thoughts are to kill, steal and destroy “they”, figuratively.  It’s a mind game. I play to win.  In comparison to Taraji, I would rather see them burn in hell than to eat crow as she says…. I can be a rather petty person. Ask about me….I just flip a coin and go.

Overall, stay true to yourself.  “They” want you to conform so that “they” can control you with ease. Eventually, “they” will appear and you find the reason why…..

Until Next Time,

Ndidi

Source: Ebony Magazine/Straight From The A

 

Sep 4, 2014

#Event Moment: Fashion Forward

Since we’re in the beginning stages of New York Fashion Week, I wondered how the fashion greats will present their Spring 2015 collections to the community at large.  From pop up shops to dinners, the style community will be using creative event design tactics to showcase its brands in a manner that is visibly appealing to the consumer, buyers, wardrobe stylists and media.

Originality, creativity and imagination are necessary to facilitate a positive physical showing for those in the fashion industry.  As well, focusing on retail and style professionals is an important aspect to remember in the preparation of a fashion focused event.

To illustrate what a potential style event encompasses; peruse through the pictures below for ideas:

 

Fashion focused events are not as bad as it may sound or look.  In my history as an event planner/designer, those events were always the most fun, creatively and logistically.

Ndidi

Photo: Pinterest 

One of my favorite looks to hang out at a music festival…..
To read more, go to http://contributors.luckymag.com/post/fun-music-style-music-festival-looks
Sep 3, 2014

One of my favorite looks to hang out at a music festival…..

To read more, go to http://contributors.luckymag.com/post/fun-music-style-music-festival-looks

No #Branding Moment today due to the Labor Day Holiday…..It will back two weeks from now on Monday, Sept. 15th. Enjoy your holiday!!

Ndidi
Sep 1, 2014 / 2 notes

No #Branding Moment today due to the Labor Day Holiday…..It will back two weeks from now on Monday, Sept. 15th. Enjoy your holiday!!

Ndidi