So, WABC/Disney pulled its programming from Cablevision overnight. Many who know me will say, “But Sheila, you don’t watch TV. What do you care?” Well, tru dat. However, I am in media. And I am in branding. And I am in brand strategy, which means I need to know what’s happening across the board. Most important to strategy is knowing how communications are being sent and received between brands and a consumers; and these days, that communication goes both ways.

This isn’t breaking news.  Many of us have been on the Cluetrain Manifesto for a while. You’d think that corporations, owners of those major brands, would know this stuff by now.  But as WABC/Disney has shown, they’ve pulled their programming from Cablevision on one of the most viewed (read: advertising placement dollars) of the year.  If I’m a media planner, I’m going to be considering my placements in major markets and WABC/Disney’s relationships in that market. WABC/Disney set a precedent telling everyone that they’re not afraid to pull the trigger in a negotiation, even when the casualties are their own advertisers and end-consumers.

And so in honor of WABC/Disney’s gross display of antiquated operations and strategies, here are the 95 Theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto:

  1. Markets are conversations.
  2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
  3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice. Read the rest of this entry »
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(Can’t be treating my academic essays like redheaded step-children. I have to put ALL of the work on the fridge! Enjoy!)

100 years into our post-industrialized, modern existence and technology is most often reconciled in beneficial terms (“progress” and “advancement”) that can be utilized for personal or consumptive profit.  However, we often fail to recognize the impact of emergent technologies in shaping the politics of identity, as well as the sociopolitical trajectories of our habitus.  Like an awkward teenager, we have struggled through the formative rites of passage.  When performance and technology synchronized well, progress proved a momentary coup.  But we have realized in retrospect that these moments were greatly evanescent and not maintainable by the antiquated expectations of behavior we, as the audience, posit to those who perform for our idealistic benefit on an ever-amplifying stage of technological succession.  Old doctrines of information exchange must be reconsidered; instead of changing our performance in an attempt to project and reinforce an outdated and constructed ideology, we must strive for a level of maturity allowing both the active and passive participants the freedom to exchange in an authentic and trustworthy manner.

If we compare how tenets of ritual and rhetoric were the means of integrating technological systems in the mid-19th Century as suggested by the sociological observations of de Tocqueville, Veblen and Hawthorne (Marx) Read the rest of this entry »

Like many out there, I didn’t have a Valentine this year.  Halfway through the day, I broadcast through various forms of interactive technologies that I had, in fact, killed Cupid.  This breaking news was met with much lauding from both my single and partnered friends.  I mean really, who actually likes Valentine’s Day?

My last Valentine was in 2008.  We broke up 2-weeks later; just as the beautiful parrot tulips he’d sent on the “big” day were dying.  The year before that was “crazy Brett.” A) February 14th was his birthday, so the day was kind of hijacked for that purpose. B) He was a big whig at the toy fair in NYC, which always lands during this week. And, C) He was certifiable.  I never expected much, and he didn’t disappoint.  LOL  He was also kind of liminal in being that first “boyfriend” after a significant and long term relationship. Last year, because of my dad’s illness, I wasn’t dating.  And this year, well…it takes two to tango.  Or to fire up a hot Salsa Cubana.

Earlier today, I was working on some research for a paper/presentation I must deliver in 50 days. Ralph Waldo Emerson was my de facto Monday Morning Boyfriend.  I thought I’d share one specific passage that punctured me pretty hard, as I am certain it will you:

I MUST BE MYSELF. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you.  If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should.  I will not hide my tastes or aversions.  I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and the moon whatever inly rejoices me, and the heart appoints.  If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not, I will not burt you and myself by hypocritical attentions.  If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own.  I do this not selfishly, but humbly and truly.

Cited: Emerson, Ralph and Richard Whelan. Self-Reliance. New York: B. Tower, 1991. p.81.

As I was hanging out and doing my sponge-like absorption of the vibes shooting left and right from the leading-edge thinkers in this emerging culture-cum-business age at the Chief Culture Officer Boot Camp, Lane Wallace was offering up their observation that “students needed to learn how to think critically and creatively every bit as much as they needed to learn finance or accounting” via their NYTimes (02/13/10) article.

People often ask me if I’m back to school for my M.B.A. I’m usually not very good at holding back the look of “ew, no!” that shoots across my face, but I’m trying to be better about it.  I have plenty of Ivy-clad MBA’s in my circle of friends that could buy me 10-times over to remind me that not all business school types are pulseless and blank drones who suck the vibrancy from culture without concern for the aesthetic value of life experience in the name of capitalism, one spreadsheet at a time.  Yes, I’m a capitalist.  I’m a producer.  I create capital and culture.

Ironically, I will (generally) explain that I am pursuing the equivalent of a “C-MBA” (Creative Masters in Business Administration).  I’m blessed to be in a situation to cherry-pick, what I feel, is the best of the best in applied business strategy, anthropological and sociological understandings, psychological theory (from environmental and cognitive to behavior), and applied design management. However, I will walk away with an “M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies,” which based on most hierarchical classification systems in corporate America, will completely keep me off the radar of most senior/executive-level hiring opportunities — even those I would totally rock. Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve found a man who understands me.  It sounds impossible, I know.  But Grant McCracken has figured me out.

Grant has been in my life for about two months, and it’s been a culturally-charged lovefest ever since (Even his wife, Pam, is gorgeous — such a charmed life, Mr. McCracken!). I crossed his path (the intersection of anthropology and economics — yes, economics. I know I just lost half of you) when I stumbled upon the new Masters of Branding program at the School of Visual Arts.  Listed as one of the guest speakers, I learned about Grant as I researched the program in detail (an excellent program — very exciting in the world of branding!).

Chief Culture Officer was released a few months ago.  The book is a celebration for us ‘both/and-ers’ in this world.
Many of us are creatives, but have an extraordinary aptitude for business.  For us, going to business school would be akin to a lobotomy.  Some of us are more structured business-types, but have an incredible interest and curiosity in culture and its influence on business.

I read it in one (lengthy) all-nighter.  I can’t use life-changing or inspiring to describe it, because that would suggest a new way of seeing the world.  Grant’s discourse on the significance of cultural reference and understanding on the future of business IS the way I see the world. Validating and optimistic is Chief Culture Officer. And yesterday was further evidence of this.  But more on that in a minute. First, a little more about Chief Culture Officer…this is the necessary future of business as Grant sees it: Read the rest of this entry »

This is my first Saturday at home in a month.  Mid-January into usually mid-February is always back-to-back-to-back-to-back weekends of fencing – not that I’m complaining.  It just means that after the holidays, I hit the ground running.  In an ideal world, I have all of my ducks in a row and am prepared for it.  However, in my temporary world of higher education, it causes a bit of havoc because it happens at exactly the same time as the new semester.  So, no matter how well I plan and clean and prepare for the tsunami, a month later and I’m looking around my apartment and at my to-do list with shock and awe.  How do dust bunnies and laundry multiply like this?!?!  And suddenly, my once clean calendar is filled to the brim with readings and due dates. Oh, and then there are the bills. Yeah, those.  Egads!

As of the writing of this post, Read the rest of this entry »

My magic number seems to be around “350.” I’m not a “friend collector” in the social world of onlineness. If I don’t know you in person, chances are good that you’re not a friend on my Facebook. With Twitter, I’m a little more liberal. It’s open, but I’m not actively recruiting eyeballs for “my brand.” I engage with those who engage with me and will send the occasional “@” to those I follow who don’t reciprocate for whatever reason.  If you follow me (@nycredhead), you will see a lot of RT’s from those I respect in the branding/media worlds, as well as friendly banter with long time friends.  I throw out ideas and questions and comments to anyone willing to take note or to engage with me. Admittedly some days, I feel like I’m yapping into an abyss (like yesterday, for instance).  On those days, take a break and find something else to do. Work? Oh, perhaps.

Yesterday’s Tweet: “Nobody loves me. I’m talking to myself. *sigh* I’ll just be over here minding my own….licking my wounds…don’t mind me….” Read the rest of this entry »