Tag Archives: foundation

The Secret Sauce of Super Success

July 26, 2016 by

I hope the overly alliterative title tipped you off that I will not, except possibly in jest, divulge the recipe to any sort of magical marketing elixir (patent pending). And it is not because I’m keeping all the sure-fire, sales-inducing snake oil. Unlike your spouse vis-à-vis the last box of Thin Mints.

From the rise of psychoanalytics in the 1950s to today’s emphasis on big data and its avalanche of Über-granular personal information, marketers have been, and remain, fascinated by what makes people buy the gadgets, groceries, and gewgaws lining retail shelves and Amazon Wish Lists. Yet despite the tireless push to crack marketing’s enigma machine, it turns out the formula for effective advertising contains nothing but variables. As I recall, most marketing majors went to business school to avoid algebra.

Sauce1Formulas, schemes, and promises of sky-high ROIs abound; yet the great failing of all such formulas—aside from the resultant stylized marketing plans and creative work—is that they assume consumers behave in rational ways. Ways that can be measured, predicted, influenced, and repeated. Which, if you have ever met an actual consumer, seems pretty far-fetched. Another counter-school of thought posits that people base purchase decisions on pure emotion; which might well explain the CEOs new Boxster, but less so your recently acquired case of Flonase.

As suggested by Bob Hoffman (co-founder of Hoffman Lewis and author of The Ad Contrarian blog) in Quantum Advertising, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. People sometimes act rationally and sometimes act emotionally. Often within the space of a few seconds. Often regarding the same product. Anyone who has ever interacted with actual consumers, or at least stood in line at the customer service counter at Mega-Lo-Mart, knows the customer is not always right. In fact, they are quite often nuts. (You would think this is fairly common knowledge in the halls of most ad agencies, but the desire to sell something concrete—and companies’ preferences for purchasing the same—often creates a cognitive dissonance that is difficult to dissuade.)

So what, exactly, is a brand to do to combat consumers’ idiosyncrasies? The answer, like most things in marketing, is surprisingly simple, yet more difficult to achieve: be consistent. Consistent branding is more than routinely putting your brand out there. It is routinely putting the same brand out there. Not in rote, repetitive ways. Your message still has to be inventive, relevant, entertaining, etc. But it must also be consistent across the board with regards to tone, personality, promises, etc.

Because when you embrace constancy, you are positioned for those moments when consumers really do need (rational) or want (emotional) you. Your product and message may not be relevant to a person every time they see it. But that moment a person needs a dry cleaner, new car, HVAC service, or even an attorney, you are already in their evoked set of options. Not a nebulous entity that does something possibly related to their need, but a known brand that now must market themselves less to close the actual sale.

Constancy is not easy, especially in this day of failing faster and rapid iteration. But those things should enhance consistent branding, not supplant it. Keep your foundation, your core, the soul of your brand unchanging, and tweak your tactics as you go. Always fresh, but always focused. It’s not exactly a formula, but it is a pretty decent recipe.

Jason Fox is the founder of AdSavior.net and the chin behind @leeclowsbeard.

Jason Fox is the founder of AdSavior.net and the chin behind @leeclowsbeard.

The Science of Charity

May 21, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Kali Baker knows well how the better angels of our nature think. She knows that although they are angels, they still love a little competition. They love variety, too. They love prizes. Like their less-noble brethren, they even like to party.

Omaha Gives 2014, the 24-hour-long, online telethon Baker organizes, is as much a psychological experiment as it is a charity. Still, the bottom line isn’t rocket science: The event raises a heck of a lot of money for a heck of a lot of Omaha charities. Last year, in its first outing in the city, this online telethon put on by the Omaha Community Foundation raised $3 million for charities in the area.

“It was just remarkable to watch,” says Baker, who is director of communications for the Foundation. “It’s such a different type of event, we didn’t know for sure what we were getting into. It just felt so good when we saw the numbers.”

Impressive numbers. From midnight to midnight one day last spring, nearly 11,000 people made online donations to 318 participating non-profits.

This year’s Omaha Gives 2014 will be held May 21. At 12:01 a.m. that Wednesday, you can go to omahagives24.org and donate to any one of more than 500 charities in the region.

Here’s how it works. Area non-profits sign up to be a part of the event. All the participating charities are then included on a sort of “Big Board” on the Omaha Gives website. On May 21, people can begin going to the website and donating to any one (or, of course, any number) of the charities listed. Each charity’s name on the board with have a real-time running tally of the money they’ve received.

So, here’s where the mind games come in. The website becomes a scoreboard. All of a sudden, somebody is winning. As is human nature: The volunteers and donors for the five hundred or so other charities decide it would be neat for them to be the leader.

Baker calls that “incentivizing” the event. It gets better.

Last year, many of the charities held events during the day. Donors and volunteers gathered, had fun and very often got on their smart phones and donated. Also, as the excitement built through the day, they contacted their friends, who contacted their friends. That social media thing. Pretty soon, the event was drawing hundreds of new donors and volunteers to the charities involved.
Then came the prizes for hitting certain donation targets. This year, non-profits will compete for prizes in three categories depending on the group’s annual budget.

The Omaha Community Foundation also will be offering matching funds. In addition, each hour, one donation will be randomly selected to be augmented with an additional $1,000.

That’s yet another clever carrot.

“Things can get a bit slow at some points, especially in those early hours of the day,” Baker says. “But that $1,000 each hour should get people fired up to stay involved all day long.”

One group that benefitted greatly was The Union for Contemporary Art. The young non-profit (started in 2011) hosted a lunchtime pizza party the day of the event last year as well as an open house for donors. Numerous donations were made from donors onsite, but most of the donations came through social media, says Brigitte McQueen Shew, The Union’s executive director.

“I basically spent the entire day jumping online and reminding people that even a gift of $10…would make a huge difference.”

More than 200 people donated a total of $13,000, “A huge amount for us,” she says. The Union’s effort earned them one of those $1,000 bonus prizes.

“Omaha Gives basically enabled us to launch (programs) years before I thought we’d have the funds available to make it happen,” she says. “We are truly looking forward to the event this year.”
Sara Boyd, president and CEO of the Foundation, echoes that sentiment. There’s good reason to believe Omaha Gives could grow exponentially in coming years.

“As we look at these event in other communities, the second year presents a huge opportunity to get more people involved in giving,” she says. “People who didn’t know it was happening last year or didn’t understand the premise have a greater opportunity to participate.”

The Omaha Gives day is modeled after a few similar 24-hour, online fundraisers that have popped up in recent years around the country. Because of the immense success of this fundraising formula, Baker says, more and more will likely be showing up around the country.

“It just has been proven to work on numerous levels,” she says. “It has an amazing way of getting people involved, even people who have never been involved before.”

That may be the greatest power of this fundraising formula. Thanks primarily to that intense social media burst, it’s estimated that 30 percent of last year’s donations at the Omaha event came from first-time donors.

“I think one of the great things about Omaha Gives is that it gave us a vehicle for raising awareness about our programs and work,” McQueen Shew says.

That new awareness, and all those first-time donors, means a whole new army of volunteers and donors for those charities as they move forward.

“It’s not just about the money raised, it’s about introducing a great number of new people to a great number of non-profits,” Baker says. “All these neat incentives are just ways to promote giving and bring the community together in new ways.”

Omaha Gives “is empowering, accessible, and meaningful,” Boyd says. “That’s especially important as we seek to develop a new audience of givers in our community.”

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Boxes of Cheer

January 5, 2014 by
Photography by Justin Barnes

Northwestern Mutual employees recently teamed with the Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Foundation to deliver 170 boxes of cheer to children suffering from cancer and other ailments.

“Look, Mom, it’s a glow sword!” 5-year-old Sammy Nahorny chirps as he digs through a bright green Cheeriodicals box packed to the brim with smile-inducing toys, crafts, and more. Sammy, who lives in Columbus, is battling neuroblastoma.

His mother, Erin, is the recipient of her own Cheeriodicals box, this one loaded with reading materials (including Omaha Magazine and HerFamily) along with other grown-up goodies. “We haven’t seen a smile like that on Sammy’s face in three or four days.” She beams as her son shifts his attention to adorning his fingers with light rings and laser talons. “Whoever came up with this idea is a genius,” she adds. “What a fabulous boost it is to have you here doing this for Sammy.”

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Cheeriodicals is a web-based company offering a wide array of customizable gift boxes for all seasons and reasons. The boxes delivered that day were carefully curated so that each child would receive age- and gender-specific surprises. Two Men and a Truck donated its time and people to transport the treasures to the hospital.

“This was a wonderful event that brought our team together to help give back to the community and spend time with so many special children and their families at Children’s Hospital,” says Michael Tews, managing partner of Northwestern Mutual of Nebraska. “We were honored to have the opportunity to bring a smile to so many families.”

“It was amazing that Northwestern Mutual could join us in this way,” says Alyssa DeFrain, development officer of the Foundation. “We could tell they had a great time getting to know our young patients, but what they didn’t get to see was that those little green boxes continued to bring big cheer to the kids and families for many days after the event.”

BB and CC Creams

September 24, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

You may have seen the commercials with actress Kate Hudson and other makeup-brand personalities talking about their revolutionary BB and CC creams. You might also have thought, “I have no idea what those words mean.”

That’s because BB and CC creams are fairly new to Americans—or at least to most Americans in the Midwest.

The original version of what is now BB Cream was created in the 1960s by German dermatologist Dr. Christine Schrammek to protect and heal the skin of her patients. Eventually, the cream found its way into Korea and Japan in the 1980s and was advanced. In fact, BB cream became the well-kept beauty secret of many Asian celebrities. Now, however, these creams are a huge hit in practically every beauty market across the world, including our own.

Still, most people don’t exactly know what the creams are (or, more importantly, what they do). Fortunately, Joel Schlessinger, M.D., FAAD, FAACS, of LovelySkin in Omaha has the answers.

First of all, BB Cream stands for “beauty balm,” and CC Cream stands for “color corrective.” Again, these words might mean little if you don’t know what balms and color correctors do.

According to Dr. Schlessinger, BB is a multitasking cream that serves as a moisturizer, primer, foundation, and even sunscreen. CC also functions in several ways, providing the same benefits as BB but with an added bonus: color correction. For women with uneven skin tone, acne, or redness, CC seems to be the better option.

“CC creams can be very beneficial for acne-prone or oily complexions due to their lighter formulation and full coverage,” Dr. Schlessinger adds. “Investing in a good CC cream can shorten your daily routine, enhance your skin’s appearance, and prevent premature aging.”

So what’s the main difference between the two creams? “Coverage and weight,” says Dr. Schlessinger. “CC creams tend to be lighter with better coverage while BB creams are heavier and typically don’t offer full concealing benefits.”

Of course, both save you money and time. For example, one CC cream can replace foundation, moisturizing cream, facial primer, sunscreen, and concealer. Let’s face it—anything that shortens a daily beauty routine and lessens makeup expense is greatly appreciated.

Wondering where you can get BB and CC creams? Pharmacies, grocery stores, makeup outlets, skin care retailers, online shopping—they’re everywhere. Budget-friendly brands like Almay, Clinique, Garnier, and L’Oreal have begun releasing their own versions. Makeup store Sephora carries several professional makeup brands. And, of course, Dr. Schlessinger’s LovelySkin sells brands like Supergoop!, jane iredale, Stila, Dr. Brandt, Dr. Dennis Gross, and B. Kamins.

LovelySkin is located near Oak View Mall at 2929 Oak View Drive. For more information about these products, visit lovelyskin.com.

Quit Aging Yourself

March 25, 2013 by

Every year, we spend tons of money to keep our faces looking youthful and tight. But what we don’t realize is that some of our bad beauty habits are actually making us look older than we are. Here are some seemingly “no-brainer” tips that will help you keep your face looking young and beautiful without spending a fortune on anti-aging products:

Find the Right Foundation.

Every woman has been guilty of those embarrassing foundation lines at some point in her life. What you might not know is that the appearance of those lines is usually a signal that you’re not using the right kind or color of foundation. Even worse, using the wrong foundation can speed up the process of aging of your skin. The best way to prevent both of these problems is to find the best foundation for your skin.

Before you even think about brands, you need to determine what kind of foundation works best with your skin type. Have dry skin? Look for “moisturizing” or “hydrating” foundations. Have oily skin? Look for “oil-free” or “matte” foundations. Have a combination of oily and dry skin? Look for “cream-to-powder” foundations. Or if that seems like too much of a hassle, look for mineral foundations, which go great with any skin type—especially sensitive skin.

After determining the right kind of foundation, you need to match the color to your skin tone. Despite what you might have heard about testing the color on your wrist, the best place to test a foundation color is actually on your jawline, as this is the area where foundation is most noticeable (Remember those lines?). Make sure you’re as close to natural light as possible—like outside or near a window—while testing colors since indoor lighting can make you choose to dark of a color. Whichever color blends or disappears into your skin tone during the test is the color you should get.

Don’t Overpluck Your Brows.

Some women prefer professional eyebrow threading or waxing. But for those of us that prefer to save cash and time, plucking is the way to go. The only problem with plucking is that, too often, we overpluck our brows, giving us an aged look. Actually, the fuller the brow, the more youthful you look. Now, “fuller” doesn’t mean you let your eyebrows go ungroomed—just don’t pluck them too thin.

Before plucking, wash your face, brush your brows up and out with a brow brush (a clean toothbrush works, too), and sit near a window with a good mirror. To determine your brow thickness, use an eye pencil and draw a line along the bottom edge of your brow, following the fullest, natural shape. Any hairs that fall below this line are okay to pluck. The general rule with plucking is to make sure your brow begins in line with the inner corner of your eye and ends in line diagonally with the bottom edge of your nose and the outer corner of your eye. You can use a ruler (or your tweezers, if they’re long enough) to check if everything is aligned. Any hairs outside of these measurements can be removed.

If your brows are naturally too-thin, or if you’ve overplucked and are trying to grow your brows back out, use powder or an eyebrow pencil to fill in the shape. Just make sure to match the powder or eyebrow pencil shade to your natural hair color so you don’t age yourself any further—or look like a cartoon villain.

Remove Makeup and Wash Your Face.

It’s hard to get in the habit of removing our makeup and washing our faces every night when we’re tired and just want to get in bed. But not removing your makeup or washing your face is one of the quickest ways to age your skin. Just think about the fact that the average woman today begins wearing makeup at age 12 and wears makeup into her 70s and 80s. That’s long-term damage.

If you don’t use all-natural makeup, there are tons of harsh chemicals in your makeup that can damage your skin. Not to mention your skin is exposed to dirt, pollution, and germs throughout the day. Imagine all of those things collecting on your pillows as you sleep. If you think that’s gross, then why are you leaving those things on your face? At night, the skin needs oxygen to repair the damage done throughout the day. With your pores clogged, your skin can’t go through its natural exfoliation.

Also, our eyes start showing age the earliest because the skin around them is the thinnest. Going to bed with your makeup on dries the skin around your eyes out and weakens the hairs in your eyebrows and eyelashes, causing them to thin and fall out. Remember—it’s a lot easier to remove your makeup and wash your face than it is to undo aging and regrow your eyebrows and eyelashes.