No, not another “five brand lessons you learn from Springsteen” post

by Jon Newman

This is a big week for me.  In the next week or so I’m going to see Bruce Springsteen live.  Twice.

In the past I might have fallen victim to the same “crutch” that other blogger sometimes depend on.  I’ll admit to it, I’ve also done it in the past.  That’s taking something you are doing or are passionate about and stretching that into a blog post about three or five or seven lessons you can learn from that person or thing.

At first it was cute, then it grew a little tiresome and then it became the thing that everyone did.

I’m stopping now.

In this social world I’m finding it harder and harder to separate the personal from the professional.  More times than not lately I’ve been chided by some who have grown tired about my Facebook posting or tweeting about Springsteen, or Rutgers, or the Mets, or my other passions.  By not connecting my passions directly to a blog post I hope I’m giving them one less thing to chide me about.

If I sound a little bitter, well maybe I am.  If social sharing is not created to share things that you are truly passionate about then what is it there for?  Please tell me it’s not just about sharing your latest views about marketing, PR or advertising because if it is the world would then be a truly boring place.

Maybe I/we are somewhat to blame for that.  Maybe we get so caught up on the use of social media, we forget what it is there for, for people to just share.

If you don’t like what I’m sharing then feel free to unfollow, unfan, unlink, unpin and unconnect with me.  I’m not forcing you to do any of that, it is your choice.

As Springsteen says in “The Ties That Bind,”

It’s a long dark highway and a thin white line Connecting baby, your heart to mine.

Maybe we should look at social media as that highway and its thin white line.  You can ride it with me, or get off at the next exit.  You can choose and should choose the Ties That Bind.

Shit, there I go using Springsteen to teach a lesson in a blog post.  Damn.

Things I learned during my blog’s summer vacation.

Okay…so it’s been a while.  Shoot me.

Rather than start things with a great PR or social media proclamation, let’s ease back into the swing of things with some random thoughts on things that have popped into my brain over the course of the last few weeks.

  • There will never be a plan for Shockoe Bottom.
  • Google+ is interesting but I’m still waiting to see the business applications for it.
  • You can only stave off your wife and kids wanting a new dog for so long.
  • There are members of Richmond’s social media community who really need to get over themselves.
  • It’s amazing how many people will help others find a job in our “creative” community if you ask them.
  • Alcohol tastes really good when drunk out of a mason jar.
  • The Mets have the amazing ability to keep my attention just long enough to get me to football season.
  • You can never have too much new business on the table.
  • Amber Naslund is a great social media leader and an even better human being.
  • College Football is about to change in a geometric way.
  • Bruce will never be able to replace the BigMan, but we need a tour any way.
  • Children will survive two weeks at sleep away camp.
  • Our Pig Pickin on October 15th will definitely “kick things up a notch” (you’re all invited, BTW).
  • My wife is wonderful and is making “The Year of Me” a year I will never forget.

This fall should be exciting with work stuff and teaching a social media course at VCU but I promise to gear up the blog again if for no other reason than to be an example for the students in our class.


The Boss brand

Most people who know me know when I refer to “The Boss” I’m usually referring to the E-Street Band variety.  But growing up in the New York City area in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s you could hardly avoid exposure to another “Boss” who passed away today.

You have to go back to the days of my youth in the late 60’s and early 70’s to remember a time when the Yankees sucked.  As a Mets fan, it happily dovetailed with the Mets heyday.  For many sports fans however, there was never a time when the Yankees were not synonymous with winning.  The winning Yankee brand can be traced directly to the day George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees.

Since this is a PR/marketing blog let’s take a quick look at some of the lessons we can learn from “The Boss.”

  • No publicity is bad publicity:  Under George, the Yankees ruled the famous “back pages” of the New York tabloid sports sections.  It wasn’t always pretty as George feuded with managers like Billy Martin and players like Dave Winfield but it worked as he made the Yankees relevant 365 days of the year.
  • A successful brand starts from the inside:  George wanted his players clean-shaved.  He wanted them dressing well on the road.  He spearheaded the renovation of the old Yankee Stadium and the building of the new one.  He built the winning brand from within and then bought, sold and traded for the pieces to make winning a reality.
  • Be innovative:  He was among the first to see the that the real money-making opportunity for his team was connected to television, specifically the growing “cable” variety.  First, selling broadcast rights to MSG Network, then later creating the Yankees-own YES Network.  Television exposure is one of the main reasons for the Yankees exponential growth as a franchise that is now worth in excess of one billion dollars.
  • Give back:  While not seeking publicity for it, Steinbrenner was known for being one of the Tampa area’s leading philanthropists, giving money to literally hundreds of charities.
  • Become part of popular culture:  To explain this you only have to look as far as this compilation of Steinbrenner/Seinfeld “appearances.”

Sure he was far from perfect.  He slugged his way from controversy to controversy before getting “banned” from baseball for three years in the early 90’s.  But Steinbrenner is responsible for all the Yankees are today.  As a Mets fan, you hate him but you respect what he accomplished and secretly you wish your team could learn from the lessons outlined above.

If that’s not the ultimate compliment, I don’t know what is.

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