Tag Archives: Trends

It’s Not Selling Out, It’s Ca$hing In

Hip hop is far from the first culture to be infiltrated and subsequently mined for profit by corporations, but the trends, rhythms, fashions, and lifestyle of hip hop has global effect, from suburbanites in the Valley to hustlers in Brooklyn to cab drivers in Africa.

With a global audience, it was only a matter of time before corporations reached out to hip hop to validate their image.  To this end, corporate America has met with unparalleled success, securing rap godfather KRS-ONE and all-around mogul Jay-Z as two of their biggest spokesmen:

KRS-ONE Interview: Rap Merges with Major Brands

Jay-Z Co-Brand Director of Budweiser Select

As more hip-hop celebrities become spokespeople for brands, we see a dovetail with earlier trends (reference “Remix!”) and the artists’ answer to recording studios’ new 360 degree contracts.  As individual album sales may drop due to open source technologies, artists both become and represent brands.

Artists can certainly profit in this manner, but is this trend (a) good for the culture the artists propagate and/or (b) a risky attempt to trade on “street cred” for major companies?

Perhaps some other dons of hip hop, the Wu-Tang Clan, have the answer embedded in the lyrics to their banger “Protect Ya Neck”:

First of all, who’s your A&R
A mountain climber who plays an electric guitar?
But he don’t know the meaning of dope
When he’s lookin for a suit and tie rap
that’s cleaner than a bar of soap
And I’m the dirtiest thing in sight…

REFLECTIONS

1. When worlds collide (e.g. hip hop culture and corporate America) in pursuit of a common goal (profit), at what point is the relationship between credibility and profit no longer linear and exponential?

2. How can businesses draw on the talents and experiences of artists to profit in a respectful and reciprocal manner?

ACTION

Keep it Real.

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Trimming the Fat

According to the 2007 white paper “Ten Trends” Ten Trends: #9 Leadership for Longevity by the Center for Creative Leadership in Colorado Springs, CO, regular exercisers not only scored more favorably in peer evaluations than non-exercisers, but also outperformed non-exercisers in leadership categories (e.g. organization, authenticity, etc.).

CCL’s study adds to the onslaught of recent health-related research, highlighted by John J. Ratey, MD’s book “Spark” Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, a scholarly argument for mind-body dualism that would make Rousseau proud.

Several pioneering companies, to include Google, Caterpillar, Microsoft, and Yamaha Corp. of America have taken the hint, reducing the amount of available junk food and bringing in leaner options.

For an excellent overview, see the article “Hide the Doritos! Here Comes HR” in April 2008’s Business Week:Hide the Doritos! Here Comes HR

REFLECTIONS:

1. Are you what you eat? Could simple changes in diet and sleep habits increase productivity at work?

2. Try to understand the motivators behind why you may reach for junk food. Do you truly enjoy the taste, or is it simply a packaged, easily accessible, more convenient option?

ACTION:

Make 3 healthy weekday lunches each Sunday afternoon or evening (to eliminate excuses about not having time the night prior or morning of) and limit yourself to dining out 1-2 times per week.

Consider the aphorism “What goes in comes out,” both in terms of appearance and productivity.

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Everyone’s Got a Story to Tell

In Status Stories trendwatching.com posits that there is a shift away from traditional brand/storytelling marketing, in which a large company sends an overarching message to mass audiences, to “Status Stories,” in which companies help individual consumers tell their stories to each other, playing to the ego and need for uniqueness in a world of 6 billion people.

For examples, check out the following links:

Army \”Paths of Strength\”

AmEx: My Life. My Card.

Thirsty-Fish: What\’s Your Story?

McKinsey: Our People

REFLECTIONS

1. In a frenetic age of soundbites, “elevator pitches,” and drive through Starbucks, will consumers invest time to listen to the stories they are told? How will your company (a) attract attention (b) hold attention/generate interest (c) translate interest into action?

2. With everyone talking, can a competitive edge be gained by quietly listening?

ACTIONS

Invest in your consumers and shareholders (and therefore in your company) by listening to their stories.

Listen to the narrated–but unspoken–story within a story to gain competitive advantage.

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Web 2.0, SoJo, and Horatio Alger

One need not look far to see the growing impact of Web 2.0 Web 2.0 Spending Boom and social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and the like. Already, these sites have become powerful mediums of self-expression, self-promotion, employer screening, and a host of other things. The Web presents seemingly unlimited opportunity for visionaries and trend-setters, where the skillful use of MySpace and blogs can turn even the likes of Tila Tequila A Shot at Love into a modern day Horatio Alger story. Of sorts.

To see several pioneering individuals and companies who are successfully molding Web 2.0 into mediums that change the way we receive, store, transmit, and process information, visit the following sites:

SoJo Pioneer (view “Meet Kevin Sites” tab for specific information on project scope)

Photobucket: (Re)weaving the Web

PodTech.net: Web 2.0 + Brand Storytelling

REFLECTIONS:

1. How can your business use the power of Web 2.0 to excel? Online blogs to promote an “inside look” at the organization? Resume submissions via YouTube?

2. What qualities will distinguish the “one-hit wonders” of Web 2.0 from companies that build a solid foundation/niche and stand the test of time?

3. How can your business break down the massive amounts of information (much of it irrelevant, incorrect, or potentially harmful) on the Web to find, process, and apply the gems that can revolutionize your field?

ACTION:

Brainstorm ways your company can use Web 2.0 technologies to advance its interests.

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