The StickMonkey hands a banana to Mauro Porcini

Who’s that?

Mr. Porcini is a senior vice president and and chief design officer at PepsiCo. Read this interview he gave about how building better brands can change the world.

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Much of what he says resonates with me. One point hits it home.

“…we live in a society where people are consumers of stories more than of products or services. A product is like a body, but a body without personality is just an empty shell: the brand is what marketing has invented to give a personality to that product.”

A brand has no value unless it creates relevance. The value to customers is not gross sales or marketshare. Customers couldn’t care less about that. They’re looking for validation. They want stories.

We listen to them. We try them on and see if they fit our worldview. If we find them comfortable, we take ownership of them. Because companies don’t own their brands. We do.

So sayeth the StickMonkey.

The StickMonkey has a new seat assignment preference

This is the way to take your ascent to the next level.

Why watch a movie when you can watch the heavens? It’s a concept developed by Windspeed Technologies that adds a skylight to private or commercial passenger aircraft.

It might be a while before we can catch a view like this.

A scan of the company’s website indicates the SkyDeck must be part of the design and construction of new aircraft. It doesn’t look as if these teardrop aerodynamic domes will come to existing fleets.

I first came across this new in-flight entertainment future option in the Robb Report. When you see something there, you know it’s expensive. The article says this little upgrade to your aircraft will only set you back about $8 million to $25 million.

The commercial airline industry could jump in on this upgrade idea. They’re all about generating more money from extra fees. They made an estimated $38 billion this way last year.

Maybe they could use SkyDecks to make more money, and cut back on those extra baggage fees. Who am I kidding?

So sayeth the StickMonkey.

The StickMonkey looks through Pantone’s rose quartz colored glasses

Pantone, has come out with their color of the year for 2016. For the first time, the self-proclaimed global authority on color has selected two.

2016, they say, is the year of rose quartz, and serenity. The corresponding Pantone color IDs are PANTONE 13-1520 & PANTONE 15-3919.

Why do we need a color of the year? (Or in this case, two of them?) Pantone explains:

“A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.”

The Pantone website goes into more detail about this year’s two color selections. , and even offers a YouTube video – in case you still don’t get it.

Websites everywhere will soon be shades of rose quartz and serenity. Who knew serenity was even a color?

So sayeth the StickMonkey.

 

The StickMonkey says, “Hey, wait a minute…”

LapkaThat name sounds familiar. Where have I heard it before?

Lapka. It’s one of those names you’re likely to remember. Which is why a few weeks, it rang some vague bell in my memory while I was catching up on the latest tech news. The context just didn’t seem right, though, because the reason people were talking about Lapka was that Airbnb had just purchased it.

But, it was the Lapka I thought it might be.

Back in December of 2012, I had written a short article about Lapka. I don’t know how many people were exposed to the beauty of Lapka’s products as a result – especially when an editor somehow managed to change the spelling of the company’s name – but I do know that I was impressed enough to share my discovery.

Airbnb’s Lapka acquisition had a lot of people scratching their heads. What did the largest accommodations company on the planet (which, ironically doesn’t even own a single hotel room) want with a Russian company that makes luxury Geiger counters? If you’re familiar with the news of this purchase, you know that Joe Gebbia, Airbnb’s co-founder and chief product explained it this way via an email: “Since the moment Lapka launched their first product,”—that’s the Personal Environment Monitor—“I have been inspired by their impressive design sensibilities—a combination of beauty, form, and story. These guys have tenacity and drive towards creating the future, and I’m thrilled to get to work alongside them at Airbnb to create a world where people can belong anywhere.”

I can speculate with the best of them, but in this case I don’t care to guess why Airbnb purchased Lapka. I’m too busy basking in the warm and fuzzy afterglow of having it brought to my attention that I had discovered Lapka long before it came to the public eye as a bauble for a unicorn. If only I had been able to do the same with Airbnb. I might have bought some stock.

So sayeth the StickMonkey.

The StickMonkey flings poop at “content”

“Oh, so you basically do content,” said the person who had asked me what I did as a brand ambassador.

Content is something that settles during shipping or may have shifted during flight. No, I basically do not do content. 

A thing becomes the word we ascribe to it.

Content is not a commodity you are obligated to provide so there’s something on your social media pages. If that’s how you view its purpose, you should stop making an effort. You’re wasting your time.

It’s not content generation, it’s storytelling.

Storytelling is one of your most valuable assets because it is the way you weave yourself into the worldview of your customers.

It’s not generated, it’s shared.

You share it because you have something to say, not because someone claiming to be an expert in social media insists you need a regular blog post or a Tweet or a YouTube video to increase engagement or Facebook likes.

Content generation sounds more professional, so you probably would rather say that’s what you do. But consider this: which would capture your attention?

“I want to tell you a story,” or “I want to generate content for you.”

So sayeth the StickMonkey.

The StickMonkey flings poop at your personal brand

Personal branding initially sounds like something you need to be doing – that is, until you remember who really owns a brand.

You do not own it. Everyone else does, and it exists only in their minds.

The only effective and lasting way to differentiate yourself is to act with consistent integrity.

Forever. Until you die.

Don’t worry: long before your expiration date, you’ll have created something far more valuable than a personal brand. You will have earned a reputation.

And, unlike your cultivated personal brand, which only exists in everyone else’s minds, a reputation is tangible. It will speak for itself and have no need for positioning, packaging or embellishment. That’s a good thing because branding requires spending a lot of time, energy and resources doing those aforementioned things.

I’ve earned my reputation. I own it. To me, that trumps renting space in other people’s minds and spending the days sweeping the floors.

So sayeth the StickMonkey.