Thursday, April 22, 2010

Coach to Coach

April 22, 2010

In last year’s Marketing Mindfulness Moment, I wrote about Coach, the corporate behemoth who came out with a new product line called, “Poppy.” Below are some of the excerpts from last summer’s newsletter. Since then, I have been to many flagship Coach stores in the region, in the Midwest and in the southwest. So many managers and store representatives are surprised by my Coach Poppy’s name and brand identity. From Coach to Coach, I believe we both recognize our strengths, our DNA, and creative traits.

For those who know me, I celebrate birthdays in a big way; in fact I usually celebrate the entire month, and July, 2009 was no different. Here is what Lew Frankfort, said during his industry report last summer:

"Poppy is youthful in attitude and is proving to have broad customer appeal."

As a Certified Professional Coach, who specializes in marketing the “best of you,” I want to thank Lew for his kind words!

OK…so perhaps he wasn’t really talking about me. Lew Frankfort is the CEO of Coach, one of the most authentic makers of women’s handbags and accessories. And just one day before my Birthday, Coach launched their new Poppy line, replete with “Poppy parties” in 4 US cities. The marketing around the fresh new line asks: “ARE YOU POPPY?” Coach President Reed Krakoff and the Coach marketing wizards have done a remarkable job in engaging the Coach consumer. With a playful, colorful, and youthful promotion of the Poppy line, they have seamlessly and unexpectedly understood and applied their innovative line to both the relevance of the current market trends and the demographic knowing of social media. There are over 400,000 Coach Poppy facebook fans.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered the unexpectedness of the new Coach line actually printing the name “Coach Poppy” on the handbags and accessories! What makes Coach’s new line so remarkable to me, is that I have been a life long fan of Coach; I buy the Coach brand no matter what. So I feel a little like Rene Zellweger in the Jerry Maguire movie where she faces Tom Cruise and says: “You had me at hello.”

I will always buy Coach, and here’s the thing: when I buy Coach products, I buy the real deal. Authentic Coach. No Knockoffs. Ask a 14 year old if she can spot a fake or a real Coach wristlet. She can. And so can your friends and clients. They can spot a knockoff of you, even if they have never met you. They can tell whether you are being authentic or phony baloney.

When you are with a prospect, a would-be employer, or with Uncle Mike at the family Bar-B-Que, have your - (figuratively speaking) - marketing bag in hand. This means that you have already identified your personal branding – those qualities that identify you as unique: your assets, strengths and talents. Once you “own” these characteristics, and position yourself in an innovative and focused way, you will clearly communicate and show how to implement those strengths on the spur of the moment.

In a recent BusinessWeek video, Lew Frankfort said: “It’s essential to understand your brand’s DNA, to really understand what separates you, or your brand from others; and to ensure the types of strategies that you embark upon are consistent with the core equities of your brand.” In short, he suggests that we really give our attention to, and know what makes us tick – those inherent qualities that inspire and activate our passionate engagement in our lives – and then, showcase to the world. Every time. Everyday.

Do you have your branding DNA? One of the first steps I take as a coach with my Marketing Mindfulness clients is to have them give their focused attention to their own talents and strengths and offer me 5 adjectives that they and others would use to describe them. Often times, this is a challenge because the lines are blurred between their perception and the world’s (“other”) perception.

We need to clearly create our brand, live it, own it, breathe it; then adapt our brand to our present circumstance. Once this happens, others will recognize you, know you, and anticipate your uniqueness. Consider making the space between you, your values, and your inherent strengths seamless, and adapt you/ your brand to your current engagement every time.

Lew Frankfort maintains that those in retail need to be “more innovative, relevant, and value-oriented.” Pay attention to “you or your brand’s DNA,” and then adapt those qualities and “showcase the best of you” to the world.

Coach to Coach; that’s it.

Mindfully yours,


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