Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa… stop the clock. – Ronnie Mund, 2011

Howard and RobinThat’s a sentiment made famous (and now regularly sound-bitten) by The Howard Stern Show‘s beloved Ronnie the Limo Driver. It was movingly and hysterically paid homage to in Sarah Silverman and Natalie Maines’ musical tribute to The King of All Media last night. SirusXM‘s Howard Stern Birthday Bash from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York not only celebrated the King’s 60th birthday, but also his legion of loyal fans, trusty longtime cohorts, and a brilliant career rise – now at its peak – in the face of adversity. During a season of vapid awards shows, this awards-less four-hour extravaganza was not only the most relevant in show business, but the most transparent. Stern’s loyalty to others, respect for his peers, hard work, and brutal honesty in broadcasting paid off.

Stern’s fans want to stop the clock at this moment. The man is at his creative and personal zenith. The Birthday Bash also proved the power of his self-promotional capital and humanness in marketing… aspects that keep people listening for decades while he matured as a person, entertainer, interviewer, and comedian. Rosie O’Donnell, Kathy Lee Gifford, Barbara Walters, George Clooney, Larry King, and Jerry Seinfeld – all people he verbally destroyed on the air in the eighties and nineties – appeared at the Bash to pay tribute to a man who changed the face of broadcasting as we know it. His maturity and ever growing clout in the entertainment business allowed for bygones to be bygones. Or: he won over his enemies.

Now Howard Stern has more power than most people realize. Since leaving terrestrial radio and joining SiriusXM in 2006, he helped increase the number of subscribers from 400,000 to 25 million. Most of SiriusXM’s subscribers joined specifically for the Stern Show. These are fans who pay money to listen to him and are some of the most motivated of any artist. If a musician, actor, or director appears as a guest, they’ll always get a Stern Show bump. Yet even with all of this power (and riches), Stern is just like us. He still gets angry at nonsensical social injustices (gay marriage, pot legalization – he’s for both), rants over dirty politicians, is intolerant at the mass stupidity the news media exhibits on a daily basis, and calls out bullshit… every time he hears it. He also gets giddy and nervous when encountering a hero like Paul McCartney, who has appeared on the show multiple times.

Speaking of which: music is extremely important in Howard Stern’s world. Last night’s show provided the listener and live audience with an A-list selection of Stern’s influences, biggest fans, show regulars, and new acts. John Fogerty’s blistering performance of the antiwar classic “Fortunate Son” prompted Stern to recall his memories of listening to Creedence as a teen and latching on to its rebellious attitude. Steven Tyler’s collaboration with Dave Grohl, Slash, and Train on “Dream On” and “Walk This Way” reinforced the notion that even old dudes can still rock and hit their peak.

The highlight of the show came when David Letterman sat down with Howard for a 25 minute discussion. Letterman gave Stern his first shot at a TV appearance in the early eighties and Stern became forever indebted to him. They have always been supportive of one another, but this was the rare case when Howard finally got to ask Letterman some deep digging questions. Stern’s brilliant interview style was in full force here. If you go on The Howard Stern Show to be interviewed – sometimes for up to two hours – expect it to be the most dangerous interview of your career… and the most valuable.

Last night was not devoid of heart. Despite the fact that the bulk of the content came from comedians and comic actors doing what they do best – being funny (Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Joan Rivers, Jimmy Fallon, Louis C.K., Robert Downey, Jr., Bryan Cranston, David Spade, Fred Armisen, George Takei, Tracy Morgan, Kathy Griffin, the list goes on) – it also came from genuine, heartfelt emotions. The most important being Howard’s relationship with cohost Robin Quivers, who nearly died of cancer last year; they sat alongside each other the entire night and lauded each other appropriately. Quivers has been Stern’s anchor of reason and loyal friend for over 30 years. Their partnership as a duo is probably the most successful and mutually respectful in all of show business.

At 60 years of age, Howard Stern hasn’t come full circle. He is at his peak. There is no better interviewer in broadcasting. He has the ability to bring out not just gossip, financial worth, and romantic/sexual history in a guest, but deep, genuine feelings and thoughts about one’s career, upbringing, grievances, and fears. Stern may now be filthy rich and remarried to Beth, his hot, younger wife (who, in fact, changed him in many ways; both practice pescetarianism and are animal activists), but he still remains grounded by his staff, friends, and family – and does everything for the good of the show, constantly maintaining the honesty and humanness in the material. But if you have nothing real – or funny – to say, then he’ll ask you to shut the fuck up.

Howard Stern has matured at 60. He had to piss off a lot of people, get fired, divorced, fined by the government, and lambasted by the media to finally reach a point where he is considered a trusted source of honesty and integrity. Stern doesn’t need social media. He is social media. He is a source of entertainment, news, and opinion that gets purchased on a monthly basis by loyal, devoted fans. How many artists out there create original content for 12 hours a week and have that much fan devotion and motivation?

Howard Stern was my age (38) when I started listening to him in 1992. I witnessed the O.J. trial, the books, the movie, the rise to megastardom, the divorce, Jackie Martling, Artie Lange, the death of Hank, High Pitch, the switch to satellite, Robin’s health victory, but most importantly, the development and progression in his relationships with friends, coworkers, and family. For over 30 years, Stern has supplanted bullshit with reality. And not manufactured reality, but real joys, pains, and disappointments that exist in all relationships. This is what keeps the fans coming back. One declaration that resurfaced between Howard and his friends and coworkers last night was that of love. He truly loves those loyal and close to him: Robin, Fred, Baba Booey, and even Benjy. Out of that love comes decades of hard work, passion, and quality entertainment. Or as fan favorite Ringo Starr likes to phrase it: “Peace and love. Peace. And. LOVE!”

Josh Valentine is Chief Marketing Strategist at Promenade Media.

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I need someone to believe in, someone to trust.
I’d rather trust a country man than a town man,
You can judge by his eyes, take a look if you can.
He’ll smile through his guard,
Survival trains hard.
I’d rather trust a man who works with his hands,
He looks at you once, you know he understands.
Don’t need any shield,
When you’re out in the field. – Genesis, 1974

Uncle Buck has a branding problem. John Candy’s wonderful portrayal of the title character from the 1989 John Hughes film is pushed and pulled in so many different ways in all of the relationships in his life, that he’s completely lost his way. He has lost control of the one consistent feature of his personality: honesty.

Oh, don’t get me wrong – Buck lies. He lies to girlfriend (Amy Madigan) about gambling debts. And he lies to his moody teenaged niece, Tia (Jean Louisa Kelly), about his life so she won’t see her uncle as more of a loser than she already maintains. Tia is like Ferris’ sister, Jeanie, in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – only twice as Uncle Buckmean, not as funny, and she’ll eventually come around.

Tia’s parents think Buck is a jackass, but they’ve probably never had one honest conversation with their daughter. Buck’s girlfriend is frustrated by his non-committal, but he seemingly has many friends who rank him as a standup guy. Buck is overly honest, straightforward, and has a ton of love to give, but to a point: he is guarded and secretive only because he’s been forced those ways. When the opportunity arises to babysit for Tia and her young siblings, Buck takes hold of it to work on rebranding himself. And he does so with unlimited transparency.

Buck knocks it out of the park. He stands up to a ratty old school principal, shows he can run a house, take care of kids and dogs, commit to his girlfriend, and, most importantly, break through the ice that is the ignorant, judgmental, teenaged nightmare. Tia warms to Buck because he gives her honest advice about relationships and follows through on his actions as head-of-household. He calls her out on her nonsense and opens up for her a clearer path to figuring out her place in the world. Tia’s parents return home flabbergasted, as they should be.

We hear a lot about branding and rebranding these days. Mostly in the world of entertainment, where actors, artists, musicians, and musicians-turned-businesspeople irritatingly push out the notion that they are more than just human flesh and blood – but a brand. What happened to “career?” Have we become that narcissistic? The successful self-branders are the people who stay true to themselves, never (or rarely) stray from their core beliefs, and don’t sell out to corporations. The even more successful, and fulfilling, examples are those younger generations who have the ability to take what they’ve learned and experienced in life, adapt, adjust their “brand,” and progress naturally as do normal, everyday human citizens. Politicians have a hard time maintaining an honest, consistent brand. So do corporations.

Marketing, branding, and communications efforts from corporations are pretty darn consistent, though. Yet there are certain types of products whose entire marketing lifecycle has been based on lies. There’s not much honesty in marketing cereal to kids. Cereal has almost no nutritional value. Hundreds of millions of dollars are pumped into the claim that it will cost taxpayers loads of dough for food companies to start GMO labeling. Also not true. A known raging racist like Mel Gibson is still being employed; athlete and dog murderer Michael Vick still allowed on the football field; and Anthony Weiner – a perverted politician with no concern whatsoever over the private life or feelings of his family – still invited on talk shows. These are all products and brands that have, at one point or another (or, all the time), skewed their position, avoided the facts, and downright unleashed lies as part of their overall marketing strategy.

So, what do we have here? We have three different metrics to measure marketing success, based on how truthful a marketing strategy is: A) The consumer who believes the lies and presses “Like” when Kashi announces a new version of their “healthy” cereals (hint: Kashi isn’t good for you); B) The consumer who knows they are being lied to, but shrugs it off; and C) The conscious consumer who makes their purchasing and voting decisions and actions based on facts (see, my favorite: climate change).

Marketing is based almost entirely on performance measurement and management: using various metrics to gauge how successful a product, service, or person is at being portrayed a specific way. But within the act of portrayal, comes branding/rebranding and refocusing. And with these comes dishonesty, as most of the time the first order of business in getting a quick sale is to portray something or somebody as something or somebody that they are NOT. This is highly relevant in the world of social media – as consumers and people – and in the world of social media marketing in business. We have an increasing amount of available social media tools to help us shape and create the kind of life we want to portray to others as having; as do businesses have in shaping and creating the type of transparent engagement they appear to have with their customers and fans.

The social media part is maddening, but can be a boon in many respects. The most important one being the aforementioned “engagement.” People trust brands, companies, politicians, and celebrities more if they’re putting themselves out there, being engaging, not condescending (see: Andrea Kerzner, Ricky Gervais, or Cory Booker). The sooner marketing and branding strategies place more emphasis on honest communication and engagement, the sooner humans will stop lying to each other.

Tia smiles and waves goodbye to her uncle Buck when he departs. She even accepts his invitation for coffee the next time she finds herself in downtown Chicago. What’s happening here? Buck stayed true to himself. He uncovered the inner workings of the angry teenager. Like most of John Hughes’ comedies during this era, the angry teen is angry because there’s no real and honest communication from the parents. The parent figures are secretive, dishonest, and materialistic. They find importance in more and more things, quantity over quality, and push marketing of their beliefs, ideas, and demands. Buck gives Tia what she so desperately needed: his true self with clear and open dialogue. Buck rebranded himself honestly. She respected all levels of his truth marketing.

Josh Valentine is Chief Marketing Strategist at Promenade Media.

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Bagel barks at trees now. Thankfully not just any tree, but the shorter ones with low hanging branches where he can clearly see the leaves fluttering in the wind. Luckily for us, Colorado has seasons and the leaves will be gone soon. But I’m not quite sure if the leaves are the main culprit for his anxiety. It could be the branches or the entire tree. Maybe the trees speak to my dog. You see, he doesn’t just bark at them – he wants to attack them. And if you’re even remotely familiar with the Bulldog breed, you know they can obsess over things like skateboards, bikes, or rollerbladers and also be very stubborn. As cuddly, gentle, lovable, and snuggly as Bagel is, his behavior patterns are sometimes unpredictable. That’s not to say I don’t know my dog. Oh, I know him. But I sometimes need to adapt to his enthusiasm in changing things up.Bagel 2

I’m doing it. That’s right… “Marketing Lessons from my Bulldog.” If you’re like me and a frequent visitor to LinkedIn, you’ll notice it’s kind of become a Huffington Post of anecdotal business essays. There are a lot of inspirational articles written by inspirational people, but one CFO recently wrote a piece comparing his love of chocolate to making high level budget decisions. Sometimes the content is vapid. One guy feverishly complained about the existence of dogs and his hatred of bring-your-dog-to-work days. Way to polarize more than half the country, buddy. Sadly, the vapid content is my inspiration.

The bond between a dog and its owner is very much like a business relationship. It’s different than having kids, who grow up, can talk back, bankrupt you, or get sent to rehab (I know, I know – there are good things about kids); dogs remain mostly voiceless, opinion-free, and helpless until their demise. Constant engagement and care is needed for the owner/dog relationship to flourish and maintain stability. My particular Bulldog, Bagel, was spoiled from the very beginning of his life, so our business arrangement is based primarily on incentives and bribes. That’s not to say there isn’t any good stuff going on. I’m in tune with him and his needs. We have a very engaging and transparent relationship. Because of his various behavioral weirdings, I’ve learned to adapt. I market to him to affect change. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Market to Affect Change

This is my elevator pitch now – and it’s a genuine one: “I market to affect change.” I have no interest in marketing products to be consumed unless they serve some sort of educational, environmental, or humane purpose. Although I can be swayed if it has something to do with music. A popular adage is that “all marketers are liars.” Fine, then I think marketing lies can be used to motivate – to awaken an otherwise dormant passion inside all of us. Energy, for instance – the thing this entire world runs on and relies on – is an unspoken topic. We can market to affect change in energy consumption patterns by creating more awareness and education about renewable sources.

Bagel and I have had a tumultuous year. The most earth-shattering of our lives. Even though he’s a pretty chill dude, certain behavioral issues have come up and some older ones have worsened. As a result, I created a more rigid schedule for him that includes a mandatory walk every day, regular sleep schedule (yes, he sleeps in bed with me), a regular “waste” routine, play time, training, massages, and treats. While this rigidity has kept him active and healthy, there are still distractions that enable his obsession, protection, attention, and stubbornness issues to rear their ugly heads: more bikes, more skateboards, and more people. So, he’s keeping me on my toes. Like any changing market or customer, he’s demanding new needs and wants – and I have had to adjust my strategy.

Stay Engaged and Strategize

A trainer once told me that in order for me to exhibit pack leadership, Bagel could no longer hang out on the couch or have access to my bed. Seven years ago, after only owning him for about a month, my ex-wife insisted he start sleeping with us. Pretty soon it was in between us. That’s a big no-no in the dog training world. Something like that gives the dog a sense of ownership over his/her owners. The customer is always right? Not exactly. The customer doesn’t follow trends, provide expertise in the industry, or manufacture the goods in dangerous, underpaid environments. Instead of removing Bagel from the furniture (because that was never going to happen), I focused more on what I thought he required to maintain a stable emotional and mental state – for both of us!Bagel

So we stayed engaged. For seven years, I’ve spent most days with Bagel. Even when I commuted for work, I would take lunch hours to let him out of the house. Social media marketing – powered with regular blogging and robust mobile web presences – can be the most engaging and motivating tool in generating more revenue and creating brand loyalty. Becoming thought leaders in your industry is even more powerful in a branding strategy. Customers and prospective customers will not only see you as leaders in quality, pricing, and customer service – but also in expertise. Even though Bagel takes advantage of me all the time, he knows he’ll only get attention, treats, and belly rubs from the right person. The only one he’s loyal to. The Bulldog expert. Me.

Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds You – Literally

The incentives and bribes I spoke of are food. It’s what most dogs are interested in at any given moment. After all, they are animals. Like a good marketer who can predict customer behavior (do you see where I’m going with this?), I know exactly how many treats (mostly vegetables) to give Bagel on any given day. Many factors come into play: how hot is it outside?; how long will our walk/hike be?; what is the ratio of heavy breathing/panting to the amount of food chewed? Because Bagel is a Bulldog, he doesn’t chew his food very much. So, all of these factors contribute to whether or not he’ll vomit. We’ve been on a roll for a while now, but if he throws up on my computer or guitar, I’ll flip my lid (this is highly unlikely, given the proper situating of various valuables in my home). So, what did I do? I increased the size of celery pieces to inhibit lack of chewing and decreased the amount given. That worked.

But Bagel bites people now. If he’s not given immediate attention or if the person has some sort of implement in their hands, he’ll start at the feet, work his way up the thigh, and maybe tear apart a shirt or blouse. He ripped through my jeans a few months ago and scarred me. It’s a bonafide wound. Not to worry, though – these are not attacks. Since his life has been a nonstop hurricane of spoilage, he basically demands attention from every living thing. As his pack leader (or, at least, trying to be) and person who inevitably markets to his changing needs, I have had to ramp up my training and focus more foresight on my behavior forecasting. Not that it’s important for me to have control over my dog at all times – that would be exhausting and debilitating – but important enough for me to predict and forecast his behavior based on people, existence of never-before-seen inanimate objects, and special situations. This keeps our relationship stable. Bagel has never gotten in trouble. Everyone still loves him. His ROI remains immeasurable.

Gimme Gimme Gimme! I Need, I Need, I Need!

That line is from the 1991 film, What About Bob?, a story about a self-absorbed, egotistical psychiatrist played by Richard Dreyfuss (Dr. Leo Marvin) and his lovable and attention-craving patient played by Bill Murray (Bob Wiley). Dreyfuss’ character is all about resistance and resists Bob’s pleas for help, whereby resulting in a ruined summer vacation, a destroyed house, and Bob eventually marrying into Marvin’s family. Marvin wanted only to collect payment from patients and sell copies of his book, while people like Bob wanted to break him out of his narcissistic shell. Despite the hilarious and ridiculous circumstances that ensued, they learned a lot from each other.

{Bob/Leo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fztNCJy-GXI}

Your customers are demanding. They crave attention and they crave quality, customer service, and don’t want to be lied to. A social media strategy that puts selling and push advertising over listening is a failed one. Dr. Leo Marvin resisted, didn’t listen, and what happened? His house blew up. To engage with customers as part of your strategy should not involve one expert preaching to the crowd, but one expert sharing knowledge and motivating action. Whether it’s an action like the sale of a product (hopefully not a useless one), the cast of a vote, or a change in a behavior (like moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy).

And I’ve learned from Bagel. I was resistive in the early puppy years, but soon allowed myself to learn from his methods and life requirements. From all the love, attention, and food he required and I provided, he has given back to me in my more accepting and compassionate heart, adaptability, flexibility, and deeper Josh & Bagel 2connection to the natural world. I attribute most of this stuff to essential listening and consistent engagement. Amazon is the world dominator in retail with a somewhat ruthless leader, but they are in constant connection with their customers’ demands, changing lifestyles (flexible shipping, groceries, streaming, babies, etc.), thought processes (“More items to consider…”), and the big one – unbelievable customer service. So they remain on top. I’m Amazon to Bagel. He’s remained loyal and keeps me by his side, but only because we communicate effectively. As marketer and customer.

Josh Valentine is Chief Marketing Strategist at Promenade Media. He lives and works near Boulder, Colorado and loves hiking with his Bulldog, Bagel, in the nearby Rocky Mountains.

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The Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, Anthony Leiserowitz, was on Real Time with Bill Maher last week. Leiserowitz was invited on the show for the pre-panel interview with Maher to discuss the Yale Project’s studies and findings on human reaction to climate change. Human reaction pertains to anything from consumer trends and thought processes to level of knowledge, faith-based beliefs, or denial. Officially speaking, the Project “investigates the psychological, cultural, political, and geographic factors that drive public environmental perception and behavior.”

Bill Maher & Anthony Leiserowitz

Conservative columnist Horace Cooper appeared on Maher’s panel that night, reiterating that he’s “a [global warming] denier and proud of it.” He denies the consensus of 97% of scientists that global warming is manmade. He also believes Noah’s Ark was an actual thing. I wonder if he’d be “proud” to bring up his denial when talking with victims of Hurricane Sandy or Hurricane Katrina or people whose homes were consumed by wildfires in Arizona or Colorado. Cooper’s beliefs are baffling and absurd, but the Yale Project’s mission is not to be sidetracked by people like him (or Republican pollster Kristen Soltis, who also appeared on the panel to mention “Solyndra,” a popular right-wing, climate denying buzzword); no, the Project exists to communicate, study, investigate, and educate. And hopefully present urgency and make progress in reshaping our thoughts on climate change and motivate us to take action to help curb, or reverse, manmade global warming. Some takeaways from the interview

Maher: Obama made his big speech. Probably the most important speech he’s ever made about climate change.

I’m accentuating the “…” because in the coming decades, all environment related speeches will be big speeches. As far as many scientists are concerned, climate change is the defining issue of our time. Unfortunately, the media largely ignored the President’s speech in place of ratings on more sensational topics (see: Paula Deen). Other than flooding coastal cities and burning dry climates and billions of dollars in damage – how can we make this issue stand out? What a preposterous question, right? And who should we listen to for facts? Scientists or politicians? You know my answer.

Leiserowitz: It is not too late. We absolutely have this within our power to limit climate change to tolerable levels.

What is tolerable, anyway? My gut tells me that this is a word Leiserowitz uses in many of his interviews and talks to evoke realism. The reality is that even though adoption of renewable energies is progressing, these adoptions and anything else to try and curb global warming and stop weather catastrophes are being done slowly. With carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now at the alarming level of 400ppm, humans will be forced to adapt. But imagine if climate deniers like Horace Cooper didn’t exist? Imagine there was a full-fledged human effort to repair the planet, our water supply, our air? We absolutely have this within our power to make it more than tolerable.

Leiserowitz: What Keystone represents to many people… it is a big, big investment in the 19th century dirty energy supply.

Fact: an approval of the Keystone XL pipeline will create jobs. Unfortunately, these jobs are temporary, promote antiquated methods, and get energy from some of the filthiest sources on the planet. Further adoption and construction in the renewable energy industry and economy will create permanent jobs, cleaner air and water, generate trillions of dollars in revenue, and curb population migration due to catastrophic weather events.

Leiserowitz: The dismissive… various politicians trying to get rich. Maher: The greedy… the Koch brothers, who would rather choke on their own fumes than not have an extra billion.

The burning of fossil fuels is embedded in everything we do in modern society. Burning these fuels releases toxins into the air and this process warms the planet. The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication’s researchers try to understand how mass publics understand the threats and impacts of global warming, do they understand, and how socially engaged they are with the problems. The Project breaks down the United States into six types of people, including the “dismissive” and Bill Maher’s additional suggestion, the “greedy.” How do we get over these obstacles of greed? How do we make the uncaring care? The first step is a more informed, educated, and energy literate public.

Leiserowitz: People who are most concerned about climate change have strong egalitarian values, whereas people who are most hostile to the issue of climate change have strong individualistic values.

Despite Bill Maher’s humorous response to the above about coal miners, the six types of people the Yale Project signify can really just be placed into two categories: the egalitarian and the individualistic. Or more simply… do you care or do you not care? Do you care about the needs of the many or your own personal, short-term well-being. And when I say “own,” I mean it: yourSELF, and nobody else. It’s a perplexing thing to me that those with children or grandchildren aren’t conscious or sympathetic to the issues of climate change. Should something so cut and dry as caring or not caring be rooted in politics as well? Floods, fires, toxic food, and contaminated water don’t acknowledge whether you’re a Republican or Democrat. Shouldn’t mothers and fathers be conscious of what they eat, what they feed their children, where it comes from, how they consume?

Maher: It’s not American warming, it’s global warming. Leiserowitz: India and China recognize they are some of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Leiserowitz goes on to say that China is outspending the United States by $30 billion in renewable energy technologies. He also goes on to point out that there is an estimated $2.3 trillion that is available to be made over the next seven years and that China is already winning the race. Do you see an argument here? I don’t. Horace Cooper can probably create one out of thin air. Conventional wisdom about clean energy is still way out of date. The time to act is now.

Unfortunately, the language “climate change” gained traction a few years ago during a period of political campaigning. It was used to divert the public’s attention from the “too negative” sounding “global warming.” But 97% of scientists involved in climate studies believe manmade global warming is real. It’s real. It’s absolutely real. All you need to do is watch Chasing Ice or The Island President to watch witnesses capturing it in action. Or better yet – talk to Hurricane Sandy or wildfire victims… refugees of climate change. And then tell your kids.

The interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1XBrQoMJLI

Josh Valentine is Chief Marketing Strategist at Promenade Media. He lives and works near Boulder, Colorado and knows global warming is manmade.

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President Obama’s State of the Union address last night probably contained the most clean energy content in recent years – or ever. And like any SOTU address, the bold statements, and sometimes platitudes, often result in bills getting shot down by the other party or many shoulders shrugged. The President glossed over things. Things like water security, which works very much in line with energy security, and is still an invisible problem. And things like emissions. Why does global warming occur in it’s human-caused state? Meat production emissions? Auto emissions? What are the most offensive causes? And do Americans care? Obama did make an urgent argument and presented the facts. Hell, it’s a start…

Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race. And today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy.

Marketing this idea to the American public is a hard sell these days. But in the wake of superstorms, drought, and widespread wild fires, the time to target us is now. People want to know where their money is going, how it gets there, and what they can get back. It’s about the bottom line in this country. So, will investment in American energy - clean energy – bring jobs and wealth? Yes. Yes it will. And you know what? – check it out… we can SELL these new clean energy and clean tech technologies to other countries!Obama & solar

After years of talking about it, we are finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before – and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four years, our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen.

This can make your head explode because he lauds oil, natural gas, wind, and solar in the same breath. Does oil have its uses? Of course… it runs the goddamn world. But Obama’s uttering these words to pave the way for us to replace oil. Does natural gas work? Yes, but not without contaminating water and causing explosions in some communities. The speechwriter had that in his head. It was lurking. And our cars can go even farther on a gallon of gas if we remove the oil lobby from Washington and ramp up alternative fuels like we should have done 100 years ago. The keys here are wind and solar. More production in wind and solar = more jobs, more wealth, and securer energy.

But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods – all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late.

Is it too late? In so many words, Bill McKibben says yes. But “choos[ing] to believe” is sort of a thankless task. And the American consumer gets inundated with marketing messages mostly paid for by the oil lobby or oil-influenced businesses, corporations, and politicians. And politicians don’t have science backgrounds or training. SCIENTISTS do. Scientists aren’t in it to get rich and powerful, like the news pundits and politicians. They present the data, the facts, the surveys, the studies. We should choose to believe the facts. Because they are facts. Because they are true. Look outside your window.

The good news is, we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change. But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.

The money shot: the MARKET-based solution. Like I said yesterday, consumers need to KNOW. They need to know more about our failing energy infrastructure and the benefits of a clean energy industrial revolution. Like MONEY. And JOBS! And WEALTH! The consumer will be more than willing to vote on such propositions. The President’s statements are the boldest leadership statements ever made on these issues in a SOTU address. Will the politicians deny the oil lobby? Will they put their children’s future as top priority. And the human race’s?

Four years ago, other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it. We’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year – so let’s drive costs down even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we. In the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. That’s why my Administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and water.

So here’s the yin and the yang. Obama lays out the facts: wind is booming and providing more energy and solar is getting cheaper. Most people don’t think about these things in their daily lives. Someone buys a new house, gets the gas and electric signed over to them, and rather than replacing their home’s antiquated energy system with solar, spends all of their money on a new car and home theater. This must be more a part of our money-saving conversations. And I think it’s happening. Unfortunately, the President speaks here as if he’s all in on drilling and fracking. We must separate the groups: wind and solar are better (and cleaner) than oil and natural gas. Repeat after me.

Indeed, much of our new-found energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So tonight, I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. If a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we. Let’s take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we’ve put up with for far too long. I’m also issuing a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.

All of these are amazing, logical, and progressive ideas on securing our energy future and moving on to clean energy. But there’s still that red herring that keeps coming up: the oil lobby. We all know how ExxonMobil fared with their profits last year, but many don’t know that the company employs researchers and scientists for wind, solar, and renewables – the next steps in securing their sky-high corporate profits. Overpopulation is a delicate subject for those who love to breed, but more people equals more people that need to consume resources: land, water, food, air, and energy. How about this… the new humans we do breed should be smarter, less evil, and less driven by the dollar and only the dollar. They would need to be educated. So that means EDUCATION becomes part of the new ecological equation. It pays to know.

America’s energy sector is just one part of an aging infrastructure badly in need of repair. Ask any CEO where they’d rather locate and hire: a country with deteriorating roads and bridges, or one with high-speed rail and internet; high-tech schools and self-healing power grids. The CEO of Siemans America – a company that brought hundreds of new jobs to North Carolina – has said that if we upgrade our infrastructure, they’ll bring even more jobs. And I know that you want these job-creating projects in your districts. I’ve seen you all at the ribbon-cuttings.

The President drives it home again: the market-based solution. The building, the repairing, the creation, and the transitioning. All in the name of clean energy and clean technology. These solutions are based on ideas, facts, and research that will get more consumers and workers to vote. The regeneration of our energy sector can’t, and won’t, result in a dot-com style bust. It will be something that will create for us a less stagnant future. What the President needs to do more of is reprogramming the consumer’s mind away from just recycling and greening. There’s the idea that a personal carbon footprint goes a long way. What one will do – people will follow. People need to know how what THEY EAT affects the environment. How bottled water affects the environment. And the overall importance of how they consume on a daily basis.

I’m also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods; modern pipelines to withstand a storm; modern schools worthy of our children. Let’s prove that there is no better place to do business than the United States of America. And let’s start right away. These initiatives in manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, and housing will help entrepreneurs and small business owners expand and create new jobs. But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs. And that has to start at the earliest possible age.

Mosaic Co-Founder & President Billy Parish said via Clean Tech Finance that “The transition to clean energy represents one of the greatest opportunities for wealth creation of our time. [Let's help] accelerate that transition by enabling more people to participate in it and to profit from it.” Parish echoes the President’s statements above and reiterates the importance of these discussions. Our energy future and our transition to clean energy relies on education. And in our society that will mean marketing with a conscience, investing in education, envisioning oil-free energy consumption, and starting the boom and “industrialization” renewable energy! Let’s start right away.

Josh Valentine is Chief Marketing Strategist at Promenade Media. He lives and works near Boulder, Colorado and is excited to participate in the clean energy revolution.

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The powerful winds and feet of heavy, wet, damaging snow of last weekend’s large encompassing storm that crippled the Northeast will be just an etching on the memory very soon. Much like something a lot worse, the tsunami of 2004 or Hurricane Sandy – you don’t really know unless you’re there. Unless you’ve felt it. Unless you saw your house destroyed, swallowed by the sea, or lost a loved one. You’ve gone without power for a week? Pfff. Go play with your iPad mini. Your car charger gave it some juice.

Amid the chaos were the reports. The 24 hour news networks lumbering through every minute of pre-hype, current hype, and post-hype of the storm. But what about their discussions of why storms like these are occurring more and more frequently? They didn’t discuss. They really didn’t. And something creepy, pasty big man, Frank Luntz, titles “climate change” – really global warming – isn’t a part of the regular conversation during events like these. Why should we worry about that now?! We’ve got to shovel out the car and get to work!

© Paul Langrock

The only source of hope right now is that renewable energy can be the next industrial revolution. Will the widespread adoption of wind, solar, and other methods reverse global warming? Some scientists say there’s still time. While many others say we’ve passed the point of no return. The large oil, gas, and electric companies all have research departments devoted to renewable energy. A lot of them even get a healthy amount of funding. Can you imagine in 200 years time, ExxonMobil being hailed as a leader in clean energy? Neither can I.  At the same time, the progress and cost decrease of renewables also brings down the value of oil. So, there are heavy lobbies in Washington and huge misinformation campaigns (like ones lead by said oil companies and the Koch Brothers) to downplay and/or deny the existence of global warming. Then how do we get this stuff into the minds of the everyday, consuming American – especially when they’re scrambling in the chaos of a devastating storm or struggling to make ends meet?

My answer right now lies in tech. Who are the kids listening to these days? Beyoncé can shill for sugar pimp, Pepsi, all she wants – but the App generation can see right through that: How she can warn of childhood obesity with the First Lady, but then gladly accept payment from the soft drink giant? Please. Has she created an app? Is she involved with using her power to move us forward – especially when the floods really come? No. And neither are the politicians being lobbied to. Mark Zuckerberg is throwing parties for Governor Chris Christie, a smart move – especially as Christie most recently lead an admirable charge during Sandy to work with the President without party bias. Zuckerberg is a hero to many and leaders like him have connected us in ways we never knew. But we must connect even more… go beyond the cat and baby pictures and talk about our carbon footprints. I’m dreaming, I know. But maybe not.

So, the answer is in tech. Infotech. And people must know. They must start to not brush off the notion of receiving energy from alternate sources. We can use our social media wizardy. We can get this info into apps, infographics, in schools, in our news reporting. What will allow this? An industrial revoution. A new one. One in which new college graduates, looking to become billionaires in finance, can say there’s also opportunity (and goodwill) in renewables. Infrastructures will need to be redrawn. New energy grids built! Clean energy jobs created! People trained!

Global warming and the constant rarefying of fresh water and natural resources can lead to entire displacements of societies. And then what?

We will run out of oil one day, probably when most of us are gone. But your kids and their kids will still be here. Do you want your generation’s legacy to be prefaced with “Why Didn’t You…?” It’s time to promote energy literacy: the working consumer needs to know about renewable energy opportunities before it’s too late.

Josh Valentine is Chief Marketing Strategist at Promenade Media. He helps renewable energy businesses and organizations promote energy literacy.

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“I don’t wanna hear about it later. I don’t wanna, baby I don’t wanna.” That’s what Van Halen’s David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, and Michael Anthony sang on the band’s 1981 album, Fair Warning. And they’re still killing that song night after night on tour these days, only this time with Wolfgang Van Halen (Eddie’s son) on bass – a member of the band since 2007.

It’s so true, isn’t it? The way we get our news in the current state of the Age of Humans -  we want our news instantly, and most times without research or pause. The school kids get it in a text, the middle-aged in a tweet or on Facebook, and the old-timers on the abysmal 24-hour news networks. As long as at least one person said it, it must be the truth – it must have actually happened, right? Wrong. We don’t wanna hear about it later. We want our information now – so we can rush to judgment. Be it Trayvon Martin, John Travolta, a presidential candidate, Van Halen, or climate change.

On last Friday night’s Real Time with Bill Maher, legendary journalist Dan Rather spoke a slew of truths about the sad current state of the media and its corporatization and politicization. Journalists are more about celebrity, corporate interests, and political liability than being actual deliverers of the news. As Dan Rather phrased it: “My goal was to be an honest broker of information.” And he was, until CBS fired him for delivering a very factual story about George W. Bush going AWOL.

Now take Van Halen’s story. They reunited with original singer David Lee Roth for a tour in 2007-2008 and then reconvened in 2011 for an eventual album (the excellent A Different Kind of Truth) and tour, which started early this year. By the end of June, the band will have been on the road for four straight months, with very few breaks between shows. Last week, it was announced that their entire summer leg, consisting of 31 shows, would be postponed. The announcement contained no explanation.

The online news floodgates opened. The speculators’ speculation was based on, of course, Van Halen’s unstable history: the in-fighting with both Sammy Hagar and Roth, the ousting of Michael Anthony, and Eddie Van Halen’s substance abuse (he has been sober for quite a while now). One of the first news outlets to report the story was the sometimes-respectable Rolling Stone. Steve Knopper reported from a “source” that the band’s members “hate each other” and are “arguing like mad – they are fighting.” Other sites followed suit, but most withheld the quote from the unnamed, unconfirmed “source.” It was only the Van Halen fan sites (there are three great ones) that reassured fans that we would probably hear an explanation from the band shortly. And they were correct – since this is how the band’s marketing and public relations activities have operated since late 2011 and the release of the first new single, “Tattoo.” We hear it from them first, straight from the horse’s mouth. And they let the fans – not the wankers at Rolling Stone (who could only snag an interview with one-time VH singer Gary Cherone this year) – purvey the information.

So this is how it works now. Since every human on the planet can be a blogger, videographer, and circulater of information, we are more inclined to accept all of their offerings as truths. Unless your information is coming from known crazy people – like Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh. Maybe the best way to satiate your fans or customers with information is to provide it to them directly – unfiltered! Or at least hire an awesome PR team or marketer who is as passionate about what you’re doing as you are. Do you think Rolling Stone gives a crap about the health of rock music and keeping the mighty Van Halen from imploding? No. All they care about are click-through rates and page views. They’ll report bullshit if they have to. So after several days of speculation, the endearing David Lee Roth (along with his dog) provided a video explanation…

Public Relations (David Lee Roth, Van Halen – 5/20/12) [VIDEO]

There you have it. He says the band is getting along famously. He says they are happy and having fun, as it’s apparent in the “magic of YouTube” and all of the footage fans upload from the shows. He says the band is just burnt out, plain and simple. These guys are pushing 60. They “bit off more than [they] can chew” in terms of scheduling and don’t want the performances to be routine. He says they want to be in tip-top shape for Australia and Japan and keep the tour going for two years. This is great! Finally, after all of the drama in this band, something is keeping them on track. They care about the performances and the music! There’s tons of money in it, sure, but how refreshing is the transparency?! The joy of making music exists here.

Since late 2011, Van Halen started a trend of communicating directly to their fans via several online videos. The only interview that’s been conducted was Eddie’s with Esquire magazine. The “Tattoo” video looked homemade, but polished – much like the subsequent clip for “She’s the Woman” and all that which followed. David Lee Roth provided song-by-song video commentary from his loft in New York, giving the viewer a glimpse into his lyric writing process (and swanky city digs), plus insightful footage about his life training dogs. Roth also sat down to interview his band mates, Eddie and Alex Van Halen, for four (as of this writing) video interviews which are revealing, playful, and cordial. Even Eddie’s ex-wife, and Wolfgang’s mom, Valerie Bertinelli, fueled this new, wiser Van Halen band with choice quotes from a recent interview: “This brings joy to Ed, and that’s what he wants to do now, just have fun playing,” “Everything with Dave is water under the bridge – with age comes wisdom, I guess. I always choose to look at the good side,” and “The only way this tour is happening is because Eddie gets to play with his son Wolfie.”

© Josh Valentine

Now what of that last one? Yes, it’s true. And it’s been confirmed by Eddie and Wolfgang in the Esquire interview. Wolfgang is the leader. He maintains the passion in the band. The love of the music. He explained that they rehearsed non-stop over the past few years. That he’s the one who drove his dad, Dave, and Alex to create a superb new album. That he drums up many of the setlists. His youthfulness rubs off on the geezers. Watch the videos and look at the concert photography -  there are nothing but smiles on stage. While at the same time, Eddie, Alex, and Dave teach young Wolfgang not to listen to the press or what the bloggers say (as Dave professes in “Beats Workin’”), or rely on doing TV appearances to further their cause. All they need to do is to be transparent with their fans. Speak directly to them with online video and excellent performances on stage. Straight from the horse’s mouth. All Rolling Stone needed to do was watch some of these videos, do some research, or just lighten the fuck up. Why does everything have to be so dramatic? Can’t we trust David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, and Alex Van Halen to finally get along? For the sake of fun? For music? For money? For Wolfie!? They made their mistakes, they’re old now – time to let it go.

It’s a good tactic these Van Halen boys employed. And who knows – maybe the no-press, viral video stuff was all Wolfie’s idea. Even better! If you’re an artist, organization, company, corporate entity, or hey – let’s not stop there – a politician… then speak directly to us. Tell us what you really think. What is really going on? Stop bullshitting us. We don’t wanna hear about it later.

Josh Valentine is Chief Marketing Strategist at Promenade Media and current president of the Maine Marketing Association. His favorite Van Halen song is “5150,” while his favorite album is the new one, A Different Kind of Truth.

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© Bill Browning

Having numerous digital voices (or e-personas) is important when you want to be an efficient and consistent communicator.

Have you ever found yourself in the awkward position when encountering someone at a party, stop-and-chat, or some other sort of event and the other person tells you point blankly, “you never responded to my email.” We’ve all been here and hard the truth is that our excuses (if we even have one) are lame. Socially acceptable ones may include, “I was in the wilderness,” “My kid was sick,” or “My iPhone died.”

I like to think that a reasonable turnaround time for answering an email is 48 hours, unless it’s a Friday afternoon or a matter of extreme urgency. There’s also the case of being busy. Not everyone sits at a desk all day, and if they’re in meetings their phone is usually turned off or set to vibrate. And the turnaround time for a colleague sitting three cubes from you should be pretty quick since, well, they can see you.

We also have different expectations for different types of people in our lives when it comes to communicating digitally. Responding to a friend’s public post on Facebook or Twitter tweet should be crafted carefully because, unless your privacy settings are meticulously selected (most aren’t), hundreds of people can see your response. This has forced most of us to adopt different personalities (or “e-personas,” as I like to call them) – catering to each type of person we need to communicate with.

First you’ve got your real-life self. Hopefully this real-life self closely matches the e-persona you use when communicating with close friends and family (unless you’re a sociopath or asshole of some kind). This e-persona is also adaptable to elements of sarcasm and, sometimes, e-bullying. And since the people you communicate with in this e-persona should know you well, they will have no problem telling you to shut the hell up if you’ve gone too far.

Then there’s the e-persona you might use with colleagues or fair weather friends. Dialogue in emails with these folks should be carefully crafted, especially if you desire that one of those fair weather friends might some day become a close friend. This e-persona might also be used with someone you just started to date.

Lastly, there’s the agreeable, robotic, e-persona. The one you wouldn’t fill in the “To” field in your email until the body was completely spell-checked and revised for proper tone. This is the one we would use when answering an email from your boss, the CFO, or when applying for a job. I should be clear that e-personas shouldn’t be falsifications of our true selves… just different versions.

With all of this there is, again, the importance of turnaround time and the expectations that lie within. If I don’t respond to an email thread or even a direct email from a close friend, they can safely assume that I’ll address it in a text, future phone conversation, or Facebook post. But sometimes I’ll ignore an email from friend completely simply because I thought it was stupid – and I’d tell them so (“respectfully, Mike, your email was pointless and dumb” – in which Mike might respond, “I know, but that link you sent me last week was really a waste of my time.”). My mom will sometimes ignore emails I send to her, but I don’t care – she’ll just follow up with a phone call… her preferred method of communication.

The above examples are the exceptions to the rule. Ignoring emails should not be taken lightly. The 48 hour turnaround time should hold true for everyone else (colleagues, co-workers, bosses, managers, customers, fair weather friends), or else you might come across as careless, inefficient, or untrustworthy.

The same can be said for doing business. Gone are the days of annoying the hell out of customers with overly loud radio commercials and TV ads. And gone are the days of really reeling in some new business with a full size newspaper ad. Even though we might have success with social media and other web marketing efforts, email is still an acceptable tool for engaging with customers, finding out their needs, and promoting the goodness of your products and services. Speaking as customer, if I email a business (or even reach out to one on Twitter or Facebook) to find out about a product or service and they don’t get back to me for a month – well, then, they pretty much suck.

I was born with a hearing impairment that created social, learning, and vocabularic deficiencies. I connected with the language of music and film almost immediately, as they made up for any losses attributed to the fact that I was the “shy kid who can’t hear very well.” I entered college in 1993, just as email had gone mainstream – this was a boon for my growth as a communicator. Yet still there was the struggle of finding a voice. Eventually as a married adult I became a confident person who knows where he fits in and what he wants. Did digital communication help with that? Tremendously.

You can still ignore emails from your friends – just make sure there’s that understanding of “I’ll touch base with you later” in place. It can even make you a more efficient person, leaving more time to respond to emails that hold up to someone’s expectations of you as a colleague, co-worker, employee, or person who he/she might want to marry some day. If you’re a business owner, then email is still a viable tool to use when responding to customers in a very timely manner.

Josh Valentine is Chief Marketing Strategist at Promenade Media and current president of the Maine Marketing Association. He usually responds to emails in a timely manner.

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KISS is brand, not a band. Sure, they’ve written some respectable anthems and metal riffs and invented the destructive rock stage production, but when you strip them down to the core – ordinary consumers really only remember the images: the logo, the products, the face paint. And like any great small business or brand, KISS had their floundering years – the “non-makeup era” from 1983-1996. You could say they sold out during those years, attempting to portray the notion that they were serious musicians – even though that’s when they made some of their best music.

KISS co-founder and Family Jewels star, Gene Simmons, was recently interviewed by a British journalist during his band’s warm-up for their 2010 European tour. Simmons has never been shy about his prime motivator (money) or strayed from embellishing his accomplishments (he “discovered” Van Halen) – it’s what a good marketer does. Currently, he’s involved in so many different business deals and partnerships, including capitalizing on KISS’ golden years, that his interviews can be used as lessons in business and marketing. While his recollections and answers are mostly repetitive (repetition = consistency), Simmons still portrays himself as the most transparent business person in Hollywood. He even once said, “I don’t even know what marketing is. Sales and marketing? What’s the difference?”

The focus of talks with Simmons these days is understandably about his reality show. But more often than not, they touch on technology, the web, communications, messaging, new methods of marketing, and how he handles them.  Here’s what we can take away from the recent interview:

1) Organization (or, set a blogging schedule)

Interviewer: So just how do you keep on top of everything with all your various projects on the boil?
Gene: I do what Santa Claus does – I make a list, I check it twice. It’s all very organized. I need to spend time with my family and keep track of my projects and it’s all written down in order. I need to remind myself that Kiss is a brand, not a band.

Blog regularly to create fresh content and increase traffic for your website (you can even hire someone to maintain your blog and provide well-written and keyword-optimized web copy). I’m not saying you should keep a paper book like Gene, but don’t slack on your web efforts. Gene’s website is a mess and he doesn’t blog (he does tweet), but he probably never misses a meeting.

2) Is your Message Important? (or, is your message worthy of the hype?)

Interviewer: Do you have a full-time secretary?
Gene: I use a traditional diary with room for notes. The [portable web] means well, but it fails in that it treats [all] information exactly the same, when it’s not. “Blow up the world” is a big thing, [but] “clip your toenails” should be in small letters because they’re not the same value.

He makes a beautiful point here in that web users regularly struggle with (albeit subconsciously) balancing the steady stream of marketing messages they’re inundated with. A big mistake in many web marketing and social media campaigns is when matters of no importance, or of little interest, are meant to hold the same weight as the big exciting stuff. Being engaging is fine, but don’t waste your customers’ time.

3) Are your Emails Bogged Down by Words? (or, do you want the recipient to die in a fiery car crash while emailing and driving?)

Interviewer: Is modern technology important to you?
Gene: When you get an email with an attachment nobody reads it – they just skim. In my business where I deal with CEOs of companies – if Donald Trump sends me an email I want to understand what it says. For important stuff you need to consider it and digest it and that means a computer screen. So I sit down three times a day at a computer to digest and understand my emails. Other than that I use my traditional diary with a pen and lists.

It’s understandable that Gene wants to focus 100% on emails with Trump, his partner in megalomania and questionable hair. He’s The Donald, for crying out loud. We now know Gene likes pens, lists, papers. Mobile computing is a no-go for him for the important things. So, as a small business beefing up its web marketing you should figure out how to leverage the technological tools currently available. Should a social media campaign focus on blog posts and engagement? Or maybe a barrage of daily tweets or Facebook posts? The number one task should be to define your target audience. Part of this process is discovering which tools they’re using. Consult with a professional, if you need to. Trump and Gene are perfect for marketing to each other – both with their delusions of grandeur (that have obviously worked out well for them).

4) Be Direct. Be Transparent. (or, consumers are on to you – so stop playing games)

Interviewer: And do you still use an old fashioned telephone plugged into the wall?
Gene: I do have a mobile phone. Very few people use it but it’s called “the money phone.” You can reach me and if you have money you call. If you don’t, and you call up and say “hi Gene” you’ll get the reply “wrong number.” I don’t chat.

Wow. Just wow. Gene just summed up the company/customer relationship that’s existed for thousands of years in three sentences. In this case, we’ll say the people who “have money” are the companies – or the producers of products – and Gene is the customer. Consumers, audiences, your target market – they now fast-forward through commercials, stopped buying magazines, and barely listen to terrestrial radio. Can you help them? Can you provide a service they need? Can you solve a problem for them? Your market is not going to sit idle to “chat,” but they don’t mind being engaged with valuable content (in Gene’s case, money is the most valuable).

I swear, a series of web marketing and social media seminars can be developed on 40 years of Gene’s musings. Many of these ideas are mostly common sense, but Gene Simmons simplifies them, breaks them down, and rids them of the bull. As Van Halen’s David Lee Roth once said, “it’s not rocket surgery.” After all, Gene discovered him.

Josh Valentine is Chief Marketing Strategist at Promenade Media. He is also the upcoming president of the Maine Marketing Association and a lifelong KISS fan. His favorite KISS album is Revenge.

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