10.11.15

Let’s Talk Anti-Aging for Women

ltaafwChances are good that if you own an antiaging cream, it’s for your face. We’re so focused on our reflection that we forget there’s other territory affected by time: the skin below our necks. While this thought may depress you (“Oh, great, now I’ve got to start looking for wrinkles on my back!”), it’s meant to be encouraging. “The skin on the body is so neglected that just by regularly using something–anything–you can make a visible difference,” says Nicholas Perricone, M.D., assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Yale University.

Products for the body are more effective than ever, because skin-care companies–including Estee Lauder, Jergens, Lubriderm, Neutrogena, and Olay–are tweaking formulas used in facial products to target thicker-skinned, less-sensitive areas. That often involves increasing concentrations of active antiaging ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids, vitamin C, and retinol. So read on to find out how to get younger-looking skin–without having to join a gym or police what you put in your mouth! Read the rest of this entry »

10.9.15

The Diary Of A Perfect Wife??

pwIt is a matter of pride with me that the refrigerator is always stocked with my husband’s favorite brand of orange juice, and that the bathroom cupboard has a full complement of his beloved Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap and that absurdly expensive Eau Sauvage stick deodorant. I make fresh lemonade every weekend in the summer (a seriously labor-intensive process); in winter the freezer is lined with individual serving-size containers of homemade peasant soup. Not to put too fine a point on it, I wait on this guy hand and foot.

In the interest of full disclosure, where he far outscores me (I keep score; he doesn’t) is in the generosity-of-spirit part of the marriage (which some might argue carries a higher degree of difficulty than dropping shirts off at the laundry). Take both kids to school so I can sleep a few extra minutes? Sure, he’ll do it. Go willingly with me to my 20th high school reunion, where, for five hours, he’ll have to listen to people he barely knows tell stories about people he hasn’t met? Of course. By contrast, when he asked me to accompany him to his college reunion–let the record show that I’d already been to three previous ones–I responded as I would to a root canal: Fine, if I’m sedated. Read the rest of this entry »

10.8.15

Out-Competing The Competition – The RIGHT Way

Most businesses have failed to learn from all the other competitive disciplines before them. You fight one competitor at a time, and you develop a strategy that beats competitors one at a time. There is no competition – there are only competitors.

I tried to understand why so many businesses fail to build competitor-specific strategies. I believe this is based on three reasons. First is the real lack of strategy at the brand level. I believe that while strategy is widely employed in plotting the future of the firm in terms of what businesses to buy, what countries to enter or what resources to own, little strategic attention is given to how one brand will beat another brand in the market.

If strategy is the way a brand endeavors to differentiate Read the rest of this entry »

10.6.15

Let’s Get Exclusive!

A key to understanding the power of exclusivity can be found in a statement by database marketing consultant Fred Newell in Discount Merchandiser (September 1998), “Marketers must learn to understand customers and customers’ perceptions of value.”

Collectors are willing to pay anywhere from $10 to $50 annually to “join a club” (i.e. put their names in a database), because they get something with a very high perceived value. This usually includes an exclusive “gift” – a doll, bear, or other collectible item that nonmembers can’t get – as well as newsletters, membership cards, buttons, posters, catalogs, the opportunity to purchase special “club edition” pieces, hats, T-shirts, or jewelry, and to attend special club events. These are all items and benefits that don’t cost the marketer a lot, but have a high value to the collector.

Many of the clubs benefit retailers by requiring members to redeem certificates for the club edition pieces at a retail store. This not only gives the retailer a cut of the selling price, but also brings highly qualified buyers into the store, where they will Read the rest of this entry »

10.2.15

Losing A Child: Taking The Best From The Worst

gjI called her Potinka. It’s a silly name, I know, and I don’t even remember how it came into being. I can only tell you that as time went by, it seemed to perfectly describe this elfin child with a squinty grin and tinkling giggle.

She entered our lives in February 2000; my wife and I lived in Indianapolis then with our son Graig. Roughly nine months earlier, my son and his new girlfriend, Jessica, had gone off to Chicago to celebrate his 22nd birthday, a celebration spent largely–as he later told it–in bed. Just days after returning, they had a terrible fight, the first of far too many. Jessica took off. They made an effort to patch things up via telephone, but each call ended in an angry hang up, and they soon lost touch.

Until one September day when we arrived home to find a note taped to the door. It read: “Graig, you are going to have a daughter. See you in court.” My wife, Kathy, could not let it go at that, and took a personal hand in bringing about a reconciliation between Graig and Jessica. Sure enough, within a month she’d persuaded the two of them to move in together nearby, so they could cultivate some basic sense of partnership before the blessed event. Read the rest of this entry »