Tag Archives: entrepreneurs

Jessie’s Homes for Families

Over the years, Jessie’s Homes for Families has become known as a dedicated supporter of the homeless community in the Denver area. Led by philanthropist and entrepreneur Jessie Schaden – who happens to be my daughter – the organization is currently working with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless to build affordable housing in Denver.


With your help in donating to Jessie’s Homes for Families, this beautiful building will take homeless families off the street.

With your help in donating to Jessie’s Homes for Families, this beautiful building will take homeless families off the street.

The new housing units will be located at Renaissance at North Colorado Station, and residents will have easy access via train or shuttle to the Stout Street Health Center, which provides medical and dental care, substance abuse treatment, and mental health services. To accomplish its mission of giving children and families a stable environment in which to live and thrive, Jessie’s Homes for Families encourages members of the community to make donations of any size to the project. Once the organization reaches its goal of $150,000, it will have the equity necessary to begin construction on nearly 130 transitional housing units for families experiencing homelessness.

You can learn more at http://jessieshomesforfamilies.org.

How To Build Wealth With The Currency of Happiness

There’s one question I get asked professionally more than any other. “How do I become wealthy?” I was talking to my friend Jordan about this recently. He’s fresh out of college, making a salary that probably doesn’t quite cover even the basics. I remember living off of those numbers and it was tough. Jordan, like a lot of people, would like to build wealth. Also, like most, his salary and bonus alone probably isn’t going to do that. Continue reading

Don’t Finish Your To Do List And Skip That Email

Many struggle with that little voice that tells you if you don’t finish your to do list, something really bad is going to happen. That’s because this wrong-thinking message got programmed into us in our early school days. You know the message. “You aren’t going to succeed if you don’t get it all done.” Continue reading

Brand Loyalty – Part 2

Like I wrote last week, Millennials, weighing in at roughly 80 million strong in the US, are now the largest generation since the Boomers. If you want to know who marketeers think are the most important generation, you only need to follow the data. There are reams of it on this generation. Millennials make up the largest portion of today’s consumer spending. That’s despite record high unemployment within this group.

In 2010, The Pew Research Center released a comprehensive report on the Millennials, roughly defined as those born between the late 70’s and early ‘90’s.

According to the report, this generation came of age in a culturally diverse world, they are tech-savvy, enthusiastic, self-centered, confident, well networked and achievement-oriented. Very important to note is that Millennials are one of the best-educated generations in history.

If there’s one thing you need to remember about Millennials when you’re crafting your brand, it’s this – they are the most connected consumer group in history.

Their constant use of technology and social media has given them nearly unlimited power to voice their opinions about brands.
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), in a recent study, determined that Millennials are far more likely than their older counterparts to identify with brands and act as advocates for them.

BCG’s survey results confirm two important pieces of information that you can use. First, half of younger US Millennials (18-24) concur that brands say something about who they are, what their values are, and where they fit in. Second, this group is willing to share their brand preferences over social media.

Picture 10

Given this, your opportunity is to harness the social media chatter and turn it into marketing for your brand. Look around at what’s worked for other hugely successful brands, especially those in apparel, entertainment and action sports equipment.

Social NetworkingEngage Millennials by encouraging feedback on your brand through online games, tweeting, writing online reviews, posting photos of themselves with your product on Instagram and Pinterest, and of course “liking” you on Facebook. When trying to attract them, remember that music and fashion are highly appealing to this very image driven generation. Think tattoos and piercings.

Want a few examples of brands that are capturing this consumer spending behemoth?

Nike. Millennials associate this brand with being the best in sportswear and athletic gear. It also doesn’t hurt that Nike signs tops athletes for their campaigns.

Then there’s Red Bull. This brand appeals because its personality screams take risks in pursuit of living the dream, with a strong dose of “no parents allowed.”
You can tell from my examples, and from much of the research on Millennials, that they favor brands that offer novelty and prestige.

The attraction to prestige might seem counterintuitive because generally this younger generation is less materialistic than Boomers and X-ers. But they can be more focused on quality, and less on quantity. Since we know that Millennials earn less money than their predecessors, we can surmise that when they do make purchases of quality it’s possible because they’ve been saving up. The good news is your brand doesn’t need to be a bargain basement item to grab some of this market share.

As this generation continues to move away from materialism, studies seem to show that Millennials, even more than Gen X-ers, are moving instead toward a search for a deeper meaning from life. Again, this is valuable information for your brand’s personality.

For example, we know that these younger consumers want to be passionate about their careers. Chef jobs are really hot right now. The prestige of being a foodie appeals to this generation.

As an aside, I think we can credit the TV show “Friends” for helping start this trend. Remember the brunette Monica? She was a chef, albeit an oddly thin one. Then came the Food Channel. The food industry has exploded from there partly on the strength of these younger job-seekers searching for a career where they can really be in touch with what they do for a living.

Young relaxed successful African - American business man in theYour challenge when crafting your brand to appeal to Millennials? Attract this group while they are young – now – and get going on building brand loyalty.

How do you do that?
Position your brand as a change agent. Make sure they see that your brand’s mission statement goes far beyond the bottom line. That you care about what they care about, like being a global citizen and global warming.

Most of all appeal to the Millennials’ belief that they can make the future better. Who knows? Maybe they can.

Why The Rules Of Brand Loyalty Are Changing And What You Should Do About It (part 1)

As a business owner if you want to know the single most important word today to keep in mind when crafting your brand vision, I can tell you.


As in Baby Boomer, Generation X and Millennials.

The Baby Boomers, born during the post-war baby boom, are one of the largest populations in history at 79 million in the US. As they age, they’re growing into consumers whose purchasing habits are shifting to be more centered around medical care and assisted living than McDonalds and Toys ‘R Us. Boomers have been a powerhouse, driving the economy for decades. Brands like Levis and Noxzema rose and fell at the purchasing whim of the Boomers.

But that’s changing rapidly.

Boomers now don’t generally live in a mainstream consumer society. Brands that they’ve been loyal to for years are going to struggle in the coming years, as their consumer champions focus less on consumption and more on retirement and planning ahead for end of life decisions.

As Baby Boomers edge toward retirement, they take with them nearly $400 billion in annual spending. This leaves a spending void that will be difficult to fill.

What does that mean for your business? Opportunity.

The brands, some old some new, that the younger generations favor have a massive growth opportunity.

To help understand why, we just need to look to the Boomers for answers. Statistically, they have well-established careers, often in positions of authority. Think lawyers, executives, and managers. Very long work weeks are standard and they often define themselves less by their own professional accomplishments and more by their employer’s prestige. They often have stuck with that employer, even if it meant leaving a state they liked, moving across the country chasing promotions. They are loyal. And they are also loyal – blindly loyal sometimes – to their brands. It doesn’t matter if another newer brand is better.

Gen X-ers and Gen Y-ers, the Millennials, have moved away from that blind brand loyalty. That has changed the face of the business world. And most importantly for you, when you are engineering your brand, it has created enormous potential for your business.

Now of course I’m not saying Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers are the same as each other. Definitely not. Numerous studies on this seem to reveal that each generation has their own unique consumer characteristics.

Closeup portrait of two women of different ages on white backgro

Know those characteristics and you begin to understand how to attract these consumers.

Generation X was born after the post-World War II baby boom. Their birth dates range from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s. At only 46 million members, this generation has barely half the market share of the Boomers and Millennials. That means that their buying power, as a group, is less than the generations that preceded and came after them. But statistically they collectively earn more than Millennials, coming close to Boomers’ wages. So it kind of evens out. There are less of them, but they have more spending money than their younger counterparts.

Research shows that X-ers are much more skeptical of brands and advertising than people in their twenties. And far less loyal to the old school brands that Boomers favor. Probably the reasons for that reside, in part, in the era they’ve come of age in.

They’ve grown up with corporate downsizing, huge layoffs and plenty of government scandal. X-ers became adults in tough economic times. Success for this generation has been less certain than for Boomers. These are latch-key kids who grew up quickly, with rising divorce rates and escalating societal violence. Probably because of these factors they’ve taken greater responsibility, than in other generations, for raising themselves.

After seeing their hardworking parents burn out and maybe lose their jobs, data shows that X-ers are often independent and resourceful workers who prize their freedom. Statistically, unlike Boomers, they don’t seem to be up for sacrificing quality of life for career advancement.

Gen X-ers tend to be less traditional than any other generation and are highly entrepreneurial.
No surprise then that the brands this generation lean toward also display those independent characteristics. Think magazines like Maxim and cars like the Mini Cooper.

The word Brand on a box or package with several related terms su

Don’t expect blind brand loyalty from this generation. Gen X-ers are extremely skeptical and cynical, and they value authenticity. They also expect change.

When you’re creating a brand presence and you want to attract this generation, focus on a brand personality that says “you’re different and we respect that,” “there aren’t a lot of rules here,” “this is not a formal place” and “do it your way.”

Next week I’ll finish this blog by looking at the Millennials who, weighing in at roughly 80 million strong in the US, are now the largest generation since the Boomers.