Being there means your brand cares.

March 23, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

A client looked me in the eyes this week and told me, “Michael, it’s better to be fast and wrong than slow and right.”

I think it was directional in nature. Still, it was quite a statement. It’s conceding that the speed needed to move at in today’s business environment is reaching a pace of acceptable recklessness.

Woody Allen said something like, “99 percent of success in life is showing up.” Not sure if it’s exactly how he said it, but you get the point: you don’t have to be perfect, just raise your hand and be counted all the time. That’s harder these days as there are so many places to be.

Reminds me of how my mother forced me to go to kindergarten even when I was absolutely dying from excruciating, intolerable, at-the-doors-of-death-pain with a tummy-ache. I didn’t do much schoolwork that day but the important part (to my mom and teacher – you can say, my customers) was that I was marked present. And being there, even physically wounded, counted more than being fully mentally present.

Today’s marketing environment is a great deal about brands being here and there. And these days, with the proliferation of .coms, social sites, applications, and meet-ups, there are so many more parties where one needs to be seen that you could well show up underdressed. What’s a brand to do?

The perfectionist’s motto, “measure twice, cut once,” has become: “cut, oops, cut better, oops, cut, repeat constantly, just keep cutting.”

Why such a rush? Is it worth it? Our successful customer is saying “Yes.” Because consumers have a seemingly all day and night hunger for content and they demand to be served promptly and frequently with constant feedback and the occasional coupon.

Like any close and good relationship, brands and consumers don’t get caught up in the small stuff. Mistakes are overlooked and, because we do move so fast, they are forgotten in a matter of several tweets.

Are we saying that quality isn’t as important as quantity? This makes me queasy but I think so. Quantity is taking precedence because touching all those touch points means you’re there for me in all these places, all the time, and the sum is: you care.

Now, of course, some mistakes are more grievous than others. Be sensible as you speed along, but keep that speedometer pressing on the red as we head to another party at which to be seen.

When he protested that Macintosh wasn’t ready yet to launch, Guy Kawasaki was assured by Steve Jobs, “Don’t worry, be crappy.” They launched and they made it better on the run. Quite a run it’s been.

So here’s the dress code: even if slightly untucked here and there, make sure your brand shows up. Often.

In other words, “Get your business out of bed and get out there right this instant or else!”

Just like momma said.

NYCA Invites Golfers to “Suit Up”

September 29, 2009

For Immediate Release:

Innovative interactive feature equips users for some of the world’s toughest courses.

Reflecting adidasGolf’s unique philosophy that golfers are athletes, as well as its mission to create equipment for the body, NYCA has created a website for the performance-focused company that gives users the opportunity to interact with the footwear and apparel, be inspired by a fitness regime specially designed for golfers and enhance their own golf game.

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The site,, centers around the idea of “Suit up,” a battle cry born of the idea that when one puts on their golf clothing it should look great but be more than fashion – it must get them mentally and physically prepared to take on the challenges of the game. The technology part of the site goes into detail about the innovations that adidasGolf brings to the golfer.

In the unique, interactive “Suit Up” section, golfers are – for the first time ever – able to change the weather at some of the world’s most challenging golf courses, including Royal Birkdale and Whistling Straits, and learn how to conquer the elements with equipment suggestions for those specific conditions.Picture 5pr

The “Suit Up” mantra also applies to the golfer’s mind, body and spirit, and features a golf-specific “Conditioning” section which includes a workout regimen, as well as sections devoted to nutrition and mindset, where golfers are encouraged to approach the sport with an athletic philosophy.  Because of its leadership in emphasizing the importance of fitness and mindset, adidasGolf has the support of Core Performance and Mark Verstegen, one of the top sports fitness trainers, contributing content based around this philosophy.

Picture 11pr“Every piece of adidasGolf equipment is created to enhance the performance of the golfer,” says John Kawaja, Executive Vice President/General Manager of adidasGolf. “The new site dramatizes the philosophy, the innovation and the benefits of our mission with a total dedication to bringing the athlete closer to the sport.”

According to Michael Mark, creative director/CEO at NYCA, “From the idea to the design, everything about is about athleticism and performance. It’s an authentic connection between the game, the golfer and apparel and footwear that are so technically superior they perform for the golfer the way true equipment should.”

NYCA, a full-service advertising agency, opened its doors and arms to the world in March 2002. Clients include TaylorMade Adidas Golf Worldwide, Rossa Putters, Maxfli Golf, ViewSonic Corp., The San Diego Union-Tribune,, The EastLake Company, Kyocera Wireless, EnDev (Stingaree, Side Bar, The Witherby, Ciro’s, Bar West), San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau, New Dental Choice, Duramed FUTURES Tour and others. The 38 remarkable NYCAers work on the beaches of Encinitas, California. Lucky, huh? Log on to to learn more.

Smarten up marketers – it’s a personality contest out there!

April 28, 2009


By: Creative Director/CEO, Michael Mark @ NYCA

My friend is a rascal. He wangles his way into places he doesn’t belong better than an A-list celeb thronged by his thick-muscled posse. He slips out of trouble like a greased David Blaine. This guy’s smart but he’s no Mensa grad, he’s not that good looking, he’s not well-connected. The tools of his trade?  His genuineness and natural charm. He’s likeable. Watching him work is remarkable. It’s not so much what he says – it’s all about how he says it. And don’t think he’s some butt smoocher – I’ve seen him tell people to take a long walk off a short pier, and they look forward to the trip!

My friend is a poster boy for reminding us, as we craft strategies and executions for our advertising campaigns, that brand character can be even more persuasive than the selling message.  It’s hard to be emotionally committed to an attribute. Features don’t beget followers.

A great deal of strategic development time is focused on getting the message right: delivering the single-minded relevant point to the target. We task it with being original, unique. Ownable. I was schooled that this was by far the most critical element in strategic positioning because it was where the big idea dwelled. Well, according to Jack Trout’s latest missive in “Forbes,” there are no new ideas anymore. We are blowing time and our clients’ money with the over-reliance on the rationale. (Tales From The Marketing Wars Minds Hate To Change)

Let’s concentrate on the brainy quotient, sure,  but heavy-up on the tone, the manner, the body. That’s where brand personality comes strolling in, dressed for success, making the everlasting first impression before he ever speaks an SAT word.

We can learn from a master teacher: Apple. You wouldn’t know it from their raving user base but these are machines, for cripes sake. Plastic, wires, glass and tiny pieces soldered together to help create pictures and words, remember them, and connect. But I know MAC users who’d would rather go graphicless in public than fraternize with a PC. They would revolt, feeling like they are betraying their friend. The machine seems to understand them, empower them – but this is lunatic devotion. A MAC has no feelings (yet!) so why does it stir them up?   And techies, please don’t blog/flog me with, “it’s the operating system.” That’s just a microportion of the emotional equation.  To see it another way:  I’d venture that PC people could more easily – emotionally speaking – move to Mac than the other way around. They aren’t as devoted to IBM and the like as MAC users are to Apple. IBM just doesn’t have the magnetic personality of Apple.

The Apple personality was brilliantly reverse-designed. They may have built the machine first but they sold the personality first. So the initial contact is the embrace of the upbeat, creative, change-the-world brand character before you ever boot up. It’s in the logo. And at every touch point the personality is true. We feel the easiness in their open, friendly clean-lined stores, enjoy the good-natured yet competitive TV ads, groove with (not just listen to) their ipod communications, hug their black-jeaned, bespectacled wonderboy leader. Personality perfectly designed.

Barbara Coulon, vice president of trends for market researcher Youth Intelligence, says that surveys show, “Apple has a clear brand personality. People feel like they are part of a tribe. There are a lot of people who are passionate about it. It’s sort of a cult brand. Apple is a way of life,” she told MacNewsWorld.

So study-up and invent a brand message that’s university smart. But invest some creative muscle in developing the brand’s personality so it’s genuinely persuasive.

Great brands have defined personalities within their categories but they’re not exclusive to their sector. So you can easily borrow inspiration. Here’s two examples off one personality statement: Down-to-earth, family oriented, genuine, and sincere.

Now who would that be – Coke or Pepsi?  Easy. But pour a glass of each and stand an inch from them – you couldn’t tell the difference. Brown sugar water is brown sugar water.

Take the same words for a car: Volvo or BMW?

Again, no doubt. Because their brand personalities distinguish them as much as their safety or handling claims. Better.

A well developed personality has the power to engage from afar, stir deep feelings, and make it all up-close and personal. And that’s the flashpoint where interest moves into buying and buying into loyalty.

You know, maybe my rascal friend is a genius after all.