A Drive in My Car

I had visited a friend in Vermont and on a long drive to Maine I chose to take only the backroads.  The sun was streaming in through the car windows, reflecting off the bitter cold frostbitten ground, but still warming my chest.  Every little while, I would pull over to tank up or get a coffee.  I would take a breath. Deep. Slow. I inhaled the crisp Winter air around me, smile at this little luxury and think of those schmucks, my coworkers, stuck at work: "if only you were here with me, taking a few days off," I thought. I finished a book on tape, listened to NPR on the radio and let me mind wander a little - just a little I was driving after all - to prepare myself for what lay ahead at my destination.

My aunt had married a man for love who was 15 years her senior.  I was just a young boy when she did and do not remember, but it was special since they had been together for many years.  He was a Korean war veteran and had actually run to join the Army right after he had graduated Princeton, something his parents did not much approve of, they were scared for their boy, their only child.  While in battle, organizing and commanding the US Army's artillery engagements on the front line against the Chinese, he was shot, twice.  Many a night was spent at Walter Reed Hospital, but ultimately he rehabilitated and lived the life and legacy of a handicapped veteran.

I was always struck by his decision to join the Army.  He was a gentle, thoughtful and kind soul, not one that I would immediately picture on the front line of battle.   I am sure he was all these things before heading to Korea, but I think that seeing such battle and hardship only deepened these traits.  Having the luxury of never having to work (he was the son of a prominent New York City family) he and my aunt immersed themselves in the English language, devoting their loving times together to the study, creation and curation of their poetic poetry.  They loved each other so very much and spent every waking moment together. 

I was driving help my aunt bury my uncle.

I grew and learned a lot on this trip.  It sounds rather funny, the trip was only 8 hours in a car, but it was transformative.  I was warmed by the sun on a cold day, I saw day turn into pitch black Maine-country night, and greeted by welcoming people of all types.  It was as if the world conspired to push me - support me - on my way to see my aunt.

I was alone, though.  With this blessing and curse I was free to reflect on my truly stunning surroundings, able to sing along to my music, and remember days gone by with my aunt and uncle and how fleeting we exist in the world and how much we have to make it matter.

My father had died just a few years before.  Being an only child my uncle and my father were beacons of what a man should stand for, how gentlemen behave in the world and what a gentleman should do.  My world view was shaped by these titans, and now, having lost one in a gut-wrenching, horrid, long kiss goodbye, I was getting prepared, yet again, to bury another one.  It was mental murder.  

As I approached the final miles on this drive I reflected on the day spent driving: my uncle, and my father, were supremely tender and gentle souls.  They had soft hands and happy grins, big hearts and warm hugs, and a capacity to care beyond anyone I have ever met.  I am lucky that both men gave to me the raw materials of these gifts they so possessed. And, although I had spent a long time fracking my mind, I came out the other side richer for the discoveries and emboldened for what lay ahead.

Though the task was sure to be heavy, my soul was light.  In my car, warmed by the sun, on the back roads of northern New England I lost, learned and lived more than I ever had.

New-Age Media 101 – A Primer

Advertisement, whether through OOH media or the so-called out-of-home media or electronic and digital media; can make any product reach to its ultimate destination with real smoothness. However, with each passing day the inclination of brands for advertisement has changed drastically. It is the digital platform that any company prefers for their advertising experience. The idea of promotion or branding has changed, and innovation has taken over the media industry.

Global advertisement or branding for products has taken a new shape and leaned mostly towards the digital platform. SEO, SEM or SMM all these modes of promotion have become the talk of the town. Companies through their digital platform are trying to connect with their clientele directly. Lucrative offers, positive user experience, and exciting packages – all these combine to promote and brand and reach the end user as directly as possible.

In today’s digital world, advertisement is no longer restricted to television sets or new papers, etc. The internet has transformed our lives in a big way. Today, people, consumers promote the product or service of the company. A satisfied customer shares his positive user experience when he likes the Facebook page or tweets about his experience, dealing with a particular company. Welcome to the whole new world of Innovation with emotion, aka, social media! 

The traditional media and the technologically advanced electronic media are struggling to keep pace with the digital media. The launch of e-commerce portals or other online portals with their new-age features and offers are reaching the end user directly. People prefer buying products from websites with maximum promotion. It is through online promotions like email marketing, Search Engine Marketing, Social media marketing that people get to know about the latest products or their detailed feature; people hardly get time for television commercials. The entire advertising experience of an end-user revolves around the digital world.

Even the electronic companies are promoting their products and company online through channels such as Search Engine optimization, Social media marketing, etc. a digital way of advertisement. People no longer take newspaper ads as seriously as they take the online ads on websites. Neither do they have time for TV commercials, so it is the digital platform that brings both consumer and brand close to each other. 

Bonobos to Disrupt Fahion Industry

"Digitally-built brands" have the potential to disrupt the online and offline retail sectors by taking control of the entire customer experience, the chief executive of Bonobos, the apparel group, has argued.

Andy Dunn, the ceo/co-founder/chairman of Bonobos, discussed the evolution of the retail category at a recent conference. One major shift, he suggested, is how operators with digital roots are now changing the game.

"The future is not only digital, but it is digitally-built brands," he said. (For more, including details of the other trends outlined by Dunn, read Warc's exclusive report: Three trends reshaping retail: insights from Bonobos.)

"And it is going to be a massive disruption to traditionally-built brands, and it's going to be a massive disruption to traditionally-built, third-party branded sellers."

Drilling down further into this proposition, he predicted that more online companies will become merchants, designers and "vertically-integrated firms" all in one – repeating a pattern previously seen in physical retail.

"We had seen this movie before," said Dunn. "Third-party branded selling moves to vertically-integrated selling in the same way that it did in the offline world."

As a demonstration, he pointed to chains like Gap, which in the 1980s kickstarted a transformation in retail by making clothes and selling them in its stores, giving it complete control over the customer experience.

This form of "vertical integration" also gave rise to fast-fashion experts Zara, Uniqlo and H&M, as well as furniture groups IKEA and West Elm, and Trader Joe's in the grocery sector.

"It occurred to me that the same thing that happened in brick-and-mortar retail was going to happen on the internet," Dunn said.

Zappos served as a forerunner of this shift in the digital arena by building a service-led online business for shoes, and has since been joined by players like eyewear specialist Warby Parker and male-grooming brand Harry's.

The success of these companies, Dunn maintained, helps support his views about the potential impact of digital-first enterprises.

"I feel more confident in this, because I see it happening," he said. "Everywhere I look … people are building brands with digital at the core. So I think this is the future."