Confused Messages Driving Catch-22 Brand Marketing

ALT="Pink  Campbells Soup Cans, Soulati"The headlines in national newspapers and trade ‘zines are a mixed bag of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Consumers are taking the biggest hit amidst the confused clutter of brands’ messages.

Let’s take a look at several finger-in-your-eye examples and see if you agree:

Price Drop Tests Oil Drillers, Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2014
In this front-page story, you already know the gist. If you’re like me, you’re likely ticked off about it, too. Consumers have not even realized the benefit of one week of under $3/per gallon of gasoline and the analysts that cover the oil industry are bitching. If oil being fracked in Bakken sells for less than $84/barrel, then fracking is uneconomical. What does that mean for consumers? Another squeeze in oil supplies due to the cease in fracking, the loss of jobs and a price increase.

It’s that supply and demand thing, and the consumer conundrum remains for marketers — do we continue to pinch the customer and force higher prices so we make our margins and keep stakeholders happy, or do we risk losing market share and influencing a nose dive in local economies dependent on the jobs created from oil exploration? The media love to report on oil companies emotions

Pay TV’s New Worry, “Shaving The Cord,” Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2014
Do you subscribe to a television provider where the most favorite and in-demand channels cost the most money? Is your bill for satellite or cable television in the hundreds of dollars monthly? YES! Consumers are looking elsewhere for entertainment to try to cut frivolous expenditures. and the pay-TV companies are none too happy. Upon further examination, consumers are not totally ditching pay TV, they are shaving dollars off the monthly fee and leaving the big channels.

What’s the impact? No surprise, it’s the brand marketers seeking the subscriber base to feed us advertisements on CNN, USA Network and ESPN. If the subscribers aren’t there, ad dollars disappear and BAM! pay TV just got pricier as there’s no one left to subsidize programming. And, who’s responsible for the story behind this headline? A research firm probably dueling as an industry analyst seeking buyers for reports like this.

Smile! Marketers Are Mining Selfies! Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2014
Ahh, the ubiquitous selfie soon to grace a Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook near you. And, if that selfie is a smiler complemented by a brand logo, then look out consumer! You’ll soon get more advertising messages from the brand that bought the image catching you in the happy moment.

Guess how? [Read more…]

Upscale Toto Toilets Seeking Comfort-Loving American Consumers

ALT: "Toilet-Jayme-Soulati"

How about a multitasking toilet, Toto?

Ever remodeled a bathroom and had to select from the wide varieties of commodes? I have done several bathrooms in my time, and ensuring you get a workhorse for less money and fewest gallons per flush is daunting, especially when you look at the price tag.

I looked at the Japanese Toto toilets advertised regularly in the magazines I read; however, the cost for a really neat heated seat with little water usage was nearly the price of the bathroom remodel itself. Instead, I settled for a custom-color Kohler with a self-closing lid so it doesn’t slam.

Toto Toilets Are Smart

Toto toilets are so upscale that few Americans have ever used one. Japan is finally ready to take on the American Standard U.S. market with its smart toilets. Apparently, Toto wants to be like Apple. No one knew they needed an iPhone until Apple came along and made phones smart. Same goes for toilets, according to Toto’s chief executive, Mr. Yoshiaki Fujimori.

In a Wall Street Journal story May 27, 2014, Smart Toilets Arrive in U.S., Fujimori said,”Industry presents iPhone–industry presents shower toilet.” [Read more…]

What’s Happening With @Soulati?

Jon-Buscall.jpgHas anyone missed me? I know a few have and thanks for the well wishes. But, guess what? I’ve not been sick; thank my fortunate stars.

Where I have been is under a rock in the dark trying to muddle through an intense time at my blogging house and for my brand. It’s what every company must experience. You can call it transformation, and it’s a journey that takes awhile…a long while, with lots of introspection and grappling with the demons of the past that form you into today’s persona.
As a result of this experience, my blog has been basically dark since prior to January. I can’t say I’ve missed worrying about what to write on a near-daily basis, but I’m feeling the absence of expressing myself and communing with you, too.

Today, I can honestly say, I see the light. It’s just around the bend, but
having brand new digs is making the light waves brighter.

I need to give my second child (to be born in my next life) to one astonishing businessman, friend, colleague, and partner by name of Dr. Jon Buscall of Jontus Media. Jon is the consummate digital marketer, a brutal editor, and a whiz at website design. His team, anchored by an adorable man named Juanjo, made my new website and me simply gorgeous.

Hire Jon Buscall of Jontus Media

Please hire Jon Buscall for ALL your digital marketing needs and to assess your future journey with digital. Better yet, hit this landing page and schedule a free Marketing Intensive with him!

Essentially, long story short, the lights are back on.

  • I have a new website — it’s all mobile, responsive and built for conversions.
  • I am doing digital marketing the right way because I hired Jon Buscall.
  • I have a project manager on my team who is also the consummate writer and knows my fears and challenges about failure in Jenn Whinnem. Tweet Jenn @TheJenn, but don’t hire her, she’s mine.
  • I give a mega shout out to Cathy Tetrick for spending a Saturday as my photographer.
  • I have a new auto-responder series I wrote all by myself, and you can sign up for it via my blog page right here in the sidebar. (That was an astonishing feat, mind you!)
  • I am building my email list because the experts said I have to; so, if you don’t mind, sign up and see how it’s done!

I’m so happy in my new house that just launched not even 24 hours ago!!

Find any kinks? Please do share. It’s always great to have fresh eyes on a labor of love. And speaking of love, I have missed you and love you to pieces.

In gratitude…

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A Domain Extension About Brand And People

.ME-screen-shot.jpgIf you have an opportunity to blog as long as I have, you also get a chance to be a brand ambassador.

What that means is you’ll see an occasional post here as promotion or sponsored invited by a company. This is that post, and yet what’s interesting about having to say that is this:

No one tells me how to write my story; they give me a one-sentence theme of what they would like to see, and it’s up to me to interpret and craft content to match campaign requirements. The other thing? No one is editing me either because there is a level of trust to those selected. I respect them; they respect me, and we all play nice in the mud.

Can we get to the matter at hand, then?

A Domain Extension (.ME) Topped With Smart

When I joined the .ME campaign, it was to launch news of its loyalty program at SXSW with a grand prize awarded to some lucky jamoke. You can read that post right here.

For this second piece, I was encouraged to dive deeper into what .ME offers in addition to its new loyalty program, and here’s what impresses me the most, and I’ll say it again and again:

Who knew a human worked at a domain extension? Who knew .ME could be an actual brand with smart marketing to boot? (That’s not part of the campaign; that’s all me.)

When you hit its website domain.ME, there are so many places to be inspired by smart marketing. I like the success stories of startups using this extension to launch #RockHot websites.

I am particularly impressed with the branding of these domains because we all know that anything .com is gone; creativity becomes the critical mass for success of an online business.

Successful .Me Domains

Here are a few that impress:

  • Diagnose.Me – a place to get a second opinion by radiologists
  • Meow.Me – for cat lovers also interested in becoming pen pals with any of 1 million users the world over!
  • Allove.Me – shares e-greetings for special occasions from the heart
  • JustDelete.ME – guess what? I spotted this domain in my latest issue of Fast Company, my fave zine for blog fodder. It’s featured in “Spring Cleaning—With Tech! as a way to unsubscribe.

No other domain extension makes any effort to market its services, but here is .ME all about establishing relationships with its users, featuring domains/sites on its blog, and sparking even more creativity. When bloggers and .ME owners share the brand love, they earn points and free domain names. You can see more here on the website.

Brand Flavor of .ME

It’s pretty interesting what my research into .ME has prompted…the next time I want to set up a new url or reserve one for kicks, I know hands down I’m going to be reserving a .ME.


When I look at the website, it’s fun, simple to navigate, newsworthy, has a blog, is backed and staffed by humans with images that match a name, it shares stories about partners and users and new programs at the next big conference.

Because of this website and the smart marketers behind the company, I know I can trust that support is there and opportunities for future engagement are too.

I can see why .ME is working with Triberr on a brand ambassador campaign. It is setting the bar high for smart marketing for all the new TLDs set to flood the market any day now.

I’m impressed, and that’s my unpaid opinion.

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New Loyalty Program For .ME Domain With Big Prize

Post Update: The contest with .ME loyalty program is now closed; however, I encourage you to head over to and consider a new domain for your purposes. While you’re there, check out that loyalty program with #RockHot bennies.

Domain extensions are getting ultra competitive with a plethora of new ones set to hit the marketspace. If you’re not in the know, last year the list of some 700 new generic TLDs or gTLDs or generic domain extensions were published.

You’ll see .book, .cars, .city, and too many others; yet, there’s one tried and true you ought to pay more attention to. It’s the .ME domain, and if you’ve not registered your personal brand with .ME, you need to run quick and grab it.

About .ME

Here’s the coolest factoid I could find on the extensive .ME website right here, this TLD is the domain extension of The Republic of Montenegro! Who knew?

It’s a very human endeavor, too; they’re running .ME much like a company and a brand, which brings me to the next topic.

The Legalities Of This Post

Right up front, I’m telling you, this is a sponsored post. This is your disclaimer. This is a sponsored post, and I don’t want any guff about not telling you, legal peeps.

Secondly, I’m going to write about one of the most well-attended tradeshows in one of the largest states in the union (Texas) in a city that begins with “A.” I’ve been informed, we are not allowed to use the four-letter acronym (that begins with S followed by a multiplication sign) in blog posts to share company promotions being done in its association.

OK, everyone in sync with me?

The New .ME Loyalty Program

This highly personal branding domain has launched a new loyalty program complete with points, rewards, hosting, gift cards, and more.

On a professional note (this is NOT sponsored), I haven’t ever heard of a domain extension engaging with its users ever, so this is pretty freaking clever marketing. And, in light of the bottoms up in the domain world, it’s also smart to get a jump start.

To honor the folks who use .ME and its new loyalty program, the domain (which has been around five years with 750,000 domain names under management), is awarding a grand prize of some pretty #RockHot swag. Let me list it out for you:

  • Accommodations during the interactive period
  • A $500 AMEX gift card for travel and entertainment

Deadline for Grand Prize for .ME Loyalty Program Launch

There’s a deadline, so you need to act really fast, OK? Read this post and hit this link right away because there is a grand-prize drawing on Feb. 15, 2014! Gasp, that’s only three days away, but we all know everything moves at warp on the interwebz, right?

Did I neglect to tell you this is a sponsored post? Nope, I did not; it’s right up there in the “Legalities” section.

Thanks, .ME. This is indeed a cool program; something I’ve never seen a domain extension do; in fact, who even knew there was someone who worked at a domain extension?