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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

When a Pair is Three

How can you stand out in the world of socks?

Little Miss Matched created a company that sells 3 socks at a time – not 2. They sell them to 12 year old girls who are looking for stories they can tell their friends about their latest look. The sheer genius of this idea is worth considering if you are looking at their story from a marketing point of view. Why should socks be sold in pairs only? 

What fundamental idea in your market or category could you challenge? Is it something that people who will buy the product will want to tell their friends and others who might also want to buy? Can you find a compelling way to takes something that everyone takes for granted and change it. 

A pair doesn't have to be two. At least not in this world.

There are beauty salons that don’t cut hair

There are restaurants that sell seats on Saturday night. (Yes, sell seats).

There are beers that have long form stories printed on them so that you read the bottle like a book.

How will your brand be different in a meaningful way so someone will care?


LittleMissMatched started with a very simple mission: Build a girls' clothing brand that is FUN, inspires CREATIVITY, embraces individual STYLE and CELEBRATES SELF EXPRESSION.
In the LittleMissMatched World, matching is mundane, but mixing patterns and colors is monumentally cool. Our girls' clothing line started with colorful girls' socks sold in packs of three, and then we realized that there's a whole world of girls who share our passion for showing our creativity and self expression through our clothes. We may have started with socks, but now the LittleMissMatched line includes bold girls' clothing and beauty accessories, colorful bedding, sporty arm and leg warmers, and awesome backpacks, handbags and slippers. Be bold and think outside the socks. Fashion is fun!
Go crazy with your creativity, be as MissMatched as you wanna be...but most of all, let YOU be YOU!

Kids want to talk about these socks. The built in story about being mismatched in a matching world is shareable. Once the brand gained traction, they expanded to other mismatched items including home furnishings for kids. And although you might see this as a small idea, how does $40 million dollars in revenue sound and growing. 

What can you learn from a company that breaks the rules and shows its soul?

Listen to my interview on Charlie Pozner's Podcast called the BOOMER Business Owner.

Jeffrey Slater

Monday, July 28, 2014

Make Me Care

Brand Directors have many responsibilities. They have to manage as many touch points with a consumer as possible from packaging, promotion, distribution, pricing and on and on. Perhaps their most vital role is their job as brand architect or chief story teller.

Brands need stories like we humans need oxygen. Brands can’t survive without these stories because they serve an essential function to grow a business.  Why are stories so important?

Storytelling makes me care.

Make Me Care
A brand director finds a community she wants to reach and the brand’s story lead you somewhere – a promise. It helps you find your ‘once upon a time’ moment that pulls people toward your business.  Great story telling helps you find a way to get your brand top of mind but more importantly, close to heart.

Story telling requires a lot of work. Ironically, sometimes they also need to be incomplete. Great stories only give you some of the information and they make you work for information. 

Whether it is through discovery, a treasure hunt or the sheer absence of information, great brand stories require a story teller and an audience who is interested. Think of the absence of the shark in Jaws.  It is what is missing that sometimes helps you complete the picture.

The theory of 2 + 2
Andrew Stanton is a filmmaker and known for great work like Finding Nemo and other Pixar gems. He talks about the unifying theory of 2 +2.  You don’t give your audience the 4, you make them fill in the story to help engage your audience along the path.

Your community has a need and your brand, in telling its story gets its audience to participate on the journey with you. Brand management’s work isn’t to give them the answers but to supply the equations. Check out Stanton's Ted Talk called the clues to a great story. 

William Archer, the Scottish theatre critic from the 19th century, said that drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty (Have you made me want to know what will happen next). This is exactly what brands do when they succeed. They entice you to want to know what happens in the brand’s journey.

The Wonder of It All
A brand can invoke wonder that is authentic and you are emotionally connected into their world view. The community is a willing participant and shares a deeply held value.

Here are five brands telling stories that have connected with me by making me aware but more importantly, making me care. These are brand’s that are very close to the heart of their communities. The test that they matter is that I would miss them if they were gone. 

What brands are close to your heart? 

Five Brands that tell rich stories.

Tom's Shoes - One for One. 
We are in business to improve lives.

Made in America with Love. 

 Krista Tippett. On Being. Radio/Podcasts/Writer
Conversations and communities on what it means to be human and how do we want to live in it? 

 James Dyson. Inventor, Creator and Inspirational Leader. Encouraging Young People to Think Differently, Make Mistakes and Invent and Realize their Potential.

Whole Foods. The Whole Planet Foundations. 
Caring for Communities. 

Top Image by Andrea Matus deMeng

Listen to my interview on Charlie Pozner's Podcast called the BOOMER Business Owner.

Jeffrey Slater

Friday, July 25, 2014

Consumers Don’t Care About Brands

There is a common misperception by the marketing community that assumes that a consumer cares about a brand. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Consumers care about satisfying needs and solving problems. 

Brands are purely emblematic, vehicles or tools towards something bigger.  Consumers love the experience they have through a brand – but it isn’t the brand itself that matters. More often than not, it is about being part of community. 

And there are easy ways to know this through social media.

Listen to the conversation that take place on line about brands and your categories. I’m amazed how many senior leaders in companies never go online and observe what the conversations are about related to their brands.

Consumers have situations, circumstances, problems, need-states and conditions. 

They want a way to find a better experience when traveling (AirBnB), cleaning products that respect the environment (Method) or to have the tools to create that awesome video tip of the week (Animoto).

But it isn’t the brand they care about; it’s solving that problem, scratching that itch and belonging to a community.  

I enjoy signing up for various brands on Facebook to listen and watch the conversations that take place. It is like being a ‘fly on the wall’ at typical focus groups.

And, although I don’t believe most of what consumers say versus what they do, it still provides a glimpse into the world the swirls around a product or service.

Often the conversation is about shared values and community. Whether it is the Jameson Irish Whiskey, Harley Davidson or the Talenti Gelati, the discussions are the same as the product (or service) is the magnet drawing people together. But the discussion is about shared experience. People joke about drinking great Whiskey, Ireland or the feeling they get at their local water hole when they have a Jameson in hand. There is a secret language used (Jamo not Jameson). I wonder if there is a special handshake I haven't learned yet? 

Conversations about the new electric Harley and its quiet roar permeate the discussion as if everyone was sitting together in Sturgis, North Dakota for the annual motorbike rally that attracts 100,000 enthusiasts.  Or, it can be a group of foodies like me who indulge in conversation about how they were tempted by Sea Salt Caramel Talenti Gelati on a warm summer night in North Carolina.

I love being part of a community that listens to a Shaw University's Jazz Station WSHA. I love being part of a community of people who shop at Whole Foods where the products resonate with my personal values. I love being part of a community that listens to marketing podcasts (Mitch Joel's Six Pixels of Separation, Mark Schaefer's The Marketing Companion and Michael Hyatt's This Is Your Life). 

I care about my experience not those brands. 

Social media is a great place to bring a community together online to reinforce those experiences. But the brand is the magnetic force bringing together the common needs of people across different geographies.  

Are you really using social properly so your brand can be an energy force pulling like-minded consumers toward you?

I think it takes three important AUTHENTICITY attributes to do this properly:

AUTHENTIC to the brand voice: You have to bring the true voice of the brand to life online and make sure you attract people who strive toward a desire to be part of something bigger than themselves.

AUTHENTIC to the platform: You can post the same image, message and format on all social media. It would be like running print ads on the radio. Understand how to speak Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter before foraging into those woods.

AUTHENTIC to the promise: A brand gets to touch consumers along multiple experiences. Your brand promise has to be clear and you must reinforce that commitment in your posts or tweets.  If your brand promises a certain tone or tenor, social media can amplify it to spread the message.

Consumers Don’t Care
Brands emblazoned on products are shortcuts to help the consumer quickly connect with your products or offerings. Like water added to Jameson, you have to be careful not to dilute the value you want to build. 

But don’t be fooled into thinking the consumer cares about the brand. They show up to satisfy emotional needs that often are about belonging to a community of common interests.

What community does your brand serve? 


Need a marketing coach? You can hire me through Clarity to provide advice about marketing for your new product, business or service. I donate 100% of your fee to charity. So far I have donated almost $525 to Charity: Water working in my spare time. 

Just follow the link for some Clarity

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Would you like to Download My Marketing Book on Amazon for Free?

Hey there friends,

I am giving away FREE copies of my e-book Unraveling The Mysteries of Marketing todayTuesday July 22nd to Thursday July 24th.   

Why give away my book?

It is my way to say thank you to thousands of readers who have downloaded my e-book since I first published it last year and for the many kind reviews it has received. This is just a small thank you.

All I ask in return is that you consider signing up for my blog posts in the upper right hand corner of my blog. No pressure.

To download your free copy of my book to your Kindle, iPad or other device, just click here:

Free copy of Unraveling The Mysteries of Marketing from Amazon. 

Would you share my free offer with a friend who might appreciate some advice about growing their business, working with a marketing coach or building a personal brand? Thanks for sharing. 

Those who have read my book have said some kind words and you can read their reviews below posted from Amazon.

Remember, the e-book is free from July 22nd through July 25th, 2014. You can also purchase a hard copy for just $8.99 which is discounted from the list price. 

Thank you and enjoy the moments, 


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little gem September 23, 2013
By Sephage
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Full disclosure: I know the author, but he also knows that I don't pull punches on reviews so I hope that I'm not taking too much liberty in offering this review.

Slater has created a gem of a book: practical, easy to grasp, and valuable for those trying to get a handle on something (marketing) that for many (such as this reviewer) doesn't come as second nature. The book could use a bit of editing, but if you can get past that minor cavil (and for less than a buck, you should be able to do that) then a small treasure trove of practical tips and approaches await you. It's a quick read, and will not be useful or deep enough, I suspect, for those with a marketing background.

But for those who want to hone some marketing chops without getting a marketing background, Slater's storytelling approach to sharing his knowledge should prove very useful (and fun to read), and will offer a great introduction to some of the more important concepts behind how to execute an approach to marketing in the modern world.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Timely and Timeless Wisdom September 14, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Jeff Slater is a magical story-teller and has the unique gift of weaving in pearls of wisdom among the engaging storyline. His insights on marketing are both completely up to date (timely) and likely to stand the test of time (timeless). This is a great airport read, one you won't want to put down. I can see why the organizations Jeff has worked with have all been magnificent marketing successes. Kudos to Jeff and all those that read and apply these 21 precient lessons.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am an MBA graduate and have been peppered with different marketing concepts throughout my career and classes taken at business school/undergraduate program and seminars. I find it refreshing that Jeff Slater condenses what he found to be useful and allowed him to be a successful entrepreneur and later on as the head of marketing for various organizations throughout his career.

The material in his book is in a format which is easy to read and digest. He adds a personal touch from his own life which adds some color to the points he raises. I would recommend this book to somebody new to marketing or even to somebody who has been doing it for a while as he brings a refreshing take to some of the everyday principles of marketing.
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By Chet T.
Format:Kindle Edition
I love books written by people who've actually lived what they're preaching. This book is written by an entrepreneur who knows what he's talking about. Slater has successfully built brands and leveraged that experience into millions of dollars in revenue. Make sure you pay attention to chapter 5. Enjoy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and Fun March 10, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Unraveling the Mysteries of Marketing was a wonderful journey through the living process of Mr. Slater and his family. It really was inspirational and entertaining at the same time. This book really shows you that love can go a long way into turning opportunities into gold.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Putting heart and value back into marketing February 27, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am one of those people who hate being harassed by marketing militia's guerilla tactics for the sake of "hits to meet sales targets" - and to be blunt about it, it is like someone placed a urinal outlet right over my battery when it comes to the general approaches to marketing by the majority marketers and marketing companies! I don't like to be on the other end of "The method"!
I have to admit that I'm usually somewhat apprehensive when picking up any publications on entrepreneurship and marketing, BUT I was duly intrigued from the get-go with Jeffrey Slater's take on marketing through his stories and own experiences, through his passion for the human value connection, and the practical lessons imbedded in life's journeys.

Thank you Jeffrey Slater for putting heart and value back into the school of marketing :)

Johan Bennet Redelinghuis
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sales & Marketing 101 for the common man! February 22, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I, too know the author, as well as worked with Jeff Slater during his career at GoodMark Foods. I was in sales in and environment where sales & marketing did not clash like many companies in the CPG environment. Slater's book balances some great stories along with keen insight to marketing that can be absorbed by what I will call the "common man"! Most of his principles are really rooted in common sense and good professional business practices. Thought provoking to the point I see this as almost a reference guide to frequently flip back into ideas for my personal improvement.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Read for any Marketer February 17, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jeff Slater wrote this book for the small business owner and inexperienced marketers. It definitely delivers for that target, but also to a much larger audience, regardless of their marketing experience. It is always good to be reminded of the basics.
This book is a fast read and each chapter makes an important point. The use of personal stories and experiences to illustrate each point is both compelling and memorable. Any organization can become unfocused. This book is delightful way to remind and restore that focus.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Teaching through Storytelling
This is a great book! Finally--someone who breaks the code on the vague terms and concepts of marketing through the entertaining format of storytelling... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Lynn Isenberg
4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable lessons & fun to read
I found the principles Jeff teaches in this book to be really helpful guiding posts for navigating the world of marketing. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Candace Hodder
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Stories connect you to your customer
Through my years of experience in marketing and selling, the message is clear that telling a story and making a human connection to your customer is the key to success. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Seri McClendon
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, regardless of your background.
Unraveling the Mysteries of Marketing is an engaging and informative read. Jeffrey Slater did an excellent job with making this a book of unique and highly entertaining short...Read more
Published 8 months ago by Tony
4.0 out of 5 stars Stories from a storyteller
I believe successful marketing is about telling great stories. Jeff's book is centered on sharing his insights into marketing by wrapping them in stories from his experiences. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Chris Duke
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More About the Author


I have worked as an entrepreneur as well as in senior corporate marketing positions in the food and beverage industry over the past thirty years. My new book Unraveling the Mysteries of Marketing helps explain marketing through the interesting experiences meeting and working with President Reagan, Ben & Jerry and Joe Frazier. By day I work in the wine industry and am fortunate to travel to some wonderful wine producing parts of the world. By night, I enjoy blogging and my ideas and stories can be read at MOMENTSLATER at:

Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1954, I have always been interested in the arts with a special fondness for photography. Learning from my grandfather George Ginsberg, I aspired to use my skills and talents in creative ventures. Cooking and photography are common threads that run through my life and together with my wife Ra El, we ran a successful wholesale bakery in Philadelphia called Rachel's Brownies. We have two spectacular daughters - Sarah who teaches in Hawaii at Punahou School and also teaches Yoga to young teenage girls. And Fanny, who lives in Wilmington, NC and runs FANFARE Catering serving light, local and healthy foods.

For more information about me, follow this link that provides more information.

I am happy to connect with readers via email at