Life is Good ... Isn't It?
As I strolled through Los Angeles International Airport on my way to Miami, I took notice of the "Life is Good" store that is in many airports. At 6:00 a.m. it was closed, but my branding brain is always going. I'm guessing that I was the only one who was taking note of the three different people I saw wearing different pricey Life is Good garments (one cap and two T-shirts). Heck, I'm on my way to our Sail to Success Cruise to the Bahamas, so "Life is Good" for me!
I buy into the branding experience as well, purchasing Harley Davidson T-shirts at Harley stores from Nashville, Tennessee to Kona, Hawaii. When I visited Wisconsin a while ago, I bought branded stuff from the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee and at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. I'm in the apparel decorating business. I know what it costs to screen-print a shirt and while it pains me to spend $30.00 for a T-shirt, this type of branding is about memories of an experience and connection with a brand.
Of course creating positive brand recognition for our clients is one of the cool things we get to do in our industry. We will have the opportunity to learn more about this in the keynote presentation from Ken Schmidt, the former director of communications for the iconic brand Harley-Davidson. Ken will be doing a keynote presentation at the PPAI Expo. I am very much looking forward to this session.
"Life is Good" makes a unique branding statement. Go figure that simple design elements with a simple message would be such a hit. I'm guessing that those who identify with "Life is Good" relate to the idea that "Life is Good." What makes a good life? I reflect on this idea as I am writing this from the deck of the Norwegian Sky cruise ship overlooking the Bahamas.
Some of you might be thinking... geez, this guy is writing an article while he is on a cruise ship. Really? Readers of my Rants know I talk a bit about work-life balance. We touch on this regularly and we did a Success Tracks Online Education Experience with Rod Brown, CFO of the distributor company MadeToOrder. Rod is a busy guy, yet somehow he takes two months off in the summer every year. It seems crazy to me, but it's working for him.
I'm writing this on the ship because this is actually a work trip for me. (I know, work is tough!) Truth be told though, its not all work of course. But, we have had productive education sessions and I've gotten to know some great people.
"Life is Good" for me and I am blessed that I have a business structure in place that gives me the freedom to take trips like this. I'm busy. Many might not know that in addition to publishing FreePromoTips and writing business content for the industry, I also am a distributor. The back end I have in place for my distributor business has made life so much easier for me.
On this cruise, we have distributors from many companies represented. Two of them, AIA and Vernon, are supporting our efforts to bring video highlights to you. These businesses understand the importance of education and see the value of what this cruise represents. We appreciate their support.
One pleasant part of the trip for me has been getting to know the popular Dana Zezzo and his wife Shelly in a casual setting. The only time we connect is at a trade shows, which is great, but this is different. Many of you know Dana from his strong social media presence and business dealings. Hotel views have become a classic in the social media world. Dana travels a LOT as he serves distributors in his position as Chief Marketing Officer for supplier Jetline.
What I've also seen through Facebook is all the cool things he does with his beautiful family. Dana is a fitness buff and it seems "Life is Good" for this industry icon. His daughter Megan Zezzo has now entered our industry working with supplier Catania Medallic Specialty. For this inaugural Sail to Success cruise, Dana is the only supplier who is represented physically by being on the ship.
I asked Dana and Shelly to share a bit about how they manage his Dana's crazy travel schedule with his personal life. There is much we can learn from this industry pro.
Dana offers these suggestions. "Don't try to live two lives, integrate your family into your career. Pick the travel that makes the most for your wife and kids. Shelly joins me 6 to 8 times a year and the kids come along 3-4 times a year." Dana adds that they lead a very fulfilling life in an awesome industry he loves.
Shelly Zezzo notes, "It's a crazy live in some ways, but we make it work. When Dana is gone, I miss him, but I look forward to when he comes home. Because of this lifestyle, we don't take time for granted. In some ways, we overcompensate on everything. Cleaning, cooking and household projects are a family affair and we cherish that time. "
I'm always looking for ways to learn and grow. I love cruises and didn't really know what to expect combining business with one of my favorite types of vacations. Those who have been on cruises understand that there is a unique relationship "thing" that happens on a ship. 15 years ago my wife and I met a couple on a cruise and to this day we stay connected. They have visited us in California and we have stayed with them in Manhattan. It's these types deep connections that make cruising special. In the context of our promotional marketing industry Sail to Success Cruise, the dynamics of building strong, lasting relationships is good for business. We look forward to more great cruises in the future.
We are in the branding business and are thankful to the suppliers who have supported this education event. A few great companies provided FreePromoTips Sail to Success products to commemorate this inaugural cruise. These products will be a lasting memory for our cruisers. When the distributors who are on this trip need these products, I'm guessing they will choose to do business with suppliers whose name they fondly remember from this awesome trip.
Jeff Solomon, MAS, MASI is affiliated with a large distributor company. The FreePromoTips.com website and e-newsletters he publishes are packed with beneficial information and exclusive FREE offers from a few forward-thinking supplier companies. Don't miss out on what's happening! Opt in to receive their e-newsletters! LIKE their page on Facebook and follow them on twitter. Jeff can also be found on Linkedin.