Are Heritage Brands Relevant

cham_heritage-brands

“Because good taste never goes out of style…”

Often heritage brands can loose the plot. Some go bankrupt. Still other heritage brands manage to reinvent themselves. Success depends on mixing the archival brand DNA with the creative pulse of our times. Just look at what happened to Holland & Holland the English gun manufacturer and country outfitter in the mid 1990s. New ownership hired fashion designers, which feminized the firm with disastrous results.

Two other key brands with pedigree also went on the block during this period. One of these heritage brands was Burberry. Management decided to give the firm a face lift and hired Maria Rose Bravo. Her role was to turn around an iconic heritage brand which had got rusty. To help, she hired Christopher Bailly, who looked into the archives. The end result was labelled, New Brit. The target was young, trendy and affluent.

Former clients abandoned the brand for selling out. The young adored the new style, slim cuts, and celebrity allure. The advertising campaigns and online experience demonstrate how to rebuild a heritage brand with grace. A new flagship was also opened on Lower Regent Street to encapsulate the reboot.

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“When grey is your favorite color…”

The second brand I would like to discuss is Brooks Brothers. Like similar heritage brands, this firm has had issues. When the original Brooks was bought out by Marks & Spenser, the heritage brand was cheapened to a shopping mall state of mind. Brooks had lost its soul. The brand became so battered that it was hard for anyone accept fashion experts and vintage aficionados to remember the cocktail charmed glamour and luxury of the original on Madison Avenue.

The M&S partnership was once described as “made in hell”. Fortunately for Brooks, they were re-bought by an Italian group. The owner was a close friend of Giovanni Agnelli. He appreciated the old Brooks, and has strived to bring back the quality. Managers also selected Thom Browne to breath a contemporary vibe into the collection to attract a new audience.

Brooks has also been favored by the Gods. The preppy style, which Brooks helped to create has not been this popular with a wide audience since its heyday in the early 1960s.

Although the words “heritage” and “vintage” continue to get much fashion media coverage, certain heritage brands have managed to leap into the forefront of avant garde style trends and still remain faithful to their original ideals. Two firms, which do this rather nicely, are Louis Vuitton and Chanel. Last season, Chanel used Keira Knightly to feature Chanel No.5 clad in black suspenders. This was a very Helmut Newton moment. Clearly, the original Coco Channel would never have went around without a shirt no matter how revolutionary she was. What Karl Lagerfeld does capture brilliantly is the element of fantasy. Every man and woman loves to dream.

Every generation has its’ own vision. Harnessing that vision and making it relevant to a contemporary audience is not straightforward and demands adroit savoir-faire. Karl is clearly a master at this game and it shows in his brilliant handling of Chanel, its style, its quality and attitude. What the example of Chanel proves is that a firm needs inspiration, which demands genius and creative power. You can never copy because then you are really recreating museum pieces. This is the perpetual dilemma for all heritage brands founded on personality. Even the business model must adapt if it is to generate revenue and growth without degenerating its brand equity.

If you take the case of Yves Saint Laurent, you can see the dilemma in action. I have been recently trolling certain vintage boutiques looking for original Yves Saint Laurent pieces. When you touch these pieces you are struck by the cut, fluidity, drape and colour. A recent Paris retrospective on the designer’s work not to mention a film, reveal the current inspiration driven by Frida Giannini at Gucci or even Marc Jacobs. Nobody however can be YSL. He was unique and tied to the zeitgeist of the 1960s and 1970s. Although the vintage scene is robust, does the colour palate work today? Well if the vintage fairs held across Europe are anything to go by, the answer is an emphatic “yes”.

hank_menswear

“Because you don’t need a disguise…”

Luxury brands need more than a voice. They need relevance to people’s lives to succeed. In 2011, Ralph Lauren announced that his dream was made real by the fact that his public “bought” into the brand psychology he created of Americana. Look at the firm’s principal marketing tool published as a coffee table book. It stands as a testament to luxury branding. It works because RL created and captured “authenticity”.

Authenticity however, is an ethereal concept. When it is captured you can feel it glow in both the advertising and marketing campaigns, particularly promotions and displays. There is never a false note. The bridge is built and solidified to the ever-expanding client base. One stroll through RL European flagship in Paris and you can taste the collective consciousness of Ralph’s dream writ large in stone, décor, and clothes.

Working for heritage brands is an exciting phenomenon that any one who has done so can tell you. However, it is also like walking on the edge of a knife.

Article Title: Are Heritage Brands Relevant
Photographs: (1) archival (2)curated (3)burgtjohn

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food |

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. Our expertise lies in brand journalism, blogging with the purpose of content creation, sparking emotion. Inspire your audience, which generates action with meaningful results.

If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring at redddherring.tumblr.com

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The Essentials Of Luxury Branding

beau_luxury-branding

“Because the substance of style is timeless…”

If you are an existing luxury brand or one in the making, you can ill afford not to harvest media channels online. Effective communications becomes paramount, otherwise your efforts will be wasted. Take for example your current online luxury brand audience. They are young, well informed, highly educated and probably telling each other to meet at Moynat via FourSquare. Let’s explore some key essentials:

Do you have the necessary back office support?
It is clear that if a website is not able to function without reliable, and in my view, close at hand and a responsive support team, severe headaches are a guarantee. The support system to online luxury should be powered by state of the art software and applications. This is more important than having sexy office space.

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“When a reliable support team is more important than office space…”

If you outsource this work to an agency, make sure the agency is on a tight leash. Response time to changes in audience trends is heightened and should be dealt with accordingly. However, you do not need change for the sake of change, but consistency and constant engagement. Online luxury clients love to be entertained.

In online luxury, engagement is the key term to creating an interactive sphere where the client can enter the site, experience, and react. For this reason, certain online luxury brands no longer outsource this function, but have specialised teams in-house under the supervision and direction of the strategic marketing function. Luxury e-stores and magazines are expected to be content rich and image-heavy. Check out at top sites such as Chanel, Gucci, and Ralph Lauren. This will provide you with a genuine bird’s eye view of what luxury excellence is online.

Emulation
If you are looking for a case study to emulate, start with the online luxury store par excellence, Louis Vuitton. They operate a first class show. Their e-retail model addresses the key essential points you must harness linked to product selection, price display, purchasing methods and ranges. Click the “haute joaillerie” section on their site to see this in real time. The e-retail page is not enabled due to the price tag of certain items, which exceeds 25k euros.

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“When you can offer rotating license plates…”

Home on the range
Bucheron near Place Vendome shows its entire range, and clearly highlights items in excess of 25k. Gucci on the other hand has a more democratic spirit. Its prices are lower for a start, and even though clearly in the luxury range, have enabled the site to accept the large price tags. Remember online luxury and off line purchasing must reflect each other. In addition, they should reflect the brand’s positioning across its markets. If you are managing across cultures, what should you do to capture the ever-growing Asian markets such as buyers in China?

Is it worthwhile to have an exclusive Chinese web offering?
Some firms think so. Remember one cardinal rule: Clients are unforgiving with mistakes and system errors. Your e-store must function seamlessly, and you must be in control of all the data that you accumulate to analyse and segment your audience. Advanced technology today, can keep your operations running across time zones and website updates. Applications that power usability and e-merchandising should feature multiple product views, zoom, spin & flip, speed of page downloads, and navigation.

You will also need the support system to guarantee payment online in order to protect sensitive data such as personal information, credit card details, birth dates, nationalities, and any other data you feel relevant to forecast taste and online buyer behaviour patterns. Your online luxury goal is to exceed expectations. End of discussion.

Check out the top sites you admire, and have one built to encompass the features you wish. Customers who purchase online do not care how much time the site takes to neither build nor maintain. They are not “code monkeys” or IT pundits. To succeed you must prepare the online offers as an exciting shopping experience. As one colleague of my states:

“Online shopping is another form of entertainment and not just consumption. To entertain does not mean overwhelm. It means to guide. Make the experience easy and direct. Not complicated and convoluted.”

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“Making your clients enter into another realm…”

If you just focus on selling you will not succeed. Create the vision and make the client dream. This will lead to higher purchase profitability.

Effective Client Management
Effective client management is not just collecting data and shovelling it into virtual folders. As in any serious marketing assignment, you need to understand your target and segment accordingly. Higher customer expenditure will require you to give your base a reason to purchase. Bombarding your Facebook fan club will not do. It is inadequate and the equivalent to the old “shotgun” marketing approach. When you think online luxury, it is not as different as you suppose in traditional strategic marketing. It is a question of applied perspective. For example, an e-retail model should be optimised and the brand positioned by price, message, and visual impact. Recognise that the “average” online reader or shopper has the attention span of a titmouse. Understanding the mentality of people online can be a game of “Snakes & Ladders”.

A Game Of Snakes & Ladders
Because we are addressing questions of the luxury brand market, we need a slight variation of an old game.

Question: Should you just select specific items to feature or offer the whole product range?
Answer: Only selected choices should be featured online. Too much choice is as bad as too little choice.

Question: What products should be in the selection?
Answer: Make the products or services visible which represent the totem of the product range. Special or limited edition items should not be sold online because they introduce the opposite stress points to “exclusive”. You may think they are exclusive, but the audience will read them as banal.

Question: Should the brand display prices?
Answer: This is a tricky question to answer and it is my belief that there is not just one approach to this. One theory and practice is show the item and make the person follow through to purchase.

In the second stage the price can appear in the “basket” or “check-out list. At this stage, tax and other service charges can be leveraged to show the client itemisation.

Question: Should the web store be only open to those who login?
Answer: I have had heated discussions with people over this. My answer is yes. Make them sign in and collect basic data. Have a cookie to collect real email addresses.

The more you understand online purchase retention and buyer behavioural patterns, the more you can “optimise” your site and the client’s online shopping experience.

Although login can be useful, make sure that the e-retail face is open to everyone. Years ago, certain luxury retailers held a different view about what should or not accessible to online clientele. The world has moved on and so should you if you hold any outmoded ideas of where and how online purchases act.

Question: What do you think of channel integration?
Answer: Channel integration is crucial. Remember the point of business is to clinch sales. Point of sale is one channel and online is complimentary.

If you just do business online, then it is by choice the principal channel and the necessary Marcom and advertising strategies must be implemented so you do not wind up in deep cyber space.

The Internet clearly allows you to touch and activate a broad and deep audience. All the Internet has done is accentuate the fact that two key channels exist for most luxury brands and business models. Product selection and merchandising should coordinate after sales services, client traffic, data collection and management.

Article Title: The Essentials Of Luxury Branding
Photographs: (1)longingforlovely (2)enversdudecor (3)airows (4)gn-a

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food |

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. Our expertise lies in brand journalism, blogging with the purpose of content creation, sparking emotion. Inspire your audience, which generates action with meaningful results.

If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring at redddherring.tumblr.com

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The Beauty Of Estate Tweeds

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“Why grouse? You’re wearing Brora tweed…”

Thanks to David at the Grey Fox and Charles Inness, I’ve reconnected to one of my great all time favorite brands, Hunter’s of Brora. This is the firm which launched tweeds to die for not to mention estate tweeds for some of the UK’s most renowned families who hold hunting estates in Scotland. There is enough folklore and heritage to give branding mavens apoplexy.

Like with many heritage brands, Hunters went through some trying times. Many fell by the waste side. However, when Hunters went into receivership Geoffrey Minter kept the business alive before passing it on to Charles in 2004. He had the support of another tweeds fanatic, the Prince of Wales.

The firm was founded by Thomas Hunter in Wick in 1901 and was soon relocated to Brora on the east coast of Sutherland. As Charles stated in a recent interview, tweeds are a distant cousin of tartan and were manufactured to the specifications of a family to identify the people who worked or lived on a particular estate. It is claimed by Johnston’s of Elgin that the first tweeds were woven during the 1840s. This might sound like the distant past to today’s youth obsessed culture, which love clothes cut out of proportion to their bodies. However, the Victorian period gave birth to the sort of fashion craze, which is common to us all.

When Prince Albert and Queen Victoria bought Balmoral, they discovered tweeds and launched a trend for this precious and solid fabric. In many ways this cloth, was one of the first worker’s cloths to go aristocratic and then mainstream. The preppy style in the States is unthinkable without tweeds. Think Ralph Lauren.

Historically, tweeds were your identity card. You did not have the right to wear certain tweeds unless you were part of the family or worked on the estate. This was not unusual. The same was true for tartans, club or regimental ties. In today’s anything goes style world, these rules no longer apply unless you live in the world where these symbols still carry weight.

tweed3_menswear-style

“Everything you wanted to know about estate tweeds, but was afraid to ask…”

As Charles points out, the second reason people wore tweeds in Victorian times was camouflage. The natural pigments in the wool allowed the stylishly tailored hunters to blend into their environment whilst hunting game or stalking in the Highlands. The original weights were heavy and durable. The Victorians would not have understood our lust for lightweight fabrics or Neapolitan shoulders. Their tweeds were like armor. If you can source real vintage Harris or Brora jackets you will see what I mean. The last real English explorer, Wilfred Thesiger claimed that such tweeds could stop a Jezail bullet if you were in a tight place. Needless to say, I have not tested his theory.

tweed_english-style-menswear

“When you’re spoiled for choice…”

All joking aside, Charles and his wife have brought Brora into the 21st century utilizing the latest technology to manufacture their cloth with an eye on current trends in regards to style, design, and function. We can only wish them much success in reviving this noble brand with its rich heritage.

Article Title: The Beauty of Estate Tweeds
Photographs: the grey fox

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food |

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. Our expertise lies in brand journalism, blogging with the purpose of content creation, sparking emotion. Inspire your audience, which generates action with meaningful results.

If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring at redddherring.tumblr.com

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The Ultimate Career Guide

dalai_career-guide

“With focus and determination, there is nothing you cannot achieve…”

The Dalai Lama in my view is the ultimate career management guide. He not only understands the pregnant moment, he lives in a time that can only be described as now. Ever notice how he refers to himself? As a simple monk.

His humility is genuine; he knows his place in this world and is cognoscente of his responsibility. His behavior is exemplary to us all. Many would classify him as extra-ordinary for his completely out-of-the-box attitude and actions. The Dalai Lama represents a role model of human endeavor in the face of challenges both temporal and spiritual.

Certainly, he provides food for thought as each one of us face our own pregnant moments. He also serves as a model for career management. Fostering the right career takes careful consideration. There are many paths to choose. Since we spend a lifetime at work, shouldn’t our career give us satisfaction as well as sustenance?

It is hard when you are young to choose a career path on the basis of interest alone. You need to look beyond the moment and see where a career trajectory will take you if followed through to the end. More seasoned professionals recognize that in today’s climate, we must be prepared for change and have the willingness to adapt to new opportunities as they arise.

indy_mba-admissions

“Even I needed some serious advice…”

Nobody can foster a career on a bed of shifting sand. If you do, you do so at your own risk. Even the most sanguine among us understands that everyone is replaceable. Change comes to us all. Try to guide your own transitions rather than having something hoisted upon you.

Dream Day in the USA has given us a chance to pay homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. More importantly, it shows us the amount of power we can exercise when we work towards our highest ideals and aspirations. Dr. King’s dream is everyone’s dream. It gives us the nobility to hold our heads up high. Dr. King’s legacy has the power to change our attitudes, perception, and behavior. Following in his footsteps, we too are capable of leaving an indelible mark. As one savvy career management pundit remarked:

“Ordinary people are capable of the extraordinary when their acts and words are natural and uninhibited. It is our own consciousness, which interprets this message pushing it into the extra-ordinary.”

This past summer, I took my son to see the site of the original Woodstock concert in the Catskill Mountains of New York State. The air was warm and dry with blue light. Looking over the now vacant and complacent fields gave me a peculiar feeling. I had the pleasure of speaking with other parents at the site, and later at the interactive museum in Bethel Woods.

dylan_career-management

“The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind…”

It seems a new generation of teenagers is fascinated with the 1960s, its sense of idealism, changing the world, and of course the creativity and music. To my son, the exhibit brought to life an historic moment in American history that he could tangibly relate to. For the parents, this journey might have started as nostalgia, but ended up with thought provoking comments:

“How did we get from there to here?”

Life can be pregnant with these moments if we are perceptive. To take advantage of perception is a question of training. When the consciousness of an individual begins to shift, an opening takes place, bringing the individual into a higher and broader realm of awareness. In essence, all of us are truly extra-ordinary. We have conned ourselves to believe that we are just simple, helpless human beings at the mercy of fate and circumstance.

“Ordinary is nonsense”, said Albert Einstein.

Each one of us sits on the threshold of the extra-ordinary. It is up to us to open the door to our full awareness in order to leap. So, what are we waiting for?

Article Title: The Ultimate Career Management Guide
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on | Career Management | Personal Brand Management | MBA Admissions | Talent Development | Life & Career Coaching |

Let Careo start by celebrating your success story. We hold to the principle that it is not how good you are, but how good you would like to become. We are honored to have been recommended across the French media in – Le Figaro, L’Express, Capital – and by Success & Career in Switzerland.

As Mahatma Gandhi stated, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world”.

For further inspiration
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Sailing Fortune Cookie Wisdom

roy_career-managment

“Who ever heard the sound of one hand clapping…”

Smooth sailing during career change should be identified as a mountain stream. When there is thunder and rain, the sound of water is not smooth sailing. Now the true sound of smooth sailing is silence, according to fortune cookie wisdom.

I know this master chef working at of Wo Fat’s Cantonese kitchen not far from Canal Street in New York by the name of Mencius. He could speak volumes on this subject. However, he’d probably be more at home selecting the finest ingredients from the market and prep the evening’s meal. Wok hay, would drive him crazy. That’s what you would expect from a Taoist aesthete, who favors sailing the meditative breath of fire.

On the other side of the world, Socrates too was well versed in the principles of sailing silence, diligence, and astute planning. He’d often listen to the pundits engage each other with rhetoric as he mused through Plaka on the slopes of the Parthenon. How like Greek philosophers to warble incessant bird song in the heat of the Athenian sun.

guernsey_mba-coaching

“Captain, I’ve spotted Tortuga…”

To develop insight, Socrates preferred to watch the fisherman. He’d contemplate their banter and salty songs. He loved to watch them tenderize the evening’s octopus on the rocks. The simplicity of humble tasks emptied his mind. In this emptiness, he found the meaning of all things. Perhaps, if you are planning to apply for an MBA, this is what you should do. Too much anxiety over what to put in your essays won’t make them stand out any better.

Emptiness is often confused with ignorance. Ignorance however, is more than a lack of knowledge. A lack can be sensibly remedied. It is a question of training. Real ignorance is the misapprehension of all things. Take the case of the Buddha. Although not a sailor, he desired more than a career sea change. He desired smooth sailing.

hok_mba-admissions

“When your reflection is just a fleeting fantasy…”

Determined to achieve this state of smooth sailing, he sat under a fig tree, legs crossed in a full lotus position. He was resolved not to budge until he was filled with clarity. By learning this lesson he saw smooth sailing was a question of equilibrium. The mind is a close friend of ignorance and this is the trap. Give the mind conundrums, and it will smile and spin in a vortex of relentless aggravation.

On the other hand, you could give the mind something nobler to consider such as the following Taoist proverb: “The sound of water is silence.”

Mojito?

Article Title: Sailing Fortune Cookie Wisdom
Photographs: (1)manofthemmnt (2)curated by ES (3)stayfr-sh

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on | Talent Development | Career Management | Personal Brand Management | MBA Admissions | Life & Career Coaching |

Let us start by celebrating your success story. We hold to the principle that it is not how good you are, but how good you would like to become. We are honored to have been recommended across the French media in – Le Figaro, L’Express, Capital – and by Success & Career in Switzerland.

As Mahatma Gandhi stated, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world”.

For further inspiration
Visit Whitefield Consulting Worldwide

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Crafting The French Touch

aud_french-touch

“Don’t you just love mess in’ about in boats…”

Recently, I was invited to the Regalade, a charming restaurant in a discreet Paris location to discuss The French Touch. At the table were a distinguished cast of cognoscente, whose names I am not at liberty to divulge.

Table talk centered on the essence of style over fashion, craftsmanship over mass production, i.e. made in ailleurs. There was the occasional chest beating and lament. Hey, Paris has a latin soul, but it was nothing a few cocktails couldn’t cure. The general consensus was that identifying The French Touch is like a sea dragon riding the wind.

These people I might add were not hide bound bores, but designers and players in the luxury sector. Off the record, one comment was: “Luxury brands like any other retailer deal in bottom lines. Fashion is a world driven by constant and persistent change.”

It is sometimes true that creatives try to cajole, persuade, and market their wares non-stop to an ever-fickle public looking for the next big thing. Where the concept of timelessness was once a by-word for quality, today luxury is the effervescence of shooting stars. Take a journey over to Louis Vuitton on the Champs-Elysees showcase, and engage with the current zeitgeist.

pivoine_french-touch

“It’s hard to beat the French Touch when it comes to style…”

Although I have nothing against profitability, we must not confuse sales figures with taste or style. Real style is intangible and is intrinsic to a person’s persona. The concept of The French Touch is not any different. It is easy to identify, but quite difficult to replicate. It is as one lovely figure among us noted, “a state of mind”. The French actress, Marion Cotillion encapsulates the French touch to perfection in Woody Allen’s film, “Midnight In Paris”.

Lea Seydoux is another beauty who radiates the French Touch. Just imagine you are dining with her. She is sheepishly looking at you with those hypnotic eyes, and then says in that most Parisienne of voices: “Mon chou would you care to share a bottle of Foufoune. If this happens to you, you are done for. Cuite.

For those who aspire to capture this look, study Audrey Hepburn for guidelines. Although she was not French, she was not born in the States either. There was something quite mystical about her persona, which still captivates audiences. The term I would use to describe her is elegance. In her film with Fred Astaire, she causally remarks, “I am not beautiful; I have a funny face.” Ever the gentleman, Fred Astaire responded, “What you call funny, I call interesting.”

Audrey knew she had allure. Her clothes personified her character not the other way around. She was an ambassador for Hubert de Givenchy, and wore his clothes with panache. However, because her beauty was so natural, she was just as much at home in a pair of Levis. This is not just style but real class.

Three years ago, Ines de la Fressange published La Parisienne, and the book was an instant best seller in France. The book oozes with the style voice of one of Chanel’s former key models and taste trendsetters. Today, Ines is 50-something, and just as captivating as she was in her 20s. The book stands as a style guide to good taste for any contemporary woman, who wants to let loose her own version of The French Touch.

Visitors and designers alike claim that in this city men and women dress better than many other urban environments, and embody a certain je ne sais quoi. That “something” is well articulated in Ines book. It is also lovingly captured by the fashion photographer, Scott Schuman on his trend setting blog entitled, The Satorialist. Scott has the uncanny knack for capturing style across age groups. He demonstrates how personal and organic French style, really is. Every one can look great; it is a question of attitude, not money. His photographs make you drool. On his website, he features a whole ream of pictures taken in Paris, which give you a good feel for the French vibe.

I have another dear friend who claims that The French Touch is in the tap water. Drink the water at will he laughs and “voila”. Here, I am not so sure. The “Chateau Robinet 2014″ is barely drinkable. Perhaps, the water he was referring to, came from Reims in bottles, labelled, Bollinger. Baudelaire claimed that all French women had beautiful legs because they spent half their lives walking up and down countless flights of stairs.

Someone remarked to me just the other day that everyone should have an uncle called “Christian”. It is true that Dior had certainly added to the modern vocabulary of contemporary woman. His feel for shape and color were unique. He knew how to drape fabric across a woman’s body, letting the woman’s body speak with its own voice, not necessarily calling attention to the clothes. Elegance is always a point of subtlety.

A contemporary style trend gathering more steam has been the craze for French vintage military field jackets, and those sailor’s shirts manufactured by St. James. The Lycée crowd has taken it up in spades, and it has spread to other circles throughout the heart of the BoBo-land. Designers have been borrowing concepts from vintage military clothing for ages; Jean-Paul Gautier is just one of the most successful.

Another key give away that your style code needs adjusting is when your clothes are too tight. This is not style, sorry. This is bad taste. Clothes should always be adjusted and be your size. Forget what the inner label says. Use a tape measure.

Want to laugh?

One of our global readers was recently asking what is the best colour for shirts. At first glance, I thought this was a philosophical question. I was about to consult my annotated copy of the Analects by Confucius, and caught myself saying, “Wait a second. Colour is personal”. The French like the Italians are fond of blue and white stripes of assorted versions. This design has a causal preppy style and can be worn with or without a tie. Speaking of ties, the bow tie has made a smashing comeback. This would have pleased my father no end. I find that bow ties are not only great in summer, but can also pass muster all year round. In case you would like to start fostering a collection, why not head over to Charvet near Place Vendome. Talk about the French Touch!

Article Title: Crafting The French Touch
Photographs: (1) curated by ES (2)weheartit.com

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food |

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. Our expertise lies in brand journalism, blogging with the purpose of content creation, sparking emotion. Inspire your audience, which generates action with meaningful results.

If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring at redddherring.tumblr.com

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Sailing With Homer Is Always Relevant

dress_preppy-style

“Because no man or woman is an island…”

Sailing Greece, I discovered that reading Homer is always relevant. Shrouded in mystery, he is so contemporary, you wish you could break crust with this gent. I found wine dark seas pursuing dolphins and the children of Odysseus such as the Colossus of Maroussi, George Seferis, Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell.

Sailing Greece is more than my love of boats. Perhaps the Retsina went to my head more than 20 years ago. Playing backgammon and idle chatter with fishermen can do this to a chap, don’t you know! The people are charming and natural story tellers. I’d love to state that “I met him in Piraeus”. Perhaps we all have. From the first moment sailing Greece, I encountered a light that pierces the soul and gives birth to love.

sailing_preppy-style

“Look dolphins…”

As a creature of rational habits, sailing Greece stimulated my blood. There is nothing to comprehend except the appreciation of bouzouki. Swept away with Syrtaki and Zebekkiko, I cavorted through the tavernas of Athens until I was shanghaied to the shores of Sifnos. There I encountered authenticity, worthy of verse. At first, I thought it was the heat and ouzo. The ancient rivers run deep. Circumstance brings them out and you’re off with Pan to God knows where. Sailing Greece is clearly not for the foolhardy.

I was reminded of that haunting quotation in the Revelations of St. John The Divine (1.Rev 1.8):

“… I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.”

Saint John always did have a way with words. I’d like to think he was inspired by the pleasure of sharing a table with friends eating grilled octopus marinated in wild oregano.

Tavernas are a showcase for theatre. It’s the place your inner being demands to be refreshed. You see, sailing Greece is more than a story of boats. It’s an odyssey to the core of your own being and making new friends. It’s where the soul arouses the senses of charmed moments, laughter, and contemplation. Who knows, you might even learn to dance! Conversations are whispered and on other occasions animated. You simply will love tavernas for the food as well as the camaraderie.

Sailing Greece, head for Crete and tales of the labyrinth. The freshness of the bread is perfect to rub olive oil or to nibble a crumbly piece of feta. Take port and rejoice. When it comes to the table, seasonality still carries weight. What could be better than a dozen mezes spread across a checkerboard cloth.

Take the two sisters who run the Dome Hotel in Chania. They make the most amazing rose petal jam you will ever taste. Eaten with Greek yogurt and you will start re-evaluating your career options. This is a good town to begin. When possible, leave your car and walk in the hills. Let the landscape act as your guide. Let your feet start you off on your first journey. Who knows, Gnosis may not be far behind.

In the winter, stews hark back to antiquity. The meats, vegetables, and herbs simmer for hours giving slow food its original content. Stuffed peppers can be found in many cultures, but few are flavored with sultanas, nutmeg and mint.

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“Perfect when you’re topside after a storm…”

Curiously, each dish has a story culled from someone’s grandmother. I love the fact that Greek cuisine is based on the humblest of ingredients such as chic peas, wild greens, garden vegetables, yogurt, and fish.

What I also find uncanny is that consumption is based on products sourced locally. Perhaps this is why dishes with similar descriptions are often quite different from one part of Hellas to another. Take the spicy shrimp served on the island of Symi. The shrimps are tiny, briny, and laced with spices reminiscent of Asia.

Even the ubiquitous country salad, can vary tremendously. When it comes to Greek wines, imbibe. Most think of Retsina and turn up their noses. Although I love this simple country wine properly chilled on a hot summer’s day, the country produces some outstanding vintages grown across Macedonia and the Peloponnese. The Mecouri family do a red wine to die for. I once made a blind taste test with a close friend in the wine trade from Bordeaux. He was blown away when I told him the wine was Greek.

With thousands of islands to visit, you are spoiled for choice. Eschew the places mass tourism destroyed. The mysteries of Eleusis await anyone with an open heart. Mingle with the people and feeling their pulse. And don’t forget to keep a copy of Fagel’s Homer in your pocket.

Article Title: Sailing With Homer Is Always Relevant
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food |

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. Our expertise lies in brand journalism, blogging with the purpose of content creation, sparking emotion. Inspire your audience, which generates action with meaningful results.

If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring at redddherring.tumblr.com

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Communications: Navigating Internal Politics

stic_corporate-communications

“Diplomacy is vital to navigating internal politics…

Navigating internal politics within any organization is the core of conflict management. Corporate communications can play a vital play. However, senior management must show decisive leadership so moral is not sapped nor the brand destroyed.

It can cause trauma and is self destructive to team building. In an ideal world, these issues should be readily resolved. However, as everyone knows, the world is far from ideal and we as managers or leaders must resolve these issues so they do not spiral out of control.

Take the case of Erica. Her boss was trying to create a rift between her and her immediate superior. He did so by sneaking around and generated a climate of misunderstanding.

The situation worsened to the point that the manager in question felt the need to resign. There is a very France Telecom feel to this scenario, although this type of corporate culture is systemic to human behavior. Certain corporate cultures only serve to exacerbate the worst in people’s behavior to make it ripen and play out.

Unethical behavior is unfortunately not rare nor unique. My idealistic side would like to say so, but like everyone else who is a keen observer of human nature, I know that it is not. Therefore, we must guard against this type of behavior and when in a position of leadership foster the attitude and environment to make sure this does not take place. When it does, to act quickly and decisively.

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“No point in getting an anxiety attack…”

Administrations surrounding a leader tend to mimic the leader and his or her intentions. I call this the Thomas O’ Beckett syndrome. A quick glance at the crisis, which surrounded the current governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie last year and you catch my drift. Play hard ball with human beings, their emotions and character, and the fruits will be unpleasant to say the least.

Examining any working environment puts us in touch with distinct personality types. Motivation, upbringing, and character traits mark out each individual’s style of behavior. Some people thrive on harmony whilst others thrive on conflict. If you are someone like FDR, you can manage the scenario. For many business leaders and managers, it is very problematic.

Classic working behavioral traits include openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Is it any wonder then that given a chose, we prefer to surround ourselves with colleagues that fit in with our own behavior and mirror our own goals? When somebodies goals differ and selfishness is front and center, it is a bit like bullying. The atmosphere is rife with fear. Strong conflict management will call the bully out. The problem is when the bully is the manager

Another point worth making is that the bully personality is not prone to one organization. He or she can appear anywhere even in non-profits. Examine the Myers-Briggs personality assessment. This is one of the most widely used psychological tests to analyze 16 distinct personality types, which include “The Doers” and “The Idealists.”

One of the strongest reasons an organization or team fail to reach their potential is the overwhelming presence of internal politics. The leadership should be held accountable as I said. However, the climate starts with the top. If the one setting policy behaves badly, the wrong vectors of engagement are put into motion. No one benefits in this atmosphere, except perhaps self destructive types.

What are internal/office politics and why do they even exist?
Essentially, politics result when an employee feels the need to manipulate others for their own welfare. They might feel this behavioral type is in line with corporate culture. When similar personality types take over the organization it has the power to create tension, stress, and havoc with anyone else within the company, a sort of with us or against us mentality sets in.

As a result, productivity gets stifled, morale drops to low levels, and various close-knit groups are formed ‒ all of which compete with each other in a negative sense. To use the analogy of energy, it’s like several forces pulling in different directions.

Office politics constitute several forms amongst the staff including:

• Backstabbing
• Disrespect for colleagues and superiors
• Resentment
• Jealousy
• Insecurity
• Hatred
• Power struggles
• Favouritism /Injustice
• Nepotism
• Gossip and rumours
• Tight knit groups
• Malfeasance
• Possibly bullying as a result of aggression

According to a recent Inc. magazine article by Janine Popick, at her email company, she identifies 4 “office politicians” that will poison your culture. They are, the bully, the ass-kisser, the information withholder, and the squeaky wheel.

Office politics exist in various intensities and for several reasons, though it starts with people ‒ all of whom are of different origin, background, personality type, come to work with personal baggage and have their own agenda. The business lacks cohesiveness amongst its staff and leadership.

The blame for this outcome goes squarely to the organization’s management which is either oblivious to the fact or negligent in eradicating it. Therefore, accountability begins at the top of the organization, department or division. Incidentally, politics don’t solely exist in large companies but in mid-size and small enterprises too ‒ though more prevalent in larger companies due to the number of employees and managers.

What initiates it in the first place and subsequently makes it thrive are:

• Deficient direction from the top,
• Lack of teamwork amongst the staff and management,
• Negative vibes within the organizational culture, and
• A lack of communication.

For reasons specified above, internal politics shouldn’t be tolerated. Some would argue it’s a fact of life and ought to be regarded as a necessary evil. Those same people have not understood or concerned about the negative effects it causes an organization.

The solutions that can be implemented to minimize politics require initiative and conscientious effort. It’s also not a onetime effort but an ongoing monitoring process.

They are as follows:

1. Hiring employees with the right attitude rather than focus solely in skills

2. Concise job descriptions, proper onboarding and continuous training along with shared organizational values

3. Putting in leadership positions, those who are respected, competent in their role and can empower their subordinates

4. Avoiding any means of favoritism ‒ total equality

5. No sign of nepotism ‒ most notably in in smaller organizations

6. Developing and implementing a sound communication strategy ‒ replacing confusion with clarity and uncertainty with certainty

7. Seeking creative ways to boost morale and making every employee feel as if part of a cohesive family working together in a positive team spirit for a common goal

8. Offer incentive compensation arrangements which reward performance and teamwork, hence are aligned with the goals of the overall organization

9. There should be no direct reporting to anyone the employee has a personal relationship with

10. Making it clear, with constant reminders, that there is zero tolerance for animosity amongst the staff. Moreover, encourage openness with an open door policy along with the ability for the staff to discreetly convey their complaints and labour disputes to a third/neutral party, as well as encourage suggestions for improvements.

Consider this typical scenario as an approach to minimizing politics at your company. If you’re in a situation when you meet with one of your staff members, perhaps a direct report, he/she might start criticizing a colleague in subtle ways so as to indirectly give his/her best appearance. This is a sign of political play.

The most effective way to put an end to it is by tactfully explaining why it’s not morally correct to speak behind anyone’s back. Rather, urge this person to discuss or assist his/her colleague head-on despite requiring some courage to do so.

In conclusion, it is clear that politics are a detriment to any organization. It’s up to the leadership to identify and stamp it out through its intolerance policy. It is, after all, management’s responsibility to monitor the culture, morale and productivity of the staff, otherwise the situation may become too misaligned overwhelming affecting the bottom line.

There is no such thing as “ditty” office politics. Its mere existence is adequate to cause strain to the organization and its employees – regardless of stature. It is unethical behaviour. If there’s a conflict, stop it in its tracks by going to the source of it. This should be done in person, and if necessary one-on-one in a private setting. Perhaps some coaching along with talk straight may be necessary to discuss how to work well with the other individual and encourage this person to talk to each other.

At the end of the day, office politics is the direct result of a lack of focus and lack of teamwork. Someone has to take responsibility for it. Encourage your staff to work in harmony and keep an eye out for the office politicians. Politics is a human dilemma. If you can’t eliminate it, at east contain it. Consider conflict management in your human resources arsenal.

Article Title: Corporate Communications: Navigating Internal Politics
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
James D. Roumeliotis is an expert on brand management and corporate communications based in Montreal, Canada. He is a regular contributor to RedHerring.

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Visit: RedHerring

BrandCom Goes Sprezzy

sprezzy_brand-communications

“When your brand is sprezzy and very Pitti…”

In order to thrive in an environment cluttered with white noise, brands need to create their own magic kingdom in order to stand out. Content marketing practioners have many arrows in their quiver. The question is which tools suit your project best, and secondly who are the recipients of the targeted messages. For any effective communications campaign to pull its weight, an understanding of what the constituency is looking for is primordial.

For example, use a sexy woman nibbling chocolate, and you can stir up a hornets nest of fantasy. Take the luxury chocolatier, Godiva as a case in point. The customer base wants their chocolate to conjure up sensuality and romance. Nobody mentions we crave the magnesium in the cacao. Magnesium sounds so clinical.

One of my clients talks frequently of magnificent encounters online. I am not sure if he is referring to a Steven Spielberg film or some romantic liaison. However, web audiences demand ever increasing forms of entertainment. The professional term here is engagement.

When Galaxy Chocolate in Australia issued its outstanding campaign, they featured a video of a Audrey Hepburn clone. The impact was swift and the advert went viral. GC clearly enticed their audience with a feel good factor. Who doesn’t recognize the iconic scenes inspired from Roman Holiday!

Most viewers of social media channels view their mediums unconsciously. The DNA of communications are designed to manipulate a viewers attitudes and beliefs. Since most people are not Zen masters, their emotions when appropriately stimulated, influence their decision making trigger to act on impulse. Astute marketing managers recognize this and gear their online presence to generate marketing a high-impact experience.

white_brand-management

“When you’re walking into glory…”

Take another case, the online site of Omega. Their presence is sleek. Daniel Craig looks directly at you in his white shirt unbuttoned at the throat. He gives us that Bond, James Bond look. Immediately you feel whisked to the baccarat tables in Casino Royal. Here however, the corporate communications angle is geared to show social and community commitment to a noble cause. Awareness of their commitment can justify a purchaser’s reasoning when shelling out for this luxury brand.

Both Daniel Craig and Omega have supported ORBIS International and its Flying Eye Hospital. The Hour Vision Blue helps make it possible. This is just one example how corporate ethics links brand equity to social responsibility. It also underscores organizational values in support of a recognized charity. In this instance, everyone concerned benefits. You buy the watch and have a guilt free experience. The emotional take-away is “I feel good about myself”.

Now open up another web page. Visit Dolce & Gabbana. The page is image rich. The business intelligence behind this outfit shows you why this brand thrives within its Sicilian fantasy kingdom. Some viewers may find the site overwhelming. I think you will enjoy the complexity. Watch their latest videos. Scan their collections. Feel the Dolce & Gabbana universe of sensuality and family. Sicily is a lifestyle best savored over a fine claret if you cannot be in Palermo.

Studies show that viewers like spending time within the D&G community. You might decide to purchase something from their online store. I think it’s more likely that you’ll visit the shop. Most clients want to know if the universe online is real. Looks can be deceiving. Everyone wants tactile verification. Even employees want to falling in love with the brand they represent.

If you doubt this principal, watch the Saturday morning cartoons with a group of young children. See their reactions. Better still, wait for the breakfast cereal adverts. Notice the free toys and prizes. The children will choose a cereal at the supermarket for the “reward”. However, as everyone has experienced, the “prize” rarely measures up to the image held in the mind.

This is what luxury firms must take care not to do. Do not create a desire for something you cannot deliver on. Expectations may change when we become adults, but our desires remain the same in their childlike anticipations of indulgence and love of magic. Everyone is waiting for that magnificent encounter. Deliver beyond expectations, and you will have created your own magic kingdom.

Article Title: BrandCom Goes Sprezzy
Photographs: (1)finest (2)what-do-i-wear

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food |

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. Our expertise lies in brand journalism, blogging with the purpose of content creation, sparking emotion. Inspire your audience, which generates action with meaningful results.

If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring at redddherring.tumblr.com

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Ivy Style Aesthetics

kennedy_ivy-style

“When your Ivy sensibilities are on parade…”

Nobody embodies the Ivy style better than the Kennedy’s did. Their public lives choreograph elegance and nonchalance in spades whether sailing, walking on the beach, playing touch football, or even dressed for more formal occasions demanded by the situation. Their look and feel are natural, unstudied, and clearly understated. Preppies don’t do bling-bling. They might fancy crazy colors such as kelly green and coral pink, but this is just to show off their inner party animal.

It’s not hard to understand why preppy aesthetics were glorified in the Fifties and Sixties. The style and clothes speak the vernacular of confidence. Cuts were simple. The lines clean and the color palate on target. In the USA, clothes have always been aspirational. Hollywood clearly delivered this message.

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“Do you really think I should flaunt my pearls…”

What is also curious is that at a certain point, the Ivy style became cool thanks to Blues and Jazz musicians such as Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, and the Chet Baker. The look is best relayed on those iconic album cover jackets issued by Blue Note. Everyone loved the stylistic voice married to the music. Aspiring individuals looked to these iconic individuals for their personal menswear cues. In cinema, Steve McQueen breathes this style down to his fingertips.

sm_ivy-style

“There’s no need to escape; I already live in California…”

Today, in an age of uncertainty people are confused for a whole host of reasons. Perhaps, this partly explains a return to forever. We search for an anchor to give us meaning in a rapidly changing and challenging world. In the past, clothes had two principle categories: white collar and blue collar.

What is amusing is to think that workwear has gone up market.Think traditional Red Wing boots from their heritage collection, the mania for selvage, and the re-edition by certain American and Japanese firms for authentic pieces. No working person in their right mind would pay +$250 for a pair of dungarees. Fanatics however, will spare no cost because of a current trend for craft and heritage. RRL exemplifies this passion for detail down to the tiniest stud and stitch.

red_workwear-style

“When you’d walk a mile for a camel…”

Clothes have always had a symbolic power to transform. Previously, diverse stations in life required us to wear different uniforms. Although this is still true within certain circles and professions, there is much freedom and lassitude. With freedom comes choice and for many choice is confusing. To tell a young man or woman today that wearing denim was once a revolutionary statement would make the most churlish among us break down with laughter.

Take for example, a proper sack suit. Despite the rage for slim everything, this suit can still be had. Let me share another less familiar name with you: Norman Hilton. They cut a sack suit to die for. The armholes are high and give maximum movement to the shoulder. Best of all are the mother of pearl or horn buttons on the jacket sleeves. Speaking of buttonholes, they all function. There is even a slit in the left lapel for a flower. Perfect for cocktail parties or a day at the races. Concerning the shoulder, there is minimal or no padding.

Many of the small shops of the Ivy Style heyday such as Chipps no longer exist. JPress recently closed its on Madison Avenue HQ, presumably for another location. However, the Andover Store in Cambridge, Mass is still are flourishing. Brooks is still around and of course there is Ralph Lauren.

With JPress aside, two of the key tailors, who still make fabulous sack suits are Southwick and Norman Hilton. For fans of preppy aesthetics, I highly counsel that you visit these noble establishments. Both tailors use the finest fabrics such as Harris Tweed and Loro Piana. For example, at Norman Hilton, all their jackets are still made the old fashioned way in the Garment District of New York. Very few factories have the know how to put together a proper sack jacket that actually fits. They do.

I love Hilton’s authentic natural shoulder, undarted front, true 3/2 roll notch lapel, and hooked back vent. Although these are details are essential to the jacket, they are difficult to produce properly. This firm however, has dug into their archives to keep the cut right. Their American factory produces the most authentic natural shoulder jackets you will find on the market. In addition to the jackets and suits, the firm also manufacturers its own trousers and ties. Both are also made in New York. You will be impressed.

Norman Hilton is not exactly a newcomer to the scene. The brand has quite a heritage. The firm launched in 1888. By 1947, Norman entered the family business. By attending both Princeton and Harvard Business School, he built a deep understanding of what we refer to today as preppy aesthetics.

Here’s an interesting bit of info: Did you know that Norman invested in Ralph Lauren before anyone else, and even manufactured much of his collection during RL early years? Nice bit of trivia, what.

Article Title: Ivy Style Aesthetics
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food |

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. Our expertise lies in brand journalism, blogging with the purpose of content creation, sparking emotion. Inspire your audience, which generates action with meaningful results.

If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring at redddherring.tumblr.com

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