» Joe Bond.

The Color of a Champion

Now that Super Bowl 50 is in the books it’s time to look beyond the chalkboard to other supporting factors that might help lead up to a champion. We wondered if championship teams had more in common beyond great athletes and coaching. Was there another intangible working for the team, that all champions have in common? Like…team colors?
You can tell a lot about a sports fan by the clothes they wear — the passion, the energy and the expense to blend in or stand out with their tribe. We wondered if championship teams and their fans have anything in common on the color wheel. Never looked at it until now, and sure enough there’s some interesting similarities. This is not a scientific study, but a simple observation about championship teams, specifically Super Bowl winners.

Some minor rules.

Every team has a primary team color and an accent color. We chose to focus solely on the major team color — not the accent color and not their white jersey – every team wears white. We’re more interested in the overarching color that defines the brand. We asked these questions;
  • What’s the primary color that defines the team overall?
  • If we were to look into a stadium of fans, what’s the the dominant color we’d see in the stands?
  • What’s the unique color that separates the team from all others.
The chart (right) is based on one primary color, the single dominant brand color, not the color the team wore in the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is only one game, and we were more interested in understanding the color promoted by the team and fans throughout the year.

Upon review the colors align.

Dark colors are generally a good thing — bright colors not so much. We can group some fairly distinct eras of color.

The early years – 1967-1974

The NFL makes lots of green, and green is the color that started it all from the Packers to the Jets to the Dolphins. Is there a cultural influence? Look at images from the late 60’s and early 70’s — green really was the flavor of the day in everything from carpet to counter tops. Even though the green these teams use are all very different, they’re not all that far from the average avocado colored refrigerator.

The dark years – 1975-1981

A whole lotta Pittsburgh and Oakland, black jerseys were hip, serious and stark. Yes, those were some dark years of high inflation and other pressures society was working to resolve. Never really associated the tenor of the times with the color black, but the colors do align with the mood of the country.

The 80’s – 1982-1992

The 80’s were defined by bright, vibrant hues, that almost glowed. The team that shined the most in the 80’s was the SanFrancisco 49ers with a definitive 4 championships — followed by the Washington Redskins. However these (red) team colors didn’t fall prey to 80’s color trends, they just won 7 Super Bowls out of 11 years.

The conservative choice – 2000-2017

Dark blue, light blue, deep blue green, doesn’t matter because it’s good to be blue. New England Patriots make the most of this graphic, with help from the Giants, Colts, Seahawks and Rams. Blue was only chosen once by Pantone as their “color of the year” in 2008 so we don’t see a connection with society color trends. However, blue is a simple conservative color to build on, and it’s an easy color to sell to fans.

The end game.

More similarities than differences – it’s interesting to see how team colors tend align together and sometimes align with society at large. Even more interesting, will be to review the colors of the losing teams. One hint for the losing teams, brighter and more colorful is not always better…unless you’re a fan of the Denver Broncos.

Picture This: Communicating in an Image-Driven World


By the time you finish reading this, almost 1 million photos will be uploaded to Facebook, and over 1.8 billion photos will be shared online by the end of the day. That’s 1.8 billion a day, everyday. Like it or not, society is dominated by visuals created at the push of a button. Now, if you have a strong brand built on your own proprietary imagery, you’re good. But, if your brand is built on borrowed imagery, then we need to talk.

The power of an original library.

Building a library of your own images should be a top priority for your brand, every year. Top. Priority. Having your own library of original imagery allows you to tell your story, your way, and uniquely position yourself beyond the grandiose statistics.

Consumers want to see your brand in action. Real action. If your brand is about relationships, then let’s see YOUR people, not models. If you sell a specific product, then let’s see the actual product. Actual people engaged in real situations and settings is one of the reasons over a billion photos are being shared, because they want to see the real you.

What will it take to build your own image library? Patience and persistence. Building an image library does not happen overnight, but it’s never too late to start, and you’ll be surprised once you begin, the ideas start to flow.


Google’s Mobilegeddon Four Months Out: Was It an End or a Beginning?

Bond Group Google Mobility

“Mobilegeddon” was the affectionate nickname, but more than 120 days after Google’s April 21st release date favoring mobile-friendly sites in their new algorithm, it’s clear that name was more bark than bite. Did you make it or miss it? Either way, there is good news.

On February 26th, 2015, Google announced the pending release of an algorithm update that favored mobile-friendly sites in mobile search results. The goal was to promote sites that provided a better mobile experience. Google created a “mobile-friendly test” so you could test your site and find out exactly what needed to be updated. Some brands were OK, and others needed to start work immediately in order to make the deadline. That gave development teams all of two months to react. The finish line for all development was achieving a “mobile-friendly” tag from Google in the list of mobile search results.

Google Mobile Friendly Tag in SearchMobile-friendly matters more every day

Most marketers know mobile matters, but let’s review some recent facts from a ComScore study of U.S. mobile device adoption.

Mobile facts:

  • Smartphone penetration reached 75% of the U.S. mobile market in 2014
  • Mobile commerce jumped 28% in 2014
  • Mobile now accounts for 60% of digital retail engagement
  • As of Q4 2014, mobile search via mobile browsers or apps accounts for 29% of all search activity
  • As search increases on smartphones (up 17%) and tablets (up 28%), desktop search has stagnated and even dropped slightly
  • Google received 66% of search queries in Q4 2014, followed by Bing with 20% and Yahoo with 11%


Learning to walk…again

Can’t say this enough, it’s really important to know your audience, know when to change and how to stay relevant. This is true for any business, and especially true for musicians. Since music is ever changing, and audiences always grow older, a band has to adapt or suffer the consequences. No one wants to become irrelevant. Who is your audience? Have they changed? Do you need to change or completely start over?

1982 Baby Boomer Anthem

If you listened to the radio in the early 80’s a certain band dominated the airwaves. Seriously dominated. You couldn’t escape their songs, with simple bass intros, synthesizers and quick catchy lyrics. Hear one of their songs once, and bam! It stuck in your head the rest of the day. The cover of the second album was plastered everywhere, so a close-up of the lead singers backside in red leather pants became their calling card–they were always in red leather. Since this was pre-Pandora and pre-Spotify and pre-CDs there was just no way you could escape Loverboy. And Baby Boomers loved their music. Their song “Working for the Weekend” became a pop anthem.

Almost ten years later the same red leathered lead singer heard a different sound coming through the airwaves. Very different. Loverboy lead singer Mike Reno recalled to Andy Greene of Rolling Stone in May 2011. “As I once said on MTV, Nirvana killed our career, you just looked at the charts, and it was all negative lyrics – and people dressed up like lumberjacks. The Seattle grunge thing just took over everything.”

1991 Good morning Gen X

Hello Nirvana. Hello grunge. Kurt Cobain became the unofficial spokesman for a whole new generation where he knew his audience very well. He wrote songs that connected with lonely souls. Nirvana sparked a groundswell of Seattle bands that rocked hard with a worn, weathered look keeping to the realities of daily life. 1986 shuttle disaster, 1987 Black Monday, 1988 fall of Berlin Wall. Upending change was the norm.

Where Mike Reno loved the stage, Cobain hated it. He resisted the celebrity that rock and roll brought and grew weary of speaking for a generation. His audience got what they wanted from his songs, but in the end, they wanted more from him than he was willing to give.

2011 Gen X meet Gen Y

So what did the “lumberjacks” end up doing?

After Cobain’s death, Nirvana’s drummer David Grohl, picked himself up and started over by taking center stage and founding the Foo Fighters. Grohl’s songs tend to strike a balance between driving rock (Gen X angst), authentic lyrics (Gen Y) and makes for a good Spotify playlist (Gen Y). Right now, Grohl knows his audience better than anyone and he’s got the Grammy to prove it. What he said in his acceptance speech gives you a sense of his commitment and approach as a musician. He’s not in it for the show. “Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do… It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in here [your heart] and what goes on in here [your head].”

I hope someday the lead singer from Loverboy, will meet the lead singer from Foo Fighters and learn something. Know your audience.

Pray for Apple?

Amazing. In 1997 Apple stock closed at a low of $3.56. The company had many issues with their product line, the OS was in machines sold by other brands, they tried to make digital cameras, scanners, whatever… and the CEO chair swiveled with people not named Jobs. Apple was a mess.

In June it will be exactly 15 years ago that WIRED magazine featured the Apple logo on the cover with this word. Pray. I’ve kept that original issue, wondering how the Apple story would turn out. Let’s look at some excerpts from that cover story.

101 Ways to Save Apple (and watch a complete turn-around in 15 years).

#98 Feature commercials where buying a Mac saves the day (with silhouettes dancing to U2).

#89 Create a chemical that cleans the Mac’s pale gray plastic (or just create macs out of titanium).

#81 Merge with Sega and become a game company (and 25 billion app downloads are coming).

#71 Become a graphic design company and dominate your niche (or just dominate other industries).

#64 Team with Sony, they want in the computer business (and watch iPod surpass Walkman).

#59 Invest in Newton technology, build voice recognition and gesture recognition (then call her Siri).

#43 Keep your bridge between entertainment and high tech industry (and call it iTunes).

#31 Build a PDA for less than $250.00 (think platform and call it iPhone).

#21 Sell yourself to IBM or Motorola (or grow large enough to buy both of them).

#7 Don’t fade from retail, lease space in a computer store (build stores and lead in sales per sq ft.)

#2 License the Apple name and technology to appliance makers and build interfaces for everything from washing machines to phones (just expand slowly and dominate one market at a time).

#1 Get out of the hardware game. Scrap your hardware production to compete more directly with Microsoft without manufacturing boxes (or market entirely new hardware and call it iPad).

WIRED Magzine really said nothing wrong. They expressed the anxiousness everyone felt at the time when the conversation was about Apple.

Jobs returned as an advisor, then named CEO in July 1997, I believe flying on a white winged horse, or something like that. The late 90’s brought a complex antitrust case against Microsoft and the bundling of its Explorer browser with the OS, and lawsuits between Apple, Microsoft and Intel. That is another story altogether, but eventually Microsoft paid Apple 150M and lawsuits started to go away. Interesting times indeed.

Once Jobs was back in the saddle, uhmm, he did what he did best. Design. In came the iMac in all flavors including tangerine marketing with juicy ads… the brand had life. That was followed up by a simple music player called iPod, then iTunes, then iPhone… the rest of the story writes itself.

Monday March 19, 2012 Apple announced it would pay a $2.65 dividend on its stock, sharing some of the 100 billion in cash with shareholders. Apple is now the largest traded publicly held company by market capitalization topping Exxon Mobile and is worth more than Google and Microsoft combined.

Today, Apple stock closed at $605.96 (just remember where you came from).

Source; James Daly, 1997 WIRED Magazine

Bourbon must travel

I had no idea, how important it was to have your bourbon with you, in your luggage, packed as flat as your shirts. No round bottle here! We’re packing FLAT, so we can mix a drink anytime we want, and keep space for our clothes.

I would love to know how long this idea lasted. Obviously it was important enough to buy the inside back page of Sports Illustrated in 1967, and even then, that’s a substantial media buy. It’s the idea behind the package that gets me — but give them credit for trying.

Times change. People change. Tastes change. Never forget that.

The ROV of Steve Jobs

Risk, Originality and Virtuosity. I can’t think of three better words to describe Steve Jobs. Gymnasts learn the acronym early when they start to understand the underlying criteria that determines their score. Steve Jobs flipped entire industries upside-down by taking risks, being original and having that certain “something” that other companies only dream of attaining.

Risk. Create products like the iPad, when other companies sat and predicted failure.

Originality. Take a phone to another level — build a platform for apps — make it more than a phone.

Virtuosity. Plug it in, and it will work.

I have used and purchased more Macs for my office and home than I can list, and I’ve been using the Mac since 1986. It was our first and only real option in the graphic arts industry. Agencies, design firms, photographers, printers, we all loaded up on Macs, because Apple understood what we needed in order to create in the digital world. Jobs pushed the graphic arts industry forward, and he was revered by the design community, as a fellow designer.

Steve Jobs understood typography. You can sum up much of his success in that sentence.

He cited that taking calligraphy class in collage opened his eyes to the wonder of type and that led him to understand kerning, proportion, size, scale, space — the tiny details of design. His virtuosity as a designer and technologist became second to none. That skill is seen in all Apple products and throughout the Apple store. Design details. One button on the iPhone, one button on the iPad, simple radius on the corners, titanium shell, keep it simple — all these seemingly innocuous decisions landed Apple products ahead of the competition. Somewhere, Steve Jobs is shaking hands with Mies Van der Rohe.

It took about thirty years for Apple to become a mainstream brand, and that is what Jobs always wanted — to get great products in people’s hands, and let them be their own genius. The market will decide.

RIP Steve Jobs. Your ROV was a lesson to us all.

Watching a bookstore die.

On the day my Kindle arrived, I purchased some books from a “Going out of Business” Borders store. The dichotomy was not lost on me as I walked around the empty displays. I really knew that store. It was always busy on Saturdays and the checkout lines during the holidays were impatiently long. I remember chasing my then three year old son through the cd aisles as he grabbed discs and ran. I remember getting the remixed Beatles cd’s from a large POP display on the first floor, and the time my youngest son pulled out a large book about New York and screamed loudly… “Dad, it’s Chicago!” I remembered all of it, and now it’s gone.

Bookstores without books are depressingly ugly. Everything is for sale—even the bookcases and the fixtures. Most of the good stuff is already gone. Signs everywhere for you to buy 4 books for $16.00. Makes you wonder what their real mark-up is when you read that sign. Yeah, I know, they’re just trying to dump inventory.

Borders was given the green light for liquidation. Is anyone really surprised? The company has been losing millions and never took the online business seriously. I was never sure there was enough room for Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon… and now we know the answer – unfortunately it’s no.

The Borders online store wasn’t even Borders, but started as an alliance with Amazon in 2001. I don’t recall ever using the Borders website, which actually went live in 2008 as Borders.com. Think about that for a minute — they didn’t have their own branded website until 2008, a full 13 years after Amazon. If your product can be delivered in bits, streamed from a series of servers to land in your phone, laptop or iPad, it will happen eventually. It’s time to pay attention to the online world, segment the online customers and watch the digital devices being used. Rerun, this is Blockbuster Video and Tower Records all over again.

This store had lots of bad dvd’s at 70% off and cd’s nowhere to be found. It’s funny to see the books that still are not selling at ultra reduced prices — see Nichole Richie, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden.

Did the iPad kill this store? Did my new Kindle? Did the Nook do this? Well, the answer is somewhere in between, yes, yes and yes. So I loaded up on some cheap books, and stood in line one last time. During checkout, I started a conversation with the clerk and asked her if they had sold all the cd’s. “Yes” she said. “they were the first to go”. You can say that again.

Mobile phones amazing growth.

While doing some research on mobiles recently, we came across some stats that caught our attention…

Global Mobile Statistics 2011
Google Mobile Ads

5 Things Robert Plant Can Teach A Brand

I just saw Robert Plant and Band of Joy in Chicago, and it’s amazing how he re-invents himself year after year. Each direction he takes, tends to reveal a little bit more depth and a little bit more character, and damn if it doesn’t all work out.

Brands have a personality and lifespan. Brands get old, tired, but they can re-invent themselves and become refreshed. Refreshed is a good word that you can apply to Robert Plant throughout his musical journey.

Robert Plant’s brand, was established early in his career. Stage presence, the look, the hair and oh yea — an unmistakable voice with screaming range that set the tone for Led Zeppelin. He and the band were at their peak between 1971-1975ish, and have a legacy of one of the most influential rock and roll bands of all time. Second to The Beatles in albums sold in the U.S.

So what does a Robert Plant do when the band disbands? He doesn’t even try to compete with himself.

1. Define yourself. Set yourself apart with a new sound and new musicians. Write unique songs that stand on their own merit.

2. Nod to your past. Sprinkle a few nuggets of old sound mixed with some new stuff. Build a well crafted bridge from past to present.

3. Take a chance.Stake your claim to what you are best at, and give people a chance to see you in a new light.

4. Try new partners. New partners will open up new ideas and discoveries — the results (or Grammy awards) can be surprising.

5. Embrace the present. Be at peace either in or out of the spotlight and enjoy the ride…all over again.