Title: The Unfortunate Tale of Depend’s Facebook Diaper Crusade

Introduction: In the vast digital universe of social media, one man found himself caught in a peculiar web of targeted advertising. Little did he know that his innocent scrolling through Facebook would lead to an unexpected encounter with the world of female hygiene products. Join me as we embark on the journey of a man and his digital escapade, affectionately dubbed “The Facebook Diaper Crusade.”

Chapter 1: A World of Innocent Scrolling Our protagonist, let’s call him Rian, was an average guy with a penchant for Star Wars videos and Baby Yoda memes. He innocently scrolled through his Facebook feed, blissfully unaware of the digital storm that was about to unravel. Suddenly, an advertisement caught his eye. It was a sleek, feminine package of adult diapers. Perplexed, Rian wondered why he was being targeted with such an unusual product. Was Facebook trying to tell him something?

Chapter 2: Confusion Sets In, Rian baffled and slightly concerned, tried to make sense of the situation. Had he accidentally clicked on something diaper-related? Did Facebook’s algorithm misinterpret his interests? Or was it a glitch in the matrix, toying with his sanity?

Chapter 3: The Facebook Diaper Fan Club Word spread like wildfire across Rian’s social circle. Suddenly, everyone seemed to be in on the joke. Friends tagged him in diaper-related posts, bombarding his notifications with giggles and emojis. The digital world had truly embraced his unexpected adventure.

Chapter 4: Rian’s Diaper Discovery Amidst the chaos, Rian took a step back and decided to investigate. And simply could not find an answer as to why he was targeted. Other than potential targeting errors made by the advertiser.

Conclusion: The Digital Diaper Legend Lives On In the end, Rian’s adventure with the Facebook diaper saga highlighted the unpredictability of social media algorithms and the power of laughter. So, the next time you find yourself in the midst of a digital mishap, embrace it, laugh it off, and remember that life is too short not to enjoy the absurdity of it all.

Disclaimer: No diapers were harmed in the making of this blog, and Rian is still happily diaper-free to this day.

Also, Walmart and Depend, if you need help with your digital advertising, I know a guy 😃

Comcast Customer Service: So Bad, It’s Funny… Or Is It?

I finally cut the proverbial “cable cord”. The irony is, I was actually willing to keep it.

For a little background, I’ve actually been a Comcast/Xfinity customer for 10 years. I’ve wanted to get rid of Comcast for years but there was not a good alternative for home internet until recently. So I did one of the most dreaded things, I attempted to get a better deal from Comcast that was not only competitive with other provider’s offers, or simply (lol) a current offer that they were offering new customers.

While I knew it was long shot, I tried to use Comcast’s website to get a new deal, but it quickly gave me a “Call 1-800-we want to talk to you rather than make it an easy painless process” phone number. I had blocked out time in my day for this call and popped in my airpods for the call and grabbed a laundry basket full of my kids clothes that needed to be folded and made the call.

While I’m folding my laundry, I quickly explain to the customer service agent that I would like a different deal that is competitive to what I’m going to get if I switch to Metronet Internet or similar to what they offer to new Comcast Customers. She very politely thanked me for being a loyal customer and gave me a new offer. This offer cost nearly twice as much as Metronet’s and had slower speeds/data plan. I decline and ask about what about Comcast new customer offers. She explains that I am not eligible for that but again offers me the prior offer. I politely decline and point blank ask “Why does Comcast value new customers versus existing customers?” She did not have an answer and deflected the question. After a bit more conversation, 45 minutes in all, I told her to cancel my service.

But here’s what I’m truly curious about. Is Comcast using analytics about not giving existing customers the same deals as new customers? Or is it just plain bad customer service?

What are your thoughts?

Gen X in the Current Job Market: A Balancing Act of Experience and Adaptability

In a world that seems to be perpetually focused on the younger generation, it’s easy to overlook the unique challenges faced by Generation X in the current job market. Born between the early 1960s and early 1980s, Gen Xers find themselves in the midst of a shifting professional landscape. This often forgotten generation must navigate the delicate balance between their wealth of experience and the need to adapt to new technologies and workplace trends. In this blog post, we delve into the plight of Gen X in the job market, exploring their resilience, adaptability, and the strategies they employ to stay competitive.

The Silent Struggle: Unlike their predecessors, the Baby Boomers, who enjoyed a relatively stable job market during their prime working years, Gen Xers have faced their fair share of economic turmoil. From the dot-com bubble burst to the Great Recession, this generation has weathered numerous storms that have significantly impacted their career trajectories. Despite this, Gen Xers have shown remarkable resilience, adapting to the ever-changing landscape and finding innovative ways to thrive.

Embracing Technological Advancements: One of the most notable challenges Gen X faces is keeping pace with rapid technological advancements. While they didn’t grow up with smartphones and social media, this generation has embraced technology and recognized its significance in the workplace. Many Gen Xers have invested time and effort in upskilling themselves to bridge the technological gap. They have learned to leverage social media platforms, harness online collaboration tools, and adapt to remote work environments. By embracing technology, Gen Xers demonstrate their determination to stay relevant and competitive in the job market.

Navigating Intergenerational Dynamics: Gen Xers find themselves sandwiched between the digitally native Millennials and the ambitious, tech-savvy Generation Z. This intergenerational dynamic can sometimes lead to a sense of being overlooked or undervalued. However, Gen Xers possess a unique advantage—a wealth of experience. Having spent years honing their skills, they offer a depth of knowledge that younger generations often lack. Gen Xers bring a valuable perspective to the table, balancing the need for innovation with a seasoned understanding of business strategies and industry trends.

Entrepreneurial Spirit: In the face of the changing job market, Gen Xers have increasingly turned to entrepreneurship as a means of carving out their own path. Many have recognized the opportunity to leverage their expertise and experience to start their own businesses. Gen X entrepreneurs bring a combination of innovative thinking and a solid understanding of industry dynamics, allowing them to create successful ventures. Their determination to take control of their professional lives is a testament to their resilience and adaptability.

The Power of Networking: Networking has always been crucial in the job market, and Gen Xers are well aware of its importance. This generation understands that building relationships and maintaining connections can lead to valuable career opportunities. Gen Xers excel at building professional networks, utilizing their extensive industry experience to connect with peers, mentors, and potential employers. They understand the power of personal connections in a world that is increasingly driven by digital interactions.

Generation X, often overshadowed by the larger and more vocal generations that came before and after them, faces unique challenges in the current job market. However, they possess a formidable combination of experience, adaptability, and determination. Gen Xers navigate the evolving professional landscape by embracing technology, leveraging their expertise, and exploring entrepreneurial opportunities. With their resilience and networking prowess, this generation continues to make its mark on the job market. As we move forward, let us recognize and celebrate the invaluable contributions of Gen X, a generation that remains steadfast in its pursuit of professional success.

How to Rebrand a Person’s Image

How to Rebrand a Person’s Image

Your personal brand is everything. It’s how people see you, both professionally and personally. If you’re unhappy with your current image, or if you’re looking to make a career change, rebranding yourself can be a great way to start fresh.

Here are a few tips on how to rebrand a person’s image:

  1. Start by assessing your current image. What do people think of you when they first meet you? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you want people to know about you?
  2. Define your target audience.Who are you trying to reach with your new image? Once you know who your target audience is, you can tailor your message accordingly.
  3. Create a new personal brand.This includes developing a new logo, tagline, and website. You’ll also need to create new marketing materials, such as business cards, brochures, and presentations.
  4. Be consistent with your new image. This means using the same logo, tagline, and branding materials across all of your channels. It also means being consistent with your messaging and tone of voice.
  5. Promote your new image. Let people know about your new image through social media, email marketing, and public relations.

Rebranding yourself can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it if you’re serious about making a change. By following these tips, you can create a new image that reflects your true self and helps you achieve your goals.

Here are some additional tips to help you rebrand your image:

  • Be authentic. People can spot a fake from a mile away, so make sure your new image is authentic to who you are.
  • Be patient. It takes time to build a new brand, so don’t expect overnight results. Be patient and consistent with your efforts, and you’ll eventually see the results you want.
  • Be positive. People are drawn to positive people, so make sure your new image is upbeat and positive.
  • Have fun! Rebranding yourself should be an enjoyable process, so don’t take it too seriously. Relax, have fun, and let your personality shine through.

How would Mad Men’s Don Draper approach Budweiser branding challenge?

Don Draper, a fictional character from the TV show “Mad Men,” was known for his sharp marketing skills and ability to come up with creative solutions to problems. If he were handling the Budweiser marketing crisis, he would likely approach it in a thoughtful and strategic way.

Don would analyze the situation and understand the root cause of the crisis. He would likely conduct market research to understand how consumers feel about the Budweiser brand and identify areas for improvement.

Next, Don would work with the Budweiser team to develop a messaging strategy that addresses the crisis head-on. He would likely craft a compelling narrative that acknowledges the issue and presents a plan for how the brand will move forward.

Don would also focus on repositioning the Budweiser brand to appeal to a wider audience. He might suggest creating a new advertising campaign that speaks to younger consumers or partnering with popular influencers to promote the brand.

Overall, Don would approach the Budweiser marketing crisis with a blend of creativity, strategic thinking, and careful analysis to find the best possible solution.

5 steps to Rebuilding a Brand

Branding is a crucial aspect of a company’s success. A strong brand can help build trust and loyalty with customers, differentiate your company from competitors, and increase revenue. However, there may come a time when a company needs to rebuild its brand. Perhaps the brand has lost its relevance, faced a crisis, or is simply outdated. Here are the five key steps to take when rebuilding a brand:

Step 1-Conduct a brand audit: Before you can rebuild a brand, you need to know what needs to be fixed. A brand audit is an essential first step in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your current brand. You should review your brand identity, messaging, and marketing materials to determine what is working and what is not. You can also survey your customers and employees to get feedback on your brand’s perception and reputation.

Step 2-Define your brand strategy: Once you have completed a brand audit, you should define your brand strategy. This involves determining your brand’s purpose, values, and positioning. Your brand strategy should be based on the needs and desires of your target audience, as well as the competitive landscape. You should also define your brand’s unique selling proposition (USP) – what sets you apart from your competitors.

Step 3-Create a new brand identity: A new brand identity is often necessary when rebuilding a brand. Your brand identity includes your logo, colors, typography, and other visual elements that make your brand recognizable. Your new brand identity should align with your brand strategy and appeal to your target audience. It should also be unique, memorable, and timeless.

Step 4-Develop a communication plan: Once you have defined your brand strategy and created a new brand identity, you need to develop a communication plan. This plan should outline how you will communicate your new brand to your customers, employees, and stakeholders. It should include a messaging strategy, social media strategy, and other marketing tactics that will help you reach your target audience.

Step 6-Implement and monitor your new brand: The final step is to implement and monitor your new brand. This includes updating your website, marketing materials, and other touchpoints with your new brand identity. It also involves monitoring your brand’s perception and reputation through customer feedback, social media monitoring, and other metrics. By continuously monitoring your brand, you can make adjustments as needed to ensure that your brand remains relevant and resonates with your target audience.

In conclusion, rebuilding a brand is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. By following these five key steps – conducting a brand audit, defining your brand strategy, creating a new brand identity, developing a communication plan, and implementing and monitoring your new brand – you can successfully rebuild your brand and strengthen your company’s reputation and profitability.

Branding Yourself

follow my re-entry journey on IG

I read a branding book today. I’ll say it again. I read a branding book today. It’s one of the hardest things that I’ve done in a while. I’ve chewed through thousands and thousands of pages of books but I’ve barely touched anything about branding or marketing. I tried. I couldn’t. The moment I opened the book my anxiety jumped off the chart and brought on a feeling of panic. I’d put the book back on my shelf and retreat to a fiction book.

I need to start dealing with that anxiety issue. I’ve been exercising my body, filling myself up with endorphins to help get me through this time. Now it’s time to focus on my brain and re-entering the work world.

When I started doing these posts, I always envisioned it would be about my new work journey and then the process of rebuilding my brand. I’ve built countless other brands, developed hundreds of marketing campaigns, and created solid advertising strategies over and over again. But the 20 years of building that resume – and more importantly that confidence in what I knew I could do – was shattered by my own poor decision. And now I must rebuild, rebrand and most importantly regain trust.

The book I read is called Branding Yourself, by Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy. Reading the book had this odd feeling of putting on an old college sweatshirt. That feeling of something that you once loved so much and you try it on and it gives you a little taste of that, and yet feels not quite the same. Side note-I still have that old college sweatshirt that my Dad bought for me when we did our campus tour. I still wear it from time to time…still pretty comfy and cozy, just not quite me anymore but still me…if that makes sense.

One of the sections of the book talks about writing your personal brand story, and breaks out steps of how to do so. One of the steps is called “Prioritize Accomplishments” in your bio and offered up this example:

“He has an in-depth understanding of the application of social and interactive media for both small and large businesses and regularly speaks on topics ranging from social media adoption to marketing trends across all digital channels.”

from Branding Yourself

Sound like anyone you know? At first, I didn’t see it. I read the line and thought, “that’s a pretty good concise and thoughtful description.” I went back and read it again…yeah that’s when it hit me. That’s me…that’s who I was. I was that person, and now who am I? Which then got my mind spinning with more questions: Do I want to be that person again? Am I still that person? Who am I now?

I don’t know the answers to the first two questions yet, but I know the answer to the last. I’m a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a friend. I know that much and the rest will come.

My Scrabble buddy said to me the other night, “Ryan just find something to do that will make you happy about work again.”
It’s a simple statement and very true, but finding the answer is going to take work. I have to find my faith in myself again. I have to find people who give me a second chance and are willing to believe in me and trust me.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky

Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan is based on a true story about a forgotten here, Pino Lella, during World War II.

The book begins with Pino at the age of 17 living in Nazi-occupied Germany, and he wants absolutely nothing to do with the war. But as he approaches his 18th birthday, his parents send him off to a catholic camp in the Alps where he soon finds himself part of an underground railroad to help Jewish people escape over the mountains in to Switzerland. As if avoiding Nazi detection was not enough of a challenge, he navigates being snowed in to a cabin and having to dig his way out, and being terrorized by local gangs trying to take advantage of people fleeing Italy.

When his 18th birthday arrives, his parents in an attempt to protect him force him to enlist as a German soldier. The logic is hopefully that it will keep him out of combat as opposed to be in the Italian army that is being used as cannon fodder. Shortly after he enlists, Pino becomes a driver for, General Hans Leyers, one of Hitlers right hand people, and has to witness various atrocities being committed by him. He soon becomes a spy for the Allies and reports on Leyer’s activities and the book takes off at this point about his thrilling and scary life as a spy.

Woven throughout the book though is Pino’s story about falling in love at this time, and the hope that young love brings. There’s a line in the book where Pino remembers his girlfriend talking about living in the moment: “Pino remembered her telling him that she didn’t believe much in the future, that she tried to live in the moment, looking for reasons to be grateful, trying to create her own happiness and grace, and to use them as a means to a good life in the present and not a goal to be achieved some other day.”

No matter the challenges we face, from the minor ones to the extreme like Pino, there are positives and hope. I highly suggest giving this book a read. I’m thankful I did.

Posted by Ryan’s wife Karen on his behalf.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

When I was about 4 years old, we moved in to an old white house with a big backyard. Well it wasn’t exactly a “big” backyard by today’s standards but to my 4 year old eyes it looked huge. What was wonderful about that back yard is that it connected to neighboring houses yards so it created a huge playground. It had a detached garage that sat along one side and it made for the perfect backstop for kicking a soccer ball or playing kickball or baseball.

Shortly after I moved in, I met a boy who was my same age that lived in the house behind me and it was beginning of a lifelong friendship. Our bond has grown over the years and I think of him more like a brother than a friend. Our early years, we spent a ton of time in that backyard and broke quite a few windows on that garage. Which eventually lead to my dad deciding that our “backstop” needed to have something other than glass in that window and installed wire mesh over the opening. Our neighborhood group of kids grew over time and our connected back yards became the hub of all our childhood friends.

Recently, I finished reading A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving at its heart it’s a book about a lifelong friendship and growing up together and then tackling challenges that adulthood brings. Irving gets right to the heart of the story of the book with his very first sentence which he comments in his notes is one of his very favorite first sentences he’s ever written:

“I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice-not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.”

And don’t worry – his mother’s death is not a spoiler; it literally says it on the back cover.

The setting takes place over several time periods from the 50’s to the late 80’s. The beginning focuses on their early childhood with description of games and conversations that the boys had from their grade school days and then expands to the Vietnam Era and ends in the books “present” day Reagan Era. Some of the conversations the boys have were spot on reminders from my childhood. The main character lives in an old house and talks of playing hide and seek in all the various hidden nooks and crannies. As they age so do their conversation and Irving does an excellent job capturing each time period.

I highly recommend this book. If you enjoyed some of his other works, like The Cider House Rules or The World According to Garp, you will definitely enjoy this one.

After I finished the book, it reminded me of a photo that my lifelong friend texted me a while ago. It had a picture of a bunch of kids playing outside, and it said something similar to “At some point, you and your friends played outside for the last time together and didn’t know it was the last time.” I thought about that a lot and wondered what that last time was. What were we playing? Why was it the last time? I’m guessing it was due to our families moving and our lives transitioning in to our tweens/teens. But I will always think fondly of that time in our big back yards, and sorry, Dad for all the broken windows.

Published by Ryan’s wife, Karen, on his behalf.

Elon Musk Biography

To say that Elon Musk is a control freak with an extreme Type A personality is putting it lightly. Elon Musk-Tesla, Space X, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is a biography about Musk that was published a few years ago. The author opens the book by writing about how Musk did not want him to write the book. Then Musk agreed to work with him but he got editorial control. The author holds his ground and they come to an agreement that Musk would be allowed to add in some footnotes.

The book starts with Musk’s early childhood and upbringing. One of the things that drew me to this biography was I hoping Musk would discuss his autism and how that effected his life. But unfortunately when this book was written he had not made that public knowledge yet. The author does share some interesting tidbits about his childhood that definitely demonstrates it though. His Mom described Musk as a child as, “Brilliant but precocious. He would sometimes drift off in to a deep trance, and would sometimes just not even hear you when you were talking to him.” As a child, Musk read two complete sets of encyclopedias and programmed his first video game at an early age.

As an adult, Musk was at the heart of the dot com boom. He started several companies with a vision that was often early before it’s time. One of his companies lead to the creation of Paypal, where he was eventually dismissed as the leader of the organization by the board. Leaving Paypal, he took over Tesla and started Space X. While the companies for the most part are on financial stable footing now, they both were near bankruptcy at several different points. His hands on approach and non-stop work ethic definitely helped the companies thrive.

While his passion and his drive is second to none for his companies, his businesses seem to leave little to no room for family and friends. I walked away from the book wondering if he was lonely and or if he had any true bonds with anyone. The book reminded me of one of my themes…time. How do you want to spend your time? I know my answer, I want to spend it with my family and friends.

Published by Ryan’s wife, Karen, on his behalf.

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