Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why is Diddy Flying Commercial: Enyce Acquisition Strategy

Sean "Diddy" Combs

Let's agree to speak freely as an urban collective. Why are a group of us so concerned with Diddy's mode of travel? For about two months, I've had an issue simmering on my urban expressionistic mind. Namely, why is it so newsworthy when we see that Diddy was spotted flying commercial? Worse, why did it require follow up, investigative reporting to confirm that Diddy does not solely own a private plane, rather he belongs to a private plane sharing program called Net Jets.

Urban America responded in chorus, "What? Diddy ain't flyin' the G4, no mo?" throughout blogs, barber and beauty shops in a city near you. The reality is we should be very proud of Mr. Combs and examine the business sensibility of his choice to board commercial with the rest of us.

The fact is that while Diddy is a tastemaker, "bottle popper" and self proclaims that
"no one on the corner has swagger like Puff." Sean Combs is a shrewd business man with a reputation for having a super human work ethic and keen business sense.

Why is Diddy flying commercial? He made a CEO decision to reduce unnecessary costs, a move that is in line with Fortune 100 company leadership to reduce expenses. Most laudable is Diddy's decision to reduce a business expense that impacted his travel experience significantly. Many CEO's that are leading "lifestyle" businesses fail to sacrifice things that impact the way they roll. As things unfold more clearly with recent business announcements for Mr. Combs, we begin to see what he's doing with those cost savings.

On Tuesday, October 21st Combs announced the acquisition of Enyce clothing from Liz Claiborne for an undisclosed sum adding the 12 year old urban clothing company to his current portfolio of fashion based brands. He didn't purchase Enyce from Master P or his cousin pookie. Rather, Diddy purchased an urban based brand that complements the lifestyle culture of the Sean John brands. Liz Claiborne has been selling brands recently as they return to their core focus on branding.

Diddy Announces Deal & Dons New Name "Black Buffet"
(isn't that a restaurant too?)

Diddy saw an opportunity and got the deal done. Why is Diddy Flying Commercial? In vernacular, Diddy's been stacking that cake, gettin' it in to make moves.

Well done Mr. Combs.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Casting A Historic Ballot: Georgia Advance Voting

I earned a badge of great honor in my recent receipt of the Georgia Voter sticker. On Wednesday, October 17th around 3:15 pm I cast my ballot for the 2008 Presidential general election for Barack Obama.

I consider myself a private person and in general try to respect the privacy of political affiliations in general discourse. At the same time I always enjoy a respectful exchange on current politics.
But to mark this historic occasion, and honor the sacrifices that have been made in order to make this day come to pass I'll speak openly about what voting this week meant to me.

I contemplated the nostalgia of voting on November 4th, election day and the hustle and bustle of making history. Instead, my wife and I decided to create our own memory. At 2:30 pm we picked up our youngest son from school. We headed over to the early voting center, completed a form (could hardly complete it in line before it was my turn to vote) and was called to vote.

Early Voting Line Where I Voted (15 mins)

Walking in I was a bit overwhelmed with the enormity of voting for an eminently qualified candidate for President that also has brown skin like me as a black man. My grandfather was the President of the Kansas NAACP and fought for equal access for blacks in Kansas City, KS and worked with Dr. Martin L.King, Jr. and Thurgood Marshall (when Marshall was a civil rights attorney working on Brown vs. Board of Education in Topeka). My grandmother served alongside her husband devotedly and held a national office with the NAACP. Well in to her late 60's, I remember my grandmother volunteering at the polling station. Proud to announce to voters with appropriate gravitas, "Your credentials are in order. You may vote." I wish that they could have lived to see the culmination of their work being galvanized through this election.

Yet with my proud history of grandparents, uncles, aunts, father and in-laws that were trailblazing in creating change for blacks, just 5 years ago I would have said that a black president wouldn't happen in my lifetime. I remember pulling for Jesse and having a Run Jesse Run shirt as a pre-teen/teen. I was genuinely unengaged in Al Sharpton's candidacy But since Barack Obama's speech in 2004, I've watched his meteoric rise to Democratic Presidential candidate.

I wore my black and old gold to represent my pride in my fraternity and support our organization's national initiatives supporting voting registration and activation. My wife wore her colors in the same respect. I viewed the first screen of the electronic ballot with my 6 year old son by my side and I saw Barack Obama's name there in lights. I know it's been two years but in a small way it was validating to see the ballot with his name. There were also 6 other pages of GA state seats and referendums that I was much less informed about.

It was a relief to get voting out of the way early and was a smooth and quick process. Moreover it struck me as a moment that I'll never forget. Thanks to this candidacy my three sons will view opportunities differently as black men in America.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Edward Cates Cover Story: Barack Obama - Savoy Professional Magazine Sep-Oct 2008

Be sure to check out the Sept/October issue of Savoy Professional to read my first cover story in a national publication. Although I've been published previously, never as a cover story. The story is entitled, "How Barack Obama used The Internet & Technology to Win the Democratic Presidential Nomination". In addition to owning Nuance Marketing a strategic marketing and communications firm, I also freelance for a number of publications.

This is the 8th story I've had published in 2008 and I've enjoyed it. Digital media and social networking mediums are a specialty of my agency. Combining that expertise with the web savvy Obama campaign was real enlightening.

This was a great article to work on. I interviewed two real heavy tech specialists, Siddiq Bello of Rogue Venture Labs along with Navarrow Wright, CEO of (Hip Hop Mogul Russell Simmons is an investor). There's also a great explanation of Web 2.0 and an analysis of how Obama has mastered the use of the web to engage supporters.

Thanks to the Savoy Professional team and their publisher L.P. Green for the opportunity.

Available at most Barnes & Noble nationwide. Pick it up and let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Nuance Marketing Client Project: Video Highlights Celebrity Scavenger Cup

Nuance Marketing's client and Jerome "JYD" Williams supported the
Rally for Kids with Cancer "Celebrity Scavenger Cup" in Toronto, ON.

This was a great event for a great cause partnering fundraising drivers with luxury vehicles with celebrity navigators engaged on a city wide scavenger hunt. Participating celebrities included; Alfonso Ribeiro, Kevin Sorbo, Pinball Clemons, Damon Allen, Jerome "JYD" Williams, Tila Tequila Winner Kristy Morgan, Jully Black, Ving Rhames and Celebrity Chair Goldie Hawn.

Nuance Marketing supported the management of the Automotive Street Style interactive trailer, video capture, audio-video, and working with the event production team Solutions With Impact. Nuance Marketing also produced and edited the following video recap of the event.

Over $1 million was raised during the event. Proceeds from the event went to the Sick Kids Hospital.

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