Who’s Using Your Brand? a Study on Swisher Sweets in Ferguson MO

We all work hard on establishing brands, but do you pay close enough attention to who is using your products?

All the riots, looting, killings, and other problems occurring in Ferguson and St. Louis MO are started because a hooligan stole a box of Swisher Sweets cigars. It makes me wonder what Swisher thinks about all the attention they’re getting because of this.

Now, make no mistake, Swisher has always marketed to the inexpensive cigar crowd, but do they want to become known as the chosen brand of hooligans or as the most often stolen cigar in the convenience store? Maybe they do. Maybe this will up their sales.

marketing-branding

After all, it’s worked for other brands.

Cristal was made famous by rappers.

The AK-47 became the choice of guerrillas and armed thugs worldwide.

Back in the day, gangsta rap made the ’64 Impala the most desired ‘hood car.

Has Swisher Sweets become the fave cigar of thugs or was it already?

Who is responding to your branding? Is it the audience you wanted? If it’s not, you probably need to change your brand strategy or just accept your new but originally undesired customers.

This message was written by Dr. David Powers. You can always find me at www.drdavidpowers.com. Thanks for reading!

swisher sweets-thug-tattoo-Ferguson-MO

Meet a Fellow Marine and Future Paramedic Joshua Alexander

I’d like to introduce a friend and fellow Marine Joshua Alexander. I met Josh through the geeky pursuits that we share in common, like comics, beards, and kilts.

I wanted to tell you about Josh because I was intrigued by his efforts to go back to the military and further a career within the armed services. As we enter a post-war military and the drawdowns and budget crippling begins, you’ll hear more stories like his.

I also wanted to do my bets to put his name out there in case a job opportunity is just waiting for him from one of my readers. If anyone would like to get in touch with him, you can find him at jbalex26@gmail.com or on Facebook at Joshua Alexander.

And now, in Josh’s words…

Joshua Alexander-Marine

In high school, my brother Jeff joined the Army. He wanted to be an ELITE, so he became an Army Ranger. I didn’t understand what this meant. I looked up to my brother. I wanted to join the military because of his war stories and the brothers he fought for. He said, “Josh, what do you want to be?” I said, “I wanted to be an Apache Pilot and if I couldn’t fly, then I wanted to be a SEAL in the US Navy. He gave me tips, told me to swim, do good in school, and never leave a brother on the field, or a war veteran who is struggling.

My brother deployed to Afghanistan in 2001 and lost half of his unit in combat. He saw his brothers pass and got in trouble and was later discharged with a General other than Honorable. He got released due to misconduct. He sought help but couldn’t find it. He became addicted to alcohol and nicotine. I watched him struggle with his job, girlfriend, and his VA shut him down. He went to prison for five years and is now off parole seeking a better life. My brother is still a hero. He fought the good fight. He never left his brothers. He served his country with honor. He screwed up because there was no help. He asks, “What has my country done for me?”

Towards the end of high school I joined the Utah National Guard 19th Special Forces Support. My recruiter put me in for NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Warfare). I was going to fix gas masks for Operators, go to jump school, speak a foreign language, grow a beard, build a country and don the John Wayne Green Beret. After 9 months of drill, the option to go to boot camp was upon me. During a career fair, a Marine recruiter approached me and said,” What do you want to be.” I said, I don’t know. I want to be like my brother, an SF Operator. I want to go where others wont. The Marine Corps said, “We have Force Recon and we have to get you out of the National Guard.” I said, Let’s go and, by the way, nice uniform Marine!

The marine recruiter and myself went to the national guard. My Army 1st Sgt said, ” What do you want to do Alexander, the choice is now!” Being impatient, I want to be a Marine. I choose the Marine Corps. During the rigors of the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program, I trained hard. Never gave up and lived with my depressed brother. He motivated me with stories, the things I will see. He put check points in my life that I needed to achieve while in the Corps.

I took my ASVAB. I chose radio operator. It was the closest to Infantry. I went to boot camp in 2003. I came from San Diego not the Island. I pushed hard to pass, struggled with Marine Combat Training, and then to Comm School. I loved the radios and stories of air strikes. I learned what potential I could have. In boot camp, recon indoc happened. I should of raised my hand. I stepped into my unit and deployed to Iraq 2004. I was attached to an Army grunt unit and provided base security and patrolled every three days. I saw the enemy and never fired because America didn’t want us too. I did radio watch for 12 hrs a day and led good units back to base so they can call their families back home.

I came home and was attached the 24th MEU, the greatest group of Marines I ever worked with. We deployed to Beirut/Jordan/Dubai/Kuwait. We rescued over 12,000 Americans in Lebanon. Israel attacked Hezbolah and the Americans were evacuated. It was a good time. On this deployment, I became the Colonel’s personal radio operator and was awarded. I was completing my check mark my brother had set for me.

Well, I continued and ended my enlistment with 3rd Bn 9th Marines and we had a possible deployment to Afghanistan. I went to my career planner and I denied combat orders (I had 4 months left, family wanted me out, America was changing). I was given an re-entry code of RE-3C. I did not understand this code. I completed my enlistment and discharged Honorably. I walked out with a Good Conduct Medal, an Iraq Campaign Medal, and others. My brother would be proud…

Joshua Alexander-beard-Marine

I sat for a few weeks and I found a job doing construction. I couldn’t get a government job. I guess its for special people. My friend told me of a job in North Carolina. He said, “Have you heard of Blackwater USA.?” They are hiring Comm Controllers. I applied and got accepted. I trained hard yet again and shot more weapons than I did in the Marine Corps. The Operator dream was coming true. At the end, I was cut because they lost my paper work and they said that my radio operator job was not a combat MOS. Here is your $1000.00 check. Take care.

I went back to construction and the thought of depression and sadness built in. I worked construction for five years. I sat back and looked at my choices. I chose to go to school. In school, I wanted to be a nurse (too many applicants), a cop (one job available, 200 applicants), a veterinarian (too long for school). While applying to the nursing program, I called the Navy Officer Program and they told me NO because of my RE-3C. I was denied. I chose to be a Paramedic. I want to save lives or even combat rescue. I called the Air Force, they told me no tattoos. I called the Army, they said NO to RE-3C’s and his 1st Sgt said NO. The Coast Guard said no jobs available.

WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS? I SERVED HONORABLY. I FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT! I EARNED IT! In addition, BORSTAR (Border Patrol Search and Rescue), no openings! The Border is open America. Close it for the Veterans. We would like to earn our dreams. We earned it. My friend in college, Josh Sams (Marine Corps Sniper) wounded in Afghanistan taking out the enemy. He wants to FIGHT AMERICA still! I want to still fight for him because of his story. I still want to serve my brothers. America has spoken, the answer is NO!

Today, I am 29. I own a beard and soon will shave it for my program. I know God has a job for me and even though the answer is NO, he will come back with a better YES. I have a beautiful wife and 2 kids and even though I cant be Special Forces, I’ll just be a Special Daddy Veteran Style. My children will learn of my check marks in life. 

In retrospect, I learned from a pro, swam like a SEAL, saw the Army SF, wore the dress blues, earned the title Marine, fought the fight, rescued the sick, got a 4.0. I will be the best PARAMEDIC THIS COUNTY HAS EVER SEEN. Veterans are special and by what I’ve seen, this country just covers them up. I’m ready to take this life on. “SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE!” I will don a Purple Beret!

 Once a Marine, Always a Marine. I WILL OPERATE even if the answer is NO!

 Cpl Joshua Alexander

RIP Sgt Kevin Balduf & Cpl Kyle Wilks

Beard Up!

Joshua Alexander-Marine-kilt-beard

What’s the Importance of a Name?

My kids have weird names. At least they’re weird to most people. But names are important. I thought I’d start telling you a little more about the names in my family in the hope that you’ll find a way to treasure yours by realizing the significance of a good one.

Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.”

9 months ago my little baby daughter came into our life. We named her Astrid Adalia Powers.

To name her, my wife and I chose a list of potential names and put them out there in a contest to allow other people to help choose her name. It was also a bit of fundraising contest, as we used the money for the votes to start her college fund. The names we chose for the list each had a meaning to them.

Let’s examine her first name Astrid…

Astrid-How to Train Your Dragon

The name Astrid was chosen because of its meaning and Viking origins.

Astrid, Æstriðr, Ástríðr, Aestrith or variants is a given name of northern European origin.

The name means Divine Strength.

Some famous Astrid’s…

Astrid Eiriksdottir was the mother of Olaf I of Norway, who ruled there from 995 to 1000.

Astrid Lindgren is an author and the creator of Pippi Longstocking.

Astrid Loken was a famous entomologist and prominent leader of the Norwegian resistance movement during World War II.

Astrid Peth was the Companion in the 2007 Doctor Who Christmas special Voyage of the Damned.

The name Astrid has also made appearances in the TV series Fringe, the movie How to Train Your Dragon, and the video game The Elder Scrolls.

This message was written by Dr. David Powers. You can always find me at www.drdavidpowers.com. Thanks for reading!

Uber Presses the Fight for Freedom in Myrtle Beach

Rogue taxi-type service Uber is moving into my hometown of Myrtle Beach SC. I’m really happy about it, but city officials aren’t so pleased. City spokesman Mark Kruea went so far as to say…

20140714_111343

Then he threatened to…

20140714_111350

I’ve never used Uber before as a driver or passenger, but I really like the idea of the service. I also like how the company is shaking things up in both the business and governmental side of things. I’ve written about the founder and his schooling before HERE.

You know, there’s a chance here for local governments to do things right or just sit back with their rules and regulations to fight progress and change. How about instead of screaming fines, taxes, and jail, city officials sit down and say, “How can we make this happen? What do we need to do differently to make for changes in the way things are done and adapt to the economy? Or do we just hide behind the dinosaur of unbending governmental behavior?”

My hope is that the senior citizens who sit on the Council and in the Mayor’s seat in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina would see that change is on the horizon and that something different will happen, whether they like it or not.

My hope for Uber, if the City doesn’t listen, is that they’ll pay a few fines and bail bonds and help the citizens get this ball of change rolling.

This message was written by Dr. David Powers. You can always find me at www.drdavidpowers.com. Thanks for reading! 

What or Who is Sucking the Marrow Out of Your Life?

Most people realize that bone marrow is pretty important. Without it you die. Problems with it and you still die, just slower. That’s where the saying about sucking the marrow from your life came from.

In this pic, Dr. McCoy is sucking the marrow from humans to create a class of super mutants. You may not think your life is that dramatic, but it is. It’s also way more important. It’s your fracking life we’re talking about.

Find out where the marrow suck is happening and put a stop to it right now.

If you need help with the diagnosis, give me a call. I’ll coach you through it.

XMan 2_Sucking Marrow_001

This message was written by Dr. David Powers. You can always find me at www.drdavidpowers.com. Thanks for reading!

Sacrificing Our Kids to the Dixie Youth Little League Monster

I learned a lot of good business and life lessons from watching my 6yo son play machine pitch baseball this year. We live down south, so he’s in a Dixie Youth affiliated program run by the Surfside Beach Youth Sports Association (SBYSA). Overall, the season was a huge fiasco, but that’s no reason to not learn anything from it. One would hope the SBYSA would learn something as well, but, judging by their refusal to make any changes, I’m not so sure.

This season brought back bad memories of the baseball field scenes from Maximum Overdrive. The steamroller would be the SBYSA.

The president of the association was determined that he’d bring the kids up to speed for some type of program he envisioned for the future, but he pushed for change at lightning speed with no transition. Lesson- not all change has to happen immediately. In business you might lose money or personnel. In Little League, it’s not worth kids getting hurt over.

They invested in or borrowed expensive pitching machines. They didn’t work, but, instead of moving to coach pitch so the kids could actually enjoy the game, they kept messing with the machines. Lesson- sometimes an investment isn’t worth the money you put in. Know when to call it quits and move in a different direction.

Here’s a typical game with the lovely pitching machines…

  • Every third pitch was followed by a scream from the official of “No pitch!”
  • A kid would be hit by a wild pitch every couple of innings. Yes, they were beaning little kids with this precision machine.
  • Each inning consisted of 95% machine adjustment and readjustments and 5% letting the little tykes actually play ball.
  • It got to the point where the kids were afraid to step into the batter’s box. One of the parents actually referred to the batter’s box as ‘the death zone’.
  • Even with all the bad pitches, they would give each kid 5 pitches and then send them back into the dugout. It was assembly line baseball.
  • Instead of learning skills like proper batting, the kids would swing at anything, because they had no way of knowing if they’d get a good pitch at all.

20140521_183036

Nearly every game myself and several other parents asked the coaches and yelled from the stands, “Do coach pitch and let the kids play.” When they wouldn’t do that, we tried to get them to at least let the batter run or throw a ball into the field with each strikeout, just so the kids could do something besides play in the dirt. Lesson- be willing to listen to your customers when they let you know something isn’t working.

Because of the machine, there was an electrical cord strung across the field, tripping the kids as they run the bases. Lesson- repair obvious problems immediately, especially if they pose a hazard to you, your employees, or your customers.

Even with the problems, they still forced kids in ill-fitting catcher’s equipment to stand behind the plate. Each game averaged at least one catcher getting hurt and taken off the field. It almost seemed like they enjoyed seeing just how much pain the kids could take. Lesson- be very careful if one of your numbers that you watch is the attrition of your team. It’s necessary in the military, but not business or Little League.

Perhaps scariest of all, they allowed adults onto the field to help the kids without necessary background checks. Lesson- many of your businesses require classes, certifications, and security checks. Don’t bypass those to save time or money. It’ll catch up eventually.

What the league really worked out to was an effort by the SBYSA president to appease himself at the expense of the kids’ safety and enjoyment and the parents’ willingness to take part in the same fiasco the next year. Don’t do this in your business or you may find yourself working solo with no customers.

And please don’t throw baseballs at people in the office.

This message was written by Dr. David Powers. You can always find me at www.drdavidpowers.com. Thanks for reading!