retail news in context, analysis with attitude

 Content Guy’s Note: Last week, when I did a video commentary, one of the things I heard from a bunch of people was that while they liked it, they wanted to have the option of reading it in text form, which is what I used to do for MNB Radio. The only problem is that the video wasn’t tightly scripted, so I didn’t have a transcript to run.

So what I decided to try is this. Below is a commentary on the same subject as the video piece, but it isn’t word-for-word the same. You can look at both, or either...it is up to you. I hope this satisfies as many people as possible...and I look forward to hearing from you.



Earlier this week, I was attending the annual Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Midwinter Executive Conference in Phoenix, and, as has been the tradition over the past dozen or so years, there was the taking of the yearly photo of what is known as the Silver Fox Club.

The Silver Fox Club was started by Paul Corliss, the founder of DCI and a pioneer in the card marketing business, because he looked around and saw so many guys with gray hair. Because he was in the business of affinity programs, Paul thought that it might be fun to create one at FMI Midwinter, and so every year they take a picture. It’s good fun for everybody who gets in the picture, and (to be honest) a matter of quiet pride for those of us not yet at the point where we qualify.

This year, however, as they were taking the picture, I couldn’t help but think that they have it all wrong ... or at least ought to be thinking about taking the group in a new direction. I think it is great to celebrate longevity and wisdom, but what they really ought to be celebrating is the ability of people with gray or white hair not to think or act like people with gray or white hair.

Today, more than ever, to run a sustainable business or have a sustainable career as a business leader, you constantly have to renew and reinvent yourself, develop new skills and understand that the sacred cows of the past have to be the among the first things to be put out to pasture. Or slaughtered.

I’m not trying to rain on everybody’s parade, but here’s what the Silver Fox Club ought to do next year. It ought to be their challenge to bring someone to the conference - and stand next to that person in next year’s picture - who does not have gray or white hair, who is helping the older person understand the next generation of consumers and how to achieve sustainable marketing and organizational excellence relevance, and who has been identified as a current thought leader and future company leader.

Would that push the Silver Fox Club in a new direction? Sure. But isn’t that what all entities have to do these days?

I’m Kevin Coupe, and that’s what is on my mind this morning.

As always, I want to know what is on yours.
KC's View: