Tag Archives: Brand

Why Jewish Organizations Need To Be More Like The Food Industry

Fresh and Appetizing!

Fresh and Appetizing!

Fortune magazine recently published The Food Issue and I was struck by how the CEO’s of major food corporations are facing head-on the huge loss of market share and consumers. I mean large corporations: Campbell’s Soup, ConAgra, and Hersheys just to name a few. A top analyst in the business stated that the top 25 companies have lost about $18 billion in market share just in the past few years: “I would think of them like melting icebergs, every year they become a little less relevant.” 

Since I’ve been on the front lines, witnessing the many ways in which Jewish education is trying to transform itself, the iceberg analogy above sounded all too familiar to me. The issues we may think are isolated are not endemic to Judaism. It seems that much larger organizations need to restructure, regroup, and refocus. So I read on, wondering how the leaders of these corporations were tackling these difficult issues, and if there was anything Jewish organizations could learn from their approach.

One thing was clear, no corporation was pretending that the loss of market share was a fading or fleeting trend.

There seemed to be very little ego involved in these corporate leaders’ decisions to rework things in order to gain footing. There was also recognition and some frustration that it would take time for an upswing to occur.

So, I took in what they said, and found commonalities in the list below:

  • People want simplicity and the companies are striving to deliver: by collaborating with other food purveyors, buying smaller, successful companies, or developing entirely new product lines to meet the demand. There is an honest appraisal of the company’s strengths and weaknesses, resulting in adaptations that are essential for survival.
  • The consumer’s desire for fresh means that the recycling of old products, i.e. “new and improved” just doesn’t cut it anymore. Customers are discerning and pressed for time. There has to be a new, relevant, approach that appeals to the consumers’ needs for what they want, when they want it. Brand loyalty is not generally a factor.
  • The customer wants authenticity and integrity above all. Slick packaging or as one CEO says “the barn on the package” (referring to the false advertising of wholesome nutrients) doesn’t fool the customer into thinking that the product is all natural. There has to be substance beneath the product.
  • Large organizations, with lots of structural barriers, are at a deficit when they aren’t able to move fast enough to meet the demands of the marketplace.

Many Jewish organizations are in the midst of enacting some of the changes, but many are stubbornly hoping the tide will turn back in their favor. Time in this case, is a luxury that the Jewish community just can’t afford any longer.

Related Posts:

Judaism As A Polysystem.

Praying for Pluralism


Today I am a Brand

credit to uglydoggy.com

We live in a visual world. I get it. I’m the first to admit that I love looking at logos and the idea that the essence of a company, drink, food, car —almost anything— can be captured in a visual.  Come on, aren’t you tempted to name the brands pictured here?

Hashtags? Great. If only our program could attract thousands of Jewish teens by using  #Jteens. 

The idea of “branding” has been in my airspace for a few weeks.  It started when I read a blog about the viral video “Friday” and how it catapulted Rebecca Black and her now ex-friend into instant stardom (not familiar with the story? see wikipedia ).  

Then, I read a study about the rise of fame and its implications , some of which I’ll quote very briefly:

“Greenfield’s Theory of Social Change and Human Development posits that, as learning environments move towards high technology, as living environments become increasingly urbanized, as education levels increase, and as people become wealthier, psychological development moves in the direction of increasing individualism, while traditional, familistic, and communitarian values decline….” (italics mine). 

So, the desire to individuate comes with the territory. Is it any wonder that this study found that fame grows in prominence as a goal among tweens? If the teen years were tough before, it’s more complicated now. How do we as teachers and parents begin to work through this?

I attended a workshop a few days ago sponsored by Moving Traditions and we discussed the fact that teenage girls see themselves as ‘brands’ when posting on their Facebook pages.  They think about themselves in the third person and how their presenting image will be perceived by others.  They think about how to ‘enhance’ their brand by who they ‘friend’ and the clothes, music, and tech toys they buy, presenting an additional teaching and parenting opportunity. This issue goes across gender and is not limited to teenage girls.

Another tongue-in-cheek blog asked whether Rabbis would be more effective if they were ‘pitchmen’ and might be more successful if incorporating brand names into their sermons.  I have not worked this all out yet.  On one level, I definitely buy into the branding idea and think that we, who work in the world of Jewish teens, could certainly learn a thing or two about ‘branding’ with an image overhaul.   If we just had more marketing dollars, or could find a sponsor, or a brand to partner with….oops, there I go again.

In this world of visual overload, I am fine with working on communicating a clearer message as long as it’s an authentic one.  I guess that’s the advice I would give to a Jewish teen approaching bar/bat mitzvah age as well. Go ahead, think about who you really are. Make sure it reflects your true self, incorporates core Jewish values and ethics, then go ahead, brand yourself as the most special person you are.