Jonathan Salem Baskin combines technology, history, 30 years of successfully bringing brands to market, and the latest research to deliver provocative insights into the ways people interact with businesses, governments and one another. He is regularly quoted by the news media because he speaks honestly and passionately about today’s latest trends, “providing thinking that goes way beyond what could be found with a Google search,” according to one client.
He is a Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and received a degree in English Literature from Colby College, Waterville, Maine.
The Coming Privacy Crisis
Consumers are mostly unaware of the breadth and depth to which their once private data are being used by companies to not only serve them, but predict and then direct their online behaviors. Businesses have done little to bridge this gap in understanding, and consumers’ reaction once they find out could dwarf the uproar over the Snowden/NSA revelations. Baskin uses the latest research and evolving content for his next book to recommend ways businesses can help preclude this crisis, and how doing so can strengthen customer relationships on a highly topical issue.
The Innovation Trap
After years of being scolded for not innovating enough — and watching startups celebrated as the engines of disruption — established companies are beginning to realize that innovation was a trap from which they had little chance to successfully escape. Baskin spends his days as a managing director of Chicago’s oldest and most successful tech entrepreneur venture collaborative, and can show how big companies are learning to innovate on their own terms…and take tech startups with them.
Social Media, the Next Story
Now that the social revolution is over, the challenge for brands is to find new and compelling ways to engage with consumers who are busier, more critical, and less interested than ever before in what brands have to say. Baskin, a regular columnist for America’s Forbes and Advertising Age magazines, has studied brand engagement for years, and can specify what works, what doesn’t, and where brands should invest their money going forward. This insightful presentation playfully challenges the conventional wisdom, and yields actionable conclusions for better social engagement.
How to Create Sustainable Corporate Reputations
It’s common belief that a negative event can damage corporate reputation, and that the only way to prepare for such surprises is to have a PR plan at the ready. Baskin has studied data on 7000+ public companies over 10 years, and developed statistically reliable models that reveal most negative events aren’t really surprises, and that PR responses have little (if any) impact on them. The good news is that the likelihood of a crisis can be controlled by internal transparency and good governance. He shares specific case histories of what works, why, and how those insights can be applied to any company’s operations.
Jonathan Salem Baskin started in the brand marketing business in high school, working at ad and PR agencies while his friend’s bagged groceries and delivered pizzas. In college, while he pursued his degree in English literature, led the student judiciary and played in a punk rock band, he started a company to help local businesses create ad campaigns.
After graduation, he gravitated to New York working first at Edelman Worldwide and then at Grey Advertising where he won the PRSA’s highest honor, the Silver Anvil. At 26, he was named the youngest EVP in Grey’s history. Relocating to the West Coast in 1989, Baskin was promoted to Chief Operating Officer of Grey’s Los Angeles office, where he led the communications strategy for the launch of Nissan’s Infiniti car division.
Baskin shortly thereafter moved “in-house,” joining Nissan to establish its first public affairs operation for North America. He lead the company’s first integrated marketing campaign for the Nissan Altima, spearheaded its foray into alternative fuels racing by solar vehicles in partnership with M.I.T. and he created Nissan’s corporate ad campaign “Built for the Human Race.” Baskin spoke often on emergent brand marketing issues, such as “e-Marketing,” to audiences at the Conference Board and Association of National Advertisers. He was not yet 30.
Baskin then moved to Columbus, Ohio, to serve as director of communications for Limited, Inc. (which owned such well-known brands as Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Bath & Body Works). He invented the company’s first television network for communicating with its 100,000+ employees (“LTV”), pioneered brand-relevant actions on product sourcing (sustainable supply chain) and testing and participated in the development of the company’s first online fashion webcasts. Recruited away to lead Blockbuster’s worldwide marketing communications efforts, he spearheaded the company’s repositioning as a retailer of diversified entertainment content, adapting everything, from its awards program (The Blockbuster Awards) to store signage in support this new brand strategy.
Returning to Chicago in 2000, Baskin led creative development for a technology marketing firm and then the visual design department for a systems integrator called Inforte. In 2003, he established Baskin Associates, Inc. and forged a network of consultants across four continents to help clients translate their business strategies into brand plans that involved more than words and images. While the client list remains confidential, Baskin has partnered with many of the world’s leading brand names.
Baskin speaks around the world to groups of corporate leaders, marketers and all-company audiences. He writes regular columns for Advertising Age and Forbes magazines. His first book, Branding Only Works on Cattle (2008) was both a synthesis of his thinking and an entertaining, hands-on guide to creating and delivering a radically new model of brand. His second book, Bright Lights & Dim Bulbs (2010), was a readable collection is his more foresighted essays. His third book, Histories of Social Media (2011) traces online behaviors back to their historical roots. His latest book, Tell The Truth (2012), was called one of the year’s must-read books. He is currently at work on his fifth book.
He devotes his personal time to his family and to creating music in his basement digital studio.