If there’s one thing we learned as a result of the past year, it’s that we don’t control nearly as much as we thought we did. But if there’s another thing, it’s that adaptability is required for survival in life.

And especially in business.

We’ve been watching economic fallout in real time from across the world as the result of an unprecedented event that has forced us all to either adapt and innovate, or potentially fade away.

But it’s not all doom and gloom-as long as you’re willing to adapt.

My name is Jim Mitchem and I’m a branding consultant and advertising copywriter. And thanks to an invisible virus, I’ve had to rethink how I engaged with clients pre-COVID19, and adjust for what comes next.

That’s why I’m now offering a micro-consulting package for small and micro businesses.

I’m not talking about developing full-blown…

I love young people. Have even had two of my own for twenty years now (which is crazy). Over that time I’ve had the privilege of working with young people, hiring them, and engaging them on social. Plus [checks phone], most most of the people I routinely text with are younger. Go figure.

As an older guy I totally understand and respect that young people are always coming into the workforce. It’s just the circle of life. Normal.

Only, I work in advertising. And while I’ve been away from the big agency world for a while, I stay connected to…

Once upon a time on a hot summer day, two sweaty boys ran into a house. One boy was black, one white. Inside the house a black woman pulled a pitcher of Kool-Aid from the fridge, along with two glasses from the cupboard.

“You boys hungry, yet?”

The boys nodded.

“I’ll make y’all some fried bologna sandwiches, then. Go wash your hands.” she demanded.

The white boy returned from the bathroom first, and sat at the kitchen table. “Ms. Ruby? Can I ask you something?”

“Mmm hmm,” Ruby said, placing a slice of bologna in a skillet.

“Do you feel black?” the boy asked.

Ruby turned her head to the boy with a raised eyebrow. “What do you mean, Jimmy?”

“I mean, we’re different people. I’m white. You’re black. I know what it feels like to be white. Do you feel black?” …

Back in March, the United Nations sent a call to creative people around the world to develop messaging that could help stop the spread of COVID-19. My friend Sid, a fellow copywriter, forwarded me the link and over the last few weeks we’ve batted around some ideas. We finally landed on this.

I love music. And live music has been a thing for me since I was a boy. The intimacy with the artists. The energy of the crowd.

It sucks not having that option as the COVID-19 virus makes its way across the planet. But who knows if we’ll ever go back to the way it was before? Packed concert halls and arenas with people bouncing and dancing and banging into each other in a joyous expression just seems like a bad idea right now. Maybe forever.

But not having live music sucks. So I propose we expand live music to…

I am not afraid.

I am in awe.

I’m in awe of nature.

I’m in awe of science.

And I’m in awe of the power of love.

I’m walking around right now too amazed to be afraid. No, I don’t want to die. And I don’t want others to die. But for me, I’m not afraid to die. I’ve had a good run.

I realize this is a once in a century event and will likely have impacts that span generations. It was never a hoax. Or conspiracy. It’s not economic. Or political. It’s nature. …

After decades living with dogs, I am still routinely amazed at how much I love them. And I often think about why. I mean, they don’t speak. They don’t do the dishes. I pick up their poop and feed them every day. So what exactly is this incredible emotional bond that I feel with them? How is it even possible?

Last Thursday I drove to Tampa to see my daughter in college. I was going to fly and rent a car, but she asked that I bring Strider, our ten-year-old Australian Shepherd, down to visit her. She was eight when…

The flag flies over our driveway. I own a dozen shirts. A half dozen hats. All of our cars have some branded paraphernalia. We’re Astros fans. All of us. Thanks to my history with the team.

And I’m pissed. The Houston Astros stripped me of the best sports moment of my life-the 2017 World Series. And I’m not seeing enough today from players to make me feel any better about it.

I became a fan in 1980 when we moved to Houston. Remained a huge fan until I moved to NYC in 89, and, thanks to proximity, my focus turned to a pretty bad Yankees team. So I had NY as my AL team and Houston as my NL team-but when the Astros joined the AL in 2013, I had to choose.

I got into advertising because of Super Bowl commercials.

As a kid I’d always gravitated toward advertising in general, and even collected those Wacky Packs back in the day, but it was the ads during the biggest sporting event of the year that had me staring wide-eyed into the TV tube.

So when I got into advertising as a junior copywriter at the ripe old age of 35, I had dreams of doing high concept, high production Super Bowl commercials. Naturally.

Then I took a job in Charlotte. It was a good gig. I learned a lot. Won a bunch of awards. Made clients very happy. But during those…

A few years ago, for the first time since I was a boy, I woke from a dream in the middle of the night crying.

Only, it wasn’t monsters terrorizing me. It was worse. I was talking with my daughter somewhere in our house. Just random conversation, nothing important. But as she spoke, her voice began to fade. Slowly. Slowly. Until it disappeared and all I could see was her lips moving. I remember wondering why, and asking her if she could hear me, only to watch her try to answer-though I couldn’t hear. Then I woke up. Crying.

It was pretty heavy and made me realize just how much I love my kids and how devastating it would be never to hear their voices…

Jim Mitchem

Advertising Copywriter. Author. Dad. (http://www.quicklikemongoose.com)

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