Guest – Jonathan Salem Baskin

Jonathan started in the brand marketing business in high school, working at ad and PR agencies hile his friends 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, and, at 26, was named the youngest EVP in the company’s history. Relocating to Los Angeles in 1989, Jonathan was COO of the office, and led the communications strategy for the launch of Nissan’s Infiniti car division. He then moved ‘in-house,’ joining Nissan to establish its first public affairs operation for North America, leading the company’s first integrated marketing campaign (Altima), spearheading its foray into alternative fuels racing (solar vehicles in partnership with M.I.T.), and creating the corporate ad campaign “Built for the Human Race.” Jonathan 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. Jonathan 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, 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, to support this new brand strategy. Returning to Chicago in 2000, Jonathan led creative development for a technology marketing firm, and then the visual design department for a systems integrator (Inforte). In 2003, he established Baskin Associates, Inc., and forged a network of 12 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. Jonathan speaks around the world to groups of corporate leaders, marketers, and all-company audiences. His book, Branding Only Works on Cattle (September 2008), is both a synthesis of his thinking and an entertaining, hands-on guide to creating and delivering a radically new model of brand. He devotes his personal time to his family, to his writing on the most fantastic and foolish in brand marketing, and to creating music in his basement digital studio.