The Thinking Class: K-Swiss

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Photo via Kippered.

On Tuesday July 11, 2017, I was listening to Gary Vaynerchuk’s interview with Barney Waters (President) and Patrick Buchanan (Global Marketing Director) of the globally iconic brand, K-Swiss. Throughout the course of this 43 minute interview and call-in session, a lot was discussed. In particular, I was personally intrigued with the overall conversation on entrepreneurship and sneaker culture.

With the market domination of sneaker brands such as Adidas and Nike, Barney shared his following philosophy, “If you can’t be first, be different” (10:46). Barney also went on to mention that Nike pretty much owns the athletic category while Adidas owns the cool kid celebrity category. So…what does K-Swiss plan to do? According to this interview, K-Swiss aims to cater to entrepreneurs who are creating and leading their own businesses. In fact, as I’m writing this article, I just thought of the following idea:

In addition to aiming to cater to entrepreneurs, how about we add the category of “Thought leaders” to this conversation? These “Thought leaders” are those who aspire to create their own cultural movements and shift society through advocacy, business, education, health, social impact, etc. I believe that as a collective, the future leaders of society will be as diverse and multi-faceted as we have ever seen in the past. If I had to come up with a name for this category, I would entitle it… “The Thinking Class.”

Imagine the day we live to see the President of The White House casually rocking a pair of sneakers on a daily basis. What will these sneakers look like? What will these sneakers represent? Most importantly, what brand is going to be responsible for creating these sneakers? Due to my natural curiosity and passion for wanting to bridge the gap between brands, communities, and culture, I ask myself similar questions all of the time.

If K-Swiss is to really invest in the philosophy and process of entrepreneurship and thought leadership, I do believe that they can successfully create and dominate their own lane. Will the products have to be stylish and stellar? Absolutely! However, what is it that can potentially bring K-Swiss to the next level? Supporting the culture and lifestyle which they aim to engage with. Selling products is transactional. Yet, engaging with and supporting the development and growth of the culture and lifestyle around those products is transformational.

As Gary always says, “It’s thinking marathon over sprint.” Living in accordance to creating our own legacy is determined by our daily actions. When our behavior is in alignment with what we want our legacy to be, our true greatness begins to rise to the surface. So, what might K-Swiss want to consider doing to spearhead a new revolution of emerging leaders?

Leaders Create Leaders

Photo via Gerard Adams.

1. Ask Questions – I believe that all of the right questions eventually lead toward the right answers. Communication is vital and often overlooked. When brands express an interest in actually listening to and learning from their current audience and potential consumers, gains are usually made. Consumers always want the best products. As consumers, we would usually stay with a brand that receives feedback well and improves on something that we like as opposed to spending energy to entirely taking our business somewhere else. It’s natural, we’re creatures of habit…at least for the most part!

2. Address Challenges – With all of the challenges and problems that currently exist across the globe, what brands are endorsing and supporting the thought leaders across various industries who are working to address these challenges? There’s so much great work happening. I’m sure that authors, architects, doctors, educators, engineers, etc would love to be acknowledged, appreciated, and supported for the amazing work that they do on a day to day basis.

As Gary often says, “Every business and brand should be thinking like a media company.” I often like to say, “Content creates conversation, conversation creates opportunity, and opportunity creates impact (educational, financial, social, etc). As a consumer, when I see brands that align with and support causes which address challenges bigger than the products and/or services the brand sells, I feel more inclined to trust and engage with that brand in some capacity or another.

3. Provide Tools and Resources – In order to effectively address any problem or challenge, we must always be equipped with the proper tools and resources. This may include capital, insight, relationships, etc. I believe that the brands who are helping to connect the world are also the brands who are helping to change the world. One of the reasons why I believe that content production is so important is because it adds value in ways that products do not. Content can educate, empower, entertain, inspire, and inform. Audio content is just as important as video content which is just as important as written content.

Should K-Swiss become more than a sneaker company? Should K-Swiss become a media company who just happens to sell sneakers? Should K-Swiss aim to equip and empower thought leaders with the tools and resources necessary to shift culture and change the world at large? Should K-Swiss begin to identify and partner with organizations and programs across various industries and sectors such as The Aspen Institute, Ted Talks, SXSW, and Zeitgeist? Picture K-Swiss as not only the official sneaker, but more importantly a cultural contributor and supporter to platforms such as these. How might this look? I guess we shall see…

Lastly, it’s only right that I share some of my favorite looks:

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Cultural Curator, and Educator. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Behind The Hustle, Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about bridging the gap and building value between brands, communities, and culture. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

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3 Ways We Can Be Just Like Gary Vee!

In February of 2016, LinkedIn hosted it’s local edition of the LinkedIn Speaker Series in NYC. The purpose of LinkedIn’s local edition is to extend it’s global speaker series program through highlighting local rockstars who inspire and inform people to spark conversations and start connections. These conversations are often the result of many of the amazing ideas that are new, next, and noteworthy across various industries and fields.

In this edition of LinkedIn’s Local Speaker Series, one of our favorite guys and LinkedIn influencer, Gary Vaynerchuk chats with LinkedIn’s Senior News Editor, Chip Cutter. Throughout this discussion, Gary offers his advice, insight, and input as unapologetically as always about everything and to everyone within his reach. This even includes telling LinkedIn how their business can be better if their Snapchat account had it’s own version of “The Office” as an effort to make their brand feel more human. “I have very good intuition on what everybody is going to do a lot of times before they even realize they are going to do it” says Gary.

With so much more to offer, please read along for the “3 Ways We Can Be Just Like Gary Vee!”

1. Pay Attention:

One of the reasons why Gary has a very good intuition on what everyone is going to do a lot of times before they even realize they are going to do it is because he pays very close attention to his environment. “Everyone can do what I do.” says Gary. “I wake-up in the morning, grab my phone, look at the App Store’s “100 Top Free Apps”, and look at the charts. That’s real data. I’m not predicting the success of certain companies. This to me is very basic. Don’t be a headline reader. Really read and listen.

2. Train Towards Opportunity:

“I look at history to repeat itself quite a bit” says Gary, “I think pattern recognition is extremely important in what we are living through now because the internet itself is really changing the game and we’re still only 20 years into it.” We have to condition ourselves and train for our future. It’s as if we’re preparing for a marathon. Our life’s destiny is always on the line. We must develop the cadence and context to prepare ourselves for openings and opportunities when they present themselves. “When we know what we want for our lives and we make that shift at all costs, we win” says Gary, “Playing a game that doesn’t map what we actually want it to be is a really big mistake.”

3. Reverse Engineer Everything:

“I sell a ton of stuff by following the people who I want to sell to on social networks, figuring out what they like in the world, and using that information as a way to sell them” says Gary. It’s all about learning from your lead and selling what they need. Gary also mentions that we must eliminate romance. “It’s important to understand what they care about more than what you care about” says Gary, “Build a business that allows you to scale your capabilities and passions. Be a practitioner and engage yourself in what you do. Recognize Patterns. There will be a lot of money to be made if we can buy the companies that we know the big companies in the world are going to have to buy to be successful” says Gary.

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Photo courtesy of garyvaynerchuk.com

Quotes We Love

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

Idris Elba + Purdey’s Inspire The World To Thrive On!

When we saw a Facebook post from one of our clients yesterday, we couldn’t help but to click for sound and decide to watch the video. We must say – we are certainly pleased that we decided to do so. We learned a lot!

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Multi-vitamin fruit drink brand, Purdey’s teamed up with the multi-talented superstar, Idris Elba in an effort to help us get more out of life while introducing the world to Purdey’s belief that we should never stop growing.

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Seems like a simple question…right? At first, the question received many laughs, a few surprising looks, and some uncertainty. Then, we were hit with a follow-up question:

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Ahhh…as adults, why do we believe that we’ve stopped growing? After all, we never stop growing…right? We actually don’t. In fact, when we are introduced to a fresh new perspective on life, it makes us view our potential quite differently.

Here are some of the inspiring answers we receive when we are able to get others to agree with the notion that we never stop growing:

I Want To …

… Make quilts, amazing quilts!

… Play drums!

… Be Madonna!

… Look after the people I love!

… Be an Actor!

… Be a Spoken Word artist!

… Be a Hot Air Balloon Pilot!

… Be a Football Coach – I think!

So…What Stops Us From Achieving Our Dreams?

There are an endless amount of reasons why we may feel as though we can no longer achieve our dreams. Age, time, discouragement, lack of ambition…LIFE?!? However, would we take the chance to achieve our dreams if we were given the opportunity? Can we get a HECK YES!!! Knowing this, what does it all come down to? It comes down to us, not life. Our lives are largely determined by the decisions we choose to make for ourselves.

From the land of “A Lovers Ambition,” we would arguably say that it’s finally time to spend less energy on creating excuses, and more energy on creating opportunities for ourselves to thrive and live the life of our dreams.

Thanks to Idris, Purdey’s, and Iris Worldwide for compelling us with the compassionate message to move forward and find our inner ambition to achieve our goals and thrive on!

Credits

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Music by Baptiste Thiry, “Dreams Come True”

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

G-SHOCK x Greats Giveaway!

Ryan Babenzien of Greats recently teamed up with G-SHOCK for “The Whiteout Collection” which is a partnership between G-SHOCK x GREATS. In a recent interview, Ryan tells Complex, “This collaboration has been a long time in the making. I’ve had G-SHOCK’s in my life since I was a kid.” 

The result of this partnership is a custom designed pair of Greats’ PRONTO kicks along with G-SHOCK’s new trio of Whiteout timepieces. Here’s what’s even sweeter about this collaboration: For a limited time, G-SHOCK x Greats will be giving fans a chance to win a prize package featuring the complete White Out set of G-SHOCK x Greats brand collaborative sneakers and G-SHOCK watch. 

Please be sure to enter here for your chance to win, the last day to participate is Saturday 4/30/16!

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

Music x Movement: Maluca Mala

As I was checking out Maluca’s music video for her latest release, “Mala,” a thought came across my mind that this particular track may be a good song for a Zumba class. Granted, I’ve never personally taken a Zumba class. However, I would definitely be curious to see what dance routines can be created to this one.

According to an article I read about a month ago in the Wall Street Journal, Zumba classes attract 15 million people each week. Talk about a huge reach! In addition, music promotion is one of the methods used to draw people to Zumba. Hence, this is certainly an audience of devoted members who are exposed to new music on a weekly basis.

Now imagine this, when Zumba members actually really enjoy the music they hear, what will most likely happen next? Yes, correct…more listens, more streams, more downloads, and maybe even more tickets being sold at Maluca’s next show. Ahhh…such a beautiful relationship!

So, will we be hearing the sounds of Maluca playing in Zumba classes anytime soon? We’ll have to get in touch with Zumba’s music director, Sergio Minski. Until then, we’ll have to wait and see! #MusicxMovement

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

Resources We Love: 10 Ways To Amplify Your Blog

A week or so ago I came across Michael Hyatt’s weekly podcast dedicated to intentional leadership entitled, “This Is Your Life with Michael Hyatt.” The first episode that I checked out was his interview with his co-host, Michele Cushatt entitled, “Blow Up Your Blog!” For anyone looking to start a blog or a website, this is a must watch.

Here are 10 Ways To Amplify Your Blog according to Michael Hyatt:

1. Create Content Worth Sharing:

As an owner of a blog, we are 100% in control of our content. The best way to create content worth sharing is to focus on quality material. Hyatt mentions, “Create content that’s so good that people are willing to share it with other people.”

2. Adhere to a Consistent Schedule:

“Consistency is far more important than frequency” says Hyatt. No matter how many times of week we create content, we must be consistent. Hyatt also mentions, “Trust is a necessity. The best way to build trust is to show up on a consistent basis.” Don’t overwhelm yourself. If you overwhelm yourself, you may be overwhelming your audience.

3. Get a Domain Name:

Create your own domain name. Stay away from name.tumblr.com or name.wordpress.com. It’s bad branding and shows that you are an amateur who does not take their work seriously. Once you create your own domain name, you can then link it to your Tumblr or WordPress blog.

4. Promote Your Website:

Do your best to promote your website. Whenever you get the opportunity to promote your work, the first thing that you want to share with people is your website address. If your website is set up correctly with the right contact and social media information, people will find out whatever they need to find out about you on your website.

For example, let’s examine Facebook and Youtube. Every time someone shares a piece of content that originates from either Facebook or Youtube, the names of those websites are being promoted as well. When you create content that is worth sharing, the name of your website begins to spread along with the content.

5. Make it Easy To Subscribe:

Have an option on your website that allows people to subscribe to updates. However, don’t ask for too much information. Why? According to Hyatt, “The more information you ask for, the more it diminishes your conversion rate.” People don’t want to give out all of their personal information. It is only necessary to collect a potential subscribers first name and email address.

6. Optimize Your Posts For SEO:

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” What search engine optimization does is populate your posts so that search engines can catalog them appropriately and boost your rankings on Google. If you’re on WordPress, check out the “All In One SEO” plug-in.

7. Utilize Social Media:

Use social media as an outpost to direct people back to the content on your website.

8. Engage in Conversation:

Certain content elicits certain conversations. It’s important to engage in conversations. Make sure to answer questions, thank people for comments, etc.

9. Comment on Other Websites:

It’s important to contribute and add meaningful value to other online communities. By doing this, it helps to increase your brand visibility  and awareness when someone takes an interest in something that you shared. When people like what you share, they want to keep up with what you’re doing. Thus, they become another supporter of your content.

10. Write Guest Posts:

Through writing guest posts on other platforms, people find you by linking back to your website.

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

Branding We Love: Jack Erwin

I come across Jack Erwin ads all of the time on Facebook and it’s probably because I was recently in the market for buying quality dress shoes. Long story short, I came across this video while revisiting Aloe Blacc’s “Love is The Answer” video to insert into my post entitled, “The Spiritual Partnership: Gary Zukav.”

Ronan Gallagher directed this short and both the music and video direction caught and kept my attention. Thus, I decided that it may be cool to share it with you all. Plus, as you may have already picked up on from previous posts, I absolutely love the documentation of almost any creative process.

– Enjoy…Ciao!

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

7 Days of Wisdom (2015 Year In Review)

7 Days of Wisdom is an original weekly video series presented by A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group and hosted by Aquaus Kelley. Our mission is to foster growth and create a community of success and significance. Through sharing meaningful advice, knowledge, and insight gathered throughout our daily experiences, we aim to empower, encourage, and inspire our community to achieve their most passionate aspirations.

In This Weeks Episode We Discuss:

  1. Our 2015 Year In Review (1:38)
  2. Quotes of The Week (10:04)

This Weeks Resources Include:

  1. Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl (Book)

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies such as Cornerstone Agency, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

7 Days of Wisdom (Episode 6)

7 Days of Wisdom is an original weekly video series presented by A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group and hosted by Aquaus Kelley. Our mission is to foster growth and create a community of success and significance. Through sharing meaningful advice, knowledge, and insight gathered throughout our daily experiences, we aim to empower, encourage, and inspire our community to achieve their most passionate aspirations.

In This Weeks Episode We Discuss:

  1. Synchronicity (1:13)
  2. Identity, Calling, and Assignment (8:00)
  3. Faith, Family, Friends (14:30)
  4. Quotes of The Week (17:09)

This Weeks Resources Include:

  1. Experiences We Love: Synchronicity
  2. Instant Wealth Wake Up Rich
  3. How Might We Discover Our Purpose

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies such as Cornerstone Agency, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

Adidas #SongsFromScratch

As I was organizing my desk and sorting through some papers I came across an old note with an asterisk that read, *All In – Mr. Carmack & Kehlani. I remember writing this down this past summer after hearing the song on a Soulection mix via Beats 1 radio. I decided to revisit the song today and I happened to come across this #SongsFromScratch video presented by Adidas Originals and Yours Truly Creative.

I’m always a fan of dope branded content! Here’s an inspiring glimpse of the creative process behind what it took to create Kehlani & Mr. Carmack’s “All In.”

Enjoy!

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies such as Cornerstone Agency, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.