Dan Gagliano: Separate Ways The Band

Written by: Frank Iacono

Dan Gagliano - Separate Ways The Band

Have you ever wished you could have the authentic Journey experience in the days of the masterful voice of Steve Perry and the supreme musicianship and chemistry of guitarist Neal Schon, keyboardist Jonathan Cain, bassist Ross Valory, and drummer Steve Smith? Then Separate Ways The Band is the must-see experience for you!

Separate Ways The Band consists of five highly talented musicians lead by vocalist Dan Gagliano. Separate Ways The Band has been described as the ultimate Journey Tribute Show on the east coast. They are the closest you’ll get to recreating the “live” mid 80’s line-up of Journey and their sound. Dan has worked very hard to ensure that his tribute show is truly an accurate portrayal of the Steve Perry era in every way, including all of the subtle nuances, inflections, harmonies, and visual gratifications.

Dan and his fellow musicians in Separate Ways The Band have played all of Journey’s biggest hits all over the country from the Empire Casino in Yonkers, NY to Rockin On The River in Troy, NY to Mohegan Sun Casino in Wilkes Barre, PA to Hollywood Casino in Grantville, PA to Fagers Island in Ocean City, MD to Rose Tree Park in Media, PA to the Sellersville Theater in Sellersville, PA.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dan Gagliano and asking him a few questions about his musical background, his favorite rock songs, his band, his tribute show, and his overall passion and love for the legendary band Journey.

Q&A Session

TCS: At what age did you realize that you wanted to be a musician?

I think I was 7 or 8; it was right after I got my first KISS album. I remember getting my first guitar that same Christmas.

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TCS: Did you think early on that you sounded like Steve “The Voice” Perry or was it something that you discovered over time?

I think it was something that I discovered over time. I was hooked as soon as I heard “Don’t Stop Believing.” I played that Escape album so much that it wore through to the other side, and I just sang along until it did. One day I realized that I could hit the notes and sounded pretty close, so I just continued to work my butt off to get as close as I could to that amazing “Voice” of Steve Perry.

TCS: Introduce us to Separate Ways The Band lineup?

  • Jason Mitchell – Guitar and Backing Vocals
  • Mike “Bass” Llewellyn – Bass Guitar and Vocals
  • Danny Gagliano – Lead Vocals
  • Dave Ramani – Drums
  • Mick Loro – Keyboards and Vocals

Meet Separate Ways The Band

TCS: So how long have you guys been playing together and how did this all start?

Back in the summer of 2001, I joined a Journey tribute band called “Worlds Apart”. In January of 2004, in an attempt to attract more fans and perform at bigger and better venues, we changed the name to Separate Ways. Still eager to get the band better gigs I realized, that in order to do that, I needed to make some changes, so we went our Separate Ways in December of 2009. At that point, my friend and Manager Frank Kielb helped me form Separate Ways The Band.

Between auditioning and performing with different musicians from January 2010 to December 2010, I was lucky to find the current lineup, we’ve been together since January of 2011.

TCS: Are you guys ever criticized for being a tribute band? And, why do you think tribute bands have become so prominent in the past ten years or so?

To my knowledge, we’ve never been criticized for being a tribute band. I’m sure people may have said in conversation “why don’t they write and perform their own songs?” And, if approached with that question I’d say, “I have, most of us have, in fact Jason, is currently in an original project, but we also love performing these songs, and that’s why we do it.”

In my opinion, I think tribute bands have become so prominent because of so many reasons…one reason could be the excitement of seeing someone impersonate your favorite band or performer, another reason could be the price, you could see a tribute band for a third of the price of the original act and the third reason is that you will see and hear them perform mostly the popular songs of the artist they are paying tribute to.

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TCS: What do you feel sets Separate Ways The Band apart from other Journey tribute bands?

Setting aside the fact that we pay close attention the smallest details, we literally play and sing all of the parts. There are no additional back-up singers, no additional backing tracks, and no musical sampling of any kind.

Unlike one band, that will remain nameless, all of their keyboard parts are sampled. They hit the play button, the keyboard parts start and the band plays along. It’s half live band/half karaoke. No spontaneity, no extended guitar solo, no extended sing alongs, no life.

Same tempo every time. It’s just my opinion but it’s not the same.

They also use a Harmonizer, which means that one person (in addition to the lead singer) sings one of the Harmony lines and the harmonizer produces the other two parts, instant Three part Harmony, but it’s not the same as having true human three part harmony, it’s stale, sterile and lifeless.

I also look and sound a lot like Steve Perry. No wig, no surgery, no crazy affect gadgets, no lip singing; good nights and yes, sometimes bad nights but it’s all me and it’s all real.

I try to dress the part and imitate Steve’s mannerisms and stage persona.

But it’s my show and it’s my job to make sure everyone is having a good time, so sometimes I sway from my Steve Perry persona and sit on a lap or two and sing a song to someone in the audience.

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TCS: Let’s talk about the music for a moment. When you’re in a tribute band, obviously your music will be picked apart and compared to the original. So how did Separate Ways The Band sculpt your sound and your stage performances?

Yes, that is true, which is why we pay so much attention to the small details. Not only do these guys have to be able to duplicate the playing style of members of Journey, which is not an easy task, but they also need to duplicate the sounds of their instruments. That’s not even mentioning the 3 sometimes 4 part vocal harmonies. Then we get to the lead vocals, well, they’re a challenge from the first note to the last, and I try to pay so much attention to every little breath, sign, and nuance of his vocals. How he pronounces certain words, how he holds his notes, his timing, his phrasing, etc.

I bust my butt to get as close as I can, to pay a true tribute to Steve Perry and Journey.

I think I do a good job and I think I get close, probably closer than most but the fact is Steve Perry is one gifted individual, with one special voice, and I’m happy to get as close as I do to sound like him.

TCS: What’s the hardest aspect of re-creating a Journey show?

That’s a tough question, because there are so many aspects to factor in to re-create a Journey show. Musically it’s a task because the musicians in Journey are so talented so to duplicate each individual piece takes a lot of time to get just right.

Vocally it’s another task. Steve Perry’s voice is a challenge all by itself, from his tone, range, technique, phrasing, etc., it’s a full time job to just duplicate the lead vocals, and then factor in the backing vocals, which are not just your everyday backing vocals. If that wasn’t hard enough, then factor in the aspect of pulling it off LIVE, and entertaining an audience.

Yes, that’s right, you need to factor in entertaining an audience, because we don’t just stand there and play a bunch of Journey songs, we re-create the live Journey show and I try my hardest to make sure that everyone in our audience is having a great time and enjoying our show, put that all together and it’s almost an Olympic event.

TCS: Have you ever met Steve Perry? If yes, please explain to us where you met and how did that encounter go?

In regard to me meeting Steve, yes I did meet him, way back in 1994. He was doing a radio interview at WBAB Radio station here on Long Island taking about the release of his new solo album, “For the Love of Strange Medicine.” I took a picture with him and I’m sure I have it around here somewhere. I wasn’t in a Journey Tribute band at that time but even then I must’ve resembled Steve because I remember someone at the radio station saying “Hey look, a younger version of Steve Perry”. LOL.

As far as how did it go, well, it went great, I don’t remember saying anything except “Hello”, as I was in shock, very similar to the very first time a met Santa Claus. LOL. I really couldn’t even find the words to say how big of a fan I was and how much he and his music had touched my life, even back then.

Hopefully, thanks to the Internet, Steve knows of me, has seen maybe one or two of my videos and can tell, by my tribute to him and Journey, how much he has influenced, affected and touched my life, and so many others, with his amazing voice and wonderful songs.

TCS: How many gigs does Separate Ways The Band play annually and what and where are the venues?

Currently we have about 12 gigs scheduled for 2013 in PA, OH, DE, NY, NJ, and FL.

Due to Hurricane Sandy we’re behind from our previous years gig schedule, but that should pick up.

TCS: Do you guys ever perform internationally? And, if you could perform in any venue in the world right now, national or international, where would you perform?

Yes, we have performed in Trinidad, twice and we’re looking forward to returning next summer.

As for the question “if you could perform in any venue in the world right now, national or international, where would you perform?”

Anyplace where they love live entertainment and the music of Journey.

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TCS: So what kinds of music do you guys listen to outside of the genre that you play?

I’ve always loved songs with great lyrics, songs that I could relate to, and songs with great vocals.

I enjoy all different genres from Rock, Pop, Country, and etc.

TCS: What are the most requested Journey songs at your shows?

I’m sure you know them; they are quickly referred to as the dirty dozen:

  • “Don’t Stop Believing”
  • “Separate Ways”
  • “Open Arms”
  • “Faithfully”
  • “Stone in Love”
  • “Any Way You Want It”
  • Wheel In The Sky
  • “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'”
  • “Lights”
  • “Send Her My Love”
  • “Who’s Crying Now”
  • “I’ll Be Alright Without You”

TCS: Of the songs that Separate Ways The Band plays from Journey’s extensive library which are your most and least favorite? Equally, is there a song from Journey you or the band loves that is not included in the set? If yes, then why.

I love the hits of course, but then there are songs like “Mother, Father”, “After the Fall”, “Edge Of The Blade”, “Why Can’t This Night Go On Forever”, “Suzanne”, and “Sweet and Simple” just to name a few that I really love.

They’re probably considered to be “B” sides, not really hits, but musically and vocally they are amazing.

We perform “Mother, Father”, “After the Fall”, “Edge of the Blade”, in our show sometimes, just to spice things up a bit. We haven’t added “Why Can’t This Night Go On Forever”, “Suzanne”, and “Sweet and Simple”, but we might.

Some people may criticize us for mostly playing all the hits and not too much of the obscure songs, but I look at it like this, we’re here to put on a great show and entertain the audience, it’s not just about us having fun and enjoying the music, it’s about us and the audience having fun and enjoying the music.

TCS: What’s your favorite song of all time?

OMG, that is so hard to answer. There are so many songs, and not just Journey songs, that have a special meaning to me. Kind of like the soundtrack to my life, everyone’s life, for that matter. For example, there’s the song that reminds you of your first love, first lost love, best friend, your worst enemy, your happiest times, your worst times, finding love again, having a baby, the song that brings a tear to your eye at the thought of your child, husband/wife/lover, or the loss of someone real close to your heart.

There are way too many favorite songs for me to name just one.

Dan-Gagliano-Separate-Ways-The-Band-Performing

TCS: Why do you think 80’s music is still so enjoyable, even for new generations?

I think 80’s music is still so enjoyable, even for new generations because people can relate to the song or story. “Just a small town girl, living in a lonely word”, people can feel that, they know that girl, they’re friends with that girl, they are that girl.

“I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride, I’m wanted, Dead or Alive”, I know, it’s Bon Jovi, not Journey but once again, people can relate. “That steel horse is your car, a bus or a train, getting you to work, where your boss squeezes every ounce of productivity out of you ‘til you’re dead.” That guy is someone’s husband, father or maybe even them self. People can relate, that’s why 80’s music is still so enjoyable.

TCS: What is the most interesting Separate Ways The Band road story?

I guess we’re a pretty boring band off the stage, I can’t think of any interesting road stories, no Televisions thrown out of hotel room windows, no crazy car accidents, or, thank God, no drug induced coma’s or overdoses.

But one funny story does come to mind. As I said earlier, sometimes I walk of stage during a song or two and sing to people in the audience, and mind you, I sing to everyone, young, old, male, female, short, tall, big or small. Everyone is fair game, LOL. It’s usually a lot of fun, some people sing along, some people get shy and look away but again, it’s all about having fun.

One night while performing up in Newport Rhode Island, I was doing my thing and I saw some couple, they were in their late 40’s early 50’s, seemed nice, so I decided I would sing to them. Just to clarify, I’m in a committed relationship with the same woman for 5 years, so I’m not trying to hook up or do anything inappropriate, I just figured I sing to this woman. Well, her husband or boyfriend or whatever he was wanted no part of that, so as I approached them…. Are you ready? He hit me with my own microphone. Can you believe that, assault with a deadly microphone? Realizing that this guy was crazy or just had a really bad inferiority complex I just walked away, and had security throw him and his lady friend out.

Other than that it’s been a great 12 years, some ups and some downs but it’s definitely been worth the Journey.

SeparateWaysTheBandPerformi

TCS: Besides Journey, if you could play a set with any artist alive or dead who would you choose?

Of course, Journey and Steve Perry, but I would also love to play a set with Bon Jovi, Heart, KISS and, don’t laugh, Air Supply.

TCS: Have you played with other Journey tribute bands and what type of reaction have you received?

No we have never played with other Journey tribute bands.

During the year that I was auditioning musicians I did have members of other Journey tribute bands fill in for a gig or two.

TCS: What advice do you have for new tribute bands trying to get established?

Pick a band that you love and perform their songs to the best of your ability. Do it because you love the music, because you want to share the music and keep the music of that band alive.

TCS: What’s the future look like for Separate Ways The Band?

That we continue to perform the songs of this amazing band, for our wonderful families, friends and fans, at the great venues and clubs that we currently play at and some new places as well.

Separate Ways The Band Logo

Why Should You Go See Separate Ways The Band

Don’t miss the Ultimate Tribute to the music of Journey with Separate Ways The Band.

Separate Ways The Band is the closest you’ll get to see the early-mid 80’s line-up of Journey live, ever. An accurate portrayal of the Steve Perry era is duplicated in every way. Experience all of the subtle nuances, inflections, harmonies and visual gratifications of seeing the original Journey show.

Separate Ways The Band brings the highest level of musicianship to the audience while showing a true respect for the music of Journey. An evening with Separate Ways The Band is truly an “unforgettable” experience, which is why they are “the next best thing to Journey!”

For more information on Separate Ways The Band, please visit them on the following:

Don’t miss the Ultimate Tribute to the music of Journey with Separate Ways The Band!

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono - The Creative Spotlight

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

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Edward Peahota: Speed Painting Artist

Written by: Frank Iacono

Ed Peahota

Some artists take pride in how long they spend to painstakingly create a work of art. But the way painter Ed Peahota sees it, time is money. Peahota, a pictorial billboard artist with a career that has spanned 30 years, can actually paint a wall-sized mural of a tiger in less than four minutes. He can also paint the Statue of Liberty but that takes a little longer – maybe about five minutes.

Peahota developed a knack for fast brushwork and has parlayed it into a performance sideline. As an Art Director Edward Peahota’s art designs have been featured all over the world. From huge banners at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to the “Dave Zinkof” retired microphone banner, that originally hung in the Philadelphia Spectrum, to many Philadelphia Flyers banners including Bernie Parent to various Philadelphia 76ers retired numbers to the JVC Jazz Festival banners in Holland.

Edward’s company, BillboardShuttle.com, specializes in all aspects of outdoor advertising, flex vinyl installation on billboards, available space for rent, computer graphics installation, hand painted artwork on structures, large format printing, sign design layout, radio commercial voice over, old school pounce & pattern making, maintenance, repair, and speed painting shows.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing speed painting artist Ed Peahota, and asking him a few questions about his business, his work, his music, and his overall passion and love for being an artist.

Q&A Session

TCS: How old were you when you knew you wanted to be an artist?

When I was a child, I was always painting something whether it was a model or lines for a street hockey rink. When I was in high school, my favorite and best class was art. I was in that class room before school started, during my lunch period, and after school. Art had a pretty good hold on me by the age of 16.

TCS: Who are among your favorite artists? And, why?

Roger Dean, Peter Max, and Salvador Dali are among my favorite artists as they are all very unique!

TCS: Where did you study art and what was your first job as an artist?

I went to The Art Institute of Philadelphia. My first (1982), and still current job, was as a billboard pictorial artist.

TCS: How would you describe your specific type of art style?

For 20 years, I painted realism on billboards. Now that was hard work. However, with the advent of the personal computer around the turn of the century, that type of work virtually stopped overnight. Today, my style is care-free and just for fun.

ed-peahota-george-harrison

TCS: Tell us about your company BillboardShuttle.com?

BillboardShuttle.com specializes in all aspects of outdoor advertising, flex vinyl installation on billboards, available space for rent, computer graphics installation, hand painted artwork on structures, large format printing, sign design layout, radio commercial voice over, old school pounce & pattern making, maintenance, repair, and speed painting shows by artist.

TCS: What are some of the billboards you’ve painted over your career and tell us about your company BillboardShuttle.com?

I’ve hand painted on billboards everything from Frank Sinatra to Miller Beer Bottles to a lot of casino ads. BillboardShuttle.com is collection of everything I do in the world of outdoor advertising from designing layouts to making patterns for water towers to speed painting shows. The website features a pretty extensive list of everything we do as a company. For more information, please visit BillboardShuttle.com.

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TCS: Tell us about the idea you had over 20 years ago to paint to music?

Well I always painted to music, I always had a boom box on the swinging stage with me while I painted billboards, In my 20’s, I played in bands and thought it would be cool to go up there on stage with the English rock band Yes and paint a billboard while the band was playing, something related to the song.

TCS: Do you prefer painting to recorded or live music?

I prefer painting to live music most definitely

TCS: Can you describe for us your technique of speed painting?

Since I am a musician I would say my technique of speed painting is to do it in time with the music.

TCS: What was your first speed painting gig and what do you remember most about it?

My first speed painting gig was in October of 2009 in Merchantville, New Jersey for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. What I remember most about it was the crowd gathering around to take photos of the painting with their cell phones. That was cool!

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TCS: Can you really create wall-sized murals of a Tiger, Jaws, Michael Jackson’s Thriller album cover, and more in under four minutes? How is that possible?

Practice! Practice! Practice!

TCS: Tell us about the portrait you painted of your musical director and mentor Jozef Kocedia?

In 2008, I painted a portrait of Mr. Kocedia who served as musical director at the Shrine of Czestochowa in Doylestown PA. He would play the pipe organ, direct the children’s choir and the Royal Brass Band, and watch a TV monitor of the Mass being held behind him all at the same time. A quote he said stays with me every day, “some people meet for good, some people meet for bad, and we meet for good.” For more information about Jozef Kocedia, please visit his music link.

Jozef Kocedia

TCS: Tell us all about the concept behind the [artBOX] on Adventure Pier in Wildwood, New Jersey?

The concept behind the [artBOX] on Adventure Pier in Wildwood, New Jersey is to have the grown-ups come and bring their kids over to see what’s going on rather than the kids bringing their parents over to see an attraction.

TCS: How did you get involved with the [artBOX] and do you plan to be at the shore all summer?

I was asked by Jack Morey of Morey’s Piers to be part of one of the art studios. People can tour the art colony and gallery by visiting the art studios and watching the artists at work. I am honored to be joined by my wife, Hong Nguyen Peahota in the art studio too. Hong does amazing detailed painting on glass!

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TCS: Tell us about how you got the gig to paint the tarp for New York Yankees Stadium?

When the Yankees were experiencing problems with printing on their tarp, as a result of the material, they contacted me to hand paint it. I hand painted the tarp in one of my studios and it was quite challenging because of the unusual demonstration being a cylinder cover. It was such a thrill when they drove me out onto the field, in one of those golf carts, to take me over to install the tarp. That night, I took a friend of mine named Frank Wilson (a fellow billboard painter for 40 yrs.) who joined me on the field. Frank and I took pictures from the pitcher’s mound. Then people on the side lines started yelling something at us so we walked over to the warning track and all the water sprinklers came on. Luckily the sprinklers just missed us! That was funny and such a great experience.

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TCS: What comment or question do you hear most often from admirers of your art?

I like this question because it’s always good stuff like “awesome,” “dude you totally shocked me,” or “I had no idea what you were doing.” The audience always thinks it’s something else until I spin the canvas and then it’s a “wow factor.” I can always hear the crowd at that moment.

TCS: Tell us about your pop rock band and your original song “Here in Wildwood”?

I’ve been playing and recording music since my father gave me a tape recorder in 1968. I’ve written many songs throughout my life, most of those songs were written and recorded at the original Woodstock Festival Site in Bethel, New York. The song “Here in Wildwood” has evolved, as songs often do, over the years. I started out by adding a chorus to the song and then it simply evolved into what it is now. I feel that all of my songs will continue to evolve and change throughout the years as I play them I am always thinking of something new to add. Like a painting, songs are never finished.

TCS: With whom in history do you feel you most identify with?

Well I can only say that I read books on Benjamin Franklin because he was so creative and I like to try to find out what made him tick. Incidentally, I have a bust of him in our home. However, I really don’t see myself as identifying with anyone but myself.

TCS: What is your favorite Color, Animal, Season, Movie and Book?

My favorite:

  • Color is Blue
  • Animal is a Dog
  • Season is Spring
  • Movie is “The Quiet Man” starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara
  • Book is “Your Best Life Now” by Joel Osteen

TCS: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be? And, why?

There is nowhere in the world I’d rather be than Wildwood, New Jersey right now. It’s an exciting time in our lives, but when the season is over I like to see the Coliseum in Rome, Italy.

TCS: What would you say is your greatest career achievement?

Over my career there have been many. Recently, I drew the lettering on the roof of the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. It was the largest layout I ever worked on. It can be seen from outer space and from Google Earth 10 miles up. Inside the Wells Fargo Center, I‘ve designed a lot of Philadelphia Sixers and Philadelphia Flyers banners from the 1980’s. But, the [artBOX] is giving me the opportunity to do it all. I will be selling prints of my best work as well as some of my regular sized paintings too. All of the artists appearing at the [artBOX] are planning to have lots of fun. And, of course I will be performing speed painting shows with different bands performing throughout the summer. As an artist, what more could I ask for!

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TCS: Do you have any helpful tips or inspiring words for kids wanting to become artists?

Believe in yourself, never give up, and visualize your success. Personally, I can’t sit still but an artist early on must realize that you need to exercise patience. Understand that everything is in God’s good time ─ whether you believe it is or it isn’t you are correct.

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono - The Creative Spotlight
Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

Jim Joseph: Real-World Marketer

Written by: Frank Iacono

Jim-Joseph

Jim Joseph is an award winning marketing professional who has specialized in building consumer brands and agency businesses his entire career. Jim serves as the President of Cohn & Wolfe North America, the agency’s largest region. With over 25 years of integrated marketing, public relations and branding experience, Jim provides strategic oversight, client service and drives new business across all offices in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. He has created seamless brand experiences for clients such as Kellogg’s, Kraft, Ikea, Cadillac, Tylenol, Johnson & Johnson, Clean & Clear, American Express and Wal-Mart.

Known for his expertise in brand and integrated marketing, Jim’s first book – “The Experience Effect” – delivered a critically acclaimed, straightforward volume of marketing advice that showed big business how to build the ultimate brand experience. Now, in his second book, he takes that big brand theory and applies it to the backbone of the American economy, small business, in “The Experience Effect for Small Business.”

Prior to joining Cohn & Wolfe, Jim served as President and Partner of Lippe Taylor, where he led the agency in marketing to women for clients like Nestle and David’s Bridal. Jim re-engineered Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, where he led the transformation of the agency from a traditional pharmaceutical advertising model to an award-winning, full-spectrum health and wellness marketing agency.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of catching up with Jim Joseph and asking him a few questions about his business, his work, his books, and his passion and love for marketing.

Q&A Session

CS: At what age did you know that you wanted to be a marketer?

I was one of those kids who always paid attention to the TV advertising more than the shows and always looked at the magazine ads rather than read the actual articles. So, I would guess my love of marketing started at a very early age!

CS: Tell us about your experience when you joined the classic Johnson’s Baby Products Company while you were in graduate school at Columbia?

My internship cemented that marketing was going to be my career of choice. I had an incredible experience working on Johnson’s Baby products – so much so that I fell in love with marketing.

CS: What was the name of the first agency you started and what type of work did you produce?

C P Partners… we were a promotion agency that at the time did something novel: create and apply brand strategy to the tactical world of consumer promotion.

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CS: How rewarding was it to win a Silver Medal at the Axiom Business Book Awards for Best Marketing Book of the year with your first book in 2010 called “The Experience Effect”?

It was such a moment! I had been writing that first book in my head for years… it was amazing to finally understand that it was good enough to stand up in the market.

CS: Discuss the similarities and differences between “The Experience Effect For Small Business” and your awarding winning first book “The Experience Effect”?

My first book, “The Experience Effect” lays out big brand theory as it relates to building a brand experience. My second book, “The Experience Effect for Small Business” takes that big brand theory and applies it to small businesses.

CS: In your opinion, what’s the key difference between brands and businesses?

A business becomes a brand when it creates an emotional connection with its customers. Until then, it’s just another product!

CS: Can you define what you call the touchpoint tree and describe how to create one for a small business?

The touchpoint tree is the new media plan. It lays out how to connect with customers where they live their lives.

CS: In Chapter 6 of “The Experience Effect for Small Business” entitled Identifying Your Customer You’re Family, can you please elaborate on differences between demographics and psychographics?

A demographic is a fact or stat about your target audience. A psychographic is less of a fact, and more of an attitude, mood, opinion, or behavior. Psychographics cross demographic profiles and can be much more enlightening.

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CS: How specifically do you feel that big brand marketing principles can be applied to small business?

People tend to think that big brands do good work because they have big budgets. Not true. They do good work when they are smart and strategic. Budget has no bearing. So small businesses can learn how to be smart and strategic.

CS: What’s your favorite metaphor? And, how does it apply to marketing?

“Preaching to the Choir” … it’s what we have to do with our customers every day. Although I prefer “singing with the Choir!”

CS: From a marketing perspective, what captivates you and keeps you going?

Creativity. I love the creative side of the business and always trying to break through. The digital world has given us so many more ways to be creative.

CS: In today’s marketplace, what do you think are the key ingredients to being a good marketer?

Being a constant observer and learner. “Marketing is a spectator sport” … good marketers are always paying attention and applying what they learn to their brands.

CS: When we met during the Vocus User Conference 2012 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront in Baltimore, Maryland we discussed the importance of companies utilizing customer reviews in their marketing programs so for the benefit of The Creative Spotlight readers can you share your strategies?

Reviews are a gift to a brand. Getting an insight into how your customers feel about your brand is invaluable. Embrace them, positive or negative, and learn from each and every one of them.

To read the blog that Jim wrote following our discussion from the Vocus User Conference 2012, simply click on the image shown below.

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CS: Over your career you’ve been recognized with numerous industry awards, can you please share with us some of those accolades?

The industry awards include “Agency of the Year” from DTC Perspectives on Excellence, “Most Creative Agency” from The Manny Awards, a Grand CLIO Award for advertising, an Honorable Mention for Best Blog from PRNews, and an Axiom Silver Award for Best Marketing Book as previously mentioned.

“The Experience Effect”

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The decision to pay money for a product or service is often based on more than just the product or service itself. Consumers care deeply about the overall experience of the buying process: They respond to the marketing message, the advertising, the sales approach, the website, the interaction with company personnel, and more. When all these elements come together to form a seamless experience, the customer is left with a feeling of satisfaction that ultimately builds loyalty. Jim Joseph calls this ideal combination the ‘experience effect’, and in this book he shows how any business can create one for its brand.

“The Experience Effect” is filled with practical advice and real-life examples. Whatever the business, whatever the size, “The Experience Effect” will help companies create a simple yet powerful brand experience that resonates purpose fully, consistently, and continuously with customers.

“The Experience Effect For Small Business”

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In a groundbreaking 2010 volume called “The Experience Effect,” Jim showed big business how to create the total brand experience. Now he customizes that very same expertise for the backbone of the American economy, small business. While it is often said that small business is key to recovery, all around us we still see small business suffering the most. Flex and wiggle room is at a minimum, small business simply cannot afford the resources and the access to big brand thinking that the corporations do.

Jim believes that there’s simply no reason why a small business cannot perform like a big brand, even within our turbulent times. “The Experience Effect For Small Business” is filled with practical advice and real-life examples that will resonate with readers, The Experience Effect For Small Business teaches small business owners how to understand their brand’s target audience, conduct effective market research, connect with customers on an emotional level, establish unique and engaging touchpoints, and much, much more. Readers learn how to replicate these activities on limited budgets and few resources. Loaded with inspiration, Jim Joseph’s book will touch a chord with you, the small business owner in today’s America economy.

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono - The Creative Spotlight
Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.
Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.