Living Vicariously Through Your Kids Could Heal Your Emotional Wounds (Unfortunately, It Will Likely Harm Your Kids)

You’ve likely met at least one parent who lives vicariously through their kids. Maybe you know a dad whose NFL dreams were crushed because of a knee injury. So now, he pushes his son to be the star quarterback.

Or maybe you know a mother who was rejected by the ivy leagues. And now, she’s hiring expensive tutors to help her kids become straight-A students who will get into a prestigious school.

From sports dads to stage moms, many of today’s parents are pushing their kids to succeed. And quite often, they’re trying to get their kids to fulfill the dreams they weren’t able to achieve.

They likely have good intentions. They might think they’re giving their kids a competitive edge or they might insist they’re giving their children opportunities they never had. But, they may be doing more harm than good.

The Upside of Living Vicariously Through Your Kids

Researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands examined what happens to parents who push their kids to live out the dreams they were never able to achieve.

The found that parents who experience unresolved disappointment from the past, feel pride and fulfillment when they can bask in their children’s glory. Watching their child succeed actually helps heal their emotional wounds.  

Many parents see their kids as extensions of themselves. And watching their child do something they couldn’t do reduces their regrets about the past.

The Downside of Pushing Kids To Live Your Dreams

Even though pushing your child to live out the dreams you once held for yourself is helpful to you, it’s bad for your child.

Living vicariously through kids robs them of mental strength in several ways:

  • They struggle to form their own identities. Children need to feel free to develop their own talents, and opinions. If they’re pushed into doing things their parents want them to do without opportunities to explore a variety of interests, they may struggle to figure out who they are and what type of life they want to create.
  • They may be at a higher risk for mental health problems. Kids who are pushed to be perfect are at a higher risk of mental health problems, like anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. And they’re usually good at masking their symptoms so their problems often go untreated.
  • They may engage in self-defeating behavior. When parents have expectations that are too high, kids are more likely to sabotage themselves. Too much parental pressure has been linked to binge eating, procrastination, and interpersonal conflict.
  • They are more likely to be chronically dissatisfied. Even if a child succeeds by most standards, growing up in a high-pressure home can cause him to feel like he can’t meet other people’s expectations. Consequently, he may become an adult who–despite his accomplishments–never feels satisfied.

How to Stop Living Through Your Kids

Reliving your old glory days through your kids is just one way to heal your emotional wounds. There are many other ways you can deal with your past regrets or disappointments without harming your kids.

The key to getting over your past is to build mental muscle. The stronger you grow, the better equipped you’ll be to accept the past, enjoy the present, and build a healthy future without negatively affecting your kids.

And remember, mentally strong parents raise mentally strong kids. As you grow stronger, your kids will learn by your example.

Meet Jollibee: The Filipino Fast Food Restaurant That Is Breaking the Internet

It seems that a particular fast food restaurant has truly mastered the art of viral marketing. No, it’s not McDonald’s or KFC. In fact, if you live in America, odds are you’ve never heard of this place.

It’s Jollibee, the Philippines’ undisputed fast food king.

I learned about Jollibee years ago. See, my father is from the Philippines. When I was in my early 20s, I got the idea to visit his native country, so I could better learn his language, Tagalog, and get to know my roots. So, in 2008, I traveled to the country made up of over 7,000 islands (exactly how many depends on whether it’s high tide or low tide). It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

On that trip I discovered Jollibee, in all its glory. Although I had heard lots about it, I had never seen one in person (nor its famous smiling bee mascot). The menu was like a snapshot of my youth, with offerings like Filipino-style spaghetti (it’s a bit sweeter than what most Americans are used to) and “Halo-halo” (literally translated, “mix-mix”), a delicious dessert made up of shaved ice, evaporated milk, fruit, coconut, ice cream…and boiled sweet beans. (Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.)

And then, there was my absolute favorite–fried chicken. But unlike at KFC, I could actually get this chicken with rice and gravy, the way we always ate it at home.

Jollibee calls it Chickenjoy. For good reason.

Recently, Jollibee has been making the news: The company has released a number of commercials that have gone viral. Their three most recent ads, which were released only a month ago, have already amassed over 57 million views on Facebook and YouTube. But what’s really amazing is that this is no quirk, as a number of Jollibee’s ads have gone viral, with millions upon millions of views.

So, how do they do it?

It all comes down to Jollibee’s ability to touch consumers’ emotions.

Jollibee knows its target audience.

Many Filipinos are quick to acknowledge that our culture is very emotionally expressive, and that more than a few of us are diehard romantics. (It also doesn’t hurt that Filipinos spend more time on social media than any other country, with the average user spending almost 4 hours on social every day.)

Knowing this, Jollibee works hard to pull its customers’ heart strings.

For example, consider “Signs,” the most popular of the three recently released commercials. It tells the story of a college coed who looks to the universe to help her find true love, before realizing that it happened to be there all along.

In “Status” (my personal favorite of the three videos–you can find it at the end of this post), a young woman deals with heartbreak after heartbreak. After initially feeling sorry for herself, she changes her mindset, realizing that she should be thankful for her family, who has stuck by her side through thick and thin and helped her through the hard times.

“There are actually people who love me for who I am,” she says. “No matter what.”

These storylines aren’t necessarily new, but they work. Together, these two ads have been over 1.5 million times, with almost 500,000 shares on Facebook alone.

They invest in long form content.

Watching these ads, you’ll notice they are more like short films than commercials. (“Signs” is over four minutes, with “Status” and “Homecoming,” the third video, each clocking in just under four.)

By making this type of investment, Jollibee makes it possible to tell a great story.

Think about that for a moment. With more and more media being viewed online as opposed to traditional television, which ad do you think will be more effective: the 30-second one that consumers press the “skip” button just halfway through watching? Or the one that viewers are actually moved to share on social media?

So, if you’re trying to create content that your audience will share, remember:

1. Get to know what will reach your audience on an emotional level.

2. Don’t focus purely on selling a product. Tell us a good story instead.

Succeed at doing that, and you won’t have to convince your customers to watch your ads–they’ll already be looking for them.

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Meet Jollibee: The Filipino Fast Food Restaurant That Is Breaking the Internet

It seems that a particular fast food restaurant has truly mastered the art of viral marketing. No, it’s not McDonald’s or KFC. In fact, if you live in America, odds are you’ve never heard of this place.

It’s Jollibee, the Philippines’ undisputed fast food king.

I learned about Jollibee years ago. See, my father is from the Philippines. When I was in my early 20s, I got the idea to visit his native country, so I could better learn his language, Tagalog, and get to know my roots. So, in 2008, I traveled to the country made up of over 7,000 islands (exactly how many depends on whether it’s high tide or low tide). It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

On that trip I discovered Jollibee, in all its glory. Although I had heard lots about it, I had never seen one in person (nor its famous smiling bee mascot). The menu was like a snapshot of my youth, with offerings like Filipino-style spaghetti (it’s a bit sweeter than what most Americans are used to) and “Halo-halo” (literally translated, “mix-mix”), a delicious dessert made up of shaved ice, evaporated milk, fruit, coconut, ice cream…and boiled sweet beans. (Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.)

And then, there was my absolute favorite–fried chicken. But unlike at KFC, I could actually get this chicken with rice and gravy, the way we always ate it at home.

Jollibee calls it Chickenjoy. For good reason.

Recently, Jollibee has been making the news: The company has released a number of commercials that have gone viral. Their three most recent ads, which were released only a month ago, have already amassed over 57 million views on Facebook and YouTube. But what’s really amazing is that this is no quirk, as a number of Jollibee’s ads have gone viral, with millions upon millions of views.

So, how do they do it?

It all comes down to Jollibee’s ability to touch consumers’ emotions.

Jollibee knows its target audience.

Many Filipinos are quick to acknowledge that our culture is very emotionally expressive, and that more than a few of us are diehard romantics. (It also doesn’t hurt that Filipinos spend more time on social media than any other country, with the average user spending almost 4 hours on social every day.)

Knowing this, Jollibee works hard to pull its customers’ heart strings.

For example, consider “Signs,” the most popular of the three recently released commercials. It tells the story of a college coed who looks to the universe to help her find true love, before realizing that it happened to be there all along.

In “Status” (my personal favorite of the three videos–you can find it at the end of this post), a young woman deals with heartbreak after heartbreak. After initially feeling sorry for herself, she changes her mindset, realizing that she should be thankful for her family, who has stuck by her side through thick and thin and helped her through the hard times.

“There are actually people who love me for who I am,” she says. “No matter what.”

These storylines aren’t necessarily new, but they work. Together, these two ads have been over 1.5 million times, with almost 500,000 shares on Facebook alone.

They invest in long form content.

Watching these ads, you’ll notice they are more like short films than commercials. (“Signs” is over four minutes, with “Status” and “Homecoming,” the third video, each clocking in just under four.)

By making this type of investment, Jollibee makes it possible to tell a great story.

Think about that for a moment. With more and more media being viewed online as opposed to traditional television, which ad do you think will be more effective: the 30-second one that consumers press the “skip” button just halfway through watching? Or the one that viewers are actually moved to share on social media?

So, if you’re trying to create content that your audience will share, remember:

1. Get to know what will reach your audience on an emotional level.

2. Don’t focus purely on selling a product. Tell us a good story instead.

Succeed at doing that, and you won’t have to convince your customers to watch your ads–they’ll already be looking for them.

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Adidas Reports 27% Growth in 2017 with Double-Digit Increases in Running

Apparel and shoe creator adidas has come out with its final numbers for 2017, which show the company (made up of adidas’ own brand and Reebok) being up 31% in Q4 2017 and up 27% in the calendar year 2017 overall.

What stands out the most is that brand adidas experienced double-digit sales increases in the ultra important running category as well as at adidas Originals and adidas neo. In the quickly developing training sector, adidas also improved by high-single-digit sales increases year-over-year.

Revenues at Reebok brand were not as strong as the brand continues to find its niche within a very saturated apparel and shoe space that is dominated by Nike, shared by adidas and has brands like Under Armour, Skechers and K-Swiss doing whatever they can to bite away some of the behemoths’ market share. In fact, Reebok’s sales in the U.S. declined in 2017, which the company says reflects a significant amount of store closures in the market.

Overall, adidas is happy with the results from 2017.

“2017 was a strong year – financially and operationally. We made great progress toward achieving our mission to be the best sports company in the world. Our strategic growth areas – North America, Greater China and Digital Commerce – were the main drivers of our performance,” said adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted. “2018 is a key milestone on the road to achieving our long-term targets for 2020. We expect quality growth, with overproportionate bottom-line improvements. This will enable an even stronger increase in profitability by 2020 and allows us to upgrade our long-term target yet again.”

In the past few years adidas has seen its brand bolstered by smart partnerships with influencers such as Kanye West and Pharrell, as well as a shift in focus from creating and selling basketball shoes to putting a premium on running. Now, the company will be challenged to continue its rapid rise up the leaderboard in the apparel and shoe category, and close the still large gap between itself and Nike. At the same time, it will need to prevent against Under Armour, in particular, eating away market share as it too begins to think about how it can access some of the growing running market.

“A few years ago, we decided to put a lot of energy, resources and investments in the North American marketplace — at a level that we had not done in the past … What we’re doing is focusing on key cities and in America — those are New York and Los Angeles — which set the trends for young consumers,” said adidas North America president Mark King in 2017. “We’ve [done this so far] with all kinds of activations that make those cities come alive with our brand. We take advantage of sporting events, local athletes and leagues, and we launch a lot of our products in these key cities — [which] keeps our brand cool.”

Will it remain cool as it grows even further?

Adidas Reports 27% Growth in 2017 with Double-Digit Increases in Running

Apparel and shoe creator adidas has come out with its final numbers for 2017, which show the company (made up of adidas’ own brand and Reebok) being up 31% in Q4 2017 and up 27% in the calendar year 2017 overall.

What stands out the most is that brand adidas experienced double-digit sales increases in the ultra important running category as well as at adidas Originals and adidas neo. In the quickly developing training sector, adidas also improved by high-single-digit sales increases year-over-year.

Revenues at Reebok brand were not as strong as the brand continues to find its niche within a very saturated apparel and shoe space that is dominated by Nike, shared by adidas and has brands like Under Armour, Skechers and K-Swiss doing whatever they can to bite away some of the behemoths’ market share. In fact, Reebok’s sales in the U.S. declined in 2017, which the company says reflects a significant amount of store closures in the market.

Overall, adidas is happy with the results from 2017.

“2017 was a strong year – financially and operationally. We made great progress toward achieving our mission to be the best sports company in the world. Our strategic growth areas – North America, Greater China and Digital Commerce – were the main drivers of our performance,” said adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted. “2018 is a key milestone on the road to achieving our long-term targets for 2020. We expect quality growth, with overproportionate bottom-line improvements. This will enable an even stronger increase in profitability by 2020 and allows us to upgrade our long-term target yet again.”

In the past few years adidas has seen its brand bolstered by smart partnerships with influencers such as Kanye West and Pharrell, as well as a shift in focus from creating and selling basketball shoes to putting a premium on running. Now, the company will be challenged to continue its rapid rise up the leaderboard in the apparel and shoe category, and close the still large gap between itself and Nike. At the same time, it will need to prevent against Under Armour, in particular, eating away market share as it too begins to think about how it can access some of the growing running market.

“A few years ago, we decided to put a lot of energy, resources and investments in the North American marketplace — at a level that we had not done in the past … What we’re doing is focusing on key cities and in America — those are New York and Los Angeles — which set the trends for young consumers,” said adidas North America president Mark King in 2017. “We’ve [done this so far] with all kinds of activations that make those cities come alive with our brand. We take advantage of sporting events, local athletes and leagues, and we launch a lot of our products in these key cities — [which] keeps our brand cool.”

Will it remain cool as it grows even further?

Why We Don’t Try to Engage Our Customers

By Sean Harper, CEO/co-founder at Kin Insurance.

Engaged customers tend to be more loyal. They tend to be more satisfied. They tend to buy more. Because of these tendencies, most companies strive for high levels of customer engagement, consistently looking for ways to stay “top of mind.”

At Kin, we don’t.

Here’s the thing: Customer satisfaction and loyalty may correlate with engagement, but they’re not necessarily linked causally. That’s an important distinction.

What’s even more important is remembering that customer engagement is not an end in itself. If your goal in engaging your customers is purely to keep them from forgetting about you — that is, if the engagement brings no additional value to their lives — you’re doing it wrong.

What’s Your Ideal Customer Experience?

I founded Kin after a really terrible experience buying homeowner’s insurance. Did I want to buy homeowner’s insurance? No. I had to. Did I know the answers to all the questions on the application? Nope. And the worst part was, because I have a background in tech, I knew the answers were available online in a place where the insurance company could have gotten them if it wanted to.

So to me, a home insurance customer, the ideal scenario is that I think about homeowner’s insurance once a year when I renew, and the rest of the time I’m living my life. I’m relaxed and comfortable because I trust that if anything goes wrong, my insurance company will take care of me.

An even better scenario is that I’m happy because I know my insurance company will get in touch with me if (and only if) it has a really good reason to do so. In other words, my ideal experience as an insurance customer is one with very little engagement. It’s one that’s built on trust, sure, but it’s also more or less under the radar.

If I were running a restaurant or a retail outlet, I would want a wildly different engagement experience for my customers. The same is true if I were selling SaaS or photography services. The point is that high customer engagement shouldn’t be a default metric we all strive for. Every business owner should take a step back and ask themselves what an ideal engagement scenario is for their business.

High Engagement Does Not Always Equal Satisfaction

High engagement tends to work well for businesses that rely on user-created content (like review sites), businesses that are frequently updating or changing their offerings (like SaaS platforms) and retail businesses where impulse purchases are a reasonable expectation.

It shouldn’t be an expectation for those of us who sell things customers only need once in a while — eye doctors, for example, or window vendors.

In fact, attempting to increase engagement when you’re in one of these industries can have profoundly negative effects. For example, let’s say you go to your eye doctor for your annual exam. Your vision hasn’t changed and you don’t need a new prescription. Great! But then you start getting emails from the doctor’s office — marketing emails telling you about the new frames they have, the latest styles in eyeglasses, their renovation and more.

You find this content annoying so you unsubscribe. And then you miss the email reminding you to make an appointment next year — the one email that would have actually been useful.

If the eye doctor had instead sent emails only to remind you to make your next appointment (and maybe to remind you of that appointment as it approached), you would have been less engaged but ultimately more satisfied.

When Engaging Makes Sense

Of course, if and when it’s possible to make customers’ lives better through engagement, I’m all for it. Some good reasons to engage include:

  • Introducing a new product or feature
  • Announcing a sale
  • Sharing news that affects customers
  • Asking for feedback (once)
  • Requesting information only the customer has
  • Requesting necessary input from the customer, like a signature

For example, Kin currently has a pilot program with a partnering system that helps people detect water leaks in their homes. If a client is a match for the program, we’ll make contact to offer it, as it can help save money on both insurance premiums and water bills.

Focus On Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty

Remember, customer engagement is important because it’s a proxy for customer satisfaction and loyalty. Forgetting that engagement itself isn’t necessarily a marker of success can lead to disastrous results.

No matter your industry, it’s worthwhile to ask yourself how customer satisfaction and loyalty can best be measured — and then take steps to boost those metrics. This can be difficult, in part because it requires a mindset shift. But investing in things that boost loyalty and satisfaction — user-friendly technology, excellent customer service, relentless improvements to your core product or service — will yield much better results for the long term.

Sean Harper is CEO and co-founder at Kin Insurance, www.kin.com.

Why We Don’t Try to Engage Our Customers

By Sean Harper, CEO/co-founder at Kin Insurance.

Engaged customers tend to be more loyal. They tend to be more satisfied. They tend to buy more. Because of these tendencies, most companies strive for high levels of customer engagement, consistently looking for ways to stay “top of mind.”

At Kin, we don’t.

Here’s the thing: Customer satisfaction and loyalty may correlate with engagement, but they’re not necessarily linked causally. That’s an important distinction.

What’s even more important is remembering that customer engagement is not an end in itself. If your goal in engaging your customers is purely to keep them from forgetting about you — that is, if the engagement brings no additional value to their lives — you’re doing it wrong.

What’s Your Ideal Customer Experience?

I founded Kin after a really terrible experience buying homeowner’s insurance. Did I want to buy homeowner’s insurance? No. I had to. Did I know the answers to all the questions on the application? Nope. And the worst part was, because I have a background in tech, I knew the answers were available online in a place where the insurance company could have gotten them if it wanted to.

So to me, a home insurance customer, the ideal scenario is that I think about homeowner’s insurance once a year when I renew, and the rest of the time I’m living my life. I’m relaxed and comfortable because I trust that if anything goes wrong, my insurance company will take care of me.

An even better scenario is that I’m happy because I know my insurance company will get in touch with me if (and only if) it has a really good reason to do so. In other words, my ideal experience as an insurance customer is one with very little engagement. It’s one that’s built on trust, sure, but it’s also more or less under the radar.

If I were running a restaurant or a retail outlet, I would want a wildly different engagement experience for my customers. The same is true if I were selling SaaS or photography services. The point is that high customer engagement shouldn’t be a default metric we all strive for. Every business owner should take a step back and ask themselves what an ideal engagement scenario is for their business.

High Engagement Does Not Always Equal Satisfaction

High engagement tends to work well for businesses that rely on user-created content (like review sites), businesses that are frequently updating or changing their offerings (like SaaS platforms) and retail businesses where impulse purchases are a reasonable expectation.

It shouldn’t be an expectation for those of us who sell things customers only need once in a while — eye doctors, for example, or window vendors.

In fact, attempting to increase engagement when you’re in one of these industries can have profoundly negative effects. For example, let’s say you go to your eye doctor for your annual exam. Your vision hasn’t changed and you don’t need a new prescription. Great! But then you start getting emails from the doctor’s office — marketing emails telling you about the new frames they have, the latest styles in eyeglasses, their renovation and more.

You find this content annoying so you unsubscribe. And then you miss the email reminding you to make an appointment next year — the one email that would have actually been useful.

If the eye doctor had instead sent emails only to remind you to make your next appointment (and maybe to remind you of that appointment as it approached), you would have been less engaged but ultimately more satisfied.

When Engaging Makes Sense

Of course, if and when it’s possible to make customers’ lives better through engagement, I’m all for it. Some good reasons to engage include:

  • Introducing a new product or feature
  • Announcing a sale
  • Sharing news that affects customers
  • Asking for feedback (once)
  • Requesting information only the customer has
  • Requesting necessary input from the customer, like a signature

For example, Kin currently has a pilot program with a partnering system that helps people detect water leaks in their homes. If a client is a match for the program, we’ll make contact to offer it, as it can help save money on both insurance premiums and water bills.

Focus On Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty

Remember, customer engagement is important because it’s a proxy for customer satisfaction and loyalty. Forgetting that engagement itself isn’t necessarily a marker of success can lead to disastrous results.

No matter your industry, it’s worthwhile to ask yourself how customer satisfaction and loyalty can best be measured — and then take steps to boost those metrics. This can be difficult, in part because it requires a mindset shift. But investing in things that boost loyalty and satisfaction — user-friendly technology, excellent customer service, relentless improvements to your core product or service — will yield much better results for the long term.

Sean Harper is CEO and co-founder at Kin Insurance, www.kin.com.