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You don’t know s#!t from Shinola!

Ever heard that saying? This World War II-era colloquialism caused a movement to revive the American watchmaking industry and with it bring to Detroit yet another chapter in its storied history in manufacturing.

This year at SXSWV2V, I was fortunate enough to interview Shinola president Jacques Panis live on the main stage. He is the president of a thriving lifestyle company contributing to the resurgence of Detroit, and he’s not the only one. Shinola was also among companies including Chalkfly.com, Founders Brewing Company and Warrior Sports who are among the thriving enterprises, inventing and reinventing themselves in and around the Motor City, recently showcased at Brand Innovators Made in America, a summit touting the new breed of companies proudly manufacturing in the U.S.

Brian Solis and Jacques Panis at SXSWV2V

Altimeter’s Brian Solis interviews Shinola president Jacques Panis at SXSWV2V, July in Las Vegas.(Photo by Geoff Lilvingston)

Panis is building a business that’s focused on people, inside and out, and is equally passionate about bringing back the art of design and production to everyday products we take for granted today.

From a town made famous through its vehicle manufacturing, Shinola has reinvented the model of manufacturing watches, bikes, leather goods and more. Please take some time to watch and learn how Shinola has grown and found success through believing in its people, forging a unique partnership with the College for Creative Studies, where Shinola headquarters are based on the fifth floor of the Alfred A. Taubman Building.

The team at SXSW just released the full interview. They don’t usually do so and I’m thankful as I get to share with you one of the most refreshing and inspiring conversations I’ve had in a while.

Those who take time to watch this video will want to take notes and take action. This is one of those rare tales offering precious lessons in how to do business in a digital world. In 2011, Shinola started with a vision and then brought it to life through a culture of people, purpose, and promise (the new 5th, 6th, and 7th additions to the outdated 4Ps of marketing). With its allusion to the 1940s shoe polish brand that inspired the 2011 launch of the new venture bearing its name, Shinola combines the core values of doing business in an era where quality, commitment and customer satisfaction counted for everything with current MBA-style expansionism for a good old American success story.


Brian Solis is principal analyst with Altimeter Group. A digital analyst, anthropologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging technology on business, marketing, and culture. A member of the Brand Innovators Strategic Advisory Board, Solis is also an in-demand keynote speaker and author whose latest book, WTF [What’s the Future] of Business ], explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how it affects business and customer relationships.

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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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