Stop branding. Start leading.

Stop branding. Start leading.

Brand management and leadership share a common space: Influence. Can a brand share the characteristics of a good leader? Or should it? Picture a brand that you would go to the ends of the earth for. We all have at least one. Something you’d always buy. Someone you’d always vote for. Something you'd travel far to see in concert. Something you'd tell your friends about without their asking. What are the characteristics of that brand? I'll give you a list and we'll see how close it matches what you have in your mind’s eye. It’s transparent and honest. It does…
Storytelling the Three Over Four Way

Storytelling the Three Over Four Way

I had a terrific time working with The Colorado Medical Society this past May. The President of the CMS had a great idea to interweave storytelling techniques for leaders throughout the entire conference. His thinking was that we all leave these conferences full of energy, armed with new information to make changes in our society, businesses, or communities. But we’re missing the tools to actually do something about it. So I was brought in to help by way of providing techniques for leaders to tell stories. Storytelling being, of course, one of the more effective way to engage and move…
Social Capital in Brand Strategy

Social Capital in Brand Strategy

Thinking beyond yourself when you're a teenager is as difficult as understanding #talklikeyourbestfriend as an adult. Relationships were limited because we weren't chemically capable of thinking beyond ourselves. There comes a time, of course, when it becomes clear that relationships are more meaningful over the long haul when we put someone else's needs on par or ahead of our own. There are more returns and deeper significance. But it requires us to think beyond ourselves and care for the other person in the relationship in ways that we were (or at least I was) incapable of as a teenager. (And…
The Discipline of Extraodinary

The Discipline of Extraodinary

I play percussion for a South Asian dance troupe. Many of the dancers are young women with such high energy and expressions of optimism and glee that it's as if their life is accompanied by abundant exclamation points and OMG's hanging over their heads wherever they go. Sometimes I'll walk into a practice studio or a room filled with these dancers and their energy hits me like I've splashed down at the end of a water ride into a sparkly-pink, fruity perfume pool. It's taken some getting used to. I thought of this when I read Kevin Kelly's interesting piece…
How many words? No more. No less.

How many words? No more. No less.

Last year, I busted out a few guest posts for the blog Please Feed The Animals. When I asked Erik Proulx (the curator of the place turned film director and inspiration for me and countless others to have the courage to just friggin’ do stuff that’s important) how many words he thought worked best on PFTA, he said “between 30 and 3000.” There’s the famous scene from Amadeus: I don’t understand. There are just as many notes as I required. Neither more no less. And then this nice article from the ever-reposeful Pico Iyer quotes Thoreau: “the man whose horse…
Shame on the brand? Or shame on the agency?

Shame on the brand? Or shame on the agency?

Are values solely the domain of the client? The brand? Watch this video. Maybe not new to many of you, but important. I can’t ever remember hearing about the agencies responsible for this kind of work coming under criticism. Can somebody point me to an instance? Because I’m wondering why. Is it wrong to keep the agencies responsible for this stuff out scrutiny? Why are they immune from criticism? Can’t they say no to the work? Arthur Anderson wasn’t exactly excused in the Eron’s misdeeds. Values matter. We make decisions based on them. Those decisions create good, spread ideas, move…
Simple – A 3-3-1 Brand Strategy

Simple – A 3-3-1 Brand Strategy

Let’s get to the simple side of complexity. Try this on for size, fellow branding geeks. Branding happens in three stages: What you think you’re gonna get What you actually get What you’re gonna do about it Building a brand is about asking and answering three questions: What do I/we do well? How I/do we do it differently? Why does it matter? And managing a brand is about one thing: Inspiring a shared vision. Will that work?