The single most impressive element in New Belgium’s brand

By Aaron Templer

Branding, Three Over Four Approach

Craft beer on a Wednesday afternoon. One of the perks of working for yourself. OK, so we didn’t drink beer. But a prospective client and I spent the better part of the day visiting the New Belgium brewery in Ft. Collins, Colorado yesterday. I’m recommending some branding initiatives for this prospective client, and New Belgium provides an excellent analog to what we’re after. (We’ll see where it goes.) The New Belgium brand is special on many fronts. But one dynamic we saw first-hand stuck out above all the others.

Read More

Inspiration is for amateurs

By Aaron Templer

Branding, Creative Mind, Marketing, Three Over Four Approach

Mos Def gave an interview at the end of a performance with K’Naan on Austin City Limits not long ago. (You can view the episode here and the interviews here.) Apparently this was the first hip hop episode for the venerable country-cum-Americana-jam/hippy-band show. It was also the first time I heard such a genuinely honest response by a creative mind to the all-too-common question of inspiration. You could see Mos Def hesitate at first. A self-censored moment where he wondered if a transparent answer would somehow mitigate the fantasy we put around artists in the entertainment industry – the necessary fantasy for him and those like him to sell records and fill concert halls. But he came through, mos def:

Read More

Great brands happen between the eighth notes

By Aaron Templer

Branding, Creative Mind, Strategy

This is a long post. But if you’re in the mood for talking a little music and getting some groove and swing up in in your approach to branding, then I appreciate you settling in. The Marcus Roberts trio has been together for some fifteen years. They occupy a place in American music that combines the maintenance of tradition and honoring the past with a highly innovative interplay of harmony, space, and rhythm. And they’re heavy pros. Serious technique. If you haven’t heard Marcus walk a bass line with his left hand while improvising with his right you’re missing out on some joy in your life. I’ve shared a playlist on iTunes with a sample. Check it out. But technique […]

Read More

The hypocrisy of branding

By Aaron Templer

Branding, Three Over Four Approach

If we practiced what we preached, we’d stop calling it brand. The center of what branding is has been completely lost with all the ideas and thoughts and opinions about what we all think a brand is. We keep putting new layers around it, on top of the latest thought,  hardly ever listening to what came before it. We’ve created a giant rubber brand ball.

Read More

Complete planning: Keeping the right brain in (your) mind

By Aaron Templer

Branding, Creative Mind, Three Over Four Approach

I keep reading Daniel Pink’s book A Whole New Mind. It helps me keep many things in mind, including the concept of “whole.” As in complete. Balanced. I spent some time yesterday with an artist. Gwen Laine has some amazing work and has recently gifted an installment to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. (If you’re in the Springs or passing through, take a minute to swing by and check it out. Or click here to see the work online.) Gwen’s art is often installed without any kind of trial run. The installation is the final expression of the vision. Gwen’s latest work wasn’t even installed by her. She provided the FAC detailed instructions and then let it go. I […]

Read More

It’s not the economy. It’s the creative, stupid.

By Aaron Templer

Branding, Marketing

Think about what it would be like if you started from scratch. If there was no such thing as advertising agencies. No preconceived notions. You have a big entrepreneurial idea. You figure you could  start a business that solves problems for companies by executing efforts that reach new customers and motivates them to buy something. You’d integrate other efforts with those efforts that would retain existing customers, too. And probably a few reputation-building efforts thrown in to make sure stuff like the company’s social license to operate is in good order, and that various stakeholders feel good about their investment in the company. If you were to start from scratch, you’d probably do a bunch of research to figure out […]

Read More

Song of my SEO: What if you are large? What if you contain multitudes?

By Aaron Templer

Branding, Reputation Management, Three Over Four Approach

My father wasn’t much of an arts and entertainment kind of guy and he had but a few jokes at his disposal. One of them was a Bill Cosby take on doing drugs. Goes something like this: “People say that drugs enhance your personality. Yes, but… what if you’re an asshole?” So to be discovered on Google I should be consistent. Be a one-note blogger. Write myopic web copy. Yes, but… what if I’m multitudinous? What if the value I add to clients and the world is an ability to connect and align seemingly disparate data points into a cohesive and effective strategy that uncovers efficiencies and new ideas? What if I see branding as much about leadership as marketing? […]

Read More

Strategy, branding and health care: Why values go beyond benevolence

By Aaron Templer

Branding, Marketing, Reputation Management, Three Over Four Approach

Ed Stein, EdSteinInk.com, reprinted with permission If the current dialog about health care reform can teach us anything, it highlights the importance of figuring out our values. We all know the importance of inside-out strategic planning (and brand development, for those who consider them separate). The enterprise values, vision, and mission (brand) should be a collective exercise. Involve as many people as possible. Hold retreats, perform exercises, play games, put the words of participants on giant sticky notes. Transform the more insightful quotes into pictures on the graphical strategy map. Include verbatims in the final deliverable. Stage-gate the process by communicating back to the larger enterprise during development. And we’ve all seen the process devolve and the gears grind. Collaboration […]

Read More