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

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…

How I ruined Summer Toast 2009

If you’ve ever been the person at a trade show booth or behind an event table, you could really feel for the exhibitors in the basement of Club 303. The event organizers of Summer Toast, Denver’s big social event for marketing people, had no idea it would get so hot and stuffy downstairs last night, doubtless. But it did. Heather Florence was behind one of the tables. Her company is places2network.com, and I asked what I could do for her (from a network perspective, as in, who can I introduce you to). She said “you could bring me a fan.”…
Social media didn’t used to suck. Why the backlash?

Social media didn’t used to suck. Why the backlash?

Right around the time Dave Mathews Band broke through with their huge hit Satellite, a friend of mine attending a hippy jam-band show told me about a bumper sticker he saw in the Red Rocks parking lot. It read: “Remember when Dave didn’t suck?” A recent article from a farmer makes no bones about Michael Pollan and his dilemmic omnivores acting as “Agri-Intellectuals” with no moral authority: one-book experts who think farmers are “too stupid to farm sustainably” and “too careless to worry about their communities, their health, and their families…Enough,” he writes. “Enough. Enough.” Crocs, once “the quintessential American…

Connected lessons: when should we forgive?

I connect things. I’m wired to. Sometimes it’s powerful, and sometimes it unnecessarily complicates. It can make for good integrated plans, but it can also result in tangled communications. The past few weeks have been powerful. I’ve reconnected with two long-lost friends. One's a guitarist I met while attending Berklee College of Music, the other a magazine editor I worked with for a short stint in my career. The guitarist moved back to Israel, the editor moved a few blocks away from me. The guitarist I found on Facebook, the editor I found at the neighborhood frozen custard shop. International,…

Is social media a practice field?

North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith said Michael Jordan wasn’t the greatest natural athlete he’d ever coached. He said he was among the hardest working. Miles Davis regularly skipped classes at Julliard to practice his horn, eventually dropping out to play every day in the New York bebop scene. Musicians and artists spend almost all of their time practicing to get ready for small windows of execution. It’s a simple concept: repeat as many skills within as many contexts as often as possible so when it comes time to execute, you aren’t thinking. You’re fully in service to the prime…

Competition today: Who’s riding the Huffy?

NPR Guy interviewing Health Insurance Guy. Insurance guy* opining about why government run, public health insurance is a bad idea. How it’ll take us all down like some kind of a Mugabe economic initiative. Insurance Guy is lobbying congress hard on our behalf because the government is inefficient, and the private sector isn’t. NPR Guy**: Then why worry about it? If you and your company*** are so efficient, shouldn’t the market take care of that? Won’t an inefficient government-run program simply fail? Great question. A question that cuts to heart of the argument, that exposes the straw man. Cliff Kuang…

If I owned an advertising agency

If I owned an ad agency I think I’d drop the word advertising. And the word agency. If I owned an ad agency I’d recognize that the talent I have at my disposal is an asset that isn’t disposable. I’d consider today an opportunity to throw out the model. Not the staff. (more…)