I had an interesting week of facilitating workshops and guest lecturing. Standing in front of people and trying to add value – acting like (as my late uncle used to say) I knew what I was doing. Two key takeaways from the week of acting like I knew what I was doing:
Can we agree that there’s a category of enterprises that needs more concise branding? Call it social entrepreneurship, call it social impact, call it sustainable development. That yet-to-be defined category (even beyond L3C) of enterprises that care less about its status as Profit or Non-Profit and more about the contribution it makes to our world.
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:
Here we go again. Another joke at the expense of the ever stupid and boorish client providing me with another opportunity for my soapbox: the ad agency industry is struggling to demonstrate its value in today’s radically changing marketing landscape. It needs to put an end to its practice of openly disrespecting those who look to them to add value. It doesn’t help.
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 […]
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 […]
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.” Which I did. A big one. One of those industrial beasts, six feet tall if it was an inch. I […]
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 success story” with their staggering IPO giving a windfall for fashion laymen in Niwot, Colorado is facing a series of […]