Not the viral you were hoping for

By Aaron Templer

Social Capital, Social web, Three Over Four Approach

Don’t you love the surveys like this one that pit congress approval ratings against things like lice and (worse) replacement refs? (Congress looses in a landslide in case you were wondering. You may now thank me for not using the phrase “Spoiler alert.”) They’re funny because they use the device of surprise. When you say something unexpected or place an element outside its usual context it makes us uncomfortable or jarred, and we laugh. The other response to an unexpected element is revulsion. Like the way a body works to expel a virus. It’s working against the system. It doesn’t fit. Kick up the heat to try to kill it, ‘cause it’s gotta go. This is what’s happening to marketing […]

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Three things artists knew before you did

By Aaron Templer

Creative Mind, Three Over Four Approach

Have you ever worked with someone who considers him or herself an artist first and a working professional second? You know, the ones that refer to the pursuit you consider a career as “my day job” or “my side thing?” They’re easy to spot if you haven’t looked. Bleary eyed from late-night gigs. Paint-stained finger nails. Less time to go out with the work crowd for a happy hour (I have an audition tomorrow). They leave work at work. They have a better music collection than yours. They’re everywhere actually. And believe it or not, their minds are hard-wired to understand things that the blogosphere and FastCompany literature are falling over themselves to get at. And I’m not just talking about how […]

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Practice helps understand influence

By Aaron Templer

Leadership, Three Over Four Approach

To the creative process, practice is critical. I’ve long been intrigued by the notion that artists (like athletes) spend 95% percent of their time practicing to execute well in the remaining 5% of their time. In business, it’s the opposite. There’s very little practice time in business, and we’re expected to execute all the time. There’s the occasional executive business program, leadership retreat, coaching session, or sabbatical. But those are rare, and some working professionals may never have the chance at any of those perks. There are many ways to practice and many techniques go in to practicing for various outcomes. This post from FastCompany Design got me thinking. Maybe we should talk more concretely about practice. Take a look […]

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Extraordinary expectations. Or none at all. Whatever.

By Aaron Templer

Branding, Leadership, Three Over Four Approach

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 about Extraordinary (clipped in this Farnam Street Blog post, where I found it). The gist: Because we are exposed so […]

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No more. No less.

By Aaron Templer

Branding, Marketing, Three Over Four Approach

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 this 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 trots a mile in a minute does not carry the most important messages.” All reminders for me today: It’s the […]

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Shame on the brand? Or shame on the agency?

By Aaron Templer

Branding, Marketing, Three Over Four Approach

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 us forward. Or they contribute to the dynamics in our world we know aren’t of value. I bet that there’re […]

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How artists can make the rest of the world listen

By Aaron Templer

Creative Mind, Three Over Four Approach

We need to listen to artists. If you’re an artist this isn’t news. But it is, apparently, a fully baffling notion to the non-art world. It’s clear that the non-art world needs artists more than artists need it. Since the non-art world has gone out of its way over the years to make itself a downright despicable place for artists, artists have had to find (and have found, thank you very much) plenty of creative ways to survive in and around the non-art world. So at a time when the non-art world is in desperate need for the kind of proclivity that a creative mind or two can bring to bear in solving the challenges of our times, the last […]

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3-3-1 Brand Strategy

By Aaron Templer

Branding, Three Over Four Approach

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? cute little milk / CC BY 2.0

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Director of Social Capital and other cool stuff

By Aaron Templer

Three Over Four Approach

I nursed a cold in front of the TV Friday night. Given the election season in Colorado, this was an exercise for the mute button. I wonder how it would feel knowing you’ve achieved something in your life by primarily bringing down the competition instead of proving your own worth? Would you consider that an achievement? This, even more than the general nastiness of the ads, was depressing. Due to the onslaught of negativity, I’m feeling a strange urge to contribute something positive to the morass. My part to counter the vibe as it were. After all, there so many more people dedicated to (as a client of mine put it) staying focused on the we’ve never been here before […]

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