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:

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Who people do business with

By Aaron Templer

Marketing, Three Over Four Approach

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.

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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 […]

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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 […]

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How I ruined Summer Toast 2009

By Aaron Templer

Marketing, Social Capital

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 […]

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

By Aaron Templer

Marketing, Social web

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 […]

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Connected lessons: when should we forgive?

By Aaron Templer

Marketing, Reputation Management

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, hyperlocal. The reach of social media, the power of sugar and cream. Two very different people with whom I shared […]

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Is social media a practice field?

By Aaron Templer

Marketing, Social web

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 function of the enterprise and its mission. It’s precisely the opposite in business. We’re executing all the time with hardly […]

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Competition today: Who’s riding the Huffy?

By Aaron Templer

Marketing

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 recently posted on FastCompany and he cuts right to this chase. You don’t bring your Huffy to challenge Lance Armstrong. […]

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