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Innovative Leaders Articulate the Way Forward

Innovative Leaders Articulate the Way Forward

Innovative leaders. Getting Innovation right.  Seth Kahan, a change specialist who authored the book, “Getting Innovation Right” presents three practical secrets for the innovative leader. We were particularly struck by his second secret. Articulate the Way Forward People rely on their leaders to craft a vision of the future that makes sense and can guide their everyday decisions. Most of the leaders I have met improvise this activity and many do it badly. And yet articulating a rousing vision of the future isn’t difficult. It can be your secret super-power, if you just master...
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Is it Time for Your Business to Embrace the Purpose Economy?

Is it Time for Your Business to Embrace the Purpose Economy?

According to Aaron Hurst, we’ve moved from the Information Economy to the Purpose Economy. He states that this is a natural evolution, which is taking us from the first levels of human organization, the hoe-and-plow Agrarian Economy, through the smokestacks of the Industrial Economy, to the data farms of the Information Economy, and now to the human-centric Purpose Economy. Each of these economies been built on top of the proceeding, and represent evolutions more than revolutions. In his book, Hurst states: “When I say purpose, I mean more than serving others and the planet. Service is...
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Purpose Becomes Ambition in a Meaningful Workplace

Purpose Becomes Ambition in a Meaningful Workplace

“Ambition” is the new “purpose.” Workplaces become meaningfully relevant when employees see the point of what they and their employers are out to do: the company’s “why”, it’s reason for being, it’s meaningful ambition. When presented in a credible, inclusive and authentic way, the company’s meaningful ambition is respected, admired and embraced by employees because it aligns to their personal values and answers their desire for meaning. Employees can see themselves within the company’s meaningful ambition. They see how they can actively make it possible. They feel inspired to...
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Brand Moments Matter More than You Think

Brand Moments Matter More than You Think

There are many “tangible” brand moments that are under direct control of a brand (the lobby people enter,  the ad campaign they see, the packaging on the product they open, etc.) However there are also many “intangible” moments that play an important part in defining the success of a brand. These are moments when employees of the brand interact with other employees, customers, partners, suppliers, distributor, investors, community leaders, and so on. Behind every great brand, there are great people talking with important people. When a brand seeks to move toward...
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The Value of Hiring a Brand Strategy Firm

The Value of Hiring a Brand Strategy Firm

When might you need a brand strategy firm? Your business is an intricate machine that leverages people and processes to generate profits. Until now, your way of doing this has been satisfactory to both you and your shareholders. But obviously there is something in the wind telling you that some changes are needed. This has you thinking about how to best deal with this situation, and to determine what partners, if any, you need to make these necessary changes. What drives your need to change? There are many reasons why a company would need to change what it’s doing. Maybe competition...
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Could Your Brand Ever Command as Much Loyalty as a Sports Team?

Could Your Brand Ever Command as Much Loyalty as a Sports Team?

Sports Fan Loyalty Brand Loyalty – a strong feeling of support or allegiance. At least once a year, my good friend wears the 40 year-old T-shirt of his favorite sports team. It’s too small. It’s faded and threadbare in places. It’s garish color looks terrible on him. It has a hole in the shoulder. But he loves it. It represents something that matters to him. His team. 40 years ago they won an NBA championship. Who knew at the time that it would take 40 years to get another chance? Over the decades, even though the team had highs and low, he still held out the hope that they could be...
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The Importance of Brand Behavior in the Trust Economy

The Importance of Brand Behavior in the Trust Economy

The Trust Economy It’s no secret that we are living through a revolution in the delivery of products and services. Driven by the internet’s uncanny ability to match sellers and buyers, people all over the world are engaging in direct commerce with other individuals, brokered by branded platforms. Some people call it the sharing economy, collaborative consumption, on-demand services, or the peer-to-peer economy. Since all models depend on trusting that a virtual stranger will do what he or she promises, let’s call it the trust economy. The trust economy is transforming sectors like travel,...
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How do you differentiate your startup in a crowded category?

How do you differentiate your startup in a crowded category?

Startups in crowded categories should lead with brand. There are many wake-up calls for the founders of startups. One of the more difficult realizations comes fairly early into your journey; the day you wake up and discover that despite your unique, disruptive offering, you have plenty of company. When you first started, when you made your investor pitch and got that angel round, you thought you were so far ahead, there was no category to contain you. But while you’ve been heads down, looking for funding, hiring people, grinding out product, and trying to get customers, a crowded category...
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B2B Brands Can Be Emotive and Should Be!

B2B Brands Can Be Emotive and Should Be!

We were talking with someone the other week about emotive branding and they said, “Sounds great for consumer brands, but I can’t see it working for a B2B brand.” Well, we begged to differ! Indeed, we believe B2B brands have tremendous opportunitites to differentiate and grow their businesses based on an emotive proposition. Note that we didn’t say an “emotional” proposition. Through “emotive” propositions we talk about B2B brands that reach out to people in a way that not only makes them think, but makes them feel something memorably...
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Cooperation vs. Collaboration for a Meaningful Workplace

Cooperation vs. Collaboration for a Meaningful Workplace

Successful businesses in the future will share a common characteristic: a cooperative approach to employee engagement, morale and gratification. Stowe Boyd is a super-smart researcher and author who focuses on “The future of work, and the tectonic forces pushing business into an unclear and accelerating future.” In his work he has made the following observation: “In the collaborative business, people affiliate with coworkers around shared business culture and an approved strategic plan to which they subordinate their personal aims. “But in a cooperative business, people affiliate with...
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What is a Brand Promise and Why You Need One

What is a Brand Promise and Why You Need One

There’s a lot of talk about the concept of a brand promise. But, what is it? Why does my business need one? How would it make my business stronger? How does it relate to my brand strategy? Here we explore the answers to these pressing questions.  And perhaps more important, what kind of a brand promise does your business need in today’s world to have an impact? A brand is a promised delivered. A contemporary brand promise articulates an idea that goes beyond the rational benefits that worked in the past, and extols a higher-order emotional reward. A brand promise is not a slogan or...
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How Brand Strategy Can Meaningfully Improve Product Design

How Brand Strategy Can Meaningfully Improve Product Design

We’ve noticed a product trend, especially with technology companies. Products can suffer growing pains if they are conceived, gestated, and born into the world without the guiding hand of the brand. On the flipside, brand strategy can have an enormously reassuring influence on the design of a product. In fact, our brand strategies exert positive influences on the product designs of most of our clients, in direct and indirect ways. Here’s how. Empathy Brand strategy always starts with a thorough study of target audiences, which means understanding what makes them tick. Their needs,...
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Your Business Problems Might Have a Brand Strategy Solution

Your Business Problems Might Have a Brand Strategy Solution

When you spend a lot of time working with people in the C-suite, you’re exposed to C-sized business problems. Those larger strategic issues that can’t be solved by the CEO alone, or by existing resources. When changes in your industry push you to shift business strategy, it’s a sign that your brand strategy needs to shift in a synchronized way to reposition for success. Example: We’ve surveyed C-level executives about the number one desire they have for their brand strategy. Know what they want? Differentiation. A competitive advantage. A defensible position. Differentiation is tough. When...
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Does your Business need an Updated Brand Narrative?

Does your Business need an Updated Brand Narrative?

Does your brand need a Brand Narrative? Your brand does if it faces any of these situations: Differentiation: Does your brand have a sober, unexciting, or blurry identity in an increasingly competitive and perhaps commoditized market? Are you able to cut through the clutter in ways that matter? Growth: Is it getting harder to increase market share, drive sales, and improve profit? Are new markets and products growing quickly enough? Talent: Is it getting increasingly difficult for your brand to recruit the talent you need? Is your top talent leaving? Are competitor’s hiring the talent you...
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Meaningful Brands Keep Promises

Meaningful Brands Keep Promises

Meaningful Brands are not so easy to come by Is your brand strategy working as hard as it could be? Or is it being held back by these all-too-common corporate traits: myopia, narrow-mindedness, and self-centeredness? Does your brand strategy focus only on the “what” and “how” of your offering? Does it mostly talk to senior management in the cryptic language only MBAs understand? If so, your brand isn’t hitting the right notes in today’s marketplace. Today’s most innovative and successful brands are built upon a different premise. They seek to forge meaningful connections with people, not...
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