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Business Imperative: Socializing Strategy

Business Imperative: Socializing Strategy

One of the first things we learn in business is the importance of “having a plan”. Preferably, it should be a Strategic Plan, complete with milestones, action items, KPIs, and other important measures. This is definitely true. You need to have a plan. As someone who’s been in the consulting game for many years, I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat down with new clients only to discover that while there may in fact be a carefully (and expensively) constructed Strategic Plan, it’s an unknown mystery to most employees. Chances are they learned about the Strategic Plan via an online WebEx,...
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Brand Relevance Is The New Differentiation

Brand Relevance Is The New Differentiation

We believe brands need to stand out, not just by being different, but by being both personally relevant and emotionally important to people. We came across this statement by Elliot Schreiber, Ph.D on his blog “Brand and Reputation” that sums up the key difference between “differentiation” and “relevance”: Relevance is More Important than Differentiation: Business strategists, Marketers and brand managers have been fixated on differentiation. Customers, however, are drawn to relevance – the things that “connect with them emotionally”. As I...
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Why Brand Positioning is Critical to Sustained Growth

Why Brand Positioning is Critical to Sustained Growth

The Power of Brand Positioning Strong brand positioning has a great impact on the success of your business. But many high-growth companies struggle with how best to position themselves and communicate why they matter. Getting this right is hard, but critical. And if you fail at this, your customers won’t know whether to buy from you or your competitors. In short, positioning is the process of distinguishing your brand from your competitors in meaningful ways. It’s about what you offer, what value you deliver, and what place you hold in your target audience’s mind. Defining...
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Will the Future of HR Still Be Human?

Will the Future of HR Still Be Human?

Ironically, the biggest forces shaking up the HR industry these days aren’t human at all. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and natural language processing (NLP) are all drastically transforming the world of recruiting and hiring. Just look at the Artificial Intelligence Index 2018 Annual Report by Stanford University, which shows that the number of active U.S. startups developing AI systems has increased 14-fold since 2000. There is clearly a hunger for this type of technology, but we’re only just starting to grasp what’s possible with these shiny new toys. While we’ve...
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Getting all the Stakeholders on the Same Page

Getting all the Stakeholders on the Same Page

In America, there is a strong belief that the success or failure of your venture comes down to individual drive. It’s you, and you alone, that can turn the tide in your favor. In reality, as even the most steadfast founders learn, much of your time will be devoted to appeasing external stakeholders. Sometimes, those who know the least about your vision will have the most influence over its chance of survival. Navigating the C-suite requires knowing how to engage stakeholders by building and nurturing relationships. The meaningful enterprise has moved from a transactional foundation — where...
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Let’s Get Political: Can Brands Stand for More Than Profit?

Let’s Get Political: Can Brands Stand for More Than Profit?

These days, when you see a brand trending on Twitter, it can only mean one thing: they got political. Brands aligning themselves with a cause is no new thing, but there’s something about the social media age that makes it electric. Even a low-risk cause, like suggesting that men should aim to be the best versions of themselves, is enough to start hashtag boycotts and video challenges of people destroying their own property. For better or worse, we’re in an era where if people don’t like a particular cause you’ve supported, they will actively search and destroy your ad partnerships. The...
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Brand Salience Is the Lifeline Between You and Your Customers

Brand Salience Is the Lifeline Between You and Your Customers

How Are Purchase Decisions Actually Made? Let’s say you need to buy a toilet brush. You’re at the store with your partner, and they say, “The brushes are just down that aisle, do you mind grabbing one?” Suddenly, you find yourself in front of a wall of toilet brushes. Never in your life have you actively thought about toilet brushes, toilet brush brands, or the state of the toilet brush market. But now, somehow, you find yourself in the position of trying to form an emotional connection to an object that arguably has the worst job in your house. Do you grab the cheapest one? Or maybe just...
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An Audience-Centric Approach to Communications

An Audience-Centric Approach to Communications

The Curse of Knowledge When you work in the business of ideas, things are bound to get complicated. At Emotive Brand, we mainly work with high-growth, B2B tech companies. Our clients are experts at building big, technical, complex systems that solve real human problems. What they aren’t always experts at, however, is explaining those ideas in a way that feels human and approachable. We don’t blame them. It’s something that’s often called “the curse of knowledge.” It’s when you’re so immersed in the universe of your product that you have a hard time remembering the rest of the world hasn’t...
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Branding in Motion: A Roundtable with the Emotive Brand Design Team

Branding in Motion: A Roundtable with the Emotive Brand Design Team

In 2019, everything is alive. We communicate in GIFs, message effects, and video chats. Billboards are digital, bus ads are responsive, push notifications are synchronized. Give a glossy magazine to any child under five and chances are they will try to “scroll down” the page with one index finger. The most forward-thinking companies are using motion – whether through kinetic type, animation, or mixed reality like AR and VR – to broaden the emotional impact of their brand. I sat down with the creative team at Emotive Brand to discuss the link between motion and emotion, and how B2B brands...
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The Surreal World of Brands, Social Media, and Millennial Humor

The Surreal World of Brands, Social Media, and Millennial Humor

Battle of the Brands Even for people who spend most of their time online, there are still those moments that remind you just how surreal our current technological moment is. Earlier this month, while mindlessly browsing, I suddenly realized I was six comments deep into a Twitter argument between the social media managers of Wendy’s and Steak-umm. Participating in #NationalRoastDay – an annual tradition of lightly making fun of people and brands – the playful hashtag game quickly turned aggressive when the two companies started vehemently attacking each other’s brand voice and products. Just...
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Embracing an Agile Workflow to Yield an Agile Brand

Embracing an Agile Workflow to Yield an Agile Brand

A lot of branding firms talk about the importance of incorporating agility into their clients’ brands. The best brands have to stand for something distinct and meaningful – and at the same time, be ready to acknowledge what is happening out in the marketplace so they can adapt and adjust to maintain their edge. There is less discussion about the process of branding and the need to imbue it with a degree of agility as well. Speed is a given – we’ve all been schooled on how clients no longer have time for long, drawn-out branding processes that will yield a new brand in the market within 12-18...
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How to Find the Right Product-Market Fit

How to Find the Right Product-Market Fit

Since the dawn of man, every entrepreneur believes they have the magical product that is going to change the game, revolutionize the market, blaze the trail, and yes, make the world a better place. It’s the type of hyperbolic startup language we’ve come to quickly identify and dismiss because we know at the end of the day, venture capitalists don’t really back products – they back winning business models. So, how do you skip the tech jargon and get straight to a hair-on-fire business model? There may be no better litmus test than that of the elusive “product-market fit.” Coined by Marc...
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How to Deal with the Looming Talent Shortage

How to Deal with the Looming Talent Shortage

Who’s Got Talent? How many times have we heard that robots are coming for our jobs? Whether it’s from science fiction or straight from the mouth of Elon Musk, it’s a dystopia we’ve been anticipating for quite some time. However, based on a recent study from Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm, we may have been misplacing our fears on the wrong targets. In a sweeping country-by-country analysis, the biggest issue isn’t that robots are stealing all the jobs – it’s that there simply aren’t enough human beings to take them. According to the study, by 2030 there will be a...
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Challenger Brands: Design that Disrupts

Challenger Brands: Design that Disrupts

Challenger Creative This post is the last in our three-part series on challenger brands. You can read a general primer to challenger brands or a deep dive into B2B challengers right here. Previously, we chatted about the power of adopting a challenger mindset, how to compete against your category, and what the B2B world can learn from B2C disruptors. In these examples, most of the strategies were internal. It was a question of knowing how to recognize the pressure for change, creating a shared vision, having the capacity to execute, and building out a realistic work plan. But still, the...
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Making the Case for a Rebrand

Making the Case for a Rebrand

Rebrands are for Firebrands Not everything in the branding world is relatable. For the average person, chatting about go-to-market strategies or employer brands isn’t exactly scintillating dinner party conversation. But there is one thing that ignites fiery debate and criticism, even from those without any skin in the game, and that is the curious case of the rebrand. I’ve had multiple conversations with people who, though they have never expressed an interest in any other aspect of branding before, suddenly discuss the latest logo change, mission rewrite, or app redesign with a passion...
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