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Win by Going Beyond Features and Benefits

Win by Going Beyond Features and Benefits

Convincing minds by capturing hearts: the new brand-building approach What comes first? The rational decision to take the next step on the path to purchase, or the emotional trigger that gets them started on that path? Aren’t we humans cool? We pride ourselves on our cognitive skills, our ability to weigh pros and cons, and our decision-making power. After all, these factors separate us from other life forms. We also prefer to emphasize our thoughts because we are able to talk about them, explain them, and defend them. However, what is clear is that we are emotional beings. We navigate...
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Brand Strategy: Why Are Purpose and Feelings so Important Now?

Brand Strategy: Why Are Purpose and Feelings so Important Now?

Brand Strategy: Why are purpose and feelings so important now? An emotive brand is the persona-driven presence and experience of an organization that has proactively decided to orient itself around a meaningful and purposeful promise. Such brands do so with the intent of emotionally connecting to people on a deep level, by addressing core human needs. Most significant, an emotive brand strives to forge these attitude and behavior changing connections both inside and outside their organizations. To summarize, an emotive brand is:  – Proactively meaningful across all its actions  –...
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How to Mindfully Lead Change

How to Mindfully Lead Change

Empathy in leadership In this thought-provoking video, KPCB* partner John Maeda reminds us of the importance of empathy in leadership. He suggests that leadership is a design problem, and notes that the best design comes from people who ask and listen before putting forward their ideas. Mindful leaders are, by nature, empathetic. They know that failing to listen first creates irrelevant communications and misunderstood gestures from leaders. As John Maeda says, “The people are there in the room, but nobody’s hearing what you say.” Connect more meaningfully To connect meaningfully to...
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Brand Strategy Without Brand Behavior = A Car Without an Engine

Brand Strategy Without Brand Behavior = A Car Without an Engine

Brand strategy is step one. Defining the shifts to the brand required to live the new brand strategy is step two. We call that brand behavior. It’s becoming increasingly clear that brands need to run deep if they are to prevail in today’s world. This is because modern brands need to compete with not only each other, but also with an overwhelming number of ideas, considerations, and issues that flood the minds and hearts of the people important to any brand’s success. To cut through this noise, and to stand out in a meaningful way, brands need to exude a holistic and deeply...
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Human Friendly Brands

Human Friendly Brands

Should brands be more like humans? Or is the real goal to be “human-friendly” in form, behavior, and function? It’s something worth thinking about. Most of us in the advertising/marketing/branding biz tend to anthropomorphize brands. We think and write about them as if they were living, breathing people. However, in a thought-provoking piece, “The Human Paradox”, Gareth Kaye, Chief Strategy Officer of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, questions if that is the right approach: “I’ve come to believe that this failure of brands is down to us blindly believing that brands that are more human...
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The Next Wave of Brand Strategy

The Next Wave of Brand Strategy

The role of brand strategy What makes your brand unique? How does it stand out in your category? What “significance” gets people flocking to your brand? What “stickiness” keeps people coming back to your brand? We wouldn’t be surprised if these questions keep you awake at night. After all, it’s clearly getting harder for brands to differentiate themselves. Categories are becoming commoditized as competitors mimic each other in both products and communications. Brand advantages based on innovation are short-lived as others rapidly copy technology, benefits,...
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Need to Scale Fast? CEOs Can’t Just Focus On Engineering Benefits

Need to Scale Fast? CEOs Can’t Just Focus On Engineering Benefits

Scale Fast to Beat The Competition Why do so many engineering-led CEOs have a hard time scaling their company? I’d estimate more than 90% of our clients are engineers first and become CEOs later. An engineering background is of great value today – inspired ideas, technical abilities, and intense drive bring great products into the world. Unfortunately, the problem is that many of these products fail to scale fast, and dreams of  becoming the next unicorn are quickly squashed. Sadly, when this happens, the world doesn’t derive the benefits of the product the team has worked...
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The Role of Patience and Fortitude in Branding

The Role of Patience and Fortitude in Branding

The business world is tough out there It’s only natural, especially given today’s pressure cooker environment, to want instantly actionable ideas and immediate results. This is especially true the closer you are to the marketing machine within your business. At the same time, more and more businesses are realizing that they need to transform themselves in order to remain competitive, if not stay viable, in the 21st century. They are recognizing that their traditional strategies and tactics simply no longer work as expected. Also, the commoditization and price/value pressures they...
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The Meaningful Workplace – Help Them Create Good

The Meaningful Workplace – Help Them Create Good

Disillusioned by the age of conspicuous consumption, worried by the state of the planet and its people, rocked by war, corruption and financial crises, and immersed in a swirl of information, news, opinion, and gossip, people are searching for meaning in their lives. Today they feel a need to align with people, ideas and companies that make them feel they’re part of something bigger than themselves. People are seeking a sense of purpose, a reason for being and the answer to the questions, “Why is this good?” Today their idea of “good” is shaped by an increased awareness of their own needs,...
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Brand Truths That Focuses on What’s Truly Meaningful

Brand Truths That Focuses on What’s Truly Meaningful

Brand Truths In our latest white paper we list five fundamental principles that drive our efforts to help your brand thrive in the 21st century. Here, we explore one of our drivers: “truth, authenticity, and credibility.” This is what we refer to as brand truths. Here’s an explanatory extract from the white paper: “Emotive brand strategies are built out of what is already true about your brand. As such, the new purpose and behaviors we propose are authentic to what your brand is, and are welcomed by customers and employees as credible offerings from your brand.”...
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Asked by Marketing: “Who Else Should We Target?”

Asked by Marketing: “Who Else Should We Target?”

Marketing suffers when it seeks to appeal to everyone, brands thrive when they appeal to more than customers. One of our favorite cartoonists, Tom Fishbourne, takes a poke at eager marketers who dilute their efforts by vainly attempting to appeal to everyone. Of course, most marketing is an outbound effort, designed to maximize sales at the lowest possible cost. It is a complex and dynamic game, and it’s little wonder some marketers “go big and wide” in their view of the market. Sharp focus has multiple rewards At the same time, highly focused marketing efforts often prove...
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Mindful Leadership Leads to Meaningful Business

Mindful Leadership Leads to Meaningful Business

Mindful Leadership “I believe leaders are most inspiring when their message is deeply personal and yet resonant with the concerns of others.” – Gianpiero Petriglieri, INSEAD There’s a parallel between what makes a strong leader and what defines a meaningful business. As my recent interview with Mindful leaders combine a strong sense of self purpose with a capacity to make that purpose meaningful to others Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at INSEAD underscores, a key driver of effective 21st Century business leadership will be mindfulness. Mindful...
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Is a Misunderstood Brand Holding Back Your Business?

Is a Misunderstood Brand Holding Back Your Business?

  There’s a price to pay when your brand simply languishes. It’s the cost of lost opportunities. First, you are missing the opportunity to change the way people feel about your brand, and hence, what they can do to make your brand more successful. By people, we mean customers, employees, partners, investors, communities, influencers, and so on…. Indeed, we mean all the people who are vital to your brand’s succcess. It’s their decisions and actions that determine your fate. They think and act based on what they feel. If your brand doesn’t make them...
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The Language of Meaningful Brands

The Language of Meaningful Brands

“Actions speak louder than words.” This adage is at the core of our beliefs about great branding. As we say, our most valuable contribution to a brand’s strategy is nothing but a set of words until the brand and its people act upon them. Indeed, we believe success is only achieved when a brand’s behavior, driven by a purposeful promise, leads to new meaningful outcomes. Of course, language is part of behavior. What brands and their people say is important for the creation of meaningful outcomes. As such, the move toward a more meaningful brand presence invariably calls for new...
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Purpose-Led Brands: Is Purpose Only Created by Adopting a Cause?

Purpose-Led Brands: Is Purpose Only Created by Adopting a Cause?

There is a fantastic post from PR company Edelman on their notion of “purpose”. They see purpose as the next evolution of cause marketing. They point to 1983 as the start of cause marketing, when American Express sponsored the restoration of the Statue of Liberty by having each American Express Card purchase trigger a donation to the cause. They now claim we are in “Cause 4.0”, which leads to what is called “Social Purpose”. This is all about business doing well by doing good, but is it really only cause marketing? We don’t believe that a business...
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