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The “Best Places to Work” Aren’t Places at All

The “Best Places to Work” Aren’t Places at All

There’s a new trend in Silicon Valley with tech brands. Famous tech brands are building enormous headquarters designed by famous architects. They’re using the greenest, healthiest materials, the latest environmental technology, creating the most unusual, innovative workspaces, and bringing thousands of employees under one roof. What’s the goal? Some companies say to foster innovation. Others tout togetherness. Some have interior design strategies that force ad hoc employee interactions. Others describe the spontaneity that will happen in casual communal meeting places. But it turns out that...
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CSR and Purpose-Driven Brands Go Hand in Hand

CSR and Purpose-Driven Brands Go Hand in Hand

CSR and purpose go hand in hand.  We are always moved when companies make a profound effort to identify and then act on a social issue. Especially very large companies. We know how hard it can be. It’s not always obvious how to identify an issue that matters to your brand, and then do the hard work to identify the brand with solutions that matter to people. Making a CSR part of the brand’s core purpose takes commitment from the top. It takes time and it takes money. But it can have a huge pay-off when handled with authentic, sincere, and meaningful programs that are appropriate for the...
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Give People Meaningful Reasons to Innovate

Give People Meaningful Reasons to Innovate

We often come back to the Fast Company blog post by Seth Kahan, a change specialist and author of, “Getting Innovation Right”, published in 2013. Many of our clients are looking for help creating a brand strategy and developing corporate values that will help create a culture of innovation. Seth presents three practical secrets for the innovative leader. We were particularly struck by his second secret: Secret #2. 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...
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Meaningful Brands Are Led by Meaningful Leaders

Meaningful Brands Are Led by Meaningful Leaders

The key to meaning is empathy: the ability to step outside one’s own life and see the world from another’s perspective. In both branding and leadership, the value of this ability cannot be underestimated. Both areas depend upon engaged followers. Engagement only comes when followers see leaders connect the dots between their personal needs and desires, the goals of the business, and the greater good. Brands and leaders that are inward-focused and self-absorbed fail to connect with people who are increasingly attuned to the needs of humanity and the planet. This puts them in a precarious...
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When Your Employees Are Your Advertising Campaign

When Your Employees Are Your Advertising Campaign

I’ve been reading a number of books on branding written by people from advertising agencies. They invariably regard advertising – most often citing TV ads – as the most potent vehicle for branding. They have a case. Television is an excellent vehicle for emotional storytelling. These experts point to ads we all know (and love?) as proof of its power. From cars to sugar water to potato chips, TV advertising has driven brands to success by making even the most prosaic product features resonate with emotional importance. But what about all the (big) brands in this world that...
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Brand Persona: Know Your Audience, Know Yourself

Brand Persona: Know Your Audience, Know Yourself

Do you know your target audience? We mean, not just whom you need to reach, but what they need, want, and feel? Do you know what makes them anxious, alarmed, or scared? Do you have any idea what they think? What fires them up? What they’ve tried before and liked, or completely failed? What makes them assured, calm, trusting, or confident and bold? Hmmm. Maybe you don’t know your target audience. At least not well enough to connect on a meaningful level. We recently read an enlightening blog post from Paul Graham, one of the founders of Y Combinator, the renowned start-up incubator. In the...
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Should Your Business Embrace a Purpose-led Brand Strategy?

Should Your Business Embrace a Purpose-led Brand Strategy?

Purpose-led The notion of purpose-led  does more than make brands appealing to people – it makes money for the businesses that embrace the concept. So claims the chairman of Deloitte, an active evangelist for the “squishy business attribute” called purpose. Why invest in a woolly, emotional, and squishy idea like purpose? Won’t it be hard to get everyone in my organization and all my customers to understand and embrace it? What is it really beyond a set of words? What value does brand strategy deliver? These are the questions I often confront as a proponent of empathy, purpose, and emotion....
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Is Your Brand Holding Back Your Business?

Is Your Brand Holding Back Your Business?

There’s a price to pay when your brand simply languishes. It’s the cost of lost opportunities. Are you 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 feel something,...
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A Brand’s Purpose is Not a Tagline!

A Brand’s Purpose is Not a Tagline!

Once again drawing from our white paper, “Transforming your brand into an emotive brand”, we explore another of the key drivers of our thinking, “Purpose Beyond Profit”. Here’s how we recap this idea in our paper: As an emotive brand, your brand lives to a promise that embodies a purpose that goes well beyond profit. As such, you use your brand’s promise to establish and reinforce the higher-ground connection that customers and employees find emotionally meaningful. By thinking beyond profit, you reveal your commitment to connecting with people in truly...
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A Brand Strategy that Focuses on “Truths”

A Brand Strategy that Focuses on “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.”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.” But exactly what “truth” are we seeking?...
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Where Does Brand End and Reputation Begin?

Where Does Brand End and Reputation Begin?

Confusing Branding Terms It seems so many ” branding terms ” are being rendered meaningless these days and we tend to blur the difference between them. We use specific words in a broader context than originally intended. Often, we use words as umbrellas to bring together a multitude of ideas. But, among us, we’re not consistent in the way these words are used. As a result, if you ask three business people what a particular word means, you’ll get no fewer than five answers. Take these two words as examples: “Brand” and “Reputation” What does...
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What it Means to be a Meaningfully Different Brand

What it Means to be a Meaningfully Different Brand

Youngme Moon teaches business at Harvard and is the author of “Different – Escaping The Competitive Herd”. In her closing she points to three characteristics of the brands of tomorrow – as they are driven to differentiate in order to succeed. Here we summarize: “They will offer something that is hard to come by…restraint will be the new desire; whisper can be the new shout; there will always be a place for brands offering something that is hard to come by.”  “They will reflect a commitment to a big idea…which is to say they...
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How Do You Create a Product that Matters?

How Do You Create a Product that Matters?

Whatever industry you are in, whatever kind of buyer you target, whatever distribution system you use, whatever your promotional budget,you can’t afford for your product to be a lemon. It needs to stand out from the field in unique and meaningful ways. This can be hard to accomplish when you’re working to business-as-usual. After all, your competition is generally using the same technology, same ideology, and same processes to create, distribute, and promote its products. And, even if you are able to jump ahead of the competition in some significant way, they’re able to...
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The Greatest Story Never Told?

The Greatest Story Never Told?

  Based on our experience working with clients, we believe there are thousands of companies out there sitting on a very valuable asset. This is an asset that could generate new revenues, build customer loyalty, enthuse and motivate your workforce, recruit top talent, help quickly scale your business, truly differentiate you from competitors, and help you business and brand thrive. The asset is a meaningful story, a brand narrative about your business that’s waiting to be told. It’s a story based on meaningful truths about what you do and how you do it. It’s a story...
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Why All the Talk About Purpose and Brand Strategy?

Why All the Talk About Purpose and Brand Strategy?

A HBR blog post by Graham Kenny details the difference between the increasingly popular idea of purpose and the traditional corporate drivers of vision, mission, and values. His conclusion echoes our beliefs about the role and impact of a company purpose: “If you’re crafting a purpose statement, my advice is this: To inspire your staff to do good work for you, find a way to express the organization’s impact on the lives of customers, clients, students, patients — whomever you’re trying to serve. Make them feel it.” Mr. Kenny’s closing statement, “make them feel...
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