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Bad Blind Graphic Design Date

Bad Blind Graphic Design Date

One of the new constants of modern life is graphic design. It was with us before, in newspapers and magazines, bus billboards, and the whole gamut of corporate communications. Now the web and mobile have splashed graphic design everywhere we look – but we seem to be looking with half-closed eyes. Plenty of people have written (not saying “complained”) about how the web and mobile have degraded language. Blogs, email, and texting have made us all writers, so we’ve stopped making much of a distinction among ourselves in that regard. We’re in a hurry, we don’t have editors and proofreaders, and...
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Who Knew? No one.

Who Knew? No one.

As the media heated up before the Masters golf tournament, a Wall Street Journal piece noted that the PGA Tour is a non-profit organization “that turns over its excess cash to charity.” Last year, this amounted to $130 million, which is big money for any philanthropy. For comparison, total prize money for the 2013 PGA Tour season is $298 million. I re-read the “excess cash” sentence about four times. The sport of rich white men, awash in corporate sponsorships, is giving big chunks of the money to those less fortunate. Who knew? Not me, or any of my friends who are deep into golf. I bet a...
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Socializing Sustainability

Socializing Sustainability

We hear a lot that companies are struggling with creating the right strategies for socializing sustainability and to get employees even engaged in sustainability. One of the most common complaints is, “They won’t even read our sustainability report!” No, really? Expecting employees to read a sustainability report is like expecting them to read patent applications. No one does that unless they have to, because patent applications are written by lawyers for other lawyers. It’s the same with most sustainability reports: they’re written by sustainability geeks for other sustainability geeks....
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Purpose and Profit

Purpose and Profit

Purpose and Profit If you want to run a successful business that leads with purpose, you had better be good at profit. You have to know your business well enough to shred carbon out of it and inject humanity into it without blowing up the bottom line. Your company also has to be a star in whatever supply chain it’s in, because if you don’t impress your closest peers, customers and suppliers, then your sustainability programs probably don’t amount to much. In short, if your company is succeeding with sustainability, it’s almost certainly well managed. This seems so obvious, I started to...
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Going Beyond the Obvious Emotional Power of Your Brand

Going Beyond the Obvious Emotional Power of Your Brand

Some brands are built around products or ideas that are inherently emotional. But true emotional resonance happens when these brands recognize that their competitors own the same emotional space. Brands seeking to rise above the fray dig deeper into the well of positive emotions that bond brands and people. They build upon, complement, and extend that innate emotional “kick” they deliver with a set of ancillary feelings chosen to support the brand’s purpose beyond profit. A unique purpose and emotional aura distance emotionally meaningful brands from their competitors. They...
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Merchandize Your Corporate Sustainability Report

Merchandize Your Corporate Sustainability Report

When all is said and done, how many people will read your entire corporate sustainability report (CSR), from beginning to end? Chances are that only a few eager readers will read the whole report. Since many of your stakeholders may not delve enthusiastically into the technical details, it may take some additional effort and a bit of creativity to reach them with your company’s main messages about sustainability strategy, philosophies and achievements. While the quality of the full report is top priority, it is important to consider your options to extend the reach of your report through...
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Why Workplaces Aren’t Meaningful Now

Why Workplaces Aren’t Meaningful Now

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 question, “Why is this good?” Today their idea of good is shaped by an increased awareness of their own needs,...
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Employee Engagement: Turn Low Morale Into Purposeful Behavior

Employee Engagement: Turn Low Morale Into Purposeful Behavior

High morale. High energy. High interest. High collaboration. High innovation. Why not? Just ask, “What is standing between what our company needs and what our people really want?” You’ll see there’s a lack of balance. Your company needs your employees’ blood and sweat. Whereas, your people need better reasons than you now provide to invest their energy in helping your business succeed. The way to create a purposeful workplace balance is to evolve your brand’s intent, attitude and behavior: Make it your brand’s intent to matter to the people you...
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Sustaina-Buzz: Transparency

Sustaina-Buzz: Transparency

Whenever corporations, NGOs, and academics mix in one milieu, buzzwords seem to multiply like mosquitoes after a spring rain. They can be just as irritating if you’re not prepared. So let’s slather on some Sustaina-Buzz and avoid the bites. Today’s buzzword: transparency. The metaphor is easy to understand: anything transparent allows you to see through it to what’s on the other side, or on the inside of something. Anything opaque keeps you from seeing. In the corporate world, “transparency” refers to what corporations tell us about themselves. If they are publicly traded, and therefore...
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Capitalizing on the Human Dimension of Professional Services

Capitalizing on the Human Dimension of Professional Services

I find it ironic that many of the most people-driven enterprises in our economy – law, architecture, consulting, and engineering firms – are often the most superficial with branding. For most professional service firms, “branding” is only about logos and color palettes. It seems branding’s only goal is to project a serious, professional, and trustworthy identity. Unfortunately, this limited view of branding leads most professional service firms to the same bland destination. Indeed, the Internet is littered with the drab, me-too, institutional websites of professional...
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Lego Brand Language

Lego Brand Language

If you grew up with Lego®, or you get down on the floor when the kids pull it out, you know this to be true: Lego appeals to kids of all ages. During a recent session, a five-year-old mentor of mine said something typically wise beyond his years, “Everyone says you can make anything with Lego, but it’s not true. You can’t make a dream.” Whoa. When the little genius went to bed, I began to think about things in life that we make with the Lego approach – snapping things together to approximate a shape we have in mind. Good cooks do it with ingredients to create flavors and textures they have...
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Brands That Matter Have Top-down Power, Bottom-up Support, and All-around Success

Brands That Matter Have Top-down Power, Bottom-up Support, and All-around Success

If you are faced with the task of defining, or redefining, a brand strategy, think about the person most influential to its success. Ask yourself: – Who has the greatest insight into where your business needs to go? – Who can make sure that the company’s brand strategy embodies, and brings to life, this vision? – Who sees how the people, processes and policies of the business need to evolve to address future issues and opportunities? – Who is the best person to lead the organization forward in a focused, unified and purposeful manner? The CEO. Yet, how many CEOs...
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Tell Me A Story

Tell Me A Story

Do you like movies? Do you read novels or short stories? Do you go to the theater? If any of these are true for you, you’re going to like emotive branding. There is a reason that human beings have developed so many art forms that tell stories. We even developed stories about art that doesn’t technically have a narrative, such as painting, sculpture, and modern dance. We do this because of that conscious mind sitting on top of our nervous system. It’s a connection maker, a synthesizer, a transformer of what we see into something we can understand. Above all, it wants resolution. It wants...
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Emotive Branding: The Path to Meaning (and Kick-Ass Creative)

At Emotive Brand our goal is to make brands truly meaningful through emotive branding. Emotive branding is about transforming the way a brand reaches out to people and the way people respond back to that brand. The key is meaning. As we add meaning to the things a brand does, the people vital to that brand’s success start to care, think, talk and do more for the brand. As a result, emotive brands thrive across all business measures. But what is meaning? And, perhaps more important, how do we add meaning to brands through emotive branding? We focus on meaning because we noticed the remarkable...
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Rational vs Emotional: With Brands, It’s Not “Either/Or” It’s “Both/And”

Rational vs Emotional: With Brands, It’s Not “Either/Or” It’s “Both/And”

Neuroscience is telling us that every “rational” decision is surrounded and influenced by emotions. As such, brand decisions are neither rational or emotional – they are invariably both. But how do you work with an insight like this? How do you bring an emotional dimension to your brand, especially if today it is emotionally neutral? How do you change the behavior of your brand – and the people behind it – so that every interaction is either striking, or responding to, a relevant emotional chord? How do you do this in a way that isn’t seen as exploitative,...
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