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C-Suite Confusion, Fear and Disagreement

C-Suite Confusion, Fear and Disagreement

It’s little wonder someone like musician David Carroll was inspired to produce a music video – that went viral – about United Airlines’s cavalier attitude toward him when he complained about how they badly damaged his guitar in transport. “United Breaks Guitars” – cited in an excellent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit – was a wake up call to United. But its point about the importance of responsive customer service in the on-line age doesn’t seem to have penetrated the business world as yet. As the infographic summarizes,...
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This is a Time of Positive, Constructive and Gratifying Change…

This is a Time of Positive, Constructive and Gratifying Change…

We published a white paper on The Age of Meaning, in which we review the many implications this new era holds for business leaders. Here we’d like to explore our claim that, “This is a time of positive, constructive and gratifying change…”. Positive change Why do we see this as a time of “positive” change? Because the thrust of this change is well-intentioned and seeks nothing less than to make this world a better place. Customers and employees seek out businesses that care about, and act responsibly about, environmental, social and workplace issues....
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Creating a Presence That Matters, Silo by Silo

Creating a Presence That Matters, Silo by Silo

Hugh Macleod makes the point that many companies diminish the impact of their overall presence by a creating fragmented experience across numerous, uncoordinated silos. In his cartoon, Hugh refers to communication channels, but each of these silos are often multiplied by other silos within companies (e.g. products, divisions, etc.). Regardless, each “silo owner” has their own “strategy”, which in the absence of an overall brand strategy they understand and respect , is whatever they think will work best to reach their short-term goals. Far better that your business...
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“We Cannot Solve Our Problems With the Same Thinking We Used to Create them.” ~Albert Einstein

“We Cannot Solve Our Problems With the Same Thinking We Used to Create them.” ~Albert Einstein

One of the challenges of modern business is to get people engaged, motivated and gratified to either work for you, or do business with you. For numerous reasons, people (formerly known as employees and customers) are more demanding of whom they work for, what they buy and whom they buy from. This sea-change of popular attitude, beliefs and behaviors have caught many businesses by surprise. Why? Because they haven’t begun to adapt their way of doing business to the reality of how people think, feel and act in this, The Age of Meaning This is a critical time for business. It’s a...
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Why What’s “Under the Hood” Matters Less These Days

Why What’s “Under the Hood” Matters Less These Days

These two photos were recently featured on a blog we came across, and vividly reminded us about how technology is disappearing from view and being replaced by other purchasing criteria. On the top left, a Mercedes from 1982; top right a recent Mercedes concept car. On bottom left, Apple II from 1977; bottom right, 2012 Apple Retina MacBook Pro. From heavy industry to high tech, progressive and confident manufacturers are literally hiding the “technological guts” of their machines and devices. Once the heroes of marketing, turbo chargers and CPUs are now relegated to powering...
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Finding a New Place on the Spectrum of “Wow”

Finding a New Place on the Spectrum of “Wow”

Many clients say they want to create a feeling of “wow.” But, there is a spectrum of wow experiences, and it is important to find the right place on that spectrum for your business, product or service. On one end is the, “OMG, I couldn’t believe it, it was sooooo cooooool” kind of wow. This is a fun sort of wow and best experienced in person. However, “OMG wows” tend to be momentary in nature; the power of the experience, while intense in the moment, fades quickly away. Also, it is very hard to convey the full feeling of that kind of wow to other...
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Irritating Ads Give Way to Conversations That Matter

Irritating Ads Give Way to Conversations That Matter

For too long, marketers have relied on TV ads to create “awareness” for their products and services. Relying on the ideas of “impact” and “frequency,” the most aggressive TV ad marketers have proved so irritating that people reached for the remote, bought TiVos, or simply stop watching television. Today smart businesses are recognizing that the most effective way of getting people to know about, try and buy their products and services is through word of mouth. And the most effective word of mouth – be it delivered through social media or through...
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Schools That Matter Truly Matter to Parents

Schools That Matter Truly Matter to Parents

With the state of education sparking parental fears and a plethora of schooling options prompting parental confusion and anxiety, smart schools are looking for ways they can matter more to parents. Of course, kids are the primary “business” of educators, but every learning institution needs to reach out and convince parents that their school is the best option. The secret lies in taking all the good that happens within your school and transforming that into thoughts that will prove personally relevant and emotionally important to parents – given their mindset, concerns and...
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Is Your Brand a Noun or a Verb?

Is Your Brand a Noun or a Verb?

“I am not a thing—a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process—an integral function of the universe.” – Buckminster Fuller Many brands feel like nouns. They are simply static “things” that are devoid of feeling and meaning. But then there are brands that are clearly verbs. They are about action, moving forward and changing the status quo. They help people create meaning through their engaging and generous actions and behavior. They are evolutionary processes that help people advance, achieve more and find greater satisfaction. As such, they become an...
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Beyond Identity: Achieving a Presence That Matters

Beyond Identity: Achieving a Presence That Matters

A new product or service is ready to be launched. A logo, a set of colors and a design look and feel are decided. A brand guidelines PDF is published. And, for many people, a brand has been established. But for products and services to survive in today’s world, much more needs to be done. In today’s world, branded products and services need to go beyond establishing an identity and create a presence that truly matters. Going beyond brand guidelines, they need to take on a presence-defining behavior that engages, enchants and gratifies people – by linking what the brand does...
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“Why?” Is A Good Question. “Why Is That Good?” Is A Better One

“Why?” Is A Good Question. “Why Is That Good?” Is A Better One

Seth Godin recently posted about the value of asking “why?”. He points out that “because I said so” is not a valid answer. This reminded us of the question we’re always asking our clients, “why is that good?” Our question comes from the experience of hearing business people talk about their offerings using the superficial and meaningless mumbo-jumbo of jargon. To help them get below the surface – and to uncover the meaning that lies beyond the jargon – we ask them repeatedly, “why is that good?”. For example, “Why is it...
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Change Of Functionality Adds Meaning For Getty Images

Change Of Functionality Adds Meaning For Getty Images

It’s amazing how seemingly small changes in the way a business reaches out to people can have such a meaningful impact. Getty Images website users in the UK now see a more subtle, informative and personalized watermark when viewing images (bottom image). The new watermark is simply more useful: It shows the link that takes you directly to that image’s page, which is now richer in content. It credits the photographer, which is a great way for Getty to reach out to its contributors. It no longer stands as a dated and arrogant barrier between the image-seeking user and the images...
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When Businesses Truly Matter, Logos Don’t Matter At All

When Businesses Truly Matter, Logos Don’t Matter At All

Brands are much more than just a logo. We spotted this great report at Fast Company about Virgin Group’s new global HQ in London. The theme was how Virgin cleverly managed to convey the brand’s values through workplace design, without using the “brand” as so many people think about it. That’s right. Take a look, there’s no logo proclaiming the “proud” owner. Virgin has inspired us for years by their way of building meaningful bridges between their business units and their employees and customers. We believe they are vanguards of an idea...
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A More “Valued” Value Proposition for your Business

A More “Valued” Value Proposition for your Business

The traditional value proposition is defined as: Value = Benefits – Cost. In other words, people buy from brands that deliver more for less. In the past, when the focus has been on “faster, cheaper, bigger, now”, it was enough to think only about the rational benefits your brand offered – and to build your value proposition from there. Today there is a need to radically overhaul the definition of “benefits” when articulating value propositions. Today people are seeking ways to create new meaning in their lives, brands need to go beyond rational appeals and...
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All Together Now: “It’s A Channel, Not A Strategy”

All Together Now: “It’s A Channel, Not A Strategy”

Once again we share the brilliant insights of Tom Fishbourne. Tom illustrates the problem of being more focused on the channels of communication than on what your brand is trying to achieve in this world. Hearing that everyone is posting to Facebook, sending tweets and “pinning” things on Pinterest naturally perks our attention, and suggests we will be missing out if our brand isn’t “there”. But, honestly, there is no “there” there (sorry Oakland). It is not enough to simply “be” in a space, be it digital, social or the latest hot app or...
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