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Brand


The Evolving Role of the CMO: Chief Alignment Officer

The Evolving Role of the CMO: Chief Alignment Officer

No role in an organization has evolved more rapidly than the CMO’s. It used to be that owning branding, communications, and campaigns defined the job. Now, CMOs need to be experts on customers, marketing tools and advanced analytics,and business strategy. Brand management remains an essential duty, but in service of driving business growth. Most importantly, because a CMO’s work connects directly to sales, product development, IT, finance, and other parts of the organization, CMOs find themselves needing to play a growing role in aligning their organization around new ways of thinking and...
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Creating a brand that resonates: 3 Grammy-worthy lessons from Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.”

Creating a brand that resonates: 3 Grammy-worthy lessons from Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.”

Is your brand telling a story for now or a story forever? Take a lesson from pop music and learn how to create a brand that lets your customers feel like they “can be someone.” Imagine a slightly different 2024 Grammy Awards. In this one, there’s still a comeback performance from a reclusive 1980s star, but instead of Tracy Chapman singing “Fast Car” alongside Luke Combs, it’s Billy Ocean singing “Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car.” Can you picture Taylor Swift singing along rapturously to his lyric: “Lady driver, let me take the wheel”? Probably not, but why? Both “Fast Car,” and...
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Rebranding in 2024? Move fast to go slow.

Rebranding in 2024? Move fast to go slow.

As 2023 winds down, odds are you’ve already set your goals for 2024 and are taking these last couple of weeks to tie up loose ends and get ready to take a running leap into Q1. But before you turn out the lights on the year, we have one piece of advice: if a rebrand is something you’re considering before the end of Q2, the time to start is now. “Starting now” doesn’t mean kicking off the project. But it does mean you need to socialize the endeavor with your leadership team, clarify the goals, secure budget, identify internal teams and resources, define the brief or create an RFP, find the...
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Welcome to the Generative Generation

Welcome to the Generative Generation

Generative AI is all the rage these days. While it feels like something brand new, this technology has been in the works since machine learning’s generative models emerged in the late 2000s. The use of advanced mathematics to generate content has always been part and parcel of a developer’s mindset, but the tools weren’t widely available. Now, the doors to Generative AI have blown wide open with ChatGPT, Midjourny, DALL-E, Adobe Firefly, AlphaCode, Bard, and GrammarlyGO, among others, and Apple’s impending release of Ajax that will no doubt inspire the cherubs to blow their horns and...
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Business and Brand Strategy: Separated at Birth

Business and Brand Strategy: Separated at Birth

Peanut butter and jelly. Abbott and Costello. Disco and dancing. Some things in this world simply go together. So why is it that business strategy and brand strategy don’t always get invited to the same parties? Growth is the Goal We’ve written a lot about the importance of aligning business and brand strategy. Leaders intellectually get this, but many organizations fall into ways of working where business and brand strategy represent two different schools of thought. Delivering on financial goals (business) versus understanding customers and their needs (brand). Defining winning through the...
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Infusing a brand with big heart begins with big thinking: How small design cues can generate great big feels

Infusing a brand with big heart begins with big thinking: How small design cues can generate great big feels

“We need to make our brand feel human. It needs to reflect our people and our customers. We need to tell a human, emotive story.” This is how a lot of our conversations about brand design begin. If we were designing for packaged goods that sit on a shelf and give people a tangible representation of your brand, we’d have a well defined experience to address. But most of our work takes place behind the scenes in the B2B and tech space. There are no shelves or stores mediating the process, no physical objects or packaging. There’s sparse or no direct interaction with the end-user. And the...
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Leading With Beautiful Questions

Leading With Beautiful Questions

Many years ago, we got inspired by Warren Berger’s book, “A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas.” The basic premise of the book and the post we wrote at the time was that leaders simply don’t ask enough questions when they bump up against uncertainty. Since then, two things have happened. Mr. Berger wrote another book tying the art of inquiry to generating breakthrough ideas (which we all need today), and the world has started to get wobbly. Every leader we work with and talk to is grappling with the issue of how to drive growth in uncertain times. And...
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How Do You Orient Your Team When Everything Seems Uncertain?

How Do You Orient Your Team When Everything Seems Uncertain?

The old axiom about uncertainty being the only certainty in business seems quaint given today’s headlines: Historically low unemployment. Hiring shortages one day and hiring freezes the next. Creeping inflation. Shaky markets. Unexpected layoffs. It’s whiplash inducing. And it’s the world we live in. As the economy shifts and shudders, leaders are challenged to make strategic decisions with increasingly limited foresight. And employees? They’re left feeling disoriented, confused, and vulnerable. It’s a recipe for getting stuck. People become less willing to make mistakes, to stick their...
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Too. Many. Choices. Yes, Over-Branding Is a Thing.

Too. Many. Choices. Yes, Over-Branding Is a Thing.

I walked into my favorite hair and body care store last week, looking for my usual hair product — you know, the one that protects hair before you heat-style it. I couldn’t remember the name of the product but I figured I’d easily recognize it once in the store. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As it turns out, the product I use is just one member of a family of products prone to over-branding that all have adjacent but different uses. The family has a common name but each sub-product has a distinct name to indicate its use. Easy, right? No, not easy. A knowledgeable and patient...
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