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Strategy


Stop Worrying About Getting Attention and Start Paying Attention

Stop Worrying About Getting Attention and Start Paying Attention

The most valuable currency in the world is the fact you’re reading this right now. Your attention is like a scarce mineral and companies will blast mountains with dynamite for the tiniest trace element of it. It’s safe to say we live in the attention economy. In exchange for everything being “free,” we have transitioned from being customers to the product. The phrase “time is money” has always rung true, but never before has it been so monetized or measured. As a result, naturally, brands desperately want to know one thing above all else: how do we get attention? How do we differentiate, go...
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What Makes a Perfect Concept Statement?

What Makes a Perfect Concept Statement?

Over the course of a branding project, there are thousands of micro-decisions to make along the way. As much as possible, agencies try to establish a common way of seeing and evaluating work to minimize decision fatigue. In our case, we create an Emotional Impact and a Brand Idea. We start by identifying four emotions we want to evoke in our target audiences, and then craft a big idea that brings these emotions to life across business, brand, and culture. The thing is, as much as you try to establish frameworks and lenses and litmus tests, you can only ask a client to hold so much in their...
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Business Imperative: Socializing Strategy

Business Imperative: Socializing Strategy

One of the first things we learn in business is the importance of “having a plan.” Preferably, it should be a strategic plan, complete with milestones, action items, KPIs, and other important measures. This is definitely true. You need to have a plan, and you need to be socializing strategy. As someone who’s been in the consulting game for many years, I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat down with new clients only to discover that while there may, in fact, be a carefully (and expensively) constructed strategic plan, it’s a mystery to most employees. Chances are, they learned...
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Navigating Between Good and Bad Failure

Navigating Between Good and Bad Failure

Silicon Valley loves the idea of failure. In the world of tech startups, messing up is practically a religion. People wield that Samuel Beckett quote – try again, fail again, fail better – like it’s a Louisville Slugger. As Adrian Daub writes, “People take jobs and lose them, and go on to a new job. People create products that no one likes, and go on to create another product. People back companies that get investigated by the SEC, and go on to back other companies. In Silicon Valley, it seems, there is no such thing as a negative experience.” But the thing is, not all types of failures are...
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Make It Sexy: The Big Impact of Branding “Boring” Things

Make It Sexy: The Big Impact of Branding “Boring” Things

Branding and advertising are infamous for making us covet things we don’t actually need. The super sleek sheen of a Tesla or an iPhone or a bra designed by NASA’s top scientists are alluring, but at the end of the day, they are merely luxuries. The question of getting people to need something they want is sales 101. But more and more, branding agencies are tackling the inverse. How do you get people to want the things they need? Is there a space for surprise and delight in the most boring, pedestrian motions of daily life: applying a bandage, brushing our teeth, wiping our bums? Welcome to...
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Mind the Gap: Bridging Strategy and Design

Mind the Gap: Bridging Strategy and Design

Here’s a simple truth I’ve learned working at both design-led and strategy-focused agencies. Strategy and design work best when they work together – from beginning to end. The problem is that strategy and creative are often regarded as separate instead of complementary disciplines. They have separate teams, separate processes, different skillsets, different client interactions. They approach problems from different angles. They may sit on different floors, different buildings, or even different firms. And, typically, the biggest communication between the teams is a handoff from one to the...
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How to Launch a New Brand Category

How to Launch a New Brand Category

Launching A New Brand Category The decision to join an existing category, or to launch a new brand category is not an easy decision. Evaluating your product maturity, the product roadmap, and overall market maturity is critical. Once the decision is made, the strategy shifts to creating the right budget and plan to launch the new brand category. Building momentum is paramount to both the category’s success, and by proxy, your own brand’s position as the category leader. As we’ve previously discussed, timing is critical for launch. You need to consider factors of competition, messaging,...
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Why Brand Positioning is Critical to Sustained Growth

Why Brand Positioning is Critical to Sustained Growth

The Power of Brand Positioning Strong brand positioning has a great impact on the success of your business. But many high-growth companies struggle with how best to position themselves and communicate why they matter. Getting this right is hard, but critical. And if you fail at this, your customers won’t know whether to buy from you or your competitors. In short, positioning is the process of distinguishing your brand from your competitors in meaningful ways. It’s about what you offer, what value you deliver, and what place you hold in your target audience’s mind. Defining...
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Getting all the Stakeholders on the Same Page

Getting all the Stakeholders on the Same Page

In America, there is a strong belief that the success or failure of your venture comes down to individual drive. It’s you, and you alone, that can turn the tide in your favor. In reality, as even the most steadfast founders learn, much of your time will be devoted to appeasing external stakeholders. Sometimes, those who know the least about your vision will have the most influence over its chance of survival. Navigating the C-suite requires knowing how to engage stakeholders by building and nurturing relationships. The meaningful enterprise has moved from a transactional foundation — where...
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The Pros and Cons of Launching a New Category

The Pros and Cons of Launching a New Category

What’s Old Is New Again People have been drinking coffee, listening to music, and shopping for groceries forever. But if you peered into the modern household, chances are these common operations would look completely foreign to someone ten years ago. One might load a coffee pod while streaming an album from their phone, then ask their voice assistant to add something to their online cart. This is the brave new world of brand category creation, and it’s something that we’ve written about extensively. The reason we spend so many words on this topic is that it’s absolutely paramount to...
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