Are You Herding or Standing Apart?

(Reading Time: 3 minutes)

It’s late June here in Chicago, and that means at least three things:

  • We just stopped playing professional hockey last night.  (Congratulations, Blackhawks!)
  • Bar and restaurant patios are full even in the middle of the afternoon, one of dozens of reasons to love this city.
  • The “vests” are out in full force.
“Can I just get a minute of your time?” Uh, no.

In case this phenomenon is not happening in your burg, the “vests” are workers who occupy street corners and solicit donations for charity. They wear colored vests representing their causes – Children’s International, Greenpeace or whatnot. Sometimes they’re also called “chuggers,” short for “charity muggers.”

Continue reading “Are You Herding or Standing Apart?”

Heavy-Ass Weights & Brand Building Blocks

(Reading Time: 2 minutes)

I recently came across a quote from 8-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman that made me think about brand building blocks. The guy’s undeniably got a way with words:

“Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder.  But nobody wants to lift no heavy-ass weights.”

Heed this man’s lessons or he’ll bench-press you into next week.

When I present to or train brand leaders, I’ll often ask them what they hope to achieve with their branding efforts.  Almost always, I’ll hear some variation of the following:

Continue reading “Heavy-Ass Weights & Brand Building Blocks”

“If Our Competitors Are Doing it, It Must Be Working.”

(Reading Time: 2 minutes)

That’s what a former boss said to me, more than once, when I was a young brand manager. It was her way of justifying thoughtless, copycat strategy.

Besides raising some serious concerns about my own career path, this kind of thinking destroys brand growth. Here are some alternative statements that are more true: Continue reading ““If Our Competitors Are Doing it, It Must Be Working.””

For New Brand Ideas, Look Beyond Your Backyard

(Reading Time: 4 minutes)

We’re all looking for the next big thing – that silver-bullet product or that new brand idea that sets us apart from the pack and sends our growth curve rocketing ever skyward.

Trouble is, we often look in the wrong places. We’re waist-deep in the same data points, stuck between the walls of our narrowly-defined industries. We’re looking at the usual suspects and, inexplicably, expecting them to tell us something new. We’re turning over the dirt in our own backyards. Continue reading “For New Brand Ideas, Look Beyond Your Backyard”