Inventors Have the Faith of a Child

Adults make plans. They lean on their experience to repeat patterns of the past. Children have no such patterns to cloud innovative thinking. Innovation is a way of life for a child. They have no routine. No patterns. No proven models to use again and again. So, children are free to come up with brand-new […]

First Mover Advantage: Be a Submarine

One U.S. submariner posted the following account: “No matter the surface conditions, it’s typically very calm while submerged.” These great ships are out there patrolling the entire ocean, but no one is the wiser. Under the surface, new technology is operating in business too, and it gives companies first-mover advantage. Harvard Business Review studied the […]

Don’t Let Big Data Make You A Big Dummy

Does big data make your brand look fat? Every brand is currently focused on building customer loyalty networks. It’s all based on the classic business idiom: “Your best new business is your current customer.” It’s true. Gartner Group research can show that 80% of an average company’s future revenue comes from just 20% of their […]

The Best Way to Get Media Coverage is to Own the Media

We who manage large brands are accustomed to slow-moving waves of change. We stand by and watch as our competitors create a new technology. We wait and see as newcomers employ innovative media platforms, and we have always had time to react with a quick adjustment to the media plan just in time for the […]

Master the Art of Recovery

As online participation provides increased levels of consumer feedback, angry consumers are participating in your story as well. That’s why we are entering a new era of corporate listening. We have all purchased our license to social listening tools such as Sprout or BuzzSumo, but what do we do with all that power? Don’t be […]

Invest in Mental Real Estate

In advertising, the objective of storytelling is to cement a mental picture of your brand in the consumer brain. We use words like “awareness,” “relevance” and “preference” to describe the degree of cognitive impact we’ve made on our consumers. This is how we measure the effectiveness of our stories, however, there are some storytelling tricks […]

The Best Stories Are Not Told, They Are Made

As people move from advertising observers to brand participants, they transform from consumers of our message to co-creators of our message. This means advertisers must shift their focus from storytelling to storymaking. Storymaking is about creating tangible value. Leading-edge CEOs are granting marketing departments real authority to design more than advertising: They engineer the customer […]

The Triune Brain of Consumerism

Our job as storytellers is not only to entertain, but to change thought patterns in the human brain. We employ various tools to create cognitive dissonance, forcing disinterested consumers to pay attention and engage. Moving the consumer brain from disinterest toward loving our brand requires more than a rational argument woven into a story structure. […]

Where’s the “Gotcha?”

Ask yourself, “What’s different about this story?” Avoid the temptation to ever use a montage of lifestyle shots in advertising. If it can be found in a stock photo library, don’t shoot it again. The world has no use for one more photo of generic humans. Nobody notices nice advertising. People notice when you punch […]

Let’s Get Comfortable With Conflict

Conflict is captivating – Do something uncomfortable if you want to avoid becoming forgettable. Use giant, menacing robots to disrupt a peaceful island, for example. Although conflict can make ad executives squirm, it’s more than OK to have an antagonist in your branded content. If you haven’t seen it, watch the movie Megamind. Bad guys are the […]