Tools for an uncertain age: in conversation with Todd Sivers

February 7, 2017

Todd Sivers is an experienced personal coach with a unique system for helping people unlock their potential. To him, the tension we're seeing between our regressive politics and our unprecedented technological leaps is simply part of a global growing pains.

In this conversation, we chat about everything from the oversaturation of self-help, our insatiable desire to think change without creating change, and our vast untapped human potential. An entertaining chat, with an abundance of learnings for anyone wondering how we as humans are going to, well, deal with it all.

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Trump the candidate, Trump the president, and the brand gap.

January 30, 2017

There's no arguing Donald Trump the candidate had a distinct brand. But now that he's president, that brand needs to shift. Can he cross the gap?

CFAX 1070's Mark Brennae invited me to talk about which elements of the Trump brand should remain consistent, which need to be retooled, and what will happen if he can't make the transition.

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McDonald’s peanut scandal: is this a Didn’t See It Coming moment?

January 20, 2017

Today, we woke up with the news that McDonald's had decided to launch a new McFlurry with loose nuts - instead of the standard pre-packaged nuts. In a heartbeat, social media lit up as parents of children with peanut allergies decried the move as traitorous.

Was this a Didn't See It Coming moment? Did McDonald's know what it was doing? Why did the food giant turn its back on so many of its core consumers?

CFAX 1070 Radio asked me to weigh in on the move. Here's the interview.

 

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Finding the profit that’s in plain sight.

January 19, 2017

Anne Graham is an expert in something that should be obvious, but isn't - finding profit that's sitting right in front of you. Her insights are both brilliant and brilliantly simple - for example, focus like a laser on bringing value to your existing clients, instead of perpetually chasing new customers to fill the bucket.

Why can't we make our lives easy and more profitable. This entertaining conversation reveals how human nature often is our greatest stumbling block.

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How to bring integrity back to marketing? Just ask consumers.

January 4, 2017

There is no stronger marketing than consumer reviews and word of mouth. Sadly, where there's an opportunity, there's an opportunity to scam the system. Enter fake reviews, rigged search results and skewed price recommendations.

Mark How and Shopswell are turning the tables on these lamentable practices, and bringing the integrity back to review marketing. In this conversation, Mark and I explore the essence of the Shopswell idea, how consumers are incentivized to tell the truth, and why it works.

Check out the entertaining conversation, and rediscover your love for word of mouth - the original (and still the best) tool of marketing.

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Don’t let your brand ruin Christmas

December 21, 2016

For most of us, Christmas can be a tad stressful. And companies that assault us with terrible ads, grating songs and depersonalized cards only make things worse.

In the spirit of the season, I went on the air with Mark Brennae of CFAX 1070 and created a Santa's list of wishes for brands that want to brighten, not dampen, the mood of their audience at Christmas. 

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Fake news, echo chambers and cultural collision - what can brands do?

December 17, 2016

Fake news and echo chambers became headline issues during the recent US election. Whether it was outrageous stories fabricated by the pseudo-press to lure clicks (and ad dollars), or algorithms set up by social media to feed viewers stories that reinforced their worldview while blocking contrary thoughts, the phenomenon raised a disturbing question: are we losing our grip on the truth, and becoming a hostile, fearful world?

I believe brands can play a key role in reversing this trend. After all, they've done it in the past.

Consider Coke's I'd like to teach the world to sing commercial, which gave us a brief respite from political, racial and social tensions during the late 60's.  Or the famous United Colours of Bennetton ads that forced us to confront our racial, sexual and societal prejudices in the 80's.

There is terrific upside for brands that are brave enough today to challenge our fear and hostility towards the 'other'. Which brands will seize the opportunity?

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From marketing to innovation: the Spring Advertising story.

December 7, 2016

Yesterday, I had a terrific conversation with Spring Advertising founder and Creative Director Rob Schlyecher.

Like myself, Rob believes the classic ad agency model is flawed. His 'a-ha' moment came when he created a  campaign that enabled his clients to sell their company for millions - while Spring was paid a nominal (in hindsight) fee. 

That got Rob scratching his head and wondering how he could avoid this sort of conundrum in the future. His solution? Create products, instead of just selling them for others. 

Sure, other agencies have done it. But most of them have failed, because they don't get the entrepreneurial (vs service industry) mindset.

Spring seems to be charting a course for success in innovation. Their first product, Poop Like A Champion cereal, is selling out.

If you'd like to get in on Rob's secret, listen to the podcast here.

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The matchmaker for brands looking for better agency love

November 28, 2016

The world of brands (like the world in general) is becoming more complex.

Where the rule was once to find an 'integrated' agency capable of handling all requests, the mood today is shifting toward finding a raft of specialized shops, then 'conducting' them like a symphony.

AgencySparks was launched to meet the growing need for hyperspecialized matchmaking. Founder and CEO Joe Koufman joined me in a conversation on the shifting priorities of brands, the willingness of big brands to trade the stability of one agency for the greater performance of many smaller shops working together, and how to make this all work - both logistically and in the presence of competing egos.

 

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Trump, Clinton, and the rebirth of brand USA

October 31, 2016

To the world, the US has always been more than a country - it represented an idea of dreams pursued and happiness attained. Now, with the impending US election, that concept has taken a body blow.

Has the US fallen? Or is this merely a rebirth by fire? If it is indeed a rebirth, what will the new brand USA become?

To shed some light on the psychological implications of the election, the candidates, and the zeitgeist, I invited my old friend and collaborator John Marshall Roberts for a discussion on the issues beneath the surface. What we unearthed was both disturbing and - for the long run - reassuring. Enjoy the conversation!

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