Will enlightened consumers stop buying your brand?

August 23, 2016

Brands were created to make us happy - for a fleeting moment, at any rate. After that moment passed, they trained us to be dissatisfied until we hit the 'buy' button again.

But lately, something strange has been happening.

Blame it on sustainability or internet-induced transparency. Blame it on people getting fed up with feeling compelled to buy more on smaller paychecks. Blame it on enlightenment.

Today, people want to be makers, or they want to enjoy experiences. Buying new shiny things is starting to look less, well, shiny.

In this context, I wanted to introduce you to John Habibi.

John caught my eye because his business was teaching tech entrepreneurs to close more deals and take more time off. As I spend most of my time in tech, this promise seemed like the holy grail. Intoxicating, and unreachable.

When I dug a bit deeper, it turned out John was helping these entrepreneurs discover mindfulness and spirituality through meditation. Again, a concept that seemed incongruent with my impression of the average alpha tech entrepreneur.

John and I have had a number of conversations on his practice, and how our yearning for something 'more' than material success is changing the face of our society. As a brand specialist, I dug into his thoughts on how mindfulness could destroy brands, or reshape them.


A brand perspective on Trump, Clinton, and the future of American politics.

July 31, 2016

To many of us, the 2016 presidential race is moving from baffling to bewildering. But if you look into the science of worldviews, a pattern begins to emerge. Even more interesting, this pattern mirrors the evolution brands must undergo to thrive and survive in our turbulent world.

To give this bizarre state of affairs coherence and make it easy to understand, I invited behavioral scientist John Marshall Roberts aboard for a lively discussion. Fasten your seatbelts!


Has advertising lost its focus on innovation?

July 18, 2016

Leading North American companies used to be headed by engineers and innovators. Today, however, managers and accountants hold the reins. The result? Less focus on innovation, and more on efficiency and maintaining revenue.

Advertising is no different. Today, the owners of agencies and networks are vast holding companies that don't put much stock in risky new ideas.

That has created a crisis in confidence in the sector, with vital young talent departing for more innovative careers in sectors like tech.

Andrew Carty's agency Send+Receive is rethinking the role of agencies, and changing a number of accepted practices to put the focus back where it belongs. Crafting great ideas.

Andrew joined me for a lively discussion where we covered issues as far-reaching as billable hours vs outcomes, and the failure of consumer insights to generate ads worth watching.


How to save advertising, one dollar at a time

July 7, 2016

Requests for Proposal, or RFP's, have become the bane of the ad industry because they reward agencies for undercutting competitors on price. What results is antagonistic relationships and mistrust between the winning agency and client. The result is almost always the same - the client leaves the agency prematurely, looking for a happier relationship - and an even lower price.

Cal Harrison is a champion of QBS, or Qualification Based Selection, a methodology for agency selection that takes price bidding out of the agency selection process. I chatted with Cal on the toxic environment agencies are finding themselves in on a regular basis because of RFPs, the 'order-taker' mentality that has ensued, and what a world of creative difference QBS would make.


Can Brands Survive our Toxic Communication Environment?

June 16, 2016

Public discourse has denigrated into toxic shouting matches. Whether it's political debates, climate change or the message emanating from big brands surrounding flashpoint issues (big oil or the gun lobby, for example), we've seen critical thinking, engagement and constructive dialogue be thrown by the wayside in exchange for headline-grabbing abuse and shrill megaphone matchups.

PR expert and celebrated author Jim Hoggan has just released an incredible book - I'm right and you're an idiot - that dissects our language's destruction by a host of forces. Together, we explore some of the highlights and surprises of his book, and dig into the implication for brands trying to build an audience that alternates between shell shock and cynical disbelief.


Decoding Happiness - Key to Creating a Futureproof Brand?

June 1, 2016

Selling happiness (and unhappiness) through consumption is a concept as old as planned obsolesence itself. But consumers are tiring of the merry go round, and brands that want to survive and thrive into the future need to redefine how they make consumers happy.

This is a topic that fascinates me, and is the subject of exploration in my book. In this episode, I bring aboard renowned psychologist, author and all-around good guy John Marshall Roberts to discuss our natural happy state, and how brands can augment it.


Culture and the Futureproof Company

May 20, 2016

Culture is a word everyone in the corporate world uses, but few understand. One thing is certain - companies with a strong culture outperform their rivals in everything from productivity to employee retention.

So how does a company 'get culture'? David Reeve, author of Unleash Culture, has made corporate culture his career. He joins me to discuss how to create a vibrant culture, what the benefits are, and what impact culture can have in brand building.


Digging Deep to Decode Millenials

May 2, 2016

Millenials are elusive consumers for many brands. What's worse, glimpses into their value systems are often superficial and obvious - not the sort of information brands can harness.

To dig deeper into the motivations and psychology of millenials, I chatted with behavioral psychologist John Marshall Roberts. Together, we unearthed insights that could be pure gold for brands trying to tap the millenial market.


Building Stress Relief into Brands

April 22, 2016

We live in a world of increasing stress. How can brands help us reduce that debilitating feeling? Certified mental fitness and performance coach Sara Wegwitz provides insights into good stress, bad stress, and the role brands could play in helping us cope.


Decoding Digital Slavery

April 5, 2016

In my book Didn't See It Coming, I devoted an entire chapter to our uneasy relationship with relentlessly advancing technology.

In this podcast with behavioral psychologist John Marshall Roberts, we explore a fascinating new twist in the human / tech paradigm - digital slavery.

Why is it we're compelled to check our phone every few seconds? How do we completely lose track of time as we mindlessly surf? What makes us neglect our real relationships as we pursue the online variety?

Join us as we explore the digital slavery phenomenon, and gain valuable insights into how you can break out of bondage.