06.23.2023Pride and Principle
Aligning a brand with a cause requires a lot more than rainbows and media buys.
in brandingabout 7 minutes
06.10.2023Positioning a Vision
Apple's introduction of Vision Pro provides a case study on the art of reframing expectations to cross the chasm.
in innovationabout 10 minutes
05.26.2023The Reality of Writing
One month into the WGA strike and many are questioning the value of writers on a cultural landscape that has plenty of alternatives for consumer attention.
in cultureabout 7 minutes
05.20.2023HBO Ghost
HBO Max is about to be rebranded as 'Max'. Is this a shift towards commonness or a bold marketing gamble?
in brandingabout 6 minutes
05.05.2023The Dark Triad
What a rise in stories about antiheroes tells us about consumer psychology.
in consumer-behaviorabout 5 minutes
08.10.2020The Customer Class
Producer Larry Vincent launches a new limited series podcast called The Customer Class, about the people every business must find and keep. The first episode features an interview with SoulCycle co-founder Julie Rice.
in Podcastabout 25 minutes
Do introverts have an advantage or a disadvantage in the workplace? How should we design the personality of our future AI colleagues? Bestselling author Matthew Pollard and Justine Cassell provide insight.
in Podcastabout 39 minutes
12.11.2018Men 2.0
Many experts believe that our societal attitudes about masculinity must change to achieve gender equality. Guests Michael Ian Black, Gary Barker, and Linda Tuncay Zayer join us for a discussion about how to redefine manhood.
in Podcastabout 46 minutes
Trust is viewed as an essential business success metric. But numerous studies suggest that our trust in governments, organizations and businesses has been declining. Guests Ben Boyd and Kent Grayson tackle the core issues.
in Podcastabout 34 minutes
Nostalgia is a powerful emotion and a frequent go-to for marketers. Nowhere is nostalgia more prevalent than in music. In this episode, we discuss the ins and outs of music-based nostalgia with guest Jesse K, Petr Janata and Rob Kozinets.
in Podcastabout 37 minutes
US consumers spend over $70 billion a year on care for their pets, a massive increase over the years. Guests Dan Miller, Loni Edwards and Renée Felice Smith unpack the behavior driving the trend.
in Podcastabout 35 minutes
American families are shrinking in size, making middle children an endangered species. New York Magazine's Adam Sternbergh and psychologist Catherine Salmon unpack the ramifications.
in Podcastabout 35 minutes
The world of work has been steadily changing since the 1970's. In the latest podcast, photojournalist Josh S. Rose shares insights from his profiles of Americans at work. And economic historian Louis Hyman unpacks the ramifications of the Temp Economy.
in Podcastabout 39 minutes
The best jobs in the future will go to those who can deliver creativity on demand. Guests Amy Aniobi, Allen Gannett and Page Moreau provide insights on how anyone can improve their creative game.
in Podcastabout 36 minutes
Leaders spend a lot of time asking what and why, but they might want to ask when more. Guests Daniel Pink, Jonah Berger and Kelley Gullo explain it all for us.
in Podcastabout 34 minutes
Facebook is back on the hot-seat and many users, including the author, are rethinking their relationships with the world's largest social network.
in Cultureabout 5 minutes
03.04.2018Safety Brands
Preference is an important measure of brand strength, yet it has many dimensions. One of those relates to safety.
in Brandingabout 3 minutes
02.27.2018Label Me This
Product labels possess hidden powers, as research tied to a court case over Red Bull proves. Guests Aradhna Krishna, Yann Cornil and Christina Perozzi provide insights.
in Podcastabout 29 minutes
Many brands are tying themselves to charitable causes in order to win consumer affection, but is it a good business strategy? Author Anne Bahr Thompson and USC marketing professor Adlai Wertman provide insights and answers.
in Podcastabout 30 minutes
The recent tragedy of Parkland, Florida is a wake-up call for Americans. However, there's a psychological force working against the cause.
in Causesabout 3 minutes
02.13.2018Generations, Part 2
A Millennial and an Xer walk into a room. When they leave, we get a podcast. Listen to the second installment of our two-part series on American generations, featuring an interview with bestselling author Neil Howe.
in Podcastabout 32 minutes
02.11.2018When Consumers Delegate
Managers learn to delegate, and so do consumers. New research reveals that it can create better satisfaction.
in Researchabout 2 minutes
02.06.2018Generations, Part 1
Amidst all the noise about Millennials, Xers and Boomers there's a real theory about generations and their power over business. Bestselling author Neil Howe explains it all for us on the latest podcast.
in Podcastabout 32 minutes
01.30.2018The Pitch
When you're making a pitch, your target knows a lot about your tactics. It's called persuasion knowledge. We interview bestselling author Paul Smith, and researchers Kent Grayson and Mathew Isaac for tips on how to wrangle it and make it work to your advantage.
in Podcastabout 32 minutes
01.28.2018How Curiosity Closes Sales
A new study reveals that when consumers are curious they are more likely to indulge themselves.
in Researchabout 3 minutes
01.23.2018Sounds Appealing
Sounds is the forgotten spice. In this episode we delve into the way that sound affects perceptions of brands and product experiences. Guests Maxime Goulet, Michael Lowe and Charles Spence provide useful examples.
in Podcastabout 30 minutes
01.21.2018More Than a March
The 2018 Women's March caps a year of striking momentum for women in America. But marketers have a lot more work to do to support the cause.
in Cultureabout 3 minutes
Feminism is making a come-back and marketers have latched on. But do female-forward campaigns achieve their goals? In this episode of the podcast we interview Heather LeFevre, Linda Ong, and Shelley Zalis for answers.
in Podcastabout 32 minutes
01.16.2018Blame it on the Clown
Most marketers shy away from horror experiences because they worry it will be too controversial for their brand. But there's a strong case to be made for the power of fright. In this podcast, we interview filmmaker Matt Kaplan and researcher Lea Dunn to explore the ways that fear can be used by brands to forge a bond with their customers.
in Podcastabout 27 minutes
01.16.2018Playing with Fyre
The Fyre Festival was one of the biggest cultural trainwrecks of 2017. But it holds important lessons about the power of social media and the allure of influencers. In our first podcast, we interview filmmaker Nicco Quiñones and culture analyst Linda Ong for insight on what it means for marketers.
in Podcastabout 28 minutes
01.07.2018Choice Without Preference
Most marketers subscribe to the belief that preference leads to choice. Yet consumers often choose against their preferences. A new study reveals why.
in Consumersabout 3 minutes
12.10.2017Sense and Psychology
Consumers have five senses. Yet marketers focus most attention on two alone. New research suggests that's a big mistake.
in Brand Experienceabout 3 minutes
12.03.2017Cash or Service?
Cause marketing is on the rise in response to growing consumer interest. But should your brand give cash or donate in-kind?
in Researchabout 3 minutes
11.19.2017Don't Call Them Pets
Pet ownership has surged in the US, and so, too, have attitudes and perceptions about the role of pets in our lives.
in Consumersabout 3 minutes
11.12.2017From Social to Sales
While more and more brands switch their advertising spend to social media channels, how much of that spend leads to a direct sale?
in Social Mediaabout 3 minutes
11.05.2017When We Throw Caution To The Wind
New research reveals that consumers get a little more carefree with beloved devices when an upgrade is on the horizon
in Marketingabout 3 minutes
10.29.2017The Gender Quotient
Gender marketing is a skills test and a risky endeavor that punishes more often than it rewards. America's evolving attitudes and opinions about gender lie at the heart of the challenge.
in Cultureabout 3 minutes
10.22.2017From Y to Z
A new study provides a glimpse at the challenges marketers may face with Generation Z. They hate ads. They know how to block them. And they expect more for their attention.
in Consumersabout 3 minutes
10.15.2017When Brands Betray Us
At the root of the Harvey Weinstein scandal is a very real sense of betrayal. A new study explores how consumers react when their brands fail them catastrophically.
in Researchabout 4 minutes
10.01.2017Where Has the Time Gone?
When they're not at work, sleeping, or tending to the requirements of their day, Americans are shifting more and more of their time to media
in Researchabout 3 minutes
09.24.2017Focused and Fit
Knowing whether the glass is half full or half empty makes all the difference in messaging to your target audience
in Researchabout 3 minutes
09.17.2017Managing Human Brands
When managing a human brand (including your own), there is one metric that matters most
in Brandingabout 4 minutes
09.10.2017When Donald Met Chuck
One of the biggest political headlines this week offered a case study in a frequent brand challenge
in Brandingabout 3 minutes
08.27.2017When Father Wants To Know Best
There's a new generation of Dads emerging. They're more engaged, more excited ... and more insecure than their predecessors.
in consumersabout 4 minutes
08.20.2017Don't like me. Recommend me.
Word-of-mouth may be the most valuable form of promotion, but not all shout-outs are created equal.
in marketingabout 3 minutes
08.13.2017The Thing To Fear
Fear is on the rise. Conventional wisdom suggests this is bad for brands and for marketers. But new research suggests otherwise.
in researchabout 3 minutes
08.06.2017Experts, Shmexperts
When making your case, it's tempting to rely on experts. But consumers are increasingly shunning experts and relying on confident amateurs.
in influenceabout 3 minutes
07.30.2017The Power of Pause
An order for shoes offers a case study in what's wrong with most email marketing and also reveals the seed of a cultural trend
in essayabout 4 minutes
07.16.2017Marketing in the Time of Snapchat
Branding relies upon a story that lives inside the consumer's brain. But that story is changing in an era when stories appear and evaporate in a fraction of a second.
in brandingabout 5 minutes
07.09.2017Symbols and Stereotypes
What happens when your brand symbolizes something offensive to others? How much do logos incite bad behavior? The case of the Washington Redskins.
in brandingabout 3 minutes
07.02.2017Is ESPN Destined to Become the Next Ticketmaster?
As consumers continue cutting cords, ESPN is facing the biggest business challenge in its history. New research indicates its brand is also at risk.
in brandsabout 4 minutes
06.25.2017From Badging to Hacking
Being t-shirt worthy was once the imperative for brand managers. But consumers have drifted away from badging brands to confer status. Instead, they seek ways to hack the brand's cultural currency to satisfy their social media reach.
in brandingabout 3 minutes
06.18.2017Are You In or Not?
Making consumers feel that they are on the outside looking in is a common marketing tactic, but recent research indicates it might be very risky.
in strategyabout 3 minutes
06.11.2017Do Brands Do Better by Going Green?
Many brands are positioning themselves as environmentally-conscious leaders. But how much does a green brand strategy drive sales and influence brand attitudes?
in researchabout 3 minutes
06.03.2017No Pain. No Gain.
Conventional wisdom dictates that brands should provide comfort to consumers and ease their pain. But a new study reveals circumstances when pain is welcomed.
in experienceabout 3 minutes
05.14.2017Sex and Brands
According to recent data, Americans are having less sex. They're also having fewer children. What does it mean for marketers?
in consumersabout 3 minutes
04.30.2017Fyre Danger
What marketers can learn from the fate of the social media's newest favorite failure.
in cultureabout 4 minutes
04.22.2017Give The Gift of Experience
New research on gift giving suggests that experiential gifts deliver more bang for the buck in building personal relationships
in researchabout 4 minutes
04.15.2017Unapologetic Data
A fire hose of data both blesses and curses brand managers. The trick is not getting lost in the data or fogetting the humans it represents.
in essayabout 4 minutes
04.09.2017From Habits to Rituals
In the quest to become indispensable to consumers more brands should consider how they can ritualize their brand experience
in brandingabout 5 minutes
03.12.2017When Labels Matter
How the subtle use of specific words to define your target audience makes a significant difference in the performance of your brand
in brandingabout 3 minutes
03.05.2017Why the Uber Brand is Probably Not in Danger ... Yet
Despite a spate of bad press and questionable behavior, most consumers will tolerate the Uber brand out of sheer necessity and proven behavioral economics.
in brandingabout 6 minutes
02.12.2017Confessions of a Strat-o-Saur
Brands are relying on functional positioning more than ever before, raising the question: am I becoming extinct?
in brandingabout 5 minutes
01.29.2017Skip B-School. Study Life.
The 3 subject areas to master if you want to become a great brand strategist
in brandingabout 9 minutes
01.22.2017Seduce Me Today. Love Me Tomorrow.
Customer satisfaction is the driving objective of most successful brands. But new research suggests that satisfied customers are harder to please. What's a brand to do? Seduce them with the promise of something different tomorrow.
in consumersabout 6 minutes
01.15.2017Rebooting the American Brand
Does The American Dream still resonate with today's consumers? A new study says it might be fading. Three factors are key to connecting the promise of America with modern brands.
in brandingabout 8 minutes
01.08.2017Go Analog
For all the excitement created by the latest innovations, American Greetings reminds us that some old-school products are equally great at capturing our hearts.
in brandingabout 3 minutes
12.18.2016Beyond Challengers. A cycle of brand types
It's time to evolve our thinking about challenger brands. They are not an end-state, but rather a phase. Success depends on knowing when your challenger days have passed.
in brandingabout 8 minutes
12.11.2016The Hidden Life of Sharing
The sharing economy grows and grows, but the richest value in sharing is lost. It's not what we send out but what we do together that makes sharing meaningful.
in consumersabout 7 minutes
12.07.2016Acts of Curation
In the marketing world, curation is the buzzword of choice. But what does it mean to be a curator and how do curators add value?
in cultureabout 4 minutes
11.29.2016And that's the way it is
The news industry has a serious branding challenge. To regain its credibility and stature it may be time to start from scratch.
in brandingabout 5 minutes
11.22.2016System Quo
In the wake of the 2016 Presidential Election Americans look toward the power of an abandoned status quo
in cultureabout 5 minutes
11.15.2016When Your TV Binge Doesn't Flow
Binge-watching is growing and content creators are rising to meet the demand. But making it profitable presents a few specific challenges.
in mediaabout 3 minutes
11.12.2016Why trolls troll
As America reacts to a divisive election, many are flaming and unfriending on social media. What drives a friend to become a troll?
in cultureabout 7 minutes
11.05.2016When Men Decide Together, Compromise Takes a Hike
A new study reveals that men are more likely to reject compromise when they make decisions with other men.
in researchabout 6 minutes
11.02.2016Burberry uses cinematic trailer to tell its story
Burberry released a three minute Cinematic Trailer to celebrate its 160th anniversary. But the real story revolves around what's missing.
in storytellingabout 1 minute
You can learn a lot about generational differences by looking at how each cohort names its babies.
in cultureabout 5 minutes
10.22.2016A Field Guide to Lies
Mark Twain claimed there were three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Best-selling author and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin's new book A Field Guide to Lies revisits this sentiment.
in interviewabout 0 minute
06.06.2016Grit: The Essential Ingredient
Conventional leadership literature is obsessed with talent. Author Angela Duckworth argues such fascination is misplaced.
in interviewabout 0 minute
12.07.201420 Minutes of Storytelling
While it is easy to fall prey to writer's block, it is just as easy to unlock a good story. This exercise will get you to a beginning, middle and end in less time than it takes to watch a sitcom.
in writingabout 1 minute
10.11.2014How Google Works
Google is one of the world's most admired companies. I had the privilege of interviewing Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg on their new book
How Google Works
in interviewabout 0 minute
08.05.2014Questioning the Decoy
Price is an often over-looked brand touch point. And not because of what it says, but because of what it implies.
in marketingabout 3 minutes
01.23.2014Brand Dependence
It's often said that you are what you drive. The latest wave of Brand Dependence research indicates that might be more true than you realize.
in researchabout 0 minute
11.09.2013What your tech brand really needs
For brands, awareness certainly matters, but it is a low-level measure of a brand's true strength. We suggest these five focus areas to truly ensure a brand's longevity and strength.
in brandingabout 4 minutes
10.27.2013What the world needs now: love-actions
It's easy to get lost in the feeling of love. But love is also a verb. To feel it, you have to do it.
in essayabout 3 minutes
10.17.2013The Maker Movement Manifesto: A conversation with Mark Hatch on a creative revolution
Chris Anderson has called the maker movement the next big thing. Leading the way is TechShop. To learn more about how it is empowering a new generation of inventors and entrepreneurs I interviewed CEO Mark Hatch at Live Talks LA.
in interviewabout 3 minutes
10.15.2013A Historian's Thoughts on America's Identity
When we think of brand identities we often forget that nations have them, too. Historian Joyce Appleby suggests a profound ideal that lies of the root of the American brand.
in identityabout 1 minute
10.12.2013Telling a Story Without a Literal Narrative
The word "story" makes many think of words. But a story can surface with images, sounds, even scents.
in storytellingabout 3 minutes
10.07.2013Storytelling and Points of Relation
When telling a story, clearly set your point of departure so that your audience can anchor in and relate from there.
in storytellingabout 3 minutes
10.04.2013A Lesson in Storytelling from Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais reminds us that whether you're writing a report for your job or penning a new novel, the key to good storytelling is relating.
in perspectivesabout 1 minute
09.25.2013Keep Pretending
It's Jim Henson's birthday. And his note from the grave instructs us to focus on the things that really matter in this life.
in essayabout 3 minutes
06.14.2013True Life Adventure
A trip to Alaska reminds me of the adventures I imagined when I was a child and seduced by a forgotten Disney gem.
in essayabout 1 minute
06.06.2013Dollar Shave Club: Part IV
In my ongoing ode to Dollar Shave Club, I commend them for smart brand extension.
in brandingabout 1 minute
05.11.2013Dollar Shave Club: Part III
Dollar Shave Club continues its track record of brand consistency with the launch of Dr. Carver's Shave Butter.
in brandingabout 1 minute
04.14.2013Branding by price
While many think that price is the antithesis of branding, it is actually a powerful positioning tool.
in brandingabout 2 minutes
03.12.2013The Naming Exchange
While the memorability of your brand name matters, there's another facet of naming that matters more.
in brandingabout 2 minutes
03.02.2013Brand Real at Drucker Family Forum
I ventured to KPCC's Drucker Family Forum to chat with Matt DeBord about my new book, Brand Real
in brand realabout 0 minute
02.04.2013In defense of Super Bowl commercials ... when executed well
The death of advertising is a bit premature, especially when considering the category's standard-bearer: the Super Bowl spot.
in advertisingabout 3 minutes
01.19.2013Selling Well with Daniel Pink
I interviewed Daniel Pink about his new book, To Sell Is Human for Live Talks LA.
in interviewabout 1 minute
12.07.2012What it really means to be a Challenger Brand
Challenger brands are a unique species identified by three essential qualities.
in brandingabout 4 minutes
07.20.2012From Mad Men to Brand Real
Mad Men's Don Draper delivered compelling truths to his fictional clients. Today’s business managers need their own reality check.
in brand realabout 0 minute
06.18.2012Typecasting and Brand Architecture
Human beings are natural categorizers. Brand architecture is how a brand satisfies our need to sort.
in brandingabout 3 minutes
05.14.2012The Hunt for Real Creativity in Advertising
It has never been more important for advertisers and brands to consider the story they want to tell consumers. The answer is not in the ads.
in advertisingabout 4 minutes
04.25.2012Great Brand Experiences Change Behavior
The best brand experiences compel consumers to behave in specific ways.
in brandingabout 2 minutes
04.10.2012What Avon Can Learn from Instagram
Avon just hired a new CEO to reverse an ongoing decline in sales. Her best advice might come from some unlikely digital sources.
in brandingabout 3 minutes
03.31.2012Stuck on You
The real value of a brand isn't how much it is liked by people. It's how much people feel the brand is like them.
in brand realabout 1 minute
03.20.2012The 2 Critical Story Skills They Don't Teach in School
Storytelling is ingrained in the human psyche, yet we do very little to teach our children to tell stories or to find them in the world.
in storytellingabout 1 minute
03.19.2012What If Hipsters Designed Brand Logos?
Life in the hipster branding world is a sea of ironic ubiquity.
in linksabout 0 minute
03.17.2012Leading a Brand
A new study finds that transformational and transactional leadership is better for long-term brand health.
in brandingabout 0 minute
03.14.2012Dollar Shave Club, Part II
Dollar Shave Club is an excellent example of Brand Real. It marries a credible promise to a compelling experience.
in brandingabout 1 minute
03.07.2012The Folly of Standing Out Before Standing Up
Authenticity and service-delivery are the gold standards by which brands are judged. The outdated premise of standing out first comes with a lot of baggage.
in brandingabout 1 minute
03.05.2012Scout's Honor
There are many words used to describe a brand's platform. But one word is often conspicuously missing.
in brandingabout 3 minutes
02.20.2012Wage a Campaign Inside
The campaign methods used by political entities are a good model for making change inside a brand.
in brandingabout 2 minutes
02.20.2012The Road to and From Memory
Branding works on consumer memory. The best brands are easily memorized.
in brandingabout 2 minutes
02.20.2012Stake Promises, Not Positions
Though they are often used interchangeably, a brand promise is very different from a brand position.
in brandingabout 3 minutes
01.23.2012Live or Memorex?
There's a rebellion growing against brands. And it's driven by brands that think it's ok to fool consumers after they leave the cash register.
in brandingabout 1 minute
12.12.2011You Say Blackwater, They Say Academi
In an effort to distance itself from recent history, Blackwater has rebranded. The business is the same. The name is now Academi.
in brandingabout 1 minute
11.28.20115 Great Branding Books
If you're looking to dive deep, here are five must-reads that capture critical perspectives in the art and science of branding.
in brandingabout 1 minute
11.25.2011Why is Black Friday Black?
Color names can provide a powerful influence over brand identity--an influence that is often counter-intuitive.
in brandingabout 1 minute
11.21.2011Lifestyles of the Rich
It's tempting to assume affluent consumers are shallow. But a new study demonstrates that the wealthiest favor brands that have a cause.
in cultureabout 0 minute
11.21.2011Laying Equity
Several retailers have reintroduced layaway, and the results are surprising. Consumers value what you sell more when they work for it.
in brandingabout 1 minute
06.05.2011Answer the Question
Great stories hinge on a question. This is as true for the great American novel as it is for a business report. To tell a better story, lean on your question.
in storytellingabout 5 minutes
06.19.2010An open letter
On the eve of a new iPhone, some heartfelt thoughts to Apple and his deadbeat friend.
in brandingabout 1 minute
05.09.2010Healthcare for Brands on A Budget
In recessionary times brands need to monitor their health and make the most of every investment.
in brandingabout 7 minutes
05.23.2009Toward Sustainable Branding
Is your brand a seasonal or a perennial? What does it take to brand for the long haul?
in brandingabout 3 minutes
04.11.2009Extensions and Deep Cues
In a down economy many brand managers review their brand architecture to determine what to cut and what to nourish. A new study offers guidance.
in brandingabout 3 minutes
03.06.2009Branding in a Troubled Economy
When times are tough, brands have new decisions to consider. Here's an overview of how to navigate the water.
in brandingabout 0 minute
02.22.2009Brand Preference, Experience and Memory
Great brand experiences have a profound effect on the way consumers remember.
in brandingabout 2 minutes
11.16.2008The Dark Side
How the US government seized control of a trademark to thwart a band of outlaws
in namingabout 0 minute
10.11.2008Storytelling Architecture
Narrative has an architecture. And it's the key to better branding.
in brandingabout 2 minutes