Creative Expression in the Digital Era

Though the image of the solo creative genius is inspiring, you might be surprised to know that, for centuries, artists regularly used assistants and apprentices – Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Rubens all relied quite heavily on them in their studios. With the proper support, the work of one genius can be magnified. This is strikingly evident when viewing Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and then learning of the extensive support he received from numerous assistants who helped with everything from mixing paints and scrambling up and down ladders, to one highly trusted assistant being allowed to...

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Active Boomers. Active Brands.

More and more lately, as I’m scrolling through Facebook updates from friends and family of the Baby Boomer generation, the captions I’m reading are pretty impressive, almost to the point of envy: “We just got back from a two-week biking tour through Italy,” “Dad has been playing the best golf of his life down here in Hilton Head, even got a hole in one today,” or “My Mom, so excited about finishing her first 10k, she’s now training for the NYC marathon next fall.” These Facebook posts are not the exception, but the norm. Baby Boomers, ranging generally in age from 53-70 years...

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What Do Consumers Think of Your Brand?

Consumers can be fickle, deliberate, organized, chaotic, or all the above in a matter of minutes (or seconds). We know this as marketers, because we spend our days trying to better understand what they want and need. Not only that, but we are consumers as well. I try to remember my role as both marketer and consumer when I fill my Amazon shopping cart and then check prices at other sites in an attempt to get the best deal; or when my mom or sister recommends a new kitchen gadget and texts me a link. I think of this dual role when I’m comparing hotel rooms and flights, attempting to squeeze...

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Creating Your Ultimate Brand Dream Team

The Super Bowl might as well be a national holiday. The game itself is sacred to the most loyal of fans. The real spectacle though, are the events surrounding the game, from pregame festivities and the halftime extravaganza, to the national conversation about the best commercials. At $5 million per 30 seconds, these ads had better spark attention! If nothing else, Super Bowl 50 validates the old adage, “Go big or go home.” From “go big” to “small and smart.” However, we shouldn’t let the enormity of this event or how it captures our football-crazed consciousness overshadow a...

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Branding in a Selfie Nation

Nothing can make a somewhat hip parent feel old like an afternoon of hanging out with a pack of 11-year-olds. You enter their world and it's a swirl of synthesized music, pounding beats, bright colors and styles, and even a stylized lingo that only they seem to fully understand. These kids are a regular cyclone of sounds and snacks, eating and singing their way across what you once considered a tranquil home, but now appears as a colonized tween nation. Then in a split-second, they've moved off to the seclusion of bedrooms and rec rooms, sanctuaries away from “uncool” parents, leaving you...

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4 Ways to Rock Out Your Brand Strategy

As a kid in third grade, I was the founding member of the “KISS Kool Klub.” Like millions of young fans across the globe, KISS spoke to my friends and I musically and visually. Actually, my fascination with the group also landed me in hot water. Even back then, I was obsessed with drawing and graphic design. Well, give a youngster who loves to sketch a ballpoint pen and the school bus seat in front of him as a canvas, and you can imagine what happened next – I drew the KISS logo and the faces of the band members on that seat. I thought it was quality work, but it got me kicked off the...

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Brand Investing for Startups

On several occasions, I've gotten to experience what I can only describe as the startup rush – that shot of adrenaline our team feels when meeting with a new client preparing to enter the marketplace. It's inspiring to witness the undeniable gleam in a client's eyes and their sense of determination as they share how their product or service will succeed in winning over customers and investors in a competitive landscape. These startup clients already have a strong advantage – they recognize that branding is not a luxury, but a vital investment of their capital. As soon as they had enough...

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Small City, Big Brands

New York City has long been known as the ad capital of the United States but, when it comes to brand marketing, the Queen City aims to be King. Cincinnati, Ohio has been making a solid case for becoming the next great marketing hub in the U.S. In fact, Ad Age recently called Cincinnati “the center of the consumer marketing universe.” The strong concentration of consumer branding has, over time, attracted a broader range of marketing communication professionals – bringing fresh thinking to a town once solely known as P&G country. 3 Reasons Cincinnati is No Longer a Flyover Town in...

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Humanizing Your Brand in Today's Marketplace

I’ve always tried to use humor as a way to connect with people – make somebody laugh and they’ll instantly relate to you on a human level. Like making new friends, successful marketing requires a human connection too. Regardless of whether or not you’re in a B2B industry, you're marketing to a person and not a business. Brands that make a human connection have a key advantage when standing out in today's marketplace. Grabbing a smartphone allows your potential prospect to research anything in just a matter of seconds. This instant access has drastically changed the way people are...

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Top 5 Expectations You Deserve from Your Brand Agency

A brand agency partner can be compared to your best or worst navigation tool, so it’s imperative to be aware when you're no longer getting to where you need to be. Over the past 15 years, my partners and I have operated our own brand agency and have been privy to clients sharing their experiences regarding why they decided to switch over and start working with our team. In all fairness, sometimes it's had nothing to do with the performance of another agency, but was instead due to a company's internal politics. However, I have noticed a pattern over the years as to when clients realize they...

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