Tackle Your Brand Vulnerability – or Be Prepared to Lose

Tweet When former US-President Bill Clinton proclaims that the three largest global soda manufacturers have declared their intent to reduce sugary calories by 1/5 within a decade, you can be assured of two things. One, it’s a pretty damn important message. Two, every media outlet imaginable is going to carry your message in their next news cycle. […]

How Winning Brands balance Purpose and Profit

Tweet   There are those who continue to frame the role of business in purely commercial terms. Business is hard enough, and the demands of shareholders and the markets so insistent, these people say, that companies need to avoid the ‘distractions’ of infusing a moral platform into what they do. They should just get on […]

Business Leaders, How Self-Aware Are You?

Tweet     In hindsight I should’ve anticipated there’d be a backlash. You can’t put “Provocateur” into your LinkedIn title without expecting some provocation to come back at ya. Some debate. Some discussion. Some disagreement. That’s just karma. Titling a recent post “Without Purpose Your Organization is Rudderless” wasn’t just an attempt to score highly […]

Without Purpose, Your Organization is Rudderless

Tweet   Thank god for Hollywood and the characters, icons, metaphors and phrases it’s created. When I tell my clients “Help me, help you. Help ME, Help YOU” they immediately picture Tom Cruise and Jerry McGuire. Sometimes I’m even on my knees imploring them like the scene in the movie just so they get the […]

Gold Medal Performance: Under Armour at the Sochi Olympics

Tweet Few things unite Canadians like a sale at Canadian Tire, an election for Toronto’s new mayor or the opportunity, sorry Northern Europe and US readers, to remind the world that we are the greatest hockey playing nation on the planet. And there is no bigger stage than the Winter Olympics to prove that. But […]

Lessons From The Best Challenger Brand Advertising Of All Time

Tweet I have a real emotional attachment to Challenger brands. The brands that look squarely in the eyes of the incumbents, the Goliaths of a category, and say “There is a better way and here it is”. I just love that focus, that chutzpah, that sense of purpose. While Challenger brands can manifest their purpose […]

The rot that is eating your brand from the inside

Tweet Regular readers of this blog will know how passionately I feel about the business of brand building. And how building brands is more than an exercise in communications, distribution, pricing and doing some bemusing stuff in social media. Its about culture too. The strongest brands have a clear purpose and direction. A unifying call […]

Brand value must mean more than Shareholder Return

Tweet A very lively, and somewhat lubricated, conversation ensued last night with several friends in the marketing field. After cheering Canada’s narrow win over Latvia in Sochi, we got into a very philosophical discussion on brand value, worth and purpose. The consensus? We need a better, more consolidated lens to evaluate business and brands today. […]

Scale and Personalization. Two opposing forces in building brand purpose

Tweet One of my favourite business quotations has to be “With great power comes great responsibility” Okay okay I acknowledge that Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben isn’t Peter Drucker or Michael Porter but the core of that statement couldn’t be more true of today’s marketer. An old friend breaks it down like this. Marketers really have […]

Challenger, Cult or Citizen? What type of brand are you building?

Tweet In the heady days of the dot-com boom I moved to New York to run the Enron business at Ogilvy. Yes, you can blame the entire global meltdown on me. As I struggled to make sense of this new type of business, I drew heavily on two books that now hold real sentimental value […]