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8 Social Media Marketing Strategies to Beat Big Brands

There are social media physics and if you understand how it all goes around, it’s easier to win the popularity contest. Here are the strategies that work across all social media marketing communications. If you …

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How to Create Amazing, Simple, Flexible Brand Assets

Many of the in-house marketing creative teams I meet are relegated to "production work" tasks to retool internal communications to be "on brand". There are real creative challenges facing these teams. Once the brand strategy …

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Why The Hero Narrative Works for Brand Strategy

There is a heroic narrative connected to commerce, baked into our evolutionary psychology. When we spend money, we become the hero to fulfill this narrative. This is why brand and storytelling are precisely linked. The fact of this connection is smart news for brand …

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Do Not Advertise to Attract Core Members

If you really want to attract core members to your plan, club, or union, do not advertise. Do not let them find you easily online. Make your name hard to recognize, preferably using foreign words. …

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Free Coffee Bar Community Experiment

If I repeatedly offer something free to a community or to a client, when do they become entitled to have it? For how long should this person recall my generosity? What about the nonprofit organizations …

Community-Blog-KimL

Why Core Members Are Your Best Brand Ambassadors

When my older brother Michael started our martial arts Dojo in 2006, I thought I understood how to build and manage community organizations. In fact, it was marketing communications that I knew, which clearly was …

Community-Blog-DaveJ

Circle Communities for Your Best Brand Strategy

The word "community" in business is abused as often as its Latin origin suggests, communis, meaning "common". If we define community simply as a group with something in common, there is plenty of room for context. What does this …

Emerging Idea

Population Health and Why It’s Critical

Eat right, exercise, practice healthy behaviors and be blessed with good genes…isn’t this the magic bullet for health and longevity? Isn’t this the message you see every day on Facebook, blogs, hospital, and health plan …

Listening

Product Innovation by Listening to Customers

How many times have you heard it… Yes, we listen to the customer…. Yes, we are customer driven… Yes, we design our products based on the customer. But what really happens to all that customer …

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Health CO-OPs: Innovators in a Field Full of Dinosaurs

What makes health Co-ops unique within the Health Insurance world? At the annual meeting of NASHCO (National Alliance of State Health CO-OPs) in Denver, Colorado. There was wide consensus among all guest speakers, that these non-profit …

PB&J

The New Face of America’s Health

I have a sign in my home office that I look at every day, as it reminds me boldly of the changing American demographics. It states: “In one generation, minorities will be the new majority." …

Connect with Customers

Connect with Customers through their Community

OK, the jury is in… community outreach has now been deemed a legitimate way to brand and promote your program and your services. But the secret is not that you decide to do outreach, but …

Aloha

Aloha: Connecting with others in the workplace

In another life I must have been a cultural anthropologist. In this life I learned languages, and quickly made the connection between words and the cultural values behind them. In prior blogs, we’ve learned about …

Consigliere

Consigliere: More than a Godfather character

Who doesn’t remember Robert Duval as the consigliere for the Godfather, the astute, behind-the-scenes advisor to Don Corleone? Sure, his counsel was ignored, but what would the Godfather have done without his tempering advice? The word …

Simpatico

Simpatico: Understanding one another at work

My Italian readers—my paisanos, if you will—know what I mean by “simpatico.” To be bookish about it, simpatico conveys mutual and reciprocal positive feeling between two people, and expresses an “immediate alignment and resonance with …

New York Subway Guide To Navigating The Workplace

New York Subway Guide To Navigating The Workplace

After visiting my daughter in Brooklyn, I’ve awarded her the title of “subway queen.” With a little help from her Smartphone transit app, she maneuvered the never-ending stairs, gates and schedules flawlessly, and we always …

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Curious Nature

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly.” I’m sure you know the rest of the song. Does it feel a little out of season? Sorry about that. It’s true though—holly is one of those traditional …

Street Walker

Streetwalker

I’m a streetwalker. Mornings, evenings, during lunch. Sorry—I don’t mean to freak out my kids, who may be thinking I’m trying to earn extra money for my next trip to Italy, Scotland, or Mexico! Actually, …

Clearing the fog for powerful ideas

Clearing the Fog for Powerful Ideas

Three months into my new job, it's still fun, creative and energizing. One of the best things continues to be my daily commute. My journey takes me through farm fields, past a rustic church set …

Population Health: Why It’s Critical To Insurance Companies

Eat right, exercise, practice healthy behaviors and be blessed with good genes…isn’t this the magic bullet for health and longevity? That’s the message I see every day on blogs, hospital and health plan websites, and …

Pruning for Ideas

The Power Of Pruning Ideas

It’s springtime, and everywhere you look people are gardening. My husband and I joke about this, since for us, gardening success means not killing any plants. No green thumbs here—we’d rather be hiking or cycling …

Tulip Tree

Lessons Of The Tulip Tree

As a kid, I called magnolia trees “tulip trees.” Growing up in Portland, the blossoming of these trees meant spring had arrived. When I was little, I swore that some magic had put tulips on …

Humor & Branding

Cerveza, Thigh-Slapping Humor & Branding

“El Pueblo Majico”, Todos Santos, is a short drive from La Paz along the Baja peninsula of the Pacific coast. It is indeed a magical town, an art colony of cobblestone and dirt roads…and sleepy …

Building community

4 Essential Steps For Successful Community Outreach

OK, the jury is in…community outreach has now been deemed a legitimate way to brand and promote your program and your services. Developing relationships with organizations in your community will not only help create customer …

CatusHug

How To Instantly Relax In A Chaotic Environment

It's about 7 a.m., it’s 60 degrees, and I'm sitting on the patio of my little casita in La Paz, Mexico.  A rare moment of calm from a hectic life back home - and a …

The city that could

The City That Could…

I first visited La Paz, Mexico 12 years ago on my honeymoon. It wasn’t a random decision. Friends certainly all gave me their recommendations for other sunny spots and I considered them. But the lure …

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How to Watch Shark Tank Like a Girl

The show Shark Tank is awesome when they drop a contestant onto the stage and unleash the predators. It makes for great TV, waiting for Kevin O'Leary to say: "You're dead to me," or: "Just …

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Mango Trees and Branding Magic

I step into the intimate San Bartolo cooking school built from granite stones dug from the hills behind a fertile two-acre orchard.  It’s an old orchard that bears key ingredients for the cooking classes. Most of …

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How To See Things You’ve Never Seen Before

I like to look for seashells at Tecolate Beach, north of La Paz, Baja. During the winter, however, it is especially hard to find these tiny gems of beauty. My search this January proves quite …

Emerging Idea (2)

A Word about Adding Members: Ambassador

Do you have members? Are they loyal members? Are you using them as your ambassadors? Are they part of your sales team? One of the new “golden rules” of sales is to utilize the power of …

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8 “Musts” To Ensure Member Engagement

Hurray! Everyone is excited as you finally reached your enrollment goals. The sales strategies worked, your team performed and now a brief moment of calm and celebration as you rest, knowing you met target projections. But …

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An Open Letter to Ignorant Brands

Dear Ignorant Brand, You romanced me. Secretly, I hoped to see an improved version of myself by virtue of your promises. Then through several engagements, I discovered you don't care about me at all. I needed …

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8 Ways that Corporate Narrative Leads to Marketing Results

To uncover and to integrate an organization's authentic story. This is my job. I love this gig because everyone loves a cleverly reported, smart story. The work is most effective for people who value revelation …

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5 Secrets To Effective Relationship Marketing

Old school marketing revolved around selling the benefits of your products against your competitors’ benefits.  Sales sheets clearly delineated all the features and what things could do FOR the prospective buyer.  New school marketing is …

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The Economic States of America

The way I see it, there are four economies in the United States. Among these different economies I can choose to conduct business. I am lucky that my agency has a choice. Generally speaking, most …

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Why Right-Brain Thinking Trumps MBA Mindsets

“I must be right because the facts reveal the truth.”  “I know what to do because research proved this is the best solution!”  Do you ever find yourself saying these things, or at least thinking …

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The Scariest Rollercoaster In the World

This Youtube video named The Scariest Rollercoaster In The World has 2.6 million views so far. I don't think it's for the reason audiences who watch the 11-seconds have in mind. Spoiler alert: it's just …

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Say Goodbye to the “High Horse” Era

Isn’t it the American way? We analyze, apply data, weigh out all the options, set objectives and goals and execute according to a rigid linear process. Well guess what – other cultures moving toward becoming the …

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You Master the Two Laws of Effective Pitch Theater

You leave your comfortable marketing job with reliable benefits to launch an agency passion project but you call it a business. You do this just before the economy collapses. You are forced to survive and …

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How Being Humble Trumps “Rock Star”

We are quickly becoming a multicultural workforce -- a true kaleidoscope nation that looks and acts differently. You’ll find a thousand different faces with different values and behaviors. A short time ago, our “melting pot” model …

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Now Serving Mindcrack for Kids

How do brands build momentum to last for generations? Maybe we can track this newly minted one for answers. My seven-year old daughter, Maddy, seems addicted to the video game Minecraft. So we jokingly call …

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Story Trance Me Into Never Neverland

The US is a consumer culture and the stuff we consume at a rate compared only to food and drugs are stories. What is TV if not a storytelling device? Right now the national average …

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Kindness and Teamwork: A Perfect Combo

I have certainly experienced job stress. Make that a LOT of stress. Too much work, not enough time, pressure to perform, competitive dragons chomping at the gate have all come my way. And what that …

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Freedom from Hell with a Cooperative Spirit

How did people endure before modern medicine? By modern I mean out-patient surgery and MRIs, of course, but we could say 1880 marks the birth of modern medicine, when it was discovered diseases were spread …

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Ubuntu – I Am Because We Are

Here is the story: for over 25 years I've worked within a corporate environment reporting to some good bosses, and some terrible. I learned the key to success was to work hard, be creative, practice …

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How Marketing Justifies Its Own Shitty Existence

This year marks our seven-year anniversary. First, I am a writer and I love communications and the way stories work on us. So we started Writers' Dojo in 2007. Over the years to the degree …

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Why Storytelling Is The Ultimate Weapon and other links

Here's a curation of media with notes for your consideration. This is my short syllabus for new students of brand storytelling. These resources cover the topic smartly, I think. If you need the history, context …

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The Rise of Chief Story Officers

Here are three reasons why I'm forecasting the rise of Chief Story Officers in corporate culture: All leading brands will become media companies, in that they must produce extraordinary content that shares multiple, non-linear storylines in …