Can Crowd Funding Save Brand Startups?

Brand startups are disappearing. It is no secret that crowd funding has reframed what it means to launch a brand startup. Is it enough to create the environment for a fledgling brand to flourish? Crowd funding does help brand founders skip the second mortgage and bypass angel investors for seed money. Considering that the number

Start Marketing Success from the Inside Out

You’ve heard the truism, “Happiness is an inside job.” Marketing success is an inside job as well.  90% of business start-ups fail while they are busy looking outside themselves for their win. We learn to look for increased funding, more visibility, less competition, improved market conditions, innovative technology and processes, and better workers – just as

Assumption Audits Get Better Results than Brand Audits

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Brand audits are a routine analysis of customer awareness and perception, brand messaging and competitors. This is done through research and surveys much like a regular “brand physical.” However, Assumption Audits are akin to a psychological brand exam. They start by looking inside the organization at its fundamental beliefs. The Similarities Between Brand Audits and

The Power of WHY

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Why is the sky blue? Why do people die? Why do you want me to stop asking why? From age two up to age five our learning is irrepressible. Our questions are endless, challenging and full of wonder. Then we stop our tireless asking, to the relief of most adults. Why? When was the last

The Fashion of (Professional) Passion

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Passion is undoubtedly important to a life that is rich, satisfying and meaningful, but what does it mean to “find your passion” – especially as it relates to work? Have we crossed some new evolutionary threshold of thinking about work, or are we suffering from one massive fashion of the moment that insists passion belongs

What Your Carelessness Communicates

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Everyone makes mistakes now and then. We get tired, distracted, nervous and overwhelmed, then, before you know it – we forget, assume, omit, drop, spill, fall, bump, bang, trip, and yes, make a typo. The trick is that in that moment, something else had our full attention. What this carelessness tells those around us, very subtly,

Our Habit of Dread

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The opposite of hope is dread. There's been a lot of talk about hope lately, but when I try the experiment Elizabeth Gilbert began, asking complete strangers, “What are you excited about right now?” the answers I tend to get initially (from people I know, so the answers are more relaxed) are often downright depressing, and nothing like

Executive Presentations – Is Anybody Listening?

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The number one complaint at large-scale meetings, according to a 2016 event survey, is still executive presentations. That’s not news to any of us who have sat through (or given!) many of them. Yet when respondents tell us the presentations contain a lot of recycled content, are difficult to follow, poorly rehearsed, and uninspiring, what

Why Business Needs Riddles

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Riddle: You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop and you see three people waiting for the bus: An old lady who looks as if she is about to die. An old friend who once saved your life. The perfect partner you

Making a Case for Business (Marketing) Ethics

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Recently, I hear a lot of people saying, "The end justifies the means." That little cynical statement originates with Niccolò Machiavelli in his seminal work, The Prince, which is a blueprint for how to attain and retain power - at all costs. (Check my book Truth and Dare: Inside Out Marketing to look at the nest of assumptions