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Commentary + Concepts

What CEOs need to learn from Michael Cohen and AT&T

Ross Rant March 2018.png

One of my all-time favorite political campaign books is The Selling of the President.

Written by Joe McGinnis, the book covers the story of how Richard Nixon was repackaged and reshaped for the American public as a candidate for president in 1968. Eight years after Nixon’s losing presidential campaign and his lackluster television performance at the Nixon-Kennedy debate, he faced all the old image problems.

Nixon hired then 28-year old Roger Ailes to remake his image. An image that would win at the ballot box, and more importantly, on television. Ailes created television moments that made Nixon, not smart, not knowledgeable, but well-liked. Ailes created television moments that engaged numerous constituents on their terms.

1968 was no time for policy, it was a time for charismatic personality and shared values.

McGinnis’ book makes clear, presidential candidates can be rebranded and remarketed. Television does not expose and demystify the powerful. Instead, it makes personality stronger. Television ensures style is substance.

David Miller, of the legendary political consultancy Sawyer Miller, saw how television and mass communications would change not only candidates but commerce. He wrote in an article for the Yale School of Organization and Management that just like candidates, if done correctly, corporations could use the tools of television and campaign management to ensure market size and good paying consumers.

Miller wrote: “Corporations must recognize that it is now in their long-term self-interest to develop much more democratic relationships with all of their shareholders, community members, and the public at large.”

Miller foresaw how the corporate world was quickly resembling a politician’s world and how a politician relates to constituents. 

As information channels increase, multiply, focus on niches and distinct tastes and thoughts, corporations need to forge an emotional bond with their various constituents - just like a politician.

The only sensible and meaningful way to do is - establish a relationship and commercial transaction based on shared values.

Today’s masters of the universe CEO is poor decision away from disrupting a relationship based on shared values. Corporations can no longer control the flow of information and can lose control of the narrative within hours.

Corporations are under assault from government regulators, reporters, shareholders, and employees all demanding style that supersedes substance. 

CEOs today need to woo their customers, engage regulators, listen to shareholders, reinforce employees, and make their case daily. CEOs need to communicate more often, on more platforms, and more broadly. Sawyer believed CEOs needed to define themselves before someone else set them - just like a candidate who works like they are up for reelection daily.

As all significant institutions continue to lose sway and influence, the pressure on corporations and CEOs to fill this void increases daily.

For AT&T it wasn’t the paying for access, advice, and public affairs expertise which was a bad idea, it was that they paid an individual (Michael Cohen) who was out of step and not in line with the shared values of AT&T’s numerous constituents.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said as much in a memo distributed to employees last week.

“Our reputation has been damaged,” Stephenson wrote. “There is no other way to say it—AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake.”

Companies need to sell worthwhile goods and services - this for sure will continue to matter. But the transaction now has an emotional connection as well.

As pointed out in Edelman's 2018 Trust Barometer: "A good reputation may get me to try a product—but unless I come to trust the company behind the product, I will soon stop buying it, regardless of its reputation.

63% of those surveyed agreed with this statement.

The Edelman Trust Barometer provided a clear directive for today’s CEOs - building trust is job one.

Winning commerce of the future will happen when a company is trusted, provides high-quality services and products, and where business decisions reflect shared values.

AT&T hiring Michael Cohen is losing commerce.

It is not essential to much to be smart and knowledgeable, but it is necessary to be well-liked.

-Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross is the founder of Brigadoon and specializes in developing winning communications, content, connections, and commerce for entrepreneurs and thought leaders.

CEOs, Michael Cohen, AT&T, Annapolis, Detroit, Cincinnati, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett

The Weekly Brigadoon.png

CEOs, Michael Cohen, AT&T, Annapolis, Detroit, Cincinnati, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett

The Weekly | Brigadoon
May 13, 2018
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia

The Weekly  = Enterprise + Culture + Sport + Policy

Subscribe here: http://thebrigadoon.com/subscribe/


ROSS RANT


What CEOs need to learn from Michael Cohen and AT&T

One of my all-time favorite political campaign books is The Selling of the President.

Written by Joe McGinnis, the book covers the story of how Richard Nixon was repackaged and reshaped for the American public as a candidate for president in 1968. Eight years after Nixon’s losing presidential campaign and his lackluster television performance at the Nixon-Kennedy debate, he faced all the old image problems.

Nixon hired then 28-year old Roger Ailes to remake his image. An image that would win at the ballot box, and more importantly, on television. Ailes created television moments that made Nixon, not smart, not knowledgeable, but well-liked. Ailes created television moments that engaged numerous constituents on their terms.

1968 was no time for policy, it was a time for charismatic personality and shared values.

McGinnis’ book makes clear, presidential candidates can be rebranded and remarketed. Television does not expose and demystify the powerful. Instead, it makes personality stronger. Television ensures style is substance.

David Miller, of the legendary political consultancy Sawyer Miller, saw how television and mass communications would change not only candidates but commerce. He wrote in an article for the Yale School of Organization and Management that just like candidates, if done correctly, corporations could use the tools of television and campaign management to ensure market size and good paying consumers.

Miller wrote: “Corporations must recognize that it is now in their long-term self-interest to develop much more democratic relationships with all of their shareholders, community members, and the public at large.”

Miller foresaw how the corporate world was quickly resembling a politician’s world and how a politician relates to constituents. 

As information channels increase, multiply, focus on niches and distinct tastes and thoughts, corporations need to forge an emotional bond with their various constituents - just like a politician.

The only sensible and meaningful way to do is - establish a relationship and commercial transaction based on shared values.

Today’s masters of the universe CEO is poor decision away from disrupting a relationship based on shared values. Corporations can no longer control the flow of information and can lose control of the narrative within hours.

Corporations are under assault from government regulators, reporters, shareholders, and employees all demanding style that supersedes substance. 

CEOs today need to woo their customers, engage regulators, listen to shareholders, reinforce employees, and make their case daily. CEOs need to communicate more often, on more platforms, and more broadly. Sawyer believed CEOs needed to define themselves before someone else set them - just like a candidate who works like they are up for reelection daily.

As all significant institutions continue to lose sway and influence, the pressure on corporations and CEOs to fill this void increases daily.

For AT&T it wasn’t the paying for access, advice, and public affairs expertise which was a bad idea, it was that they paid an individual (Michael Cohen) who was out of step and not in line with the shared values of AT&T’s numerous constituents.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said as much in a memo distributed to employees last week.

“Our reputation has been damaged,” Stephenson wrote. “There is no other way to say it—AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake.”

Companies need to sell worthwhile goods and services - this for sure will continue to matter. But the transaction now has an emotional connection as well.

As pointed out in Edelman's 2018 Trust Barometer: "A good reputation may get me to try a product—but unless I come to trust the company behind the product, I will soon stop buying it, regardless of its reputation.

63% of those surveyed agreed with this statement.

The Edelman Trust Barometer provided a clear directive for today’s CEOs - building trust is job one.

Winning commerce of the future will happen when a company is trusted, provides high-quality services and products, and where business decisions reflect shared values.

AT&T hiring Michael Cohen is losing commerce.

It is not essential to much to be smart and knowledgeable, but it is necessary to be well-liked.

FIVE ARTICLES TO READ

HBR: A 40-year debate over corporate strategy gets revived by Elon Musk and Warren Buffett http://bit.ly/2I7MF7O

When Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that “moats are lame” during the company’s earnings call last week, he was calling out Warren Buffett, the chair of Berkshire Hathaway, who uses “moat” to describe barriers to imitation that stave off competition. “If your only defense against invading armies is a moat, you will not last long,” Musk continued. “What matters is the pace of innovation — that is the fundamental determinant of competitiveness.

‘We don’t take cash’: is this the future of money? Tougher for criminals, easier for hackers: what life is really like in a cashless society. https://on.ft.com/2I87s77

HBR: Having your smartphone nearby takes a toll on your thinking http://bit.ly/2IrQpQE

"In recent research, we investigated whether merely having one’s own smartphone nearby could influence cognitive abilities. In two lab experiments, nearly 800 people completed tasks designed to measure their cognitive capacity."

The 13 best Warren Buffett quotes from the Berkshire Hathaway meeting https://for.tn/2I407tm

One goal of Amazon’s HQ2: Learn the lessons of Seattle. Amazon has surprised officials in cities vying for the company’s new headquarters by asking how to avoid soaring housing costs and paralyzing traffic. https://nyti.ms/2HXTZTe 

BRIGADOON EVENTS

Brigadoon Annapolis | Salon Dinner + Lectures = September 20-21, 2018

Brigadoon Detroit | Salon Dinner = October 11, 2018

Brigadoon Cincinnati | Salon Dinner = November 1, 2018

Briagdoon Scotland 2018 = November 11-13, 2018

Brigadoon Sundance 2019 = February 24-26, 2019

More details and ticket information @ thebrigadoon.com

PRODUCTIVITY

“Bots won’t be better at being human, just as humans aren’t “better at” being chimpanzees.” -- Damien Patrick Williams, PhD researcher at Virginia Tech, on how robots will experience the world in a way completely different from humans. 

PODCAST

Adventures in Branding: Melanie Spring (Brigadoon Sundance 2018): Over the last 9 years, Melanie has been asked "Can I buy you a cup of coffee & pick your brain?" at least once a week. To celebrate her 9 year anniversary, she dumped 9 years worth of entrepreneurial experience into a 1-hour podcast episode.

Spectacular.

She covers why she started her business, when she hired her first employee, how many times she pivoted, why profitability matters, and understanding your core values.

She also provides her three top books to read for entrepreneurs - all of which I promptly ordered. 

It is a good and authentic session. You can listen here: http://bit.ly/2rFSkXt

SPORT

BBC: Wayne Rooney: Everton forward agrees 'deal in principle' to join MLS side DC United

FIFA pitches multibillion-dollar ‘Project Trophy’ to seven top clubs: NYT reports,  Representatives of seven of the world’s richest soccer teams, including Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid, visited FIFA on Wednesday for a private meeting aimed at winning the clubs in the increasingly fractious battle to set up a new multibillion-dollar world club championship. The group also included the English champion Manchester City, Italy’s Juventus, France’s Paris Saint-Germain and the perennial German champion Bayern Munich. The seven clubs invited to the meeting had combined revenues of more than $4 billion in 2017, and they command a massive global fan base that would be critical to making FIFA’s secretive discussions about the new tournament, code-named “Project Trophy,” a success.

Formula One will attempt to hold a race in Miami next year.

A baseball season with too many awful teams: WSJ reports, only one club has had a 100-loss season in the past four years. This season, six teams are on pace for at least 100 losses.

Towns, Tech Companies, Blockchain, Nir Eyal, Mohamed Salah

The Weekly Brigadoon.png

Towns, Tech Companies, Blockchain, Nir Eyal, Mohamed Salah

The Weekly | Brigadoon
May 6, 2018
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from West Hollywood, California

The Weekly  = Enterprise + Culture + Sport + Policy

Subscribe here: http://thebrigadoon.com/subscribe/


ROSS RANT

Being connected to your town is a blessing

I have no idea who the mayor of Alexandria is.

I couldn't tell you who represents me in the state house in either chamber in Richmond.

I know more about what is happening in Theresa May's Number 10 cabinet meetings that I do with my local school board, city council, and planning commission meetings.

Maybe it is because I cover, engage, and care about global politics and its intersection with global business.

Maybe it is because I have more allegiance and affinity for Michigan than Virginia.

Maybe it is because I don't have children that I don't have a vested interest in my city.

Regardless, it is a generally an odd way to move through life. Especially for someone who is so passionate about democracy and the American experience. I am sensing I am missing out on something powerful.

Recently, James Fallows in The Atlantic penned "The Reinvention of America." You can (and should) read it here: https://theatln.tc/2qUkFtC. He suggests something powerful is happening with America.

Yes, the problems facing our nation are serious and the challenges real, but in fact, more Americans are hopeful then the national news coverage would suggest. Pollsters have reported this disparity for a long time. The Atlantic with the Aspen Institute commissioned a polling which showed that two-thirds of Americans were satisfied with their financial situation, and 85 percent said they were very or somewhat satisfied with their general position in life and their ability to pursue the American dream. Other polls in the past half-dozen years have found that most Americans believe the country to be on the wrong course—but that their own communities are improving.

Fallows writes: "America is becoming more like itself again. More Americans are trying to make it so, in more places, than most Americans are aware. Even as the country is becoming worse in obvious ways—angrier, more divided, less able to do the basic business of governing itself—it is becoming distinctly better on a range of other indicators that are harder to perceive. The pattern these efforts create also remains hidden. Americans don’t realize how fast the country is moving toward becoming a better version of itself."

I saw this type of local civic engagement Fallows is speaking about for myself this week.

Chris Keldorf (Brigadoon Sundance 2017) has launched Dads on the Rise where he has engaged his fellow citizens of El Segundo, California to be part of a platform to share stories of success, failure, and daily gratitude. The idea of the grassroots group is to empower and the enlighten the next generation of fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons through conversation, engagement, and reflection.

So on this past Thursday night, I found myself sitting on a folding chair surrounded by 40 guys in the back of exercise gym listening to a highly trained and highly serious entrepreneur and special operations Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps sharing with us how to be better in business and in relationships.

The presentation and ideas shared were impactful, but what was more impactful for me was the fact that a good friend of mine launched this dynamic platform and his fellow citizens responded. 

It was refreshing to know beyond the noise and craziness of America’s national political and intense foreign affairs, local citizens are gathering to share in brotherhood and to share in conversation with a simple commitment to be a better person and to take steps to make their community better.

It was a blessing to be reminded that America is moving toward becoming a better version of itself one folding chair at a time.

FIVE ARTICLES TO READ

18 of the top 20 tech companies are in the Western US and Eastern China. Can anywhere else catch up? http://bit.ly/2jsBQOT

Why Karl Marx is more relevant than ever: An upbeat biography places the great thinker in his 19th-century context. https://on.ft.com/2FGJcXG

Now emoting in the corner office: The oversharing CEO: WSJ reports, leaders open up about hopes, fears and arguments with mom; uncomfortable for some, but builds trust. https://on.wsj.com/2JL7rX1

The world’s first neighborhood built “from the internet up”: The Economist reports, Toronto’s run-down Quayside area will have snow-melting pavements, package-delivery robots, and self-driving shuttles. https://econ.st/2HO28pp

Blockchain insiders tell us why we don't need blockchain: FT reports, we've written before about how blockchain is a belief system, complete with prophets, disciples, traitors, rituals, and schisms. But recently, faith in the technology appears to be ebbing. https://on.ft.com/2FA5FFC

“Look, the internet belongs to the Americans — but blockchain will belong to us.” -- Grigory Marshalko, head of the Russian Delegation to the meeting of the International Standards Organization last year. 

PODCAST

Inside Intercom - Nir Eyal: The products with the best technology aren’t always the ones that win. Often, it’s the products that are first to mind. The products that create habits. Some habits, however, are much healthier than others, so what’s the secret to designing healthy patterns of behavior? As author Nir Eyal has learned, it requires a rigorous commitment to ethics – and empathetically questioning even your best intentions. Nir’s studies sit at the intersection of technology, business, and psychology. A veteran of the advertising and video gaming industries, he has started (and sold) two technology companies and has taught at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. His best-selling book Hooked explores how to design habit-forming products, and you can keep up with his writing and research at NirAndFar.com. This podcast covers the need for designing healthy habits – and the psychology behind them. 

SONG

Pretty Lights - Only Yesterday http://bit.ly/2JZlUP9

SPORT

Meet Mohamed Salah, the breakout star of European soccer this season. NYT reports, the Egyptian player for Liverpool has scored 43 goals in 48 games in his first season and helped the team reach its first Champions League final in more than a decade. And after each goal, he kneels and prays on the field. At a time when Britain is fighting rising Islamophobia, he is a North African and a Muslim who is not just accepted in Britain but adored. https://nyti.ms/2HSULRz

Being connected to your town is a blessing

Ross Rant March 2018.png

I have no idea who the mayor of Alexandria is.

I couldn't tell you who represents me in the state house in either chamber in Richmond.

I know more about what is happening in Theresa May's Number 10 cabinet meetings that I do with my local school board, city council, and planning commission meetings.

Maybe it is because I cover, engage, and care about global politics and its intersection with global business.

Maybe it is because I have more allegiance and affinity for Michigan than Virginia.

Maybe it is because I don't have children that I don't have a vested interest in my city.

Regardless, it is a generally an odd way to move through life. Especially for someone who is so passionate about democracy and the American experience. I am sensing I am missing out on something powerful.

Recently, James Fallows in The Atlantic penned "The Reinvention of America." You can (and should) read it here: https://theatln.tc/2qUkFtC. He suggests something powerful is happening with America.

Yes, the problems facing our nation are serious and the challenges real, but in fact, more Americans are hopeful then the national news coverage would suggest. Pollsters have reported this disparity for a long time. The Atlantic with the Aspen Institute commissioned a polling which showed that two-thirds of Americans were satisfied with their financial situation, and 85 percent said they were very or somewhat satisfied with their general position in life and their ability to pursue the American dream. Other polls in the past half-dozen years have found that most Americans believe the country to be on the wrong course—but that their own communities are improving.

Fallows writes: "America is becoming more like itself again. More Americans are trying to make it so, in more places, than most Americans are aware. Even as the country is becoming worse in obvious ways—angrier, more divided, less able to do the basic business of governing itself—it is becoming distinctly better on a range of other indicators that are harder to perceive. The pattern these efforts create also remains hidden. Americans don’t realize how fast the country is moving toward becoming a better version of itself."

I saw this type of local civic engagement Fallows is speaking about for myself this week.

Chris Keldorf (Brigadoon Sundance 2017) has launched Dads on the Rise where he has engaged his fellow citizens of El Segundo, California to be part of a platform to share stories of success, failure, and daily gratitude. The idea of the grassroots group is to empower and the enlighten the next generation of fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons through conversation, engagement, and reflection.

So on this past Thursday night, I found myself sitting on a folding chair surrounded by 40 guys in the back of exercise gym listening to a highly trained and highly serious entrepreneur and special operations Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps sharing with us how to be better in business and in relationships.

The presentation and ideas shared were impactful, but what was more impactful for me was the fact that a good friend of mine launched this dynamic platform and his fellow citizens responded. 

It was refreshing to know beyond the noise and craziness of America’s national political and intense foreign affairs, local citizens are gathering to share in brotherhood and to share in conversation with a simple commitment to be a better person and to take steps to make their community better.

It was a blessing to be reminded that America is moving toward becoming a better version of itself one folding chair at a time.

John Wanamaker, Warby Parker, Bike to Work, Streaming, Business School

The Weekly Brigadoon.png

John Wanamaker, Warby Parker, Bike to Work, Streaming, Business School

The Weekly | Brigadoon
April 29, 2018
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia

The Weekly  = Enterprise + Culture + Sport + Policy

Subscribe here: http://thebrigadoon.com/subscribe/


ROSS RANT


Brand marketing in a direct marketing world

Pop quiz: What was the top Super Bowl 2018 ad according to USA Today’s Ad Meter?

Heck, if you can name one of the top ten, I will give you bonus points.

The reason you can’t remember the best ad or any ads from the big game, it’s not the best tool.

It’s not the best tool because it doesn’t connect, make an impact, or leave a mark. 

You see brand marketing doesn't work in the direct marketing world.

Brand marketing is from a different age. A different business environment. A different communication era.

Brand marketing was created when John Wanamaker’s statement “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half” worked because it could work. 

It could work because advertisers created a mass broadcast communications environment to serve its needs.

Radio was created to sell ads.

Television was created to sell ads.

Brian Millar, co-founder of the Emotional Intelligence Agency, writes "traditional advertising went after ‘share of mind’–the idea was to get you to associate a brand with a single idea, a single emotion. Volvo: safety. Jaguar: speed. Coke: happiness. The Economist: success. Bang, bang, bang, went the ads, hammering the same idea into your mind every time you saw one.

"Advertising briefs evolved to focus the creatives on a single unique selling position and a single message. Tell them we’re the Ultimate Driving Machine. Tell them in a thrilling way. It worked when you saw ads infrequently on television, in a Sunday magazine, or on a billboard on your morning commute."

This type of advertising worked because it was a communications environment of one to many with only a handful of vehicles to reach an audience.

But that is not today.

Today we are living in a direct marketing world powered by the WWW.

Now we have micro-media and personalized broadcast communications environment which serves the needs of the end user.

The internet was not created for ads.

The internet is not mass media.

To better understand this new communications environment the Emotional Intelligence Agency conducted a study to understand what kind of content works. The firm found communications which used funny, useful, beautiful, and inspiring content delivers the best results. Not surprising the most successful brands do all four.

Also not surprising these are the adjectives used by any top storyteller. She knows they are best words when executing micro and personalized communications.

Yet most of us communicate using only one type of emotionally compelling content - if at all - employing brand marketing techniques that are closer to the days of Mad Men them to the present day of Laundry Service.

We still communicate like once a day, or worse just a few times a month. Instead of using tools that follow and engage our most active supporters in their media diet.

When it comes to the WWW and the direct marketing communications environment, being multidimensional beats being single-minded. 

Surprise beats consistency. 

Emotion beats fact.

Funny beats dour.

Useful beats sales. 

Beautiful beats boring. 

Inspirational beats directional.

The best communicators have always understood this instinctively.

By the way, USA Today’s Ad Meter ranked Amazon's "Alexa Loses Her Voice" as the best 2018 ad.

I don't remember the ad either. But I do remember my friends telling me a story or two about Alexa that used funny, useful, beautiful, and inspiring words to describe their experiences.

FIVE ARTICLES TO READ

Over 400 startups are trying to become the next Warby Parker. Inside the wild race to overthrow every consumer category: Wharton professors, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs are fueling an entire generation of Warby Parkers. Now there are more than 400 startups tackling products from toothbrushes to bras. What could go wrong? http://bit.ly/2I5oKT9

Hit-and-run fatalities soar as more people walk or bike to work: Hit-and-run crash deaths are rising nationwide, and pedestrians and bicyclists account for close to 70% of the victims, according to a new report, as more people cycle to work and motor-vehicle fatalities are at a near-decade-high level. https://on.wsj.com/2r0pu4E

How streaming will continue to change everything in the music business: The next revolution in the music business will not be a new consumer-facing format or a visionary product. The next revolution is financial and multifaceted with wide implications, and it’s already started. http://bit.ly/2FcB7tH

Why we should bulldoze the business school: There are 13,000 business schools on Earth. That’s 13,000 too many. And I should know – I’ve taught in them for 20 years. Guardian - Martin Parker

Who creates a nation’s economic value? A challenging analysis that forces us to reconsider how our economies work — and who it works for. https://on.ft.com/2vW9zJG

"Among other things, we need to re-think the relationship between markets and governments; make a clear distinction between creators of wealth and those who merely extract it; embrace bolder collective ambitions, notably a shift to a greener economy; and spend on the future, instead of embracing a sterile and counterproductive austerity." 

GUEST POST

Hey, you reading this.

Fill in this space.

PRODUCTIVITY

Is technology hurting productivity? It is possible that new technologies are not just doing less to boost productivity than past innovations. They may actually have negative side effects that undermine productivity growth, and that reduce our wellbeing in other ways as well. 
Project Syndicate - Jeffrey Frankel

BOOKS

My favorite books on politics and campaigns:

Selling of the President 1968

What It Takes: The Way to the White House

Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns

Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms: My Life in American Politics

Bad Boy: The Life And Politics Of Lee Atwater

All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class

SONG

Nothing But Thieves - Amsterdam http://bit.ly/2Hs4olS

Brand marketing in a direct marketing world

Ross Rant March 2018.png

Pop quiz: What was the top Super Bowl 2018 ad according to USA Today’s Ad Meter?

Heck, if you can name one of the top ten, I will give you bonus points.

The reason you can’t remember the best ad or any ads from the big game, it’s not the best tool.

It’s not the best tool because it doesn’t connect, make an impact, or leave a mark. 

You see brand marketing doesn't work in the direct marketing world.

Brand marketing is from a different age. A different business environment. A different communication era.

Brand marketing was created when John Wanamaker’s statement “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half” worked because it could work. 

It could work because advertisers created a mass broadcast communications environment to serve its needs.

Radio was created to sell ads.

Television was created to sell ads.

Brian Millar, co-founder of the Emotional Intelligence Agency, writes "traditional advertising went after ‘share of mind’–the idea was to get you to associate a brand with a single idea, a single emotion. Volvo: safety. Jaguar: speed. Coke: happiness. The Economist: success. Bang, bang, bang, went the ads, hammering the same idea into your mind every time you saw one.

"Advertising briefs evolved to focus the creatives on a single unique selling position and a single message. Tell them we’re the Ultimate Driving Machine. Tell them in a thrilling way. It worked when you saw ads infrequently on television, in a Sunday magazine, or on a billboard on your morning commute."

This type of advertising worked because it was a communications environment of one to many with only a handful of vehicles to reach an audience.

But that is not today.

Today we are living in a direct marketing world powered by the WWW.

Now we have micro-media and personalized broadcast communications environment which serves the needs of the end user.

The internet was not created for ads.

The internet is not mass media.

To better understand this new communications environment the Emotional Intelligence Agency conducted a study to understand what kind of content works. The firm found communications which used funny, useful, beautiful, and inspiring content delivers the best results. Not surprising the most successful brands do all four.

Also not surprising these are the adjectives used by any top storyteller. She knows they are best words when executing micro and personalized communications.

Yet most of us communicate using only one type of emotionally compelling content - if at all - employing brand marketing techniques that are closer to the days of Mad Men them to the present day of Laundry Service.

We still communicate like once a day, or worse just a few times a month. Instead of using tools that follow and engage our most active supporters in their media diet.

When it comes to the WWW and the direct marketing communications environment, being multidimensional beats being single-minded. 

Surprise beats consistency. 

Emotion beats fact.

Funny beats dour.

Useful beats sales. 

Beautiful beats boring. 

Inspirational beats directional.

The best communicators have always understood this instinctively.

By the way, USA Today’s Ad Meter ranked Amazon's "Alexa Loses Her Voice" as the best 2018 ad.

I don't remember the ad either. But I do remember my friends telling me a story or two about Alexa that used funny, useful, beautiful, and inspiring words to describe their experiences.

-Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross is the founder of Brigadoon and specializes in developing winning communications, content, connections, and commerce for entrepreneurs and thought leaders.

Make the choice

DesLinden.jpg

Desiree Linden is an American marathoner and could be the most inspiring runner I have ever known.

In 2017 it appeared she might have peaked.

Instead, in 2018 she became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years, finishing the race in 2 hours 39 minutes 54 seconds.

Linden, a two-time Olympian, placed fourth at the 2017 Boston Marathon and was burned out on the sport. And tired. After three marathons in the previous 14 months: the Olympic Trials (second place), the Olympics (seventh place), and then that fourth at Boston. She didn’t feel like running again until the end of September. Five months off, during which, she said, “I hated everything about running.”

But she wanted to win the Boston Marathon, and she made no secret of that goal.

Her desire to run the course in Boston was the reason she started running marathons in the first place. She has a golden retriever named Boston and had another named Miles who died last year.

So last Monday, she was back on the course in Boston attempting to complete her goal.

But before the race more hurdles, as Linden thought about dropping out as she wasn’t drinking enough fluids and was afraid of getting cramps in her legs. Add a weather report of strong winds and the coldest temperatures in 30 years, this year's Boston Marathon would be even more challenging than usual for her and the rest of the field.

Linden now lives and trains in Northern Michigan and resides closer to the North Pole than the Equator. So the NorEaster that bore down on the course in Boston with its horizontal rain and freezing temperatures is ordinary training weather for many months in the Great Lakes state, but many runners found this climate to be the worst running weather in decades.

Linden's ability to persevere and succeed in exceptionally miserable physical circumstances is remarkable. 

Linden's ability to persevere and succeed in exceptionally challenging mental circumstances is remarkable. 

To succeed in 2018, Linden had to find a deeper gear to compete.

Her pinned Tweet displays where she finds this deeper gear:

"Some days it just flows and I feel like I’m born to do this, other days it feels like I’m trudging through hell. Every day I make the choice to show up and see what I’ve got, and to try and be better.

My advice: keep showing up.

#MondayMotivaton #TogetherForward"


I don't think any advice can be more profound.

Make a choice to show up and keep showing up.

You might just achieve your goal.

-Marc A. Ross

Choice, Tastebuds, Milk Bottle Deliveries, Maestro, Tony Rock

The Weekly Brigadoon.png

Choice, Tastebuds, Milk Bottle Deliveries, Maestro, Tony Rock

The Weekly | Brigadoon
April 22, 2018
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Weekly  = Enterprise + Culture + Sport + Policy

Subscribe here: http://thebrigadoon.com/subscribe/


ROSS RANT


Make the choice

Desiree Linden is an American marathoner and could be the most inspiring runner I have ever known.

In 2017 it appeared she might have peaked.

Instead, in 2018 she became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years, finishing the race in 2 hours 39 minutes 54 seconds.

Linden, a two-time Olympian, placed fourth at the 2017 Boston Marathon and was burned out on the sport. And tired. After three marathons in the previous 14 months: the Olympic Trials (second place), the Olympics (seventh place), and then that fourth at Boston. She didn’t feel like running again until the end of September. Five months off, during which, she said, “I hated everything about running.”

But she wanted to win the Boston Marathon, and she made no secret of that goal.

Her desire to run the course in Boston was the reason she started running marathons in the first place. She has a golden retriever named Boston and had another named Miles who died last year.

So last Monday, she was back on the course in Boston attempting to complete her goal.

But before the race more hurdles, as Linden thought about dropping out as she wasn’t drinking enough fluids and was afraid of getting cramps in her legs. Add a weather report of strong winds and the coldest temperatures in 30 years, this year's Boston Marathon would be even more challenging than usual for her and the rest of the field.

Linden now lives and trains in Northern Michigan and resides closer to the North Pole than the Equator. So the NorEaster that bore down on the course in Boston with its horizontal rain and freezing temperatures is ordinary training weather for many months in the Great Lakes state, but many runners found this climate to be the worst running weather in decades.

Linden's ability to persevere and succeed in exceptionally miserable physical circumstances is remarkable. 

Linden's ability to persevere and succeed in exceptionally challenging mental circumstances is remarkable. 

To succeed in 2018, Linden had to find a deeper gear to compete.

Her pinned Tweet displays where she finds this deeper gear:

"Some days it just flows and I feel like I’m born to do this, other days it feels like I’m trudging through hell. Every day I make the choice to show up and see what I’ve got, and to try and be better.

My advice: keep showing up.

#MondayMotivaton #TogetherForward"


I don't think any advice can be more profound.

Make a choice to show up and keep showing up.

You might just achieve your goal.

FIVE ARTICLES TO READ

The world's 50 greatest leaders: Fortune's annual list of the thinkers, speakers, and doers who are stepping up to meet today’s challenges. https://for.tn/2HLHmHv

Earbuds and tastebudsDoes chocolate taste better if you're listening to Pavarotti? Ad Age looks at how marketers are pairing music and sounds with different tastes. http://bit.ly/2EXEJPU

The 11 keys to keeping the band together: On the occasion of their 12th album and 27th year together, Sloan shares their wisdom on how to make musical matrimony last. http://bit.ly/2JUmVsU

Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles: Scientists have created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles – by accident. The breakthrough could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling of bottles. The new research was spurred by the discovery in 2016 of the first bacterium that had naturally evolved to eat plastic, at a waste dump in Japan. Scientists have now revealed the detailed structure of the crucial enzyme produced by the bug. http://bit.ly/2viTVaV

Why glass milk bottle deliveries are back: As concern over plastic pollution rises, a pint-sized revolution is taking place on doorsteps across the UK. https://on.ft.com/2H27qB7

DOCUMENTARY

Maestro: The documentary is an intimate, unprecedented glimpse into the life of a renowned conductor and a vibrant, contemporary portrait of the world of classical music.  For a period spanning two years, a film crew follows Grammy award-winning conductor Paavo Järvi and an array of brilliant musicians across the globe.  The resulting footage captures the pressures of self-expression, the rush of performance, and above all, the power of a universal language. Järvi studied at the famed Curtis Institute of Music with Max Rudolf and Otto-Werner Mueller, and at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute with Leonard Bernstein. Järvi was music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 2001 to 2011.

PODCAST

James Altucher Podcast - Tony Rock: Tony always wanted to be a comedian. From the moment he listened to Richard Pryor, George Carlin, and Bill Cosby, he was inspired. But he didn’t know them. When his brother started doing stand up, it changed everything for him. “The guy in the next room is doing it. Now it’s real,” Tony said. Because those other guys (the ones Tony grew up admiring) were just ideas to him. He was inspired by Chris. And because of him, he became immersed in the comedy scene. Now, 24 years later Tony’s made this “idea” of comedy into a reality. And a career. On this podcast, Tony share his process and explains how these same techniques can be applied to your own project or side hustle. How you take an idea from the drawing board and put it in action.