From Brainerd to Brexit: Local Just Got Real

Originally posted on The Huffington Post.

A few weeks ago, most people probably hadn’t heard of Michigan’s Macomb County, the small cluster of suburbs outside Detroit, much less considered that it could determine the fate of the world. Continue Reading →

Health and Wellness Branding Digest, May 12, 2016


No Longer Lewd, the Period Is Having a Moment
(Observer, 28.04.16)

Entrepreneurs are disrupting the global tampon market—an industry projected to reach $6.2 billion by 2020. Politicians, too, have begun to take issue with the high cost of feminine hygiene products, with many states ending the “tampon tax.” And, for the first time in 100 years, the market is recognizing an opportunity for innovation when it comes to women’s needs. One could say the period is becoming sexy.


This Market Could Be Fitbit Inc.’s Biggest Opportunity
(The Motley Fool, 26.04.16)

At first glance, Fitbit may seem like a standard consumer electronics company, albeit one which places an emphasis on wellness. Yet the wearable giant’s fitness trackers are enjoying rising demand from a seemingly unlikely source: enterprise customers.


Estimates Vary, but One Thing Is Certain: Wearable Medical Devices Sector Will Be Huge
(Plastics Today, 15.04.16)

While it is undeniable that the healthcare wearables market is growing by leaps and bounds, projections of the size of that market going into the next decade are all over the map. In March, PlasticsToday reported that one market research firm, Mordor Intelligence, estimated that the global medical wearables market will surpass $7.8 billion by 2020.


Drugmakers Spend Too Much on Marketing: Kaiser Poll
(Medical Marketing & Media, 03.11.15)

Government investigations into Valeant’s pricing and patient-assistance practices along with ubiquitous media attention around the repricing of medications has done little to dull efforts to address public outcry about the rising cost of medicines.


“Whether it’s by helping us search for health-related information, connecting us with doctors through online portals, or enabling us to store and retrieve our medical records online, the Internet is starting to show the promise it has to transform the way people interact with and improve their own health and wellness.” —Dean Ornish


Consumer/Lifestyle Branding Digest, March 30, 2016


How Lifestyle Publishers Can Engage Millennials
(Business2Community, 15.03.16)

Now, let’s explore how a leading digital lifestyle publisher—Thrillist—stays relevant to their massive millennial readership by emphasizing the following.


Acquisition Marketing: Tie Customer Profitability with Lifestyle Targeting
(The Financial Brand, 16.03.16)

Of course you’ve heard the bromide that 20% of your customers produce 80% of profits? Some might even argue that the ratio is closer to 10% and 90%. However you slice it, this raises some uncomfortable questions. What’s the most cost-effective way to get more of these profitable customers?


A Digital Marketing Tune-up Guide for CMOs
(Forbes, 11.02.16)

Happy 2016. Google Trends tells us we’re now a decade into the analytics revolution. Yet, a fall 2015 Association of National Advertisers survey reports that only 10% of senior marketers feel they effectively use customer insights to improve performance. Why?


Four Ways to Make Your Marketing More Shoppable
(Marketing Week, 11.01.16)

Net-a-Porter, House of Fraser and The Guardian are linking the online and offline worlds to engage with their customers more effectively. We look at the key ways brands can make the most out of shopper marketing in 2016.


“If branding is ultimately about the creation of human meaning, it follows logically that it is the humans who must ultimately provide it.” —David Aaker


Consumer/Lifestyle Branding Digest, February 24, 2016


Apple’s Brand Hangs in the Balance of Its FBI Standoff
(Mashable, 19.02.16)

Apple’s showdown with the FBI over access to an encrypted iPhone has been hailed by privacy advocates as a bold idealistic stand against the U.S. government’s overbearing mass surveillance system.


You Won’t Grow Your Business Relying on These 3 Marketing Myths
(Entrepreneur, 08.02.16)

There’s a lot of money to be made online. In 2014, more than $300 billion dollars was spent online according to The Internet Retailer. The Internet offers opportunity.


Branding in the Age of Social Media
(Harvard Business Review, 01.03.16)

In the era of Facebook and YouTube, brand building has become a vexing challenge. This is not how things were supposed to turn out. A decade ago most companies were heralding the arrival of a new golden age of branding. They hired creative agencies and armies of technologists to insert brands throughout the digital universe. Viral, buzz, memes, stickiness, and form factor became the lingua franca of branding. But despite all the hoopla, such efforts have had very little payoff.


6 Ways to Capture and Keep Your Audience’s Attention Online
(Search Engine Journal, 29.12.16)

With nearly a billion websites online, there is a lot of competition vying for your audience’s attention. Granted, many of those websites won’t be your direct competitors, but they do create plenty of distractions you need to break through if you want to capture and keep your audience’s attention.


“Best way to sell something—don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect and trust of those who might buy.” —Rand Fishkin


Health and Wellness Branding Digest, January 21, 2016


Mobile Technology’s Impact on Healthcare Marketing
(MediaPost Communications, 15.01.16)

As the population becomes increasingly tech-savvy, more people are taking their health into their own hands, literally, as handheld mobile devices become major tools in seeking healthcare information and even diagnosis. Mobile technology gives physicians the ability to manage patient healthcare more efficiently, and the opportunity to take advantage of peer networks to share resources, counsel, and best practices.


Big Data’s Role in Healthcare Marketing
(iMedia Connection, 05.01.16)

With the transition towards value-based care and payment models, the healthcare industry is experiencing a rapid transformation. To navigate these changes, healthcare leaders need to be able to understand their patient and physician markets as well as corresponding market dynamics to make informed strategic decisions. Today, healthcare marketers are asking how to determine the best targets for a healthcare marketing campaign? Which campaigns have brought positive Return on Investment (ROI)? What metrics are used to define success? These are all questions that can be addressed based on robust data and advanced analytics.


5 New Marketing Trends Brought to Us via Wearables
(Content Standard, 30.12.15)

This is both a fantastic and challenging time to be a brand marketer. Thanks to rapid developments in technology, there are more opportunities than ever to engage and delight customers. Successful branding is no longer about who has the biggest advertising budget; now it’s about who has the most creative ideas. And that’s exciting territory for marketing teams.


From One CMO to Another: What Chief Medical Officers Can Learn from Chief Marketing Officers
(Medical Marketing & Media, 10.09.15)

I had an eye-opening experience recently while working with colleagues on a project for a well-respected Fortune 500 company. Our firm was engaged to create a space—physical and cultural—for innovation.


“Investing in health will produce enormous benefits.” —Gro Harlem Brundtland


Health and Wellness Branding Digest, October 1, 2015


How Smart Marketing Transformed the Epi-Pen into a Billion-Dollar Product
(NPR, 30.09.15)

NPR’s Robert Siegel talks to Bloomberg Business reporter Cynthia Koons about how the cost of EpiPen, which fights severe allergic reactions, has increased in the past year alone.


Consumers Care About Health and Wellness. Is Your Marketing Keeping Pace?
(Loyalty360, 18.09.15)

Health and wellness are a key priority for consumers. In fact, 47 percent of consumers described themselves as “health conscious” in 2015. That’s up from 46 percent in 2010, according to Deloitte.


The 5 Best Practices for Content Marketing in Health & Pharma
(LinkedIn Pulse, 16.09.15)

The pharmaceutical industry is known for being traditional, conservative, and burdened by regulations and protocols. These regulations make pharma marketers wary of embracing new approaches, including the growing trend toward content marketing. Despite being the term on everyone’s lips, content marketing has been sidelined by the industry either because they don’t fully know how to implement it or because they give up on it after not seeing immediate results.


Getting to the Brain of the Matter: Exploring an Untapped Marketing Opportunity
(MediaPost, 08.07.15)

If the heart, the icon of health, were a brand, it would be Coke. Or Google. Or Wal-Mart. So what about the brain? Right now, it’s the off-brand cola getting flat in the vending machine. And that’s not just a modern issue—the brain has a long history of being dissed.


“Branding gives you an exceptionally effective way to broadcast who you are to your target market quickly and efficiently.” —Rick Haskins


Consumer/Lifestyle Branding Digest, September 16, 2015


Burberry to Launch First Brand Channel on Apple Music
(Mobile Marketing, 15.09.15)

British fashion label Burberry will be the first brand to have a dedicated channel on Apple Music, following a deal between the iconic luxury designer and the tech giant.


How Is Digital Changing the Real Estate Game?
(Marketing, 07.09.15)

Digital has played a pivotal role in shortening the time cycle of property purchase process by making the much-needed market intelligence available to those who need it the most.


The Secret Ingredients to a Successful Branding Strategy
(Entrepreneur, 10.08.15)

When it comes to branding, there’s no easy recipe for success. Branding is an imperfect science that boils down to constant change—based on where you are, where you want to be and, most importantly, what the market is doing.


Brands’ Inane ‘Visions’ Have Lost Touch with What Consumers Really Use Them for
(Marketing Week, 20.05.15)

Brand purpose, content marketing and the belief that millennials are looking for ‘more than just a brand’ are leading to brand managers creating brand visions that have nothing to do with their actual product or consumer.


“A brand is a metaphorical story that connects with something very deep—a fundamental appreciation of mythology.” —Scott Bedbury


Health and Wellness Branding Digest, September 10, 2015


The New World of Healthcare Marketing: A Framework for Adaptation
(Forbes, 06.09.15)

Few would argue that the US healthcare industry is currently undergoing a seismic shift. Just one of the changes facing healthcare is based on consumer behavior shifts as more employees find healthcare independent of their employers. The result is that healthcare companies of all shapes and sizes are faced with a new and startling reality: yesterday’s customer is not tomorrow’s customer. Suddenly, healthcare marketers are expected to deeply understand consumer preferences, create relevant products that meet a changing target’s needs, and produce marketing programs that connect consumer insight to firm performance.


How Content Marketing Helps Consumers Make Sense of Health Insurance Options
(FierceHealthPayer, 19.08.15)

When it comes to shopping around for healthcare products and services, effective marketing can make a world of difference for consumers who must sift through the overwhelming amount of information in the decision-making cycle, according to a Medical Marketing & Media article.


Biotech Report: Will Gene Therapy Go Mainstream?
(Medical Marketing & Media, 28.07.15)

Within the healthcare marketing community, gene therapy is an object of intense fascination. In understanding the potential curative promise of such drugs, marketers have fallen over themselves to tout their virtues and rip off list after list of “best practices” for promoting them—even though it’s hard to codify best practices when so few of the products have actually reached the market. Nonetheless, you’d be hard-pressed to find even a C-list pharma marketer who hasn’t long since awakened to the eventual virtues of gene therapy. Enthusiasm within the scientific and investment communities couldn’t be higher.


Social Media Considerations for Healthcare Marketers
(MediaPost, 17.06.15)

Social media is a pivotal element in healthcare marketing, and an essential tool for patient education and relationship development. It’s also a de facto customer service platform, and therefore both a vital channel for and potential impetus to crisis communications. If it hasn’t already happened, soon someone will try to tweet for emergency care, expecting immediate response.


“If branding is ultimately about the creation of human meaning, it follows logically that it is the humans who must ultimately provide it.” —David Aaker


Personal Branding Digest, August 21, 2015


You Know What Else Sucks About Donald Trump? His Branding
(Wired, 07.08.15)

For all his expertise in self-promotion—and Trump is nothing if not a masterful self-promoter—he has shown disdain for typography and branding. He favors grandiose letterforms of the sort personal injury lawyers might use, and would do well to embrace the work of the late German type designer Georg Trump, who is no relation but prefigured the Donald with his strong typefaces. He created 17 typefaces with names like Mauritius, Signum, and City, which was the basis for the IBM logo Paul Rand designed in 1955.


Increase Personal Brand Visibility with Better Website Referrals
(Business2Community, 05.08.15)

After setting up a successful website and publishing great content you want your personal brand to be seen by influencers in your market. What you may not realize is there are a lot of spam accounts set up to clog servers and steal your hard-earned status. Now is the time to do an audit and find out which referrals are fake and which ones are the real deal.


5 Ways to Successfully Cultivate Your Personal Brand
(Entrepreneur, 23.07.15)

Personal branding is a hot topic and yet most people don’t understand what building a “Personal Brand” actually means. Having a “brand” is very different from branding and yet many entrepreneurs and business owners completely avoid building their personal brand in fear of being seen as that shameless self-promoter.


3 Steps to Building an Awesome Personal Brand
(Forbes, 23.06.15)

In a world where the only job security that exists is the one that you can create for yourself, it’s never been more important to build a personal brand. I’m not saying you need to be famous, but it’s also not acceptable to be invisible either. A strong personal brand is the only way to future-proof your career by ensuring that people will want to work with you or promote you.


“It’s important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have. Your reputation online, and in the new business world, is pretty much the game, so you’ve got to be a good person. You can’t hide anything, and more importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level.” —Gary Vaynerchuk


Personal Branding Digest, July 17, 2015


Are You Taking Control of Your Personal Brand as a Leader?
(The Globe and Mail, 08.07.15)

What is your personal brand? How are you known? Is that how you want to be known? If yes, what can you leverage even more? If not, what are you doing that is diminishing your brand?


10 Crucial Questions for Defining Your Personal Brand
(Forbes, 09.06.15)

Branding is rooted in authenticity. That means you need to know yourself – really know yourself – before you can start building your brand. If you start expressing your brand through marketing materials and social media before you are clear about what your unique promise of value is and who needs to hear your message, you’ll waste your time and effort.


Power Up Your Personal Brand with These 4 Tools
(Business2Community, 18.05.15)

Generating a buzz for your personal brand doesn’t need to be complicated, and you can become quite successful with the right marketing in place, which will grow your influence and community online. There are great social tools that can help your business become successful as well as take the guesswork out of branding.


You Are Your Own Best Marketer
(Entrepreneur, 16.04.15)

No one will ever care about your career as much as you do.


“Autonomy is different from independence. It means acting with choice.” —Daniel Pink


Lifestyle Branding Digest, April 22, 2015


What Origins Discovered When It Went After the Millennial Market
(Fast Company, 14.04.15)

Lessons in marketing face cream to women too young for wrinkles, but seeking a natural glow.


Being Human Is How Your Branding Strategy Will Succeed
(Entrepreneur, 08.04.15)

Ask any group of people what branding is and they’ll tell you all sorts of things. From the logo and business cards to the reputation of a company. They’ll talk about branding being an experience, interaction and visuals that match. And they’re right: All of these things are part of branding.


Pay Attention to Details if You Want Your Customers to Pay More
(Small Business Trends, 24.03.15)

Providing a great value is something customers usually appreciate. And in some instances, customers don’t mind paying a bit more for a better overall experience either.


9 Steps to Creating Successful Brand/Celebrity Partnerships
(Forbes, 02.03.15)

The right brand-celebrity partnership can be a very successful tool in building brand equity and establishing believable connections with consumers. On the other hand, the wrong partnership can be devastating to a brand. This is why it is so important to take the right steps to improve the likelihood of success.


“Brand is not a product, that’s for sure; it’s not one item. It’s an idea; it’s a theory; it’s a meaning; it’s how you carry yourself. It’s aspirational; it’s inspirational.” —Kevin Plank


Personal Branding Digest, March 27, 2015


7 Ways to Repurpose Content for Your Personal Brand
(Business 2 Community, 11.03.15)

It can be difficult for small businesses operating in competitive markets to get ahead, especially when you consider the fact that they don’t typically have access to marketing departments and unlimited resources or funds.


Build Your Personal Brand Website Along with Your Business
(BizJournals, 06.03.15)

Although business owners spend a great deal of time promoting an enterprise through the company’s website, a recent study notes that personal websites can be just as important for branding.


Taking Charge of Personal Branding: Brand Yourself or Be Branded
(4Hoteliers, 03.03.15)

Recently I participated in a workshop around personal branding, the first question asked by the facilitator was “Who here has a personal brand?” I was very surprised to see that less than half the people in the room raised their hands.


What It’s Like to Get a Personal Brand Makeover by Personal Brand Consultants
(Fast Company, 23.02.15)

Valuable lessons in putting your best foot forward.


“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me, Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” —Tom Peters


Lifestyle Branding Digest, March 11, 2015


Real Estate Marketing: The Allure of a Lifestyle Brand
(Gensler on Lifestyle, 10.02.15)

Consumer brands have long been able to attract customers by creating an entire lifestyle around their brand: images, messages and experiences that suggest a common point of view, a shared set of beliefs, membership in a tribe. The same holds true with hospitality brands. Just think of the letter W and not only does an aesthetic spring to mind, but you can also guess what kind of music will be playing in the lobby, what items will be in the mini bar, even how the other guests will be dressed. That’s the power of branding. Brands are about more than just a product or an ad; the logo is really just a shorthand symbol for a whole series of attributes and experiences—physical, verbal, and emotional.


Lifestyle Brands Are Acquiring Their Way to Becoming Tech Companies
(Quartz, 06.02.15)

It’s no fun playing catchup. In the fall Under Armour overtook Adidas for the first time in sportswear sales, but the athletic apparel and gear company is still far behind Nike. Under Armour is now trying to get up to speed in the digital space, accelerated by its recent acquisitions of the fitness and nutrition-tracking tools MyFitnessPal and Endomondo. In 2013, the sportswear maker also acquired MapMyFitness.


Use Lifestyle Content to Revamp Your Company’s Marketing Strategy
(Entrepreneur, 16.01.15)

Disney knows what its customers love and that’s just what it gives them. The entertainment media giant understands that a well-proportioned content strategy is crucial to effective marketing.


Airlines as Lifestyle Brands May Be the Future of Air Travel
(Skift, 07.11.14)

With competition increasing from all corners, airlines have to find a new way to adapt or die. Profiting from a lifestyle association with their passengers and building that brand loyalty could well be the missing link in airline evolution. Survival of the fittest isn’t just a Nike thing.


“Thought, not money, is the real business capital.” —Harvey S. Firestone


Corporate Branding Digest, Feb. 26, 2015


7 Essentials for Smart Social PR Strategy
(Ragan, 18.02.15)

Practitioners face many obstacles to building and engaging online communities for their clients and brands. These guidelines can help.


Pop Stars and Craft Beer: Lessons in Branding and Trademarking
(Inc., 02.02.15)

Using trademarks to build and protect a brand is a great strategy for small businesses, but without the proper considerations, it can ultimately cause more harm than good.


The Smell of Creativity
(CMO.com, 27.01.15)

For me, it often takes just 10 minutes to understand whether an organisation is open to new creative ideas. I can smell it in the air. And I think that most of us have this skill, the ability to understand the unwritten rules of company culture.


A Bit of Empathy Might Be the Best Marketing Strategy
(Entrepreneur, 14.01.15)

It was a cold morning, which is not uncommon in St. Louis, even in the summer. Maybe it was due to the rain, but that cleared away soon, so I don’t know. I was wearing what she would have wanted to me wear. It was a Friday and it was my grandmother’s wake.


“When the reward is the activity itself—deepening learning, delighting customers, doing one’s best—there are no shortcuts.” —Daniel Pink


Corporate Branding Digest, Feb. 24, 2015


What Brand Storytellers Can Learn from the Oscars
(PRWeek, 24.02.15)

Global brands and their creative agencies often cite films and the storytellers behind them as inspiration. But they need to sit up and take note of how the great auteurs of the film industry are creatively reimagining storytelling for a new audience that has a growing appetite for honest, powerful tales. An appetite demonstrated in this year’s nominations for the Oscars’ Best Picture, a list that values true stories alongside pseudo dramas and confected creativity.


The Pink Elephant in the Room
(The Wall, 12.02.15)

Branding and political parties are much more closely aligned than people think. Both are based on delivering clever dressings of selective truths designed to build a perception, drive a desire or solve a problem. What they truly represent however, is not based on what marketing agencies, clever creative or politicians tell people they represent.


7 Navy SEAL Sayings That Will Keep Your Team Motivated
(Forbes, 20.01.15)

Whether you are an entrepreneur, working in corporate America or building a startup, it is imperative to continually seek new ways to stay inspired and driven. Being a self-starter is a fantastic quality, but we are all human and get distracted by the minutiae of our day-to-day responsibilities.


Ask Yourself: Who’s Protecting Your Company’s Brand? (Video)
(Entrepreneur, 05.11.14)

To protect a brand, everyone in your company must understand what your brand represents, what it doesn’t and the experience it’s delivering. In this Google Hangout, branding expert Karen Leland and customer service expert Brad Smith explain how staff education can lead to positive brand experiences for customers.


“Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.” —Daniel Pink