After 50,000 cover letters, here’s how not to do it.

Posted on Jul 24, 2015

We get roughly 2000 résumés a year. We’ve been in business since 1987. Doing the arithmetic, we’ve had a look at – and passed judgement on – maybe 50,000 cover letters. Most come via email these days, but we still get our share of envelopes, telegrams, pizza boxes, packaged desk toys, DVDs and other strange and […]

Continue reading »

What’s your best sample? What are you proudest of?

Posted on Jul 21, 2015

Do prospects or interviewers ask you this from time to time, hoping you’ll produce something out of your history by which they can judge you? Preferably stuff in their category, something shiny they can say “wow” to, rather than “geez, is that the best you can show?” It’s understandable. In that dance/dialog to reveal “Whatcha got?”, a case […]

Continue reading »

“Embrace change” is your second-best strategy

Posted on Jun 29, 2015

The twitterverse lights up, flags are raised and torn down, dancing breaks out in the streets. It seems society’s attitudes, behaviors and standards are changing at 7000 RPM. Some other revolutionary changes are less obvious, but equally important for those of us who communicate to persuade audiences. Language change is a prime example. When “marriage equality” […]

Continue reading »

Why a “PJLM” makes your brand story work

Posted on Jun 22, 2015

Once (dramatically) upon a time … a PJLM interacted with a brand … That’s how the most engaging brand stories begin. PJLM is the indispensable element to make your narrative effective, the vital component that actually converts prospects. So, what is it? Here’s a hint: what do these ad campaign samples have in common? • […]

Continue reading »

How should we deal with stereotypes?

Posted on Jun 5, 2015

I was interviewed about using (or avoiding) stereotypes by a professor of advertising as part of a survey of creative directors. The issues, of course, are timely and evolving.  What gender is Caitlyn? Who is a “thug?” What does a President look like? The answers are not so simple. Stereotypes exist as forms of visual or […]

Continue reading »

Is geography destiny? Today, not so much.

Posted on May 1, 2015

The truism “geography is destiny” held for millennia: where you lived put a heavy thumb on the scale of life. 10,000 years ago, the climate you lived in shaped your society, customs and beliefs*. 100 years ago, international communication was expensive, slow and rare. 50 years ago, people inland never saw fresh tuna. But with […]

Continue reading »

10 Habits of Successful CMO Problem Solvers

Posted on Apr 26, 2015

No brand is perfect. Whether the problems are minor stumbles or the-sky-is-falling, an exceptional CMO is naturally equipped to grab the steering wheel. What approaches do these stars take to light the afterburners? Here are ten good habits we find time after time in successful brand leaders. (Make this your checklist, and you may join […]

Continue reading »

Who should rename? Versus who’s waiting too long?

Posted on Apr 20, 2015

Domino’s (sensibly) dropped “Pizza” to rename. They had outgrown the category. They see their scope evolving beyond the narrowness of just-pizza, and shedding the baggage of the old identity both simplifies and enriches the brand. Who’s next? We recognize that it is a difficult and sometimes perilous adventure to rename, but when legal action, a merger, […]

Continue reading »

IX Commandments. Thou-Shalt-Nots that demote your brand.

Posted on Mar 30, 2015

  We had dozens of brand demotions to choose from, but these 9 commandments stood out: I. Thou shalt not set fire to money. You can invest in radio advertising all you want, but iPod, XM and Pandora listeners will never hear you. Radio’s not the only medium in a death spiral, so seek professional […]

Continue reading »

Ideas should dance. Are motion graphics a cure for heavy text?

Posted on Mar 9, 2015

A motion graphic can say more in 60 seconds more persuasively than 5000 words of texty grayness. When we imagine our story is fascinating and our audience eager to listen, we risk stupifying prospects with an avalanche of text. That never ends well. Brochures and catalogs get tossed as soon as readers see paragraphs form […]

Continue reading »