The Way

My first employer, Young & Rubicam, the largest advertising agency in the world at the time, provided us with an internal promotional piece one day. It said, “You can really fly when you know where you’re going.” I’m fairly certain Y&R was communicating that a clear path can help us be more creative. When you’re clear on your destination you are able to unleash a variety of possibilities in how to get there. I think much of what is wrong today is we don’t articulate a precise and powerful vision on where we want to go. While we have tools that give us guidance and...

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What is Soul?

Soul. It’s a funny looking word, but it carries such depth. What comes to mind when you see the word, soul? Think about it for a minute before reading on. When was the last time you thought about soul? Soul shows up in many places. Like music. Soul music. Can you hear it? Like a dramatic performance. Soulful. Can you see it? Like religion. “Pray the Lord my soul to keep.” Did you recite it? Like food. Soul food. Authentic food, be it southern collards or Sicilian rice balls. Even though we’ve shown many associations, soul isn’t really what you see. It’s more about what you feel....

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Ideasicle Podcast Interview

Listen to my recent podcast interview with Will Burns of Ideasicle.com. On the show we cover: Discuss my instrumental role in launching the controversial “Product First” campaign at PTC. The importance of a CMO not only being creative, but hand picking the right team around him or her. CMO as “creative director” for the brand. Explain how to get people in a large organization to rally around a single, transformative brand idea. About my current company, 21Weeks, and how it is transforming brands today. Listen Now...

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Speeding Lessons

Whether you call it a recession, a depression, or an adjustment, a time of uncertainty is the time to accelerate – if you have the capital and the backbone. I understand this view may be counterintuitive, perhaps seen by some as reckless. Conventional wisdom would ask: How can you think of being aggressive at a time when deals are at risk, satisfied customers are coveted, and the market is jittery? History has shown that post-downturn winners are those who took a long view while others around them only focused inward. Take a look at this chart from Accenture. What do the winners have in...

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Outside Influence

CEOs at some of the world’s leading companies are searching for new ways to break out of old ruts as they prepare for the “new normal.” Some might even say they need a sales and marketing transformation. Others just have an uneasy feeling that they’re not prepared for what’s next. No matter how you frame it though, these new opportunities raise a fundamental question: Who should you turn to when you need to make big things happen fast? The profile of likely candidates usually starts with those who have comfortable traits. You know the resume. It’s loaded with category experience,...

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