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So far Communications Team has created 413 blog entries.

Content that Kills

The prosecutors thought the case was a slam dunk: their evidence included the murder weapon, DNA, and witnesses who testified that the defendant was alone in a room with the victim when he was fatally shot. The only missing link in this murder trial nearly 25 years ago in suburban Washington DC was motive. Prosecutors had no earthly idea why the defendant murdered a friend of many years. Still, they were stunned when the jury came back with their verdict: Not Guilty. Whether we are conscious of it or not, people need stories, or linear narratives with colorful characters, a coherent plot and a beginning, a middle, and an end. Jurors didn’t buy the prosecution’s story because they needed [...]

I See You

South Africans typically greet each other with the Zulu word Sawubona--Sawa for short--which translates literally to "I see you." But the greeting has a deeper, transcendent meaning as well which can best be understood thusly: “I recognize not only your physical form but your humanity. On its most molecular level, Sawa is an articulation of solidarity with other human beings, and it helps strengthen a sense of community and belonging. Iconic South African figures such as former President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu credit the double entendre with helping sustain freedom fighters during the country’s dark days of apartheid. Building community is also the key to creating the quality content that is central to effective brand marketing strategies. [...]

Serena – The Brand

“If you were a tennis player, who would you want to be like?” an unseen interviewer asks a young gap-toothed Serena Williams. The Gatorade commercial then goes on to document the prodigy’s spectacular career, its breathtaking triumphs and heartbreaking defeats and, mostly, the grace with which she has handled being one of the most celebrated–and criticized– athletes in American history. The commercial returns to a beaming Williams, who finally responds; “Well, I’d kind of like everybody to be like me.” It is a glorious answer, and the capstone to a transcendent career. In the world of brand marketing, there has never been anyone quite like Serena Williams, the winner of 23 Grand Slams, who has sold everything from Gatorade [...]

It’s THAT time again!

Perhaps you feel it too, this perennial feeling that seems to arrive with the winter solstice and endures until New Year’s Day or so. For those of us of a certain, ahem, age, it is redolent of our childhood, and the odd mix of exhilaration and melancholy that swept over us on Saturday night at 9:58 p.m. when Carol Burnett signed off and we knew, just like we knew our address or our best friend’s name, that the very moment the lanky, funny woman on the tv screen finished that wistful, haunting song of hers that we would hear our mother yell that it was time — gasp — for our bath. Oh, the horror! That’s what the holiday [...]

By |2019-12-27T13:32:12-08:00December 27th, 2019|0 Comments

By the Inch, Life’s a Cinch

One of the more common misperceptions in brand marketing is that you can expand your company’s audience with that single snappy blogpost, Tweet, or video. That, in fact, almost never happens. The most effective brand strategies, typically, build critical mass gradually, over time, courting followers and subscribers by consistently producing quality content. The objective should be to inculcate an almost “Pavlovian” response among visitors to your website, social media site, or video channel, meaning that when they see your brand, it triggers a reflexive mouth-watering appetite for quality content. A big part of this incremental strategy is understanding how most people consume content. Almost anyone can be tempted by “click-bait” offering a glimpse of Rihanna sunbathing poolside, but most [...]

What can we learn from Sports Brands? #7 – The Brand

Similar to Joe DiMaggio’s, the former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is tall and  lean, with the effortless gait– and velocity– of a gazelle. But Kaepernick’s Nike ad campaign, introduced on the opening weekend of the NFL’s 2018 season, is as jarring as DiMaggio’s Mr.Coffee commercials were reassuring. With his billowing Afro and a black turtleneck sweater, Kaepernick appears on screen, resembling your uncle only if your uncle was Huey Newton, his voice narrating a script that urges the audience to build a world that is the equal of their dreams. The tagline is a reference to Kaepernick’s NFL career, aborted by his peaceful protests against police violence “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” The controversial ad [...]

Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

Stumping for Republican Congressional candidates in the 1970 midterm elections, Vice-President Spiro Agnew attacked the GOP’s liberal critics in one of the most memorable speeches in the history of American politics. “In the United States today, we have more than our share of nattering nabobs of negativism. They have formed their own 4-H club—the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.” Around the same time, Nikki Giovanni published her poem, “kidnap.” if i were a poet i’d kidnap you put you in my phrases and meter you to jones beach or maybe coney island or maybe just to my house lyric you in lilacs dash you in the rain alliterate the beach to complement my see Agnew’s remarks were written by [...]

The Olympics – The Brand

It seems unimaginable today but no one wanted the 1984 Summer Olympics. At the height of the Cold War, the U.S. had boycotted the 1980 Olympics, and the 1972 games were marred by the hostage situation which left 11 Israeli athletes dead. Sandwiched in-between were the 1976 Montreal Games which overran its budget by $1.5 billion dollars. When it came time in 1978 to find a host for the 1984 Games, the only city to make a formal bid was Los Angeles. But the city’s mayor at the time, Tom Bradley, agreed to host the game on one condition: to offset the costs to taxpayers, the entire event, he insisted, was to be financed by commercial sponsors. Thus was [...]

By |2019-10-24T21:21:49-07:00October 23rd, 2019|Tags: |0 Comments


As legend has it, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady and Lawrence Ferlinghetti were struggling, young writers who spent their days pumping out poems and novels that they couldn’t get published, and their nights commiserating in Greenwich Village, listening to jazz. Finally, one night, after a particularly rousing set by Charlie “Bird” Parker, someone in the group–some say it was Kerouac, and others Cassady–had an epiphany, and posed the question to his chums: "What if we try to write the way that Bird sounds?” The young writers found their voice that night, and of course went on to become the Beat Poets, who were as iconic as any literary figures in 20th century American literature. Content [...]

Ali – The Brand

As the boxer aged, the irascible sports journalist Howard Cossell would chide Muhammad Ali about his diminishing boxing skills, and ask how he could possibly continue to stave off younger contenders. Finally, Ali retorted at a pre-fight press conference: “And you're always talking about, 'Muhammad, you're not the same man you were 10 years ago.' Well, I asked your wife, and she told me you're not the same man you (were) two years ago.’“ The exchange helps explain why Ali is indeed the GOAT, or Greatest of All Time, both in the ring and as an iconic brand whose imprimatur raised the profile, and burnished the reputation, of any product he endorsed. In his heyday in the 1970s neither [...]

By |2019-09-27T16:30:28-07:00September 25th, 2019|Tags: |0 Comments