Q&A: The Search for the Next Big Thing

Martin Lindstrom has seen human tendencies close up and devoted countless hours to studying them. What he has discovered is that our desires manifest themselves in hundreds of ways each day, from the computer passwords we choose, to where we place refrigerator magnets, and the way in which we take selfies or use emojis. In his book, “Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends,” the bestselling author and noted branding expert reveals how these intricate pieces of information can decipher what reams of big data cannot – how unmet human desires can unlock the next brand breakthrough. The man who Time Magazine once listed as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World” has been called a modern day Sherlock Holmes. We sat down with him to get his take what today’s consumers are really looking for.

Personification

Now that consumers are fully tethered to social media and the internet with their buying habits, it’s time for brands to relax with their sales megaphones. Sellers have to tone down their sales talk and become skilled listeners engaged in a two-way conversation with the consumer. The brand has to understand why the consumer buys from them.  That communication forms the platform for the buying persona.

Onboard: Consensus as Competitive Advantage

Amanda Setili remembers it as a teaching moment. After a string of strong revenue growth inexplicably began to plateau, her company’s sales and marketing teams were working amid a deadlocked, awkward silence. Nothing either team did seemed to be able to revive the once robust numbers. “Diversity of thought and varying backgrounds of individuals is important. Different approaches to looking at problems and problem solving give you a wide variety of ideas and opinions for getting to yes. When everyone is aligned around your vision, mission and values, you’re pulling in the same winning direction. That’s a lot of power and a competitive advantage that’s not easily duplicated.”

Dirty Work

Dirty Work

“Grit is a commitment to long-term goals and commitment to work toward those things, even in the face of discouragement and setbacks, or no progress,” says Ed Etzel, ED.D., a professor and licensed psychologist for the West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and former Olympian. “It has some connection to passion. It’s a messy sort of thing. It’s along the lines of what people think about mental toughness.”

Intimacy Doesn't Scale

Intimacy Doesn't Scale

In his alter ego as The Workplace Therapist, Brandon Smith has had more than his fair share of conversations about the interactions people have with each other – both internally and externally. The challenge is what Smith calls the “curse of the choice.” Technology has provided access to many products and options, leading consumers to seek brands and people they like and trust. “We want and need trusted advisors in our lives.”

Q&A: Disrupting the Norm

Their beginnings were about as humble as it gets. Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger were in the early 20s. Young entrepreneurs with $250 in their collective bank account and big dreams of making a difference in the work they created. It was 2005, in a tiny 14x14 room in an industrial warehouse, where Bonnell and Hansberger kicked into motion the vision that eventually would become Motto. Today, Motto is a passionate team of strategists, writers, designers and developers that have gained a reputation of disruptors with a penchant for winning. Bonnell and Hansberger’s insights can be found across such leading thought leaders as Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, CNBC, and scores of others. We caught up with them to get their take on how to become a world-class disruptor.

Q&A : Owning Your Brand

with Pete Hayes

The list of Pete Hayes’ accomplishments is as diverse as it is long. That’s easy to see when you look at the list of companies and marketplaces that he has worked in over the years. Before he founded the Chief Outsiders, Hayes worked on the marketing side of firms with client lists including the likes of Dell, Motorola, 3M and IBM, to name a few. Today, Chief Outsiders is one of the country’s foremost strategic growth implementation firms, which provides outsourced CMO services by fractional or part time CMOs.

Touchy, Feely

by Charles D. Lunan

Ever notice how people express their experience through touch? They’ll say they’ve had “a rough day” or received “a lukewarm reception” or encountered a “sticky situation.” Or maybe their day went “as smooth as silk.” Given the human brain’s remarkable plasticity, it’s hard to define the future. After all, as Eagleman points out, reading and writing on paper are not innate skills. Every individual has to learn those skills from scratch and in the process they are rewiring their brains. That means that touch may slip in the hierarchy of senses that influence future generations’ perception of reality.