Marketing More Than Features: Windows to the Soul

We spend an awful lot of time marketing features to individuals; neat little segments that correspond to the demographic data we glean from surveys and similar devices.  We talk about features, function and material benefits. The catch is that people work, live and think in terms of a socio-cultural system. That means they are frequently […]

Myth Cycles and the Ad

Mythology is perhaps the most archaic and profound record we have of our collective spirit. It creates and defines our experiences. From the inception of cave art, and presumably long before that, we find myth and myth-making as a fundamental element in relating to the mysteries of life, the cosmos and the world around us. […]

Using Old Studies to Articulate Ethnographic Insight

I was cleaning out folders yesterday and came across al old study that reminded me why it is important to return to our work.  In addition to shedding light on existing problems and theories, it reminded me that they serve as marvelous tools to demonstrate what it is we do, both in terms of fieldwork […]

Good Symbol Systems Means Profit

The sign is the central term in semiotics. The sign is made up of the signified and the signifier. The two always go together, they are like the two sides of a coin. The signifier is the physical form of an object; what we see, touch and smell in the objective and shared reality. The […]

Using Key Words to Build Better Insights

There is a essential link between the shared life of a society and the lexicon of the language spoken by it. Language is frequently understood by researchers in strings of utterances rather than individual lexical components.  There is, of course, nothing wrong with that, but it does limit how we analyze and interpret what people […]

The Dawning of the Age of Emotion

I came across something an old friend and colleague, Josh Baze, wrote a few years back about the growing importance of emotion in branding and retail.  It’s something he and I talked about at the time and is something we continue to talk about today, though we communicate less frequently.  In the article he wrote, […]

5 Steps in Brand Development

To develop custom brand and marketing solutions for clients, you need a process.  Often times, we jump in without thinking through the necessary stages: Explore: Through a combination of primary and secondary research, the you need to survey the client’s current situation, including strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities in the marketplace as perceived by customers, […]

What You Know May Hurt You

Whether quoted in a college lecture hall or printed on a bumper sticker, some maxims ring truer than others.  While the origin of the well-known adage, “Think Knowledge Is Expensive? Try Ignorance,” is likely rooted in either philosophy or politics, it’s certainly a fitting truism in the world of branding as well. How many times […]

How Authentic Is Authenticity?

Authenticity is a word that is used a lot in marketing these days, but what does authenticity mean? Whether a brand is two years old or a hundred years old, the quest for authenticity is at the forefront of branding discussions and is, perhaps the guiding principle when developing advertising and marketing strategies. But defining […]