If anyone has Owned The Conversation lately, it's been David Bowie. A creative extremist, through his artistry Bowie offered means of understanding the misunderstood. He identified primarily as a songwriter, but Bowie's singing voice was marvelous in that it was his own. At times primordial, with a kind and wavering vibrato, it warmed through his poetry and theatrics. And we were seduced. So many these days are busy trying to sound alike. To commit to…
Cancerese is the language of medical providers speaking to medical providers. Needed instead is a new drug, in this instance a language that speaks humanely to people, rather than threatening them, offering words and a vocabulary connecting with one's soul telegraphing not what you may lose, but rather how a deepened life often awaits. "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." This, one of English writer Rudyard Kipling's most famous quotes,…
We are in what many label the marketing business. WHISPER is a company, more often labeled an agency, due to the profession in which we apply our expertise. Instead, rather than marketing or branding, our agency is in the asset creation business - assets offering ease of communication - focused on establising relationships with people to grow the reputation equity of products and enterprises. And we say this. Often. The reason is the three words we loathe the most: brand, branding and marketing. Oh…
Today's front page of The New York Times sports section effectively illustrates a key point behind any brand that wishes to achieve market leader status: communicate simply. As discussed in sports media site Deadspin: LeBron James, you might have heard, announced...he would return to [the NBA's] Cleveland [Cavaliers], a not insignificant transaction in the sports world. In reporting the news on Saturday, The New York Times went with a white-space heavy front page that is visually striking and clever. The…
Marketing today often consists of little more than the equivalent of shouting on a street corner, with shouters believing the loudest, and most repetitive, win. When you shout, people tune you out. In a culture saturated with messages screamed at prospects from every direction, using superlatives such as "better", "best", "number one", "leading", "favorite", "great", "new", "unique", "low price", and so on, it's no wonder that people have evolved highly sensitive and effective BS indicators.…
Ponder this: "The bottom line is that blogging is like sex.You can't fake it. You can't fake passion.You can't fake wanting to engage with the public.If you do, it will ultimately be an unsatisfying experience for both the blogger and their readers." The above quote from Kevin Anderson, formerly of The Guardian and today with Gannett Media, as shared by the good folks at HubSpot. In creating blog and social content, neither the wanting nor the passion can be faked. Otherwise your desired…
A Forbes column offers this provocative quote: [E]xisting research instruments like Interbrand and Millward Brown Brand Z rankings focus first on the brand itself, then ask the consumer what they think/feel about it in isolation of societal context. These approaches pre-suppose people spend their time going through life thinking about brands...and they don't. People think about themselves as individuals in society and their own self-created cultures. Read the entire story here.
Surprise, surprise. Twitter users are not representative of the public. Read more about Twitter and social media realities in this from Pew Research.
This Wednesday is the fifth annual "day of awareness" in a national campaign - R-Word: Spread The Word To Stop The Word - to stop use of the word "retarded" and its variants, as reported in The New York Times: As a medical label for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the R-word used to be neutral, clinical, incapable of giving offense. But words are mere vessels for meaning, and this one has long since been put to…
This report in The Atlantic, describes the disruption in corporate research, evidenced by the increasing deployment of social scientists to conduct field research and the art of ethnographic mining, making online surveys and dinnertime robo-calls superficial by comparison: When clients are confronted with...anthropological research, they often discover fundamental differences between the businesses they thought they were in, and the businesses they actually are in. For example, the Korean electronics giant Samsung had a major conceptual breakthrough when it realized…
Courtesy of Fast Company, take a break and watch this year's Oscar nominated animated short films, offering stories ranging from finding love to making guacamole. See the five candidate animated shorts here. And put your feet up. [Image: Walt Disney Animation Studios]

Best Super Bowl Ad? Monday, February 4th, 2013

See all the ads that aired during the U.S. broadcast of the National Football League's Super Bowl here.
So how did you spend your day Monday, January 21? In the United States, a president was being inaugurated on the same day an iconic figure in American history was being remembered. For many, the Martin Luther King Day holiday is about people offering themselves as citizens to assist on any number of projects and needs within their communities, acting upon our innate human need to help others. Understanding this core need and assisting pre-adults to activate…
Follow Mashable as they curate the best of social media covering Barack Obama's second inauguration ceremony today, Monday, Jan. 21 at approximately 11:30 a.m. Eastern: Some 800,000 people have descended on Washington, D.C. to watch the president's swearing-in, listen to his inaugural address, watch the inauguration parade and perhaps attend an inaugural ball or unofficial party. Or follow any number of social media sources such as this one at NBC News.
Among those identified by Fortune in the 2013 listing of 100 Best Companies to Work For, these nine each effectively embrace the power of social media in building reputation equity: Capital OneMayo ClinicMercedes BenzMarriott InternationalGoogleSASIntuitNetAppNovo Nordisk   Read their stories in CNN Money.
Logo Life, a new book by Ron van der Vlugt, compiles the stories behind 100 notable logos. Here's a taste, from Fast Company.
The brilliance of Facebook is its ability to beguile its 900 million-odd users into building digital heaps. Some of them are called "fan pages" and are devoted to celebrities, TV programs, political causes, commercial products, and so on. (Brands do this as well, but that's another column.) While people may believe this merely builds a social network containing real-world friends and virtual like-minded ones, we're actually just worker ants in Facebook's ingenious business model, clicking and getting friends…

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