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Welcome Back, Blackberry! I remember my first BlackBerry, it was my first big promotion. I was one of the new marketing leadership team members formed by the new CMO. At our first team meeting, he informed us all we would be getting Blackberrys--the phones, not the beepers (yes, this was a long time ago.) “Why?” I asked? So young, so naive. Thus began my 10-year arranged marriage to a device that tried so hard to do so much but only did a few things well. To its credit, what it did well, it did really well. In a word, it did texting well. No, not what we think of as texting today, but what email was back then. Short, simple,

Creating a luxury brand is no easy feat. It's often a challenge because provenance—the story, or the heritage, behind luxury brands—can’t be made overnight. No matter how much a company invests in the branding of their luxury clothing line, Audrey Hepburn isn’t going to wear it. Coco Chanel, on the other hand, can produce any number of pictures with Hepburn wearing their clothing. However, despite the challenges, there are plenty of examples to show that a luxury brand can be made from the ground up. For example, Toyota created the Lexus brand to compete with Mercedes and BMW and in the early 1990s. Just 20 years before, Toyota cars had been the but of jokes for their perceived poor quality. Nobody

Our recent white paper on making data-driven design decisions was born from a presentation I was asked to make at the 2018 HOW Design Live conference. The presentation, “From Gift Wrapper to Strategic Partner: How Creatives Can Elevate the World’s Perception of Their Work,” focused on how using data and improving the relationship between Creatives and Executives, can lead to a better creative process. Since the white paper covered the first part, data-driven design decisions, this blog post will cover the second: improving the relationship between Creatives and Executives (i.e., the people who make the final decisions on a project). In building the relationship, we talked about four main areas: Walking in their shoes Taking your seat at the table Bringing

Rapidly changing consumer demands for humanity and how Starbucks is tackling racial bias. Let’s talk about Starbucks. Unless you’re in a coma, you must have heard about the two black men arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks for sitting there without ordering anything. First, let’s discuss the obvious. I am not a person of color. My experience with racial bias is second hand, limited to accounts shared by friends and from what I read. And even though I am an openly gay white man, who understands discrimination firsthand, I am nonetheless still a white man living in a society of rules and biases created for white men. So, my ability to comment on whether or not what Starbucks is doing is enough,

“I don’t have an opinion. I don’t know their rebranding strategy.” That’s the answer I usually give when someone asks me what I think of a high-profile rebrand, such as the 2016 rebrand of Uber and last year’s rebrand of Accenture and Mozilla. Of course, I always have my personal, visceral reactions to some rebrands, but for the most part, what do my personal opinions matter? As for my professional opinions, one can argue that those may matter; however, only in the presence of the company’s rebranding strategy. Rebranding doesn’t or shouldn’t happen out of boredom, but rather, out of some experienced, expected, or desired change in the business, market, or customers’ needs. How can anyone judge a rebrand if

Before I address the topic of Toys R Us and what we can all learn from the unfortunate demise of this iconic (if not grammatically challenged) retailer, let me first throw out that I know next to nothing about toys. What I do know is few brands authentically understand what they’re selling, and I think the unfortunate demise of retailer is case in point. Before the 'shopping with your fingertips and not your feet' concept took over, Toy R Us had a perfectly rational business and brand strategy. Their years of success were a testament to that. However, as the world began to change, I can only assume they did not, at least not enough. According to an article dated September 19, 2017,