Recall and Brand Positioning

Recall has access to those memories we can summon with words, through the semantic memory system.  This is the place where language is created, and where our experiences are tagged with word-concepts to give them meaning. Recall, therefore, is the correct tool to use when determining a brand’s positioning.

Continue reading

Theater of the Mind

The metaphors we use to think about things influence the way we interact with them, and how we attempt to change them. If you think about a corporation as a giant machine, you compartmentalize yourself, become a cog in its wheels, and attempt to move it through force by identifying leverage points to build a business. But if you think about a corporation organically, then you become part of an ecosystem in which you compete to find your niche, and you grow business through patience and cultivation. What metaphors do you use to think about brands?

Continue reading

Top-of-Mind Awareness

There are a couple of different ways to measure a brand’s share-of-memory.  The most important for predicting future share-of-market is by looking at your share of memory from the top down, with top-of-mind brand awareness. 

Continue reading

ChefSteps

Now that Breville has acquired ChefSteps, and the connected cooking tool Joule, the 8-year journey of this startup has come to an end, and the next chapter of scaling the business begins. So now is a good time to look back at the origins of this brand.

Continue reading

Price and the Advertising Premium

Do you have a brand?  Peter Drucker, the original management guru, once taught, “If you can’t charge a premium price for your product, then you don’t have a brand.”

Continue reading

What Are Your Odds of Success?

Hollywood and Madison Avenue are both hit-driven businesses.  One big success can make up for a lot of average performances. But the odds are against you. Players can improve their batting average by bringing disciplined learning to the game.

Continue reading

How A Star was Born in a Moment of Surprise

In just six minutes an unknown, unemployed Scottish singer burst onto the international music scene as a contestant on the TV show Britain’s Got Talent. It was a real-life version of the “Ugly Duckling” fairy tale. It is also a fine example of the power of the surprise that lies at the pivot point of our perceptions.

Continue reading

The Sales Funnel

The “sales funnel” is a modern term for how the various parts of the marketing program fit together. This is one we did for ChefSteps while they were building their online cooking community through social media. 

Note that in the middle is the crucible containing the emotional tension between fear and love. It’s what the old ad master Leo Burnett called the “inherent drama” of the product. 

And at the bottom of the sales funnel lies the brand. 

Continue reading

What’s So Funny?

Physical humor has a long evolutionary history, from circus clowns to Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and the Three Stooges, to Monty Python, Steve Martin, Jim Carrey and Mr. Bean—and America’s Funniest Home Videos. Why is it so funny to watch people fall down?

Continue reading

What the West Coast can teach the East Coast; and What the East can teach the West.

The paradigm for the Tech Giants of the West is:  Data first!  This appears to lead to the creative destruction of the old paradigm of the East: Insight first!  What if they’re both necessary?

Continue reading

Artist and Scientist

The schisms of today are not just caused by the separation of the Head from the Hand, that each share a broken Heart. There is also a discontinuity that arises from the fundamental difference in the scientific and the artistic world views. Mathematics can help explain the difference. Continue reading

Curiosity and Closure  

“I didn’t see that coming!” is the mark of good storytelling. Surprising information—aka “news”—is what wakes up the mind and engages the attention of an audience. “I wonder what will happen next?” At the other end of a story is our psychological need for closure. So what happens in the middle of the story?  Continue reading

Memory and Imagination

Here’s a simple thought experiment about the mind:  imagine that you are holding two magical cups in your hand.  The first contains the universe of all the memories you have of all your experiences; the second contains the universe of all the experiences you can possibly imagine. Which is the larger cup?  Continue reading

Continuity of Self

Are you, at the core of your identity, the same person that you were yesterday? Last year? The day you were born? The sense of Self that persists over time may be an illusion—but it’s also a mathematical property of your brain. 

Continue reading

The Memory Cube

Many marketers might reject out-of-hand the idea that there could be a standard, intuitive frame-of-reference for thinking about brands, ads, audiences and media content in an integrated way. But the biology of our memory systems suggests otherwise.

Continue reading

Building a Visual Brand in the Connected Kitchen of the Future

Introducing a new product is normally a challenging communication problem but doing so in a category that many in your audience have never heard of before makes the job twice as hard. That’s the problem the Seattle start-up Chefsteps faced a couple of years ago when they launched their new precision cooking tool, Joule.

Continue reading

Optimizing Media

Imagine you’ve been invited to a glittering Hollywood party full of lots of interesting people. Your Media host welcomes you at the door and looks around at the different circles of conversation going on, trying to decide which group to introduce you to—and then it’s up to you, the Advertiser, to figure out how to break into the conversation, and make a memorable impression.

Continue reading

Feeding the Head Heart Hand in the Fast Food Category

If you are running a restaurant, you have basically 3 marketing levers that you can use to drive your brand. Which lever should you pull? It depends in part on which ones your competitors are pulling.

Continue reading

How the Brain Learns, in a Head-Made World.

Our ability to form analogies and generate metaphors is useful for more than just writing poetry or creating great print ads. It’s also the secret to how the head thinks about the hidden relationships between things and how our memories are turned into images of things that do not exist by our imagination.

Continue reading

How the Brain Learns, in a Heart-Made World

According to some historians, the cognitive revolution occurred about 70,000 years ago, when some glitch happened in the brain so that humans first learned to gossip and tell stories about each other. That’s when we learned to swap memories with each other—and culture-building cloud computing Version 1.0 was invented. 

Continue reading