Brain-Based Content Strategy

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on March 1

As a teacher, I operated under the motto that there are no bad students, just boring classes.  Keeping classes interesting is no easy task Maintaining an engaging content strategy involves similar challenges: Roughly put, getting information into a brain is like trying to get into an exclusive nightclub where only the glamorous few are selected. Once inside, another gatekeeper, emotion, determines what makes the cut to enter the upper VIP lounge in the prefrontal cortex—that valuable 13% of cerebral architecture where our highest cognition and emotional reflection takes place.

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Topics: Creative, Content, Content Strategy

What's the future of retail?  Retail's Ongoing Quest for New Forms of Experiential Immersion

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on January 23


Not long ago, in a galaxy not at all far away, the rise of online shopping inspired a wave of speculation forecasting an apocalyptic end to brick-and mortar-retail. In 2013, driven by the emergently urgent need to compete with online giants like Amazon, real-space retailers like Wal-Mart and Target announced plans to remain open on Thanksgiving.  

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Topics: Marketing Technology, Creative, Content, Narrative Marketing, storytelling, Marketing Theory, B2B Marketing

The Psychology of Storytelling and Gamification

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on January 20

 Can we locate the secret power of stories and“re-install” that power into other texts, like batteries in an old toy? Might we somehow perform some Frankenstein-ian surgical “transplant” of “story” to breathe life into non-storied forms of information?

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Topics: Creative, Content, Narrative Marketing, storytelling, Thought Leadership, STrategy

How To Avoid Boring Content

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on January 19

Dull content is bad enough... growing numb to a daily stream of fluff is even worse: Whenever we limit the horizon of our expectations, the world gets smaller.

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Topics: Creative

Content Should Be Fun: The Example of Artist-Designer John Körmeling

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on January 17


The neon sculpture HAHA HIHI (1993, right) adds a refreshing note to the cacophony of advertising signs and tacky shops in Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. HAHA HIHI is a chandelier by John Körmeling and instead of using candles it shows the words ‘HA’ and ‘HI’ in bright neon colors.

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Topics: Creative, Content

What Can Content Strategists Learn from the Home Alone Movie Poster? A lot.

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on January 13

The Power of Narrative Images in an Attention Economy:

The iconic poster for John Hughes’ hugely popular film Home Alone (1990) is, quite simply, a brilliant work of visual storytelling.  Yes--I'm talking about the film's poster.  I like the film as well, but the poster works in an entirely different way.  And content strategy has much to learn from its example. 

In what follows, I look at how the simple, yet strategically developed details in the poster work together to condense a full narrative of complex ideas and emotions into a simple glance. I then return to the implications of the poster for effective content strategy: In our “attention economy,” narrative images provide optimum information at a minimum cost of precious audience concentration.

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Topics: Creative, Content, STrategy

Companies Are Just Buildings Filled with People: How Employee Stories Bring Purpose to Brands

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on January 10

Some of my amazing and impressive colleagues at MarketScale!

Why Your Brand Must Must Focus On the Stories of People

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Topics: Creative, Content, Brand

Andy Warhol: Ad Man

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on December 15


Andy Warhol fashioned himself as an eccentric, ever-unapproachable and yet ever-present star, and he promoted this image at every public appearance he made and in every interview he gave.

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Topics: Creative, Brand

Locations as Brands: How Brand Stories Capture the Value of Place

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on August 17

From American Apparel and Vermont Cheddar to Swiss Chocolate, Places Shape the Meaning and Value of a Product’s Brand. Powerful Stories Capture the Full Scope of that Value.

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Topics: Creative, advertising, Brand, Thought Leadership, Marketing Theory

Subscription As Artistic Service: Creative Autonomy at HBO and Netflix

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on July 18

The truth is, if American companies generally adopted HBO's guiding principles, tens of thousands of high-paid management consultants would be forced to find real jobs. Madison Avenue would crumble. The nation's business schools would have to be shuttered, and millions of MBAs would have to forget everything they learned. 

 Thane Peterson, Bloomberg News

 Working with HBO was an opportunity to experience creative freedom and 'long-form development' that filmmakers didn't have a chance to do before the emergence of shows like The Sopranos.

 —Martin Scorsese           

Is it just me? Or does anyone else also find themselves replaying that haunting final scene of Hodor holding the door to save his friends from the vicious “white walker” zombies in the 5th episode of last season’s Game of Thrones (I won’t go any further in spoiling that bit). I mean, is it just me? Is it?

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Topics: Marketing Services, Creative, Brand, Thought Leadership

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