Do Leaders Know How to Ask “Why”? 

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on Mar 17, 2017 4:25:06 PM


The "why question" is important, but the answer is more important. 

According to Simon Sinek, your answer to “why” serves as “the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do.”  Ever since Sinek inspired readers to Start with Why (not to mention his viral Ted Talk), the importance of the why question has emerged as a fundamental  piece of leadership wisdom.

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Topics: Differentiators, Business Communication, Brand, Thought Leadership, B2B Content, Content Strategy

Heinz Turns to Mad Men’s Don Draper for Real Ad Campaign

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on Mar 14, 2017 10:00:11 AM

Heinz turns to Mad Men’s Don Draper for Real Ad Campaign

Today’s conventional wisdom began as yesterday’s radical nonsense. Following an adman’s evolution from the dawn to the dusk of the revolutionary 60s, AMC’s Mad Men had a particular knack for documenting radical shifts in thought over time.  Attuned to the cultural transformations of the era, the show is also savvy to the transformations in marketing.  When it comes to branding, Don Draper, the series “mad” anti-hero, is a visionary—often well beyond the time of his clients, who frequently find his ideas nonsensical. 

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Topics: advertising, Brand, Thought Leadership, B2B Marketing, B2B Content

To Thine Own Self Be True?  What Shakespeare Can Teach us about Authentic Branding

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on Mar 13, 2017 4:31:26 PM

Authenticity, as readers in the marketing profession have likely heard (many times), is all the rage these days. The trend makes sense.  For one, claims for authenticity always sound good, even inspiring.  And why wouldn’t they?  Authenticity suggests a host of admirable virtues: Honesty (you’re not hiding anything), courage (honesty despite the possibility of negative consequences), integrity (commitment to personal values), and individualism (being oneself despite social pressures to be otherwise).

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Topics: Brand, Thought Leadership

Acting Real: Beyond the Contradictions of Authentic Marketing

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on Mar 9, 2017 2:18:23 PM

Act Naturally--Or at Least Don't Act Unnaturally! 

Common marketing wisdom holds that  brand authenticity plays a key role in growing business.  According to Kissmetrics, authenticity brings the following benefits:

  • It elevates your business above the competition
  • It builds your identity and image into something influential
  • It gives substance to your business, services and products
  • It enables people to relate to your business
  • It helps people understand how what you offer is of benefit to them
  • It tells people that what you offer is of high quality
  • It marks you out as a reliable, trustworthy company
  • It encourages engagement and can turn audiences into advocates

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Topics: Creative, Content, Narrative Marketing, Brand, Thought Leadership, B2B Marketing

Think Different; Change Your Life: Apple and the Value of Philosophy

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on Mar 7, 2017 4:35:13 PM

How does the ability to “think different” shape our sense of how we might live?

No doubt, Steve Jobs’ famous admonition to “Think Different” speaks to Apple’s capacity to design and deliver products that re-envisioned how we use, think about, and interact with technology. Of course, as a slogan, the words may not have had much impact if they simply expressed a set of design principles composed for a niche readership of computer designers. The words also had to speak to a broader audience. 

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Topics: Thought Leadership

Measure with Data; Plan with Wisdom

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on Mar 6, 2017 11:21:11 PM

Meaure with Data, but Plan with Wisdom

Offering advice on how to manage data reminds me of the old analogy between symptom and causes.  It goes something like this: Medication used to treat the symptoms of a disease (for instance, pain medication) has a nasty tendency to create a whole new set of problematic symptoms, and these symptoms in turn get treated with a whole new set of medications that once again lead to a whole new subset of side-effects, and so on. In other words, focusing on symptoms instead of deep issues only leads to a vicious cycle of bigger problems.

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Topics: Marketing Data, Thought Leadership, B2B Marketing, B2B Content, Content Strategy

What the Simpsons Can Teach Us about Effective Storytelling in an Age of Multi-Media

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on Mar 3, 2017 1:43:55 PM

Once Upon a Time, There Were Linear Stories 

Linear stories are straightforward, literally: They present a beginning, a middle, and an end. Wherever we are in the story, we are aware that there are pages preceding and pages to come.  Epic poems and, later, theater, followed the more linear progression we might better associate with a scroll or bound book.  In all these forms, the linear progression of the story sets our path for us. We do not surf across novels in varying directions. We can’t skip ahead or turn the channel while watching a play.  Our place in the scroll, book, or third act indicates how close we are to finishing, and our emotional experience is entirely bound up in time.

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Topics: storytelling, Thought Leadership, Marketing Theory, B2B Content, B2B Digital Marketing

The Psychology of Storytelling and Gamification

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on Jan 20, 2017 5:46:34 PM

 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

Content Marketing is Changing the Future of Storytelling: Strategy Needs to Catch Up

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on Oct 12, 2016 5:07:48 PM

Content Marketing and the Future of Storytelling

In the world of content marketing, one hears a lot about the power of storytelling as an important aspect of brand strategy. Effective brand strategy thus requires knowing something about stories.

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Topics: Content, storytelling, Thought Leadership, B2B Marketing, B2B Content, Content Strategy

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

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on Aug 17, 2016 2:01:27 PM

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

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