Why Marketers Confront Widespread Misunderstanding of their Role and Value

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on April 6

Study Reveals that Marketers are Increasingly Frustrated over Widespread Misunderstanding of their Role and Value in Organizations.  

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Topics: Business Communication, storytelling, Thought Leadership, Brand Writing, The Marketing Profession, Marketing, Digital Marketing

The Challenge of Being Authentic is not about How to Act, but about How not to.

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on April 3

Most readers will have likely already encountered a number of articles on the importance of authentic branding--not to mention the various complexities of the concept.  Visitors to this site will in fact find many articles on the topic.  

For all its relevance to effective branding, the challenge of authenticity is , however, above all, personal.  Turn back the dials, and my guess is that you'll find that all these concerns over authenticity speak to more fundamental questions regarding how one might live.

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Topics: Thought Leadership, B2B Brand Writing, B2B Markets

Ask a Kid: 5 Insights on Human-Centered Experience

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on March 24


A recent article on "Designing a Human-Centered Pediatric Experience" draws on opinions and insights from children to develop guidelines for optimal pediatric care.  The article is not only useful; more importantly, it's moving.  Coming from outside the profession of healthcare design, the article represents a model of effective content: It speaks to professional protocols in terms of common emotional needs.  It's 5 key points focus on issues specific to hospital facilities management, but the inights resonate on a much broader level:

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Topics: Content, Business Communication, Thought Leadership, B2B Marketing, B2B Content, Content Strategy, Healthcare Industry, Healthcare Design and Engineering

Purpose, not Justification: "Benefits" are not the Only Obstacle to a Big-Picture Value Proposition.

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on March 21


Sales and Marketing wisdom has long underscored the importance of presenting value propositions, that see beyond benefits and features.  

According to Investopedia, a value proposition is

a business or marketing statement that a company uses to summarize why a consumer should buy a product or use a service. This statement convinces a potential consumer that one particular product or service will add more value or better solve a problem than other similar offerings. 

On the other hand, a product feature is a "distinguishing characteristic of a an item, (such as performance specs, portability, or functionality).  A product benefit is an advantage, help or aid from something.  The distinction sounds good in theory.  In practice, these boundaries can blur.  

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Topics: Thought Leadership

Do Leaders Know How to Ask “Why”? 

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


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 March 14

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 March 13

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 March 9

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 March 7

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 March 6

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

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