A brand is a bond between people.

I have always had trouble with the word "brand". It sticks in my throat. It feels too cold, too commercial, too manipulative. "Brand" smells of meetings, powerpoint presentations and sales targets. It is a word that feels too smarmy for the nuanced concept that I have come to understand it to mean.

The oft cited origin story rubbed me the wrong way too: burning a brand in to the hide of one's live property, the cattle — there is nothing to be nostalgic about there. Who wants to invoke a top down, one-way communication model of yester-year that treats the consumer like cattle to be milked, owned, and targeted?

Why are new habits are so hard to make?

Meal Sharing and the Challenges of Trying to Change Behaviour

When I was in elementary school we had an extra bell ringing everyday. I didn’t know it was an extra bell at the time, but it rang in addition to all the other bells that rang for lunch, recess, the start of the day, and the end. This was a special bell that meant only one thing. When this bell rang, the ENTIRE SCHOOL went outside and ran half a mile down the road, turned around, and ran back. Every kid, every grade, every teacher, ran a mile every day.

I can't even believe how remarkable that is to me now.

We all want to feel bonded

I recently attended The Art of Marketing conference here in Vancouver. I was left inspired, with my thoughts churning. There was a pretty consistent message coming from all the speakers. In a nutshell, this is how I interpreted it:

People want to feel bonded with other people. We bond through stories, generosity, candor and shared experience. This leads to trust, gratitude and delight. When we feel bonded, we are healthier, happier, and freer to be our best, bravest selves.

Can you imagine what would improve if we all were healthier, happier and being our best, bravest selves?

Only everything.

Comparing apples to dumptrucks: Why price doesn't equal cost in choosing a design company

So, you just got three estimates from three design companies and you’re trying to decide which one to pick. The temptation is to flip to the back page and look at the price tag. Making a choice based on the bottom-line makes sense, right? After all it’s an objective, straightforward and fiscally responsible strategy … right?

How do designers choose colour? Part 2

I remember being struck by colour for the first time when I was five years old. It was cold out and I was in my winter coat — it was a bulky wool number that went to my knees. I was all wrapped up in scarves and mitts — I remember the mitts because I had to take them off in order to pick up an object that was the most beautiful, amazing colour I had ever seen. There was an abandoned robin’s egg shell on the ground — it was very delicate and tiny — and it was such a zingy, crisp, turquoise that it seemed to be singing and vibrating next to the browns and grays of the wintery yard. I felt excited just by looking at it! So I took it home, and kept stealing glances at it like I was taking little licks from a lollipop.

What is a "unique value proposition"?

This is way sexier than it sounds. I promise. A Unique Value Proposition contributes to more inspired work, greater success in your endeavours, higher motivation for all involved, a clearer sense of direction, a better fit with your intended audience, and a stronger drive towards your goals.

That sounds pretty sexy, doesn’t it?

Email campaigns: What is the best way to use them?

Many of our clients would like to reach out to their audience using email because it is fast, targeted and inexpensive. In this article we will look at the different options for sending email communication to a group, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

How can email be SO cold?

Email is COLD. I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of cold email communication and have seen it go wrong. Without those laughs, smiles, intonations and hand gestures, the reader can easily misinterpret your intended tone. And just try to tackle a contentious issue with a friend or colleague via email. Big mistake. You may as well pour gasoline on the ‘issue’ and blow it up into an ‘ISSUE’.

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