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Helping brands and leaders be more influential
by embracing their humanity and personality.

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The Underappreciated Reason SXSW Matters (In A Word)

It is tempting to search for the next big thing. There were no shortage of journalists sent to SXSW this past weekend for their annual quest to answer exactly that question. And this year many came up empty — or at least indifferent.  Some even skipped the event completely. Of course we like to see winners and losers. And SXSW certainly has the track record of a kingmaking conference (Twitter and Foursquare both launched there).

The reason SXSW actually matters, though, has almost nothing to do with the technology that launches there. It is not really about finding investors or even recruiting new talent either. Sure those things happen, but the vast majority of the attendees at SXSW are not launching anything or hiring anyone. So what are they doing?

Seeking inspiration is the #1 reason people attend SXSW.

Through the onslaught of speaking sessions, parties, intimate gatherings and private meetings – people find their own inspiration. It may come from hearing Elon Musk talk about realizing the potential of humanity through space travel. Or it may come from a chance encounter with someone while waiting in line for a party. We all want inspiration to be able to start something new, or to do our own work better. At SXSW, this inspiration comes from the serendipity of being in the same place with so many optimistic idea seekers and creators.

The one word reason SXSW matters is INTERSECTION.

Every industry needs this kind of moment – but many are just concentrated in a single industry. The power of SXSW is that everyone can come together at a single moment and share ideas across industry, practice field, expertise, or event interest area. We learn the most when we surround ourselves with people who think about different things than ourselves.

SXSW may be fueled by a unity of geeks who love technology and launch ideas – but you don’t always need to find one big thing in order to declare the event a success.  If there is one thing history shows us, it is that bringing smart people together always has a way of paying off in the end.

15 Marketing Trends To Watch In 2013 + FREE Ebook!

A few days ago, I published the full 96 page report of my 15 marketing trends to watch for 2013 on Slideshare – and published an ebook on Amazon on the trends and how to use them for your business.  For the next 48 hours, the ebook will be available for free on Amazon … so check out the presentation…Read More >>

How To Tell Better Stories: 10 Profound Lessons From The Future Of Storytelling Conference


Walking off the ferry into Snug Harbor on Staten Island, there was a big motorcade of cars and police standing there. It was the first and most obvious clue that this first ever Future of StoryTelling Conference might not be the same as any other business conference. As the crowd filed into the auditorium, Al Gore was among them ……Read More >>

5 Insights From The 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report

Earlier this morning the team at released their annual report on the state of Social Media Marketing. Based on the responses of over 3800 surveyed marketers, the report offers an interesting look at how businesses are using social media to grow and promote their businesses. As with any surveys of this type, you have to remember that the people…Read More >>

How United Could Have Avoided Frustrating Staff And Alienating Customers

How United Could Have Avoided Frustrating Staff And Alienating Customers

This might surprise you, but Zappos doesn't offer standard overnight shipping. But for years customers of the site have been getting overnight shipping even though they didn't ask for or even pay extra for it. The reasoning is simple, if your customers have lower expectations – it is easy to consistently exceed them. We feel delight at getting the product…Read More >>

The Best And Worst Of Super Bowl Marketing Strategy 2012

I couldn’t help but feel sorry this year for anyone who only watches the Super Bowl ads for entertainment. Perhaps the most defining feature of all the ads this year was how uniformly uncreative and dated they were. Marketers turned to old and obvious gags like girls in bikinis and dogs (lots of dogs) to try and carry their ads….Read More >>

Everything You Need To Know About Twitter Strategy In Two Tweets

Everything You Need To Know About Twitter Strategy In Two Tweets

How many times have you heard that being successful in using social media is all about engagement? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it isn't. For a consumer that is going on Twitter to complain about how their mobile phone doesn't have coverage, they don't want to be "engaged" with your brand … they want you…Read More >>

The Agony Filter

The Agony Filter

There is a new travel website called Hipmunk that has an interesting philosophy about searching for the best flight deal online. Instead of showing you every flight combination that could save you an extra $12, they remove options that no normal human would choose. Sure you could save some money by taking two connections to get from DC to Boston…Read More >>

What's Next For The World's Biggest Virtual Earthquake Drill?

What's Next For The World's Biggest Virtual Earthquake Drill?

On October 21st of this year, nearly 8 million people across California dove under desks, strapped large appliances to the walls and participated in what could easily be called the largest virtual event of the year – if not the decade. It was called The Great Shakeout, an annual earthquake simulation that for the first time invited people all across…Read More >>

The GAP Logo Poll: Is Ignoring Brand Equity A New Marketing Trend?

The GAP Logo Poll: Is Ignoring Brand Equity A New Marketing Trend?

It is easy to take relationships for granted. This is in business or life, when something becomes so familiar it can fall into the back ground and its value becomes easy to forget. Last year Tropicana launched an entirely new brand look and had the customers up in arms about the new design*. Within months they switched it back. Earlier…Read More >>