What Do Brands and Countries Have in Common?

Back in the day, when the Viking longships with their fearsome prows were seen on a coastline, local residents ran and hid. They knew what was coming. Typically, carnage and pillage. When a delegation arrived in your country sporting a standard with S.P.Q.R., boldly displayed, you knew you were about to be conquered and subsumed….

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A Report from the Cloudy Crystal Ball

As 2018 fast approaches, I like to look back to predictions I made at the start of last year and judge my powers of prescience. Unlike many analysts who prophesize like Nostradamus, being broadly vague so they don’t get caught, I admit upfront that my crystal ball is very cloudy. Nevertheless, I do my best…

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What Does Net Neutrality Really Mean to You?

How confused are you by the notion of Net Neutrality? Would you have voted “yay” or “nay”? Last week’s United States FCC (Federal Communications Commission) vote ended Net Neutrality. It went 3-to-2 along obvious political party partisanships, just as the vote in 2015 went the same way to establish the principal, except with a different political…

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Should you buy Bitcoin?

Are you following the ups (and occasional downs) of Bitcoin? Do you kick yourself for not ‘investing’ in Bitcoins when they started showing up back in 2008? What about kicking yourself over Google, Amazon and Facebook too? (Sorry for the little dig!) Check the price of Bitcoin today. See what it was yesterday. It goes…

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Why You Need to Learn From the 18th Century

Socrates (or Sokrat in his starring movie role) challenged the conventional wisdom of his time with what we now call the Socratic method. But asking questions and engaging his audience to answer them ultimately got him killed. The leaders of Athens were angry because Socrates seemingly forced the questioned to follow through to a logical…

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Why VICE Succeeded and The Gothamist Failed

It seems the digital world has caught up with the sweatshops my late grandmother toiled in on New York’s Lower East Side in the early part of the last century. The only difference being that the consequences are more immediate… though just as harsh. This week, DNAinfo and Gothamist closed their doors after a vote…

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Five Tips to Prevent Censorship

Eight people were murdered by a terrorist in New York City, who in a choreographed attack copied from online forums, used a truck to mow down pedestrians at a time and place chosen to maximize destruction. At the same time, in Washington, DC, the so-called Tech Giants were testifying before a committee of the United…

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Does Amazon have the keys to your house?

Alexa, write my Ramble. Lol…didn’t even get an answer, just the ‘kerplunk’ sound. But Alexa did turn on my lights, give me news headlines, and is now playing my favorite background music for writing. Plus, we use the Echo Show in the kitchen to watch cooking videos and our 2-year-old granddaughter, Goldy, calls up her…

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Russian Ads and Soap: Lessons for Marketers

Every time I read yet another story about how the Russians managed to “throw” the U.S. Presidential Election with a $100,000 advertising budget on Facebook, I honestly burn with jealousy. In fact, I’d bet many marketers feel the same. I can only imagine the discussion in meetings, conference calls, and in confrontations at conferences: ‘Why…

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What Do Vice and Hugh Hefner Have in Common? More Than You Think.

One by one, they disappear. High-profile lives and their many followers… suddenly gone. It could be the pilot for the latest mystery-infused TV series (in the all-screen, any platform or distribution sense). Perhaps it’s the plot of a star-studded summer movie blockbuster, or even a bestselling novel. Any guesses? And no, for a change, the…

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When the Dreamer is Your Customer

What isn’t Branded? We Brand market segments, demographic identifiers, and, of course, generations. It’s hard to find blank space anywhere, isn’t it? Needless to say, the very mention of a Brand name conjures up images and associations that enable us to visualize, to value, to aspire, and to imagine experientially. Or—in the case of Brands…

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The Most Powerful Tool in Crisis: Humanity

It was the photo of a colony of Fire Ants balled together into a protective unit, floating amidst the debris and devastation of flooded Houston, that caused me to wonder about the notion of “nature vs. nature” and “technology vs. nature.” You see, these Fire Ants began evolving in Brazil, where wet conditions forced them…

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