Is American Identity Cooked up on the Grill?

For those of you international folks unfamiliar with the holiday, Labor Day Weekend marks the end of summer, and with it, the end of regular summer barbecues—another American tradition. In fact, the cuisine has become synonymous with American identity—and yes you cynical people, it is a cuisine. Among food that is indisputably American, the grilled…

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Can a Leader be Too Transparent?

On the one hand, in today’s world of 24/7 always-on, globally connected digital media, we assume that most everything is (or should be) transparent. And many in the West believe that access to information is one of the fundamental underpinnings of Democracy. Yet, on the other hand, we agonize over the consequences of too much…

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What is it About the Dog Days of Summer?

We are now firmly entrenched in the dog days of summer. If you have been following news in the United States, you might have noticed from headlines across the country that there is something about these scorching hot days which seem to capture America’s imagination—and its angst. But what is it about the late summer…

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The President, the Pope, and…the Player?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve looked at how unique personal brands have transcended the role of traditional brands like the President of the United State or the pope. In today’s ramble, I’d like to look at how a particular athlete is doing the same for the role of athlete. As I’ve written many times,…

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If the President Can be a Brand, Why Not the Pope?

He’s been called many things ranging from positive—”The Reformer Pope”—to the not so positive—”The Dictator Pope.” But no matter your take on this pontiff, one thing remains certain: Pope Francis is unafraid of bucking tradition and has, in the process, created a personal brand that transcends one of the most historical and traditional roles in…

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Is a New America Ready for the New Miss America?

One performed the first successful face transplant in the U.S. and is the youngest alumna of both the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and University of Wisconsin Madison School of Medicine. Another is a Harvard Law graduate running for Attorney General of the State of Illinois. And another graduated from Stanford and hosted a hit cable-news show, before…

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What Happens When the Private Sector Takes on Healthcare?

Irrespective of political alignment, most would agree that there is a leadership crisis in the world. As an antidote to this perceived lack of government guidance, citizens are looking more and more to private companies for support. BAV ®, Y&R’s proprietary brand measurement data tool, recently quantified this trend, finding that 82% of people around…

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Creativity Roars Back at Cannes

The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2018 has come to a close. The streets are empty but for locals and tourists, who can now get a seat in any restaurant, and the window-shaking beach music is absent, returning quiet tranquility to the nights. Yet even as the final stragglers pack to leave, there remains unfinished…

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Racist Content, Tasteless Comments, and Interfering Presidents are Not New in the Media World

A celebrity tweets a racist comment and her very successful show gets cancelled. Some 500 miles across the country, another celebrity, this one using her media channel-sponsored platform, calls the daughter of the U.S. President an expletive and gets her hand slapped. Interestingly, many considered one reaction or the other to be either overblown or…

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When Does Big Tech Become Something Else?

What makes a media company? Most recognize that BBC, NBC or Aljazeera are unabashed (or perhaps grandfathered in) media entities, while Facebook continues to reject the label and Amazon has yet to even face the “accusation.” I say “perhaps grandfathered” because who would want to be a media company today, facing regulation, when you could…

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Royal Wedding: Is Disruption By Love Possible?

Who doesn’t love a Royal Wedding? I mean really. All over the world people watch The Crown, Downton Abbey and The Queen. Full confession: I have always believed that if you scratch the surface of most Americans, (myself included) there is royal envy…and maybe just a little regret that we couldn’t work it out back…

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Customer First, Not Data

A true story…short…and one that points out the issues with so called targeting online. I say so-called because there is targeting and…there is targeting. Its easy to find me…yes…but why and with what is the real question. Once upon a time… My daughter and son-in-law went way for the weekend. The spa they stayed at…

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Are we wasting all of our infrastructure development?

Crossing the country and back, I passed through five really sad airports. All were dirty and rundown (although all were making efforts at renovation). Services were spotty; food was old school and unhealthy… and one even still utilized the people movers of the last century to take people between terminals. I won’t comment on security,…

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Does 2+2 Still Equal 4?

Can a border be closed off? Can a population be locked in or locked down? Seems that the topic is much in the news these days…all around the word. It got me thinking. Physical and political barriers—fences and road blocks—did used to keep people locked in…and locked up. Without going too far back in time,…

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What’s your relationship with Amazon: loyalty or convenience?

Amazon had yet another great earnings call, wowing the market with their growth. But these earnings have nothing to do with e-commerce, as MarketWatch explained: “E-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc.’s earnings surge in the first quarter was largely due to major acceleration in its Amazon Web Services business, which is powering the bulk of Amazon profits…

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From Ribbons to Tees, the Power of Social Branding

On Friday, I met with a business acquaintance, an investment banker type, who was insisting that Brands were no longer important…as he pontificated from the depths of his brand-clad and covered self. On Saturday, I was in the local park with my granddaughter Goldy, when I noticed that she and half her friends had on…

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Are you real…or just authentic?

Create viral assets. Design experiential moments. Used in one sentence, or better, used as one ask, “I want an authentic experience that will go viral.” Raise your hand if you have been in a meeting where you have heard something similar. Hmmm…I thought so…I have too. These days, we hear a lot about the need…

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Should Drones Do More Than Deliver Pizza?

I don’t know about you…but frankly, it’s easy to fall into a funk and be depressed about today’s so-called Hi-Tech. So-called, because while there is a lot of real Hi-Tech out there somewhere, what we call and overvalue as such is really data sales, media, retail and transportation…with occasionally fraudulent biotech thrown in for good…

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