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How Creative Are You? Take the Test.

March 28, 2017 by Carla Johnson A Harvard grad, Dr. Donald W. MacKinnon was a psychology professor at the University of California at Berkeley who researched creativity. In 1949 he founded The Institute of Personality Assessment and Research (IPAR). After his retirement, he was a visiting fellow at the Center for Creative Leadership. Throughout his career, MacKennon dug deep into …

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4 Ways You Can Humanize Marketing and Build Relationships

March 21, 2017 by Brian Carroll We need to stop treating our customers like objects with our marketing and treat them like people. Be human first by recognizing their humanity. So how do you humanize marketing? Let me explain. I don’t know about you, but I’ve become weary of all the “personalized” emails that I’m receiving lately. It’s not that they’re all …

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Empathy, Orwell and Experiences

March 16, 2017 by Carla Johnson In his book Down and Out in Paris and London, author George Orwell (of 1984 and Animal Farm fame…) tells the story of penniless British writer Eric Blair and his adventures on the streets of…you guessed it…Paris and London. It was Orwell’s first novel and in good part, autobiographical. Although he came from a …

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If LEGO Built Your Brand Experience, What Would It Look Like?

March 9, 2017 by Carla Johnson Marketers love massively creative work. We hype Super Bowl ads. We study the most innovative companies. And we follow curious minds. But that’s where much of our inspiration ends and reality sets in. We have bosses who would never go for such wild ideas. Budgets that can’t stretch that far. There’s too much bureaucracy. …

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Design Thinking: What It Is and Why It Matters to Marketers

May 2, 2017 by Carla Johnson When people hear the word “design,” it conjures up images of architects, graphic designers and maybe a programmer. These are the people who stereotypically take an idea or concept and bring it into the real world. They put different pieces together, many of which seem unrelated, and ultimately solve problems for their clients. But …

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Do You Suffer From Brand Detachment Disorder?

February 7, 2017 by Carla Johnson Super Bowl ads are the mother lode of creativity. They’re the most watched show on television every year and the buzz of marketers for weeks on end – potentially years. From this year’s National Geographic spot for its upcoming show Genius and Audi’s ad about equal opportunity and equal pay for women, it’s the …

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17 Famous Quotes on Creativity to Inspire Your Marketing

January 26, 2017 by Carla Johnson One of the biggest complaints I hear from B2B marketers is that they don’t have what it takes to be creative. To clarify, they aren’t saying that they, themselves, aren’t creative. In fact, I think most of them are massively creative. No, what they’re saying by ‘it’ is…that they don’t have the budget, interesting …

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The Secret Phrase that Jump Starts Creativity

January 12, 2017 by Carla Johnson Great ideas seem to be a chicken-or-the-egg conundrum. Are companies fertile with fabulous ideas because they woo creative people? Or is it the creative people who create the culture? Companies that consistently crank out innovative work have learned how to streamline the process – even the parts that allow for uncertainty and chaos. But …

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Play Your Way to More Innovative Customer Experiences

December 6, 2016 by Robert Rose In January, Facebook held its 50th hackathon, a 24-hour Red Bull- and coffee-infused get-together where coders work on innovative applications or new features for existing products. These kind of events are legendary in Silicon Valley, of course; Facebook isn’t the only company to conduct them. Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, and just about every open-source organization …

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Why Empathy Matters in Storytelling and How to Use It

December 6, 2016 by Carla Johnson In his book Down and Out in Paris and London, author George Orwell (of 1984 and Animal Farm fame…) tells the story of penniless British writer Eric Blair and his adventures on the streets of…you guessed it…Paris and London. It was Orwell’s first novel and in good part, autobiographical. Although he came from a …

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22 Storytelling Rules Everyone Can Master

November 8, 2016 by Carla Johnson I’m often asked by business people how to tell better stories. I always tell them to learn from the masters, which is rarely other business people. The best places to go are often outside your industry. Those skilled in the art of storytelling but who work with different constraints. Because that’s how you begin …

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Welcome to the Creative Age – Are You Ready?

May 19, 2016 by Chuck Frey We’re living in the Creative Age, where ideas are the coin of the realm. Are you prepared to leverage the opportunities it can bring your way? During the Industrial Age, brawn ruled the day. Only a relative handful of leaders and managers were paid to think creatively about the organization’s present health and future …

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Creative Content for B2B Marketers

January 12, 2016 by Chuck Frey In today’s highly competitive world, B2B customers have more choices than ever. In many industries, too many me-too products and services are chasing too little business. Almost all of the marketers within these industries tend to rely on the same old types of content and distribution channels. Everyone tends to promote their products and …

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How to Convert Customers’ Passions Into Inspiring Content

December 1, 2015 Western Union banks on its customers’ passions to inspire remarkable content. Laston Charriez, the company’s senior vice president of marketing for the Americas, explains how it innovates in a conservative industry. Few brands have been household names as long as Western Union. Launched in 1851 as the New York & Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company (the company …

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Simplicity and Brand Experience: Margaret Molloy on the Siegel+Gale Simplicity Index

August 4, 2015 “Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, is creativity.”– Charles Mingus The biggest challenge that enterprise B2B organizations face is how hard it is to talk about what they sell in simple language. There’s few resources to help B2B companies maneuver through this quagmire, which is why Margaret Molloy, Global CMO and Head of …

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A Marketer’s Search for Meaning: 5 Attributes of Relevancy

April 28, 2015 I read an article the other day that said that people are hired for hard skills and fired for a lack of soft skills. I’ve found this to be true, and even more so for marketers as our pace of change keeps picking up speed. I listen to marketers talk about the struggles they have in their …

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How to Create a Thought Leadership Strategy That Supports True Innovation

February 3, 2015 Thought leadership is a common approach for companies wanting to establish credibility within their industry and stand apart from the crowd — and for good reason. It’s true that thought leaders tend to be the most successful professionals in their fields, and because of this, have more influence over their audience. The problem is that people throw …

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Want to Keep Your Marketing Job? Why You Must Embrace Change to Survive

November 11, 2014 How buyers buy has changed how we need to think and act as marketers. If you love uncertainty, then being a marketer today feels like being a kid on summer vacation – so many opportunities, ideas and inspiration. But apprehensive marketers are holding onto traditional practices. They think that if they ignore the disruption, they won’t have …

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Performance Anxiety and the Modern Marketer

September 30, 2014 For all the change that’s taken place in how buyers buy, it’s no wonder that marketers feel uncertain. It’s not just about learning new skillsets and making sure teams are staffed and equipped with enough resources. It’s about realizing, understanding and then doing something about the new roles that we need to have as marketers and marketing …

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Ideation and Brainstorming: The art of team building through agreement

July 1, 2014 What’s better than sitting in a bland conference room, sun beating through the windows and fluorescent lights buzzing while your boss drones on about a brainstorming session? Probably everything. Brainstorming. It always begins with that cliché, “Remember, there are no bad ideas.” Which actually isn’t true. There are lots of bad ideas: The mullet. Parachute pants. New …