Guard Your Brand

July 19, 2011

I took these photos of an Investors Group skyscraper sign. Sometimes it said Investor…oup,  which sounds like oops, not something you want to hear from a financial firm post GFC (Global Financial Crisis).  Sometimes it said ‘Investor soup’ which is funny, sort of.  Buy from us and you get a cauldron of simmering financial advisors.

These pictures remind us of the Microcosm, Macrocosm Rule. The little things you do will be seen as endemic of who you are.

What people want from financial services firms are good returns and no mistakes. What I saw, from an organization whose products I own and whose agents I admire, was inattentiveness writ large.

Your brand is being looked at all the time.  Is your message broken? Is anyone checking? Is it time to appoint some brand guardians?


Photos taken in Hamilton, Canada.

How To Make The Front Page

July 11, 2011

I made the front page of the London Free Press today. Not because I shot someone but because visual journalist Craig Glover snapped me delighting a child. Here I am spinning my little friend Maja Lopez-Town. My mission is to make her feel loved. Is there anything more important than love?

Global CEO Kevin Roberts of Saatchi and Saatchi runs one of the most powerful advertising agencies on earth. I met him and was charmed by his message. According to Roberts, successful brands transcend people’s expectations by earning their respect and their love. (His book Lovemarks describes how.)

Kids teach us how to love. They teach us that delight matters. They teach us to be completely present because moments can be magical. Walt Disney understood this. He agreed with  Shakespeare, “All the world’s a stage…” so he made Disney staff  ‘Cast Members’.

Maja and I said hello to the big plastic lemon on top of the Lemonade stand. We said hello to the summer breezes as they cooled us. We danced and spun until we collapsed on the ground giggling. We looked for wonder and found it everywhere. Children, in addition to seeing the world as it is… fully alive, teach us how to be and …how to run our businesses. Have fun, give joy, be present. I know I sound like a Hallmark card. We want our organizations to be well-liked brands. What if you choose to be well loved instead? What could you change today?

P.S.  Craig’s own site is:

And…for those of you who want the science behind creating lovable brands check out Dan Hill’s Emotionomics or… Jesper Kunde’s Corporate Religion.

How to Build a Movement

July 3, 2011

Some of you build brands to build a better world. Maybe your thing is to rescue Golden Retrievers (that would be my mom’s group – 1600 dogs and counting).  Maybe you want to end child sex slavery ( or maybe you want people to sign their organ donor cards so your sweetie will get a kidney. I know you care about something. How do you get other people to care?

The answer is on this T-shirt. Amnesty International  grabbed my attention with an identity: the lifeguard.  The phrase is a mind twist.  You can save people without needing a Brazilian bikini wax. And, it’s a mind shift. When Amnesty uses ‘lifeguard’ they jolt you from the leisure of the coast line to struggle of the front line.

If you want people to join your movement,  consider using a heroic identity.

Do you know any movements that use an identity? Let me know.

Thanks to George Harvey for letting me photograph his chest while he walks his talk!

Good is no longer good enough. The goal is perfection and the path that takes us there leads to excellence.
Louise B. Karch