Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Brands Must Promote Equality 365 Days a Year - Not Just During June

What did your brand do during the month of June that might have been different than other months? Did you change your logo colors? Did you add a new tagline to your logo? Did you send email blasts promoting equality? 

No matter how you altered your marketing campaigns during Pride Month to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion, the better solution is to actively promote these important organizational characteristics and brand attributes each and every day of the year - not just during the month of June.

To quote Unbounce (@Unbounce on Twitter), "Representation in marketing matters. The images you choose can either perpetuate or break down stereotypes."

Two brands recently launched an LGBTQ+ Guidebook to support brands as they make more inclusive visual choices. Here is a link to the Guidebook:

According to The Visibility Project launched by GLAAD and Proctor & Gamble, "Brands can no longer afford to isolate themselves from important cultural conversations around inclusion, equality, and equity. In response to COVID-19’s global pandemic and to the U.S.’s racial injustices and reckoning, consumers expect – and respect – brands that make social statements supporting true inclusion and equality. Consumers require more than just words or writing a check. True investment in Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion requires strategic planning, design, and action."

Read the findings from the Advertiser and Agency Perspectives on LGBTQ Inclusion Study here:

So, what did your brand do during June? Perhaps, the marketing changes that your brand did during June were a start. But, don't stop now that June has ended.

"Diversity, inclusion, and  representation are simply good for business and good for the world.” ~Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO, GLAAD (@sarahkateellis of @glaad)

Image Credits: Oreo, Museum of Modern Art, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, and T-Mobile.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Effective Leaders Don't Need to be the Smartest Person in the Room

Over the last decade, thanks to social media, I have had the privilege to meet a variety of amazing and inspiring leadership and marketing experts. Back in 2017, I was inspired by Kevin Eikenberry, a leadership guru. In 2018, I shared a review of one of his books here on my Blog, and a link to that review is provided at the end of this post. Kevin and I recently had a discussion about leadership, and highlights follow his bio.

Kevin Eikenberry is the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group and the Co-Founder of the Remote Leadership Institute. He has spent 30 years helping organizations and leaders from over 40 countries become more effective. has twice named him in the top 100 Leadership and Management Experts in the World. His books include, Remarkable Leadership, From Bud to Boss, and The Long-Distance Leader. His new book is The Long-Distance Teammate. Follow his blog at:; LinkedIn at:; and on Twitter @KevinEikenberry. His company websites are: and

QUESTION: How do you differentiate between management and leadership?
KEVIN EIKENBERRY: Differently than many people! If you Google the difference between them, much of what you will find are lists that frame management as “bad” and leadership as “good.” If you have a job of leading or managing others, both management and leadership are a part of your job. We manage things – plans, budgets, forecasts, logistics, for example, and we lead people – coaching, setting a vision, influencing, creating change, and more. I believe both are important parts of our role – and we must take getting better at both seriously.

QUESTION: Which three leaders inspire you, from business or history, and why?
KEVIN EIKENBERRY: There could be a long list. I’ll say Abraham Lincoln because he led from deeply held principles, stuck to them, yet listened to others – including those with different perspectives than his own. Oh, and he preserved a nation. Ronald Reagan, because he set a clear vision, stayed fixed on it, overcame big odds, and in the end, ended the cold war without a shot being fired. And my dad, from whom I first learned about leadership, up close and personally. He was flawed as we all are, yet he was passionate, worked hard, and trusted others (including me) early and often.

QUESTION: How can people without grandiose titles lead others?  
KEVIN EIKENBERRY: I love this question because leadership isn’t a title at all! Leadership is a verb – if you think you are leading and no one is following, you are just taking a walk. The way to lead is to help people create or see a picture of something better and influence, engage, and encourage them to move toward it. Purpose, passion, and belief in others are all far more important than positional power.

TWEET THIS: If you think you are leading and no one is following, you are just taking a walk. ~@KevinEikenberry #Leadership #EmployeeExperience #EmployerBranding

QUESTION: What three tips would you give a new manager?
KEVIN EIKENBERRY: I co-wrote a whole book about that titled From Bud to Boss: Secrets to the Successful Transition to Remarkable Leadership, so I suppose I have lots to say here. But if forced to boil it down to three, here we go:
(1) Determine what is expected of you and what you expect of your team.
(2) Listen first and more often.
(3) Remember that trust and relationships are an important part of your job.

QUESTION: On your Blog, you wrote about “The Feedback Sandwich: The Sandwich No One Wants to Eat.” Can you explain this for readers who may be unfamiliar with the analogy?

(Post referenced:

KEVIN EIKENBERRY: Much has been written, and many have been advised to use the feedback sandwich when coaching, which is this: share your negative feedback after giving something positive, and close with something else positive. In other words, have some positive bread to go with the negative feedback. In short, the problem is this: most often, people only advise this when you have negative to deliver, and so, too often, the positive bread is either less specific, unclear or meat to soften the meat in the middle. Is there a time or place where a feedback sandwich could work? Yes. Is it overused and misused? In my experience about 90%+ of the time.

QUESTION: How can a CEO be an effective brand ambassador?
KEVIN EIKENBERRY: Truthfully, every CEO already is a brand ambassador, just like every leader at every level is a role model. People watch leaders (and yes, watch, more than listen) for clues and direction. The question is, are leaders (including CEO’s) role modeling what they want others to follow and believe? The actions, decisions, and words of the CEO in many ways inform the brand daily. So if a CEO wants to be a more effective brand ambassador, they must know what the brand stands for and means, and be intentional each day to model and lead in a way consistent with it.

TWEET THIS: Every CEO already is a brand ambassador, just like every leader at every level is a role model. ~@KevinEikenberry #Leadership #EmployeeExperience #EmployerBranding

QUESTION: To quote Peter Drucker, “There may be born leaders, but there surely are far too few to depend on them. Leadership must be learned.” What does this quote mean to you?

KEVIN EIKENBERRY: I could quibble with the first part of Peter’s statement, but I believe ultimately we are in complete agreement. I believe all leaders are both born and made. There are genetics that make us uniquely ourselves and when we use those unique traits effectively, they can help us lead. And yet, ultimately, leadership is a set of skills (admittedly a large and complex list). Since leadership is about skills, they can be learned. I firmly believe that we were all born with the capability to become effective leaders, but many/most won’t take the serious effort to build the skills to do so successfully.  

QUESTION: One of my favorite leadership quotes is from author and consultant Mark Herbert (@NewParadigmer on Twitter): “Leadership doesn't require you to be the smartest person in the room. It requires you to block and tackle for others.” What does this quote mean to you?
KEVIN EIKENBERRY: If you are the smartest person in the room – and you picked the people in the room - you made a grievous error. Effective leaders have a healthy level of humility, so they don’t need to be the smartest person in the room. Their focus is on defining and coalescing a group of competent, and committed, (and yes smart) people around the vision. Leaders must take their ego out and realize that their job is to focus on the vision and serve the people (which means removing obstacles and barriers – doing the “blocking and tackling”). Not only that, I will take commitment and passion over “smart” every day.

My gratitude to Kevin for sharing his inspiring perspective about leadership and its impact on both the employee experience and overall brand experience.

Post referenced at the beginning: A review of Kevin's book, The Long-Distance Leader:

Image Credit: Debbie Laskey.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Customer Service, ROI, and How to Create WOW Moments!


One of the many things I enjoy about social media is the amazing people I get to meet. Thanks to technology, I get to travel around the world and meet people with different backgrounds and perspectives. Thanks to Twitter, I recently met Shaun Belding from Ottawa, Canada, since he shares my passions for customer experience marketing, bold leadership, and inspiring workplace culture. We discussed our shared passions, and highlights follow Shaun’s bio.

Shaun Belding is CEO of Belding Training, and a leading global expert on customer experience, leadership, and workplace culture. He is the author of six books, published internationally in 12 languages. His most recent book is The Journey to WOW, the path to outstanding customer experience and loyalty, a highly acclaimed Amazon bestseller. Learn more about Shaun on his website at; on his Winning at Work blog at; on LinkedIn at; and on Twitter @ShaunBelding.

QUESTION: How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected customer service in Canada?
SHAUN BELDING: The best word I can think of would be “fragmented.” On a macro level, most organizations have pivoted quite well. A lot of companies are still struggling to adapt their customer service channels, though. And many which have successfully adapted their processes haven’t adequately mitigated the emotional exhaustion employees are facing. Having said this, front line customer service in person and on the telephone is, in many ways, far more human than ever. People seem just that little bit more patient and pleasant - and trying just a little harder.

QUESTION: Your blog showcases a myriad of good and bad customer service stories. So out of all you've experienced and heard about, what is your number one best customer service experience and number one worst?
SHAUN BELDING: Tough question! The worst ones, for me, are the ones where people or companies become so focused on their self-interests, processes, or policies that they forget about humanity.

The divide between WOW customer service and face-palming horrendous service is best illustrated for me in a single episode with US Bank in 2019 (link at end of Q&A) on Christmas Eve. The bank was holding a customer’s check. He had no money and found himself at a gas station with not enough to buy gas to get home. The call center agent told her supervisor, who hopped into her car and drove to the gas station to give the man $20 for gas. It was a truly Wow experience and aligned with the bank’s claim that “Our employees are empowered to do the right thing.” HOWEVER, a week later, the bank fired both the supervisor and employee for breaking protocol. Apparently “doing the right thing” wasn’t referring to how customers should be treated.

QUESTION: Too often, corporate leaders downplay marketing because they cannot see immediate results. Similarly, customer service ROI is a difficult metric to track. However, you wrote that "customer service is like vegetables." Can you explain how easy it is to evaluate customer service?

SHAUN BELDING: I love this question, because I have heard the ROI debate all my adult life. Back when I had a real job, working in strategic and client management roles in national and international ad agencies, we were constantly faced with ROI questions. That’s when I learned John Wannamaker’s famous quote, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” The same might be said with customer service.

The ROI of customer service can’t be measured on a transactional basis, just like the ROI of hiring an accountant can’t be measured on a day-to-day basis. It’s also hard to isolate the specific impact of customer service on revenue or profitability because it is only one of many drivers.

The best way to measure the ROI of customer service is, believe it or not, by focusing on the negatives. It is easier and more accurate to attribute decreases in negative indicators to customer service. Outstanding customer service will reduce customer churn, complaints, escalations, negative social media, etc. Poor customer service increases these things. They make for a good measurable – from which one can calculate tangible changes In revenues and profitability.

TWEET THIS: The best way to measure the ROI of customer service is, believe it or not, by focusing on the negatives. –@ShaunBelding #ROImetrics #brandexperience

QUESTION: You wrote the following on a blog post: "If we aren’t passionate – visibly and demonstrably passionate – we will never be able to instill this in our people. We can never lose sight of the role we ourselves play in the success of our organization." How can a business instill passion for the brand and/or the mission in its employees so that they provide excellent customer service?

SHAUN BELDING: It has to start at the top. Just repeat those 7 words over and over again. Once that’s in place, it’s about the messaging. Here’s an example: About 15 years ago, I got a call from the CEO of one of our clients. I’d known him for a decade, and we had become good friends. He had built the company from scratch, and his charisma and passion fueled a rabidly loyal and proud workplace.  

He began the call with, “Shaun, I need your help.” He went on to describe how the “fire” had gone out in his workplace, and try as he might, he couldn’t rekindle it. He wanted us to identify the problem and help create a roadmap back to where they had been. Identifying the problem didn’t take us long. I had been there when he created the company, and the changes were palpable.

When the company started, my friend would spend a huge amount of his time roaming the halls, sticking his nose into things, bringing people coffee, chatting, laughing – and celebrating small successes. The memos he and his executive team would send out were all about doing the right thing – like treating customers and colleagues well – and giving shoutouts to individuals.  

Fast-forward ten years, and this was gone. Emails were all about business, and profit, and processes, and best practices and (ironically) ROI. Silos had sprouted, with precious little cross-communication in the company. Discussions around doing the right thing were quaint, distant memories.

It took him two years, but he turned it around. He single-handedly took ownership of doing the right thing and was absolutely relentless in ensuring that the message cascaded through the company. A couple of senior leadership team members who weren’t onboard with the changes were off-boarded in a hurry. The message that the CEO was serious was loud and clear.

The three lessons I learned from this transformation were:
a) Passion has to start at the top.
b) Customer service culture requires absolute relentlessness.
c) You need to focus on people more than stuff.

My friend has never given me permission to formally identify him, but I can tell you that he was my inspiration for the character of Avi Vincente in the leadership section of my book, The Journey to WOW.

QUESTION: Everyone in marketing and customer service circles has heard the Morton's Steakhouse story by Peter Shankman. What can brands learn from that story and apply toward their customer experience marketing strategies?  

SHAUN BELDING: The definition of a “Wow” experience is one that people will think of first when in a discussion about a customer experience, and one that they feel will be interesting to others. Peter Shankman’s Morton’s Steakhouse story is a textbook example. There are three big lessons that brands can take away from it:

1. When a customer reaches out to you – regardless of the reason – don’t ever ignore them.
2. Give your people the permission and the courage to seize WOW opportunities.
3. Don’t be seduced by big data. It’s the one-on-one interactions that create loyalty.

TWEET THIS: Don’t be seduced by big data. It’s the one-on-one interactions that create loyalty. –@ShaunBelding #CX #brandexperience

QUESTION: What's your favorite customer service book, and why should everyone read it?
SHAUN BELDING: Okay…I would be disingenuous if I didn’t say my book, The Journey to WOW – but I’m probably not really objective there.
My second most favorite book on customer service, isn’t technically a customer service book – but it’s one that everyone in customer service should read:  Dale Carnegie’s iconic How to Win Friends and Influence People. It was written 85 years ago and is as relevant and powerful today as it was then. There is no-one who has better or more succinctly captured the human condition – and the mechanisms for creating long-lasting positive relationships. The skill-sets he introduces speak to the very core of customer service, and his one quote, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you,” are words that can change people’s lives.

My gratitude and appreciation to Shaun for sharing his inspiring perspectives.

LINK to incident referenced in second question regarding US BANK and fired employees:

Image Credit: Pace Branding and Marketing (@paceadv on Twitter).

Monday, June 14, 2021

Branding Impacts Everything!

Over the last decade, thanks to social media, I have had the privilege to meet countless amazing and inspiring marketing and leadership experts. 

I'm honored to welcome back Bill Ellis, a marketing expert with experience in a well-known global brand, who demonstrates his passion for branding in everything he does. Recently, we had a discussion about how branding impacts all aspects of business, and highlights follow a brief introduction.

Bill Ellis is a master at unlocking the fearless potential in others. A veteran of corporate brand management for more than 25 years at global beverage giant Anheuser-Busch, Bill has come to learn and deliver his true value in the past decade as a public speaker, certified coach, and brand architect for individuals and businesses. 

Bill’s weekly blog, Friday’s Fearless Brand, has earned a following around the world as he masterfully highlights core elements of brands – whether people, places or organizations – that he considers to be fearless. It is Friday’s Fearless Brand that is the foundation for Women Who Won, a book sparked by Bill’s twin granddaughters and his wish for their happy future as successful intrepid women. It is his hope that this compilation of stories of amazing women from all walks of life will inspire and remind – both men and women – that we all can win. Bill is also the host of the What’s the Point? podcast, which is dedicated to helping people to define, clarify, and live their purpose, fueling it with passion, and evolving it through persistence. Connect with Bill at his website at, on LinkedIn at, on Twitter @WCEllis, on Facebook at, and on Instagram @wcellis.

QUESTION: You were one of the first people I know who described his/her/their role within marketing as "Brand Architect." Can you please clarify?
BILL ELLIS:​ That's a great question. My mission is to make good brands better. As you well know, building, evolving, refining, and optimizing brands - be they companies, products/services, or personal brands - can be a very complex proposition. Discovering, clarifying, and growing a brand's value requires a variety of considerations and processes. For years I spent a great deal of time trying to answer people's question of "What do you do? Are you a coach, a consultant, a speaker, a facilitator, an author - what exactly are you?"

One day, it finally occurred to me that making good brands better - building more effective brands - is somewhat similar to constructing a building. There are a wide variety of disciplines required, but it all starts with the vision, experience, and talents of an architect. That realization made it very simple for me to define what I do regarding my work with brands: I'm an architect, a brand architect.

QUESTION: You appeared here on my Blog five years ago. One question I posed was this: "Most businesses have added to their C-level suite with a Chief Talent Officer, Chief Digital Officer, and even a Chief Customer Officer. When will businesses create Chief Branding Officers?" You provided a "NO" as your answer then. Has your opinion changed since 2016?
BILL ELLIS: No, my opinion hasn't changed at all. I don't believe that the position of Chief Branding Officer is one that will become widespread. However, let me help explain my opinion. To begin with, most people have a very narrow definition of brand and branding, thinking of it as the tangible elements such as logos. A brand is so much more than that. A brand is comprised of the value proposition of a company, product, or individual.

Creating a CBO title will, in my opinion, create too much confusion. What I do see as an evolving trend are titles which take into account the importance of building relational value - perhaps Chief Relational Officer. More and more the value of strong relations is becoming more evident as a critical element in a successful business.

TWEET THIS: A brand is comprised of the VALUE PROPOSITION of a company, product or individual. ~@WCEllis #brandstrategy #brandstorytelling #brandexperience

QUESTION: In 2017, I shared a review of your book, WOMEN WHO WON, Stories of Courage, Confidence, Vision and Determination. How have the events from 2020 (the #MeToo Movement, the celebration of the 19th Amendment, and the election of the first female vice president) altered your perspective about the importance of personal branding, and especially for women?
BILL ELLIS: The timing of my book, Women Who Won, was somewhat serendipitous in that it was written and published prior to the #MeToo movement and the long overdue acknowledgement of - and appreciation for - the potential represented by women. If anything, I believe more strongly than ever that understanding and building our personal brand is vital to our success in all aspects of life.

This is true more so for women. In my view, there is a deeper and more widespread openness to the talent, skills, and leadership represented by females. One question I was asked when my book was first published was "Who would you most like to read your book?" My answer was "Everyone, but especially men, as I recognize that most women know their talents and power, but as a whole, men need to become more aware."

(Post referenced:

(Post referenced:

QUESTION: One of our fellow marketers, Jim Joseph (@JimJosephExp on Twitter), said, "It's nearly impossible now to separate an organization's leadership and its values from a brand. They are completely linked." What does this quote mean to you?
BILL ELLIS: I believe that Jim is absolutely correct in his statement. Frankly, I believe that's always been the case, but is just now becoming more widely recognized and accepted. An organization's leadership plays a significant role in clarifying, strengthening, and communicating a company's brand - and that of its products. What is ideal, as I see it, is for all of us to define our core values and make certain that wherever we work or get involved, has core values which are compatible. When I mention "core values", I'm referring to our deepest beliefs, those values which truly define our lives - our ideals.

TWEET THIS: An organization's leadership plays a significant role in clarifying, strengthening, and communicating a company's brand. ~@WCEllis #leadershiptip #brandtip #brandexperience

QUESTION: On your website, you promote the importance of conducting a brand self-audit. Can you share some of the key points that that a brand can discover upon doing this?
BILL ELLIS: Think about it this way, if we want to take a trip, but have no idea of our financial resources, what are our travel options, which of our possessions and wardrobe are appropriate and so forth, how can we expect to have a fulfilling holiday? I created my brand audit as a starting point for people to self-evaluate their brand status. It's suitable for assessing personal or company brands. For many, the results will highlight areas that the individual can address to immediately strengthen their brand - to make a good brand better. Many are capable and interested in a DIY approach. However, to reap the greatest benefits, my advice to people is to partner with the most appropriate brand architect for them.

(Link referenced:

QUESTION: What brands do you think are doing a good job with their advertising and marketing during the COVID-19 crisis? Please share examples.
BILL ELLIS: Advertising during this worldwide pandemic has clearly presented tremendous challenge to advertisers. Many of the more prevalent advertisers are ones whose industries have been most impacted - airlines, travel, restaurants. Many advertisers took a sentimental approach, a few tried simply to have fun. Not many of them stood out to me. I do want to give a shout out to my former employer on their creative re-imagining a classic "Whassup" campaign. They created what they called the "Quarantine version" with altered copy and the payoff exchange of "Whassup?" answered by "just quarantining, having a Bud". They leveraged an iconic spot for many, yet many younger viewers no doubt, assumed it to be a totally new spot. Either way, AB-InBev created a high-quality ad by cleverly avoiding the pitfalls of new production during Covid.

My gratitude and appreciation to Bill for sharing his inspiring perspective about the important alignment between leadership and branding.

Bill's first appearance on this blog: May 16, 2016:

Image Credit: Debbie Laskey.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Design Impacts Customers – Especially During a Pandemic!

Over the last decade, thanks to social media, I have had the privilege to meet a variety of amazing business experts. One of these experts is Paul Biedermann, who I met on Twitter in 2013. We recently had a discussion about marketing, and highlights follow below Paul’s bio.

Paul Biedermann is Principal/Creative Director of re:DESIGN, a small agency specializing in Brand Identity, Strategic Design, and Visual Marketing — creating great design and smart strategies that reach, engage, and inspire people to action, based in Long Island, New York. Formerly a Creative Director for The McGraw-Hill Companies and Art Director for the NFL, Paul founded a global design community, is an adjunct professor of design, and serves on boards and advisory committees that support the arts. Paul has a BFA from the School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. Visit his website and blog at; check out his Facebook community at; and follow on Twitter @PaulBiedermann.

QUESTION: On your blog, you wrote, “Design is never about you and me, it’s about the impact your business makes on its customers.” Please explain.
PAUL BIEDERMANN: The intent was to take subjectivity out of the design process and put the focus where it should be — on how well a design satisfies a particular business objective or some other goal. It should never be about whether a client’s favorite color is green or the personal style of a particular designer, but rather about how effectively design solves the business problem at hand. And that ultimately benefits the client’s customers, prospects, or end-users.

TWEET THIS: Design is never about you and me, it’s about the impact your business makes on its customers. –@PaulBiedermann #marketing #brandexperience

QUESTION: While the traditional marketing landscape of printed collateral including annual reports, brochures, and fact sheets has evolved in the digital era to websites, emails, and mobile ads, how do you see the future of design?
PAUL BIEDERMANN: Design will always have a place, it just evolves with the media. Remember, design is more about the message than the form — so clarity, functionality, persuasion — how well design gets the reader or end-user to take notice and act is what it’s all about.

This could be the difference between someone staying on a website or clicking somewhere else — or how easily they are able to locate what they need once there, whether they sign-up or make a purchase — no different than getting pulled-in by an ad or poster and attending an event, or how easily one can absorb and retain content. Design meets the moment. Moving into things like augmented reality and whatever else the future may hold, the need to grab somebody and influence a response or entice an action will always be the role of good design.

QUESTION: Have you seen any exceptional ad campaigns during the COVID-19 pandemic?
PAUL BIEDERMANN: One that stands out happened at the beginning of the crisis, and how McDonald’s (Brazil) split apart its famous golden arches to convey social distancing. It was a simple, whimsical solution that was attached to their core identity — which they literally ripped in two (like a broken heart?). It effectively communicated the need to close their dine-in areas while promoting safety through drive-thru, carryout, and delivery options.

QUESTION: What is your thought process when designing a logo?
PAUL BIEDERMANN: That’s a rather broad question, because SO much thinking goes into creating an effective logo! People often seem to have a misconception that logos are easy because of their simplicity, but the reality is far different. Indeed, designing a good logo is among the most difficult things a designer can do.

I always start by learning what the company, organization, or service is about — and then iterating on how to best communicate its essence. The solution could be quite literal or oftentimes, something more abstract that nonetheless communicates the right feeling. So, it’s a mix of business needs, aesthetic needs, and practical needs such as if the brand mark will work effectively in all media, materials, colors, and sizes. Not easy — but that’s the magic. It just looks simple when it’s done.

QUESTION: What are your three favorite brands, and why?
PAUL BIEDERMANN: It’s probably no surprise that my favorite brands tend to utilize design in a way that makes our lives better. Stylish? Perhaps. But also, a great user experience. My three are: Netflix, Apple, and Twitter.

NETFLIX: Because who doesn’t like Netflix, especially during a pandemic? But seriously, it exemplifies a well-designed user experience: intuitive browsing, easy to preview, and simple to use. It’s an overall seamless experience that leads to less frustration and more viewing enjoyment! Netflix has also been vocal about race relations and the current civil crisis, and hopefully, will translate that into action.

APPLE: I know, I know… but I’d be remiss not mentioning the brand permeating my life for the past 30 years now: Apple. Beginning with the dawn of the Macintosh at the start of my design career, that’s the same desktop system I’m sitting at now and the brand behind the little digital and creative device so often in my hands — a true life-changer — first revolutionizing the creative field and then almost everything else. Not much I can add to what’s been said so many times before, but from their products to their retailers, packaging, and advertising, Apple is a designer’s dream. They pay attention to the little things and the needs of the end-user — all hallmarks of good design and undeniable proof of the business success that comes with it.

TWITTER: Besides the fast-moving, fluid communications vehicle they’ve developed, no social media platform is more prone to the serendipity that a casual tweet can produce by immediately putting you in proximity to some of the most influential people on the planet. That is by design as much as anything else. But with great power comes great responsibility — so I also commend Twitter for their integrity in protecting their platform and brand with recent moves to flag tweets that share misleading information or promote violence.

My thanks to Paul for sharing his marketing insights and for appearing here on my Blog.

Blog post referenced in Question #1:
“Design Is Not About You or Me, It’s About Them”

Image Credits: Debbie Laskey via the ImageQuote app and McDonald’s Brazil.