Cam Newton, Leadership, Failure and You

Cam Newton, the extremely talented quarterback of the North Carolina Panthers, has figuratively been hung, drawn and quartered by media and everyone with a Facebook account over his post-Super Bowl 50 press conference. Justified? Maybe, maybe not, but how well would you have handled it?

The text Sometimes You WIN Sometimes You LEARN, appearing behind torn brown paper. Motivational quote.

Newton obviously has some maturing to do (don’t we all?), but think through the lives of history’s great leaders. Adversity shaped their ability to lead. Many wilted, but so many of them recovered to accomplish great things. Success without adversity does nothing (or very little) to shape character, so maybe Newton needed Sunday’s defeat more than he needed a Super Bowl win. Continue Reading

Is Your Marketing Strategy Content Chum?

Just because you have a boat, a pole and a tackle box full of lures doesn’t mean you know how to fish. Likewise, just because your are cranking out content and calling it content marketing, doesn’t mean you’re actually catching customers. When it comes your content marketing strategy, ask yourself, “Am I customer fishing or just ‘content chumming?'”


People who actually catch fish know that fishing is more science than luck. Fisherman know how to find fish, which baits to use, and are agile enough to shift strategies when necessary. They know it isn’t enough to drive out, toss a line in the water and expect success.

However, that is how a lot of businesses approach content marketing strategies. They throw some content into the marketplace expecting to catch success but find their content marketing strategy is little more than “content chum,” a bunch of content bits floating in the vast marketplace. The organization may be attracting attention but not actually catching anyone. The goal of a focuses content marketing strategy is to actually land customers and establish or reinforce your organization’s brand.  Continue Reading

Brand Influence Begins with ‘V’…Three of Them

Organizational vision statements are great, but every “corporate vision” begs the question: Are the actions of the organization and the responses of the organization’s stakeholders harmoniously working together to reach the brand vision for everyone’s benefit?


It’s a question few organizations consider and one that has everything to do with brand image. According to, a vision statement is, “an aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish…and is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action.” However, no organization operates in a vacuum, especially non-profits, and needs its stakeholders to embrace the vision if the organization is going to “achieve or accomplish” its goals. In an age of corporate suspicion, organizations can’t assume buy-in or brand loyalty. If your organization wants to share ownership of its vision with its stakeholders and create brand loyalty, it has to embrace the  “3Vs” that culminate in brand influence. Continue Reading

Three interview tips you can learn from Phil Robertson

President Richard Nixon was once asked why he didn’t do more press conferences. His response: “Too much exposure cheapens the product.” It’s advice Phil Robertson and the Duck Dynasty boys would do well to heed.


Robertson, the patriarch of the ubiquitous family made famous by the reality show, Duck Dynasty, found himself in the crosshairs of the GBLT crowd and those who kowtow to political correctness by saying in a magazine article that homosexuality is a sin. The network that airs the program, A&E, suspended Robertson and made a statement categorically disagreeing with him. Supposedly the network is considering dropping the show. Continue Reading

Brand Journalism: Why you should invest the effort

Imagine standing on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. It is minutes before the opening bell on what is predicted to be the busiest trading day of the year. When that bell sounds, you better be ready to beat dozens of other brokers to the punch and buy thousands of shares of the hottest company going.

Brand Journalism

Here we go…5…4…3…2…1…GO!


The seller can’t hear you over the noise and the distraction of everyone’s arm waving is preventing you from catching his attention. It’s a free for all! Mayhem, I tell ya! Continue Reading

Brand Journalism: Three misconceptions

You may think that brand journalism is like a new and improved version of marketing and advertising. It’s kind of an old barn with a fresh coat of paint. If so, you’re wrong.

Brand Journalism as strategy

Here are three misconceptions people have and the truth about brand journalism:.

  1. Brand journalism is the new advertising. Nothing could be further from the truth. Brand journalism doesn’t pitch anything. Brand journalism isn’t a clever commercial with a perky spokesperson. Brand journalism doesn’t even have a jingle (gasp!). Done well, brand journalism is comparable to solid news and feature writing. There is no deception. Brand journalism is done with full disclosure and has substantive information at its core. Its goal is to inform readers, not sell them something. Continue Reading

Brand Journalism: A thousand words are worth a picture

Undoubtedly you’ve heard the expression, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Yeah, I get that, but do you know what writers call pictures that have no words? Art.

Brand Journalism

Think of some of the great photographs you’ve seen, maybe in National Geographic or Outside magazine. You may connect emotionally with the beauty of a compelling image, but it is most often the words that put the picture into context, providing meaning that supports your emotional response. Words tell you details like who is in the photo, what they are doing, where it was taken, and other interesting tidbits. Continue Reading

The I Ching of Branding and Marketing

Branding is the attempt to set one organization apart from another. Successful branding is setting apart your brand from your competition. The ability to do so isn’t as complicated as you might think.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

A recent client in the tech industry asked me to write a corporate positing document that has one purpose: succinctly yet comprehensively explain what the company does. It has two primary audiences: potential investors and healthcare CEOs/COOs/CFOs. However, when the President/CEO of the company sent me the initial draft of what she wanted, the opening paragraph consisted of 128 words and two sentences laden with redundant tech industry corpspeak. “You can wordsmith it however you’d like,” she said. “But I’d really like to keep the tone of it.” Continue Reading

Brand Journalism: The who, what and why

“Are you entitled to insurance compensation? Are you tired of hassling with insurance companies over your accident settlement? Are you being told your coverage doesn’t include your accident? Then get a tough attorney who gets tough with your claim and gets results.”

Brand Journalism: The Who, What and Why

I’ll bet you’ve seen that commercial, or one similar. Every city has them, attorneys who promise big insurance payouts, and of course for them, it is all about you. Some of these guys score a 10 on the “Cheese Factor” scale and the commercials prove it!

But there is a better way to generate leads and convert prospects into loyal customers without the cheesy commercials. It’s called brand journalism. (Read Part 1 of this series on brand journalism, titled: Brand Journalism: A proper definition) Continue Reading

Are you creating favorable conditions for a crisis?

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday. If you park your car under a tree with the windows down, a bird may just poop in it. In other words, if you do the things that set your organization up for a crisis, a crisis is probably what you’ll get.

Crisis prevention

Many people are caught off guard when crises blindside their organizations. The interesting element is that crisis researchers have found the majority of non-natural disaster crises had been percolating for some amount of time before they escalated to “a breaking crisis.” That means something eventually disruptive to the organization’s operation and potentially threatening to its reputation took root and grew as part of the organization’s DNA until it erupted. Continue Reading