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“Four score and seven years ago…”

Jan 3, 2010   //   by Michael   //   Articles, Blog  //  Comments Off on “Four score and seven years ago…”

by Michael Tanenbaum

What does the Gettysburg Address have in common with the most enduring brands? What lessons does it hold for distinguishing your brand message from the marketplace clutter of your competitors?

The scenario:

President Lincoln and Senator EverettOn November 19, 1863, on a bloody battlefield outside the town of Gettysburg, a series of speakers presented in honor of 160,000 men killed in the battle. The keynote speaker was Senator Edward Everett, the leading orator of his day. He addressed the crowd of 15,000 people for over 2 ½ hours. His unremitting torrent of verbiage was instantly forgotten.

Taking the podium much later that day was President Abraham Lincoln. He was placed a nondescript sixth in the day’s lineup of music, prayer and oratory. Lincoln delivered a two-minute speech. In 246 words, he laid out a vision for the United States that is still memorized in its entirety by American schoolchildren.

When promoting a brand message, most people have the tendency to use the kitchen sink approach: Toss in as many ideas, promises and slogans as they can and pray that the customer or audience remembers something.

That is a recipe for failure.

President Lincoln’s message was concise, compelling and coherent, his word choice carefully crafted. By contrast, Senator Everett’s keynote address was sprawling, verbose and unmemorable.

Aristotle wrote that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Over two millennia later, this concept is as profound as ever. Follow it. It will grant you distinction. It will buy you customers. It will earn you consumer loyalty. It will elevate your brand to the highest esteem.

See this website for a side-by-side comparison of the two Gettysburg addresses that day.

Noah Alper, founder of Noah’s Bagels

Dec 13, 2009   //   by Michael   //   Blog, Podcasts  //  2 Comments

Noah Alper, founder of Noahs Bagels

This week we speak with Noah Alper, the founder of Noah’s Bagels. He talks about his experience in building a boutique store into the influential cultural phenomenon that he then sold in 1996 for $100 million. He also promotes his new book, “Business Mensch: Timeless Wisdom for Today’s Entrepreneur”.

This podcast is presented to educate and inform business owners about the importance of cultivating a powerful brand strategy. We conduct audio interviews with business leaders, academicians and brand practitioners.

1 + 1 = 11

Dec 8, 2009   //   by Michael   //   Articles, Blog  //  1 Comment

By Michael Tanenbaum

No, it’s not the “new math”, numerology, gematria or Bernie Madoff calculating his stock returns. It is collaboration. According to brand guru Marty Neumeier, “The mathematics of collaboration is nothing less than magic.” Just as the whole of a human being is greater than the sum of its component organs, “1 + 1 = 11” is what happens when there is creative collaboration across silos and departments.

In other words, when you are deciding to build your brand, your internal conversations must involve everybody from the visionaries to the front-line employees. Brand building is neither the exclusive abode of the executives, nor something for corporate to cast aside to underlings. The knowledge and insight of every level, department, specialty and personality in the organization must be carefully considered and equally weighted. Finance, marketing, human resources, sales, shipping, must be empowered to talk to and work with one another, for it is the sum of these people and their skills, personalities and motivations, all aligned in tandem, that add up to a compelling and competitive brand.

Creating your Tribe

Nov 2, 2009   //   by Michael   //   Articles, Blog  //  Comments Off on Creating your Tribe

By Dani Endrei
At this point you may have heard of Seth Godin’s book Tribe.

Here’s an awesome 12 min interview with him.

He states that good marketing is not about shoving the most amount of information down the most amount of people’s throat. He takes Gmail for example. When they first started they were invitation only. They created huge demand and people were lined up waiting to get in.

3 Twitter Tools for a Viral Marketing Campaign

Nov 2, 2009   //   by Michael   //   Articles, Blog  //  Comments Off on 3 Twitter Tools for a Viral Marketing Campaign


By Michael Tanenbaum

Last week Guy Kawasaki moderated a webinar entitled “From Brainstorm to Firestorm: Creating an Environment for Viral Marketing Success”. He began the session with a 20-minute tutorial on how to be a power Twitter user. My interest was particularly piqued because up until that point, I just hadn’t “gotten” the point of Twitter. As one of the savviest marketers in the world, Mr. Kawasaki has sat through more business plan pitches than he cares to remember. So when he lavishes such special praise on a new technology and then proceeds to detail how he uses it daily, it’s worth my while to pay close attention.

Who to look for when building your brand

Nov 2, 2009   //   by Michael   //   Articles, Blog  //  Comments Off on Who to look for when building your brand

By Dani Endrei


With the ability to minimize or completely fast forward commercials, Tivo, DVRs and online sites such as Hulu have created a giant gap in a brand’s ability to communicate their message with the masses. As people get more and more used to a “commercial-less” life it will become harder and harder to reach a target audience through such disruptive means. So where is a brand to go when looking to connect with consumers? Well the answer is not so easy as our offline and online communication becomes a complex and intricate web.
In this post I’m going to summarize key concepts gleaned from Razorfish’s recent report on how Social Influence Marketing is shaping the future of business.


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