Two-Way Transparency

Several times a week, I stop by Pret A Manger for a pre-work cup of coffee. I’ve been doing this for a year now, so I know Nico, Roxana, James and Erin all pretty well. And they know me, too. We’re at that level of familiarity that’s past just talking about the weather but still … Continued


Few phrases are filled with such contention as the customer is always right. The customer may be right, yes, but it’s also possible that the customer is completely wrong. And for a brand to suspend disbelief and pretend that the customer is always right does little good to anyone. But we’re looking at it all … Continued

Post-Demographic Consumerism

We have been variously told that we live in a world that is postmodern, post-postmodern, post-irony and post-industrial. It’s time to add post-demographic to the list, because the 21st century has rendered many of our traditional consumer demographic sectors—age, income, gender, location—largely moot. It’s not to say that these segments no longer exist, but that … Continued


The world doesn’t revolve around you. Some brands, though, are trying to change that. An especially crowded marketplace calls for especially unique products. Customers no longer want cookie-cutter, assembly-line items. They want customization. Products for them. Products about them. Products that place them at the center of their very own universe. Brands are catching on … Continued


X marks the spot. What that spot is, though, is really up to you. X might be a much-needed trinket at Target, or perhaps the location of the closest coffee shop. With an explosion of new maps appearing from north, south, east and west, Xs are everywhere. We are officially in the age of mapmania. … Continued

Branding in a Data Hungry Society

How many steps did you walk today? How many calories have you consumed over the past week? Is that a good ratio? These are questions that are on everyone’s mind, especially in the New Year. People have set annual goals and they want to track their progress in real time. How is one supposed to … Continued


Win Their Trust. Win Their Buck. We’re all busy. Everyone has numerous things going on every day that prevent us from finding new, unique trends, beers, books, fashions, foods and technology. But how is the hectic professional supposed to find out about the new pale ale brewed in the West Loop of Chicago or the … Continued

Sweat Equity

REAL PARTICIPATING. REAL SWEAT. REAL FUN. Summertime is in full swing. The temperature is rising and people are getting out and having fun. From Citysumers to stay at home moms, many relish in brands that bring unexpected fun and playfulness into the every day. Fun and play come in many varieties, spanning across decades and … Continued


URBAN CULTURE IS THE CULTURE. Trust and appreciation are at the core of getting any customer to invest in the unknown, but luckily for many brands, the growing number of sophisticated Urbanites is more try-out prone than ever before. The typical Urbanite lives in a major city and is aged 18 – 44. They are affluent, … Continued


CONSUMERS ARE UNLOCKING THE VALUE OF THEIR PAST PURCHASES. Raise your hand if you have your eye on a savvy buy for spring. Keep it up if you also have a room, closet or drawer in your home where your less-loved belongings live untouched. Whether it’s the latest tablet, a hot new watch or a … Continued