Starbucks’ #RaceTogether Campaign and the Shift toward Pro-Social Brands

If you’ve been to a Starbucks in the past week, you may have seen something other than your name written on the side of your coffee. The company recently launched a new campaign encouraging baristas to write “#RaceTogether” on coffee cups in order to engage customers in discussions about race relations. While the sentiment behind [...]

An Afternoon In The Middle Market

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon listening to a panel discussion, hosted by Dale Kurschner, Editor-in-Chief of Twin Cities Business.  The panel included some pretty notable middle market heavyweights, including Archie Black, President & CEO of SPS Commerce (a leader in cloud-based supply chain management solutions), Paul Lidsky, President and [...]

Without a Leg to Stand On: Take 2 – More on My Experience in Healthcare

Last December, I offered four insights that came as a result of seven months of rehabilitation after back and knee surgeries. I admitted that healthcare from the patient’s perspective is quite humbling – and much different than what my 25+ years of healthcare experience had taught me. Here are the four observations that I wrote [...]

Scary Numbers in #HigherEd

Inside Higher Ed unveiled its annual survey of college presidents last week, on Friday the 13th. Intentional? I doubt it. But surveyed presidents’ lack of confidence in higher education’s financial situation over the next decade is scary, nonetheless. They expressed the least confidence in nonelite private four-year colleges, with just 10 percent agreeing that their [...]

In Defense of Publicists

Recently I sat across from some restaurant “publicists” at a dinner and as I listened to them and fed them ideas for promoting their client, I was amazed (appalled?) at the lack of understanding. I asked myself, “Does anyone think they can write a release, get it out on PR Newswire and call themselves a [...]

Feed Your Need & Get In On March Madness

It’s March and that means it’s time to embrace the madness of the NCAA’s national college basketball tournaments.  The win-or-go-home format with teams from all over the country vying for the ultimate prize, is reality TV at its best.  To maximize your enjoyment of the Madness, you’ve got to channel your own inner madness. Here’s three easy steps that can help you achieve [...]

#HigherEd: In Wake of Sweet Briar Closing, Important to Evaluate College Branding

For students, faculty, staff and alumni, news that Sweet Briar College is shutting down is heartbreaking. For single-sex and coed colleges nationwide that share Sweet Briar’s small, rural, liberal arts profile, it’s a warning. The shrinking pool of college applicants intensifies competition among schools that aren’t Ivy League, state flagships or well-known private colleges. Kids [...]

Where’s the Beef? It’s Chillin’ with the Pineapple

There’s a long culinary history of experimental “you put WHAT in my WHAT?” that has sometimes made food ingredients considered strange bedfellows (or dishfellows) into soulmates. Dating myself here: does anyone remember the series of 1970s television commercials for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that built 30-second stories around chocolate bars and jars of peanut butter [...]

Thought Leadership as a Differentiator

Innovation, integrity and corporate responsibility are hallmarks of well-run businesses. Add in a dash of thought leadership, and a company may gain a distinct competitive advantage. According to Forbes’ Glenn Llopis, in Thought Leadership Is The New Strategy For Corporate Growth, thought leadership is about introducing new ways of thinking that will reinvent industries and [...]

5 Lessons Learned About Internal Brand Building

Any and every organization can learn and benefit from a proactive internal brand-building program. By learning more about internal brand building, any organization can uncover and energize the hidden brand power that resides inside its culture.  In this cramped blog space I will restrain from providing a comprehensive how-to guide of internal brand building. Instead [...]