One of my favorite local restaurants is Story in Prairie Village, Kansas. My wife and I have enjoyed many meals there and admire their consistent quality and first-rate service. In 2013, the head chef and owner of Story, Carl Thorne-Thompsen, was named a James Beard Award semifinalist nominee for Best Chef in the Midwest. This is a very prestigious nomination from the James Beard Foundation, which highlights the best of the best in American food culture by recognizing talented chefs, world-class restaurants, and the media platforms that make a difference through their food coverage.
A few years later, Alice and I found ourselves traveling in Minneapolis and searching for a place to have dinner. The thought occurred that we should look at local listings to see which restaurants had been recognized by the James Beard Foundation. Through this process, we discovered Corner Table. It was a delicious meal and a memorable dining experience. It is currently closed for a “refresh” according to the owners. Continue Reading
Pioneered by startups and tech companies seeking innovation by reshaping systemic processes and industry landscapes, the goal of creating disruptive change has trickled down through nearly every aspect of today’s business environment. In fact, the term is so ever-present that its value risks becoming diluted.
However, recent remarks from the Association of National Advertisers Masters of Marketing conference might prompt us to see disruption in a new light. Speaking to a crowd of attendees, Procter & Gamble chief brand officer Mark Pritchard praised what he calls “constructive disruption” in marketing practices. What does that look like in practice? Pritchard’s answer provides a road map for the ways in which brands can best reach consumers in the future. Continue Reading
Some of the greatest discoveries in human history have happened by accident. Whether the result is penicillin or Play-Doh, the microwave or the Slinky, many curious minds have stumbled across products that have impacted (and sometimes even saved) our lives.
One of the challenges of innovation and leadership, as we recently discussed on our blog, is recognizing “what’s next” when we see it. Too often, our pursuit of a specific result keeps us from recognizing something brilliant that happens along the path. Let’s take a look at a recent accidental innovation that probably won’t change the world, but might change how we value the process of discovery. Continue Reading
Visual branding depends on consistency. Emerging businesses go to great lengths to develop a compelling, unique logo – from the design to the font and the colors – and to represent it uniformly across multiple platforms and types of use. After all, brand recognition is vital and can’t be achieved without visibility and consistency.
That’s why it was surprising to see that one of the most recognized brand logos in the apparel market was diversifying. However, Lacoste’s decision to mix it up and stray from its iconic green crocodile logo has actually created more visibility, and not just for the brand. Continue Reading
Millennials require transparency. A generation that came of age with information at their fingertips, they are reshaping the way brands communicate their values, their product’s benefits, and even their supply chains. From food to politics, healthcare, and employment, millennials’ “Self, Society, and Planet” ethos drives them to understand how their purchasing decisions impact themselves, their communities, and the environment.
This requires brands to communicate in new ways. Either they embrace transparency and authenticity and retain control of their narrative, or they drive consumers to third-party sources of information that may or may not present them in a positive light. Either they communicate directly with consumers on social media or they are talked about without a seat at the table.
These brands have responded proactively to millennial consumers’ desire for transparency and created success as a result: Continue Reading
In our recent blog, Lessons from Startup Culture: Learning from a Minimum Viable Product, we examined how “the creation of an MVP itself isn’t the revelation – it’s the ability to learn and adjust based on the customer response that results.” One of startup culture’s strengths has always been the ability to take a big idea and pursue it, iterate it, or change it completely in the search for an end product that resonates with consumers.
In this way, successful startups have redefined failure as a pivot point instead of an end point. For larger, more “traditional” businesses seeking agility, there’s a valuable lesson to be learned. Continue Reading
The New Year is a time to reflect over the progress we’ve made in the last year and prepare ourselves for the opportunities and challenges of the year ahead. With all of the uncertainty and volatility in our news cycle, it can be tough to narrow our focus. I find that setting simple, achievable goals helps make even the most “unsolvable” problems seem within reach.
With that in mind, I’d like to close out the past year and begin the new with a simple question: How can we do better in our sustainability efforts? Continue Reading