the year kicks off with the detroit motor show. “the future is here,” they tell us. must be, when the self-driving cars of the future are suddenly of the now. looking forward to seeing what’s next in the luxury and electric markets (are they even separate anymore?), how the ford skedaddle plays out, and what the european shows will bring. in fact, january in detroit is an excellent place to plan the dream road trip… shanghai in april, late summer in moscow, frankfurt and paris in the fall…
most brands that i work with put a fair amount of investment into reaching their audience through social media. but the nation is tired. in a USAToday article Jon Swartz reported that “The abrupt decision to turn off the social media spigot of news — 62% of U.S. adults get their news from it, says the Pew Research Center — as well other media that covered the polarizing election resembles reactions people have after a car crash or assault.”
fomo becomes lma (leave me alone).
the wise brand pays attention.
i had planned on writing about the role of a transition team today, the team that comes in to lead the first phase of a large scale change. i’ve been on many.
instead i’m remembering a project that hal and i created at the very beginning of our careers. ‘hope is power’ for amnesty international.
hope is power.
hope is a feeling, a force that helps you stay with what you value over what you fear. a focus on your vision of the possible through adversity and challenge. hope is a fierce strength, and an extraordinary tonic. i’ll look for the project and post it here. i’m grateful to have a task at the moment. hope is power. i know it’s there. somewhere.
if you follow an exhale all the way to the end, you’ll notice a moment, a space, where you are neither breathing in nor breathing out.
this suspension of breath lasts no more than a millisecond, and then you’re either holding your breath or inhaling once again.
this millisecond of space also exists in the moment between the mapping and the implementing of change. you’ve done everything you can to plan for the best possible outcome. on the other side of this moment you begin the doing.
deep breath. go.
for the last two years i’ve been writing about how everything changes, all the time.
there are also things that will seemingly never change. at least not often or easily. this unyielding or stubborn reality — i call it ‘property x’ — exists in our personal lives and our work, our organizations and our families. it seemingly stymies progress, neutralizes genius, tanks relationships or takes the sparkle off the most brilliant of plans.
it is, at best, inconvenient. at worst, horrifically impossible.
property x is different than the 800 lb gorilla — the thing in life that everybody knows but no one talks about. property x is different because it’s not that you don’t quite deal with it, it’s that you can’t.
property x is that thing that isn’t going to change. you have no control over property x, only in how you work with or around it.
what immovable behemoth (x) stands between you and your vision of success? having identified it as such, how could you work with it, or step into a current of change that flows around it?
this year marked the historic 100th running of the indy 500. racing’s greatest spectacle is the stuff of legends with all its speed, obsession, glory and heroes.
what defines a legend is the third in a series of campaigns designed to get the hearts of casual and avid fans racing again.
in 2014 jw reignited the indycar swagger with their rivals campaign, calling on the appeal of indy’s many legends and the thrilling competition born of their excellence. this year’s campaign highlighted indy’s rising stars, the young guns on the heels of living legends like scott dixon and helio castroneves, all with their eye on the prize: the immortality promised by a win in this milestone year.
today #indyrivals still fuels a robust social conversation and has provided indycar and its partners a way to connect with the next generation of diehard racing fans: tech-leaning millennials.
this year was one to celebrate the rich past, present and future of indycar, to usher in the next 100 years of racing. and now we look to when, exactly, next begins.
this post falls between.
somewhere between the personal and the professional.
a year ago i went to an author event, Brene Brown was in New York for her book Rising Strong. I am a fan of her work, and that night I became a fan of her. She stood up there sharing her own story as part of her work. Her own weaknesses and vulnerabilities were used to demonstrate universal themes. I liked her. I understood her work more fundamentally because she shared herself.
She talked about how she had strived to keep her personal life separate from her professional life, how she had divided it all up and how the divisions started to fall in on themselves. I hated that part of the presentation. I thought it was crap, and that she just didn’t get the whole managing personas thing. It has bothered me all year. So has the idea of managing personas.
I am brand strategist. A writer. A creative director, a sometimes CMO, I am a business leader and I am a jealous friend that does not like staying in touch via social — where’s the intimacy if everyone on god’s green earth knows everything? — and every time i sit down to write this blog, i think “what difference does it make?” no one reads it. but here i am. trying.
you might have landed here by accident, or maybe you’re considering hiring johnson + wolverton and want to get a sense of what we’re all about, or maybe you’re one of the editors i’ve been hounding with story ideas that relate to POSITANO, or a writer that is as freaked out about building your platform as i am, or maybe you’re my sister (hi, patty).
this post falls between the personal and the professional. a personal 10-year plan that crosses over, just like Brene Brown, into the work I do. i’ve written about my personal plan this year, relinquere et giocare (relinquish and play), and i had a bit of inspiration on next year’s theme, and worked with hal to flesh it out. we agreed, kind of fast. like record breaking fast. 2017 is “play as…”
i started with “play and …” i loved the idea that relinquish and play would roll on. that play would be our pivot point. hal tweaked it, he liked the idea but didn’t like that play was separate, a this or that equation.
hello?! yes. right.
play as a conversation. play as research. play as listening. play as exercise. play as an expression of confidence. play as a giant fucking clue that you’re onto something good.
when i look back over projects, the ones that resonate most for me or that had the most impact for our clients, there’s a thread of play that runs through them.
play, i believe, is super close friends with curiosity and curiosity is a pure gateway to the imagination drug — and when those three get together my ability (and the ability of most of the creatives i’ve ever worked with) to adapt and invent is so effortless and intuitive that all kinds of awesome breaks loose.
there’s lot of science to back this up, my bet is the ones who cracked it started with some bullshitting with colleagues, a little goofing around with algorithms, some private toying with opposing perspectives… and boom the explosion of insight around cognition and play was born.
one of my favorite business quotes ever is from trevor edwards, currently a huge big wig at nike. at the time he lead marketing for nike europe (and he was probably quoting someone else, but that’s how it goes), he said “invent the game, write the rules” that’s hardcore business, and that’s kids inventing new ways to move ones and zeroes around, and that’s me, using play as a way of getting down to one me.