Marketers that adapt their stories to the age-old dramatic structure keep buyers begging for more.

Source: The Shawshank Redemption from Castle Rock Entertainment.

When Kodak marketing executives ask Mad Men’s Don Draper to promote the wizardry of their new Carousel projector, Don takes a different tack with his own slide show, starting with images of his infant daughter. “First you bring her home from the hospital, then before you know it, you’re off to school.”

Don gently continues. “In the blink of an eye, she’s graduating college, then you’re walking her down the aisle … and you ask … where did the time go?” …


Over the next decade, emerging technologies and Value-Based Care (VBC) will completely transform the patient experience.

Healthcare providers and payers, life sciences companies, and governments are all making big investments to transform the global 16 trillion healthcare market.

Venture fundraising in healthcare reached $10.4B in the first half of 2020, equal to all of 2019’s record year. Then, in the first half of 2021, global venture capital funding for digital health companies reached $15 billion.

Moreover, competitors outside the traditional healthcare space such as Amazon, Google and Apple have each announced plans to enter the market to “re-invent” healthcare as the patient-first movement helps consumers select the most convenient and effective means to prevent and manage illness.

M&A activity in the space has also been fierce: Microsoft acquired Nuance for $19.7 billion, Optum bought Change Healthcare for $13…


During the Summer of 1966 I was dying of boredom. Then my cousin Alan, a handsome, James-Dean-type, pulled into our driveway in a shiny new Pontiac GTO.

Actor James Dean in 1953.
Actor James Dean in 1953.
Source: James Dean in 1953 (from Speedsterdreams.com)

I couldn’t imagine in my wildest dreams how such a magnificent car had come into my cousin’s possession.

“I have a job,” he said with a matter-of-fact tone. “I’m an assistant manager at Dick’s Sporting Goods.”

Holy mackerel, a job! If I started now, by high school graduation I’d make enough money to buy a Mustang — or a Chevelle. Hell, maybe even a Corvette Stingray! There was no time to wait. …


By 2025, at least half of the world’s leading digital retailers will take share by anticipating the needs of customers versus responding to them.

When Jack Welch made his famous observation — that competitive advantage lies in the ability to respond to needs faster than competitors — he was looking through a 1980s lens when concepts like smart machines, artificial intelligence, big data and advanced algorithms resided in ivory towers and science fiction films.

Responding to buyer needs after they’ve raised their hands, will soon be a losing strategy. (image: Group Futurista)
Responding to buyer needs after they’ve raised their hands, will soon be a losing strategy. (image: Group Futurista)
Responding to buyer needs after they’ve raised their hands, will soon be a losing strategy. (image: Group Futurista)

Fast forward 30 years and emerging technologies are empowering marketers with an electronic looking glass that provides previously unimaginable visibility into the buyer’s context — one in which people share where they are, what they are doing and whom they are with.

In this new world of clairvoyant marketing, brands…


In the future, robots and virtual assistants will unleash our creativity by freeing us from the mundane.

In the future, you’ll have more time for creative pursuits as bots assume the mundane. (Image: DataIQ)

Have-your-people-call-my-people is an old Hollywood expression for “I’m too important to consume my time in petty tasks like setting up meetings or lunches.”

I actually became one of these archetypes (albeit temporarily) when I went on the road with a client of mine (a senior executive at a large public accounting firm) who hired me to write a communications plan for a new corporate-wide compliance process.

Once approved, my client asked me to accompany him on a US rollout, which included seven major…


ADVICE FOR FICTION WRITERS

Use the Kafka Train Ride to Unlock Your Story

This simple technique will blow your mind as its exposes your characters’ motivations, hesitations, and deepest fears.

A postwar ad for the Pennsylvania Railroad

Are you an experienced storyteller having a bit of writer’s block? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try your hand at fiction — or you want to try a different genre. Either way, you’re a perfect candidate for Franz Kafka’s train ride.

Kafka wrote several volumes of short stories (many he competed before lunchtime). But, even the most prolific writers struggle to define and shape the characters of their stories. …


If you’re a consulting newbie, use these techniques to look and act like a veteran.

Source: Alberto Brandolini

Every consulting firm trains its people in its methodology, delivery techniques, and payment models. Few however, provide education aimed squarely at the psychology of how to sell and deliver consulting services.

If you’re new to the field you will learn a lot through trial-and-error. But, to save you a bit of heartache, here are my biggest learnings from three decades of consulting:

Skill #1. Act like a product manager.

Many consultants, particularly brand consultants, ask clients to buy abstract Discovery or Immersion phases where the firm’s consultants are embedded into the client’s business to learn, discover and observe what’s going on. …


Is a hyperconnected economy where having more connections, more followers, more fans, and more influence —at a tipping point?

Source: JAMA Network Open

Global connectivity, which makes it as easy to connect to people across the world, as to those in the next cubical, is one of the most dramatic developments of the modern age. But, things are changing.

Peer into the future, and hyperconnectivity has assumed new shapes, forms and business models, as consumers re-think what it’s really like to be always-on, always-available, and always-competing with other digital enthusiasts.

Contrary motion and the hyperconnected economy.

In music, contrary motion occurs when soprano voices rise as the basses descend, a technique designed to create a particular emotional response. Contrary motion also occurs in…


When technology does things we humans don’t want to do, find too dangerous to do, or solve problems we’re not smart enough to solve, will we enter a scientific and cultural rebirth?

Richard Fouts

Source: Scott Barry Kaufman

During the industrial age we learned to make things. Then came the quality movement which taught us to make things better. Now, in the connected age, we make things that work together. These however, are no ordinary things. When enabled with artificial intelligence, data science and sensors, things become able to make decisions based on changes in the environment and in the events that are happening…


The Scream, by artist Edvard Munch

Scores of investors showed Len Bosack the door when he pitched his idea (which later became Cisco). HP told Steve Jobs to take a hike when he proposed a new product to the board of directors (they thought it too radical).

As Jobs exited the boardroom he heard someone mutter, “Why would anyone want a personal computer?”

A dozen studios opted out of Star Wars. In 1876, Western Union said of Bell’s telephone: “It has no perceived value to us.” Warner brothers, when asked to consider integrating voice dialog into films said,“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”

Richard Fouts

Richard Fouts is the founder of Comunicado, a marketing communications company that helps brands tell their story.

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