Blog

Check out my weekly posts about communications, writing, branding, creativity, media, marketing, persuasion, messages, etc. 

Do Brands Memorialize or Trivialize Tragedies?

Do Brands Memorialize or Trivialize Tragedies?

A few weeks ago in upstate New York a limousine crashed and killed 20 people. Among them were newlyweds and four sisters. What if I told you that another local limo company was now offering a deluxe package. People could reserve the same type of vehicle, and travel...

O Cannabis

O Cannabis

Today, cannabis legalization took effect in Canada. Setting aside the pros and cons of that decision, I was interested to come across two tidbits about the substance’s image-making in decades. One had to do with the extent to which cannabis use was once discouraged,...

Why Have We Become Bubble Brains?

Why Have We Become Bubble Brains?

A certain orange character across the border might conflate “fake news” with the inconvenient truth. But how adept are we at identifying genuinely fake news (yes, that’s an oxymoron), i.e. items designed to intentionally mislead or that are outright fabricated? And do...

Can You Really Judge Someone in 33 Milliseconds?

Can You Really Judge Someone in 33 Milliseconds?

If you’re nervous about how you come across to strangers, don’t be. Or maybe you should be. Two studies shed light. One says people likely enjoy you, despite what you might think. However the other notes that we make first impressions, for good or ill, even faster...

The Season with Two Names

The Season with Two Names

Welcome to fall. Or is it autumn? I just read an article in the online journal Slate, which pointed out that this is the only season with two “official” names. How did that happen? We used to divide the year into only two seasons – the warmest months (summer) and the...

Why Do Companies Practice Customer Disservice?

Why Do Companies Practice Customer Disservice?

Do some companies really want to communicate with their customers? Do they know what to say when they do? Last week I had to get in touch with the call centres of four different organizations. It was instructive. In one case, I found the correct department through...

Do You Know When Your Audience Is?

Do You Know When Your Audience Is?

If you’re in the communications business, how much do you know about your audiences? More to the point, how much do you know about what they know? Every group has its own frame of reference. One of my favourite reminders of that comes with the annual Mindset List from...

Labour of Love

Labour of Love

The Labour Day long weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. We’d like even more time off. Which makes this the perfect time to reflect on a passionate group of Toronto printers who fought for exactly that. In Canada, Labour Day owes its origins partly to them....

Enough About Me…Let’s Talk About Me

Enough About Me…Let’s Talk About Me

Two hours and 20 minutes into a two hour and 30-minute show, the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards finally took the time to pay homage to Aretha Franklin. That was enough of an insult. Then it got worse. Franklin had died just four days earlier. Madonna came out and...

A Word of Advice

A Word of Advice

I’m not a fan of one-size-fits-all guidance. I am, however, a fan of brevity in expression. So I was intrigued when I saw this hashtag trending the other day on Twitter: #LifeAdviceIn5Words. Looking through a few responses got me thinking. What can be said in five...