Posts in Brand differentiation

Apple swings for the emotional fence, breaks ad rules

Seven Million Reasons Why Strategy Eludes the World’s Most Expensive Ad Spend

February 23rd, 2024 Posted by Behavioral psychology, Brand differentiation, brand messaging, branded content, Consumer insight, Digital disruption, Emotional relevance, Mission, resonance, storytelling 0 comments on “Seven Million Reasons Why Strategy Eludes the World’s Most Expensive Ad Spend”

Important to respect the human sitting on other side of the screen

The Super Bowl attracted a bit north of 123 million viewers, the greatest aggregation of human eyeballs in one place at one time, and thus the reason why 53 TV spots aired at a $7 million per 30-seconds clip. It is an unprecedented event where advertising is as much of a contact sport as the action on the football field. People tune in specifically to consume the ads — what an amazing impact opportunity-in-the-waiting, but nevertheless not often optimized largely due to an absence of sound strategy on how people make decisions and take action.

  • David Ogilvy once famously remarked that if attention was all that mattered then you could put a ‘gorilla in a jockstrap’ in an ad. Yet that’s not what drives real effectiveness. He knew it and built a global agency powerhouse on that model of respect for consumer insights, perhaps now forgotten in the age of ‘can you top this’ over-reach with the display of so many digital bells and whistles.

Moreover, the Super Bowl ad is just the tip of the spending iceberg when looking at the total costs of gargantuan celebrity contact fees, massive production budgets and the veritable supermarket of extensions in packaging, retail tie-ins and social media on and off ramps.

Yet in astounding fashion, sound strategy is mostly absent from this festival of short form cinematic spectacle. The temptation to pursue attention at the expense of real relevance is just too great. In circa 2024, the ad party turned into a conspicuous mish mash of celebrity faces, much like excessive name-dropping at a Hollywood cocktail party. It’s no secret that all-too often the celebrity brand will outshine the product brand. So why does it go this way?

Guess what, emotion drives behavior

The neocortex area of the human brain governs our decisions and the actions we take. As much as we would all prefer to believe that people are logical beings who make decisions based on facts and information, instead we respond to emotional cues – how we feel in the presence of a brand. Yet too few of the ads we saw were designed with intention to drive for that kind of authentic connectivity. Given the huge one-shot spend level, you’d think it would be different.

Yes, a different approach is needed

In 2023’s super game, the highest rated commercial was a total outlier from a small pet food company called The Farmer’s Dog. This high-level and instructive achievement in strategic brand communication was the polar-opposite of the celebrity dragon-riding special effects we witnessed this year. Here Farmer’s Dog offered a story well-told that traced the poignant and touching relationship between a dog and young girl owner, charting the course of their life’s journey together. Not a word was spoken. No celebrity cameo. No green screen special effects wizardry.

It was an emotional, heartfelt, memorable celebration of the incredibly powerful and important relationship between a person and their dog. There was no recitation of production formulation features or superior ingredient claims. The brand wasn’t shouted in every frame. It didn’t need any egregious self-promotion to get the message across. It was supremely effective because people left it with an emotional connection. We all recognize that unique bond between pet parent and furry family member. The pet food existed as an enabler of pet wellbeing on life’s pathway.

Desperately seeking attention

Creating content for an engaged audience is just different than trying to capture an audience with some wild content. Too many brands seeking attention at the expense of sound strategy. The truth is human beings are feeling creatures who think not thinking creatures who feel. If you want to manage perceptions of your brand, and yes that should be a goal, then you really need to manage emotions. If your objective is to assure communication is remembered, to have impact, then emotional gravitas is paramount.

Proper use of the world’s greatest ad venue to deliver boldness

Way back in 1984, Apple used the setting to unveil their new Macintosh computer with a historic ad that captivated the world’s attention. It was a bold and also controversial strike, so much so the Apple Board was wary of showing it right up to the telecast. It aired and both ad history and the upstart Apple brand was made. It was a powerful message about democratizing the power of creativity and expression in the hands or everyone – railing against the dictates of the “establishment.”

Speaking of bold, what about sustainability and ESG in the midst of uncertainty?

Nearly every major brand in the food, beverage and lifestyle worlds is working hard to address their sustainability bona fides and emissions performance. It is by definition an opportunity for a brand to focus on higher purpose, mission, reputation and value beyond transactional thinking. Yet we don’t see that showcased here. We have entered a new era where brands are expected to have a point of view, a belief system and to be standard bearers of change. We remain hopeful that someday soon, a progressive brand will take advantage of the super venue to convey what people seek – a healthier, safer planet.

Guidance going forward

Put the consumer at the center of your planning and thinking and work backwards from there. Recognize that shameless self-promotion makes a brand the hero of any story told, and by doing so casts the brand in direct competition with the consumer who sees themselves each and every day as the hero of their life’s journey. Celebrate your consumer and their wishes, needs and aspirations like Farmer’s Dog did with such excellence. This is sound strategy. Your brand deserves this approach to spending effectiveness and outcomes, whether at the Super Bowl or in routine quarterly brand and business support.

If this post gets you thinking about how best to optimize and improve your planning for improved communications effectiveness, use the email link below to ask questions and start and informal conversation.

Looking for more food for thought? Subscribe to the Emerging Trends Report.

Bob Wheatley is the CEO of Chicago-based Emergent, The Healthy Living Agency. Traditional brand marketing often sidesteps more human qualities that can help consumers form an emotional bond. Yet brands yearn for authentic engagement, trust and a lasting relationship with their customers. Emergent helps brands erase ineffective self-promotion and replace it with clarity, honesty and deeper meaning in their customer relationships and communication. For more information, contact [email protected] and follow on Twitter @BobWheatley.

Brands that lean into courage have the opportunity for uniqueness

The Most Underutilized Strategic Brand Asset: Courage

January 26th, 2024 Posted by Brand differentiation, brand messaging, brand strategy, Differentiation, Marketing Strategy 0 comments on “The Most Underutilized Strategic Brand Asset: Courage”

Bold moves can overcome limited uniqueness

Let’s face it, in the vast majority of CPG categories — despite efforts by some brands to push forms of differentiation — for the most part they are cloaked with sameness and similarity. It is just hard to find fertile territory for defensible, sustainable and obvious-to-everyone uniqueness. You may start out as a unicorn, until competing brands reverse engineer your leap, then differences in story and concept start to recede.

That doesn’t mean you should give up on constantly pushing the strategic envelope towards radical differentiation. The benefits of creating a “category of one” are remarkable and profitable. Brand standouts spend less on marketing because of their natural magnetism, allure and the elevated distinctive value they possess. It just doesn’t require constant drumbeating to out shout adjacent competitors. You don’t need to, and you aren’t focused on them to begin with.

Let’s be real: it’s likely over time that what made you famous will be commoditized. Jamba Juice invented the smoothie business. Over time smoothies were commoditized by similar competing products/brands and the emergence of RTD (ready to drink) versions in every corner of grocery and foodservice retail. Jamba started down a strategic path to differentiate itself by transforming into a healthy lifestyle brand. We know the details as we were part of the effort.

But that takes time, added investment — and less patient investors pushed back on doing anything that stepped beyond the core concept, forcing Jamba back into its commoditized cup. Which reminds me of Marlon Brando’s famous line from On The Waterfront, “I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody” – ah yes too many brands find themselves eventually in a wistful trap, at times of their own doing. (Assuming they recognize the lost opportunity).

Leaning into over-reach

But don’t despair, there’s another pathway available if you have the courage and fortitude to pursue it. Here it is – do something generic with such bravery and power it appears to others that you are the only game in town. Whatever that focus might be, you creatively own it, manifest it, and lean into it without reservation, hesitance or limitation.

In Will Guidara’s eye-opening book “Unreasonable Hospitality” he recounts the journey for his restaurant Eleven Madison Park to being named the best restaurant in the world. Not by pushing the envelope of complicated, artistic tweezer food excellence – a frankly similar strategy advanced by nearly every top-echelon restaurant and celebrity chef on the voyage to four stars-dom. No, they bent the rule and devoted themselves to ridiculous, unreasonable, over-the-top, crazy levels of hospitality and guest service. In doing so Eleven Madison became a category of one in a uber-class of similarly great kitchens all helmed by talented culinary commanders.

First Alert, the smoke alarm brand, invented the residential smoke detector and in doing so saved countless lives. An engineering driven company, it beat everyone else by being first with the most. Over time however, the transfer of marketplace power to large format retailers like Walmart and Home Depot, the business was commoditized and sold on price – technology appearing to most consumers as the same between brands. However, another tech innovation at First Alert opened the door to rethinking the brand and business.

First Alert once again stepped up to invent the residential carbon monoxide alarm, addressing an insidious household hazard and source of deadly blood poisoning from an invisible, odorless  gas released by malfunctioning furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fireplaces. The event created an opportunity to pivot, and First Alert embarked on a journey to home safety brand focused on the health, safety and wellbeing of families. The mission- oriented platform enabled a new brand voice in parallel with unusual collaboration partners that reached way beyond “stop, drop and roll.” It was a magical era for the company and its growth until ownership changes forced it backwards into the old engineering mindset and price driven player in commodity categories. Heavy sigh. We know the details because again we were engaged in building the strategic shift while it lasted over a nine-year period.

Outerwear brands embracing sustainability isn’t unique. Messaging around protecting planet earth is everywhere in the category. Strategically there’s not much separation in this business based on these beliefs and the tech in garments. But Patagonia has emerged as a category of one despite this condition by its sheer tenacity and willingness to over-reach, over-extend itself on the path to sustainable behaviors and policies.

If its broke, they fix it. Yes Patagonia, in their effort to reduce its impact on resource consumption and emissions, encourages users to avoid purchasing new garments by offering free and unlimited repairs on any of their products. Some might say, are you crazy? Like a fox we say. The continued efforts by Patagonia to break rules and stretch itself beyond ‘normal and expected’ is testament to a form of strategic brilliance. It is and they are unique in a business where other types of real differentiation are hard to own.

The requirement here is boldness and courage; to take your belief system and push it to ‘unreasonable’ edges. On the path you can expect to face decision making that will be hard, strange at times and difficult. You do it because as a business you actually, really, truly mean what you say and claim to be important. The call to action happens when the ethos holds the decision-making keys to the kingdom and you just over-commit.

Do something inspiring

If you’re looking for a consistent thread in these examples, it’s in executive leadership that is both visionary and courageous. That means leaders who hold the belief system close and see the advantages hidden in the tea leaves to push beyond the norms of expected and reasonable brand behaviors.

The Super Bowl is coming soon. While it may be distant memory for many, or not a memory at all for most, Apple introduced its Macintosh computer with one of the boldest and most ambitious TV commercials ever made. It was expensive to produce and air. It was an over-commit of the highest order employing a strategy counterintuitive to tech category behaviors. The marketing budget was invested in a swing for the fence that didn’t mention a single product feature or benefit. It was wholly a cinematic and emotional statement of ‘now you can change the world.’

Kapow in 60 seconds. It was a gutsy move to be sure and a manifestation in 1984 of new thinking about brand purpose and meaning that cast Apple as a category of one. The belief system held sway and the courage shown there was palpable. Jobs made it so, enabled by his creative partner Lee Clow from ad agency Chiat Day. Eventually Microsoft did their turn on the ‘graphical user interface’ innovation with Windows, but it never pushed Apple off its course. Even with some tech equivalence in there, Apple remains a separate, unique and distinct brand with a huge base of advocates and ambassadors.

  • Make no mistake, employees are part of the solution here. When you over commit, they need to join you as a population of insider, storytelling evangelists.

The roadmap to adventure

This all starts with your brand’s higher purpose, deeper meaning and belief system. If you don’t really have a fix on that then none of this really works because there’s nothing powerful enough to over-commit to.

  • What are you on the planet to accomplish beyond balance sheet imperatives? How are you working to improve people’s lives? Whatever your higher purpose might be that draws consumers in, you should know that people want to be a part of something greater than themselves.

Once you have refined your brand “why” it’s fair to ask what can you do to stretch and over-deliver on that promise? If the answers you come up with bring some discomfort, that’s a good thing. When courage is required, you know you’re on the right path.

Our point: differentiation isn’t always found only in the product and category you created. It can be brought to life going above and beyond to deliver on your purpose. This can get you to ownable differentiation, just remember you can’t take your foot off the gas. If you do, commoditization’s rustiness will begin to take root. In the immortal words of rock band Journey’s legendary lead singer Steve Perry, “Don’t Stop Believin.”

If this story inspires you to explore brand courage and boldness, and you’d like to discuss the potential framework with experienced hands, use the link below to start an informal conversation to discuss your journey to uniqueness.

Looking for more food for thought? Subscribe to the Emerging Trends Report.

Bob Wheatley is the CEO of Chicago-based Emergent, The Healthy Living Agency. Traditional brand marketing often sidesteps more human qualities that can help consumers form an emotional bond. Yet brands yearn for authentic engagement, trust and a lasting relationship with their customers. Emergent helps brands erase ineffective self-promotion and replace it with clarity, honesty and deeper meaning in their customer relationships and communication. For more information, contact [email protected] and follow on Twitter @BobWheatley.

Path to Purchase is Evolving

Your Customer’s Path to Purchase is Changing – Are You?

December 12th, 2023 Posted by Behavioral psychology, brand advocacy, Brand Beliefs, Brand differentiation, brand strategy, storytelling 0 comments on “Your Customer’s Path to Purchase is Changing – Are You?”

Now more than ever, brand storytelling is the link to engagement

It is our mission at Emergent to continuously study the evolving dynamics of influence on the consumer journey to purchase. No surprise, we are doing business in revolutionary times. To wit, advances in AI technology will permanently alter the future of brand communication and how consumers operate when buying. Meantime, another behavior shift has arrived ahead of the trust challenges AI will inevitably create. Below we bring you the details.

Since the dawn of modern retail shopping, people have invariably looked for guidance from trusted sources as they seek to make what they believe to be less risky purchase decisions (people always work to avoid a bad decision/experience).

Below are two more recent areas of influence on consumer behavior. Then ahead we see a third pathway that is currently dialing up.

  1. 10 years ago, we started looking to credible third parties

We trusted those perceived to be credentialed experts from academic, scientific and reputational influence backgrounds who brought their educated assessment of what constitutes the state of the art in any given category.

2. Five years ago, this evolved to a focus on belief in peers

With digital apps came crowd sourcing and social community “proof” at our fingertips. We experience this through sites such as Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisors, Goodreads, TikTok, LinkedIn and Instagram that aggregate the views and experiences of our peers. We trust fellow citizens to verify and validate the assertions and claims made by brands.

3. Next, public trust failures have led consumers to turn inward for guidance

We are on the cusp of another evolution in buying behavior. People are looking inside themselves – relying on their intuition, inner wisdom and ‘gut feel’ about brands and businesses. This felt-to-be-true knowledge springs from an implicit understanding that originates in the subconscious. In essence, consumers land on a sense of what feels right to them. They trust these feelings to provide guidance and confidence for their decisions. Pundits in the brand strategy world are referring to this new school of thinking as Noetic Intelligence.

What does this mean for brands when consumers turn to intuition for trusted guidance? Your response should be to refocus on what people are feeling in the presence of your brand. Translating that into best practices means dialing up stories that amplify values, beliefs, deeper meaning and emotion to hit the right subliminal chords.

Storytelling is the most potent, engaging, strategically-differentiating form of communication available to businesses and brands.

By definition, this is a unique and more emotive approach focused on a different and more lifestyle relevant set of topics than pushing product features, benefits or reciting factoids and reports to support a new technology or innovation achievement. Specifically:

  • What is your brand higher purpose?
  • What do you believe in?
  • What is your opinion on substantive issues impacting the world around us?
  • How are you enabling a path for consumers to act upon their beliefs and values?
  • What lies within the heart and soul of your brand’s value system?

Stories help people get involved with your brand and don’t present themselves like overt selling. Instead, storytelling cultivates interest and engagement, fueled by an increasingly easy ability to publish and distribute through social channels and other content platforms as narratives, videos and podcasts.

Stories can help build an emotional connection between brands and users, by enabling the humanization of brand conversations. This is how you secure rapt consumer attention.

  • When I started in this business, we often bemoaned the challenges of controlling messages and lamented that our outreach existed only within media platforms owned and managed by third parties. Today brands can operate independently as publishers AND media channels. Yet some brands are hesitant to fully leverage this incredible controlled messaging capability to greatest effect.

All too often, brands remain tethered to product presentations rather than the context and belief afforded by stories. A pet food brand can self-promote its ingredient quality, nutritional philosophy, commitment to ethical sourcing and the like. Or the brand can bring forward stories of transformational change and impact their diets have on beloved pets whose lives were improved through better nutrition and the wellbeing that bestows. This blends with and imprints the positive lifestyle associations people desire with their furry family members.

Which is more compelling? The story of how a pet’s life has transformed from consuming a new diet. Or waxing on about nutritional panel ingredient integrity and high sourcing standards? It’s going to be the first approach every time. Human beings love stories. So why don’t we see more of it more often in marketing?

During the persuasion era of brand marketing, interruption-style media was deployed to circulate product feature communication constructed around entertainment or humor to bait the attention of its intended audience. Some of this marketing manipulation thinking still lingers today, despite our knowing consumers have the ability to avoid nearly all of it.

The story telling era has emerged to replace interruption and manipulation

Some of best examples of powerful storytelling can be found in books and movies that deftly use conflict, tension, struggle, and lead character redemption, ultimately leading to a favorable outcome as a blueprint for successful engagement. Yet many brands struggle with storytelling because it’s not a direct product hard sell. As if hard selling will continue as a bankable path to consumer engagement anyway?

Brand storytelling is at its most dynamic state when integrating:

Culture –

Culture governs shifts in preference, social relevance, priorities, meaning and even language. It is influential to behavior and so should be respected as a conditioning and context agent for brand stories.

Psychology –

Neuroscience proves how we work incessantly to avoid perceived risks. Our subconscious is the ruler over decisions and actions and so we use archetype development to help inform the tone, manner and character of brand messaging that resonates.

Emotion –

Humans are feeling creatures who think. We are not analytical, fact-driven decision-making machines. Emotion sits at the front door of how we behave and influences our opinions and judgments. It is fundamental to our actions and the decisions we make. It’s the emotional grist which makes the communication memorable by the way.

Today this approach manifests in a refined set of outbound tools including:

Content streams

Social communities

Installations and pop-ups

Real world and retail experiences

If you want to know more, ask questions or discuss Noetic Intelligence and its application to your business, use this link and let’s talk.

Looking for more food for thought? Subscribe to the Emerging Trends Report.

Bob Wheatley is the CEO of Chicago-based Emergent, The Healthy Living Agency. Traditional brand marketing often sidesteps more human qualities that can help consumers form an emotional bond. Yet brands yearn for authentic engagement, trust and a lasting relationship with their customers. Emergent helps brands erase ineffective self-promotion and replace it with clarity, honesty and deeper meaning in their customer relationships and communication. For more information, contact [email protected] and follow on Twitter @BobWheatley.

Brand differentiation is better than being better

Leveraging “Better” is a Trap

November 15th, 2023 Posted by brand advocacy, Brand Beliefs, Brand differentiation, brand marketing, brand messaging, Brand preference, brand strategy, Differentiation, Insight 0 comments on “Leveraging “Better” is a Trap”

Don’t play in someone else’s sandbox

What we’re about to discuss here is vital to brand marketing best practices and sustainable business results.

Most of the time brands and businesses focus their marketing on being better than X. When you are better than X your brand identity is linked to a competing brand. This is a trap. Being better is actually worse. Being different is better than better. Why? Because superior products often lose to brands that dare to be different.

When better silently runs the show, your storytelling is always focused on features and benefits. Some may even strive to be the best – which is really “better” dressed in a suit. Example of a “better” expression: “more” is a slippery slope to feature selling. More control. More perks. More of magic ingredient X. You’ll find hidden under every feature benefit message there is a “better” snare.

  • It’s a misguided, if all too common, principle that inevitably focuses the conversation on competitive benchmarks and comparisons. It is an endless cycle that leaves real consumer traction and engagement unattended – because the story always makes the brand the hero and not the consumer.

Better brands are never about product features and benefits, and consumers no longer buy them anyway. That’s table stakes. Instead, people are attracted to deeper meaning, aligned values, higher purpose and are magnetically drawn to different. Your brand should offer a point of view, express opinions and bring a vision of the future.

Rule number one: in compelling brand storytelling the consumer must always be the hero of your narrative. Your brand should avoid competing with the consumer for the hero role. Every consumer, every day wakes up believing they are the hero of their life journey. Your brand’s proper messaging role is as coach, guide and empathetic enabler of their journey.

Stronger brands always focus on being unique, not better

Strategic brands say and do things differently

They hew a unique tone

They often carve a controversial path

They see the future through a different lens

They operate with a belief system

The belief is the benefit

Great brands are always founded on beliefs

You may think that users care about better. However, you just haven’t given them something greater to believe in. Shifting the story spotlight takes the glow off of your competitor – who incidentally really doesn’t matter to your future prospects and growth.

It isn’t easy to be different. It takes incredible discipline and the support of your leadership team not to fall back into feature/benefit selling. Strategic strength springs from a well-defined understanding of who you are as a brand and company, and what you want to become over time.

Following the path to different

Here are some examples of how you can embrace different in your strategic game plan.

1. Create a new category

Historically and traditionally skincare and make-up brands conveyed that beauty is always applied. It exists on the exterior as an aspirational expression of status seeking and attraction. More enlightened brands have arrived to flip the script by attaching a broader vision of what beauty is and how it manifests. Instead, real beauty comes from within.

Beauty evolves as a coalescing of better health, fitness, spiritual growth and is inclusive of different body types, ages and lifestyles. The brand voice morphs to focus on wellbeing, happiness and growth rather than the singular application of a product. This different view authors a unique voice that carries added relevance and value to its audience of believers in a more validating life view.

Category creation is the ultimate move to inject different into brand strategy and positioning.

2. Move from product utility to lifestyle association

All too often product communication is devoted to specific technologies, formulation superiority and benefits of same. The product and brand are always the authoritative voice. Instead, moving to a lifestyle brand strategy enables personal authority. Great lifestyle brands insert themselves into important moments and experiences sought after by users. These are often situations and memories that echo the brand’s deep belief system – it’s “why” rather than what or how.

Yeti is an iconic example of a brand enrobing itself in a cloak of lifestyle experiences that celebrate outdoor adventures and enable the freedom of the soul in nature. Yeti is not selling coolers and tumblers. It’s singular devotion to breathing life into the emotional experiences of lifestyle association endears itself to its audience of evangelists and ambassadors. Yeti’s deeper meaning separates and elevates it from other brands who offer similar products.

3. Change the story focus

Most brands talk up themselves incessantly. It’s always about who we are and what we do. There is self-reverence and promotion. All about me. Instead of revealing yourself to the customer, how about revealing the customer to themselves. Stop expressing who you are and start talking about the customer – their aspirations, interests and needs.

Most hotel brands focus on their properties to extol design, amenities, services, architecture and location. Here are our features. Frankly the entire conversation is nearly generic brand to brand and separated mostly by price class.

Along comes Airbnb to completely violate the rules and tropes of travel brand communication. Rather than say look at who we are, they flip the lens around to say I see who you are. It comes from a different view of what travel is and how it can be experienced. Belong Anywhere is a unique concept that makes the customer and user experience paramount. The brand becomes an enabler of a unique experience – a coach and guide on a different and more human way to experience travel and destinations.

4. Change the reality

Disruption can be a useful tool when it reorients what people take for granted. The goal is to help people find and accept a new reality. Everything we thought we knew about __________ is wrong. This is how to do it (understand it) right.

The emergence of sustainability strategies and a new understanding of the role our food system plays in climate change is a reality-changing condition. Most people don’t think of food as a contributor to global warming. A brand that steps fully into conscious consumption and the commitment to improving sustainability bona fides creates a game changing story for consumers – and potentially a transformational view of how food should be created.

Similarly, what we think we know about health, wellness and aging is ripe for a makeover. Creating a new reality is a road to difference, uniqueness and sought-after guidance. The new paradigm of belief positions your brand as arbiter of a new way of thinking, doing and believing.

Different is the Holy Grail, let’s look for it!

It is time to back away from being better or best to refocus your marketing and messaging energy on radical differentiation. Best practices in this area inevitably leads to refinement of brand belief systems and adding deeper meaning to who and what you are as a brand and business. Collectively, if you can do it and stick to it, your brand will benefit from a new era of transcendence and value to users who come to you for better and more lasting reasons than a product feature.

If this discussion stirs some thinking and questions in your mind, and you’d like to get those ideas on the table to ponder with some like-minded thinkers, let us know. We’d love to think with you about how this thinking can be applied to your brand and business. Here’s a link to start an informal conversation.

Looking for more food for thought? Subscribe to the Emerging Trends Report.

Bob Wheatley is the CEO of Chicago-based Emergent, The Healthy Living Agency. Traditional brand marketing often sidesteps more human qualities that can help consumers form an emotional bond. Yet brands yearn for authentic engagement, trust and a lasting relationship with their customers. Emergent helps brands erase ineffective self-promotion and replace it with clarity, honesty and deeper meaning in their customer relationships and communication. For more information, contact [email protected] and follow on Twitter @BobWheatley.

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