The Economist’s Symbol for ...


I’ve been collecting potential fodder for a grab bag post for over five months.

Now, I have too many possibilities.

Here come three vignettes pulled out of the hat.



How The Economist Symbolizes Global

As business storytelling goes, The Economist lands in my top five.

This is a publication that adores the back story. They probably hand out awards for best anecdotes at their Christmas parties.

And that doesn’t take into account that The Economist published the best obituary in history.

As a publication that strives to differentiate through its global perspective, it occurred to me that the imagery on The Economist’s Twitter profile might be revealing.

It is.



We can safely conclude that The Economist views China as the biggest story in business today.


One Thing Missing from the Facebook Bashing

The fact that Russia used Facebook advertising as a tool to disrupt our democracy is more than a little disturbing.

I’m glad Congress is holding Facebook’s feet to the fire.

I’m glad that Mark Zuckerberg followed his time-honored playbook and apologized in a blog post:

“For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better.”

I’m glad that Facebook sent Zuckerberg’s consigliere Sheryl Sandberg to D.C. to offer mea culpas in person.

All signs point to Facebook taking the issue seriously and, more importantly, shifting into action mode to prevent a similar occurrence happening in the future.

Yet, turning to more mundane matters like marketing, there’s a reason that Facebook generates over $1B in revenue each quarter from advertising. It works.

For those who believe that a platform promoting silly cat videos relegates it to the sole domain of consumer marketing, you might want to rethink that hypothesis.

We recently conducted an experiment with Facebook advertising that I’ll share in more detail down the road. Rather than broadly target a B2B segment, in this case professionals who toil in big data, we instead went after those who follow the FB pages of business intelligence companies asking them to complete a survey through SurveyMonkey.

It worked.


Creating Micro Branding Moments

Cultivating big branding moments — think an Apple launch of a new iPhone or content that goes viral — typically takes large amounts of money and a little bit of luck when it comes to content going viral.

After receiving an RFP from a city government in China that included the deliverable, “Viral video like ‘Gangnam Style,’” I remember thinking even if your mayor can dance like Psy and looks good in ruffles, that’s still a long way from triggering millions of views.

Fortunately, there’s a more sane path to cultivating a memorable brand. Micro moments.

They don’t win awards, but in aggregate they can be just as powerful. I came across a perfect example of a micro branding moment from Station F, the startup incubator in Paris, in pursuit of subscribers to its newsletter.



The simple twist adds life to the typical and boring sign-up card.

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