Gunny Scarfo knows how you feel

Not quite depressed. Not quite happy. Not quite anxious. Not quite relieved, or disappointed. This year has been a lot. I’ve experienced an entire lifetime of lows and (relative) highs since March. We spend a lot of time thinking about things, and thinking about what we’re thinking. We slightly less able to nail down how […]

Zoe Scaman asks ‘Who’s really in control of this idea?’

Authors, actors, publishers and studios once served as the gatekeepers and influencers of entire generations of viewers, or consumers. With the ability to rate, or share feedback directly with creators, there’s been a tilt. The fans can influence the creation as much as the creation influences the fans. There are entire Q-sized conspiracy theories dedicated […]

Amber Naslund is making it up now

What is reality? More subjective than you thought a year ago, I bet. Consuming our own individual, curated set of inputs we can take our minds anywhere we want. There are people who have seen all of the Star Wars films and believe those 11 (12? Who can keep track?) films and there are people […]

Strategy is your words with Mark Pollard

Do you know those things you’re supposed to do, things that are good for you that you avoid? For many children, it’s eating vegetables or studying math. For me, it is making contact with people. Left to my own devices, I would mostly avoid people and try to focus inward, that’s my default. Why do […]

How we’ve always done things with Aisea Laungaue

Listen to the episode here: https://specific.substack.com/p/how-weve-always-done-things-with?r=n6j6&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=copy I’ve been paying much more attention to my routine as a result of writer’s block that I suffered in the middle of all this pandemic craziness. For the first two months, I kept most of my routine as similar as possible, with the exception of leaving my house. Exercise, […]

Taking steps toward purpose with Simon Mainwaring

There’s been a bit of a cynical backlash against purpose driven marketing. A lot of the backlash has been earned by insincere cash grabs by organizations wrapping themselves in a cause for relevance or just to have something to say. Nothing new there. Listen to the episode here: https://specific.substack.com/p/taking-steps-toward-purpose-with The shame of it is, this […]

Christina Garnett charts her own course.

To say that this has been a trying time for people is past cliché; it is becoming trite. What’s been interesting on the strategy front is a potential limit to what agencies and marketers in general have been squeezed into over the past 20 years. The evolution of powerful communications and project management technologies, combined […]

Moving forward with empathy: Kate O’Neill

Being isolated has been a real challenge for me. I am fortunate to be with my family, but relating to my co-workers and partners only via screens and phones has been taxing. I’ve always considered myself some kind introvert but now I recognize the energy I get from sharing space and experience with people. This […]

Being intentional with Rana Sidahmed

It’s always fantastic to work with collaborators, partners, peers that share your values. In my career, it hasn’t always been that way but I am always energized when values and goals line up. The work is better, and feels effortless; less like work. When I’ve had the ability to choose partners–not always the case–I choose […]

Åsk has been through all of this before

Something I’ve been seeking and placing a lot of value in these days is perspective. The news is jarring and disorienting. I’ve been finding more use and comfort in longer term views, even though those are no more certain when looking forward. I’ve been thinking about the other economic shocks my career has bounced along […]

What will Kenneth Kinney be watching?

I’ve been watching a LOT of screens. News updates for a little while, but now anything to distract me and my family, or to try to pretend everything is OK. Notice, I used the word screens. That’s new for me. We’re swapping tablets, phones and televisions depending on the show or the “content.” God, I […]

Do you hear what Jessica Lehmann Ash hears?

Since I was in elementary school, I’ve been a little obsessed with how ideas and thinking fit together. Taking concepts from history and applying math to them. Taking concepts from art and applying it to science. Well, applying concepts from art to everything no doubt. Weirdly, I’ve always compartmentalized my personal and professional lives. Discrete […]

Geoffrey Colon Wonders Whats Next

I’ve been trying to think about anything except our current situation. It’s just terrible and not many bright spots, especially as any attempt at dialogue goes immediately to the political, which I abhor. I’ve been fortunate to be spending time with my immediate family and we have been (mostly) getting along. We’ve been talking about […]

Making movements with Scott Goodson

I was set to speak with Scott Goodson, founder of StrawberryFrog, sometime before we ended up in self-isolation. But the timing was perfect. His experience partnering with brands to turn purpose into movement highlights the best of business and branding. People using the energy they have for the purpose to drive the business and vice versa.

Pacing yourself with Michelle Hickey

I spoke with creative, Michelle Hickey about how she balances productivity in an always-on work from home environment and why we shouldn’t feel guilty about our guilty pleasures.

All that inspired Keith Stoeckeler

About ten years ago, Keith Stoeckeler bought a domain on Squarespace and started All That Inspires Me, to simply document things that captured his attention on line. After expanding the site to host writing and posts from other voices and growing an audience, he shut the site down. Recently, he decided the time was right to focus on inspiration again. We talk about inspiration and a bit about our current state of affairs in this upbeat conversation.

Virtual Austin: Nikki Sunstrum had an idea.

When SXSW was cancelled last week, Nikki Sunstrum took notice. A few minutes later, she took action. She innocently suggested Virtual SXSW replace the event. And then, it came to life around a single tweet. You can hear about it here, and the amazing group of presenters and topics that will be streamed to Virtual Austin Group on Facebook on March 18, and 19.

ReThink with Tom Goodwin

I had the opportunity to sit down across thousands of miles of internet cabling with Tom Goodwin to discuss his new book, ReThink. He was open to breaking down and challenging the core concept and I think you’ll agree the conversation was a lot of fun. You’re hearing the author think on the fly.

Dr. Emmanuel Probst and Brand Hacks

Dr. Emmanuel Probst on The Strategy Inside Everything

Adam is joined by the author and Senior Vice President Brand Health Tracking at Ipsos, Dr. Emmanuel Probst. His book Brand Hacks: How to Build Brands by Fulfilling the Human Quest for Meaning was part of a recent lit review in one of Adam’s recent research projects, which lead to this follow up conversation.

Farrah Bostic goes walkabout.

Farrah Bostic on The Strategy Inside Everything

Farrah Bostic, Founder and Strategy Director at The Difference Engine, makes the first repeat appearance on The Strategy Inside Everything. This time, she’s accompanied by Haskell the wonder dog to talk about the ways living and observing the brand experience of our clients in-person leads to discovery and derived insights.

Ryan Wallman’s Delusions of Brandeur

Ryan Wallman Delusions of Brandeur

The incredible Ryan Wallman joined me to talk about the inspiration for his new book, Delusions of Brandeur and the decisions he made to create a very different kind of marketing book. We also discuss evidence based marketing and his medical training.

Aisha Hakim is holding the door for other women.

Aisha Hakim is holding the door open for women

When Aisha Hakim needed the perspective of another woman, she found out just how difficult that was to get. So she created it in Fellow, an app designed to create conditions for women in ad agencies to get advice from other females and maybe mentors. And she didn’t do it alone, her agency Venables Bell and Partners backed her and helped bring Fellow to life. This conversation focuses on the challenges of living through the construction stage of something you have the ultimate vision for.

Jocelyn S. Lai sees the way recruiting has changed

Recruiting has become more of a science than an art

Jocelyn S. Lai has been identifying and recruiting talent for a long time. She joins Adam to discuss the ways the needs of both the market and the talent have changed. Her role has shifted from agency recruiter to building a team at Duolingo, providing a broad perspective.

Pattern’s Emmett Shine on working for a better life

This culture is all so new

Emmett Shine’s shop, Gin Lane was doing amazing brand work for companies you have heard of and probably have in your home. But something wasn’t right. The partners and staff decided to reform Gin Lane into Pattern, a company focused on the very issue they hoped to address – making their lives feel more whole.

Jen Bonhomme on the real and the imagined

Jen Bonhomme joins Adam on The Strategy Inside Everything

Jen Bonhomme carved out some time from her work at VMLY&R to talk about what makes an impact in our minds. We are exposed to dozens (hundreds?) of digital experiences on a daily basis, so that our minds are kept from wandering. Is this harmful in the long run? Are younger people who have grown up tethered to a screen better or worse off than those who pine for the days where they were more free the day dream? We aren’t sure either but we explore it together.

According to Derek Walker

Copywriters are freaking artists

I recently had the chance to talk with owner of Brown & Browner Advertising, Derek Walker. We looked at his well-constructed view on why agencies fail, how they succeed and what the future might look like. It’s an insightful talk from someone who’s been on the agency and brand side of the desk, as well as run his own shop for a decade.

Chris Sietsema builds SEO and businesses

strategy, Chris Sietsema, conversion

Adam had the pleasure of chatting with my old friend Chris Sietsema of Teach to Fish Digital. He saw what agencies looked like, how they were viewed by clients and figured out his own path. We talk about how individual tactics build the brand. His perspective is a valuable way to understand how our traditionally disconnected tasks get us to our goals.

Special bonus for listeners of The Strategy Inside Everything. Use the promo code ADAM50 to save $50 on your tickets for Internet Summit 2019 being held Raleigh, NC, November 12-14.

Doing good with Ian Schafer of Kindred

Ian Schafer founded Kindred as an antidote of sorts. Exhausted after building agencies, he put his focus on building connections for people and companies trying to make positive impacts on the world. In this chat, we look at brand purpose, and makes impact and intent real. Ian has a clear point of view on how to generate action and motivate more to take part.

Grant Owens on the conditions that create disposable brands.

The brilliant Grant Owens joins Adam today to talk about turnover in brand. How the fail fast mantra has changed the way brands are approached and built by corporations, and the way they are considered or received by their intended customers. Finally an episode that didn’t start as a Twitter thread! Grant joins us from Critical Mass where he is Chief Strategy Officer.

Nir Eyal wants you to focus.

Author Nir Eyal brought us Hooked, a look at how to design digital products that keep us coming back. Now he’s written Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life. He’s been paying attention (no pun intended) to the ways we give in to tech and make excuses for it. This book gives us a practical plan for getting back to the real world.

Andrew Glazier on action over idealism

Defy Ventures is a different kind of organization. They are working with the incarcerated to help them hone their entrepreneurial skills and provide themselves and their communities with hope. CEO Andrew Glazier joined Defy with a pragmatic, business vision and is translating that with action. You will find this episode inspiring, trust me.

Derrick Daye on the building blocks of brand.

Today we get back to basics to talk about some fundamentals of brand. Derrick Daye from The Blake Project and Brand Strategy Insider joins us to talk about what separates companies from brands, and the limits some just aren’t willing to cross.

Shann Biglione on the ethics of your media buy

Shann Biglione has a point of view. The head of strategy at Zenith USA believes that the choices you make with money feed or starve what you support. If you’re chasing profits at the cost of your beliefs, you’re not building, you’re subtracting.

You can trust Jasmine Bina

Jasmine Bina made time in her day (evening, actually) to talk about how people develop trust. She is the CEO of Concept Bureau. Oddly, we lived this out as I (tried to) earn Jasmine’s trust in real time during this chat. It’s both a wide-ranging and extremely focused talk that you are going to play more than once.

Learning strategy with Kevin Rothermel

On this episode, we welcome VCU professor Kevin Rothermel. He’s at the front lines with students of advertising and seeing the challenges, the growth and the promise. In this conversation, we look at how strategy is taught, and what breaks through.

Shannon Pfeffer knows how to help

give back, mentor

This episode was a real treat. I was joined live and in person for a conversation with Shannon Pfeffer, Lead Brand Strategist at Midnight Oil. She is one of the few guests that I didn’t find on Twitter. In fact, I saw her post an open offer to listen to people who felt they were in need of mentoring on LinkedIn. In speaking with Shannon, I learned she is doing much more than that.

If you are a woman in advertising or marketing looking for someone to listen, Shannon wants to try to help you. Schedule a chat here

Mentors

A guest post by Shannon Pfeffer on what mentors have meant in her life and career.

Aaron Dignan Sees the Way Forward in Brave New Work

Brave New Work

Founder of The Ready and two-time author joined Adam to talk about his insightful new book Brave New Work. He’s helped large and small companies develop plans for becoming more productive, faster or whatever they felt they needed to become to create companies that satisfy their teams, customers and stakeholders.

Companies change shape with the times*

Sears catalogs from days of yore

*if they want to survive In the 1900s Sears ruled what we now call DTC marketing. Their catalog came straight to American homes, bursting with products to be chosen by the customer and delivered. How dominant was the Sears catalog as a business? They sold houses. In the catalog. That people bought and lived in. […]

Ana Andjelic on brands in retail, digital and luxury

Ana Andjelic is a formidable thinker on brands, retail, digital and as a doctor of sociology, behavior. She also has an amazing understanding of the luxury market having spent years working in and studying luxury categories and consumers. She joins Adam today to talk about the confluence of digital, retail, luxury and brand when behavior is swirled together.

Julian Cole is looking for the answers

Julian Cole is just back from a year-long sabbatical from strategy. He spent the time traveling around the world with his fiancé, exploring different cultures and thinking about what he wants to do next. The answer will excite you.

Brad Kim Knows Your Meme

Brad Kim has been studying memes for a decade. He’s seen a lot of change in formats and in the way ideas spread. In this fun chat, we explore the way the internet has evolved for better and not so better. As editor-in-chief of Know Your Meme, Brad is someone who understands the internet better than most. And loves it. Warts and all. Follow Brad on Twitter or read more here: Know Your MemeYour intrepid host, Adam Pierno has written his second book. It’s also kind of about the internet. You can buy it here on Amazon.

If it’s like breathing

All day long, I see social posts from people who are telling me they just did something just, or right. Low level virtue signaling. You know what, though? It is better to do the right thing than the wrong thing. That’s cool. But if I may paraphrase Chris Rock: You don’t brag about something you’re […]

Jack Appleby on Speaking Out

Jack Appleby, Director of Creative Strategy at Midnight Oil, chats with Adam about the importance of transparency.

Brittany Hill Matching Cause with Corporations

Brittany Hill leads Catalist, a company designed to make sense of the purpose movement. She talks with Adam about the strategy she and her team employ with brands to apply purpose where it makes sense, and when to opt out. Listen here: https://specific.substack.com/p/brittany-hill-matching-cause-with-703?r=n6j6&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=copy Transcript: Adam Pierno: All right. Welcome back to another episode of The […]