Clarity First Newsletter, April 14, 2017

The drumbeat of fear and divisiveness that is coming from Washington is deafening and disheartening. But listen: the bells of collaboration, cooperation and positive futures for all are ringing from every corner of the earth. While hopeful news doesn’t employ CNN pundits, it is there for the taking.

Empathy is a “set of muscles” that must be built. 

Design Thinking has the unique power to leverage the intersection of equity and innovation through deeper learning and empathy. Here’s how one teacher is learning to harness its power and potential for her students.
Article: Design Thinking, Empathy, And Equity

Stop selling top down ideas. Initiate strategic conversations instead.

Narrow strategic planning processes tend to be top down, with those on the bottom having little clue of organizational direction, let alone goals. Broad processes engage more people to both develop the strategy, and create shared knowledge of the strategic direction, all at once. Neat.
Article: How a Strategic Planning Process Impacts Communication Options

500 million people are watching Facebook videos every day.

Prognosticators predict that this year online video will account for 74% of all web traffic. Ali Mirza says chill. For your business or organization to gain the visibility and success it deserves, you need to master only five video tools.  And you don’t need to go on camera.

Article: 5 Video Storytelling Tools For Camera Shy Entrepreneurs

Now is not the time for shameless opportunism, there’s plenty of that in the White House.

Designers predict the major branding trends of 2017. (Pepsi, this headline is for you.)
Article: The Radical Future Of Branding

Change begins and ends with relationships. Systems change happens when you add greater depth, and trust to existing patterns of relationships.

Complex systems suggest that we cannot bring a cookie cutter approach to change. That said, there are common practices that can undergird a diversity of approaches. Two that especially resonate with me are being strategic about communication, and using stories as strategy and evaluation.
Article: Going Slow and Going Farther: Collective Impact and Building Networks for System Change

Listen first. And record it.

As the Clarity Brand Design process is rooted in listening, I spend a lot of time engaging stakeholders in dialog. To make sure I catch their point of view, and not my projection of their point of view, I both take notes and record the calls. I record calls with a free account from Uber Conference. This company is incredibly generous with the concept of freemium.

Four skills every marketer needs to understand. 

Whether you want to do it yourself or you want to hire someone to do it for you, if you are a modern communicator you need to understand four basic digital marketing skills:
1) how to think of your website as a welcome gate,
2) how e-mail marketing works,
3) the foundations of social media, and
4) the basics of web analytics.
So that’s what Dan Green and I are going to present in a one day intro course. DIY Digital Marketing Camp, the Survey Course will be offered on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 from 9 – 4 at the Smith College Conference Center. A great community of learners is gathering and there’s still room for you.


A fresh Easy Listening for Moderns playlist from Spotty, my robo-DJ assistant, and me: Let me get there.

Images of the week

The image in the small header is titled Stetsons and Old Spice. The image in the large header is titled LBJ With Fishhooks. Both are by Norm Diamond and are reproduced from his soon-to-be published book What Is Left Behind: Stories From Estate Sales. As he says in the introduction, “There is nothing like an estate sale to remind me of my own mortality and life’s brevity.” Hyperallergic has a good article with more photos.

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by Clarity, the consultancy that helps mission-driven companies use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as powerful tools for transformation. Learn more.

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