Clarity First Newsletter, June 7, 2019

“Beware of monotony; it’s the mother of all the deadly sins.” – Edith Wharton

Clarity First

A notebook about how we work, and learn, and love and live.

One of the many reasons I love my work is that it is never monotonous. This week we worked in Boston, in a co-working space in Northampton, and around the world via Zoom. We sat in the sun in a park, and we talked in cafes. I bet that if this kind of regular change of set and setting were studied we’d discover that variety is very good for productivity and innovation.

Happy Friday. I hope your weekend is rich with difference.


Purpose, Brand

Companies with a purpose have a greater voice and more connectivity with buyers.

Recent data shows that 55% of consumers believe brands actually have a more important role than our governments to create a better future. Whether that says more about brands or governments is up for discussion, but an interesting figure does show that consumers expect brands to go beyond function and be socially impactful, take a stand and reflect our personal values.”

Article: Brand Activism Is Driving More Meaningful Connections


Organizational Health, Diversity

Businesses understand the value of emotional intelligence, but many don’t prioritize cultural intelligence.

“Companies like to tout their commitment to diversity and inclusion. But without cultural intelligence, they’re unlikely to make any progress. Numerous businesses boast their cultural intelligence and their diverse talent pool, but few show proof of it. A survey by found that 24% of employees in the United States have felt personally discriminated against at their current place of work. That’s 1 in every 4 people.”

Article: 3 Simple Ways Businesses Can Boost Cultural Intelligence in the Workplace (and Why It’s Important)


Advertising, Social Messaging

A new sexual assault and harassment campaign is using the real words of real women to illustrate the many and varied ways women demonstrate non-consent.

Jess Langley, Annelise Hickey and Jo de Fina reached out to women across the world to better understand, and to better give voice, to the cues women give in conversations of consent.

“They took 50 real-life statements from 50 women and printed them onto a range of t-shirts. They also then directed, shot and produced a film using the statements to tell the women’s stories.” Then they posted the stories, images and the film on social media. The film was shared by millions worldwide, earning over 55 million media impressions, 6 million social media impressions and 50 countries reached.

Article: 50 Shades of No: The Campaign Giving Voice to the Real Words of Real Women.


Branding, Strategy

How To Turn The Unexpected To Your Business And Branding Advantage

“The first step towards not fearing the unexpected but instead embracing it is to be aware of it. Here, we can learn from Nassim Nicholas Taleb and his unexpected black swan. But it’s important to keep in mind that there is usually much more to the unexpected than the downside. The upside of being receptive to the unexpected is that it becomes easier to turn the unexpected into a positive management strategy instead of a crisis.

“The right method of building strategy begins with brand thinking and customer focus. Ensuring that a business survives takes constant innovation and creativity based on a genuine interest in the early warnings and weak signals from users and customers. Following these signals, instead of looking over your shoulder at competitors and desperately trying to disrupt the business, can lead to innovation in itself. Taking risks is a way for a business to always take the position to win, yet identifying worthy risks, and not taking unnecessary ones, is the key to success.”

Article: Brand Strategy For The Unexpected



How colonizers started the American language

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark gave evocative names to many animals and plants they found in the American West. Their straightforward moniker for this beast was bighorn sheep. (Library of Congress)

“The English Language started to become American as soon as the first English-speaking colonists landed. Unfamiliar landscapes, plants, and animals and ways of living called for new terms, and Americans soon were amassing a fresh vocabulary.

“Colonists borrowed from natives—raccoon, barbecue—inventively combined existing words—backcountry, pine barrens—and coined terms—demoralize, belittle. However, American speech was about more than words. Early Americans distilled vivid metaphors from everyday life. They blazed trails. They played possum. They found themselves sitting on the fence. They barked up the wrong tree.”

Article: How Americans Made English a Bodacious New Language


Corporate Responsibility

Wake up and smell the corporate renewable procurement.

“DSCN5381” by ttarasiuk is licensed under CC BY 2.0


“As more companies set — and approach — 100 percent clean energy targets, the range of renewable energy procurement methods available to corporate offtakers is maturing.

“This week, LevelTen Energy, a renewable energy procurement platform, announced the close of a three-project renewable energy portfolio purchased by Starbucks, with a collective capacity of 146 megawatts. The deal provides another example of how corporations with renewable energy goals are developing more options for clean energy procurement.”

Article: What Makes Starbucks’ Latest Clean Energy Transaction Unique



Solution-Engineering a healthier planet

“Compelled by a sense of urgency, the exhibition assembles artists, architects, and designers who have used technology to augment nature’s prevalence and power. The results are as intellectually dense as they are aesthetically vibrant, revitalizing reams of ecological and biological data into solution-engineering for a dying world.”

Article: Repairing a Broken Planet Through Optimism and Design



The Purple One was a funky one, too. In 2002 he played the Aladdin Casino in Las Vegas. His band included John Blackwell on drums; Renato Neto on keyboards; Sheila E. on percussions; Maceo Parker & Eric Leeds on saxes; Greg Boyer on Trombone; Rhonda Smith on bass, with Prince MCing, James Brown style, the whole band, while playing very fine guitar grooves.

This latter point is often overlooked. Prince was a superb guitarist. In this set he not only aces the leader’s role in this all-star band, he is also the band’s only guitarist. And listen. The guitar holds this whole amazing groove together.

Video: Funk Jam Session – with Prince


Image of the Week

The image in the header of this letter as well as the image of the week is from “Excelsior District: Forever Upward is a photo-documentary project seven years in the making that highlights San Francisco’s vibrant Excelsior District that many consider being The City’s last working-class neighborhood. It’s a story about a rapidly-changing city, family, friendship, brotherhood, camaraderie, and the power of photography.”

Article: Travis Jensen Explores One of the Last Real San Francisco Neighborhoods In Stunning Black & White


What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by me, Mitch Anthony. I help people use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as a pedagogy and toolbox for transformation. Learn more.

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