Clarity First Newsletter, March 3, 2017

Clarity First
A notebook about how we work and learn and love and live.

Lately I’ve been looking at love and hate through the brand lens. During these polarized and divisive times, we need love more than ever. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”. Yet by “Volume of Mentions”, a common measure of brand equity, it seems that hate is winning the brand recall test right now.

It’s making me ask, what am I doing to promote love as the healing and soothing salve we all need now? What more can I do?

To love others we must know how to love ourselves first 

A meditation for cultivating a positive relationship with yourself, and, by extension, the world.
Article: A Practice for Developing Kindness Toward Yourself

The tyranny of choice

In this world of cognitive glut, choice may no longer be a benefit. It can become a form of tyranny, merely adding to the muddle in our heads when all that our minds crave is simplicity. That’s where crystal clear branding comes in.
Article: A Brand’s Number-One Job is to Simplify Choices, Not to Sell.

Think big and act small.

The bigger the idea, the more organizational resistance it gets. Big ideas are born more often than not with a target on their back. The best way to launch a big idea? Start with a small idea, test it, get feedback, and improve it. If it’s a good idea it will grow.
Article: In Praise of Small

The tool that does the best job at spreading empathy throughout a company is the Persona

Personas are fictional characters distilled from what you learn by talking with your stakeholders about their needs, their motivations, and their aspirations. When crafted well, they address the breadth of what you heard, in an understandable way that can be appreciated by others. Notice a trend emerging in this letter? Great organizational design starts with listening to those you serve.
Article: The Best Way to Understand Your Customers

More nonprofits said communications staff and budget levels went down in 2016.

Kivi Leroux Miller is the founder and CEO of Nonprofit Marketing Guide. It is an invaluable resource for anyone working in nonprofit communications. Every year she summarizes how the field is learning and changing. Thank you, Kivi. Context is everything.
Survey: 2017 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report

Introducing the very first-ever DIY Digital Marketing Camp

After taking the DIY Brand Camp workshop many participants report that the next thing they need to understand is how to communicate their brand with the new tools and processes of digital marketing. In response I have partnered with Dan Green, one of the valley’s most experienced and knowledgeable internet marketing pros, to develop a one day survey of all things digital. Next week we will post a full course overview as well as open Early bird registration. In the meantime,
Save the date: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 from 9 – 4, at the Smith College Conference Center 


It’s been four weeks since I traded my iTunes playlists for Spotify. I’m getting it. First I had 3,000 vinyl albums. Then I had 4,500 CDs. I still have 7,500 mp3 albums on three separate hard drives. Now I can have whatever I want, on my phone. I am finally becoming more a listener than a collector. Here’s this week’s playlist, For All the Mistakes We’ll Make. BTW, if you had shared this set with me, my first question would be: “Who is that groovy, string-bending guitarist on the opening cut?” It’s Herb Ellis. Aren’t humans amazing?

Image of the week

The smaller photo in the header is named Andy Warhol on payphone at the Factory, 1964. The larger is named Andy Warhol on payphone at World’s Fair, 1964. Both are by Billy Name and are reproduced from the book The Silver Age: Black and White Photographs from Andy Warhol’s Factory (1964-1968). The book is being celebrated because the guy who first connected advertising to pop culture died 30 years ago last week. The Village Voice paid appropriate homage.

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.

If you get value from Clarity First, please pass it on, refer me to a solopreneur who needs to clarify his or her brand, or hire me to help your company change it’s name and create a new visual identify.

Leave a Comment