Clarity First Newsletter, November 9, 2018


Clarity First

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

On election night Debbie and I gathered with friends at our favorite local, Hope & Olive, so as not to be alone while we watched America cleave itself in two.

We went prepared to be scared. Instead, we got to watch together the power of the system of checks and balances that is baked into the constitution we own.

This ship is under extreme duress, and it is holding.  But we need all hands on deck.

Let’s get back to business, the business of caring for each other, for our communities, and for our planet. Clean and clear is so much easier, and prettier, too.

We can sell that.


Change and Transition
On election day Google reported that its most popular search term wasn’t “where to vote” in English. Searchers wanted “dónde votar”, in Spanish.

News article: Google’s Top US Election Day search is in Spanish: “Dónde Votar”


Branding, Storytelling
“Emotional stories help innovative ideas attract attention—and get funded.”

There are two really good reasons to link here:
1. It’s a great punch-list of to-do’s when preparing then telling your story,
2. It’s a model of great content marketing, circa today.
Online White Paper: Getting Your Story Straight


Creative Process, Packaging
Before Nevermind’s release, Nirvana were an unknown band and Robert Fisher was an equally unknown graduate working at Geffen. He explains what happened next.

“I was hired as a designer out of art school and I worked my way up to an art director position. I was excited when I heard that Geffen was going to sign Nirvana, so I went and asked if I could work on it. Nobody at the label had any idea it was gonna be that big. But once I got the advance cassette copy I was blown away.”
Article: The Designer of Nirvana’s Nevermind Cover on Shooting Babies and Working with Kurt Cobain


Branding, Value Proposition
Compelling products and services help us to be more of who we want to be.

“When we market our products to customers we often use a persuasive tone designed to convince. We describe by leading with features and benefits. We try hard to give customers reasons to choose, forgetting that most purchasing decisions are not rational, but emotional.
“In short we forget why people buy.”
Article: 3 Things Your Product Story Must Do


Advertising, Value Proposition
“Some consider our messaging to be controversial. We disagree. It’s fact because our oat drinks actually are made for humans, rather than for baby cows.”

In 2015 Sweden’s dairy lobby, which represents combined sales 200 times greater than Oatly, “a milk-like product created from oats”, sued the grain cookers, arguing that their brand’s marketing disparaged cow’s milk as unhealthy.

Undeterred, the oat brand is bringing the ‘It’s like milk, but made for humans’ campaign to the UK next.
Article: After Angering Swedish Dairy Industry, Oatly Brings Controversial Ad Campaign to the UK


Philanthropy, Design Process, Learning
Listening to beneficiaries should be part and parcel of any initiative that seeks to help others.

“How better to learn what works and what doesn’t than to ask those most directly affected? How better to seek out ways to improve? How better to learn about unintended consequences, galvanize demand and support for solutions, and know whether efforts are matching intentions?”
Article: Feedback Is Not a Fad


Social Messaging
“Humans are social creatures who are easily influenced by the anger and rage that are everywhere these days.”

“You don’t need to be a psychiatrist to understand that the kind of hate and fear-mongering that is the stock-in-trade of Mr. Trump and his enablers can goad deranged people to action. But psychology and neuroscience can give us some important insights into the power of powerful people’s words.

“We know that repeated exposure to hate speech can increase prejudice…. It can also desensitize individuals to verbal aggression, in part because it normalizes what is usually socially condemned behavior.”
Article: The Neuroscience of Hate Speech



This week Jason Kottke plucked a wonderfully funky cover of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart from the firehose. The Hot 8 Brass Band has been cooking hip-hop, jazz and funk styles together with New Orleans groove, in New Orleans, since 1995. That’s more than 20 years of reaching and growing together. This is a band of masters.

Their sound is rooted in the rhythms and spirit of the Mardi Gras Indians, with heavy emphasis on the bottom, played on multiple instruments at once, with the relaxed, familiar invitation of call and response on top. Being a brass band, their calls and responses are more often than not from a brass bell.

The official video of this wonderfully joyous song is a wonderfully joyous short film in itself. Watch the opening scene, a montage of images of motel room numbers that match the song’s count-down, right, on, the, beat. The imagery and the rhythm have you at hello.
Video: A Joyous Cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart

Good survey album: Vicennial:  20 Years of the Hot 8 Brass Band

Very cool cover project: Sexual Healing (Remixes)


Image of the Week

The Image of the Week is titled Late Arrival by photographer Andrew De Zen.

De Zen’s website says that: “Andrew De Zen is a Canadian born director, writer, producer, and editor based out of Toronto. Being drawn to film as a child Andrew has since become a filmmaker with a focus on emotional storytelling and evocative, poetic visuals.” I like this image because I know how that guy feels.
Article: “Late Arrival” by Photographer Andrew De Zen


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 tool of transformation. Learn more.

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