Friday, April 19, 2013

Lessons in leadership from an accidental CEO.


One of my favorite quotes is in Tom Peters' book, Re-imagine"If you don't like change, you'll like irrelevance even less."  This quote always serves to remind me that life, let alone our careers, is a journey of learning and growth.

Today I was invited to give a talk on leadership to the Executive MBA program at the University of California Irvine's Merage School of Business.

My lessons in leadership are a work in progress.  They are skills I've learned through trial and a lot of error; skills that I'm constantly refining; skills that I hope will inspire these Merage students to develop a style that is tailored to their unique talents and personalities.

I often refer to my self as the "accidental CEO" because I never set as a goal occupying the top box on the org chart.  Instead, my goal has always been to take on new challenges and to keep learning and growing.  Years ago, when I was President of Y&R in Southern California, a friend of mine shared with me this quote:  "Those on top of the mountain didn't fall there."  I've kept this on my desk for the past seven years as a reminder that the harder I work the luckier I get.



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Seven universal stories all marketers should know.

I've written frequently about the power of archetypes and storytelling in creating enduring branding strategies.  After all, archetypal personalities tend to transcend time, cultures and geography.  We are hard wired to understand the Ruler, the Jester, the Magician, et al.  Defining a brand in archetypal terms will resonate more deeply with consumers than surface level "tone and manner" statements.  As for stories, I think we can all agree that stories convey meaning, and in the media saturated world in which we live, meaning trumps information every time.

This piece published in Adweek offers a very helpful insight into the seven archetypal plot lines told in literature and movies.  Every brand marketer should know these time-tested narratives.