A thousand-word picture





Dear Old World . . .


 We found these all-occasion cards at the AGO store in Toronto. 



I support freedom of choice





Creative Influence


Attend any award show and the majority of the recipient’s acceptance speech will focus on all of the people they want to thank for making their special moment possible. It sounds so banal and contrived. But it isn’t once you’ve seen how a fresh outside influence can dramatically change the course of the creative process, or product, in real time.


A few weeks ago I attended a concert at Massey Hall featuring Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. I went because I love Massey Hall and hoped that I’d like some of their music. “Well, it filled the hall” is about as effusive as I can be about the band’s first ½ hour.


Enter guest star, Tarra Lightfoot. A singer \ songwriter with a folk vibe that I wasn’t familiar with, but she has a great alto voice that complimented and rounded out their sound. 




Enter guest star Serena Ryder. Another singer \ songwriter. This one with a classic rock style. Her voice + style didn’t compliment the Rodeo Kings as much as it encouraged me to notice all of the different voices and instruments on stage.




Enter guest star Daniel Lanois. World renowned singer \ songwriter \ producer. He changed everything the moment he walked on the stage. 10 seconds in to their first collaboration and I was listening to Daniel Lanois and his back-up band; Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. The evening quickly went from a 5 / 10 to a 9 / 10, not because I knew all of Daniel Lanois’ music, but because of the broad range of experience that he brings to any stage.


Game changing.


A similar thing happened in the more progressive ad agencies that I worked for. 

Every few years they’d bring in a new creative director to “stir things up”. The first time I saw it happen I was young, ignorant and didn’t understand it. I thought the agency was messing with the status quo . . . which . . . it was. Along the way I learned that that’s what good ad agencies do and good brand stewards expect because it ensures the brand’s image reflects the times. 


Working with a pool of freelance strategists, copywriters, designers and media planners and buyers is a great way to bring fresh perspectives to a brand - ensuring the it remains relevant.


The greatest challenge you'll face: the gatekeepers in your shop who don’t like change.  



Does blogging have a positive ROI?

I’ve been blogging since 2008 – usually once a week. Sometimes less. My tracking data suggest that I have a small, loyal, unsolicited following. As such one could conclude that there's no direct, or obvious, ROI to this blog, and that it's a waste of time.

Q: so what’s the point if my blog is more like a personal diary than a published work?

A: practice, not popularity, makes the master.

On one of my dog-walking routes I pass by an old Chinese woman who does her Tai Chi routine alone and in silence every morning. No one greets her, interrupts her, or tells her that she’s doing great. She’s a study of meditation in motion. Incredibly graceful, focused and precise.

A master immersed in the moment.

I confuse many of the people I work with by appearing to have a good solid (creative) answer for every communications problem that they bring to me to sort out.

My guess is that they’ll know much more than I do now . . . if they stick with it for 35 more years.

Some will.

Most won't. 

Blogging is one of the mental exercises that I continue to use to hone my communication skills.

Because it forces me to think clearly and succinctly, it affects everything else that I do. 

Masters inspire others to become masters themselves.

To follow their hearts down a new, unknown path.




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