Holistic (business) thinking

When I graduated from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, now Ryerson University, in my early 20’s I thought I knew it all. My teachers had taught me how to spot a problem and solve it and I thought I was ready to solve the world’s worst dilemmas - especially those caused by poor advertising design + copy. I soon learned that spotting a problem was one thing, getting to the whole root of it another. So much for my simple text-book cause + effect solutions.

In my 40’s my Veterinarian introduced me to the concept of Holistic Health for Charlie, my constant companion + creative muse. It changed how I look at life – and business.

Last night I took my client to dinner at a restaurant I really like + that he likes as well. Here's why:

  • The menu is unique, carefully + thoughtfully prepared.
  • The food is predictably good.
  • The service is unique + predictably good.
  • Lighting is soft but good enough to read the menu with.
  • The layout enables you to have a good conversation with your guests while the conversations of others are muted.
  • Prices are reasonable.
  • There's ample street parking.

Can you see where I’m going with this? I give this restaurant my repeat business + refer others to it for a variety of reasons that together conspire to make this a predictably great evening - not just a great meal. Brand loyalty is a complex thing - and so is the brand's story. That changes the way I take a creative brief, look at the competitive landscape and how I evaluate the communication options that I come up with. Holistic thinking invites me to take into account as many direct + oblique variables as possible when I look at what's working, what's not and where we can go from here.

It's a better way to build a team and a brand because it applies to traditional, contemporary and disruptive brand work.


It ensures you see the tree, the trees, the forest as well as all the surrounding terrain.