"Harmony" is core to all of my integrated communication designs. The work is in harmony when internal communications compliment the customer facing material. Together operations and communications build and support the brand proposition and promise that support other mission critical intangibles like love and trust.

I work to to minimize "Cognitive Dissonance".  To learn how Cognitive Dissonance builds or breaks the brand bond in advertising, keep reading.


Cognitive dissonance (Source: Wikipedia™)

Cognitive dissonance is a term used in modern psychology to describe the feeling of discomfort when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel "disequilibrium": frustration, hunger, dread, guilt, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, etc. The phrase was coined by Leon Festinger in his 1956 book When Prophecy Fails. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.

The theory of cognitive dissonance in social psychology proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements. It is the distressing mental state that people feel when they "find themselves doing things that don't fit with what they know, or having opinions that do not fit with other opinions they hold." A key assumption is that people want their expectations to meet reality, creating a sense of equilibrium. Likewise, another assumption is that a person will avoid situations or information sources that give rise to feelings of uneasiness, or dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance theory explains human behavior by positing that people have a bias to seek consonance between their expectations and reality. According to Festinger, people engage in a process he termed "dissonance reduction", which can be achieved in one of three ways: lowering the importance of one of the discordant factors, adding consonant elements, or changing one of the dissonant factors. This bias sheds light on otherwise puzzling, irrational, and even destructive behavior.

Interesting - non?

Planning | Bullshit in . . . Bullshit out


Over the years I’ve seen a lot of brilliant plans as well as some very odd ones with business terrain descriptions, growth options and sales projections that didn’t make much sense. I’d look at the plans and wonder where the authors found the data that they used to model their bold plans. 

Then I tripped over this piece and I understood how they’d arrived at their illuminating insights + crazy rationalizations.   

A police officer sees a man looking for something under the light of a nearby street-lamp. “What are you looking” for the officer asks the man. “My keys” the man responds. After a few minutes of helping the man find his keys the police officer asks the man “are you sure you dropped them around here?” the man says: “no I didn’t, I lost them in the park.”

“So – why are you looking for them under this streetlamp?”

“Because this is where the light is!”

Many, many years ago a wise older woman gave me a wonderful piece of advice:


Don’t look at tomorrow with yesterday’s eyes. 


This applies to personal plans and business plans – especially as we move forward through the current Covid pandemic.  





Old Habits

I wrote this post twelve years ago when my partner Charlie was still very much alive and teaching me about life and marketing. It's still pretty relevant to life and business - esp. post CV-19.

Last week Charlie + I played our last game of snowballs for the season because the last of the spring snow is all gone. But if you go into the shaded forests that we like to walk through there are still some ice-paths; they're the summer paths that become the winter paths and over the course of the winter the snow on those paths turns to dense ice and is the last bit of winter to melt away.

On either side of these (six foot wide) ice-paths there's dried grass from last fall to walk on. But old habits die hard.

Charlie slips and slides along these ice-paths because . . . that's the path.

Sound familiar? Look familiar? Feel familiar?

Sometimes I too catch myself moving or thinking along an old path while there's often a better paths right in front of me.




The Wise Farmer

The Farmer




Brilliant Direct Mail


Big brands with big budgets + their DM agencies know that customized, personalized direct mail (delivered by Canada Post) provides a far better return on investment than does unaddressed mail that’s dropped into a postal walk en mass.    

Most smaller clients are too cash strapped to hire an ad agency, to rent a decent mailing list or pay Canada Post a premium to deliver their sales message. 

Well, provided you’ve got a little imagination, all is not lost. 

The brochure cover on the left is from our local Garden Club. To keep costs down the club designed it in PPT and printed it on plain paper with a small colour printer.  

Had they stopped there, this flyer would have been lost among all the other stuff that gets tossed into my mail box. 

But the club added a standard post-it note with a very inviting message: “We think you should enter!” The two personal pronouns combined with the flattering inference distance this homemade brochure from all other unaddressed mail and moves it into the personalized DM response category.

Simple, affordable, brilliant.