Brian Creath

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Does advertising work anymore? #media ht

In Uncategorized on June 25, 2015 at 12:03 pm

Does advertising work anymore? #media #marketing #advertising #branding #brand #digital


Thank You. Please Visit Cohesion.

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2015 at 10:15 am


I want to thank you for visiting “The Idea” during the past five years. This post marks the last for “The Idea”: I have migrated all blog posts from this blog to our main business website at, and will discontinue “The Idea.”

All future posts can continue to be found here.

Again, thank you for your past support and continued interest.


Brian Creath
Cohesion | The Brand Agency

“That’s a Lot to Pay for Your Thinking.” (or) What is Marketing Strategy, Really?

In Brand, Brand Strategy, Business strategy, Marketing, marketing strategy, Positioning, Sales, Small Business, Strategy, Uncategorized on November 30, 2012 at 4:35 pm


Earlier this year, I met with a prospective client of a large, regional organization, who seemed eager to re-energize his company’s corporate brand. “We really need to develop a new platform for all of our positioning and messaging,” he said. “Internally and externally, we’re confused. We need to define our direction and make a big, bold statement about who we are, and why people should care.”

Great, I thought. Here’s company that not only recognizes its brand/marketing problem, but has a relatively clear understanding of what it needs.

I proceeded to take this person through our approach and some examples of successful work we had done in similar situations. We parted our meeting with the understanding that I would deliver a proposed approach and estimate in the following few days.

Fast forward three days. My prospect, now with our proposed approach in hand, has called to discuss its contents. “You know, I listened to you explain your process, but now that I see it in writing, that’s a lot of work and a lot to pay just for you to come up with some thinking.”

[Silent pause.]

“I was kind of hoping you’d just give me a cost for coming up with a few taglines, or something.”

“Those few taglines that you want require the upfront work I have outlined,” said I. “Additionally, you need quite a bit more than a few taglines. You need a positioning and messaging platform and system that ground all of your communications efforts. On top of that, you don’t have (and desperately need) a clear marketing strategy and direction.”

“We do have a strategy,” said my prospect. “We want to increase sales by 10% next year.” (I’m not kidding.)

To which I kindly responded, “That is an objective — one against which a strategy can be built. How are you going to achieve it,” I asked. “I guess we’ll need to talk about that internally,” he said. “Right now, I just need some taglines.”

* * *

Strategy is the thinking that answers and explains ‘how’ something will be accomplished — how a goal or objective will be achieved.

Insightful marketing strategy — based upon clear business and marketing objectives, marketing research (however limited) and conclusions born from an experienced process — is the single most lacking component of marketing today. (It also happens to be the core business of my firm.) What passes for strategy today, is often shameful and ineffective. More often still, strategy is non-existent.

But there is a silver lining. Because so few companies build and follow strong marketing strategies, the company that does can make a tremendous impact. Immediately, and into the future.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we develop and successfully implement brand and marketing strategy, please contact me (Brian Creath, president of Cohesion), at 314-276-5383, or at

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Exciting stuff on the way: We’ll soon be launching a new entertainment company ( Stay tuned for more.

People Don’t Read Anymore. (Except for you, right now.)

In Brand, Brand Strategy, Business strategy, Communications, Marketing, Messaging, Uncategorized on February 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm

The Idea.


It has been a standard marketing axiom for the past two decades: People just don’t read anymore. Originally, this thinking was attached to the printed word, as in “people don’t read books, or newspapers anymore.” In recent years, however, it has become a more general indictment — one which has been used to justify everything from how much copy should be used in marketing materials to how much funding should go to education.

During his keynote speech at the Macworld 2008 Expo, Steve Jobs, discussing Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader said, “the fact is that people don’t read anymore.” He noted: “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year.”

Yes, research proves we spend less time with the printed page. Books and newspapers, especially. But here is where the generalization rings false: Many people (perhaps you) are actually reading MORE than before…

View original post 261 more words

Truth In Marketing. (Will anyone buy it?)

In Advertising, Brand, Business strategy, Communications, Corporate Marketing, Marketing, Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 at 2:05 pm


We are experiencing a seminal turning point in the history of marketing: the power shift from company to consumer.

Until very recently, communications have been a one-way street, an imbalance that favored organizations. They have held all the power, reinforcing their decisions based on research conducted in artificial environments outside of true human experience. But no more. Today, social media is tilting power toward buyers for the first time in history, shifting the imbalance in the opposite direction. Now, customers have an instantaneous platform for telling the world how they feel and in what they believe.

In CMO Thought Leaders: The Rise of the Strategic Marketer, John Hayes, CMO at American Express stated, “In the 20th century, we did monologue marketing. We did most–if not all–the talking. And we expected the consumer to listen. Now, in the 21st century, we’ve moved to a dialogue. Consumers want to be heard. In fact, they will not tolerate not being heard.”

Which means that in the future, companies that tell the truth–where words mirror action–will succeed more often than those that don’t. Customers won’t buy anything less.

But there’s a problem. A problem so dark and secret that few would dare acknowledge its existence: Marketing isn’t very good at telling the truth. Never has been. Good at stretching it, yes. But telling it verbatim…hmmm, let me talk to legal.

Because business has been ‘talking at’ customers for so long, many a bad habit has crept in. With few, if any, checks and balances from customers, marketing has run amok with claims, promises and overstated benefits. With all the advancement made in the field of marketing, far too much of the underlying assumption is still founded in, “there’s a sucker born every minute.”

But to succeed, the craft must change. Marketing is no longer about driving a top-down message at customers. Today, marketing is about managing an active and ongoing conversation with customers–promising, yes, but delivering on that promise every time. And, working with customers to determine what that promise should be in the first place.

Perhaps Lincoln said it best: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” (By the way, if you need help finding the real truth about your business and brands, I know a firm with an approach that can help.)

While I’m working on my next post, I hope you’ll read about how Cohesion helps organizations build stronger messaging to increase consistency, lower cost and drive growth, here.

Brian Creath

In Uncategorized on December 12, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Find out more at

“People read what interests them. Sometimes, it’s an ad.”

In Uncategorized on February 26, 2009 at 11:55 am

(2009 Update:) “Or a blog. Or an email. Or a text message.” Howard Gossage, iconic advertising maverick wrote the headline to this post more than 40 years ago. And while his ‘ad’ reference may seem a bit outdated, the essence of his thought has never been more true. People, being the humans they are, are still curious and still quite vulnerable to being engaged by interesting thought.

Admittedly, this is now a more difficult proposition than it was in Mr. Gossage’s day. There is more clutter, more noise, more distraction, more fragmentation, and more ‘choice’ than ever before. And so, we have convinced ourselves that people don’t read, they have shorter attention spans, and are ‘just too busy,’ to spend time with an idea.

It’s an easy trap: musicians, movie-makers, game-makers, and more have fallen prey to this belief. Make it faster, make it louder, make it more ‘cool.’ Regardless (and often in spite) of a big–or even medium-sized–idea. Marketing culture, which has always adhered to an art-imitates-life credo, simply tries to keep pace. Much of which (at least from a media/distribution standpoint) is necessary. Problem is that along the way, marketing is losing its most fundamental tool: The ability to engage people with a powerful idea that sells something. A message, bigger than the technology delivering it.

For most, trying to stay on the bleeding edge of trendsetting is a losing proposition. Someone else can always be a little bit faster, a little bit louder, a little bit more ‘cool.’ Nope, for most, the best way to win today (and any day) is to be the most interesting you, you can be. Own it. Live it. Be it. Regardless of how fast the world moves. Regardless of the next new technology.

Work on your position. Work on your message. Create an emotional connection that no one else can have.

Remember: People buy what interests them. Sometimes, it’s you.

While I’m working on my next post, I hope you’ll read about how Cohesion helps organizations build stronger messaging to increase consistency, lower cost and drive growth, here.

Brian Creath

In Uncategorized on December 12, 2008 at 7:51 pm

Brian Creath

Find out more at

Brian Creath

In Uncategorized on July 12, 0208 at 8:08 pm