Bob Dylan

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My brand briefs are filled with heart-warming, heart wrenching twists of a phrase. They are meant to engage the Amygdala.  Trust me, they work when it comes to selling brand strategy (one claim, three proof planks.) But unless you are Bob Dylan no consumer is going to remember your poetic brand claim and proof array. They may remember a song from an ad. They may remember a tagline plastered everywhere locked up with your logo. But for lasting impact and indelible brand strategy, choose deeds over words.  Deeds and evidence.

The New York Yankees are a premier sports franchise because of their 27 world championships. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is “the best cancer care anywhere” (words) because its physicians have more experience treating cancer (deeds).

When companies bring their brands to me for help positioning, I look for deeds, evidence and proof. That’s the ore that precedes the jewelry.



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In the NYT today Dwight Garner described Bob Dylan’s lyrics as “tumbling.” Can you think of a better word to describe them?  Were I to pick one word to convey Dylan’s lyrics it would be that.  Tumbling means down the fall line. Effortless with an occasional jolt. Natural. Prone to the gravitational force.

I was reading Mr. Garner’s article and it reminded me what a poor writer I am. In my business I don’t need to write well, I just need to write well enough to incite marketing and creative. So long as my writing doesn’t get in the way, I can make a nice living writing brand strategy. (Google “brand planners prayer.”)  Bob Dylan uses words and with his own poetic vocabulary to define American music.  He does it because he can and because he loves to.  (I’d like to know how he did in English class.)  

Writing well, having a great voice, being beautiful are not requisites for a rich life. Trying is what matters.  Kudos to Mr. Dylan. Thanks for the lesson.

In these weird, weird times, Bob Dylan makes me proud to be an American.




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