It was a Saturday morning, sunny and relatively warm even though it was the middle of winter. Driving toward the highway, I reminded myself to rehearse my elevator pitch a few more times before that morning’s networking meeting. But before I could rehearse my pitch, I spotted a “Going-Out-of-Business Sale”…


TF17_Application_blog_article_page (1)

Bora Yoon, multi-instrumentalist and composer (upper left); Camille A. Brown, choreographer and dancer (right); David Sengeh, biomechatronics engineer and National Geographic Emerging Explorer. Photo: Lynn Johnson, National Geographic photography fellow (lower left).

If you could pursue your most extraordinary passions, what would you do? Be an asteroid hunter out to save planet Earth? A theater director who brings indigenous voices to the stage? Or a news publisher who helps young people protect freedom of speech in Kyrgyzstan? Yes, real people get to do this incredible work. In fact, they’re all TED2016 Fellows. Even better: applications are now open for you to join the newest class as a TED2017 Fellow.

Welcoming innovators of all kinds, the TED Fellows program is a 400-person global network of makers and doers, a breeding ground of interdisciplinary collaboration that is making a positive impact on the world. The program is designed to catapult careers through services like coaching, mentorship, PR advice for sharing your latest projects and speaker training from a panel of experts. You’ll be a part of a tight-knit community that’s ripe for new ideas and collaborations. Plus, you’ll go to the 2017 TED Conference for free and even give a TED Talk.

The online application includes answers to general questions, short essays and three references. Only those aged 18 and older should apply. If selected, Fellows must block off April 21-28 on their calendars for the TED2017 Conference in Vancouver, Canada.

20 Fellows will be selected based not only on their accomplishments and the potential impact of their work, but also on their character. An ideal candidate is multidisciplinary-minded and collaborative and is ready to fully utilize the support of the TED community.

Think this is right for you? Apply by July 30.

Interested in learning more about what exactly TED Fellows are doing all over the world? Download the newly-released TED Fellows e-book, Swimming Against the Tide for free. Designed by In-House International, the book featuring stunning photography, personal essays, in-depth interviews, infographics and much more.


Global Press is hiring! We are actively recruiting women in select areas to join our training-to-employment program.


Applicants should be aware that we only open news bureaus in select countries each year. Please note that GPI offers long-term career opportunities. Trainees will be offered employment at the completion of the training program. Applicants should have a minimum of 20 hours per week to dedicate to the GPI contract.

Application Requirements

  • Prior journalism experience is NOT required.
  • English language skills are NOT required.
  • Basic literacy in your native language IS required.
  • Natural curiosity and passion for storytelling IS required.

Active Recruitment

Port au Prince, Haiti – Apply in French or English by July 31, 2016

Abuja, Nigeria – Apply by August 30, 2016

Pristina, Kosovo – Apply by September 30, 2016

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – Apply by October 30, 2016

The post Become a Global Press Reporter appeared first on Global Press Institute.

The Four Most Powerful Brand Codes

How do we recognize a brand? What do consumers see, and how different is that from the ways brands are structured?

Every marketer is familiar with the concept of a brand’s DNA – the strands of strategy that interweave to give a brand its sense of identity. Behaviors, values, purpose, positioning, story…and yet these are not the elements that consumers see for the most part. They are the behind-the-scenes markers that ultimately enable a brand to be effectively developed and managed.

What consumers should see are signature ideas that confirm a brand is who it says it is. I distinguish these from the brand DNA by referring to them as the brand codes. While these traits are, of course, expressions of the ‘invisible’ strategy, they need to be powerful and attractive to those who buy. They are what bring a brand to life for shoppers and help put daylight between that brand and all the other brands competing in the same arena.

The most powerful brand codes seem to take four forms:

1. Design – from the Chanel suit to Absolut’s advertising to the Birkin handbag, the power of distinctive visibility is not only that it stands out but that it provides consumers with strong and clear things to look for; memes that are threaded through every aspect, every experience, every product line. Most brands claim to have this; few actually achieve it in a way that continues to work powerfully over time. I suspect that’s because the temptation to be contemporary, at the expense of being eternal, is just too great.

2. Tone – Time, the Atlantic, the New Yorker, the Economist, Innocent all have very distinctive ways of referencing the world and communicating their stance. From the rhythm of a Time article to the wit of the marketing for The Economist, each voice is wonderfully clear and self-assured. Each has a way of storytelling and sharing perspectives that is versatile enough to work across so many different types of subject matters and formats, yet remains confidently on-brand throughout. Achieving such a signature voice is difficult because it requires such an instinctual understanding of the reader. Too often brands blur and slur their tone and manner because they imbibe far too much corporate caution on the way to assessing what they are comfortable saying. The outcome for the consumer is just more noise, more sh*t to read…

3. Celebrity – some brands are powerful through personal association. A Virgin announcement requires Sir Richard Branson, Nike’s whole strategy is built on its association with the athletes it meticulously chooses, it’s hard to think of Chanel these days without thinking of Karl Lagerfield – and yet I, for one, am not automatically sold on the power of celebrity endorsement as a distinctive code. Too often, the presence of the celebrity masks a brand that lacks something significant to say in its own right. Or the association is restricted to just a campaign. Calvin Klein himself makes some excellent points about that in this interview: “Now, models are paid for how many followers they have. They’re booked not because they represent the essence of the designer [but]…because of how many followers they have online. I don’t think that, long-term, is going to work. I don’t think that’s a great formula for success for the product you’re trying to sell.” Pulling in a high profile name to front for your brand may make sense in this age of profile and social circles, but contracts end and the world moves on – and while that person may define that brand for a time, they don’t necessarily add to what the brand is recognized for over time.

Here, we also need to draw a distinction between those people who speak for the company and those that speak for the brand. With the exception of Branson obviously, most high-profile CEOs are focused on speaking to the markets about direction and dynamics. Many are becoming celebrities of sort in their own right but they should not be seen as brand codes because consumers don’t innately see the brand personified in them.

4. Stance – brands like Patagonia, Greenpeace, Red Cross, Body Shop and Red Bull are immediately recognizable for what they advocate for and/or what they seek to change. Brand strategists talk in complimentary terms about the power of challenger brands, but the reality is that effectively embedding defiance into your brand code is much more difficult than it appears. And that’s because, over time, it’s hard to keep advocating for a position in ways that people don’t tire of. The other challenge of course is that once their stance becomes successful, these principled brands must fight off the clones that rush in to feed on the trending attitude.

Brand strategists and marketing managers spend a lot of time thinking about the brand vitals. What they don’t spend anywhere near enough time on, in my opinion, is working closely with others across the business and with creative teams to translate that thinking into a consistent and distinctive brand code that answers the simple question “How will they know it’s us?”. Beyond the obvious stuff like the logo.

There’s a note of caution in here too for brands looking at licensing and/or going public. Too often, the brand codes can become confused in the bid to achieve wider success. In the case of those brands that go public, as the influence shifts to the analysts and “market expectations”, the ethos of the brand, and therefore what it means for consumers, can easily be subsumed in the bid to keep up with guidance. Equally, brands that look to licensing to expand their story need to be very careful to underpin the new expressions of the brand in ways that consumers can clearly read. Too often, licensing deals fail because they confound and confuse the codes, by drawing associations with the brand that might make sense in theory but that shoppers cannot see, or enjoy, for the life of them.

Right now, everyone’s in love with the concept of brand experiences. But even experiences cannot exist in their own right (something the experiential marketing people seem prone to forget in the rush to novelty and give-aways). Instead, those brand experiences must present in ways that enable customers to clearly read the brand code. If consumers can’t recognize the brand in something, then what they are getting is not owned by the brand. It’s another occasion with a logo on it. And there are far too many of those.

The Blake Project Can Help: The Brand Storytelling Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers

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Creative Credits:
Client: Air Canada
Director Global Marketing and Sales Communications: Selma Filali
Agency: J. Walter Thompson Canada
SVP Creative Directors: Josh Budd, David Federico
Art Director: Anton Mew
Writer: Alec Carlene
Strategy: Sarah Stringer, Kaiti Snell
Social: Rebecca Brown, Matthew Stasoff
Accounts: Andrew Rusk, Lindsay Cannon
Producer: Sydney Price
Media Strategy: Mindshare Canada
Talent: Tara Joshi
Public Relations: Spafax Content Marketing Americas

To make it in advertising, you need people who are tough on your work. Who are honest with you. Who tell it like it is. And that’s what you’ll get at Miami Ad School Toronto. But it’s not necessarily what you’ll get from everyone else.

Creative Credits:
Advertising Agency: john st., Toronto, Canada
Creative Directors: Stephen Jurisic, Angus Tucker
Copywriter: Martin Stinnissen
Art Director: Jenny Luong
Account Lead: Melissa Tobenstein
Producers: Raquel Rose, Lauren Sloan
Director: Taso Alexander
Director of Photography: Sasha Moric
Grip: Justin Yaroski
Wardrobe: Kristin Lapensee
Hair & Makeup: Cherie Snow
Script Supervisor: Sydney Kondruss
Sound: Scott Taylor
Sound Editing/Mixing: Keen Music
Editor: Michael Barker, Brian Herzog/ Relish
Colour: Red Lab
Casting: Jigsaw Casting

How Emotions Drive Effective Brand Advertising

Advertising needs to be emotionally absorbing. Otherwise, it’s irrelevant, stale and ineffective. The mind is geared to filter out stimuli, requiring emotion to achieve breakthrough.

How big is the challenge of trying to secure the awareness – let alone the enduring emotional engagement – of consumers? Huge, of course. People are awash in information and glad to tune out what they don’t need, which is why it is increasingly difficult to create a successful ad.

Over a five-year period during the late 1980s, for instance, separate market research firms tracked the percentage of US and West German viewers who remembered the last commercial they had seen on television. The decline was over 40 per cent in America and nearly 20 per cent among the Germans. More recently, a third research firm found that in cluttered markets like the United States and Japan, TV commercials are only half as capable of increasing awareness as they are in countries with fewer commercials being aired per week. And that’s just looking at the marketplace.

How about the mind? In that case, even under the best circumstances establishing awareness is difficult. The human brain takes in 400 billion bytes of information per second through our senses. But it only consciously processes 2,000 bytes. That ratio should make it evident that when it comes to awareness, keeping the door shut – not open – is far and away our basic impulse. In other words, filtering or screening out takes precedence over input.

As 400 billion bytes makes clear, the mind has remarkable elasticity when it comes to absorbing data. The problem lies in processing it all. Perhaps the authors of The Attention Economy put it best when they described sensory input as being processed in a large funnel. The narrow spout is what behavior actually results from the influence of so much input. Let’s add a little more detail to the five key stages of their metaphorical funnel to get a grasp on how emotions and advertising interact.

There are five decision making stages advertising must impact to be effective.

Stage 1: Awareness

This stage is about noticing something, becoming aware of it. Advertising proliferates in the hope that consumers will recall some of it. If properly diagnosed, recall is the first place in the funnel where emotion matters. That’s because we remember something for only one of two reasons: it either sparks an emotional response or easily corresponds to something we have already retained. At this earliest stage, emotions serve as mobilizers. They’re like an early-warning system, alerting us as to whether we might want to approach or avoid the advertising in question for innate, subconscious reasons we might not be able to articulate.

Stage 2: Narrowing

Survival instincts help explain the next, narrower part of the funnel. To function most effectively and ward off threats, people have to focus first and foremost on what they feel will matter most. Thus at this stage, emotions serve as relevance signalers. They turn on – and stay on – when a goal is at stake. To avoid being winnowed out at this stage, advertising must enhance or protect our lives.

Stage 3: Attention

This is the consideration stage. Here emotions serve as motivators, fueling our response as we contemplate the advertising. This is where creating sustainable interest is vital. Advertising that isn’t ultimately very likeable or appealing will drop from consideration. That’s typically for reasons related to the execution. The effort required to comprehend the advertising may be too taxing or else, more strategically, the advertising fails to square with people’s emotionally-based belief systems.

Stage 4: Decision

This is as far as research can go in validating, prior to launch, whether advertising is likely to drive marketplace response. As will be discussed in the last part of the chapter, companies are looking for purchase intent or other forms of persuasion. In emotional terms, what they want to know, based on emotions serving as evaluators, is what’s the gain versus harm equation? Emotions are judges of value. In judging the advertising, consumers are also judging whether the branded offer is worth pursuing.

Stage 5: Action

Only the post-launch tracking of sales results is truly relevant here. By this point, emotions have reached the critical point of serving as enactors. We take action either to change or regain the status quo. As a means to an end, the advertising will have caused people to resolve, evade or mitigate a situation that the advertising promised the offer could help us handle. Only the sensory and emotional parts of the brain attach to muscle activity. The rational brain serves as a lobbyist, which is why functional benefits don’t matter much unless they acquire emotional significance (often thanks to the advertising).

Finally, after all is said and done and the consumers’ monies are spent, emotions and advertising have one final rendezvous. That happens because emotions also serve as monitors. As part of being evaluators, they monitor the degree or quality of the progress we’ve made as a result of the action we took. Here informal word-of-mouth advertising becomes an important alternative source of information. That’s because as noted by many business people, there’s nothing worse than great advertising on behalf of a terrible offer. Spurred to buy only to be disappointed, we then emotionally and financially withdraw – in favor of investing our time and money elsewhere.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Dan Hill, excerpted from his book, Emotionomics, with permission from Kogan Page publishing.

The Blake Project Can Help: Accelerate Brand Growth Through Powerful Emotional Connections

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers

When Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment was re-created in the middle of New York City for Hulu, it blew up the internet with the help of consumers and the media generating a swell of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). The physical experience was something people waited in line for hours to see, knowing it would only be around for a few days. What’s more, they transformed their in-person experience into social and digital content that was shared again and again. In this session, Hulu shared how the power of experiential as a channel made a lasting mark on the brand.