Our favorite headlines this week: August 14-18

With the summer starting to slow down (sorry to bring it up), we’re ramping things up a bit with this week’s roundup. It’s a gloomy Friday in Michigan, and we have four thought-provoking articles to help brighten it. The articles we found this week include lessons learned and actionable steps you can take to improve your productivity.

From the actual effects of a “brand fail” to how multitasking is working against you, check out Our Favorite Headlines this Week – then let us know what you think!


Is There Such a Thing as a ‘Brand Fail’ Anymore?

The Takeaway: Before we get started, a disclaimer: This article does NOT give you a free pass to make terrible commercials, post distasteful tributes to dead celebrities on Twitter, or throw customer service to the wayside. Rather this look at how “brand fails” affect the bottom line is a lesson that shows it’s more about what you do than what you say.

Take, for example, the backlash at Pepsi versus at United after their respective fails. Pepsi made an admittedly huge mistake in their messaging, which inspired outrage but didn’t ultimately affect their bottom line. On the other hand, United failed in delivering what they promised to do for their customers – provide a safe, easy flight home – and they are paying for it. This goes to show the vital importance that customer experience has on branding. Without the experience to hold up the message your marketing or branding team has built, branding becomes an empty promise. And if you can’t give consumers what you promise, why should they give you their money?


Does that ring come in bulk?

The Takeaway: Speaking of branding, here is a story with a couple great lessons – about both the strength of the Tiffany & Co brand and Costco’s mistake. As marketers, shouldn’t we all aspire to reach the point where other businesses want to use our brand name as an adjective (but can’t because our brand is too darn powerful)? But this case also has to do with the sanctity of the Tiffany & Co brand.  Tiffany is a brand that’s built on luxury, elegance, and, in many ways, inaccessibility. Imagine the damage done to that brand if people thought they could buy their products at Costco.

Another important lesson from the case is the significance of the words you choose… Remember, this isn’t a case of counterfeiting. The only thing Costco did wrong was using the word “Tiffany” in a misleading way. Case-in-point: they likely could have avoided the ruling by simply adding the terms “setting” or “style” into their description of the rings. Ultimately, this goes to show that the words you don’t say have just as much impact on what people understand as the words you do.


You Need an Afternoon Routine

The Takeaway: We think author Patrick Allan is on to something here. Why do so many influencers talk about perfecting your morning routine and no one ever mentions how to use your afternoon efficiently? Sure, having a solid morning routine is a great way to start the day with momentum, but oftentimes thatmomentum can be dwindling by lunchtime. So what are some ways to stay productive, even when you’re running out of steam? Some of Allan’s ideas include working on easy tasks and taking the time to chip away at a bigger, more daunting project.


The More You Can Focus, the More You Can Achieve

The Takeaway: At first glance, this headline isn’t particularly impressive. But author Bruce Kasanoff offers a way of looking at multitasking that really makes sense: he says that multitasking (or trying to multitask) only trains our brains to be in a constant state of distraction.

Think about it this way: Our brains are just like a muscle that we want to strengthen. If we do squats the wrong way, we might feel like we’re getting stronger when, really, we’re working our way to a back injury. In the same way, we might feel like we’re getting better at multitasking over time, but studies have repeatedly shown that the human brain is not capable of doing two things at once. Instead, what we’re really doing is weakening our brain’s ability to focus on one task.

So how do you fix it? Kasanoff recommends finding one habit that will help you re-train your brain to focus on one thing at a time. For him it’s photography, but it could be anything: knitting, drawing, writing, or even running. Find what you love and start focusing.


That’s it for this week! What articles did you find particularly interesting or relevant? Let us know in the comments, or on Facebook or Twitter, or in the comments below.


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