The Blanding of Brands

If branding is the art of differentiation, blanding might be the science of imitation. We’re witnessing the blanding of brands. Blanding, a term coined in 2018, happens when a challenger brand drafts on the brand recognition of a larger and more established competitor by using similar brand identification (fonts, colors, imagery). Blanding was popularized by…

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The Firewood Fallacy

Whenever an expert makes a claim they cannot support with data, I’m reminded of the firewood fallacy. Firewood fallacy is a term I coined earlier in my career after being frustrated by how many organizations suffer from group think. Decisions are often made based on institutional knowledge or hearsay, rather than independent research or data….

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Stop Glorifying Cheerful Superheroes And Value Quiet Safeguarders

Businesses should stop glorifying cheerful superheroes and emphasize the quiet safeguarder. Cheerful superhero is my term for those people who sweep in to fix a problem after it’s occurred, often with a loud noise and a smile on their face. They don’t complain about cleaning up other peoples’ messes, partly because they thrive on restoring…

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Trust Your Fear Instinct

Most people spend their lives avoiding things that scare them but the key to self-protection might be to trust your fear instinct. Fear is a natural response to physical and emotional danger, based on an evolutionary survival mechanism. The physical response, known as “fight or flight,” includes sweating, increased heart rate, and high adrenaline levels…

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The Art of Countersignaling

Not long after I wrote about humblebragging, a reader asked me if humblebragging was an example of countersignaling. My short answer is ‘no’ but it deserves a more nuanced explanation. Signaling is a biological concept in which information is implicitly conveyed to others. Red mushrooms signal to would-be predators that they are poisonous. Peacocks bare…

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Fun With Palindromes, Without Aibohphobia

A palindrome is a word, sentence, or number that reads the same backward or forward. It derives from the Greek palindromos (palin is “again, back” and dromos, “running”), suggesting the palindrome “runs back” on itself. Most credit author Henry Peacham for introducing the word palindrome into English in 1638. Palindromes are quite common in English, especially three letter ones: mom,…

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