My Weekday: Unplugged


As a CEO of a marketing agency in one of the largest cities in North America, imagine my horror when I realized on a busy weekday morning that I had left my iPhone at home!  After pulling over on the road to search my car, “maybe it slid down between the seats,” I thought. I checked my pants,jacket and briefcase several times. Nothing!  I headed to the office thinking maybe I left it in the office last night when I left late.  As I walked in the office door, one of my colleagues told me my wife had called to say I had indeed left my phone at home.  With meetings planned and my daily schedule booked, I knew I was going to spend the entire day disconnected.  Could I do it?  I actually thought of going back home, but it would have thrown off the timing for my day.  This seemed like such a huge decision, but I decided to challenge myself and spend the day without the phone.

At first it was extremely difficult. I found myself reaching for the phone every few minutes. It was even more difficult when I left the office for some client meetings, as being in the car without being “plugged in” highlighted my dependence on this device!  I didn’t know what emails I was receiving, what my staff was doing, I couldn’t make up time with client calls from the car, and there were no texts or LinkedIn updates!  I was in the car thinking about all the things I could be doing but couldn’t.  I felt very disconnected.  By the afternoon, I was looking forward to getting back to the office to see what I had missed while on my technology vacation.  My biggest surprise was that there were no immediate client needs, no burning staff questions… in fact it was business as usual.  I had always thought that my iPhone helped me to make up for time I would otherwise not find anywhere else, but the reality was that it wasn’t the device, but instead, my desire to feel like I am connected and am moving things forward.

So, on my drive home that night, I did what I haven’t done in a long time, I rolled down the window and played with the air through my fingers as I cranked up the stereo and enjoyed the ride!

My challenge to all the other business owners and CEOs out there, is to see if you can last one weekday without your mobile device.  Can you do it and if so, what was the most significant thing you noticed?  Will this have any impact on how you conduct business when on the road or out of the office?


What’s your logo’s personality?

Although there are thousands of apps out there, as a marketing professional I just had to download “the logo quiz game” on my iPhone.  This app has been widely popular and so I needed to see it for myself. The idea of the game is to match logos to company names.  Sounds simple, right?  Well surprisingly, it’s not that simple.

Outside of its “highly-addictive” nature, the game forces you to visually think to understand what company the logo could possibly be for.  Sometimes it is an easy connection – with an image of a wave logo, one might think about ocean companies, that brings one to seafood, which brings you to High Liner.  But as one moves up in levels, you’ll see a black dot with wings. What images does this conjure up? Ahh…it takes a bit longer to make the connection, resulting in the Mini.

The game undermines what is in a logo.  Is it just the image that makes you remember the brand, or it is the sheer number of times you have been exposed to an advertisement for this company, or is it something more?

In a study conducted by The Relational Capital Group and a team of researchers from Princeton University, it was indicated that people evaluate brands in the same way they instinctively perceive and judge other people.  Judgments about warmth and competence are highly predictive of brand purchase intent and loyalty.

The study researched attitudes towards 22 well-known brands, including Advil, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Mercedes, Shell and Tropicana.  The research was based on the concept that humans have developed an ability to make two kinds of judgments with speed and sufficient accuracy.  The first is about “warmth” or the intentions of others and includes factors such as friendliness, helpfulness, sincerity, trustworthiness and honesty.  The second judgment is “competence” or the ability to carry out the intentions and includes factors such as intelligence, skill, creativity, efficiency and effectiveness.

This was a fascinating study because it supports the equation that a brand’s effectiveness is equal to its ability to gain the trust of customers.

The fact that this iPhone quiz game exists is a reflection of just how important logos are to us as consumers.  The research backs what I have always instinctively felt– it’s not about what the logo looks like, it more about how the logo makes us feel. If consumers like the brand’s personality traits then this is a determining factor in their purchase decision and loyalty to a brand.

So as I shoot for the next level, I start to notice how many of the logos I quickly identify with and I pause to think about my relationship with each company.  Try it and you’ll see there is more to a logo than what appears.