Using the Power of Architecture to Tell Your Story


In a world where so many churches are drab buildings, or where leaders could care less about building design, I was reminded about the power of architecture after my wife Kathleen noticed Grace Community Church in New Caanan, Connecticut. Their design is really remarkable, and its been covered in major media outlets across the country, allowing them a remarkable way to share their story. In my book “Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media,” I have a section called “The Branded Building.” Here’s how I put it:

Should I Be Careful with “Branding Experts?”


When I wrote my book “Branding Faith” in 2008, the word “branding” had hardly been uttered inside a church or other Christian organization. In fact, the amount of criticism I endured just trying to start the conversation was enormous. People just didn’t want to believe the power of perception or identity and the role it played in getting people to listen to your message, buy your product, or donate to your cause.  But since that time, things have changed, and

Your Ability To Influence Depends On Your Personal Style

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The truth is, change happens because of influence.  My wife Kathleen and I created The Influence Lab because if we’re going to change the culture, we need to influence it in a positive way. That’s why I was intrigued when I discovered that in 2009 and 2010, Discovery Learning, Inc. and Innovative Pathways conducted research to identify and measure styles of influencers. They created five categories. See which one is your style:

How To Find Your Social Media Voice


Finding your authentic voice in social media isn’t that different from traditional media. I had a client once who was a TV host. The problem was, as soon as the red light came on the camera, he became a completely different person. His voice got deeper. His style became bigger. He was more over the top. The problem was – that wasn’t him. Even his friends would tell him, “Stop using your TV voice.” But many of us do the same thing on social media. We try to

Does Your Advertising Betray You?

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Advertising and marketing are about promotion, and promotion is about making you, your organization, or product look interesting, enticing, and simply terrific. But far too often, we’re not as strategic about our advertising as we should be, and as a result, our feeble attempts at promotion end up backfiring. Sometimes it’s just not paying attention like this auto repair shop:

Stop Trying to Be Original and Start Being Yourself


I love creativity and think we should all be more creative. Some people think they simply aren’t creative, but the truth is, we’re all born with wonderful imaginations. Just put a group of toddlers in a room and you’ll see they’re all wildly creative. So everyone is born creative.  But something happens around elementary school that starts pushing that creativity to the back of the room.  But the more important question for today is, considering the millions of writers, artists, inventors, and filmmakers that have gone before us, can we actually be

ExFEARiential: The End of Branding?


Although this promo video from John St. Advertising Agency in Toronto is a parody, it points to the ridiculous extremes we’ve gone to when it comes to branding.   From a religious perspective, when I wrote my original book “Branding Faith” it was a dirty word inside church and ministry circles and the concept was rarely mentioned by pastors, leaders, or church members.  A number of years later when I updated and revised the book to “Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media”, I noticed there are

If You Were Given $10 Million, What Would You Do?

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I’ve started asking that question to my friends – particularly those in the ministry and nonprofit world. “If a donor suddenly stepped up and offered you a $10 million donation, what would you do with it?” I’ve been shocked at the number of people – even older, more experienced pastors and leaders – who have no idea. They’ve spent decades in ministry and yet can’t really express what

Do You Realize How Much Competition Your Idea Faces?


You may have the greatest idea in the world for a book, movie, business, or nonprofit. But when writing my book “Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media,” I discovered that today, living in the most cluttered culture in history, you also have to consider how to cut through all the competition and get noticed. Want to publish a book? In 2011,