Category Archives: Search for leaders

Contagious Ideas

The first TED conference was rolled out in 1984 in Monterey CA. Since then it has grown in size, exclusivity and, thanks to YouTube, gone viral with over 500 million virtual lectures viewed online in recent years.

OneĀ  TED speaker in 2009, Seth Godin, spoke about what makes an idea go viral and become a movement. Apologies to Seth for my shorthand…you need:

  • A charismatic thought leader
  • With powerful new ideas
  • Passionately communicated through storytelling
  • To a willing audience, knit together by common beliefs, a sense of tribal identity and an impulse to spread the word

Sounds a lot like what makes for viral content in general. Several agency networks have picked up on this. McCann uses the tagline “Truth Well Told”. Publicis has elevated these concepts in their worldwide credo – Contagious Ideas That Change The Conversation.

Moral of the story – powerful new ideas about your product/service that are communicated with honesty and passion can activate the tribe and change the conversation.



Filed under Search for leaders, Sense of community, Sense of identity


mitt keeperFrank Bruni’s editorial in yesterday’s NY Times touched on a fascinating subject. Why does Mitt fall so flat? He describes Romney as “missing magic” and the “gravitational pull” needed to create political momentum. Compare that to Obama, “W” and Clinton in prior elections. These three had serious magnetism.

Here’s an article from the American Psychological Association journal that frames out some of the physiological and behavioral science behind charisma. The thinking is that charismatic people have the following qualities:

  • High Emotional Intelligence that lets them build rich and rapid emotional connections
  • Ability to intuitively mimic the mannerisms and tone of those around them
  • Ability to speak and gesture in sympathetic cadence that captivates those around them
  • And, tellingly, the must do all this naturally/instinctively to have the proper effect – if it is forced, people see through it immediately

These concepts link nicely to current thinking about building strong brands – understand your target consumer and then weave a narrative around the brand concept that speaks in consumers’ natural language and to their needs. And, whatever you do, avoid being fake or inauthentic – they will sense it immediately and lock you out of their heart!

Leave a comment

Filed under Search for leaders