On a recent trip to Las Vegas for the 2015 KBIS show, our Director of Intelligence Michael Bustin (aka “THE BUSTINATOR”) hit the streets to do a little freestyle bucket drumming.

This is just another reason why we’re glad what happens in Vegas DOESN’T necessarily stay in Vegas…

“We’re about to get real.”



With all of our marketing textbooks, classes and degrees, and our guru books, blogs and seminars, how is it that our marketing efforts so often miss the mark?  Certainly it’s not because we don’t know what to do. It really has more to do with the lessons omitted. Specifically: How to identify and overcome the ever-present forces that can hijack your plan.

Have you ever compromised a plan in the name of team work? Adjusted critical elements or language to satisfy a vocal, yet misinformed co-worker? Or even made changes in advance to please the CEO? Personal agendas, office politics and fear of innovation can reduce any of us to willing accomplices. Leaving us owning and being accountable to watered down plans.

Be prepared for the doubters. Overcome their objections with conviction, confidence and determination to keep your plans on track.

by Dwayne Fry Brand Futurist/Commander Strategic Ops


Dear LinkedIn,

I’ve been a fan and user for quite some time.  Until recently, most moves you’ve made seemed to make a whole lot a sense to me. Things like “groups” and “answers” and suggesting people I might “know” are very useful.  In general, LinkedIn is a great tool to build a professional network, get to understand and learn something from your peers and share with them.

And, Twitter’s loss seems to be your gain. The posts (updates) I receive are much more relevant because they come from within my network.

But to me, I think you’re beginning to lose your way. Why is it valuable to me when 90% of the “updates” I receive are about endorsements or who someone is following?  Who ever said they wanted this? By the way, I have yet to see one “like” on any of these posts. So hopefully I am not alone.

Let me double back to the new “endorse me” stampede. Is it really too much trouble for someone to actually write a recommendation about someone? Something we all can understand and read between the lines as to how worthy it is. What we have now is a check-the-box merit badge system. Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. To what end?

So here’s what I’m asking. Don’t try to be Facebook. Don’t try to be Twitter. Be yourself. Be someplace I can go and get a sense of what is going on in my extended world.

Thanks for listening

by Dwayne Fry Brand Futurist/Commander Strategic Ops

Photo Credit: courtesy of, How LinkedIn Gets TWENTY Times More Money Per User Than Facebook


A MAN NAMED PEARL is an awe-inspiring documentary film about the self-taught topiary artist, Pearl Fryer. A film that tells the true story of a man against all odds thats uses his passion to transform an entire community.

Pearl spent his life challenging the stereotypes that plague our world, simply by creating a wonderland out of nature. His works of art, over the course of his life, eventually fill an entire community and attract visitors from around the world. But, most importantly in the process unifies the citizens of the poorest county in South Carolina around a common cause – the idea that a positive experience really can have a powerful impact on those it comes in contact with.

Pearl lives his life by not allowing “the obstacles that get put in (his) way determine the direction (he) takes around them”. A life lesson – much easily said than actually lived. A life lesson we all can certainly benefit from.

Pearl Fryer truly creates miracles and moves many through the visions of his topiary art. A garden devoted to expressing three simple ideals: love, peace and goodwill. A place that makes those feel very different about life than what they may have felt before they passed through his creation.

For more of Pearl’s work visit

To view the trailer for A MAN NAMED PEARL visit

I hope everyone that take the time to read this post can find the time to stop by and see Pearl at work one day while passing through this amazing South Carolina community. Trust me, you will walk away a different person.

by Robert Shaw West Brand Futurist The Republik Companies Commander in Chief 

Photo Credit: courtesy of, A MAN NAMED PEARL is a production of Suzie Films


I love shoes. So, naturally, if there’s a way for me to indulge my passion for footwear while also changing the world for the better, sign me up! And that’s exactly what TOMS is all about.

With every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. It’s called One for One. And they’re not stopping with shoes anymore. One for One has been expanded to include sunglasses, too. With every pair of shades purchased, TOMS gives the gift of sight to a person in need through medical treatment, prescription eyeglasses, and/or sight-saving surgery.

What’s so amazing – and unusual – about the TOMS’ movement is that it’s more than lip-service. It’s way more than just a clever marketing ploy. It’s the very foundation of the company, whose unwavering mission is, “…Work[ing] to establish shoe-giving partnerships with humanitarian organizations worldwide that have…a long-term presence in the countries and communities they serve.” In fact, TOMS gave its one-millionth pair of new shoes to a child in need in September 2010. So much for a PR stunt!

TOMS sees itself not as a shoe or a sunglass company but rather as a One for One company. TOMS’ founder believes it’s the company’s obligation to try to improve as many lives around the world as possible by addressing as many different needs as possible. TOMS’ website tells the full story of the One for One movement and where it’s heading in the future.

The more I read, the more I’m convinced that TOMS is changing the world. Sounds like one more reason to go shoe shopping, if you ask me!

Talk about life changing.

by Leah Knepper Brand Futurist Rubberneck Propaganda Specialist

Photo Credit: © TOMS


I’ve long held the belief that all advertising isn’t competing against other advertising. It’s competing against anything else the consumer would rather be looking at.

Which, in this case, is the rear end of a 5’9″ mini-skirt-wearing Frau.

In a brilliant move, Mercedes tells the story (now that they have our complete undivided attention. At least the men’s) of how they use eye-tracking software to track which parts of an automobile’s exterior catches a test subject’s eye. And, perhaps gratuitously, to see if the software is working, they test it on the rear end of a 5’9″ blonde. And yes, the software is working. Men stare at the woman’s hips first, next her butt, which they say is to test for child-bearing potential.

It’s actually a fascinating video. Mercedes found out that consumers stare at the roofline, headline, taillights, in that order. It’s quite an amusing way to spend 10 minutes with a brand. Also way more interesting than an ad, or TV spot. Mercedes has figured out that in order to get us to think about their brand, they have to fascinate us.

Not interrupt us. View the spot and read more here

by Miles Cartwright Brand Futurist The Republik Sergeant Creative Ops