A first look into the trifecta of automobiles, entertainment, and spirits

A few summers ago we were rebranding BBC America and luxury car brands were revealing their visions for autonomous cars that functioned as “living rooms on wheels.”

This sparked my curiosity: How will the mobile living room change the brands we work with in automotive, entertainment and spirits?

“Technology fundamentally changes what makes your brand premium.” — HBR

The mobile living room conversation has largely centered around comfort, relaxation, and tech, with emphasis on features like swivel seats, gardens, Alexa-type voice activated AI, and wood floors. …


Now what?

Chewing gum sur un tapis d’orient, François Anton

Things go wrong all the time, and we don’t get to tip the game board over, we don’t get to shout “I quit,” walk away, and then come slinking back later.

We have to work through the messes.

That is the most common truth in business — it’s a shit show.

I have gum in my hair. I have to fly the plane while fixing it. I have to please my current customers while moving to an entirely new target. I have to sell down the product on hand, while introducing brand new product that needs to claim how much better it is than the old…

In other words: You have what you have, you need to get from here to there… and usually, you have to drag a lot along…


Earlier this year, Facebook amped up its apology tour with the launch of a new, highly criticized ad campaign, and the promise of being able to actually wipe all the data you don’t want shared. WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum confirmed he is leaving Facebook, reportedly because of a clash over its approach to personal data and encryption (and since the original posting of this article, Instagram’s co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have announced their resignations as well). …


Potential and Authenticity

Spectrum colours arranged by chance III, Ellsworth Kelly, 1951, from his plant drawings

In An Alchemy of Mind, Diane Ackerman writes: “A self is deciduous, it leafs out as one grows, changes with one’s seasons, yet somehow stays briskly the same.”

I like this idea, it feels true for a person or a brand. It holds in it the aspiration to grow, evolve, return to your roots, begin again.

Ackerman also tells us that the human brain “composes a self-portrait from a confetti of facts and sensations, and as pieces are added or removed the likeness changes, though the sense of unity remains.”

People do the work of identifying themselves amidst the endless…


Using Design Thinking

I’ve been writing a bit recently about keeping it together when everything seems to be hitting the skids… when, even if you’re doing all the things to build the resilience muscle, taking decisive action can feel overwhelming.

Decisions in this context often feel permanent, whether a life decision or a business decision, they can take on a larger-than-life sense that “This is what i’m going to do forever.” Even though it’s just the next step, or next couple of steps, it can feel like it’s the last decision you’ll ever make.

It won’t be.

And there’s a better, or at…


How do you know when you're done?

Jackson Pollock in his Long Island studio, 1949. Photo by Martha Holmes.

I once read an essay about how Jackson Pollock might have known that one of his paintings was finished. It was irritatingly inconclusive.

Endings are like that — elusive when the situation you’re leaving is divine and when it’s shit.

There are seemingly blunt and obvious endings, final curtain moments — you lose your job, get divorced, a loved one dies, a project wraps. But lots of times you don’t know you’re in an ending until something begins.

Just like you have to have black to see white, you often have to see or sense a beginning to know it’s an end.

“[The ‘graceful exit’] involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving…


Or, how not to run, screaming, from the room.

@rabbids

For years I’ve written about change. How it happens (inevitably). How to prepare for it (be adaptable). How to lead it (#changepositive)

Leading change on the personal level — which is really just the work of making a life — is much the same as leading change in business. Leading change, as opposed to being at its mercy, depends on a plan, decisive action, and resilience.

Lately, I’ve been very curious about how a sense of confidence in your own resilience factors into your willingness to engage with change as an individual — and as a business leader.

My curiosity focused on three primary questions:

What is resilience?

How does it work?

Why does it matter?

What is resilience?

Resilience is defined as the capacity…


Why would I stop? And how do I start again?

In the garden. The color caught my eye. The bee flew in while I was fiddling with the focus — and scared the daylights out of me.

Why would I stop? I love a good plan. As a brand strategist, a plan is how I’ve led change for iconic brands like Jaguar, BBC America, Cadillac, and others. It is also how my husband, Hal Wolverton, and I have led change in our lives. How we built our brand boutique, Johnson + Wolverton, and how we have brought some of our wildest dreams to life.

Change is my thing. It begs the juicy question, “Where do I go from here?”

Hal and I have had a 10-year plan in the works for more than 20 years. But not…


Facebook has 2.2 billion active users worldwide — and most of them have had their data scraped “by outsiders without their explicit permission.”

In other words, without their consent.

People feel violated. and for good reason. The social media giant is plagued by scandals linked to their disrespectful behavior, sketchy privacy policies, and invasive innovation.

As horrifying as it is, the Facebook problem has provided us all with a mirror. Facebook only works because we let it, and it won’t change unless we are all willing to give up the dopamine teat of scrolling our feed.

“I don’t believe our…


Several years ago people began talking about this idea of slow social. Like slow fashion or slow food, slow social emphasizes quality, connection, and meaningfulness over quantity and quick consumption.

But while there were some canaries signaling the dangers of our increasing connectedness, slow social never really took off. But now, with distrust of the media at an all time high, our social currency being traded away by others, and absolutely everyone wanting to just fucking turn off already, I think the slow social movement is poised for a second wind.

“This shift is not a total abandonment of social…

alicia johnson

veteran myth-maker, brand strategist, author, change agent, citizen and partner at johnson + wolverton. @ajonbrand

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