In an SEC filing this week, Starbucks announced that it will be closing about 400 stores across the world in the next 18 months. This didn’t surprise many analysts, particularly in light of the global economic downturn. But the stated reason for these closures was surprising indeed: Starbucks was entering a new “transformational phase” from which will emerge a new store format called Starbucks Pickup.

Up until now, Starbucks has built its experience strategy as the “third space” — a physical location that provides an unparalleled immersive brand experience. According to an Inc. …


A few months into a pandemic and a few days into social upheaval, the rosier predictions for event marketing’s comeback need to be seriously reconsidered.

The ferocity with which some people jumped back into socializing and “living their life” was equaled by other people’s determination to stay home and minimize local deaths from the virus. And the vision of a lot of people all in one place passionately participating in a live event or experience has now been completely usurped by the nightly images of mass marches, protests and riots.

Just a few weeks ago, experts were all agreeing that…


Almost two months ago, Ethan Decker and I started a project tracking the post-pandemic actions that companies around the world are taking to help or innovate on behalf of social good and pandemic relief.

Ethan is the president of Boulder-based Applied Brand Science and my former colleague when he was group strategy director at CP+B. He is, to put it succinctly, a marketing scientist. With a PhD in Urban Ecology (natch) to boot.

We used open-source GoogleDocs lists and sites that tracked the press releases and marketing messages of hundreds of companies taking action to save others and their businesses…


Getty Images

Live events. Business conferences. Sampling programs. Big concerts and NASCAR races and Super Bowl villages. These will all come back eventually. And they will be a lot less valuable to marketers than they were just months ago.

Why? Because event and experiential marketing should no longer focus solely on audience scale. And the value of the experience will change with it.

Experiential marketing — beyond just events and gatherings — is still entertainment- and production-heavy. Whether it’s live events, PR stunts, digital/physical installations, pop-ups, retail environments, trade show floors, SXSW exhibitions and Coachella VIP tents — all these experiential activations…


The topic of brand purpose has never been hotter — and also more misunderstood. The power of purpose to energize a brand’s consumers, ignite passion in its employees and drive growth that impresses investors has never been clearer. At the same time, the road is littered with examples of brands that have attempted it and failed. I asked a selection of some of the leading agency leaders in the space a simple question: What one piece of advice would you give to clients who want to do purpose-driven brand work? Here are some of their insights and advice.

  1. Do it…

Full disclosure: two of our sister agencies at Project: WorldWide — ARGONAUT and Motive — will each feature a commercial at the Super Bowl this year. I very much like both spots for VW (ARGONAUT) and Pepsi (Motive). But that’s not the point.

The Super Bowl commercial wankfest has officially begun. Spots to tease the spots are airing ad nauseam. Lists and rankings are being drawn up by USA Today and the trades. Brand flacks are furiously lobbying for top slots for spots that haven’t run yet. …


Since its inception in 2012, Giving Tuesday has become a remarkable cultural tent-pole for personal generosity and institutional donation. The movement, started by the 92nd Street Y, has grown massively in the past six years — inspiring online charitable donations that exceeded $300 million in 2017. The insight behind the movement is exceptional: create a day of giving right after two days of getting (Black Friday and Cyber Monday).

Foundations, non-profits, and corporations such as Microsoft, Cisco, and Google have flocked to Giving Tuesday. But beyond raising money, the effort has done something more: It has brilliantly named and articulated…


Review published in The Hindustan Times.

‘The world is poor, and the meek shall inherit the mall,’ is the instructive title of a chapter in ‘Brand New World’ by Max Lenderman (www.jaicobooks.com). Emerging markets such as India, and the emergent consumers from rural and non-urban areas stoking the growth in these markets, are blazing new and unique ways in the world of goods and services, the author notes.

Water wisdom

An example he mentions is of Manila Water, which serves 5.1 million residents. It offers three options, viz. one meter per household, one meter for three or four households, or…


This is the second of three blog posts from Mark Duval’s interview with Max Lenderman , CEO & Founder of School . Read the first part here, which addresses the evolution of experiential marketing. This post primarily focuses on brand purpose and how some brands get it wrong while others get it right. The last post will cover brand performance and new business considerations for brands and agencies adopting a purposeful approach.

Mark: Let’s talk about some of the purpose stuff that you’re doing. Because it sounds like — especially when you mentioned empathy — there’s a lot of purpose…


This is the first of three blog posts from Mark Duval’s interview with Max Lenderman , CEO & Founder of School . This part primarily focuses on experiential marketing and how it has changed over the past decade. The second two posts will get into brand purpose and why some brands get it wrong while others get it right, as well as brand performance and new business considerations for brands and agencies who adopt a purposeful approach.

Mark: Since you wrote your book Experience is the Message: How Experiential Marketing is Changing the Brand World back in 2006, what are…

maxlenderman

thinker. writer. dad. husband. lover of the beautiful game. kicker of asses. founder & creative director. haunted by the thought i haven’t done enough to help.

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