BLOG, NEWS & RANTS

WHAT ARE WE

THINKING?

While we are hired for thinking about a client’s business and marketing strategy, we sometimes have thoughts on other topics. Check out the below for news, blog posts, book and movie reviews, rants and random other takes.

Blog

‘Tis the Season for Gift-Giving: Traditions From Around the World

Part of our job at Nucleus is to understand not only a target audience’s perceptions and beliefs but also sometimes even their cultures and customs. In that light, I thought we’d share some fun gift-giving traditions and customs from around the world. But first, some quick history. It turns out gifting has been a practice ...
Blog

Winning In The Evolving World Of Insights: A Start

Whether it is locally, nationally or internationally, it seems like the volume knob of life is stuck at “11” no matter where you turn.  Business is no different, where insights are needed now more than ever.  But, despite the need, the industry is faced with some unique challenges; as such, we need to evolve too.  ...
Blog

Marketing A High School Education: Three Different Brands Compete For Enrollment

More so than many other nations around the globe, Americans have options. From restaurants to shoes to tire shops and everything in between, brands compete for our business. Increasingly, so do schools. With an eighth grader on the precipice of high school, I recently witnessed this first-hand as we “shopped” three possibilities for where he ...
Blog

Insights Professionals: What Makes Us, Us

In marketing, researchers are often seen as number crunchers, invariably tied to spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. Upon joining the team here at Nucleus, that assumption was quickly corrected. Speaking from my perspective, the commonality that the Nucleus team and I share is inquisitiveness and a genuine interest in learning about a broad range of topics ...
Blog

Football Season And Three Throwback Ads That Left Their Mark

So, I was one of those people who didn’t know what they wanted to do when they grew up. At one time, I wanted to join the Marines. Later, I thought I would enter a seminary. Neither of those things happened. When I got to college, I must have explored nearly a dozen majors—English, Political ...
Blog

Why You Should Thank a Teacher

Back when I was in high school so many decades ago, my favorite teacher was Mr. Christie, the hippie history teacher with the long beard. He was cool, he was smart, and he kind of looked like John Lennon with his wire frame glasses. This was smack dab in the middle of the Watergate era ...
Blog

Research Might Have Prevented This, (Or Did Bud Light Ask Anyone?)

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease,” has been a popular saying for quite some time and particularly relevant in the world we find ourselves in today.  Whether it be through social media, news content, product or service reviews, political discourse and candidate promotion, the “voices” appear to be getting louder – especially those on the ...
Blog

The Wizarding World(s) of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando – A Review From A Nine-year-old Fan By Marlowe and Jenni Padgett

The Padgett clan recently took a Harry Potter pilgrimage (er, I mean a family vacation) to Universal Orlando and I asked my nine-year-old daughter Marlowe—a first-order Potter disciple if there ever was one—to describe it.  Here is her take along with some of my own thoughts on this unique brand experience. “Overall, this experience was ...
Blog

Nucleus Book Review: That Will Never Work – The Birth of Netflix and The Amazing Life of an Idea

To those who follow the world of business or tech, Reed Hastings is definitely better known as the originator of Netflix. I, for one, have to admit I really didn’t know there was another guy named Marc Randolph involved in the early going. That is, until my neighbor Sean O’Keefe gave me this book, knowing ...
Blog

In-Person or Online Qualitative: Selecting the Right Tool for The Job

For decades, qualitative research was dominated by a staple of any brand wanting to understand their customers’ views and preferences: the in-person focus group.  While it is true that online qualitative had started to make inroads many years before COVID, the status quo was dramatically challenged during the pandemic, when marketers needed to replicate in-person ...
Blog

Nucleus Book Review: A Man Called Ove

Some of you might not know that the recent Tom Hanks movie, A Man Called Otto, is based on the bestselling book, A Man Called Ove, written by Swedish author Fredrik Backman.  So, in advance of seeing the movie, I decided to read the book. You might be surprised that a book about a penny-pinching, ...
Rants

What Happened To Chipotle: The Demise Of A Clever Communicator

When I was a marketing director for a fast-growing restaurant brand, I had a bad case of Chipotle envy.  Everything they did was smart.  The real estate, the restaurant décor, the portions, the quality, the menu board layout…you name it, I pretty much was a fan.  Then the communications tied it all together.  From the ...
Blog

Advertising’s Big Day: Quick Takes On The Super Bowl

Creating a Super Bowl ad is a slippery slope, maybe even more slippery than the playing field was at this year’s game. A brand has committed to spending a ton of money buying the media and then has to decide how to fill that space and impart something meaningful.  Sometimes it goes well.  Sometimes it ...
Blog

Nucleus Ad Review: Quiet Appreciation For Corona’s Christmas Spot

As sure as TBS will air “A Christmas Story” and ESPN will air a bowl game featuring two not very good college football teams, there’s a good chance you’ll see Corona’s Christmas spot this holiday season. If you’re thinking you’ve seen this spot for years, you’re right.  They have used this same commercial for 32 ...
Blog

Nucleus Resident Cheese Aficionado Dishes Out Holiday Cheese Board Advice

“Something old, something new, something stinky, something blue.”  So says the ancient wisdom of Cheesemongers, when deciding on which cheese varieties to put on a cheese board. If you want to build an exceptional cheese plate this holiday season to impress your loved ones, and pick up a few cheese facts along the way, I ...
Blog

The Client Connection Of Steve’s New Dog Asher

I get it.  Company newsletters and LinkedIn aren’t supposed to be for cute dog pictures.  The adventures of our favorite pets are typically supposed to go on, well, every other social media platform.  However, there is a work-related connection here if you’ll allow me to explain. Otis Bast was “employee #2” at Nucleus.  After 16 ...
Blog

Hot Or Not: Business Edition

All businesses go through cycles where activity is high, and everything seems to be a priority.  Along those lines, the occasional “hot” insights project is inevitable and even expected.  However, in my previous lives before joining Nucleus, I often came across corporate cultures that almost make an art form of this, where every request is ...
Blog

Entitled In A Good Way: Why We Finally Decided To Go With Titles

There were a few reasons I didn’t want titles at Nucleus.  First, my original attitude was that if you think you’re too good for something, you’re probably good for nothing.  I didn’t want titles to make people feel constricted.  This was inspired by a senior art director I worked with early in my career.  The ...
Blog

Book Review: Talking To Strangers

Malcolm Gladwell is at it again, blending together seemingly disparate observations and phenomena from world history and much more recent events into what seems like it should be intriguing tapestry. Subtitled, “What We Should Know About People We Don’t Know,” Talking To Strangers covers a lot of ground, much of which is surprising.  Winston Churchill ...
Blog

Q3 Wrap: The Return Of Old Friends

The third quarter was a busy one for Nucleus and saw a tremendous return to face-to-face insights work.  In August alone, we conducted something like 15 qualitative groups, which included a trip to Minneapolis.  In this busy month, we did some card sorting and some shelf display work that just isn’t the same in a ...