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

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 years …

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 …

Blog

Introducing Mixtape: A Funky-Yet-Functional Coworking Space Brand Launch

Anyone who ever made a mixtape gets it. You wanted a certain energy…the right flow…a definite feeling. You deliberately assembled a blend of artists, creators and innovators that you respected. And you absolutely wanted something that would never get old. That’s exactly what we did with Mixtape Creative Coworking, a brand we soft launched this …

Blog

Revealing Consumer Feelings Through Illuminations

We love when we get to branch out from traditional qualitative and quantitative methodologies. A few recent projects have had us doing just that and one approach we wanted to highlight is what we affectionately call a “Customer Illumination” project. To give credit where credit is due, a vendor partner came up with that term …

Blog

Book Review – The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

One of the magical qualities of books is the ability to transport you to another world, another time and another place. No matter the stresses of your life, a book means you are about to enter an entirely new realm — a place of escape, of entertainment and of learning. This is why I am …

Blog

Welcoming Kristen Katzman To The Squad (or, The Tale Of The Next Stepper)

“Next-Stepper.”  I had never heard these two words used as a compound phrase to describe someone but that is what my colleague Kim Atkinson called Kristen Katzman back in 2002.  This took place at the rapidly-growing corporate marketing department of the even more rapidly-growing Cold Stone Creamery chain of restaurants. The unique description came a …

Blog

Brand Experience Review: Famous Foods Street Eats at Resorts World, Las Vegas

Prior to joining Nucleus Marketing Lab, I was a road warrior, or perhaps “flight path warrior” is more apt. As anyone who relentlessly travels for business can attest, you find coping mechanisms—reasons to get excited about that inevitable next trip. Perhaps it’s racking up those airline rewards or having a kid-free good night’s sleep. In …

Blog

Perfectly Put: What A Homeless Shelter Can Teach Us About Knowing Your Consumer

There is a homeless mission here in my adopted city that provides meals, shelter, clothing and job placement for the homeless. I’m not looking for a Congressional medal or anything, but we’ve tried to support them when we can over the years. Side Note: If you’re looking for a rewarding team-building activity, get your crew …

Rants

Hey Scorsese, Put The Camera Down And Lend A Hand.

I used to be a joiner. I joined stuff. In high school, I was in everything. Student council, football, National Honor Society, Key Club, Future Business Leaders Of America, etc. Early in my career, that trend continued. The local AAF club. Big Brothers Big Sisters. Church stuff, etc. When I started Nucleus, I slowed down …

Blog

Book Review: Ship Of Ghosts

Right or wrong, more than one expert has compared the COVID-19 pandemic to WWII in terms of the global scale of its impact.  So perhaps it was fitting that I took the time to finish reading Ship Of Ghosts.  It’s a fascinating and terrifying account of the USS Houston and what happened to it in 1942, …

Blog

Film Review: A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Brands come in all shapes, sizes, colors and flavors.  Just like people.  Some are funny.  Some are wise.  Some are innovative.  Some smell good. And some are really special.  With brand stories that can be quite fascinating. If you’ve watched 2019’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood starring Tom Hanks as the inimitable Fred Rogers, you’ve seen …

Blog

Book Review: The Evolution Of Useful Things

I recently re-discovered a fascinating book that served as a great travel companion a number of years ago.  It is a 1994 book called The Evolution of Useful Things by Henry Petroski.  The author skillfully explores the drivers of innovation and invention by examining the history and, well…evolution…of some everyday objects to prove his point.  In this …

Blog

Train Wreck Review: Tiger King

What would a quarantine edition newsletter be without a Tiger King review? Where the heck did this show come from?! Out of nowhere the Netflix-reaching world was collectively binging, and then talking about and creating memes for a limited-series documentary about big cat owners. Now, we’re not talking big cats like Maine Coons (look it …

Rants

Why Prescribing Brand Authenticity Needs To Stop

There are lots of different formats for creative briefs out there.  We’ve even helped a couple of shops come up with a template for briefs:  what sections need to be completed, how things should be covered, what helps inspire the thinking, what doesn’t, etc.  However, in my experience, nearly all briefs include a section on …

Blog

Book Review: Hellhound On His Trail

I got really into Hampton Sides recently, reading four of his books in 2018. One book called In The Kingdom Of Ice was incredible but just as riveting was Hellhound On His Trail, about the senseless assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the hunt for his killer. The book didn’t pull a lot …

Blog

Quick Book Review: ‘Almost Interesting’ by David Spade

I couldn’t help but seize this book immediately when finding out Spade had written a bio. I am a fan. I own Tommy Boy, not in some Netflix queue or on Blu-ray…I own it on VHS. Plus we just have a lot in common. He is snarky. He was always a smaller guy (as was …