Okay here’s the thing. In the creative services world, we talk a lot about service, usually in the context of account service — keeping the client happy, soliciting approvals, managing expectations, and keeping projects on time and on budget. And while my AE sisters and brothers are often worthy of a blog post or two, today I’m talking about service of another kind.

In particular, I’m talking about service to others. The client included. But in this case, I’m also talking about service to one’s community, to one’s colleagues, and connections. Service to humankind.

People. Yeah. Remember them?

For me…

Why pricing is the hardest part of the marketing mix.

Setting a price is one of the four critical parts of the marketing mix. If you set a price that is higher than the consumer expects or can pay for the value they perceive, you will sell fewer units. If you set it too low, the audience might think your (perfectly good) product has no value and will not buy. There’s obviously a sweet spot for things like this. But that does not take into consideration the fact that everyone values things in very different ways. It’s complex. Case in point:

My wife likes to collect stones with lines through…

How I was reminded to ignore my gut and trust the process.

Okay here’s the thing. There will be times when your gut tells you that the work you are doing is bad. Not up to your standards. Beneath you. Ordinary. And in those times, your gut, your feelings, your doubts, could very well be your work’s worst enemy. Little nagging liars. Fueled by a messed-up ego and the anxiety of a looming deadline. And you should not listen to them.

Here’s a recent story that turned into an ah-ha moment.

I was doing some work for a songwriting workshop. The assignment was to take an intro that we had worked on…

After three decades of naming companies and products, here’s what I’ve learned.

I was contacted out of the blue a few weeks ago by someone on LinkedIn. It was Thursday night at 9:14 PM. We were not friends on LinkedIn, but they knew a lot of the creative people I knew so I accepted the invite. They immediately (as in 15 seconds later) sent a message that asked if I had the bandwidth to do a small company naming job. I was definitely interested. Then they told me they had $100 and needed the names that evening.

I was no longer interested.

I’ve worked on names for educational toys, B2B service firms…

I’ve chosen this one word to guide me like a (fuzzy) beacon through the coming new year. Here’s why it’s better than a resolution.

Resistance is the act of pushing against something, literally and figuratively, to get stronger. One can do resistance training and build muscle in the gym. One can resist the urge to slow down and take it easy. One can resist a slice of pie. It’s difficult. But it can be done. (I have heard.)

Fear + uncertainty and how they impact commuters and travelers in the era of COVID.

Abstract photo created by freepik — www.freepik.com

I am very fortunate. I live in a modest home on Nantucket Island. I can go to the beach any time I like. I have a nice detached studio in which I work, work out and play my guitars. I have the world’s nicest outdoor shower. I have a wood stove that warms the house when the ocean winds drop below 40 degrees. I have two wifi networks from which to choose. A well-equipped kitchen. A warm bed. A mahogany-decked back porch that my wife and I sit on when we drink our morning coffee. As a result, I remain…

Don’t confuse the two.

Something to consider. What’s the difference between “content” and “creative?” Many people think they are the same thing. But they are very different because they are made differently.

Content is a blunt-force approach to marketing. It’s about continuously delivering work until the reader eventually finds value. Most content is done quickly. (This post took 12 minutes to write.) Most of content is seen but ignored (I have 74 posts on Medium, how many have you read?). It’s not about craft, it’s about consistency. Delivering on a cadence. The body of work is more important than any single piece.

Creative, in…

“Grant, I feel I need to mention that some of the other employees have complained about the meat grinders. It’s making them uncomfortable.”
— The CEO of my former ad agency.


I began collecting meat grinders nearly three years ago after a conversation I had with an account exec I was working with on a new project. He was wondering when we could get some work in front of a client. Like all good AEs, he wanted to show some progress and give the client something to react to. But the work was not ready.

“We need to put this stuff through the meat grinder first,” I threw out.

He was puzzled. I explained that the thoughts and ideas we were messing with needed to be broken down, vetted, and minced…

So much has changed in such a short time. And it will likely stay that way.

What the successful business of the near term will look like.

I hope that when I look back at my blog posts in a year or two that these current weeks of isolation are, well, isolated. But I have a feeling that the reverberations of the virus will be felt long after I hit the “publish” button today. You can’t just shut down world productivity for two or three or six months and expect to go back to a booming economy and business as usual.

Things will change.

Prior to COVID-19, we had been experiencing a trend of massive urbanization. Bill Gates recently wrote that we are on track to add…

After I chose my word, I have it stamped on a simple bracelet that I wear at all times. You can have a similar one made here: https://www.myintent.org

Each year I pick a word or phrase to help focus my decisions and actions for the coming 12 months. And I encourage you to do the same.

This is a note that I write every year to announce the word I have chosen to guide me for the next 12 months. The idea is simple. But not easy. It involves searching inside yourself for the qualities you value but perhaps sometimes lack. And devising a word, like a secret code, that can pull you back to the path you want to walk.

It beats the heck out of setting a New Year’s resolution. And then ignoring it after a month or two.

For me, 2020 will be the year of the Chef. More on that below.


Okay, Here’s the Thing

Essays on the creative process from Grant Sanders. Creative astronaut. Art and copy switch-hitter. Brand strategist. Client confidant. Founder, SAND.

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