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Michael Dean

Businesses and organizations have myriad ways to reach people. Regardless of medium, what’s most important to Michael is what we say, how we say it, and to whom. A skilled strategist, Michael focuses on the fundamentals of marketing: “The power of branding, mass marketing, advertising – the channels have fractured and evolved, but the techniques haven’t changed.”
Account Director
Strategist
Branding minimalist
Diviner of insights

Michael’s take on:

Defining problems for strategy’s sake

Communications and marketing strategy starts when you define the single problem you’re trying to solve — and then work single-mindedly to solve it.

“Strategy is about making difficult choices,” Michael says. “Strategy is not about adding more and more stuff.”

Michael asks questions, challenges assumptions and pushes some boundaries to help DH clients make those choices. It’s all in the name of fostering a long-term, forward-looking approach — one that results in the behavior changes or competitive advantage you need.

Choosing a brand position

No matter how good your business or organization is, few people have the brain space or time to think much about it. Choose a brand position to set yourself apart as simply, cleanly and authentically as possible, Michael advises.

Start with what your consumer cares about most — and what you offer that authentically meets that need.

Michael says:

There’s usually a brand essence – a single word or idea — that people relate to your brand. People relate Volvo to safety, for example. If you’re talking about more than that, you’re not defining that single position. And you look like everyone else.

Market insights driven by data

Data is no good without insights that make sense of it. What relevant, actionable realities do the data reveal? Answering those questions is about numbers, but it’s also about brains — and gut instincts, Michael says.

“Sometimes data is like stand-up comedy,” he says. “Comics say things that everybody knows, but the way they say it makes everyone else say, ‘Hey, yeah, what is up with that thing I already know?’”

His point: Use your data, but trust your gut as well. The best insights are part analytics and part art.

Education

Bachelor of science, advertising and business administration, The University of Tennessee

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