Eric Portelance

Planning Lead at Teehan+Lax by day. Pilot, brewer, photographer by night.
I occasionally blog about technology, photography, marketing, ideas, and creativity.
Follow me on: Twitter, Medium, LinkedIn, Instagram, 500px.

posts tagged “purpose”:


#75: Stuck, with Byron Bignell

Sean Howard & Eric Portelance

Attention Surplus

Download this song

49 plays

Pretty big episode of my podcast Attention Surplus this week. As we’re about to enter our second full year of podcasting (and episode 75), we’re launching a revamped format. Would love your thoughts on this.


This week we discuss being stuck with Byron Bignell. He was “stuck” for over 18 years. Sean sat down with Byron to talk about being “stuck” and how to approach getting “unstuck.”

Download MP3 | Subscribe on iTunes

Note: We ran out of time in our episode and weren’t able to share all of the treatments Byron explored. While connecting with people was the start of his turnaround, he attributes a lot of his recovery to participating in a trial of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. We include this in case any of our listeners are suffering from clinical depression or know someone who is looking for additional therapies to explore.

podcast ✳ attention surplus ✳ stuck ✳ purpose ✳ depression ✳ stories 

6.5.2012 The rise of purpose-based marketing

In a recent article on the Harvard Business Review blog, Karen Freeman, Patrick Spenner and Anna Bird argued that our traditional thinking on customer engagement is dead. A study of more than 7000 consumers indicated that “companies often have dangerously wrong ideas about how best to engage with customers.” They attempt to debunk three marketing myths:

  1. Consumers don’t want to have relationships with your brand. Only 23% of those surveyed said they wanted to have a relationship with brands. Relationships, they said, are reserved for friends and family. So why do brands feel the need to act like a consumer’s best friend? I love this quote from Mike Arauz: “If I tell my Facebook friends about your brand, it’s not because I like your brand, but rather because I like my friends. I want to share something with them, in exchange for their attention and affection.”
  2. Frequent brand interactions over time won’t build relationships with consumers. The authors argue that relationships aren’t built on interactions, but rather on shared values and trust. Simply because a consumer uses a particular product doesn’t mean they’re looking to be bombarded with product offers. Instead, we care about the brands that stand for something that’s equally important to us. I’ll get back to this in a minute.
  3. More interaction isn’t always better. In marketing, increased interactions result in diminishing returns. There’s no correlation between the number of interactions and the likelihood a consumer will be loyal or more likely to recommend or purchase a product.

Instead, the authors make the case that consumer attention and trust are precious resources that must be cherished instead of abused. I want to take this a step further and argue that, as we are increasingly bombarded with media in every area of our life, that disruption marketing is dying.

It’s no longer good enough to tell customers about how great your product is and hope they will rush out and buy it. Especially in the digital space, consumers are increasingly looking for value and utility. Modern brands that truly get it and are succeeding in digital are those who have understood they need to stand for something meaningful and deliver on that purpose at every consumer touchpoint. They do so by creating compelling products, services and experiences that flow from that purpose.

Several years ago, Simon Sinek presented a simple idea called the Golden Circle in his TEDxPuget Sound talk ”How great leaders inspire action.” He argues that the traditional marketing model of What > How > Why is dead.

Golden Circle

Here’s how not to inspire: “This is our new widget. We make these widgets using cutting edge technology. They’ll increase your performance by 200% and make unicorns happy. Want to buy one?”

People buy why you do it, not what you do. It’s time to flip the model and change the way we interact with customers.

Reverse Golden Circle

Here’s how Simon presents Apple’s value proposition:

In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, easy to use, and user-friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?

To truly embrace digital marketing, brands will need to understand that they need to start standing for something meaningful that consumers identify with, and create branded digital experiences that people care about – beyond a one-off contest or microsite. Some brands, like Nike, have shown that they understand this in the digital space far better than others. Brands who don’t get it are leaving themselves open to disruptive innovation from new or unexpected entrants.

marketing ✳ purpose ✳ brands ✳ innovation ✳ strategy 


#57: Future Collages

Sean Howard & Eric Portelance

Attention Surplus

Download this song

29 plays


Last week’s talk with Lisa Charleyboy inspired us to try an activity she mentioned: making a collage of images representing things we’d like to have or pursue in the future. We spent an hour or so before this week’s show with some good friends, some bristol board and a stack of magazines, cutting and pasting photos to produce a sort of mood board for our lives. On the episode, Sean and Eric discuss what they learned from the process and the end results.

We also mention:
  • 10Q, the online “question vault”

Download MP3 | Subscribe on iTunes

A very special and personal episode of my podcast, Attention Surplus, this week. We did a creative exercise about visually mapping out our goals and feelings about our lives over the next few years. It was incredibly powerful. In the show, we discuss how we approached it and what our initial feelings were.

podcast ✳ purpose ✳ mood ✳ plan ✳ meaning