Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

A Manifesto for Building Relationships in the Digital Era


Not too long ago, my dear friend Hugh MacLeod (@gapingvoid) and I set out to explore a new world of visual communication that combined an intentional form of written storytelling illustrated through clever yet pithy cartoons. That work was originally brought to life in #WTF (What’s the Future of Business). The engagement around Hugh’s work eventually spilled over from print to online with readers sharing their favorite Hugh cartoons via Tweets, Instagrams, Vines, Pinterest, et al.

We were inspired to revisit our initial collaboration in a dedicated online series that told the story behind each image. We eventually assembled everything into a short eb00k that you can download for free here.

We learned a lot from this experience. There’s something to be said for the always on, TL;DR, over sharing, over consuming activity that defines today’s short attention span theater. That insight could be best encapsulated by a famous quote by Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician, physicist, writer and philosopher, “If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter.

To zero-in on exactly what you want to say, what you want someone to take away and what you want someone to do is critical but just the beginning we learned. When you then need to distill everything into something snackable, engaging and shareable, the amount of work and thoughtfulness intensifies. Essentially, to visually communicate through byte-sized narrative and imagery takes focus, time and intention. Needless to say, we were inspired to further explore this new form of storytelling…

Well, we’re back at it. This time, Hugh and I partnered with Vocus and Cision to design a visual manifesto that helps marketers and strategists build relationships in a digital era. And, we’re happy to announce that it’s available now. We hope you love it.

*The quote by Blaise Pascal is often attributed to Mark Twain, but it is indeed Pascal.

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25 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “A Manifesto for Building Relationships in the Digital Era”

  1. Scott Monty says:

    The future lies at the nexus of humanity and technology, and I hope more people can see that. I was lucky enough to experience a bit of this while I was at Ford. There may be hope for marketing and PR yet.

  2. “When you then need to distill everything into something snackable, engaging and shareable, the amount of work and thoughtfulness intensifies.” – This really hit home for me, Brian. I have always believed that relationships are a key part of business but sometimes it does get lost in our digital way of life.

  3. PeterJ42 says:

    I’d heard the quotation as Churchill. He probably also pinched it from Pascal.
    It is an interesting bit of brainwashing, however, that people ascribe things to key people in their culture. I was most amused to read the other day how the US postal system was all down to Benjamin Franklin when it is identical to the older British system which he had no hand in.
    The concern is it widens the social divide, each nation state has their own totally self-centred view of history and their country’s part in it.

  4. Stephanie says:

    I think that is yet another great article. People are so obsessed with consuming as much media as possible, it has taken over what is actually important. As this relates to marketing, unfortunately, this means that everything that you put out needs to be short, sweet, and to the point. Length will get you nothing but a brief glance and quick pass by. Thank you for talking about the current condition and the quote from the Frenchman was right on point!

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  6. Henry Rose Lee says:

    This is especially relevant to New Leaders. ‘Influence’ through different and varied platforms is crucial to the new leader’s success and with that comes a dawning of ‘Digital Influence’, with all its intricacies and vagaries. Beware the leaders that will fail to embrace this!

  7. Nancy Flowers says:

    Great post Brian, I agree
    that people need to have an undercover boss moment. Remember what it is like to
    be a customer and employee again. Employees
    need to be the hero of the company not wait for their bosses to be the hero, remember
    that you are marketing your products to people not robots.

  8. Enlightening and engaging SlideShare Brian – great read.

  9. This course is hugely magical and effortless, yet so powerfully made to impregnate the power of gratitude
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