5 of the best TED Talks on branding


Those who know me well know how I feel about TED talks - I love them and have a closet ambition to deliver one myself one day. Like many, I can literally lose hours watching back-to-back videos and then suddenly start spouting all the new amazing goodies I’ve learnt to anyone who will listen. Going since 1984 and with a different TEDx event now happening somewhere in the world seemingly every week, the sheer scope of how many TED talks are now out there is mind-blowing.

So I thought I’d put together a short post on what I consider to be some of the five best TED talks out there on branding, messaging, marketing and communication. Some of them you might think ‘huh?’ but stick with it - these are bloody brilliant.

Seth Godin: The Tribes We Lead The grand daddy of marketing argues that marketers (and indeed business owners) need to ditch the mass marketing approach and instead focus on tribes of customers, with shared ideas and values.

Amy Lockwood: Selling Condoms in the Congo A fascinating look at how a product or service is marketed completely depends completely on the demands of the consumer, delivered by Amy who lived in the Congo and worked closely with HIV-positive children and adults.

Malcolm Gladwell: Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce The "Tipping Point", “Blink” and “Outliers” author explores the food industry's pursuit of the perfect spaghetti sauce — and in doing so makes a larger argument about the nature of choice and happiness, and that there’s no one way to treat all consumers.

Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability At first this may not seem like a talk about branding or marketing, but in fact Brené Brown’s studies in human connection can be translated to exactly that. At the very heart of a brand is its connection with the consumer, and a lot can be gained for businesses and brands showing a more vulnerable, human approach. I’m not talking about financial vulnerability here, I’m talking about our ability to empathize and belong as business owners.

Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice Schwartz’ argument that choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed and not happier but more dissatisfied is something for anyone doing any form of marketing or brand building to take away. Remember in everything that you do to keep it simple, and make it suuuuuuuper easy for customers or clients to make the choice to spend their hard earned bucks on you over anyone else. Sometimes, less really is more.

Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action I absolutely love this talk and have Simon’s simple but powerful golden circle of motivation drawn on a Post-It Note next to my screen as a constant reminder to ask “Why?”. Remember, people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. That’s how trust and belief in your brand is built. Do you know why you do what you do?