My battle with the ‘publish button’ and how I’m working to win it.

If you’ve been to see a behavioral therapist in the last 50 years, chances are you’ve been exposed to the work of Albert Ellis.

But long before his pioneering work in Psychology, Albert Ellis was an awkward college kid, desperate to overcome his social anxiety around the opposite sex.

At some point, young Albert discovered the work of the stoics (before the bros made it ‘cool’) and began to see his fears for what they were: irrational, self-perpetuating and something he had agency over.

But actually overcoming them would require more radical measures.

So Albert gave himself an assignment:


Why age-old truths and principles still matter — maybe more than ever.


I’m old enough to remember when Facebook was still the great frontier of modern marketing. Back when ‘retargeting’ and ‘attribution’ were the stuff of marketer pipe dreams. And when QR codes and “SoLoMo” were the future (both of which I may have once lobbied for 😳 ).

In the decade or so since, technology has given us more ways to target, personalize and optimize human interactions beyond what most of us could have imagined possible. It’s made marketing more accessible, more efficient and (debatably) easier to measure.

Yet there still isn’t much proof it’s made it more effective.

So why…

Start by Asking a Different Question

Most of the traditional methods for defining a brand are based on the idea that a brand is made up of a collection of attributes, among which include; a brand’s purpose, positioning, values, vision, personality, voice and visual identity.

The use of these attributes helps us to make sense of what is an inherently amorphous concept. They provide us with a set of tangible traits from which to start building the intangible.

While these concepts have their value, the process of compartmentalizing brands into standardized parts doesn’t typically lend itself to breakthrough brand strategy.

And when we’re too invested in…

Photo by Pablo García Saldaña on Unsplash

A More Down-To-Earth Definition That Any Business Can Apply

The first year into launching my practice as a freelance brand strategist was filled with mistakes and lessons. Among them was assuming I could simply copy and paste what I had learned about brand building in the context of big agencies and consumer brands, onto my much smaller, mostly Midwestern clients.

What I discovered in the process was that branding had a bit of its own branding problem.

And despite an infinite array of expert-coined definitions, there is still a lot of misunderstanding about what branding actually is.

Also pretty pervasive is the belief that it isn’t applicable “to our…

In Praise of Small Things (Notes from Spain)

When we’re chasing growth, the tendency is not towards the small or incremental. We want big results, so we assume it takes big, sweeping actions to get there.

But often times the biggest difference makers are much more nuanced. Thoughtful touches that might seem insignificant in isolation, but cumulatively can add up to the kind of growth that money just can’t buy.

On a recent trip across Spain, I encountered several dozen tour guides, restaurants, shops and accommodations through the course of our two week visit. …

There has never been a better time to be civically engaged. Citizen access to information and infrastructure is transforming the practice of democracy. From our social networks to our smartphones, we are more connected, more informed and more empowered than ever before.

But with so many ways to exercise our voice, it can be overwhelming to know where/how to start — especially after an election that left so many of us feeling immobilized.

And while technology has brought scale to organizing, real change still requires that we show up — with our bodies, our voices and our wallets.

So with…

Inspired by a Holstee piece on getting curious about where you are, I recently visited a neighborhood art gallery located just a few blocks from my apartment. But this wasn’t just any gallery. It happened to be located inside of one of Atlanta’s most notorious homeless shelters.

I’d driven by countless times, and was always curious about it’s contents, but never had the nerve to go in. How did this creative refuge spring up from what many considered to be an inconvenient symbol of the city’s lingering disparities?

Finally one Thursday afternoon, I scrapped my obligatory errands and decided to…

Laura Ciocia

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store