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Every Emblem Strategic

engagement starts with a conversation about where you want to go and how to get there.


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© 2017, 2018, 2019 Emblem Strategic and Andrew Tarsy. All Rights Reserved.

December 23, 2019

Having even one client place their trust in us to help them have a positive social impact through their business while speeding their growth? Priceless. Having a whole group of clients give us that privilege and opportunity? That's a whole other level of gratitude.

Here are some of the highlights of 2019 - celebrating the decisions clients have made to turn their vision and their values into impact and advantage.

- A rapidly growing, high profile company with a large Boston area footprint committed to spending $1M in calendar year 2019 on purchases from Black and Latinx owned businesses in the area. They did this as part of a strategy to demonstrate awareness of the vibrant diversity o...

January 15, 2019

Gillette made a bold move and is apparently more than ready to pay for it. A campaign that was released today features a short film illustrating men engaged in in a whole array of ubiquitous and noxious behaviors and then examples of men stepping up to the challenge of ... real manhood. Sexual assault, harassment, bullying -- and raising young men to look past or condone most if not all of the above: Real men know better. That is the gist of the campaign. In the $3 Billion market for men's razors, competition is more fierce than ever. Gillette is making a statement by not only acknowledging that these are real patterns and real problems in modern society but by challenging its customers t...

December 10, 2018

Is your company's value proposition aligned with its values? Do you even know what your company's values are or why you articulated them in the first place if you did? Have you talked yourself out of asking these questions because you are too busy and trust the best intentions of your team and your company's leadership? Expectations have changed and your thinking has too. Time to take another look.

A major survey says that three out of four companies now think sustainability has to be a core element of strategy. And don't think this is just about the green team. Large companies are relying increasingly on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out by the United Nations in 2015 t...

September 14, 2018

Nike grabbed a big piece of American mindshare this week with an inspiring ad campaign featuring world class athletes Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James and Serena Williams. The sometimes revered, sometimes reviled swoosh-based company demonstrated a clear understanding of what brand master turned VC Mike Troiano opined just today on twitter: "Your brand is not your logo, your identity system, or your tagline. It is the world's collective emotional response to those things, and everything else you do."

Was embracing Kaepernick a smart move for Nike? What would the equivalent kind of daring step be in your business and how would the discussion go about whether to do it? Let's get into this...

July 19, 2018

When doing business in Boston,  Cambridge and the rest of Massachusetts, you can win big. But here are three things you need to know:

Don’t rely on posted signs – you need a guide.

Literally this is true. There are at least three different Cambridge Streets in Boston and Cambridge, and no sign in the big tunnel for how to get to the Convention Center! And there is no square in any of the big Squares either. But I also mean metaphorically. Inside tracks are everywhere but hard to find. Once you are on them, the region has many powerful forces leaning toward being helpful to newcomers - despite all of the other things you hear.

Adopt a giving, sharing, contributing stance.

This a...

May 31, 2018

It is always trendy to quote the ubiquitous bit of wisdom attributed to business guru Peter Drucker that "culture eats strategy for breakfast."

I don't buy it.

This sets up a false dichotomy that leads too many leaders to avoid addressing their responsibility to lead.

First, most leaders vastly over-estimate the strength of the culture of their organization.

And second, in the also immortal words of baseball player Yogi Berra, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there." 

Wise heads of course know that you need both culture and strategy to create something truly distinguished. And only some seem to know how important it is to align culture and strategy w...

February 4, 2018

Larry Fink, founder and CEO of BlackRock,  which the New York Times calls the world's largest investor, recently addressed a letter to the leaders of every business in its considerable portfolio, warning them to deliver much more than strong financial returns. In the letter, Fink opines, “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose,” and that “[t]o prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.” 

Fink concludes the letter firmly by laying out the following clear expectation to BlackRock portfolio companies: "Today, our clients – who are your company’s...

December 18, 2017

After a couple of decades working in government, non-profits and the private sector, I came to believe that the under-developed capacity of talented leaders is the key variable holding many companies back from potential greatness. That's why coaching individuals is at the core of what I do even when working on tangible outcomes like stronger government partnerships, more productive stakeholder relationships, or new channels for growth of the organization. And although of course I routinely work with an entire team and across multiple departments, the focal point for me is always that leader. After all, the dictionary definition of leverage (Merriam-Webster) is "power, effectiveness" and t...

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