The Blog of Babel

This site sits on the crossroads of Languages, Linguistics, Social Media Market Engagement, Marketing Strategy, Innovation Strategy, Creativity Theory, Ancient Mythology & Egyptology. Its a very small crossroads in the middle of cyberspace - so stay for a while - pull up a chair and coffee. 

Career Branding - The 5x5 Method (Slideshare Slides)

Raise your hand if you have ever browsed and using the shot-gun method - Copy. Paste. Submit - Copy. Paste. Submit. I just applied to 10 jobs! 

Well congratulations Butch Cassidy, how has that been working for you? Don't get me wrong, I am guilty of the same crazy, desperate, late-night methods and still expected overly ambitious results. In marketing we refer to this as a push strategy - "I am going to blast content (read: job applications) out into the world in the hopes of hitting interested customers". This however can be a waste of time and in the long run won't sustain a healthy career.

Wouldn't it be great if employers approached you instead?

This is what we call a pull strategy, which takes more time and investment. So Happy 2014, Resolution #1 - invest energy into your own personal brand. Approaching your career like a business, this post will help you brand and market yourself concisely and effectively. Follow the steps!

Chipotle, ‘Cultivate Campaign’ - makes us feel warm and fuzzy.

Chipotle's Brand Evolution


The Chipotle Cultivate campaign is a very good example of rebranding. Their brand story really shows the life of a developing brand.

Chipotle traditionally was heavily associated with the aluminum brick burrito (see picture). Now, we all associate the silver bullet with Chipotle goodness. Chipotle's advertising however has evolved greatly over its growth to stardom. Initially the company associated itself with burritos then healthy, locally sourced ingredients and now sustainability and "cultivation" from the source. It has shifted the dialogue to a higher level, and embraced an altruistic brand message that is loftier and transcends the burrito. At the end of the day, it allows them to connect with their customers more deeply and really create positive impact. 

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Chipotle Cultivate Campaign

This clever campaign had four main components - all listed above.  

  1. Chipotle Cultivate Foundation. This foundation's main purpose is to address and support family farms and sustainable practices in the farming industry. This allowed all marketing initiatives to have a charity component and legitimize their claims on sustainability. They demonstrated their commitments and also provided tons of great content to use in multi-media campaigns. Here is their website
  2. Loyalty Program.  Utilizing an old marketing tool, Chipotle put a new twist to an old idea. Instead of encouraging customers to eat more burritos - Chipotle's loyalty program (Farm Team) makes people learn about sustainable farming practices and family farming to be awarded points. It spreads knowledge and awareness and further demonstrates their commitment to the cause. As the program reminded its customers, "What your food eats, you eat"
  3. Cultivate Food Festival. What did this festival celebrate - what else, healthy, locally grown food. Ingredients matter. With bands, craft brewers, artisans, chefs, local farmers, musicians and healthy crowds - these festivals were a great success. They helped cultivate a community around their new brand message. Cultivating healthy food. 
  4. Short Film.  Obviously such an amazing campaign cannot go without its central viral element - a film short (below) called "Back to the Start". This short was aired during the Grammys for the first time and garnered much positive attention and 10,000+ tweets. Currently with 7.4 million views, this viral piece did great work to call attention to Chipotle's efforts. 

Sweet and Smokey Success

Why did Chipotle's efforts pay off so handsomely for the brand? 

  • One Word. This entire campaign stems from one word - Cultivate. A single word can be powerful if chosen correctly and if used as the driving thought behind all marketing pushes it can help connect efforts across platforms, create cohesion, deliver a stronger resounding message. This perfectly chosen single word campaign performed miracles to galvanize Chiptole's new brand message and story.   
  •  The Fuzzy Warm Feeling. Bringing a marketing campaign back to altruistic roots can really help legitimize any campaign and touch people's emotions - allowing for greater message reach. This completely made transparent Chipotle's methods and message and humanized their brand as they adopted such a community oriented goal to their central mission. Lessons learned - sincerity counts.
  • Narrative. This campaign had a strong narrative that was clear and precise. In addition, more stories could be drawn from local communities during their festival and in their foundation's efforts to really spread the message in a large way from a local level. 

Dumb Ways To Die Video - Viral Safety Campaign

Have you seen this video - it currently has 51 million views on youtube and is the anchor behind a highly effective marketing campaign for Metro Trains in Melbourne Australia. 

The marketing campaign included many vital elements and content that really made  the message go viral. Here you can learn more about their campaign and how they managed to win a Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity Grand Prix award. 

Their campaign included a youtube video (50 million views), iTunes song (which reached the itunes charts in over 28 countries), Smartphone interactive game, online safety pledge and large interactive billboards in stations and around metro train tracks. 

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The results are equally impressive. A 21% reduction in accidents and deaths on Melbourne's metro. Additionally, this marketing campaign is considered -

the 3rd most viral ad of all time (not too shabby)


Want to learn more about the person behind this amazing campaign? Watch this cool little video and find out more -


The sheer success and creativity of this ad campaign is completely inspiring. From their success we can take away a few important things - 

  1. The message behind the campaign was sincere and authentic. They weren't trying to sell you something or brainwash you, they simply cared about your safety.  With this altruistic goal (which resonates with people around the world), the campaign enjoyed unparalleled success as users were more eager to adopt, sponsor and spread this message.
  2. The campaign embraced many channels and media types while maintaining voice and narrative. The campaign embraced original music, video, mobile apps, books, billboard ads and interactive content. All of these channels focused on the dumb ways to die characters - a very simple reminder of metro safety.
  3. The campaign didn't embrace the normal "shock and awe" tactics that safety ads embrace.  Instead the campaign went a different direction - one that people were probably less likely to anticipate. The decision to satirize "dumb deaths" and make them seem cute and cuddly only added to the campaign's quirkiness and allure. It was also a bold decision (and I'm sure hotly debated) whether to make such a serious subject a comedy - it could have failed completely. However I think the character's cuteness and all out ridiculousness sealed the deal. In the end, cuteness is more shareable then shock.