Representing Today's Visionaries with Tomorrow's Ideas

Bob Deutsch


A groundbreaking new book, THE 5 ESSENTIALS: Using Your Inner Resources to Create a Fulfilling Life, due in September, 2013.

An interview on Why paradox can be a stimulus for creativity in the “Ideasicle” series on Innovative Thinkers.

praise for Bob Deutsch

… a truly revolutionary thinker, a game-changer.

If you want a new insight about your market and a new idea to take your business forward, look no further than Dr. Bob Deutsch.  He is one of a kind: teacher, inspirer, team player, leader.

His insights into how to keep business and attract new customers can transform the way you think.

Dr. Bob knows people as people, not just as consumers.  He knows how real people experience their lives.  He knows how motivation, loyalty, and learning (change) take place.  His unique perspective and knowledge is a necessary input to developing strategy.

His expertise in “priceless.”

Dr. Bob Deutsch is the founder and president of the consultancy, Brain Sells (  An internationally known cognitive anthropologist, he advises many of the world’s top corporations and agencies about how the story of their products and brand can be crafted to fit into the stories people have of their lives. His client consultation is based on three decades of experience in how human nature and the nature of mind structure the way people “attach” to products, personas and ideas.  He empowers clients to move beyond adapting to the future to making their own futures.

Dr. Deutsch has often been called a “game-changing” thinker.  He has worked in the primeval forest, in executive offices across the globe, and in war rooms on Pennsylvania Avenue and Madison Avenue.  His unique way of thinking rings true whether your concern is commercial, societal, or political; whether your focus is innovation, leadership or branding.

As a cognitive anthropologist, Bob studies how people bend and blend data and information to fit their emotions and beliefs –in order to design their own brand of meaning.  He has helped companies such as American Express, MasterCard, Bank of America and Pfizer develop innovative strategies for success and prosperity.

Dr. Deutsch won the Cicero Award for Best Speech in 2010 titled, “Imagining ‘The Other’”.

Bob writes frequently in leading newspapers and magazines about what one sees when casting a primal eye on modernity.  He has also appeared on Good Morning America in a series on why people buy what they buy.

His book, THE 5 ESSENTIALS: Using Your Inner Resources to Create a Fulfilling Life (Hudson Street and Penguin, publication date: September 2013), describes how people and corporations can excite the hard-wired human capabilities of making narrative and metaphor, to illuminate their own authenticity and realize their quest for self-expansion.

Ten Capacities of Mind Required for an Innovative Corporation

Knowledge is only one requirement for innovation.  Knowledge is domain-specific.  Other qualities of mind, such as narrative making and the ability to integrate seeming paradoxical or contradictory information are person-dependent prerequisites for innovation and creativity. This talk focuses on these person-dependent aspects of mind as well as their connection to imagination.

Openness Is the Precursor to Curiosity, Exploration and Discovery

Openness presupposes the ability to experience your own experience and not gloss over one’s “in-the-moment” responsiveness to whatever is encountered. This puts you in touch with where your inclinations, interests, and intentions really are; and thus serves as a springboard for exploration and surprise, so necessary for innovation and creativity.  How to open up your openness will be addressed with examples from various artists – musician, painter, novelist, chef, and choreographer.

What Is Brand, Really? Creating Enduring Differentiation and Loyalty in a Changing Marketplace

Branding is not solely a marketing tool that dates back a number of decades.  Branding, from the point of view of why and how people “attach” to certain products, people or ideas is an age-old and ageless process.  In fact, attachment is nothing less than the engine of history.  Looked at in this way, the deep structure of brand and branding is not name recognition plus associated positive attributes.  This is nice to have, but it’s still commodity.  Brand is a spasm of sentiment that requires no justification and is emotionally-based. It occurs only when a person’s story about themselves to themselves gets metaphorically linked with the story a person has of “you.”  This talk includes examples from product marketing, presidential campaigning, and international relations and explores the implications of defining brand as attachment on planning strategy, product differentiation, advertising, CRM, and loyalty.

Social Tribes Are More Potent Than Social Networks

Current changes in context are shifting the ground under business’s feet.  Given these naturally occurring changes, marketers would benefit if they themselves created one additional change: From social networks to social tribes. The human need for social connectedness and belonging require more than signing up to be included in a social network.  Social networks are basically free-forming and require no organization or face-to-face presence.  Hence, social networks allow for the expression of current mindsets, but are not good at moving that mindset into the field of concerted action or conversion.   In contrast, if marketers could help gird the formation of tribes, they would gain a larger return on investment.

The World of AND…

There are very few ideas that are absolutely true.  A good idea must be good and fit into the current context of the times.  Many people call the current context, the “digital” or “tech” age.  This is true, but it only names the context by a reference to external product essences.  However, to develop strategy – marketing or otherwise – corporations must understand context in terms of how its audiences experience their technological surround.  This internal and subjective experience of the current context is fundamentally felt by people as a shift from a world of “OR” to a world of “AND.”  The ramifications and implementations of this profound shift from linear choice to integrative complexity will be described and its application for business planning will be set forth.

Other Talk titles:

The Selection and Mentoring of the Next Leaders

The Paradox of Leadership

Collective Intelligence of Heterogeneous Groups

Engendering Trust

How to Observe and Listen