The Illuminist Blog

Jon Thompson

Recent Posts

Watch Your Speed: Feedback Loops in Healthcare

Posted by Jon Thompson on September 28, 2016

We’ve all seen the “Your Speed” radar signs that tend to pop up on busier roads near schools or residential neighborhoods. The blinking warning of your speed causes you to take notice of your speed and slow down if necessary. These signs were first implemented as an experiment, but the stats have since shown that they are quite effective in reducing speeds overall—cutting down on accidents and making neighborhoods safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike. The important takeaway from this example is that when we are presented with information about our performance, we tend to notice and improve. Even though we already have speedometers on our cars, calling out our speed and presenting it to us in this manner makes us take notice and change our behavior accordingly. Seeing the immediate feedback of our speed dropping is a reward itself.

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Is Virtual Reality Going to Become the New Wild West for Advertisers?

Posted by Jon Thompson on February 11, 2016

Any time a new technology suddenly hits the mainstream, you can find a bevy of marketers suddenly asking each other “How can we use this to sell things?”

It’s happened in the past with the internet, augmented reality, geolocation, proximity technology, interactive installations, music recognition services, every new iteration of social media, and now—virtual reality.

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Why and How You Should Be Shifting Your Web Spending

Posted by Jon Thompson on December 30, 2015

The New Age of Content on the Web


Anyone who has ever managed a website knows how quickly it can become stale and fail to serve your needs. Small changes are never as easy as you hope and large redesigns take far more time and money than they should. Too often, they are outdated before they’re even pushed live. This is largely due to bad habits we’ve learned surrounding what we think it takes to make and maintain a website. And we’re all ready to move beyond this antiquated way of keeping our websites humming.

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The Challenge of Authenticity

Posted by Jon Thompson on December 28, 2015

If you’ve been looking closely at product labels recently, you may have noticed an onslaught of words such as “Artisan”, “Hand-crafted”, “Genuine”, and “Since 19XX.” While many companies have been enthusiastic about joining this trend, it’s important for companies to remember that these buzz words won’t have an impact when there’s not an authentic, shareable story in place to support these fashionable claims. Many brands are struggling to find ways to tout their “authentic” element, but there is a much larger, and more important component of authenticity than printing the word “authentic” or the year you were founded on a label. Consumers want to know the larger story behind the brand—a statement of purpose or values that resonates with them. Many brands are unaware of the authentic stories that are constantly unfolding in connection with their products—just waiting to be told in a compelling manner. Brands would do well to commit ongoing resources to the uncovering and sharing these narratives and by allowing the brand’s consumers be the heroes of these stories; letting their words and actions bring the story to life.

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Groceraunts and the Future of Grocery Shopping

Posted by Jon Thompson on December 01, 2015

Wandering through aisles bustling with shopping carts while passing hundreds of different brands of cookies, crackers and cereals may become a thing of the past. Today’s consumers are no longer looking for a one-stop shop and are underwhelmed by the traditional food shopping experience.

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Let’s Create Something Better Than “Content”

Posted by Jon Thompson on October 23, 2015

When’s the last time you went to a theater to watch “content” or asked your friends if they’ve read any good “content” lately?

Certainly a lot of the material that falls under Branded Content or Content Marketing is worthy of the term: badly rehashed articles, self-serving sales and marketing materials, and tacky faux-dialogs with a social media audience. What if it had the same prestige as cinema, art, literature, or journalism? Attaining even a fraction of the prestige would be a worthwhile improvement.

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2015 Trend Report: The Millennial Shift

Posted by Jon Thompson on August 18, 2015

Millennials have now overtaken the short reign of Generation X. This generation has a different set of values and are looking for careers where they make more than just a paycheck - they want to make a difference. And as consumers, they're looking to purchase from brands that share their values.

Learn more about this shift and the many implications in our 16 page report.

The Millennial Shift Report
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New Offering: Inspiration to Impact Workshops

Posted by Jon Thompson on August 18, 2015

Bolster is now offering Inspiration to Impact workshops to help organizations inspire volunteerism and build a stronger culture of purpose. Building off of themes explored in the feature length documentary THE STARFISH THROWERS (named The Most Heartwarming Film of 2014 by the Huffington Post), these workshops are helping companies lead change from within.

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New Short Documentary: Pay it Forward

Posted by Jon Thompson on August 06, 2015

More and more studies show that Millennials are searching for deeper meaning in their work life. They want to be part of an organization they know is making a difference. If they can’t find this in their current job, more and more are leaving to launch businesses with a charitable model. Such is the case with Mason Wartman of Rosa’s Pizza.

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675,000 Views

Posted by Jon Thompson on January 27, 2015

Our short film about Minneapolis’ own Sandwich Saint Allan Law, featured in our feature length documentary The Starfish Throwers, went viral after being picked up by the Huffington Post. See the inspiring short at NationSwell.

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