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Sasha Strauss      

Managing Director at Innovation Protocol, A Brand Strategy Consulting Firm for Innovators, MBA Professor at USC and UCLA

In the midst of full time international work, Professor Sasha Strauss finished graduate school at USC in Communications, and UCLA in Business, and chose to stay on campus for eight more years— teaching graduate brand strategy and marketing courses as a professor at both universities to this day. Daily presentations to skeptical students and executives helped Strauss hone his speech craft, advancing him into the top ranks of global speakers.

Professor Strauss speaks at companies like Nestlé and LEGO, and conferences like TEDx and Google Think, delivering these award-winning forums worldwide, from China to Chile. He does all this while taking calls from NPR, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal as they seek his timely guidance on branding anything from corporations to nations. With a unique and proven perspective on how brands should be built and communicated, Professor Strauss opened his own brand management consultancy, Innovation Protocol, in Downtown Los Angeles. Since the company’s first day in 2006, 10% of every employee’s time has been given to non-profits and philanthropies. Now, with 20 coworkers in LA, San Francisco and New York, Innovation Protocol is a philanthropic force, delivering millions in non-profit brand development guidance internationally. The other 90% of the workforce’s time is spent brand thinking on behalf of many of the world’s most prominent brands, such as PayPal and Disney. All this traveling means Professor Strauss steps onto 100 commercial airplane flights a year, but can never check luggage for fear of missing a connection.

When feeding himself on the road he only goes for fruits, nuts and vegetables, but his favorite travel activity is dining in the homes of host families across cultures—where he will eat virtually anything he is served. Professor Strauss’ latest speech work, ‘Branding in the New Normal’, chronicles the distracted journey of the contemporary consumer mind, and outlines the seven must-do methods for building enduring brands in these wild times of global social, mobile, big data, and 3D printing.

Speech Topics

Brand Leaders in the New Normal

Nobody cares if you're a .com, .org, or .net. All they see is an organization of people with common objectives, and a leader. Examine any institution you admire, and quickly the leader becomes the most significant ingredient.

That leader, you, must consider that human communication has fundamentally changed. If the Gutenberg press, the telegraph, and the phone each restitched the fabric of society, then the Internet did too. And its most significant disruption is in how humans now communicate.

Success in any realm will depend on thought-provoking brands and their well-defined leaders, built for this new time in the history of communication. This follow-up talk by Prof. Sasha Strauss builds on last year's "Branding in the New Normal" with entirely new subject matter (and doodles) on how brand leaders lead leaders in this 'now normal'.


While nonprofit branding tends to be the most challenging, it is also the most rewarding. Typically, nonprofits have limited marketing budgets, limited staff and limited resources. While faced with challenges, nonprofits require successful branding in order to be sustainable. The Susan G. Komen Foundation, Share our Strength, Product (RED)— these organizations found their way to fame and funding through strong, creative and consumer-centric branding. This seminar will share proven techniques for defining, articulating and promoting a nonprofit brand. We’ll explore case studies exemplifying how to successfully engage and retain staff, volunteers and donors to ensure longterm success. From volunteers to board members, this session is perfect for all those involved in the nonprofit sector


Startups can be sexy, but they can also be extremely stressful. While they tend to be the topic everyone wants to discuss and an entrepreneur’s dream to lead, startups require a very calculated and timely brand strategy—too much too soon screams superficial, too little too late is just bad business. The seminar will discuss the development process of all startups, successful strategies for each stage of growth as well as successful case studies where branding helped to build startups into iconic brands. This session is right for any startup leader, entrepreneur, venture capital investor, and anyone else intrigued by the fascinating world of startups.


Your grandmother’s on Facebook. You got a job offer from a friend of your ex-ex-boss through LinkedIn. You stayed up on small town politics through Twitter. There’s no way around it—social media is here to stay. It’s not only the social medium of choice; it’s the connector of global consumers. Product enthusiasts in Japan are sharing how-tos with pen-pals in Italy. Gamers build global clans of fellow players, unified via their digital identities alone. Teachers assign homework via Twitter tweets and big brands have successfully managed a crisis through social media exclusively. This seminar will discuss where brands fit in the wide world of social media culture. We’ll talk about each of the channels, success stories within each one as well as some must-do practices for marketers looking to leverage social media as promotional venue. Facebookers and skeptics alike will enjoy this timely session.


Branding isn’t just confined to the consumer goods and services industry. Now, more than ever, branding is vital to B2B companies. In fact, some of the strongest brands are in the B2B sector—firms such as Cisco Systems, Intel, Halliburton, SAP, GE, and Texas Instruments have consistently been ranked among the top brands in the world. Such companies are seizing the opportunity to change the perception that B2B companies must be dry in nature. We’ll show you how to use branding to make your firm the easy choice for manager navigating through an infinitely long list of suppliers. This session is for those who are looking to differentiate themselves on more than just price and build long term customer relationships.


As the internet brought the world closer together, governments supported by tourism revenue took a bold stance —they defined how they were to be known and spent money telling travelers worldwide why their land should be a destination. Well, it worked for a little while, but now almost all tourism economies advertise their story. Destination branding isn’t nation branding though. It’s marketing on behalf of a single industry—tourism. Nations deserve an identity that’s unique and inclusive, both for those beyond their borders and for those living within them. National identity brings people together, sets the stage for international discourse, and encourages trade with like-minded nations worldwide. In this session we will discuss how and why to nation brand.

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Products are brands. Services are brands. An yes, people are brands. You are your own brand steward— you decide who you matter to and why. You control how you’re perceived by those you know and those you’ve yet to meet. We’ll discuss how branding applies to individuals and how you can build you own, personal, influential identity.


A rich introduction to all things branding—from naming and brand architecture to visual design and brand extension. We’ll look at why brands matter, who they matter to, how you can build them into your marketing, advertising and public relations strategies. A great start for professional communicators or those simply interested in brand strategy.


With the New Normal in mind, we will explore time-tested methods of strategic brand management. Using coursework from the Professor’s MBA courses at UCLA and USC business schools, this deep dive session will touch on the integral pieces of an integrated brand strategy.


Global pundits agree, this is an unprecedented era in the history of communication. When the Guttenberg press enabled the distribution of the printed bible in the 15th century, it was heralded as the most impactful communication event in history— permanently altering the structure of society. Today, a printed book doesn’t even scratch the surface. This is the New Normal, a new time in history where organizations have a choice to make: be heard and remembered, or be silent and forgotten. This seminar will stitch together all the factors, from global consumer psychology to technology’s place in the communication revolution. Everything will be on the table, from why “Social Media” is now discussed at the boardroom to how B2B organizations use brand strategy to get the most out of their employees.

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