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Tom Silva
Tom Silva is founder of Silva Brand, a brand consultancy and marketing agency in downtown Chicago. A business strategist and creative director to small-to-medium-sized businesses for two decades, his work has been recognized by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, the International Academy of the Visual Arts and the Web Marketing Association. Tom’s writing about business and branding has been featured in numerous publications, including in Thomson Reuters’ Inside the Minds series of books. He was previously Senior Vice President of Marketing and Strategy for The Alter Group, one of the nation's leading commercial real estate development firms, and Communications Director for PM Realty Group, an international property manager. He is also a filmmaker and musician whose work has been reviewed by Rolling Stone, the Chicago Sun-Times, Public Television, iTunes, and in arts publications in Europe.

He holds a Bachelors in Marketing from Long Island University and an MAPH in the Humanities from the University of Chicago.

For more information about Tom or Silva Brand, please check out

Entries by Tom Silva

My 2015 Brand Hero: Warby Parker

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 12:45 PM

Is it possible to have an unforgettable experience shopping for eyeglasses? One company's done it. The store I visited was equal parts academic library and up-lighted wine bar. The staff, dressed in genius-bar blue shirts, circled so you knew they were there but always kept their distance, careful not to...

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Do We Heart Southwest's New Brand?

(1) Comments | Posted April 2, 2015 | 5:36 PM

Not too long ago, Southwest Airlines, the world's largest low-cost carrier, changed their logo. It wasn't a pointless exercise like most logo changes (see Chap Stick and Pay Pal's tepid reinventions last year) or a fiasco (like the Gap's logo refresh in 2010 which last all of one...

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The Super Bowl of Ads: Who Won?

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 12:00 AM

At $4.5 million for 30 seconds, did the Super Bowl ads do anything interesting? Sure, there were a few wonderful spots, but for every good idea, there were three that felt shopworn and ready for retirement. Things we'd like to put to pasture? Celebrities trading on their image (Kim Kardashian,...

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Branding a Revolution

(2) Comments | Posted October 20, 2014 | 5:04 PM

I've been in the world of marketing and branding for 20 years and I still carefully monitor the meridian between what's brandable and what's not. The whole notion of rendering something as a "living business asset" (to use the branding firm, Interbrand's definition) needs to be approached carefully so we...

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The Gap's Strange New Ad Campaign

(3) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 5:18 PM

There is so much poor branding in the world that it shouldn't surprise us. Much of it is budget-constrained or springs out an antiquated notion of what branding is; in other words, that a brand is a customer-facing image rather than a three-sided beast that is as much about the...

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Is the Era of Big Ideas Over?

(0) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 2:39 PM

Is Thomas Piketty a rock star? To read the news, you'd think he were Mick Jagger and Pharrell Williams rolled into one. For those who eschew 700-page macroeconomic tomes, this is the guy who all the way back in April was going to change the world. His book, Capital in...

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Twilight of the Brands? Not Really

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2014 | 2:02 PM

A few weeks ago, The New Yorker's business maven, James Surowiecki set off a tremor in the marketing world when he penned a widely circulated essay called "Twilight of the Brands." As its title suggests, this was a broadside against Madison Avenue arguing (convincingly) that the internet has...

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In Search of Millennials

(9) Comments | Posted October 24, 2013 | 5:51 PM

This post is another article about Millennials. Like Time Magazine's May feature, "The Me, Me, Me Generation" and countless other cover stories, it's full of assertions and a few accusations. Unlike Time however, my accusations are directed at us older folk. Simply put, we don't have a clue...

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Branding Goes Big

(1) Comments | Posted September 26, 2013 | 1:42 PM

In the striking Kate Winslet film, Little Children, there's a scene where her husband is questioned about his job at a marketing firm. "No," he corrects his interlocutor incredulously, "what I do isn't marketing; what I do is branding." Somewhere along the way, branding became a discipline and marketing started...

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Crowdfunding's Slippery Slope

(13) Comments | Posted August 14, 2013 | 7:23 PM

Something has gone very right and very wrong with crowdfunding. By now we're all familiar with it -- the open platform that solicits contributions or tiny investments from the 99 percent to fund creative projects, philanthropic endeavors, R&D and your band's music video. Most people agree that it has been...

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Canada: The Answer to College Debt?

(3) Comments | Posted May 29, 2013 | 7:59 PM

Back in the day, Americans went to Canada to avoid the draft. Now they're going to avoid the shaft. Namely, the cost of college tuition in the United States, which recently passed $1 trillion. The average American student now carries $26,600 in IOU's and it shows...

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Big Data Under Attack

(3) Comments | Posted March 20, 2013 | 1:10 PM

Once again, everybody is talking about China. On Feb. 19, Mandiant, an American security company issued a startling report -- the result of a six-year investigation -- that makes the claim that the United Sates is in a cyber war with a 12-story building in Shanghai. The private...

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Home or Office?

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2013 | 1:43 PM

Yahoo! has caused a stir because it is axing its telecommuting policy (unless you have a good reason). The dictum from HR goes like this: "From June all Yahoos will be required to turn up in the office unless they have a good excuse." The reason is, of...

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In Praise of Aging

(4) Comments | Posted January 30, 2013 | 9:53 AM

Does it pay to be older? It depends who you're talking to. If you're a Baby Boomer or Gen X'er, talking to an economist will make you glad for your salt and pepper hair and your crow's feet. Overall, 55- to 64-year-olds have an unemployment rate of 6.6...

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2012: The Year the World Moved

(0) Comments | Posted January 3, 2013 | 9:36 AM

And so we alight upon the New Year, fiscal cliff and Mayan doomsday safely averted. So, what have we learned and what can we be sure of? Only that the media makes a great deal of money from anxiety and, doubtless, is hard at work on the next crisis. Meantime,...

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James Bond's Toughest Foe? The Great Recession

(1) Comments | Posted November 21, 2012 | 9:57 AM

The 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall , has turned into a bonanza at the box-office, becoming the most successful entry in the franchise in just 10 days. In the new film, Bond is asked by his adversary what his favorite hobby is. "Resurrection," the superspy answers. Which is the truth...

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Obamacare Starts Cracking the Whip: Are the Wrong People Paying the Price?

(80) Comments | Posted November 1, 2012 | 2:00 PM

There's a concept in the sciences and philosophy called "correlation without causation." It simply means that when two things tend to happen together, it's a logical fallacy to assume that one causes the other (every sports fan with a ritual before the big game understands this). In statistics, you need...

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What Don't We Know About the iPhone 5?

(16) Comments | Posted September 22, 2012 | 3:48 AM

So much has been written about the iPhone 5 that this author will readily admit that he has little to add. So, think of this as the equivalent to the "odd & ends" or "potpourri" section on Jeopardy -- a grab bag of the hyberbolic and the historic.


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The Golden Age of Cable

(4) Comments | Posted August 6, 2012 | 1:36 PM

There seems to be an inverse relationship between Hollywood and the general economy. According to the National Association of Theatre Owners during six of the past eight recessions in the U.S., box office and admissions sales increased. During the great whale of economic tumults in the 1930s,...

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Could Wall Street Save the Housing Market?

(12) Comments | Posted July 24, 2012 | 6:17 PM

What will solve the housing crisis? The Keynesians think it's a government bailout and the Hayekians think it will ultimately be the invisible hand and spontaneous order of supply and demand that will ameliorate the underwater single-family home sector. Well, could it both? In other words, the government steps in...

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