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Andrea Syverson is the founder and president of IER Partners, which has guided and strengthened brands of all sizes with savvy best practices for creating customers for life. Combining her passion of adventurous listening and working across diverse industries, her "outsider-insider" creative branding and merchandising expertise and objectivity has been valued by companies as diverse as Spanx, Ben & Jerry's, Celestial Seasonings, CHEFS and Boston Proper.  She holds an MBA and has dedicated more than 20 years to providing clients both domestic and international with innovative approaches to branding, product development and creative messaging. She is the author of  two books in which she shares her hands-on approach for both brand building and creating customer-centric products that enhance brands: ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Innovators, and BrandAbout: A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants. You may reach her at asyverson@ierpartners.com.

In one of the most counterintuitive “boycotts” I’ve ever seen — since last year’s #‎merrychristmasstarbucks protest of its red cups — supporters of President-elect Donald J. Trump are protesting Starbucks by buying coffee. Yes. They’re so angry, they’re adding to the company’s bottom line.

Every year, billions of dollars are poured into the development of apps, online portals, content development and other digital endeavors. But at the end of the day, more often than not, the real moment of truth resides in the domain of the phone call. The phone call may be where the satisfaction and loyalty of a customer is won or lost.

I am a brand builder. I am a lifelong learner. I also am a Bruce Springsteen aficionado. Recently, after participating in one of his rock concerts at the Pepsi Center in Denver (no die-hard fan merely attends a Springsteen concert … we stand, sing, clap and dance all night, all 20,000-plus of us!), those three dots unexpectedly connected for me as I reflected on his nonstop, more than 3-hour exhilarating performance. Yes, the man is a rocker and a poet and a performer, but he's also an example of a long-lasting, very well-orchestrated brand that does things right. A brand we can all learn from, no matter your musical preference.

It’s here! It’s finally here! No, it’s not Christmas in September—although the excitement is right up there … football (the American variety) has returned to TV! On Sept. 5, the NFL kicked off the 2012-2013 season with the Dallas Cowboys taking on the New York Giants, and there’s pigskin passion in the air! So to channel this gridiron giddiness and football fervor into something productive, here are five social media lessons gleaned from the NFL!

In coming weeks, Home Depot will equip many of its 2,000 stores with payment terminals that can accept PayPal as a payment option. Six weeks after The Home Depot Inc. began testing in-store PayPal acceptance, the national hardware chain has set a schedule to make the payment method an option in nearly all of its 2,000 stores, PayPal says. The test started in the East Bay area of San Francisco. Broader deployment began this week in Atlanta, Miami and New Orleans.

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