Don’t forget your cape! (No really)

It isn’t often that you get to meet the author of a newly released business book in the few months just after it’s been released. And you don’t nearly often get to pepper them with questions of your choice. I was able to do both with Hugh MacPhie, author of the newly released Don’t Forget Your Cape!, also successful marketer, communications specialist and business strategist to boot. 

For the record, could you give us some information about your newly released book? How does it augment and tweak the existing body of knowledge already out there?

The idea behind Don’t Forget Your Cape! is to make management lessons simple, and to inspire people to achieve greatness both as individuals and within teams.  By day, I’m a business strategist. But by night – I’m a dad.  And what I’ve learned, is that the challenges and difficulties experienced by preschoolers, aren’t that different from the challenges and difficulties faced by the organizations I work with every day.  So I link stories about my two young children to corporate case studies and management theory, to make lessons about leadership and life entertaining and inspirational. But more than anything else, my book is a call to excellence.  It is an invitation for people to remember a time when they believed they could be superheroes – and to believe that they still can. Readers can buy copies or get more information at

If just one person who reads Don’t Forget Your Cape! can be more motivated, can speak up and share a great idea, or can pursue their passion, then I consider it to be a tremendous success.

You attended the Art of Marketing conference earlier this week, how did the information gathered over there tie-in with the premise of your book?

I heard a lot of the same themes at the Art of Marketing conference that I talk about. Things like the importance of taking risks. Of not fearing failure. Of differentiating yourself, your product or your organization. And to pursue your passion. Seth Godin talked a lot about the need for people to be artists. That’s what pursuing your passion is all about, and that’s a big theme in Don’t Forget Your Cape!.

In your opinion, who are some of the influential social marketing elite here in Toronto? Whom do you follow on a regular basis? 

This is a tough question, because the whole social marketing space is so new. No question, Mitch Joel who we saw speak is about as good as anyone. Very smart guy, and he appreciates that social media and all things online need to serve a business purpose – it can’t just be what my friend Rita Smith calls “dancing salami”. That’s something that people might find cool, but serves no real purpose. I’m also a fan of the work the team at Bensimon Byrne have been doing. Remember that video of the woman who drove over those cars in her BMW SUV? Well that video didn’t just go viral on its own. It had a little help.

Where do you see social media, marketing and social media marketing going in the next three to five years? beyond that?

That isn’t just the $64,000 question – it is the $64 billion question. Huge potential, but it is tricky. People get turned off on any social media thing where they think they’re being sold. It needs to be entertaining, interesting, fun, and worth posting or emailing to your friends. That’s the trick. Great example: when women were all putting their bra colours as their Facebook updates a couple months ago. It was for breast cancer awareness. But what was the call to action? What were we supposed to do next? Donate? Volunteer? Sign up for something? So it was a good awareness tool, but we already knew that breast cancer is a problem. The real risk is that the pendulum has swung too far, and people are obsessing over social media as the next big thing in marketing. As one of the speakers said the other day – if you want to exploit a powerful and underutilized medium right now, go for radio! 

Thanks for your time Hugh. To learn more about Hugh and his book, visit