11 Excellent Brand Marketing And Copywriting Talks You Probably Haven’t Heard Of


Chances are – we’ve all heard the great speeches like the late Steve Jobs’ Think Different and David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water.” However, digging through Youtube and TED, there are thousands of great brand-building, marketing and copywriting talks online.

In this post, I’m highlighting 11 excellent marketing and copywriting talks.

1. How To Become A Better Copywriter – Alan Jacques

What’s the difference between spending $1,000 for three failed leads and spending $1,000 for 53 conversions? Effective copywriting. Serial entrepreneur and marketer Alan Jacques shares how his experience with the legendary Gary Halbert taught him the biggest lesson in how to become a better copywriter.

2. Traits of Successful Business People – Dan Kennedy 

An audience member attending the 2009 Safety Technology event asked Dan Kennedy to recount some behaviors that all successful people he’s worked with had in common. His answer was straightforward: “The really successful people in any field have no squeamishness whatsoever about making money and doing what is necessary to get optimum results in whatever field they are in.”

In addition to recommending a crash course in sales to prepare you for success, Kennedy highlights the importance of not allowing fear to get in your way. 

3. Why Videos Go Viral – Kevin Alloca

In 2011, 48 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube every minute. By 2019, that amount skyrocketed to 300 hours of video per minute. This TEDTalk by Kevin Alloca, YouTube’s Head of Culture & Trends, breaks down why in all of this noise certain videos still have the power to viral. 

His recipe is precise, calling for communities of participation and what he calls “tastemakers.” According to Alloca, the key to success is getting your content into the hands of these tastemakers: thought leaders who your audience trusts to introduce them to new and interesting ideas. 

4. Having the Otaku – Seth Godin

One of the first things Godin does in this talk is to dismiss traditional marketing strategy for mass markets and encourages the audience to strive for “otaku.”

Otaku is a Japanese term Godin describes as someone who cares about what you have to say. In a world where marketing and product information is ubiquitous, it’s easy for people not to care — but your otaku will listen, because what you’re talking about involves them. These are the people you market to.

5. Just Do Your Job – Elizabeth Gilbert 

Best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert effectively sums up the fear almost all marketers and copywriters feel — the fear of not succeeding and the fear of succeeding once, massively, and never being able to replicate that again. She mentions the grim fate many brilliant, creative minds encounter when faced with these terrors. And between bits of laughter and seamless storytelling, she gives some priceless advice.

The creative process does not always behave rationally and you can’t predict when success will come. But in Gilbert’s words, “Don’t be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be.”

6. Make Me Care – Andrew Stanton 

The mastermind behind classics such as “Finding Nemo,” the “Toy Story” series, and “WALL-E,” Andrew Stanton knows the importance of storytelling. In this TEDTalk, he lets viewers in on his secret sauce: making people care. 

According to Stanton, you should be sure that your punchline, your lead, your ending – everything you’re saying – is leading to a singular goal. Your content is making a promise that this story, this campaign, this article, will lead you somewhere that is worth your time.

7. The Collision Course – David Ogilvy

Many marketers are finding themselves at a crossroads between social media or digital marketing and traditional media. David Ogilvy mirrors this predicament in his “Collision Course” speech, which describes a community where direct response advertising and general advertising were at odds with one another. 

According to Ogilvy, the key to bridging this gap is to understand how to speak directly to your audience. Having experience to write directly to your audiences will translate across any medium, whether it’s a mailer ad or Pinterest post.

8. Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics – Sebastian Wernicke

“If you took all this data [on the TED website] and put it through statistical analysis, could you reverse engineer a TEDTalk?” Wernicke breaks down what works and what doesn’t when it comes to engaging an audience on a successful presentation. 

From subject matter to what to wear, this is a brand new take on how one could design the “best” version of something based on what’s worked before. 

9. Make Choosing Easier – Sheena Iyengar

The average number of choices that the typical American reports making is about 70 a day. In her TEDTalk appropriately titled, “Make Choosing Easier,” Sheena Iyengar dictates just how to cut down on those choices.

  • Cut: Get rid of redundant or extraneous options.
  • Concretize: Make the risks or rewards associated with each choice clear.
  • Categorize: Appropriately group all choices to make decisions quicker.
  • Condition: Gradually increase the complexity of your choices.

10. Lessons from an Ad Man – Rory Sutherland

In “Lessons from an Ad Man,” Sutherland touches on the importance of intangible value. Many times, our work enters the digital space and we don’t immediately reap a reward. We can find it difficult to describe the intangible value our work holds when it doesn’t instantly display a positive ROI. 

Sutherland uses examples of similar intangibly valuable products that have been given new value through marketing. The best example? The royal potato that sparked a massive underground potato-growing operation in Germany.

11. Embrace Transparency – Morgan Spurlock

In this TEDTalk, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock details his journey to make a completely sponsored film about sponsorship — but the foundation of the talk is a lot different than you may expect. Spurlock harks on the importance of transparency. He urges that today more than ever, a little honesty is going to go a long way. 

He encourages viewers to take risks, embrace their fears, and not be shy about their intentions.


There’s a limitless amount to what we can learn from world-class marketers and copywriters. When you stop to read, listen, and engage with the minds around you, you’ll find there’s never a limit to how much you can grow.

About the author

Jessica Malnik

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