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Top 10 Best TED Talks to Elevate Your Marketing Skills

By Ideas Collide

As marketers, it’s critical to stay current on the latest and greatest in the advertising world. Another critical component: perspective! Without new ways of looking at the bigger picture, how can we create successful campaigns? In that spirit, we’ve compiled our top 10 TED Talks, sectioned off into ideation, design, storytelling, brand and data. We hope it helps you get the ball rolling again.


‘How to Get Your Ideas to Spread’ by Seth Godin

“It’s really simple: Sell to the people who are listening, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll tell their friends.”

Been stuck in a rut lately? For creatives, this happens occasionally (or maybe more often than you’d like). Or perhaps you’re coming up with ideas, but they don’t take hold as you expected. In his TED Talk “How to Get Your Ideas to Spread,” Seth Godin dives into what it takes to create truly memorable ideas, and why the ideas that seem a little “out there” often beat out the boring ones.

Why You Should Watch: Guaranteed to change the way you approach ideation, Godin gives you the tools to capture the public’s attention and resist the fear of failure: by utilizing the bizarre and standing out among the crowd.

'How to Get Your Ideas to Spread' by Seth Godin 

‘Great Leadership is a Network, Not a Hierarchy’ by Gitte Frederiksen

“A typical view of leadership is a hierarchical organization chart. Either you’re a leader, or you’re not. … In a network, everyone’s in charge, and we replace the power of the few with influence of the many.”

Leaders, this one’s for you! For any business or organization to operate successfully, the right leadership must be established. Whether you’re the CEO or starting your very first job, Gitte Frederiksen lays out exactly what good leadership looks like and how to create a more positive and productive work environment.

Why You Should Watch: Offering a refreshing perspective on leadership and how we can all abandon outdated models, Frederiksen leaves her audience with a higher sense of self in the workplace.

'Great Leadership is a Network, Not a Hierarchy' by Gitte Frederiksen 


‘The Four Superpowers of Design’ by Kevin Bethune

“Design is not some sketch artist with a notepad. It’s bigger than that. Design unlocks solutions to our problems. Design is not only important, but absolutely necessary to achieve success in business.”

Although designers play an integral role in any company, Kevin Bethune expresses that all too often, designers get overlooked. Showing the real impact of great design, Bethune shares the four superpowers of designers: x-ray vision, shapeshifting, extrasensory perception and making others superhuman. Through this analogy, Bethune explains the importance of design and how quality design can take ideas to infinity … and beyond!

Why You Should Watch: Learn more about what goes into design, and how thoughtful, systematic design is often the key component in any product, business or campaign’s success.

'The Four Superpowers of Design' by Kevin Bethune 

‘How Symbols and Brands Shape Our Humanity’ by Debbie Millman

“Branding is not just a tool for capitalism. Branding is the profound manifestation of the human spirit. The condition of branding has always reflected the condition of our culture.”

Designer and host of the podcast “Design Matters,” Debbie Millman shares a detailed history of symbolism as it relates to social hierarchy, religion and ancient communication — and how this symbolism eventually became what we know today as branding. Emphasizing that branding has historically been a way to link groups together, Millman ultimately shows how branding reflects the state of humanity.

Why You Should Watch: As marketers, branding is an integral part of what we do; without a clear understanding of messaging, how can we effectively communicate with our audience? By exploring the ins and outs of branding throughout human history, Millman highlights our innate desire to connect with like-minded people. Symbols link us to groups, ideologies and political movements, something often overlooked in day-to-day life. Though humans have assigned meaning via visual cues for hundreds of thousands of years, many of us have yet to understand what branding truly is.

'How Symbols and Brands Shape Our Humanity' by Debbie Millman 


‘How Your Brain Responds to Stories – And Why They’re Crucial for Leaders’ by Karen Eber

“Storytelling and data is not this either-or. It’s an ‘and.’ They create this power ballad that connects you to information differently.”

For those interested in storytelling’s mechanics, leadership consultant Karen Eber explores the lasting impacts of a story well told, and how to connect your story with your target audience. Helping listeners understand what exactly makes a great story, Eber ties storytelling to context, conflict and outcome to help storytellers get their messaging across.

Why You Should Watch: While good storytelling might seem mysterious to some, Eber shares her extensive knowledge of what it takes to capture and hold someone’s attention — one of the main ingredients in a successful marketing campaign. Whether it be for social media, email marketing or a large-scale ad campaign, good storytelling is often the make-or-break factor for commercial success. Watch and learn how to build an idea, keep viewers on the edge of their seats and above all, communicate value.

'How Your Brain Responds to Stories - And Why They're Crucial for Leaders' by Karen Eber

‘The Trick to Regaining Your Childlike Wonder’ by Zack King

“I learned the key to why all our kids see with childlike wonder. It’s because they don’t have assumptions.”

As storytellers, marketers are always looking for new ways to captivate audiences. One way to do that? Removing assumptions and going with the unexpected. Filmmaker Zack King dives into what it takes to regain a sense of childlike wonder, and what happens when we remove assumptions and let ourselves view the world as a place full of possibilities.

Why You Should Watch: Learn how to take your stories to new and unexpected places. Tell stories that leave the viewer wanting more, and remember to hold back your assumptions. After all, expectations often lead to disinterest — and attention is something marketers can’t afford to lose! Hone your creative storytelling and allow new and ingenious ideas to enter the world.

'The Trick to Regaining Your Childlike Wonder' by Zack King


‘How Influencers Have Transformed Modern Marketing’ by Rachel David

“When was the last time you bought something because you saw a newspaper ad or a billboard?”

With efforts focused on digital marketing, the advertising landscape has shifted significantly in the past few years. And now that social media is at the center of marketing, connecting with new audiences brings brand-new challenges. Rachel David, YouTube personality and CEO of Hashtag Communications, breaks down this shift and how to best leverage younger audiences: through influencers!

Why You Should Watch: With influencer marketing gaining popularity at full speed, there’s no time to waste when it comes to connecting influencers to your brand. Often seen as relatable and reliable, influencers pull weight with their cult followings, inspiring their followers to try products. If you’re new to influencer marketing or aren’t quite sure where to begin, David is here to enlighten her listeners on vlogs, celebrities vs. influencers, marketing to kids and the entertainment industry as a whole.

‘How Influencers Have Transformed Modern Marketing’ by Rachel David

‘What Brands Can Learn from Online Dating’ by Sarah Willersdorf

“Making real, meaningful, intimate connections is more important than ever before.”

With only a few seconds to make an impression, online dating has mastered the art of the first impression. Millions of people have made carefully curated dating profiles, making online dating more similar to the advertising industry than you might think.

Why You Should Watch: Curating a profile based on their personal romantic aspirations, younger generations have learned the nuanced ways in which users interact with their profile — based on their limited images, bios and personal interests, users can communicate exactly the type of relationship they’re looking for (or not looking for). Aspiring to the same level of indirect yet poignant communication, marketers might be better off studying these platforms and the tools users have unlocked to reach targeted audiences.

'What Brands Can Learn from Online Dating' by Sarah Willersdorf


‘The Era of Blind Faith in Big Data Must End’ by Cathy O’Neil 

“What’s going on? Data laundering. It’s a process by which technologists hide ugly truths inside black box algorithms and call them objective. When they’re secret, important and destructive, I’ve coined a term for these algorithms: weapons of math destruction.”

Algorithms are everywhere. Backing most if not all the digital platforms we use today, many of us put blind faith and trust into these algorithms. Showing us our “preferred” content, rating our performance in the workplace and even playing a huge role in policing, algorithms are responsible for making significant decisions that can affect our mental health — or worse, even the trajectory of our lives.

Why You Should Watch: Instead of trusting decision-making via algorithms as consistently true, it’s important to recognize the motives behind the data. As the world of marketing continues to evolve and take on new mechanisms, keep an eye out! As O’Neil puts it, the era of blind faith in big data must end, or else we’ll face the consequences.

'The Era of Blind Faith in Big Data Must End' by Cathy O'Neil 

‘The Complex Relationship Between Data and Design in UX’ by Rochelle King

“Data can empower and inform designers to make the right decisions. … Data and design are two tools we use to craft experiences from people.”

As VP of Creative Production at Netflix, designer Rochelle King urges marketers to utilize, collect and employ data use — with caution. Urging designers to ask the right questions and measure the results, King stresses that learning how to transform the way you interact with data can also transform your design process.

Why You Should Watch: Data and design in UX is a complex relationship that can be difficult to define. King explores the ins and outs of data and design’s connection to UX design, and how to use data to your advantage to create resonant products and campaigns. Using data as a confidence builder for UX design, this TED talk shows designers how a mathematical approach to understanding the user can be quite valuable.

As marketers, there’s always more to learn. With a continuously shifting digital landscape and the desire to connect with younger generations, brands need to know how to use data, storytelling, design and branding to their advantage. At Ideas Collide, we’ve got the tools you need to address your brand’s every need. Connect with us today and see how Ideas Collide can help you take your business to the next level.