About Tim


Tim Leberecht is the author of the book THE BUSINESS ROMANTIC (HarperCollins, 2015) and the chief marketing officer of global design and architecture firm NBBJ. Previously, Tim was the chief marketing officer of product design and strategy firm Frog Design.
Tim has led numerous innovation workshops for Fortune 500 companies, and his thoughts on leadership, marketing, and design have appeared in publications such as Fast Company, Forbes, Fortune, and Wired. He has spoken at venues including TEDGlobal, The Economist, DLD, Next, Remix, Re:Publica, Silicon Valley Bank CEO Summit, and Carnegie Mellon University. His 2012 TED Talk "3 Ways to (Usefully) Lose Control of Your Brand" has been viewed by more than half a million people to date.
Tim launched the award-winning Design Mind magazine, organized the Reinvent Business hackathon, and is a co-host of the 15 Toasts dinner series He serves on the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Values and is an advisor to The Human Agency, a collective of social change-makers.
Tim lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.


English, German

TED Conferences

TED2016, TED2015, TED2014, TEDGlobal 2013, TEDGlobal 2012, TEDGlobal 2011, TED2011, TEDGlobal 2010, TED2010, TEDGlobal 2009

Areas of Expertise

Design, Marketing + Communications, Social Media, Innovation

I'm passionate about

Brands, un-quantified selves, social intrapreneurship, social media, movies, design, storytelling, soccer, spirituality, business

Talk to me about

Anything you are passionate about.

People don't know I'm good at

Interpreting other people's dreams. Ironing shirts.

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

Tim Leberecht
Posted over 2 years ago
Tim Leberecht: 3 ways to (usefully) lose control of your brand
Peter and Brien, Thanks for the comments. In my talk, I was referring to this study conducted by Wharton, Yale, and Harvard: http://bclc.uschamber.com/blog/2012-08-20/good-deeds-can-boost-employee-productivity While I did not mean to invoke that employees should be literally “forced” to altruism – of course this should be intrinsic and voluntary – I did want to highlight the surprising impact occasional altruistic tasks can have on the perception of one’s own productivity at work. Encouraging employees to take them on as part of their day-to-day work experience might indeed be beneficial for company, employee, and society. I don’t see this idea conflict with creating lasting social good that is in keeping with a company’s core values and beliefs – the only sustainable value proposition for any business, as point three of my talk points out.
Tim Leberecht
Posted over 2 years ago
Tim Leberecht: 3 ways to (usefully) lose control of your brand
Hi Tabor, thanks for the kind feedback and comment. I love your suggestion that “brands should refrain from feeling like they have to be everywhere at once because at a certain point it becomes meaningless.” Marketing has been on an interesting trajectory: The traditional marketing playbook held that consistent messaging was the key to “winning hearts and minds” of consumers. Then, with the rise of social media, marketers shifted to preaching “conversational marketing” driven by content and community, and in the spirit of “authenticity.” And now we seem to have reached a point of fatigue where marketers’ urge to be omnipresent and take part in all conversations may be supplanted with people’s desire for exclusive, carefully crafted, meaningful brand experiences. Amid all the talk about openness and engagement, it is refreshing to imagine a counter-intuitive brand strategy that chooses absence, opacity, and silence as a way of differentiation. One could even say that absence is the most extreme form of exclusivity, and that the most remarkable brand is the one that can afford to stay invisible. An example of this kind of “wise brand” might be Maison Martin Margiela (MMM). Can you think of others?