Patrick Hanlon

PATRICK HANLON is chief executive officer of THINKTOPIA®, which he started in 2002. Hanlon is acknowledged as a leader in community innovation and integrated brand development. His book Primal Branding: Create Zealots For Your Brand, Your Company And Your Future, published by Simon & Schuster has been translated into several languages and is included as marketing curriculum at progressive universities around the world including UC Berkeley/Irvine, Johns Hopkins University, CENTRO de diseño, cine y television, and elsewhere. YouTube cites the Primal Branding construct as one of their “best practices”.

“I was digging in my garden in Wilton, Connecticut, when I first conceived the premise for primal branding,” remembers Hanlon. “I was thinking about why we believe in some products and companies, but not in others. I realized that belief was core to it all and that what defined those great companies was defined by a pattern that included rituals, icons, creed, creation story, nonbelievers (pagans), a special language understood by those who believe, and a leader. This was the summer of 2001 and predated the many social communities that exist today. But the construct remains the same.”

At THINKTOPIA®, Hanlon defines how communities are created and propelled as he helps leaders get unstuck, develops new markets, and husbands a roving troupe of social anthropologists, cultural enthographers, trend spotters, research analysts, venture catalysts, graphic designers, urban planners, innovation experts, videographers, stylists, retail experientialists, cool hunters, forensic researchers, and defines the future of the future as they solve for client opportunities.

Hanlon has been a guest speaker at IDEO, HP Brand Innovation Series, Urban Land Institute, New York University, American Marketing Association, Parsons School of Design, 4As, Brandworks University, GlobalShop, Institute for International Research, Best Buy, Young & Rubicam, the American Marketing Association, the Direct Marketing Association Leadership Council, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, Syracuse University, American Advertising Federation, Asociacion de Ejecutivos De Ventas y Mercadeo and elsewhere.

One business owner heard Patrick Hanlon speak to a business group, and heard him mention how you could use the pieces of primal code to create culture inside your organization. The business owner took his notes back to the office and started filling in the blanks. He had a $3 million company at the time. The culture he created became a huge differentiator, and within a few years he built his company up to $12 million. When he reached $12 million he sold the company but retained his stock. Nine months later the company sold for $165 million.

Hanlon has been quoted in Fast Company, Business Week Online, Entrepreneur, Inc. magazine, and on NPR. He has been a featured guest writer for Adweek and Advertising Age, and is currently an online contributor for Forbes magazine.