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Terry O'Reilly

Host of CBC Radio's Under the Influence
Marketing & Branding Expert

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Terry O’Reilly is the familiar voice behind the hit CBC radio shows O’Reilly on Advertising, The Age of Persuasion, and his current program, Under the Influence, where he explores the business, craft, and promise of promotion. In his intriguing talks, O’Reilly shares his unique insights and solutions as he explores the big and small things organizations must do to create effective marketing, and provides his expertise on branding, campaigns, and more.

Long before he had a radio show, O’Reilly was an award-winning writer at Canada’s top advertising agencies. He has created campaigns for top brands such as Labatt, Pepsi USA, Goodyear Tires, Tim Hortons, Nissan, and The Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1990, Terry co-founded Pirate Radio & Television, a creative audio production company that grew to eight recording studios in Toronto and New York City.

Now, as the host of the CBC Radio One/WBEZ Chicago radio show, Under the Influence, O’Reilly reaches one million listeners a week, while his podcast has been downloaded more than 40 million times. He has been given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Advertising & Design Club of Canada and been granted honorary degrees from three Canadian universities.

O’Reilly is the co-author of the bestselling book The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate Our Culture. He is also the author of This I know: Marketing Lessons from Under the Influence and his most recent book My Best Mistake: Epic Fails and Silver Linings, which explores how our catastrophic mistakes can actually be the best things to happen to us.

Topics & Categories
  • Creativity & Innovation
  • Customer Service & Loyalty
  • Marketing & Branding
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Terry O'Reilly Speaking Presentations:

The Power of Branding

This presentation explains why creating and protecting a brand is so vitally important, whether your organization (or industry) is big or small. +

One of the most critical aspects of marketing is to differentiate your product or industry – even when the category is filled with smart competitors. This talk helps your audience understand what a brand is, the enormous benefits branding can deliver and how to carefully create a unique identity. This talk includes:

  • How branding can differentiate your product from all competitors.
  • How a unique brand is comprised of your philosophy, your reputation, your history and your promise.
  • How a brand recruits your customer’s heart.
  • Why brands attract attention.
  • How branding can re-position a company to a younger, or completely new audience.
  • How branding can create reservoirs of goodwill a company can draw on in difficult times.
  • Why branding can help instill confidence in consumers for new product launches.
  • How a strong brand can guide the wavering hand of customers in your direction during lean times.
  • How smart branding can elevate an entire industry.

This talk includes powerful examples of smart branding in a media-rich presentation that demonstrates each point with some of the best branding from around the world. --

Don't Outspend Them, Outsmart Them

Budget should never get in the way of great marketing. +

In a world where most advertisers don’t have huge budgets to trounce the competition, where small advertisers are up against deeper pockets, and where not–for–profit communicators struggle to make an impact, there is a way to gain remarkable returns.

This presentation explains how to outsmart the competition, not outspend them. All it takes is a different mindset and a different kind of creativity. This talk includes:

  • How to see the world through fresh eyes, and recognize the opportunities others miss.
  • How some of the smartest ideas cost the least amount of money.
  • How inexpensive ideas can make the biggest impact on customers.
  • Why affordable ideas can attract a lot of press.
  • How small budgets can inspire great creativity.
  • How small companies and not-for-profits can attract as much attention as bigger companies.
  • How humour, drama and surprise can make up for a small budget.

This presentation is media-rich and demonstrates amazing ideas from around the world from organizations that chose to spend creativity, not dollars. --

The Power of Customer Service

Customer Service = Profit +

So many companies either don’t understand this rule, or need help implementing it. Great companies know it’s not enough to have customers leave satisfied – the key is to have them leave happy. That is a step beyond service. Superb customer service creates intense customer loyalty and fuels referrals. This talk helps companies or organizations to:

  • Create emotional connections with customers.
  • Understand that people remember people – not products.
  • Review all the customer touch-points in your company.
  • Look for hidden opportunities to deliver memorable customer service.
  • Understand how to position customer service as a competitive advantage.
  • Harvest customer service stories.
  • Understand how to advertise and promote those customer service stories.
  • Understand why Customer Service is marketing.

This presentation includes inspiring stories from around the world, and examples of incredible and unexpected customer service ideas that your audience can implement immediately. --

The Power of Emotion in Marketing

This presentation explains why your customers have to feel your message, not just understand it. +

If you want to truly connect with your customers – and potential customers – you must employ Emotion in your marketing. Most communication is just flat information – aimed solely at the head. Yet we make 80% of our decisions with our heart.

This talk helps your audience understand the difference between typical information-based marketing versus the powerful impact of emotionally-charged messages. This presentation includes:

  • The reasons why most customers ignore straight information – even when it’s vitally important to them.
  • Where to look to uncover an Emotional insight.
  • How to use that insight to market to your greatest area of opportunity.
  • How to aim for the heart, not the head.
  • Why Emotion creates intense customer loyalty.
  • How to avoid the one pitfall of Emotional marketing.
  • Why Emotion trumps all other communication tools.

The talk also shows remarkable examples from around the world where advertisers and not-for-profit organizations have used Emotion to achieve outstanding results. --

The Power of Storytelling

The company with the best story wins. +

This presentation is about the power of Storytelling. The smartest, most effective marketers in the world use storytelling to persuade. We are all hard-wired to love stories, and every product and service has a compelling story to tell. This talk helps your audience understand how to build stories and gives them the tools to start using storytelling in their own businesses. This presentation includes:

  • How storytelling can add immediate value to your product/service.
  • How to harvest stories from your company/organization and your customers.
  • How storytelling can communicate intangible qualities like trust, confidence and security.
  • How stories can launch new products and maintain mature brands.
  • How storytelling creates intense customer loyalty.
  • Why the best storytellers are the best listeners.
  • Why storytelling is one of the most cost-effective strategies in marketing.

This presentation also includes powerful examples of Canadian and international marketing campaigns that used storytelling in surprising and enormously effective ways. --

Changing the Conversation

Changing a negative perception is one of the most challenging tasks you can assign to marketing. +

Maybe the public thinks your product is old and outdated. Maybe your brand has such a troubled history that you can’t attract new business. Maybe your service is perceived to deliver an undesirable benefit, when in reality, it delivers a highly appealing one. Maybe the tourism to your province or city is dropping because of a negative perception, or maybe rumours or myths are turning potential customers off.

The advertising industry has been changing perceptions and behaviour successfully for decades. Your audience will learn how to re-frame their thinking with insights and tools they can apply directly to their business by learning:

  • How to assess the problem and isolate the obstacle.
  • How to use research to discover a leverage point.
  • How to harness Emotion & Empathy to persuade.
  • How to identify your greatest area of opportunity.
  • How to use your leverage point to change a perception.
  • How to change the conversation both externally and internally.

This presentation contains powerful examples from a variety of companies and organizations that have tackled what seemed like insurmountable problems, and turned them around just by changing the conversation. --

Jump the Fence: The Power of Counterintuitive Thinking

Most marketers think within the confines of their category. But that is an artificial boundary. +

When out-of-the-box thinking is applied to strategies, marketing problems can be solved, obstacles can be blasted out of the way, and revenues can dramatically improve. All you have to do is “jump the fence.”

This talk gives the audience inspiring lessons in counterintuitive thinking, and includes:

  • How to re-define your category and identify artificial borders.
  • Why it is critical to go against conventional wisdom.
  • How to look to other advertising categories for inspiration.
  • How to look at a marketing problem with absolute fresh eyes.
  • How and where to look for powerful strategic insights.
  • Why counterintuitive thinking requires superb execution.
  • How counterintuitive thinking can overcome difficult market conditions and competitors with deeper pockets.

This presentation is full of utterly remarkable stories of how organizations used intuitive thinking to achieve outstanding results. All they did was ‘jump the fence’ in their thinking. --

Terry O'Reilly is represented by K&M Productions.

To inquire about Terry O'Reilly's speaking schedule & booking speaker Terry O'Reilly, contact us.

What Clients are Saying

I was really impressed with your opening speech at the ADCC awards. I loved how you talked about awards and the perspective on them. I would love to use your speech as an inspirational tool.

–MacLaren McCann


I was really impressed with your opening speech at the ADCC awards. I loved how you talked about awards and the perspective on them. I would love to use your speech as an inspirational tool.

–MacLaren McCann

We had a full house, and everyone loved it – I could see it on their faces. Terry has a highly polished speaking cadence  – he can create pin drop silence in the room with high attention from the audience, and then deliver a “humour break” to refresh the audience for another period of concentration. Watching him in action was highly educational for me. He has an open invitation to return to Rotman through the Student Marketing and New Media Clubs.

–Rotman School of Business

Again many thanks for your wonderful assistance on our Professional Development series. We have had EXCELLENT feedback on your talk- the vendors got the messages and are now reflecting on how they need to shape future thinking!

–London Drugs

It has been a real joy to work with Terry O’Reilly and his team for his participation in The Influence Event. His research and presentation delivery was top notch and our audience loved his thought-provoking wisdom and humour. The ideas and lessons shared were applicable across a wide audience of entrepreneurs and corporate executives – Terry really rocked the stage.

–The Influence Event


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