Note: This is a guest post written by Lukas Treu, content architect at AKHIA.

1. Political Persuasion and the Syrian Situation. I managed to dodge delving into politics in my last few blog posts on The Brew and here on I’ve Ben Thinking, but I’m thinking my sidestepping of the Syria situation may finally be at a close. It is becoming difficult to avoid—if you listen to the radio every day or do a bit of flipping through Flipboard, you know the Syrian conflict totally dominates the headlines.

I wrote a post on my personal blog about what the Syrian conflict says about the state of global understanding, so I won’t go into that here, nor will I go into what I think ought to be done about the situation as far as the U.S. is concerned—we’ll hear plenty about that from national leaders in the coming days. This much is certain: The U.S. is in an awkwardly difficult position as decisions are made regarding whether we should respond militarily to a chemical weapons attack within Syria, and there is no great solution.

No matter how you might personally feel about U.S. involvement in Syria, if you are in marketing or PR, I would pay close attention to how arguments are laid out in the next week on the national stage. It will be interesting to me to not only hear the arguments made on both sides of the debate, but to analyze from a theoretical perspective what sort of idea pitching works, and what doesn’t, as our country seeks to make a decision soon that no one really wants to make.

2. Will the Apple Fall Close to the Tree? It is that time again: Today Apple is expected to again announce a new iPhone that is an incremental improvement over the last iPhone, but is upgraded just enough to get millions of people to scramble for an upgrade. It may sound like the same old, same old, and it may make some question whether Apple is lacking the innovation it has been so often recognized for this past decade. But you know what? I’ll probably still buy one. Whatever they’re doing at Apple, it works.

Beyond the advanced iPhone 5s that Apple is expected to release, there is also rumored to be an iPhone 5c that is created to be a “budget” version of the iPhone meant to allow Apple to gain share in emerging markets where many consumers desire, but simply cannot afford, the luxury of an iPhone. While the creation of a more affordable iPhone makes a lot of international business sense for Apple, it will be interesting to see in the coming weeks and months the implications of Apple moving from being a brand that has come to be known for high quality with a fittingly high price tag to a brand that is also known for manufacturing admittedly lower-end products. Will the move help or hurt? Time will tell.

3. A Foray into Fantasy Football I’ve finally done it… Thanks to Michael Schwabe and a devoted group of football fans at AKHIA, I have joined a fantasy football league. I never thought I’d see the day, as I hardly know more than a handful of players that aren’t on the Browns, but my former-college-football-player brother promising to serve as a co-manager on our team, Treu-Built Yardage Machine, was enough to convince me. We’re not far enough into the season to have much idea how our team will perform yet and my team had a bye week that made the results of Week One inconsequential, but already I’m having fun.

I think it all boils down to this: People love to invest themselves in something—anything, practically—because it gives more incentive to pay attention to outcomes of events they may otherwise have been ambivalent toward. It is why they fill out March Madness brackets, but haven’t seen a college basketball game in a year. It is why they send text messages to a given number to vote for which hot dog will win the race at the Indians game, even if there was no prize. For some, the incentive to participate is simply the feeling of being involved, and no other reward is necessary. It’s the case for me, and for many others. And if you’re a good marketer, it is something to keep in mind as you seek ways to coax people to engage with your brand.