Category Archives: Brand Strategy

Carol Dunlop Shares the Secret to ‘Un-Marketing’ in her New Book for Entrepreneurs

Today on The Writing Well I am delighted to introduce Carol Dunlop, a savvy marketer, master networker and author of UN-Market Your Business: 10 Ways for Savvy Entrepreneurs to Stand Out, Stop Struggling, and Start Profiting.

Carol and I both have book titles with a similar play on words. My book, Moving to Atlanta: The Un-Tourist Guide, was featured last March on the author podcast, Write Books that Sell Now, that Carol hosts with two other dynamic Atlanta book marketing pros, Anita Henderson and Candice Davis.

In the Q&A below, Carol shares some secrets that every entrepreneur can employ to get noticed and win new clients. I heartily recommend her book, which is available on Kindle Unlimited for free for the next five days only.  Let us know what you think about her insights!

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Q. What made you decide to write UN-Market Your Business: 10 Ways for Savvy Entrepreneurs to Stand Out, Stop Struggling, and Start Profiting?  

Carol: The main reason I decided to write this book is that I wanted to kickstart my speaking career. I know it’s not an absolute requirement to have a book, but it puts me ahead of the other people who don’t have a book. Plus, having written a book gives me instant credibility and authority.

Q. The title of your book is a bit of a twist — You are saying that it’s better to “un-market” your business than market it in a traditional sense. What do you mean by that? 

Carol: Yes indeed, UN-Marketing is how you take advantage of this new, exciting, and ever-changing digital economy to market your business successfully. It’s a way of using out-of-the-box, UN-thought-about, strategies that are simple and easy for you to make your own to turn friends, fans, and followers into paying clients.

Q. What are a few surprising takeaways in your book that may surprise business owners? 

Carol: The overarching theme of the book is that marketing your business doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg and doesn’t have to be a big scary thing. In actuality, all the strategies in this book are low- or no-cost, but they do require some time, on the business-owner’s part to put into place. I made sure I broke down the strategies into simple steps and included the reasoning as to why you are doing each one, what you can expect to get out of it, along with the best way to implement. Plus, I have lots and lots of extras, examples, and resources to help you with each step.

Another takeaway is that you can use any or all the strategies authentically, meaning you can cater them to how you are, how you present your business, and how you want to be perceived. All the strategies are customizable so you can be true to who you really are and be successful doing it.

Q. What was the most challenging and most rewarding part of researching and writing this book?  

Carol: The most challenging part wasn’t really the writing, it was after the writing; putting everything together. I did have an author coach, who helped me tremendously to get my thoughts and words across as I had envisioned, but putting the entire book together with the pictures, pull quotes, and how to do the things you don’t think about, like citing previous work, was quite challenging. As for research, the thing that helped me out the most was creating an outline first. It helped me to put my thoughts in order and in writing everything out. Once I created the outline, it was easy to write, because everything in the book was what I knew about or had previously done. The most rewarding part happened when I did research certain parts of the book and the research echoed what I had written or was about to write. It was kind of a “YEAH, you got this!” type of feeling.

Q. Many authors say that writing a book is one-third of the work; the rest is marketing it. How are you promoting your book? 

Carol: My promotion strategy is based on involving my tribe and social media followers to help me. When I originally started thinking about writing the book, I wanted to get input from my peers, colleagues, and peeps to infuse into the content. I also wanted to show readers that I actually use the strategies that I talk about in the book, so they can see that these strategies really work. For instance, in Part 3, I went to HARO (which is the Strategy showcased in Chapter 12) and submitted a query to business leaders on what’s going to happen next in marketing in this new, digital economy. The responses are in Part 3, Chapter 15: What’s Next. I received the most awesome and intriguing responses. Not only is this great content, but I emailed all the contributors to let them know the book is complete and will be launching soon. This alerts them to the fact that other people will be seeing their comments and contact information and since people love to see themselves in print, will lead them to purchase the book and share it.

Q. Any promotion best practices you can share with other business leaders thinking about becoming authors?

Carol: Of course, I am going to utilize my blog and social media platforms, but I also created a podcast of the same name, UN-Market Your Business, where I share insights from the book and interview other business owners who exhibit UN-Marketing characteristics in their business. The thing is to get the concept out there, in front of people over and over again, in a way that “tickles the palette” and makes people think about their marketing strategies in a whole new way. That is UN-Marketing. When you are writing your book, think of a concept that you can make bigger than your book and infuse into the thoughts of others and you will have a success on your hands.

Q. What other books have you written and what makes this book different than what you’ve crafted before? 

Carol: This is my second book, but my first solo book. In, my first book, Write Books That Sell Now, I was a co-author, but this time, it’s all me. It is very different to be a solo author instead of a co-author. In the first book, I didn’t do a lot, I submitted a couple blog posts, answered a couple questions, and wrote a few paragraphs. The editing and overall feel of the book was handled by someone else. But in this book, everything was me. Even though I had an author coach who helped me to stay succinct and relevant in my writing, because I tend to go off on tangents, it was still my writing. I made sure that throughout the book, my authentic voice, along with all my quirks, were showcased, even if that meant totally ignoring something my author coach, editor, or beta reader suggested.

About the Author

Carol Dunlop – The Savvy Entrepreneur’s Online WOW! Strategist

An energetic and personable networker, Carol J. Dunlop is among the elite in her field, her clients refer to her as an online marketing phenom, she is known as “The Online WOW! Strategist.” She is VP of Marketing and Communications at CSI Corporation, the company she founded more than twenty-three years ago with her husband Alvin. And is also currently serving as the VP of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships for ProWIN, a women’s business networking group in Atlanta. Carol also co-founded and formerly served as the marketing mastermind behind Write Books That Sell Now, an organization that helps aspiring authors to write, publish, and market their business-building book.

Carol currently speaks to business owners about how “UN-Market” their business and convert their website into their business hub. She also shows them how to get the conversation started, grow brand awareness, build trust, and ultimately convert their fans, friends, and followers into paying clients through the strategies she’s used in her book, UN-Market Your Business; 10 Ways for Entrepreneurs to Stand Out, Stop Struggling, and Start Profiting.

Fun facts about Carol:

  • She is a former Bodybuilder, Fitness and CrossFit competitor
  • She has two grown children and five grandchildren
  • She and her husband have been married and partners in business for 23 years

How to Connect with Carol:

  • Tune in to her weekly podcast, UN-Market Your Business, airing Thursdays at 1 p.m. EST.   www.csicoporation.com/podcast
  • Follow her on Twitter: @csicorporation

Video as Story

Mountain View Group Shares Best Practices in
Digital & Video Communications 

Mountain View Group Principals

(L to R) Thom Gonyeau and Stephen Pruitt, principals with Atlanta creative agency Mountain View Group.

Mountain View Group, an award-winning Atlanta-based creative communications agency founded in 1981 by a documentary filmmaker, wowed professional communicators on Jan. 26 with their insights on the power of video storytelling.

“Story is ultimately about affecting change – it could be change in what someone knows…it could be change in what someone believes…and it could be change in what one does,” Thom Gonyeau, Mountain View Group’s principal and founder told the Atlanta chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) during the organization’s first meeting of 2016.  “Story is the means, and change is the end.”

Gonyeau, a creative storyteller for over 20 years, was joined by principal Stephen Pruitt, as they shared the keys to engaging people’s hearts and minds in today’s video age.

Noting that “a very high value is placed on video content,” Gonyeau cited a statistic from B2B Marketer that over 80% of B2B marketers now rely on video content in their annual communication plans, posting video via corporate websites, YouTube, video blogs and even six-second Vines.  ChiefMarketer.org, reports an even higher percentage of video usage at around 96%.  “In the B2C space, you are talking about 100%,” he added.

Gonyeau called the “holy grail’ of video storytelling is when companies take a long-term approach to their video strategy rather than doing one-off videos.

“One thing we’ve learned is that no one really needs a video. What you need is a solution to a business problem,” said Pruitt, explaining that is how his firm always starts conversations with new clients. “If you start to think that way about your video content or any creative content, you start to think more strategically about your message and what you need that content to do for you.”

Pruitt explained that video isn’t always the best communication tool if one needs to present a lot of detailed information. But it’s a great medium to excite, engage and emotionally connect with people. “Video can stir the imagination – it’s a great vehicle to showcase people, places…it’s also a great way to motivate people to want to learn more,” he said.

One thing is clear, Mountain View Group knows its stuff.  Pruitt said the team tackles an average of 150 projects a year, from corporate videos, animation and commercials to graphic design, communications strategy planning to social media. Last year at the IABC Atlanta’s annual Golden Flame Awards, the Inman Park creative firm won eight Golden Flames for their work.

Gonyeau said there are three ideal times for a video story:  at the birth of a new company, when a company is going through major change, and when it is facing real challenges. In the case of change, video can “bring some certainty to the chaos.” During times of challenge there’s “an incredible opportunity to use story in an authentic and purposeful way to get your message out there,” he said.

Mountain View’s team of 15 full-time creatives takes a process-driven approach to helping their clients strategically think about their video project. They start with the “Creative Brief” – a consensus-building tool that enables client and agency to jointly define the project deliverables and the purpose and objectives, including audience and key messages.

Gonyeau considers the purpose and objectives “the real meat” of the brief.  It’s where he asks clients, “Why this?” “Why now?” “What’s changed?”  It’s also when the agency helps the clients define the creative challenge of “What do you want the audience to think, feel and do?”

From the Project Brief, Mountain View’s team defines their client’s story. A storytelling worksheet helps the process along – it embraces the classic three-act screenplay structure, including the concept of a hero.

An important detail is distribution of the video, leveraging a company’s internal and external social media, video and PR channels. “Too many people leave this as an afterthought,”   said Pruitt.  “When  you tell stories with video, you are making an investment and you want to make sure you are getting the most out of that investment. Creating a multi-channel distribution plan is the way to do that.”

He advised, “Look at what the core communication channels are to reach the target audience, whether it’s internal, external, corporate marketing, PR, social media. You can figure out which ones to take the most advantage of and which ones you didn’t think of to get this message out. Then, once you have the distribution plan mapped out, promote it.”

Mountain View’s principals then shared examples of their agency’s video work from clients such as Coca-Cola, Raytheon and GE.  Check out videos showcasing:

The two presenters summed up their talk by sharing a quote by Seth Godin: “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”

Following the presentation, communication pros shared their impressions:

  • “I loved the talk and the Creative Brief leave-behind in how to construct a story. Very worthwhile!” – Scott Dixon, President, CATMEDIA
  • “The most valuable takeaway from the talk was the necessity of doing a Creative Brief and to know the one key message you’re going to give. In my experience working as freelancer for corporate clients, we sometimes forget to ask, ‘What is your objective?’ ‘Why do you need a video?’”- Elisabeth Holmes, The Writing Studio
  • “The point that no one needs a video; what they need is a solution to a problem, really stood out for me because it brings everything back to the business and keeps us focused, allowing us to drive the business forward. “ –Uzo Amajor, Internal Communications Manager

Book Marketing: What’s Your Strategy?

book-marketing

By Anita Paul Henderson, The Author’s Midwife

Writing your book is the hard part, right? Well, if you’ve completed your manuscript, had it published, and started down the road of sales and marketing, you know the previous statement is absolutely not true. Marketing is the hard part, as any experienced author/writer will tell you. Trouble is, most writers don’t have a clue how to market their book. You’re a writer, after all, not a marketing specialist.

Marketing, however, is THE most important aspect of book publishing, and the one that receives the least thought and attention from the writer—the one who will ultimately do the marketing. Yes, you, as the writer/author, will also be the name, face, brand, and executor of the marketing plan for your book. But how do you do that when you don’t know the difference between a press release and a speaker sheet? Not only that, who pays for all of this marketing stuff? Remember, you (or your publisher) have limited marketing time and limited marketing dollars, so you’d better use both wisely.

TigerMarketing—essentially EVERYTHING you do to get the word out about your book—is a big animal, and you have to tackle it one bite at a time. So think strategically and know the ultimate result you’d like to have with your book. To get started, consider these points:

Know your target audience. Trust me, your target audience or ideal reader is not EVERYONE. Narrow it down to the one person who would get the most from your book or who would enjoy it most. Think of your book as a service to others. Which person or person type would be best served by the content of your book? Describe him/her as thoroughly as possible.

Seek and find. Knowing your target audience helps you determine where to find him/her. Determine what blogs, podcasts, magazines, radio shows, venues, activities, social media sites, etc. your target audience most enjoys. Visit and engage within these outlets in the form of visits, posts, comments, likes, shares, etc., then determine if your limited marketing dollars would be well spent there based on the response you receive from the audience.

Identify your big wow. What is the ultimate result you want to accomplish with your book? Make wow_rt_red_Tit measurable. Is it number of book sales, dollars earned, clients booked, speaking gig invites, media exposure, awards won, or something else? There are no wrong answers here. Just know what you want, assign a number and timeframe to it, and go for it.

Get some help. There are few things worse than watching someone struggle to do something when getting help would make it so much easier. Marketing is one of those things. Why struggle to build a website, apply for awards competitions, submit news pitches, post regularly on social media, schedule book signings, and more when there are experts who can do these tasks much faster and with a greater level of professionalism than you can? Hiring professional marketing help is probably the best investment you can make in your book project.

how-market-your-book-free-nicole-antoinette-paperback-cover-artThere are thousands of ways to market your book. In fact, in my book, How to Market Your Book Free, my co-author and I include 101 no-cost ways to do so. But really, you only need to execute a handful of marketing strategies that make sense for you, your target audience, your team, and your budget. As you develop strategies for your book marketing, consider the following:
• Appearances/book signings/speaking
• Articles
• Awards
• Blogging (guest or host)
• Contests
• Family, friends, fans
• Podcasts (guest or host)
• Public relations, media interviews
• Radio shows (guest or host)
• Retail stores (think outside the bookstore)
• Social media
• Website

These are only a few strategies to consider. Choose the one(s) that work best for you, then develop a plan to get results.

About Anita

Anita Paul.0168Anita R. Paul Henderson is known as The Author’s Midwife. Through her Write Your Life program she coaches professionals and entrepreneurs to develop engaging book content, publish it, and market it for success. She is co-author of five books, including How to Market Your Book Free and Publishing as a Marketing Strategy. She is also co-creator of Write Books That Sell Now, a digital program to help authors write, publish, and market their self-published books. She can be reached at www.WriteYourLife.net.

Telling Your Brand Story: NCR’s Innovative Approach

 

 

NCRLogo

 

 

“People don’t have relationships with products, they are loyal to brands.”

So says Scott Goodson in his September 2012 Forbes Marketshare post, “Why Brand-building is Important.” 

My client, NCR, gets this — on Oct. 10, this Duluth-based leader in consumer transaction technologies launched its new brand — Everyday Made Easier™ through a companywide “Live the Brand Awards” webcast that showcased some of the company’s best brand moments. The company’s storytellers have adopted the new engaging voice of the brand in all their internal and external communications.

“The NCR brand reflects a new look, feel and voice that clearly communicates who we are and the difference NCR is making in people’s lives all over the world,” says Caroline Rose, integrated marketing partner in NCR Travel Marketing. “NCR technology empowers 450 million consumer transactions everyday, many of them in the travel space, whether checking in for a flight, navigating your way through an airport, picking up a rental car or buying something at duty free. Our goal within NCR Travel is really to build upon that story by conveying to our customers and prospects how NCR is making everyday travel easier for their customers as well.”

(To get a feel for how the Travel marketing folks are using the new brand language, check out their engaging animation video).

But, well before the official brand launch, NCR’s Corporate Communications team was promoting the brand internally.  As anyone who has gone through a corporate rebranding effort will tell you, getting employees on board with telling your company’s brand story is critical to success. For one, if your employees don’t buy into your brand, why should customers?

Employees can be your biggest asset as brand ambassadors, notes Michael Brito, senior VP for social business strategy at global PR firm, Edelman. In his August 2013 Edelman Conversations’ blog post,  “Employees and Brand Journalism,” Brito emphasized how your brand must empower employees to become storytellers.

Citing his firm’s 2013 Trust Barometer report that measures the level of trust people have in institutions, industries and leaders, respondents were very clear about who they find most credible when seeking information about a brand or company:  half of those surveyed found a regular employee in the company as credible.

NCR fully embraces this idea — sharing helpful resources such as its new brand voice guide with employees, and engaging in a cross-cutting communications campaign to get staff excited and engaged well before the brand debuted publicly.

Beginning in early September, NCR began running a series of intranet features (including fun facts, CE Feature Graphicemployee interviews and videos) designed to showcase how its customer-facing Services employees “live the brand’ every day.

The largest division, NCR Services, includes the company’s global team of service support professionals. NCR Services’ goal is to deliver innovative customer service while ensuring on-time installation and maintenance of consumer transaction technology worldwide.

“Our brand is all about making every day easier,” notes Nancy Berry, senior communications manager for NCR Services. “We wanted to celebrate the members of our services team who directly represent the NCR brand to customers in their daily work. In the process of telling these Services stories, we sought to convey how are Services team members are trusted, innovative, vibrant and agile – key attributes of our brand.”

The campaign ran during September on the company’s intranet, and began by focusing on the work of NCR service technicians, who are known as Customer Engineers or CEs. The feature included a flash video that provided a glimpse into the CE’s daily work, photos of some of the unusual locations CEs visit to service equipment (e.g., an ATM in the visitor center atop Europe’s highest mountain), and an interactive video where viewers could test their equipment troubleshooting skills. Another spotlight focused on the Services Parts team and included a photo montage depicting a part’s journey from order receipt to delivery in the field as well as interviews with Parts team members about the importance of representing the brand. Each intranet feature included compelling graphics and little-known facts about the featured group.

“The features served two purposes,” says Nancy. “We wanted to make sure our employees in the field were well-represented in our brand launch celebrations, and at the same time, we wanted to educate the rest of NCR about the great work these team members are doing to support our customers on a 7x24x365 basis.”

“Representing the NCR brand well is indeed something I think about in my daily work,” says Heather Dunham, who was featured in a story about the Parts team. “When it comes to customer service, parts availability is a top priority. My goal is to have service parts readily available when they are needed.”

To learn more about NCR’s brand launch, visit http://www.ncr.com/about-ncr/everydaymadeeasier or read the company’s recent blog post about living the brand.

 

 

 

In Celebration of Space Storytellers

space1

Every Thursday in October The Writing Well will celebrate the storytelling journey of my clients and partners as part of a month-long observance of my firm’s 14-year anniversary.

Rich PhillipsToday, as the UN and 60 nations mark World Space Week, I caught up with Rich Phillips, president of Austin-based Phillips & Company, one of Texas’s top 10 PR firms that recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Rich marked the occasion last week with a leadership discussion with legendary CBS News anchor Dan Rather.

Rich and I collaborated for four years on brand leadership campaigns at EMS Technologies, an Atlanta-based space and asset tracking firm that has since been acquired by Honeywell.

I continued my work in the space industry writing for Via Satellite, covering everything from U.S. space policy to R&D priorities at NASA, while Rich has expanded his client focus to include NASA, where his firm is helping roll out the agency’s vision for Deep Space.

In May 2012, as SpaceX made history becoming the world’s first privately held company to send a cargo payload to the ISS, this blog featured Michael Potter, documentary filmmaker behind “Orphans of Apollo” in the most read blog post of 2012. His film chronicled the first entrepreneurial effort to privatize space by a group of entrepreneurs inspired by the Apollo missions.

It turns out Rich and I were both born in 1969, the year that America went to the moon.

“My first memory was being told, ‘Rich, you were born the year we landed on the moon,'” he recalls. “I carried that with me through grade school. I’d write about it in essays and would discuss it with my teachers — It was part of who I was. I still have commemorative coins given to me as a child from the moon landing.”

Below, Rich talks candidly about the formative role of space on his life and his journey as a storyteller for NASA, including his agency’s award-winning work on the “Get Curious” campaign that engaged thousands of people about the landing of the NASA Mars Science Laboratory rover on the Red Planet in August 2012.

Rich Phillips (front left) with his Austin team with one of the Get Curious campaign "rocks."

Rich Phillips (front left) with his Austin team with one of the Get Curious campaign “rocks.”

Q. Rich, what is it about the story of space that you find so fascinating?

Number one, I’m an economist. I had an epiphany back in 2007 when I was working with EMS Technologies, which does work in space communications and asset tracking for the military.  I woke up to this realization that space is not just a destination but a platform for applications and services just like the internet.

I was in business in the 90s when the internet boom happened. It was not until the cost of bandwidth – or the cost of transport — came down – that we had this explosion of applications and services from social media to eCommerce. I see space as bigger than that but I see the parallel.  As the cost of transporting satellites and people and other cargo in space comes down, there’s going to be an explosion of applications and services.  I’m excited because I see this opportunity for a whole new ‘other world’ economy.

Number two, I believe that exploration is critical to prosperity and human progress – that human space exploration inspires us to seek knowledge through scientific discovery and to advance the understanding of our world. It’s a catalyst for a better life – and I believe it will advance American leadership and help us to fundamentally create a path to peace, diplomacy and global cooperation. Historically, exploration has been critical to ensuring we prosper and that we progress as human beings. To say we will not explore the heavens is to say we will not progress as people.

Q. What stories of space first inspired you as a young person?

My whole identity has been tied to space.  It really has defined me.  I always believed life is short TheRightStuffand in order to achieve things, you have to take risks.  I think there is a little bit of an explorer in me. There were a couple of Hollywood films that were extraordinary — that touched me – “The Right Stuff” and “Apollo 13.”

Q. What can Hollywood teach the space community?

How to story tell. NASA spends most of its time convincing us of how safe they are – that they’ve ironed out all of the risk and that there is no chance that anything will go wrong. Fundamentally that’s a great engineering strategy but it’s a lousy marketing strategy because human beings actually gravitate toward stories of risk and hope. The truth is what NASA does is extraordinarily dangerous and extraordinarily risky.  To be successful at inspiring the American people, NASA and the entire space community has to be willing to say, “This is hard. This is risky.” They need to tell that dramatic story of what could go wrong — and by telling that honest story, Americans and the world will embrace it.

CuriousityQ. You put those storytelling principles to work last year on the “Get Curious” campaign with NASA JPL.  Can you tell me about it?

NASA JPL was brilliant in that they understood that in order to inspire people about the Curiosity Mars Science Laboratory landing, they needed to tell the story behind the landing. This wasn’t the first time we’ve been to Mars. Spirit and Opportunity had been there before. By creating a dramatic story line about how we were landing, my firm was able to design more than 50 global landing parties and events around the world, and in the process, we were able to reach people who typically didn’t follow space but who were now glued to their televisions as if we were landing a man or woman on Mars.

At the center of NASA JPL’s campaign was creating a video called “The Seven Minutes of Terror.”    The video told the story of this dramatic descent to Mars and how risky it was – how easily we could lose or destroy the rover, or even miss the planet if we didn’t do the right things. That video went viral and we were very proud to be part of the marketing of not only that video but also the landing. By telling a true story of drama and risk, we engaged people. People for the first time shared in the experience. That’s what storytelling does.   

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Connect with Rich via Twitter @PhillipsCompany or through his website. Read more about his firm’s “Get Curious” campaign, which just received the Association for Women in Communications’ Clarion Award. The campaign previously won awards from PRDaily and Bulldog Reporter.

A Conversation with Purpose Visionary and Storyteller Joey Reiman

Joey Reiman speaking to IABC Atlanta in April. Photo: Leland on Location
Joey Reiman believes that if something is worth saying, it’s worth saying well.
As a writer and business communicator, I couldn’t agree more. But, Joey is more than a memorable wordsmith; he uses words to move people and change the world. His core motivation: to help individuals — and companies — find their purpose in service to others.
“The key component of a successful life is to put meaning before money, to find out your why, to discover your purpose because if you don’t define yourself, someone else will define you, and that is a problem – that is the misery of our times,” Joey told me a few days before he spoke to a group of Atlanta-area professional communicators.

Joey, founder of BrightHouse, one of the world’s first ideation companies, believes purpose is both a financial and humanitarian force in the world, and I believe it, too, after reading his 2012 book, The Story of Purpose.

This tour de force transformed how I view the role of business, including my own. Joey opens his book with this question: Can business save the world? His answer is yes, and the path to get there begins with companies rediscovering their origins or “ethos” — why they started to begin with — and then integrating this ethos with a Master Idea or purpose today. 

Quoting from Aristotle,”where one’s distinctive talents intersect the needs of the world, there lies your vocation,” Joey has helped companies as diverse as SunTrust, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, American Standard and Procter & Gamble find this intersection between ethos and Master Idea, talent and need, and in the process, transform their organization.

“Everyone knows intuitively it’s not what we receive but what we give that creates a sense of joy within us. Here, for the first time, business can do this,” Joey says, inviting all of us to take his message and make it authentic in our own way and then spread the word that “purpose drives everything. Inside an organization it engages, enlightens and enlarges one’s capacity to live a genuine life.”

Joey certainly has taken his own words to heart. Happily married with two sons, he tells me he hopes to be remembered first and foremost as a “famillionaire.”

“I’ve always believed that your wealth is in your family and friends.”

And his favorite time of the work week is not engaging with Fortune 100 leaders, but the two mornings he spends teaching the story of purpose to business school students at Emory University. In the 13 years he’s been an Emory adjunct professor, Joey has seen his class become the most subscribed of all the courses offered in the business school.

“The class becomes more popular every year because I think business students are realizing that the it’s not the life of your business that’s important, but the business of life,” says Joey. “These kids are on fire – their eyes are wider. Purpose enlarges their vision — they’re more animated and soulful.” 

Meeting Joey and hearing his purpose message has inspired me to recommit to my own path: this September marks my 14th year working independently as a “strategic storyteller,” where I help my clients tell their message memorably. The “why” behind starting my company has everything to do with independence — to define my own destiny — and not be defined by those with whom I worked. It’s given me flexibility to pursue new projects, including blogging, pursuing my first historical novel, and just being a “mom” to my children.

 I now look forward to helping my clients tell their own story of purpose, while recommitting to my own.

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Subscribe to Joey Reiman’s daily tips at http://ww.dailyjoey.com or visit http://www.joeyreiman.com/.

Stories Matter: Telling Your Brand Story

 

As a strategic storyteller, author and blogger, I always get a thrill when I find creative people who get the power of storytelling. 

So, when I had the opportunity to connect with brand therapist, podcaster and blogger David Cohen, a former technology entrepreneur with a math mind and a talent for doodling, I knew I was in for a treat.  I was already a fan of David’s after viewing his website, Equation Arts, and particularly his “Story Tuning” page, which reads:

 

Stories matter. 

 

Stories matter because people love stories.
Stories matter because stories demonstrate instead of declare.
 
Stories matter because stories provide context, and context is what gives meaning to all the marvelously unique things about your work, your approach, about you.
 
People connect through stories. People remember through stories. People find purpose and drive in their own personal narratives.

 

Stories matter because people tell stories.

Symbiosis

David and I talked about our businesses and possible synergies. He challenged me to try out podcasting, which I think would be a great extension of this blog, which frequently features expert interviews (more on that later!). Below, David shares more about his unique calling to help people tell their own story.

 

Q. You describe yourself as a “brand therapist.” What is that exactly? Who needs brand therapy?
 
 
David: Brand therapy is the process of uncovering the core components that form the foundation of your brand behavior. These are often expressed as patterns and motifs that occur and reoccur throughout a person’s life and career. Interests, motivations, values, communication styles, these are all components that we tend to carry within ourselves, but they impact not only the choices we make, but also the situations we find ourselves drawn to and influence the degree of satisfaction and fulfillment we get from our activity.

David CohenUnderstanding the brand behavior helps to create a vocabulary for telling a person’s brand story and in doing so allows you to intentional position the brand to maximize the trust connection between personal fulfillment and customer loyalty. I find that people are ready for brand therapy when they have reached a plateau in their business growth or have come to a crossroads where they are faced with divergent opportunities and are worried that they may lose some element of themselves or what they care about if they make the wrong choice. In such cases brand therapy can reveal their personal compass and clarify that decision making process so they can resume moving forward with a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

 
 
Q. What is the concept behind “story tuning” — which you talk about on your website?
 
David: As business people we are always trying to build connections, confidence and trust among our clients and partners. Yet surprisingly, we often focus our communication on the items we produce, or the laundry list of services we offer. Instead of telling a story which helps people to see you in a positive context and gives continuity to your brand, we substitute a menu of things we sell or offer – thus inviting comparison instead of establishing meaning. Story tuning is about helping find the genuine elements, behaviors, values, altitudes, and skills that come together to create a purposeful narrative. In this way you are enabled to position your brand as a relationship of both difference and context. This helps you connect faster with the right audience and set expectations that you are well-positioned to not just meet, but exceed, and do so with consistency.
 
 
Q. Can you share an example of someone you’ve worked with who really got the concept and was able to take their story to a new level?
 
David: I recently worked with a photographer who found himself at a crossroads – his business was successful, but taking him in directions that were moving him further away from the creative activities he found fulfilling. His story was cluttered with success. That may sound odd, but it was that way because he was allowing the happenstance of opportunities govern his brand rather than setting intentional direction. He shot corporate events, weddings and fine art photography, and as his reputation grew he outgrew his one-size-fits-all brand. To appeal to higher-end clientele and to reinvigorate his creative opportunities he needed to establish the principles behind his approach and clarify and separate the messages being presented to each of his markets. In the end he made a closer association of his personal brand to his fine art photography and is treating his wedding work and corporate work as subsidiary operations with unique branding. These subsidiaries are thriving and providing the income to allow him to enjoy the creative freedom under his personal brand.
 
 
Q. You also are a podcaster. What sparked the launch of your podcast, “The Be a Beacon Show?”
 
David: Well, I’ve done a fair amount of public speaking in my career and so ever since I first heard the term podcast I’ve been curious to give it a try. I chose the name “The Be A Beacon Show” based on a concept I present in my lectures: the Beacon Principles of branding. I use the metaphor of a lighthouse to introduce the concepts of embracing differentiation, establishing context and creating & communicating focus. I also like to encourage people to think of themselves as beacons – applying these principles to shine brightly, with clarity and focus. One of the best things about having the podcast is being able to invite guests on the show who I feel have carved their own path to business success and are really exemplifying the power of shining forth in this way.
 
 
Q. What have you learned about yourself doing this podcast every week?
 
 
David: I learned that I like to talk and to listen. I now do many solo shows which gives me a chance to explore and share my own ideas, but I also still do interviews because It’s great to shine a light on others and learn from their experiences and insights. I also learned that live is a better format for me than pre-recorded. I use BlogTalkRadio.com which makes it easy to live stream the show. This prevents me from getting too precious about any single episode, once you’re on the air you just have to roll with whatever comes – spontaneous, unedited. I don’t think I would have stuck with it any other way. I certainly wouldn’t have produced a show every week for over two years.
 
Q. When should someone consider podcasting? Any tips for helping them get started?
 
David: I say if you have an itch to podcast, scratch it. There are lots of different platforms, and lots of different approaches. As I said I like the live format, some people might find that intimidating, I found it liberating. But there is nothing wrong with using something like GarageBand and producing a tightly edited, polished show. Some people enjoy talking more than writing a blog, some people like being on camera – they should try a video blog. Rather than speculate, jump in and make a couple of episodes and see if you enjoy it. Don’t even tell anyone you’re doing it- just do it for yourself. You’ll know if it was fun, and if so then you can always work on your own version of polishing the experience. If not, then find another means of communicating that suits you better – that’s the beauty of the age we live in, there are more options than ever before for telling your story and building your tribe.
 

Best Brands Create Narrative Around Customer ‘Experience’

Apple has usurped Google as the world’s most valuable brand, according a new study by global brands agency Millward Brown.

The success of Apple’s brand goes beyond growth prospects and financial numbers – and is more about creating a compelling customer experience – one that makes connecting online not only easy but fun!

Anyone who has tried out an iPad knows just how fun — and addictive — this gadget can be. My brother never leaves home without his. My kids are enthralled with the utility and fun applications that are a few finger touches away. It’s so easy that my elementary-school aged son can navigate from  FaceTime connection to relatives in Chicago, to watching aYouTube trailer of his favorite Harry Potter movie.

I agree with Christopher Meyer’s March 1st “Working Wider” blog post that one of the three cornerstones behind Apple’s transformation is its success in creating compelling customer experiences. Apple’s own 10K filing says it all. The company’s Business Strategy narrative states it is committed to “bringing the best user experience to its customers.”

Brands such as Coca-Cola, Nike, IBM and Google have successfully embraced this concept of creating a customer experience with their brands.

 
 

• Coca-Cola, as part of its “Happiness” campaign, videotaped what would happen if a Coca-Cola vending machine placed on a college campus could deliver “doses of happiness” – first, bottles of the beverage then anything from flowers and balloon animals to subs and pizza. The Happiness YouTube video went viral, attracting some 3.5 million hits globally to date, which has helped Coca-Cola connect more closely with its already loyal customer base.

• Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign of the 1980s made exercising hip and cool – even fun. It allowed Nike “to tap into the fitness craze of the 1980s,” with a tough, take-no-prisoners ad campaign, according to a mini-case study on the campaign published by management consulting firm, CFAR Center for Applied Research. “Nike became a self-fulfilling image prophecy: if you want to be hip, wear Nike; if you are hip, you are probably wearing Nike.”

• IBM’s brand campaign, “Let’s Build a Smarter Planet,” is ingenious in that it gets the company’s employees talking about how they’re contributing to a smarter planet whether it’s through smarter transportation systems, better designed cities or smarter communications infrastructure.

• Finally, here’s a storytelling gem from Google that’s in a class by itself — that instantly connects dads (and daughters) everywhere.

Of course, there are talented, creative storytellers driving these customer-centric brand campaigns. Look for the brands that most inspire you online – experience them – and apply their storytelling magic to elevate your or your client’s own brand story.

Best Brands Create Narrative Around Customer ‘Experience’

Apple has usurped Google as the world’s most valuable brand, according a new study by global brands agency Millward Brown.

The success of Apple’s brand goes beyond growth prospects and financial numbers – and is more about creating a compelling customer experience – one that makes connecting online not only easy but fun!

Anyone who has tried out an iPad knows just how fun — and addictive — this gadget can be. My brother never leaves home without his. My kids are enthralled with the utility and fun applications that are a few finger touches away. It’s so easy that my elementary-school aged son can navigate from  a FaceTime connection with his uncle and cousins in Chicago, to watching a YouTube trailer of his favorite Harry Potter movie.

I agree with Christopher Meyer’s March 1st “Working Wider” blog post that one of the three cornerstones behind Apple’s transformation is its success in creating compelling customer experiences. Apple’s own 10K filing says it all. The company’s Business Strategy narrative states it is committed to “bringing the best user experience to its customers.”

Brands such as Coca-Cola, Nike, IBM and Google have successfully embraced this concept of creating a customer experience with their brands.

 
 

• Coca-Cola, as part of its “Happiness” campaign, videotaped what would happen if a Coca-Cola vending machine placed on a college campus could deliver “doses of happiness” – first, bottles of the beverage then anything from flowers and balloon animals to subs and pizza. The Happiness YouTube video went viral, attracting some 3.5 million hits globally to date, which has helped Coca-Cola connect more closely with its already loyal customer base.

• Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign of the 1980s made exercising hip and cool – even fun. It allowed Nike “to tap into the fitness craze of the 1980s,” with a tough, take-no-prisoners ad campaign, according to a mini-case study on the campaign published by management consulting firm, CFAR Center for Applied Research. “Nike became a self-fulfilling image prophecy: if you want to be hip, wear Nike; if you are hip, you are probably wearing Nike.”

• IBM’s brand campaign, “Let’s Build a Smarter Planet,” is ingenious in that it gets the company’s employees talking about how they’re contributing to a smarter planet whether it’s through smarter transportation systems, better designed cities or smarter communications infrastructure.

• Finally, here’s a storytelling gem from Google that’s in a class by itself — that instantly connects dads (and daughters) everywhere.

Of course, there are talented, creative storytellers driving these customer-centric brand campaigns. Look for the brands that most inspire you online – experience them – and apply their storytelling magic to elevate your or your client’s own brand story.

How to start building your brand ambassador community – iMediaConnection.com

“A very cool post on building brand ambassadors and the importance of cultivating bloggers to extend your company’s message.”
Blogger communities can help promote — or doom — companies, products, and services that fall into their areas of interest. Find out how you can harness their power for the good of your brand.