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brand stories

brand stories persuasion

Snickers, Samhain, and your holiday stories

Snickers bar broken in half

Is free stuff ever free? Snickers announced it would give away one million fun-size bars in time for Halloween via OneMillionSnickers.com. Part of the stunt includes a Change.org petition from 2018 requesting that the government move the date of Halloween. It’s now about adding a second Halloween—a full trick-or-treat day for “self-expression.” All of this seemed weird to me because of Samhain (I’ll explain) but then again, companies often separate marketing narratives from the nuances of history. Story and history are not…

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brand stories self-advocacy

How to tell diversity stories at work

Lilly Singh debuts on NBC with talk show and diverse point of view

Let’s think about how to tell diversity stories at work without creating tokens. Oooh, and then you’ll put headphones on and watch your new favorite talk show host brickity-break it down to a sick beat. But let’s be mullet about this and start with the business up front.  Diversity is good for business and for stories Lots of future-facing companies talk about how a diverse workforce gives them an edge and there is proof that it does. And let’s be…

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brand stories character selection

How to humanize your brand stories

human eating a lego breakfast

Remember the old adage, “The fastest way to a man’s heart is through his ribcage,” or whatever? Well, the fastest way to your audience’s heart is to tell stories with emotion a.k.a., to humanize your brand stories.   Humanize brand stories with humans, not entities What gives? Why do so many professionals avoid talking about humans in their brand stories? Here are the three most ineffective protagonists that professionals cast instead of humans in their stories. Introducinnnnnnng the usual suspects… The…

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brand stories self-advocacy

Origin stories can be about regular people, too

How to write your brand's origin story

Are you as devastated and confused as I am by the news that there might be no more Superman movies starring Henry Cavill? The world is cruel sometimes. As you curl up on the couch to console yourself (just me?) please find a moment to reflect on the larger topic: the power of an origin story. Origin stories are about point A rather than point B. When it comes to talking about our achievements, especially at work, we tend to…

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brand stories data stories

Keep your story outside the box

This ad is a good example of an organization showing how it can change your life without ever talking about the mechanics of what it does. Please watch this story and then go through the reflections below. What is in your organization’s box? 23andMe is a saliva collection kit (can you feel the romance?). You never hear those words in the commercial. While 23andMe has a very real box for its customers, your organization may have a figurative box. Either way, you need to know…

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best practices brand stories

Want to gamble? Hide the objective in your story.

Before you watch the video (which you may have seen already and should watch again anyway) and before you read the NPR article about it (which has spoilers so watch the video first) please reflect on this. Can your organization show a story where you don’t tell the objective until the end?  I don’t typically advise this approach because it is so high risk. You’d have to make all the other components of your set up so good to keep the audience interested. You’d…

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brand stories persuasion

Want new audiences? Deploy unusual messengers.

Here is a fake statistic that feels plausible to me. More than 90% of nonprofit stories star the same two characters; the person receiving the service and the provider of that service. IT IS SO PREDICTABLE. The kid and his tutor. The recovering addict and the counselor. Been there heard that. Usual messengers = same old same old That formula worked for a while because it’s intimate and emotional but it’s fatiguing. It’s becoming less effective every day. And if you don’t do work on…

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brand stories self-advocacy

When to fake it with your stories

It was l’esprit d’escalier all over again. Last night I gave a guest lecture to a public relations class for professionals where the students asked fantastic questions. Of course, a few questions kept rolling around my old noggin while going up the stairs to bed, especially those about authenticity versus fakin’ it. When you tell your own story, be you.  If you’re telling a story about something that happened to you, be yourself. If you’re funny, laugh at yourself or the situation. If you looked bad when…

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brand stories data stories

A strong casey from Mr. Spacey

Oh, Kevin Spacey. He did it again. He gave a speech and the audience was smitten. At Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio, he talked about how conflict and authenticity are essential to good stories. Agreed. My favorite point, however, applies to the world of marketing: “The audience doesn’t care about the platform—they care about the content.” Heck yeah. So many clients get excited about podcasts, billboards, Twitter, etc. as if those tools make their messages more intriguing. Create some good content, choose the…

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brand stories persuasion

Always be a person

Watch. Then we’ll klatch. If I want to stump someone during a training, I’ll ask a client to tell a story about her organization that stars only individuals—no task forces, institutions, partnerships, etc. Oh, she’ll get uncomfortable. Professionals are accustomed to talking about their work in terms of groups. Everything is “us” and “we.” Totally get it for organizational overviews. Totally don’t recommend it in storytelling. Humans are more relatable than institutions. This ad is a great example on several levels. Besides being clever, it represents an organization…

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