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Laugh and be happy as you kick the sh*t out of injustice

Composer Randy Newman has always been near and dear to me for his storytelling. As I was distressing over the the first seven days of Donald Trump’s presidency and the frightening lunacy that appears to be the hallmark of his administration, I woke up this Sunday morning with a resolute calmness about it. Then, one of my favorite Newman songs popped in my head. This song will be my anthem as long as The Donald and his henchmen are in the…

The 10 brand story elements of REI’s disruptive #OptOutside Black Friday campaign

  When I was a kid growing up North of Seattle, my dad would take us downtown to Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI). This was in the 1970’s, and REI was nothing more than a store in a dank basement with outdoor wear stacked in piles on folding tables. I remember an overhead water pipe leaking on a down jacket in the middle of the table, and nobody much cared. The character of the place was simply a reflection of the rugged…

From flop sweats to rock star: How audiences buy into your story when you OWN it!

The confidence of owning your business story Last June, I shared the business storytelling stage with my friend Bryan Adams of PH Creative in Liverpool, England. Bryan and I co-hosted two workshops in his hometown and one in London. Here is a note I just received from Calum Kilgour, Director of SlingShot Guru, a sales professional who attended our London program. It’s just too good of a story not to share, with Calum’s permission, of course. Dear Park and Bryan, You really have done this! I’m so glad…

Have you had business storytelling up the Wazzu?

Then create a brand story you can celebrate with your customers The new president of Washington State University cringed at the school’s legendary nickname: WAZZU. V. Lane Rawlins took the helm of WSU in 2000, and apparently didn’t want to run a major university with a brand story associated with that part of the anatomy. So he decided to ban it. Gone were the coffee cups, beer mugs and t-shirts emblazoned with our WAZZU call-to-arms. “Inconceivable!” I thought. What would the Tom Tuttles from Tacoma, WA do if…

Rocking the Casbah: The story behind where the Beatles really got their start

What is truly authentic? I was born in 1961. On Valentine’s day. The Beatles were in their infancy, too. They started playing clubs in Liverpool in 1959. Most historians point to The Cavern Club as the pub where the band got its start. But that’s not the whole story, I learned. In fact, it wasn’t a cavern, but a cellar where the magic started. I was in Liverpool this past June performing Business of Story workshops with my now good friend, Bryan Adams, founder…

6 ways to grow your business when you have your brand story straight

I have been in advertising for more than 30 years, and I remember when the introduction of the fax machine was a breathtaking technological leap forward for business. Seriously. It was easier to be a marketer back then. You had so few channels to work with: mostly broadcast, print, outdoor, direct mail, events and word of mouth marketing. Brands owned the influence of mass media. But now the masses are the media with a 24/7 global reach from their kitchen tables.…

What B2B marketers can learn from the Doritos “Ultrasound” Super Bowl TV Spot

As all of you students in my Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership communications course know, a universal structure to storytelling pervades our lives. We see it in the movies we watch, the music we listen to, the plays we attend and the Super Bowl TV spots we laugh at. My hands down favorite from Sunday’s big game was Dorito’s “Ultrasound” spot. Let’s put it to the Story Cycle test For those of you new to the Story Cycle, it is a 10-step process, inspired…

Why you should think like a screenwriter to humanize your B2B content marketing

I love this poster for Justin Trevor Winters’ new movie. It depicts Richard Dreyfuss’ character as a retired high school gym teacher willing to do whatever it takes to leave a legacy. Oh, the indignant desperation. This could also be a movie poster of a brand manager or content marketer ready to end it all. Do you know that feeling? You dutifully write content, publish blogs and produce videos for the B2B marketing of your professional services firm, but no…

The 1 rule you must obey when crafting brand stories

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. Confucius told us that centuries ago. I learned this lesson, AGAIN, yesterday. I was teaching storytelling to 7th and 8th graders in a South Phoenix school. Talking about a tough room. My audience was 15 kids from a rough neighborhood. My pal, Marilyn Seymann, works with them after school three days a week, and asked if I would teach them something about story. The plan was to underscore the…

A simple 3-step strategy that will inspire your business storytelling

Plus 6 great story insights and one terrific quote Some of my clients and students tell me that they don’t lead interesting enough lives to have great stories. Nothing ever happens to them. Do you feel like that? My guest on this episode of the Business of Story podcast, Margot Leitman, author, teacher, professional storyteller and Moth GrandSLAM champ., provides a three-step process to pull your story together. You just fill in the blanks: I am ____________. I was ____________.…

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