20 People to Know in the Phoenix Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations Community

On Friday, February 19, 2017, I was honored to be named by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of the 20 people to know in the local marketing community. If you missed it, here are my answers to their questions with links to resources you can use to get your personal brand story straight.

Favorite way to spend time away from work:

My favorite way to spend time away from work is with family and friends dreaming up some new caper.

How did you get into this profession? 

I got into this profession using my degrees in music composition and theory and journalism/communications from Washington State University to help companies craft and tell compelling stories that grow their enterprise and their people. I started in public relations and moved into advertising and brand story strategy.

What do you like best about the work you do?

I love it when business leaders and communicators find the courage to live into their most powerful stories through the brands they own or represent, and how they help those around them to live into and prosper from the organization’s story. One of my favorite endeavors is my Business of Story podcast. We’ve eclipsed 100 shows and thousands of downloads per month. I connect international story artists with business leaders and communicators to help them craft and tell compelling stories that sell.

What are your favorite types of clients to work with?

We seek purpose-driven companies, like Adelante Healthcare, that have a proven business model, but need to get their brand story straight. I find owners of these kinds of emerging companies to be the most thoughtful and inspiring leaders. They appreciate the positive impact you can make when you truly own your story.

Change-Your-Story-Change-Your-Life-Jen-GrisantiWhat advice would you give to someone who wants to build a career that is similar to yours?

If you want to be in advertising, then get comfortable with ambiguity. Embrace constant change. Muster the confidence and conviction to always do what’s right. And project a work ethic others admire. Then find three solid mentors both online and in person to keep you honest. Here’s one who has helped me, and she can do the same for you.

Tell us about the coolest trend in advertising and marketing today.

Brands used to own the influence of mass media, but now the masses are the media. That’s why story marketing is the most powerful trend in advertising. It places your customer at the heart of your narrative and empowers them to become your storyteller through word of mouth marketing.

How have you seen your industry change in the past few years?

Large traditional ad agencies are being outflanked by small, specialized groups and solopreneurs that can focus on one area in the ever-expanding world of communications. It’s not uncommon for clients to now work with several entities versus one firm. God bless the 1099 economy. It’s where most of the talent is hanging out these days.

One marketing technique you wish would go away?

I once heard a grizzled ad veteran say that you are more likely to graduate from Navy Seal training than you are to click on a banner ad. Banners, pop-up ads and those miserable pre-roll videos are the most annoying forms of advertising because few brands make an effort to connect through storytelling. 

What’s your favorite medium to work in?

I love radio, because you can bring amazing stories to life through the theater of the mind. Although it seems to be a lost art in advertising. One of the highlights of my podcasting career so far is interviewing the legendary radio ad guy Dick Orkin and his daughter Lisa.

I’ll take a well-crafted audio program over anything visual for its ability to make you a visceral part of the story: you get to make up the pictures in your mind.

What is one easy thing a business can do to build its brand?

Few people will buy into your brand story until you own it first. Most companies don’t invest the time and energy to understand what makes their story compelling. Once they clarify their story, they can differentiate themselves from their competition and dominate their markets.

How have millennials changed your strategies?

Millennials are not swayed by features and benefits advertising. They’re suspect of brand bravado. They prefer to connect with organizations that stand for something greater than its product or service. And they want to co-create those brand stories to reflect their shared beliefs and values.

What’s the industry’s greatest challenge?

Attention Deficit Disorder is now a communicable disease and we’re all the viruses. It’s difficult to rise above the noise of the attention economy and be heard. There are far too many practitioners all trying to do the same thing, and clients are frustrated because little of it is working. That’s why story marketing is critical to rise above the noise of the attention economy. Here are the 7 habits of highly effective story marketers.

What advertising or marketing campaign from your childhood do you remember the most? Why did it stick with you?

I dug the Rainier Beer commercials. They were home-brewed in Seattle. One was a motorcycle racing toward you down a country road and passing by as the camera revealed Mount Rainer. There was no music or words, just the whine and shifting of the engine going “Raaaaiiii, niiiieeeer, beeerrr…” Marvelous.

What do you wish more people understood about your industry?

Spoiler alert: Your brand is not the center of the story, your audience is! If you want to connect with people and move them to action, give them a character to pull for, compelling stakes, an uncertain outcome, and deliver a surprise. Voila! You just became a world-class story marketer.

If you want to get your brand story straight, I’m available to guide you. Based on my 30+ years in advertising, I consult, speak, coach and teach on how to use business storytelling to nudge the world in any direction you choose.

You can even download your own DIY guide to getting your brand story straight. I believe that few people will buy into your personal or professional brand story until you own it first. That’s why I’m here, and I’m ready to help you.

Give me a call at 602-770-1962, or visit businessofstory.com