The Art of Great Storytelling & Creating Engaging Content

Bryce Cannon National Park, Cannonville, UT

Bryce Cannon National Park, Cannonville, UT

Having just spent the last 7 days on a family vacation, I witnessed first-hand the natural beauty of the Desert Southwest.  We were fortunate to have the presence of National Geographic photographer Phil Schermeister. 

Phil taught us to shoot the camera perpendicular to the direct sunlight.  The angle of the light captured the contours of the rock formations which were accentuated by the late afternoon shadows.  The contrast of light and dark made the photos more visually intriguing, as if they were telling a story.  Our guide Owen Sivitz added his own personal narrative of the “grand staircase.”

The colors represented here are the clarion formation, iron-oxide rich depositions of limestones from an ancient riverbed, lakebed, and cretaceous sea from approximately 50 million years ago.  The top layer of the Grand Canyon is the bottom layer of Zion Canyon, and the top layer of Zion is the bottom layer of Bryce Canyon.  Hence, the grand staircase.  Essentially, when we were down in the Grand Canyon, we were missing approximately 10-15,000 feet of earth that has eroded away so that there is almost no evidence that it ever existed.

It reminded me that the art to great storytelling is to use facts and figures to paint a mental image in the listener’s mind. That’s what good digital marketers do to create engaging content for their readers.  With colorful comparisons and contrasts, the images are burned into the reader's memory cells and evoke emotion that stimulates their soul.

What is Your Personal Branding Strategy?

Having recently participated in a branding strategy workshop, I was inspired to come up with something profound for a meaningful blog post.  So much can be said about a company’s brand, but ultimately it is the people who make the brand come alive.  It’s how they talk about the brand, how they relate to it, how they feel about it, and what they do with it. 

Everyone knows someone who is passionate about their company’s brand. They are emotionally invested in the brand and it becomes a part of their identity. But the questions facing many companies are: How can we make our brand instill that kind of passion and emotional investment? How can we give our brand a personality?

In order for a brand to have a personality, it has to be relatable. It’s has to have some unique characteristic, purpose, or bit of history that resonates with people in a very personal way.  The brand should make you feel inspired to tell the brand story...who, what, why, how.

Brand Graphic.jpg

I’m not talking about 30-second elevator pitch or value proposition.  I’m talking about each person’s unique engagement with the brand and how it makes them feel.  Once the brand becomes part of your identity, you own it.  You represent it.  And you become a brand ambassador.  Whether it be on your sleeve, on your hat, on your bumper sticker, or in your daily communication…everything you do leaves either a positive or negative impression on those you come in contact with. 

It has often been said that “People do business with people they know, like, and trust.”  If you are the brand ambassador for your company, what message are you sharing every day?

What makes a cool brand?

If you ever want to know what’s cool, just ask a 14-year old girl.  You may not even have to ask her, she’ll just tell you.  It helps if her mother is a maven and her 16-year old sister is a fashionista.  But in this particular case, we’re talking about marketing and branding.  So, here’s how I know…

After 3 years of research, I finally broke down and bought a YETI cooler.  I was not entirely convinced I needed a YETI, but as a BBQ GrillMaster, pontoon boater, and now a wanna-be fisherman, I decided to pull the trigger.  Her 1st question to me was, “Does Mom know about this?”  I said, “Yes, she approved it.”  Then she said, “You know I’ve been wanting a YETI for 3 years?”  I said, “Really, why?”  She said, “Because they are cool.”  And then she said, “We need to decorate it.”  I said, “Huh?”  She said, “Yes, we need to decorate it with cool stickers.”  Again, I said, “Why?”  She said, “Trust me, Dad.  It’s what you do.” 

Of course, I was curious as to why a 14-year old girl knew so much about YETI coolers and their cult-like following.  So, she made a list of stickers that she wanted.  She went to “The Google” and searched for cool outdoorsy fishing stickers.  Slowly I was starting to get it.  She said, “Dad, we need to go get stickers.”  I had no other appointments so I said, “Sure, let’s go.”

And so, we headed to the Outdoor Source for some cool stickers.  The COOLEST sticker they had was a Patagonia fish.  I must admit, I was impressed.  I do like the Patagonia brand and they do have a cult-like following.   Unknowingly, I put the fish on upside down.  She said, “Dad, you’re an idiot.  It’s backwards.”  Again, I was impressed that she was so aware.  Personally, I would have the fish going the opposite direction like a StoneFish, but that’s another story for another time. 

She wanted to get a bunch more stickers so we headed to Lowes.  She said her mother wanted a Dewalt sticker.  Of course, who wouldn’t want a Dewalt sticker on their YETI?  So we went inside and asked the Lowe’s people if they had any Dewalt stickers.  The “older” folks looked at us funny like “why would you want a Dewalt sticker.”  She said, “C’mon, Dad.  They don’t get it.”  And so we where off again to our next stop, Dick’s Field & Stream. 

I wanted a Weber sticker for the YETI so I had her call Weber and see if they could send us a sticker.  Apparently, the “older” lady on the other end of the line at the Customer Support desk was not familiar with the concept of putting a sticker on a YETI cooler.

On the way to Dick’s Sports, we passed REI.  She said, “Oh, let’s stop there.”  We went in to the front desk and asked the 20-some guy at the counter.  He said the only stickers they had were REI stickers.  I told him that my daughter and I were decorating a YETI cooler.  He went behind the counter to the secret sticker vault and came out with an absolute handful of REI stickers.  And that’s when I realized that the really good marketeers understand the concept of stickers and decorating coolers, bumpers, laptops, and anything a 14-16 year girl would use, wear, drive, etc.  It’s called FREE ADVERTISING and CROSS-BRANDING.

The secret of good marketing is to understand your target audience and figure out what they like and why.  I now look at brands entirely differently.  I try to look at it from the eyes of a 14-year old girl.  Because if she gets it, then it will be cool.  And if it’s cool, it’s gonna be big. 

How did I not know this?  How could I have been so blind not to see what’s really going on?  14-year old girls spend money and they are constantly trying to define who they are.  They go online to Pinterest and pin stuff (clothes, fashion, birthday gifts, interior decorating tips, crafting stuff, outdoor adventures, spring break trips, health and fitness, and techno gadgetry). 

You can tell a lot about somebody by the things they choose to spend their money on.  Fortunately, my two girls babysit a lot and mow the grass so they can afford to buy some of this stuff.  But the real story as a student of the field of marketing is “how did they find out about these things and why do they want them?”  I guess I am going to have to save that blog post for another day when I better understand this ever-growing segment of the population.



Start Up Week in Columbus

What an AMAZING week to be in Columbus!  Over 160 speakers and 2000 attendees gathered together for 5 days to listen, learn, and share their ideas about entrepreneurship, social enterprises, smart cities, emerging technology, networking, fashion, food/beverage, software, marketing, data analytics, and so much more.  The Vue Columbus and CHASE Base Camp hosted the event in The Brewery District with TechStars, Rev1 Ventures, Columbus 2020, City of Columbus, COTA, The Ohio State University, Hatch, ZoCo Design...  Click HERE for more info on the event.  

Bear & Roo Launch New Sangria Candle & Logo Design

So excited to see the new Bear & Roo logo and sangria candle arrive just in time for the San Antonio Fiesta "Battle of the Flower" parade and King William Fair.  Michael and Tia Fishel Molinar have been making 100% all natural, soy-based candles since 2006.  Bear and Roo are the nicknames of their two adorable daughters, Chloe and Reese.  

I had the chance to speak with "TT" and Michael about their new logo design and their business.  The idea behind the sugar skull logo was to capture the essence of the Dia de Los Muertos.  A Mexican holiday celebrated on Nov 1st every year to remember family members that have gone before us, the Day of the Dead is celebrated throughout Central and South Mexico as well as all across the United States.

What makes Bear & Roo special is that it is a family business.  Chloe, Reese, Michael & Tia hand pour the small batch artesian candles then attend community art festivals together.  They love to interact with Customers to help them find the perfect candle for their home.

According to Michael, there are virtually 1,000 of scents to choose from in making the candles.  Most people have a memory of a scent that is familiar to them.  When they smell the fragrance of the candle, it sparks a memory from their past.  Typically, the significant other will choose the candle for their spouse/partner.  The candle provides both light and warmth and welcomes guests into the home.  Additionally, the soy-wax is a healthier, longer burning candle which does not release any toxins into the environment.  

Bear & Roo currently has 23 scents available online on their website with 4 new ones coming soon.  Check them out today and buy a candle for a loved one.  Turn on their lovelight and make the world a brighter, happier place.

Franklinton Fridays

So excited to be a part of the Idea Foundry.  So many amazing things going on within the Maker Space community.  Special thanks to Alex Bandar for creating a place for an awesome group of innovators to live, learn, share and grow together for the betterment of community.  It could not happen without your commitment, time, energy and effort.  It does not go unnoticed.

Idea Foundry

And thank you Trent Smith for his dedication to the Franklinton Board of Trade.  Looking forward to the annual meeting and Silent Auction Gala next Thursday, April 20th at COSI.  So much to celebrate

Franklinton Board of Trade