Content Marketing: Ideas for Shaping Your Brand Story

Tracking Wonder - Your Brand Story

Image: Unsplash.com

If you can make people feel something you can generally grab their attention. Your brand story matters because your why is the powerful driving force getting you out of bed even on the days you’d rather roll over, ignore what needs to be done and binge watch Netflix.

It’s also a pretty compelling reason for other people to notice and ultimately invest in you, your book, your brand or business.

Whether it’s a personal story or the inspiration behind what drove you to create your business, story is what as humans, we’re wired to we resonate with deeply.

My work with clients involves lots of field research and study of models so we can iterate, emulate, and innovate. In a nut shell, see what works. Here are 3 surprising sources for inspiration for story I think you;re going to enjoy.

1. Johnny Walker

Yep, the bourbon. Actually, two German university students submitted this 90-second film on spec to the bourbon brand legend. Watch how it piques your curiosity, raises questions in you about the men’s relationship & who’s speaking, and where – if anywhere – they’re wandering.

The product isn’t the Story. The brand Story here is how the product is entwined in people’s lives, memories, and celebrations. Even the tough-minded are likely to shed a tear at the poetic script’s truth and beauty. In 90 seconds.

My questions to you: The next time you shoot a program or product video, how can you pique curiosity instead of being obvious? How is your product or program or service entwined in people’s lives for the better? You don’t need a 6-figure production budget.

2. Starbucks Upstander

Warning: There’s a not-so-subtle political drive behind these stories. Still, it’s an example of how real stories of real people can drive home a point. If your brand is justice-related or if you’re a social entrepreneur, take stock.

My question to you: How can you tell stories of “ordinary” people who are fulfilling a mission or the core values your brand stands for?

3. Jonathan Fields: One Author’s Quest to Plant 10,000 Trees

Jonathan combines his passion for nature with his quest for a good life in the “10,000 Tree Good Life Forest” Project. Here he tells the story of his book and his personal quest in a context that matters.

My questions to you: If you’re launching a book or product, what larger mission that might involve partnership or collaboration can you imagine? Tap into both your core values as well as the book’s or product’s content. Remember, your book is not your Story. It’s only a part of the brand Story you’re living.

If this blog speaks to you I invite you to join our The Tracking Wonder Quest Community. Our community is comprised of professionals, entrepreneurs, creatives, teachers, coaches, and consultants dedicated to doing Business As Unusual. I’d be pleased to have you join us.

Learning: The New ROI

Source: Unsplash

Source: Unsplash

Whatever it is you’re building, creating, or advancing, when you think of your return on investment, weigh it on what you learn in the process. This is often over looked or not calculated into the final ROI at all.

Backstory

I laid out rows of three acorns on the lawn.

Me: “How many rows of three are there?”
7-year-old: “Foherr” (she rolls her ‘r’s as if she were French).
Me: “So, how much is 3 times 4?”
7-year-old: “Twelve!” Read more

Use Writing to Discover Your Brand and Business

Image: Unsplash.com

Image: Unsplash.com

Whether you tag yourself “writer” or not, writing can feed the ideas you’re obsessed with and the questions you’re living and that your brand and business is delivering on.

Writing can inform your brand’s integrity. And if you’re in transition – in life, business, brand – oh, yeah. Writing is an ally there, too.

Someone asked me recently about the work I do and how I help to  build brands and the brand stories they’re based on. The answer. I do build a brand the same way I build a life: An idea consumes me. I write, research, dive deep, create, test. Through that process, I unfold a brand and business. Read more

Content Marketing: Lead With Your Story

Tracking Wonder - Brand Story Strategy

How a local clinic and an alpaca farm benefited from brand story strategy.

I see a lot of businesses (as well as online entrepreneurs) make the same mistake when they build a website and venture into content marketing and social media. Business owners unintentionally bring old assumptions about advertising & marketing to online content and social media.

Traditional advertising is about pushing your product or services onto customers or potential customers.

The ads might be clever to get attention. You pay a premium for advertising and invest in expensive print collateral, and you just sort of hope somehow by virtue of advertising’s messenger pigeons that the right person will get the mail and show up at your door.

So what happens when a business owner steeped in traditional advertising and marketing ventures into the brave new world online? Read more

The Power of Consistency For Business Growth

Tracking Wonder - Consistency for Success

Consistency is your ally to steady growth in creativity, business, and life.

While it may sound unsexy, you know and I know the best laid plans will fail without a dedication to consistency. If you’re running a small business or you’re a solopreneur, the power of consistency for success is particularly relevant. Here’s a few ways that consistency will fuel growth for your business and life. Read more

How to Use Writing to Track Your Big Ideas

Tracking Wonder - Big Idea

People often ask me what I do as Chief Tracker at Tracking Wonder. I help people think. It’s that simple. Except it’s not. Thinking means that we don’t only come up with new and useful big ideas.

It also means my idea-collaborators and I think through how to translate the most viable of those ideas into actual endeavors, entrepreneurial experiments, brand-aligned websites, start-ups, pitches, books, community-building efforts.

Really, I help people chart a path to earn a reputation, earn respect, and earn revenue for their beneficial or artful ideas. Not simple but profoundly rewarding.

This current journey all started with writing. Writing has been my way to discover what I think I’m thinking, to make meaning, to discover what’s behind what I’m feeling, and to participate in shaping a future.

If you have an idea that lights you up, writing might be a tool to help that idea get traction. Read more

Books That Matter to Author & Consultant John Jantsch

YCB-BooksThatMatter-header-JohnJantsch

Books That Matter is Tracking Wonder’s interview series that showcases influential thinkers’ and authors’ relationships with books that matter to them.

John Jantch offers consistently useful, grounded marketing advice for business owners and thought leaders who want to attract and engage their customers with real value. His blog is among my go-to for practical know-how. John’s influence skyrocketed when Thomas Nelson Publishing brought out his book Duct Tape Marketing in 2007. He has since built a team of certified consultants and produced more useful books, including SEO for Growth: The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Website Designers, and Entrepreneurs. I wanted to know what books stick with the “sticky” marketer. John’s influences range from an architecture design philosopher to Holden Caulfield to Deepak Chopra. Enjoy. Read more

Why Are You Writing Your First Book?

pexels-photo-46274There are some generally held misconceptions about writing your first book, specifically the first novel.

There are two schools of thought on first novels. Some people believe your first novel is essentially practice. First novels are sometimes referred to as “Juvenalia.” Consider William Faulkner’s first two novels, Soldiers’ Pay and Mosquitos, both almost forgotten. Critics generally believe his third novel, The Sound and The Fury, only achieved greatness because he dumped his “precious darlings” into the first two failures.  Read more

5 Stages of Confidence in Writing a Book

Tracking Wonder - Confidence Curve

A funny thing happens to a writer’s level of confidence in writing a book. It shoots up and down seemingly as erratically as weather.

Part of what makes confidence so unreliable is what we base confidence on. We try to base confidence on nebulous emotions such as passion and a blind belief in our own abilities & authenticity and bull-headed willpower.

If I just believe in myself, I can write this stellar book. Just gotta believe! Just gotta write, write, write. Practice, practice, practice.

What if your confidence in building your book could be grounded on something solid, authentic, and heart-opening at the same time? Read more

5 Ways to Advocate on Your Path to Publishing

Image: Unsplash.com

Image: Unsplash.com

You’re writing a book. You’ve written a book. You’re looking to publish your book.

Your options are not just the Big 5 or self-publish or bust. The publishing world is so much more diverse than that.

What’s cool but confusing is that as a business artist, writer, executive, or professional, you now have more viable options than ever to publish.

But options can create anxiety.

Beyond my screen sits a table stacked with books. Yes, I still prefer print. So do most Americans. And so do most children and college students, by the way.

Read more

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