A brand is the distinct emotional experience people have with you or your business. Branding includes everything you do to shape that experience distinctly, consistently, and surprisingly. . How do you shape your brand story? How do you share your brand story in a way that feels integral to you and your business?

Brand Story – Exposing Yourself Publicly

Tracking Wonder - Brand Story

On most days I’m immersed in other people’s personal lives, histories, and stories as a way to tell their brand story. But when the tables turned and I was in the spotlight, well… gulp.

A few months ago in NYC I found myself giving the most intimate interview I’ve ever offered. It was more than an hour of talking about myself, my life from tow-headed boyhood to gray-headed papahood. I kept waiting for the interview to turn the focus “beyond me,” to work, to ideas, to other people. It didn’t. Read more

Marketing and Thought Leadership

Image: Unsplash.com

Image: Unsplash.com

Marketing matters to anyone wishing to build a business, advance a career, or become a viable author or thought leader. You know that.

But in the wrong doses and with the wrong timing, marketing can kill creativity, thwart innovation, and stall the very professional growth necessary for long-term or next-term success.

Ironically, too much reliance on marketing data at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons can create a brand or book that has the very qualities that lack authenticity and do not lead to brand loyalty. Read more

Best Articles in Brand and Innovation for April

Tracking Wonder - Brand and Innovation April

Every month Tracking Wonder brings you some of the best articles from across the web that have stopped us in our tracks or given us pause to think and consider perspectives in creativity, brand, and innovation.

With help from Tracking Wonder’s research assistant Gianna Kaloyeros, I’ve gathered and curated some of what we deem the most relevant studies, stories, and news that will help you and your team excel at having the most impact and influence – all via storytelling, brand, and innovation. Read more

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

Brand & Innovation Digest – March 2017

Tracking Wonder - Brand and Innovation

Once again, over this past month, Tracking Wonder’s research assistant Gianna Kaloyeros and I have gathered and curated some of what we deem the most relevant studies, stories, and news that will help you and your team excel at having the most impact and influence via storytelling, brand and innovation. I wanted to share some of them with you.

Jeffrey, Chief Tracker & Lead Consultant at Tracking Wonder

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Brand & Innovation Digest – February 2017

Image: Unsplash

Image: Unsplash

During the past month, Tracking Wonder’s research assistant Gianna Kaloyeros has curated some of what we deem the most relevant studies, stories, and news that will help you and your team excel at having the most impact and influence via brand building, storytelling, and innovation.

– Jeffrey, Chief Tracker at Tracking Wonder

Four Reasons Every Startup’s Brand Needs Attention

From Forbes.com
With a personal account and wealth of advice from an entrepreneur and investor, Kumar Arora nails down the four biggest priorities for startups building their business. Don’t wait to start building the brand culture, he says, even in the infancy of the business. Among the four priorities is making sure your brand has a carefully considered name, builds customer loyalty, remains a source of inspiration, and sets your business apart from the competition. Kumar Arora @karora007

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The Secret to Sales

vintage-music-business-shop

Selling well doesn’t come naturally to most people with good ideas. To most, it feels gimmicky and inauthentic and manipulative. But it doesn’t have to follow the usual big-loud-buzz formula. In fact, the secret to selling is all about your customer. In the piece below, I share the secret to sales as shown to me by the example of my father, a successful radio advertising salesman and marketer.

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