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Use Writing to Discover Your Brand and Business

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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

Tracking Wonder - Brand Story Strategy

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

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Guidelines for Crafting Story

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So who’s your Story about?

I generally feel a wee bit disoriented right after shaping a book proposal.

What’s it worth? I wondered. What if my agent rejects it? What if this is all a fool’s errand? What have I done with my life? Okay, I don’t go quite that far.

Last time this happened, my six-year-old peeked in my study. She wanted to show me her outfit – a summer skirt and a short-sleever atop a long-sleever.

“I just couldn’t wait any longer to wear summer clothes,” she said as she twirled around the study. And at that moment, I remembered again why I’m writing this book, why I’m building Tracking Wonder, why I utterly adore engaging readers. Read more

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Brand & Innovation Digest – February 2017

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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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Brand/Innovation Digest – January 2017

world-globe

Research assistance from TW Team research assistant Gianna Kaloyeros.

Periodically Tracking Wonder’s research assistant Gianna Kaloyeros and I will curate 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 branding, storytelling, and innovation.
– Jeffrey, Chief Tracker at Tracking Wonder

 

Connecting with People and Branding Comes Naturally

from The Times of India
In a media landscape of inauthentic messages, authentic branding will always rise above the noise, says Shubham Nagdeve. “Branding comes automatically when you connect with people,” Naresh Jakhotia reminds The Times of India. It’s through connection that a brand earns trust and defines its meaning. Small and large brands alike can benefit from genuinely connecting with clients to contribute value. Read more

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The Secret to Sales

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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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When Vision Shifts, Values Stabilize

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We each see the world through our heritage of personality, experience, expertise, and values.

A software programmer develops her expertise. A doctor of integrated medicine develops his. A marketing specialist see the world and how to solve its problems through her lens, and an educator, through his.

Imagine they each are on the same interdisciplinary team of a big startup venture. It’s not an unfamiliar scenario.

How do they speak the same language in order to communicate, solve problems, and collaborate with momentum? What happens when their blossoming vision meets the reality of execution and market need?
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My Girls, My Tears, & Our Brand Stances

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I cry more often than you might think. It usually comes from feeling someone in pain more than admitting my own. Conversations and relationships plus music, art, film, books, and, yes, commercial videos turn on the tears for me.

My crying reflects back to me what I care about, what I stand for, what drives me.

My 7-year-old girl cries often, too. One January night last year, I gave her a brief overview of Martin (Michael) Luther King, Jr.’s life. As is par for her, the death fixated her curiosity. “Now why did he die? How did he die? Why did the man shoot him? That’s ridiculous. That’s just ridiculous to hate someone because of how they look.”

And then before bed she cried because of how MLK had died.

When I’m really honest with myself these days it’s both the knowledge of suffering and the conviction for something better for our world and, frankly, for my two girls that drives me. I do want to add my small verse to a world where we grown-ups can wonder and remember what is true, real, and beautiful.

I suspect something similar privately and deeply drives you, too.

Because here’s the deal, as I see it:

One view of our world in 2017 is that we as a species are becoming more and more hostile and divided, driven to distraction and despair.

Another view is that many of us are creating change – in big and small, large and quiet ways – in how we relate to each other, driven by conviction and ideals. Read more

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To Be Famous Versus To Be Seen

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The Fleeting Clap

You could make a long list of celebrities who attained fame and then wished to flee from it as if fame were pursuing them instead of the other way around. Fame can be the siren’s song that lures you into thinking you need heaps of applause and accolades to feel good about your work in the world. It is the veneer reflection of good work.

Chase after applause, and you measure success and contentment by how many and how loud. When the clapping stops, you leave yourself wide open to a chasm of disappointment or worse.

Here’s an interesting thing: When you chase after applause, you’re in such a hurry to gauge other people’s surface responses that you overlook the very thing that brings you abiding joy – the challenges of honing a craft, building an endeavor, improving a skill set, learning to do something brand new, and making something that in turn changes the way people think or feel or act.

It’s tough to resist this lure of instant mini-fame. It’s especially tough in a time when programmers who make apps and social media platforms know how to tap into our base needs for instant gratification. Like, Like, Like, Like.

We don’t need fame to thrive. We don’t need millions of people throwing accolades our way for our art or business or endeavor to make an impact and to make a return.  Read more

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Four Truths of a Brand Story

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People get confused about brands and branding. Some people think branding means pretty or sassy logos. Some people think branding means smarmy marketing. I have a different take. From my years of research, working with clients, and shaping Tracking Wonder’s own brand story, four truths have become evident.

1. Story bonds us.

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” – author Phillip Pullman.

Story-based brands linger in people’s hearts and build stronger communities. We spend money on stories we want to be a part of.

2. Branding is personal growth.

Shaping a brand story can accelerate self-knowledge more quickly than a year of personal growth classes.

To shape the elements of a brand story requires deeper ways of exploring and problem-solving than simple writing exercises or “doing a website.” They require mounds of self-knowledge and confidence. And they typically require perspective from trusted colleagues or mentors or advisors.

The most valuable brands and businesses – including personal brands and personality brands – are not simply self-expressive. They are self-expansive. Read more