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Tracking Wonder - Brand and Innovation April

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

Tracking Wonder - Your Brand Story

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.

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

Tracking Wonder - Self Publish

Should You Self-Publish Your Book?

Tracking Wonder - Self Publish

Image: Unsplash.com

As a writer I’ve published my own books with Penguin and with independent presses.

In my 20+ years in the industry I’ve navigated the path to publish extensively with authors.

When you break down what a traditional publisher – regardless of size and reach and reputation – offers to you, you can start to figure out how or whether you can replace and add certain areas of value yourself.

Read more

Tracking Wonder - Persistence to Write Books

Persistent Sprints Build Books & Businesses

Tracking Wonder - Persistence to Write Books

Are you time-strapped or focus-challenged, but keen on writing a book or have a business to build?

It might seem counter-intuitive – even threatening to your cherished beliefs – to imagine writing a book or building your signature business Story 15, 30, 45 minutes at a time. But that’s how you can do it.

Fantasies trap us.

When we imagine writing a book or building our newest business artistry endeavor, we conjure images of languid, lush hours mulling, creating, wandering, and – eureka! – you’re writing that brilliant book or launching that extraordinary endeavor. It’s terribly romantic. Read more

tracking wonder - Big Book Myth

The BIG Book Myth: Does Your Book Have to Be BIG?

tracking wonder - Big Book Myth

Consider the book you want to write.

Why do we get caught up in thinking we have to write a 300-page “big” book or nothing? That’s the question my pal Charlie Gilkey invited me to consider, and that’s the question I want to get perspective on.

Do you think that to write your first or next book, it must make a cannonball splash? That it needs to be The Book?

The Book comes fraught with expectations. The Book must range from 250-350 pages. The Book must bring you into the limelight – or re-establish you there.

If that rings familiar, how is that expectation serving you? Read more

tracking wonder - how long to publish

How Long Does it Take to Publish?

tracking wonder - how long to publish

A lot of people ask me how long it takes to publish a book.

I wish I had the definitive answer. Let’s get perspective on the reality and why you might or might not need a traditional publisher.

It took one author a solid 15 years to publish her book because of the book’s complexity and because of the traditional Big 5 publishing process.

It took Lowell Thing over 25 years to see his book The Street That Built a City to life with Black Dome Press. Read more

Tracking Wonder - Challenges of Writing Your Book

Navigating the Challenges of Writing Your Book

Tracking Wonder - Challenges of Writing Your Book

 

Here is what I cannot stop asking myself: How do people get through the inevitable challenge of writing and create their best work? What drives them?

Really, that question has driven me for years to experiment with, research, and create.

It’s driven me to track wonder.

It’s one thing to fall in love with a fantasy. It’s another thing to stand in love with a dream.

Members in the Tracking Wonder community and ecosystem are creating their best work. Like, every week. It’s a pretty astonishing to witness. They’re launching workshops, websites, writing books, poetry & building businesses.

But none of them are without challenges. Read more

Image: Unsplash

How Many Drafts Does it Take to Write a Book?

Image: Unsplash

Image: Unsplash

Writing drafts is a process of discovery

You know, Michael Bungay Stanier didn’t write his elegant book The Coaching Habit in one draft. Or two. Or three. He wrote multiple drafts. In fact, he presented the book with multiple angles and in multiple structures to Workman Publishing, who had published his previous book Do More Great Work (that sold hundreds of thousands of copies) but to no avail.

Finally, after many attempts at getting his book published, Michael took matters into his own hands, hired his own publishing team, and published The Coaching Habit with his own Box of Crayons Press. Read more

child-reading-story

Four Truths of a Brand Story

child-reading-story

Courtesy Unsplash

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