How to Evolve Stories From Product and Process to Promise and Purpose

This is the sixth of our 7 part post series regarding the humanizing of brand stories. It’s about how source and sentiment can make the difference in creating either information that merely explains “what” or “how” versus actual stories that engage through their ability to communicate purpose and reason for being. What defines the difference? There are four key areas of disconnect which fuel or weaken a brand’s story engagement potential.

Do Expert Expectations "Kill" The Social Media Star?

Overly expert expectations could be keeping a lot of smart people from engaging with social media. Is that what we want? Does turning social engagement into a realm of experts, gurus and absolutes kill the (potential) social media star? Post by Andrea Learned

Leadership: Evolving from Corporate Authority to Influence and Vision

This is the fifth post from our brand storytelling series. It explores the rise of social networks and how this has not only democratized communication between business and people, but also the topic of leadership. True leaders have the ability to inspire the mind and embolden the heart to take action.

Why Employee Engagement Needs to be Infectious

Why is employee engagement often regarded as a “nice-to-have” vs necessity, when in reality it is not unlike the challenge of building external community and engagement. This post takes a deep dive into the biases and the reasons why the misconception and lack of support and investment.

Brand Sustainability Stories That Tell Themselves

The article was featured in CSRWireJanuary 9, 2014. It provides an overview of the discussions that took place at a Yale Interbrand event held in Dec. 2013, where panelists shared discussions on why stories surrounding a product, not the product itself, will soon take over in satisfying consumer interest.

Beyond Closed and Proprietary to Open Social Collaborative

THEME #4 of Post series on Humanizing Brand Storytelling Brands born out of a business culture that is more open and social will endure and succeeds far beyond business/brands who rely on a closed, control-minded business strategy for growth

FROM Demographic Segments TO Social Communities and Shared Interests

We synthesize what we learn and observe in order to better understand and connect. Contrast this approach to what happens in business. Ironically, the default response is to break down through analysis. This process of re-interpretation is meant to simplify information – but in the long run it produces a distant and simplistic understanding of the customer. The difference is not only philosophy and methodology. More importantly it is proving to be a significant business disadvantage.

Where Are the Women Leaders In Sustainable Business?

When the Weinreb Group's "Pioneers of Sustainability" report came out last month, it highlighted the top trailblazers that sustainability professionals had nominated and selected in a vote. All six chosen for the honor were men. The reaction was immediate: Emily Miggins, longtime leader in food industry supply chain sustainability, commented on Marc Gunther's original post about this research: "I was there when this party got started as mentioned above, and there is a collective women's voice missing in media coverage of women in sustainability and it's disappointing."

FROM Mass Media Push TO Engaging Relationships

As human beings, we know that aggressive communication doesn’t bring people closer. Instead, it repels most people away and undermines the chance for dialogue and relationship. Yet somehow when it comes to the communication and marketing of brands, this very basic human principle is perceived as a weak and ineffective approach to building business. In brand marketing the merits and impact of mass media align more with the concepts and success principles of manufacturing than that of human/social dynamics.

How Social Humanizes Storytelling for Business & Brands

Many of the story themes that were once regarded best practice and believed to be useful, we now know via social media as ineffective in generating meaningful and enduring interest. The new tradition of storytelling is less about what “THEY (corporation) want people to know,” and more about the stories that people can relate to on a human level.

Why CSR brand and culture may become "unsustainable"

We see the terms “brand” and “sustainability” mentioned together more often today than ever before. Since brands usually function as the connection between business and people, their role has evolved beyond marketing to also represent corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. But when a corporation's sustainability commitments become unfulfilled promises, or fail to engender broader support - the future of a sustainable brand can ultimately become "unsustainable."

Journal of Brand Strategy Excerpt: Retailing with Purpose

Anneliza Humlen, President of SocialVoice LLC. and Gwen Morrison, Co-CEO of WPP Retail, have co-authored a paper for the Journal of Brand Strategy. The paper showcases the growing movement and success stories of retail leadership that are guided by a conscientious commitment to purpose over profit.


Bridge Knowledge Gaps

As the nature of branding evolves, the knowledge gap between traditional and digital/social marketing grows. For many, what is often missing is the opportunity to build upon current know-how, and access focused training that is relevant to their industry, role, and challenges.

Build Internal Engagement

Employee engagement fuels collaboration that is essential for business performance and long-term growth. But when employees are disengaged, business growth is unsustainable. Often, employees just need a shared purpose they believe-in, and personally rewarding reasons to engage.

Nurture Employee Passion

Some of the most interesting and inspiring people in business today do not have a background or role in Marketing or Communications. Thanks to social networks, Brand Ambassadors from R&D, Customer Service, Operations, and beyond, have become valuable assets in building exponential brand interest.

Brand Storytelling

The ever changing shifts in media/communication requires brands to have an even greater understanding of who they are, and passion for the story they have to share. Unfortunately, most brands today define themselves in ways that limit their identity and relationship-building potential.

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