So, let’s get honest about tech and narrative conflict

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If you’re in tech or online spaces at all, I’m sure you’ve seen The Video.

A few tech fellas, newcomers to San Francisco, had a…let’s call it a difference of opinion with some long-time local kids about who got to use a public soccer field.

The techies didn’t come out looking too great.   Continue reading

So, I’m nowhere near done with lateral thinking

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Now, I don’t want to brag? But I bargain hunt, y’all. Double coupons, discount codes, extensive online searches — I can squeeze a dime so hard Eleanor Roosevelt returns from the dead to smack me for roughing up her husband.

So when I decided to investigate shooting some lo-fi guerilla video for marketing and branding tastiness, I was not going to splash out for a shiny camera that did much more than I needed for much more than I wanted. Especially since I’d have to do tons in post to get the effect I was after.

Enter the fine folks at White Rabbit Japan, and the single most adorable video camera ever created.   Continue reading

So, here’s Thought Experiment #9

Last time we experimented thoughtfully, I let you in on the secret method behind my madness for these challenges — lateral thinking. Since then, I’ve been thinking about thinking, in a recursive kinda way. I’ve decided there’s a Patron Saint of Lateral Thinking. And he’s got a mullet.

Yes, ladies and gentlebeings, I’m talking about Agent Angus MacGyver. (Didn’t know he had a first name, didja? Well he did, and it was Scottish. And awesome.)

So here’s your Saint MacGyver Challenge.

Look around you right this instant. At your desk or on your phone or when and where ever you’re reading this. What’s in sight? Paper clips? Coffee stirrers? The answer to the mystery of the Mary CelesteWhatever you see is all that you have for this experiment.

Now. Construct something. Even just an image or a logo or a still life. But here’s the catch. That something has to represent your brand.

Bonus points if it blows up. Because MacGyver.

Why would I ask this?

Because you, buddy, should be flexing those lateral thinking muscles.

Go on. Get cracking. Make Mac proud.

So, what’s all this about character types?

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There are a lot of different ways to talk about the characters that make storytelling work. You can get your Jung on and talk about archetypes. You can go theatrical and delve into the masked roles from commedia dell’arte, which involves amazing masks and will make you hungry (No? Just me? I can’t be the only person who gets hungry just reading Italian). But today I’d like to look at characters through the lens of change: Do they or don’t they?

Continue reading

So, let’s talk about perception and engagement

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Storytelling is a specialized subset of communication. And communication requires two parts to complete a circuit of meaning — you need a speaker (writer, artist, Martha Graham-type interpretive dancer, etc.) and a perceiver. Then those two halves switch sides so information flows both ways. Then and only then do you get engagement.

You, my darling little alpaca, only have control of one half of that circuit. What do I mean? Gather ‘round and let Auntie Steph tell y’all a tale.  Continue reading

So, should my biz blog?

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Oh, you fabulous little crumpet. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! A blog is wholly yours, a place where your branding can be polished as shiny as a new dime.

Blogging is a brilliant way to improve your SEO. Blogging is a brilliant way to establish your expertise. Blogging is an extra-crunchy brilliant way of connecting with your customers. Don’t believe me? Check out this infographic from the fine folks over at Social Media Today. Starting with this statistic:

61% of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.  Continue reading

So, here’s Thought Experiment #8

“Hey, Stephanie — what’s with the Thought Experiments, anyway?” you didn’t ask. But I’m going to answer anyway. I’m nice like that.

There’s this clever gent named Dr. Edward de Bono who wrote “The Use of Lateral Thinking” in 1967. And it is. Useful, I mean. It’s become sort of trendy and buzzword-y since then, and the original meaning has sometimes been lost in a haze of vague approximation, but in essence, lateral thinking is using creative, indirect approaches to solving problems.

That is what each of these little experiments is designed to do. Make you think about your branding in a different way. Shake up your assumptions. Walk up to your preconceptions, poke ‘em in the chest, and say, “What’re you gonna do about it, punk?”

In other words, there’s a method to my madness. And here’s today’s experiment.

What coffee drink is your brand?

Maybe you want to be a sleek and high-tech coffee, like a Chemex pour over, to reflect your modern sensibility. Or maybe you’re youthful, playful, something frothy and blended? Maybe you take no guff and no prisoners, and you’re a straight up cup of joe, black, no sugar.

Why would I ask this?

Because you, buddy, should start thinking about how you want to present your company to consumers used to seventy gazillion options.

G’head. Give it a ponder. See what’s in your cup.