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 a book in 1967 called “The Use of Lateral Thinking.” 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.



So, what exactly is SEO? Like, basically?

Storytelling for Success

If you’re already an SEO badass, the cat that won’t cop out when there’s danger all about, then this blog post isn’t for you.

But if you’re new-to or on-the-margins-of or just-curious-about online marketing? Well, my friend, you are about to enter the land of the TLA — the Three Letter Acronym. You can’t swing a cat (not that you would, you’re not a monster) without hitting a B2B or a CTR or a PPC. And they’re all important. But they’re not equally important. The 800 pound gorilla, in my humble opinion, is good ol’ SEO.  Continue reading

So, here’s Thought Experiment #7

If you’ve been paying attention to Content Marketing World 2014, you know they got one hell of a keynote speaker: Kevin Spacey. Yeah, the Kevin Spacey. Keyser Söze himself.

(No, I’m not putting a spoiler alert on that. The movie came out in 1995. Romeo and Juliet die, in case you were wondering. Rosebud was a sled. Let’s move on.)

But that got me thinking about one of my favorite storytelling techniques — the plot twist. Oh ye gods, I love a good plot twist. If I don’t see it coming, if like the finest stage magician you distract me with sleight of hand and then spring the surprise on me with a flourish? I am all sorts of into it.

What sort of plot twists can work in your advertising? And how can you make them work on social media? 140 characters isn’t a lot of room, so you’ll have to be clever. But it can be done.

Why would I ask this?

Because you, buddy, should start thinking about how to play with and delight your audience.

Give it a think. See what your inner magician can pull off.

So, what does storytelling require, anyway? Part 4

Storytelling for Success

Here at stately Studer Manor, we dig conflict. Not in the sense that we like arguing about who exactly forgot to put the soap in the dishwasher, Someone Who Shall Remain Nameless, but in the literary sense. Without conflict? No narrative. Without narrative? No story. Just…stuff happening.

Having discussed the other three of the four main classical Western narrative conflicts — protagonist vs. society , protagonist vs. antagonist , and protagonist vs. self — it’s time to tackle:

Protagonist vs. Nature, ie: Captain Ahab Overly Invested In His Job And Hung Up On A Whale Which Is Totally Normal And Not At All Weird, Dude, But No I Don’t Want Your Number, Into The Wild, The Old Man And The Sea, Me Just Trying To BBQ Out Here Where Do All These Mosquitoes Even Come From?  Continue reading

So, is Twitter gonna get creepy?

Storytelling for Success

As you’ve no doubt heard, Twitter is talkin’ turkey about making changes. And the user base is…let’s say less than thrilled.

Over at Gigaom, Mathew Ingram dropped the news that at a “financial conference, Twitter’s chief financial officer Anthony Noto suggested that the service will offer algorithm-driven curation of feeds much like Facebook does, in order to try and improve the relevance for users.” Possibly starting by nuking the reverse-chronological feed that Twitterers have been used to since the service rolled out in 2006.  Continue reading

So, let’s talk about content.

Storytelling for Success

Content marketing. You’ve seen the phrase around. I know you have. Unless you’re a hermit living in one of those astonishing caves in Cappadocia. In which case, welcome to the internet and thanks for stopping by my blog! Here is a link to the most important stuff online.

For the rest of us, especially those of us involved in any sort of writing or marketing or general internettery, the term is well nigh ubiquitous. But I’ve noticed a lot of folks aren’t exactly sure what it means. So let’s clear that up, mm?  Continue reading

So, how about marketing done right?

Storytelling for Success

I’ve talked a lot on this blog about the facepalm-worthy fails of the marketing world. The late night television ads that assume folks are too dumb to operate hammers. The stuff so sexist or racist you wonder how it ever made it to print. Even the things that are just…meh.

Here’s how German home improvement biz Hornbach does it right.


This ad is not only good at giving you warm fuzzies, it works on a whole host of levels. Strong use of color? Check. Excellent narrative? Check. Tapping in to the way we’ve all felt like outsiders? Super check. This aging goth is going to be smiling all day. Who knew DIY was so heart-warming?

Watch it a couple of times. Analyze it. Then see what you can take away for your own marketing.

(Tip of the hat to Fast Company for tweeting the link.)