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The 10 Functions of Storytelling

June 12, 2018 by Carla Johnson Storytelling gets too much credit and not enough appreciation. And that’s because people don’t really understand it, much less how to use it. Storytelling comes down to two things – connection and engagement. And when we look at it from this perspective, we have many more opportunities to use storytelling to create influence, affect …

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Should Your Brand Strategy Include a Bot, or Not?

April 24, 2018 by Mitch Duckler More and more, as customers increase their expectations of brands, they will continue to demand faster responses. Gone are the days when brands had the luxury of waiting a day to respond to an email. In reality, the majority of consumers expect responses to their inquiries in under 10 minutes—across all channels. This is the first …

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4 Ways Branding Contributes to the Customer Experience

April 12, 2018 by Sam Holzman In today’s digital age, the customer has more power than ever before—and marketers are taking notice. In fact, a recent study found that 83% of marketers think customer experience is more central to their role than it was five years ago (source). Interestingly, that same study found that 74% of marketers believe brand strategy …

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The Truth About Brand Extension into Unlikely Categories

March 6, 2018 by Mitch Duckler Many companies try to benefit from the equity of their established brands by launching brand extensions—new products that are introduced under an existing brand name. In our previous post, Why So Many Brand Extensions Fail, we discussed how extending brands has the potential to both heighten acceptance of  new products/services and generate positive spillover effects …

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How Brands are Using Artificial Intelligence in Customer Segmentation

February 6, 2018 by Mitch Duckler With another year of rapid advances, artificial intelligence (AI) was the marketing technology buzzword in 2017. And in 2018, AI and machine learning will become even more accessible to brands. AI will pave the way for marketers to laser focus on target market segments and reach customers, while attracting new prospects and leads, with highly-personalized …

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Is Marketing Its Own Worst Enemy?

February 1, 2018 by Carla Johnson People have been talking about marketing’s need to change for as long as marketing’s been around. We’re told to adjust or perish. Choose between surviving and thriving. Stop taking orders and start creating value. But marketing has the potential to be much more than any of these best-case scenarios. Which is exactly the point …

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How Well Do You Trigger Anticipation?

January 4, 2018 by Carla Johnson When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for Sunday nights. I grew up on a farm and work was never a 9-to-5 gig. With crops, hogs and cattle, we worked whenever work needed to be done. But Sunday nights were different. Sunday night was when we had milkshakes and grilled cheese sandwiches for …

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Why B2B Brands Should Jump on the UGC Bandwagon

January 2, 2018 by Mitch Duckler For years, the world’s biggest B2C brands (e.g. Starbucks, Target, Coca-Cola) have been riding the user-generated content (UGC) wave, while B2B brands have only recently begun to gain traction in creating and distributing UGC. Between 70 and 90 percent of the buyer’s journey is complete before engaging with a vendor, and according to Forrester, a customer …

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Building a B2B Brand Starts with Stories, Not Standards

April 20, 2017 by Chris Schermer As a B2B marketing agency, SCHERMER often gets asked to do “branding.” Typically, it’s marketers who want help with their brand positioning, messaging and identity so that they can create more consistent and compelling communications. These initiatives generally spawn a standards manual, website and marketing campaign, but not truly complete and compelling brand experiences …

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A Strong Storytelling Strategy Will Expand B2B Reach

October 6, 2016 by Carla Johnson B2B marketers have tapped social media as a pillar approach to reaching audiences. In fact, 83% of respondents in the 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends from Content Marketing Institute named social media content and their number one go-to tactic. But social media for B2B usually means LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. A few brands that …

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How to Tie ROI, KPIs and Other Metrics to Storytelling

October 4, 2016 by Carla Johnson We hear about storytelling a lot, but what does it mean? And does branded storytelling actually work? And can you measure it? That was the topic of last week’s Content Marketing Institute twitter chat with Jacob Warwick, marketing strategist at Blast Analytics. Here were the top takeaways from the chat… Question 1: What’s the …

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Humana Taps Socially Savvy Employees as Brand Advocates

September 13, 2016 by Carla Johnson Humana’s focus on health and wellness isn’t just something for its subscribers. It’s proving a tremendously beneficial approach for inspiring and empowering employees to serve as brand advocates for the Louisville, Kentucky-based insurance provider. Companies face a tug of war between wanting to empower employees to act as brand advocates and wanting to control …

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The Difference Between Brand Purpose, Vision and Mission

September 6, 2016 by Carla Johnson The ability for a brand to separate itself from the rest of the market and rally employees to deliver distinguishing experiences for customers is a challenge for every company. Taking care of the daily details of running a business of any size is demanding. Add to that the fact that more customers want to …

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Don’t Be Trapped by Form

August 30, 2016 by Robert Rose When I first came to Los Angeles, one of my screenwriting instructors told me something that I still find invaluable today. He said, “When you have a story, outline it, abstract it, even write it without considering whether it will be a novel, a screenplay or a television show. If you start with the …

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B2B Brand Storytelling: Learning From Nike

August 23, 2016 by Carla Johnson When it comes to consistently telling a brand story, few brands have the sustainable track record that Nike does. From its inception in 1971 (previously known as Blue Ribbon Sports), founders Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman have been unwavering with Nike’s mission: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. What …

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What’s Brand Storytelling and Why Do You Need It?

August 11, 2016 by Carla Johnson Frustration. I’m hearing more of it and not just from marketers – but from executives as well. Conversations that used to be within the walls of marketing are overflowing into the C-suite. And a big part of that conversation is about relevance. How do we become more relevant not only to customers, but to …

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Sleepless in the C-Suite: What keeps CMOs up at night?

August 2, 2016 by Carla Johnson “What keeps you up at night?” For marketers, there’s plenty. The annual Tech Heads survey of marketing directors and business buyers points out exactly this. This year’s results reveal that B2B CMOs are six times more likely to lose sleep than gain it in 2016, compared with previous years. And while there are several …

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Creating Highly Effective Internal Marketing Programs

July 14, 2016 by Michelle Smith Whether called internal marketing (IM), employee engagement or internal communications, the concept is the same – to align, motivate and empower employees to consistently deliver positive customer experiences that are aligned with the firm’s brand and organizational goals. The definition advances the notion that the discipline is more than communication tactics or a way …

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Brand Your Company: How to Tell Your Organization’s Story

June 30, 2016 Once upon a time, storytelling was something business professionals did when they got home from work if they had children to lull to sleep. Today, however, it is being touted as a core skill that those at all corporate levels should master. And with good reason. Storytelling has earned such attention because, quite simply, it works. Stories …

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Digital Storytelling: Powerful Insights from 14 Top Experts

May 17, 2016 Storytelling is a skill that content marketers need to have, but it’s also something that they struggle with. Most marketers confuse digital storytelling with digital selling. There’s a big difference. Marketers who consistently tell a great story understand there’s a number of ways to tell a story through digital channels that give it dimension and make it …