#brands get a life
creative / strategy / production
Speaker, Coach, Author, known as “The Ego Guy”
-Creative & Strategy
Mentor to TED Fellows
-Dr. Frederick Balagadde
TED Talk Coach
-Jessica Green “We’re covered in Germs. Let’s design for that.”
-Andy Lipkis “Trees: the superheroes we’ve been waiting for.
-Zubaida Bai “A simple birth kit for mothers in the developing world.”
“What is True Character?" When you first meet someone, what influences your initial impression? How they're dressed is often what we first notice. But what determines whether you want a long-term relationship? It’s likely to be your experience of their true character: how trustworthy, genuine, and authentic you feel them to be. If you think of your brand as only a logo or a tag line, then you’re only thinking about the hat you’re wearing and the first, “Hello.” But a brand is the experience of how you act -- how you make and keep your promise as an experience over and over again; to your customers, employees, and your strategic partners.
“What does knowing my True Character's promise do for me?” The most successful brands who express their true character, create loyalty, trust, and ferocious word-of-mouth. This applies to services, products, corporations, leaders, and personalities. Consistency builds powerful trust and a reputation that is hard to break even if you’re Elon Musk and Facebook and you blow up your rocket ship.
“Once you define my true character and promise, then what?” We work with you to create a Character Brief that specifies your unique ethics, promise, values, attributes, market positioning, brand architecture, look and feel, talking points, and your action strategy. The Character Brief is a tool that aligns the actions of everyone working for you and with you, actions that come naturally to you - promises you can make and really keep in the market--yes, leading to sales… but more importantly, leading to relationships.
“What's in a name?” Everything...which is why we work tirelessly to help you find the best one. Sometimes great names come quickly, more often they take long hard hours of perspiration, dedication and feverish wordplay. Naming is your true character giving birth: sometimes painful, occasionally messy, but creating vibrant new life filled with possibility. Uh, and building your website is like having twins. :-)
“Is @The Story Studio a design firm too?”Think of us as your turnkey creative directors with the goal of having your brand experience staged and working in all the right channels within six months. Whether it’s supercharging your existing design and support relationships, or bringing new players to the game, we’re your connection to visionary print and digital designers and programmers who will bring your Character Brief’s look and feel to life. Us; generating a budget and RFP for the design services you might require...providing a visual creative direction….producing your collateral, advertising, and promotion copy. You; turning the key.
“What's up with all those video pieces you've done?” We admit it. We really love video. And video on Social Media is proving to drive the best engagement. More than just informing or entertaining, we love how video communicates emotion, passion, and humor -- the stuff that truly gives your brand life in a compelling, elegant way. And we make your videos to custom fit your objectives and speak convincingly to your target audience. Emily Aiken, Rob Kirk, Bob Burris, Sharon Hashimoto and many of our creative Studio Players have extensive backgrounds in the entertainment industry. Emily has generated hundreds of B2C and B2B sales presentations for some of the most important and profitable properties and personalities in media. Rob and Bob have executive produced, directed, and written for Studios, Cable Networks, and Corporations. We’ll put award-winning documentary producers, writers and ghostwriters, corporate coaches and media-trainers, multimedia directors, app creators, producers, screenplay writers, and performance teachers to work for you--infusing our work with a dynamic sensibility of vision, sound, and narrative--even when dealing strictly with print.
“Why should I brainstorm with a bunch of people? Can't you and I figure this out?” Try asking this question instead: Do you want your brand, your ambition, your success, to have every possible advantage in the marketplace? Before we launch production, we are tireless in our drive to add weight and power to our ideas, to find and fix any shortcomings and unearth the game-changing ideas that come from both collaboration and individual epiphany. We call it a charrette: (yes, we got an A in high school French) An intense collaborative period of creative exploration that has evolved into a light version of Design Thinking. Time and again we’ve found that brainstorming sessions @The Story Studio profoundly accelerate any go-to-market project with maximum efficiency and results. Whatever your story--a product launch, a market extension, merging corporate cultures--our brainstorming on your behalf will be the most productive planning dollars you’ve ever spent.
(OK, the last one we write to you for believing in your success as much as we do.) Many of our clients cringe when we suggest they post to social media or write an ongoing blog. Is that you? If so, don't feel bad. We can serve as your coach and editor. We can give your employees and partners the tools to make their own contributions. If you’re still wincing, we’ll handle the whole thing, expressing your ideas in your voice. We are your social secret weapon. Our Story Players have ghostwritten numerous business books and memoirs -- and pride themselves on being completely invisible in the finished product. As an advisor, futurist, and TED Fellow mentor, our founder Emily Aiken always brings an innovative future-thinking twist to the table. What else do you and your team members need to say today? PowerPoint presentations, executive summaries, media coaching, investor pitches, book coaching, sponsorship proposals, media scripts, brand narratives, press releases, website copy and advertising copy...we’ve got the keyboard crumbs and sticky letters to prove it. Rob = pretzels, Les = potato chips (never hers, they’re really her son’s) Bob = chocolate chip cookies, Cindy = Doritos, Sharon = M&Ms, Marika = extra hard pretzels, Laura = Hot Cheetos, Emily = nothing, because she is perfect.
“I’m up and running -- so why aren't my customers running to me?”Usually it’s an alignment issue. The experience you are creating for your customer lacks relevance, clarity, and may be inconsistent with your True Character. Loyalty is created by building trust. You build trust by meeting the expectations of your customers over and over again. It is vital for you to define those expectations. How do we put you back in alignment? Using the elements of your brand's True Character as expressed in the Story Studio-created Character Brief, we audit your target markets, your competition, and all of your customer’s trigger points (see how smoothly we keep the chiropractor analogy going?) Then we develop a creative brand strategy for getting you back on track so that your customers encounter only authentic expressions of your brand promise as an experience in action. Also, a consistent presence (yes, social media) and repetition of these authentic experiences over time is essential to success.
In a world where nearly every business, big or small, can be disrupted by two people in a garage, and volatility is the new norm, success in the marketplace means you have to be a shark: you move or you die. We’ll ensure that you move with purpose -- purpose that supports your ambition and produces results that will keep you ahead of the ever-breaking wave of change. We identify the evolution that will build your brand equity and enhance the mood within your business culture. We apply extensive brand audit skills to anticipate threats and opportunities generated by outside forces--processes that help you see both the present and future with acute, bifocal vision. We pride ourselves in our track record of helping clients shift their mindset from a dread of change and risk, to seeing change as not only inevitable, but as a necessary ingredient for success.
We work with our clients to craft an offer that can carry them into the future. Every 20 years a new generation moves into a marketing “target” range; Boomer, Gen X, Gen Y, known as the Millennials, and now Gen Z , also known as the Give Generation. But we think Disney had it right years ago when they released Snow White every 7 years. We practice thinking 7 to 10 years out which in today’s world means watching the drift of important trends. Simply keeping up with Google’s algorithms would seem like an obvious place for creative brand strategists to focus. But we have found that connecting our clients’ Creative Strategy to what is appearing on the horizon often manifests a new business model or a connection to an important strategic partner, propelling them ahead of the curve. Our eyes are on the future of how we:
Transact - the Blockchain, Open Source Everything, Crowdsharing, Tribal and Social Media
Live - CRISPR, Internet of Things, Sensors, Sustainability, Virtual Communication, Energy
See - Genomics, Nanotechnology, Drones, Micro Fluidics, Microbiomes, Astrophysics
Experience - Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Immersive Built Environments
Learn - Interactive Games, Somatics, Neuroscience, Data Mining, Artificial Learning
Design - Bio-informed Design, Ecosystems, Exoskeletons, Bio-mimicry.