ishmaels corner

Archive: 2011

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Digging Out A Story That Plays with the Mainstream Media

Most of our client campaigns include the mainstream media as a target audience. More than the sheer reach, there’s a certain cachet that comes from landing in Fortune, The New York Times or TIME. Which brings me to a specific article in TIME with the headline, “Made (Again) in the U.S.A. Why firms like Jarden are bringing …more

Tough Times Can Set The Stage For Contrarian Stories

What is your company (or client) doing that deviates from the status quo? I ask this question after being reminded by a 2009 New Yorker article “Hanging Tough,” that difficult economic times can produce rich fodder for storytelling. Let’s talk cereal. The New Yorker piece points out that when the Great Depression hit, cold cereal had yet to put a dent in …more

Check Out This Pie Chart

I’ve been waiting three years to break out this pie chart. That’s when we created the curriculum for our storytelling workshop. In the early stages of the workshop, we discuss the sheer noise level in the market. I like to pick a random day and aggregate the number of news releases distributed on the various wire …more

Rabbis, Hollywood And Storytelling

Dare I say storytelling has become trendy in the business world? Rake through the transcripts of quarterly earnings on Seeking Alpha and you’ll find CEOs espousing the company’s unique narrative. When a CFO starts talking about a decline in earnings per share due to a pesky protagonist, we’ll know things have gone too far. While storytelling …more

Word Choice Makes A Difference In Business Communications

I mentioned I spoke at a conference last week in Asheville, North Carolina. In the course of exploring Asheville after the conference, my wife Heather and I landed at the Tupelo Honey Cafe for breakfast. To borrow from Crocodile Dundee, “Now that’s a biscuit … with homemade blueberry jam.” I chased the biscuit with an order of sweet …more

Applying Storytelling Techniques To Owned Media

I had the pleasure of speaking at Compass USA’s communicators’ conference in North Carolina this morning. As one of the largest food service companies in the country, Compass has a good story to tell. With all due respect to my technology brethren, it was liberating to discuss storytelling in the context of banana bread, grilled …more

Startup Venture Applies Storytelling Techniques to “About Us” Section

There’s no question that startups enjoy an advantage in applying storytelling techniques to the “About Us” section on the company website. For Exhibit A, look no further than a new venture called SigFig. Its site gets the story off to a good start with with the subhead, “Our Story.” Now, check out the narrative: Before starting …more

Occupy Wall Street Movement Hits Home (literally)

The Occupy Wall Street movement continues to grow. It’s one thing to crowd source a speaking pulpit in New York. But the movement has picked up momentum weaving its way to cities across the country. In the latest sign that these “people” aren’t going away, Occupy Wall Street set up camp at The Hoffman Agency yesterday. You can see …more

The New York Times: All The News That’s Fit To Entertain

I was catching up on Charlie Rose segments and came across a recent interview with Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times. The interview offered yet another proof point on the importance of storytelling in cracking the mainstream media. Check out this exchange. Charlie: How does Jill Abramson see the mission of The New York Times? Jill: I see the …more