ishmaels corner

Category: Book Reviews


Social Networks in China Don’t Follow the U.S. Model

A few weeks ago I forwarded an article from a major U.S. newspaper to our China team that referred to the social network Renren as “China’s Facebook.” Their response that the story completely missed the mark planted the seed for this guest post. There’s something to be said for an on-the-ground view. Yin Mei, who …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

If You Care About Storytelling, Bookmark “Why’s This So Good?"

Don’t let the words fool you. This isn’t the latest addition to the Food Network. “Why’s This So Good?” comes from Nieman Storyboard, part of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Enjoyed the way Andrea Pitzer describes the new feature: “… we thought it would be intriguing to host a series of one-off posts by …more

The Anecdote Earns Assist in Jason Kidd Story

Long-form journalism remains a mainstay of sports. I consider Sports Illustrated one of those pleasures up there with the “Dining Section” in the New York Times and the Red Sea blend from Philz Coffee. A story in last week’s edition on Jason Kidd called “The Old Man And The Heat,” caught my attention. First, it’s great to see …more

When Storytelling Morphs Into “Laying It On Thick”

One doesn’t typically think of the humble news release as a storytelling platform. Savvy communicators have proven otherwise with examples ranging from Gold’s Gym (Fit for a Phone) to our own recent work for Zediva. But is it possible to take the storytelling in a news release too far? Try to guess the product category in …more

UPS Ad Doesn’t Deliver

I’ve been impressed by UPS and how the company’s PR team embraces storytelling techniques. I highlighted how UPS landed a Journal article around training, not the type of topic that typically cracks a national daily. A second post on UPS analyzed BusinessWeek Bloomberg coverage titled “Squeezing More Out of Brown.” UPS gets it. Which is why I was so surprised …more

Social Media Meets Corporate Storytelling: The Good, The Bad, The Unauthentic

That’s the title of the IABC lunch panel that takes place in Silicon Valley on April 21. I have the pleasure of joining social media guru Steve Farnsworth for what should be a lively discussion. Steve does believe in storytelling. And I absolutely embrace social media. Still, there’s plenty of provocative turf to navigate around these two areas. …more