Storytelling In Leadership, Brand ...


The “what’s ahead for the blog in 2012” post mentioned plans to create the “Grab Bag,” a collection of tidbits that couldn’t rightfully stand alone.

Here’s the first one –

Leadership and Storytelling

jim harbaugh

Prior to the 49er/Giants NFC championship game, Monte Poole from the Bay Area News Group wrote a column about the leadership of Jim Harbaugh.

The perspective from long snapper Brian Jennings caught my attention:

His passion and expertise (are) easy to follow. “I’ve always had trouble remembering stuff that doesn’t make any sense. If someone’s lying, it’s hard to remember what they said. But if something resonates as true, it’s easy to remember. That’s where it’s easy to follow, because it’s true. It works.

Nicely captures one of the reasons storytelling works.

I’d love to conduct an interview with Mr. Harbaugh on the topic of storytelling. Based on how he answers questions at his press conferences – What is your name, Jim? I’ll need to watch the game tape and get back to you – I don’t think this going to happen.

BTW, not a bad Super Bowl yesterday.

Brands Must Evolve

We increasingly work with clients with the number-one objective to build their brands.

In today’s world, it makes no sense for the logo jockeys to lead the brand charge. Content, not “look and feel,” sits at the core of a brand.

During a recent brand audit engagement, the Southwest Airlines brand came up in several interviews. There’s no question that Southwest has built a brand that brings out its humanity.

What it’s easier to forget is great brands, including Southwest, must evolve.

As Exhibit A, I give you a Southwest ad from 1981:

southwest ad 80s

Fun with Language

There’s something about business that transforms articulate people into drab communicators.

The exceptions to the rule often come from the startup community, which recognizes the status quo won’t siphon off attention from established players.

For example, I wrote about SigFig and the storytelling techniques applied to its “About Us” section.

Just came across a startup called still in stealth mode. They could have designed the standard vanilla home page with words to the effect: “Check back later after we launch.”

Instead, they came up with this:


Definitely gets the venture out of the gate with some personality.

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