Category Archives: Marketing and branding

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John F. Kennedy and stories of identity

John's reflections, Leadership in the news, Leading by autobiography, Marketing and branding Leave a comment

  In November, I did a quick stop-over in the US on my way back to Amsterdam from Argentina.  Though I stayed less than a day in North America, the timing of my visit made it a fascinating one. When I landed in Atlanta, I realized that it was on the day that marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. As I spent much of the 12-hour layover in airline lounges, or simply wandering through the airport, I read and watched numerous stories about this man, his presidency, and his untimely death. It all caused me to reflect on why Kennedy seemed such an important figure … Continue reading

Pope Francis: a leader who simply embodies his story

leadership, Leading by autobiography, Marketing and branding Leave a comment

One of the important pieces of advice I give to leaders taking on challenges with a new group or in a new context is to make sure to embody their stories. Nothing undermines the credibility of a new leader more than a perception that he is not authentic, that he tells one story and lives another one. People often ask me about the dangers and pitfalls for the storytelling leader. My most common answer is that the number one trap is the temptation to tell stories that are overly embellished, or that paint pictures that somehow do not ring true with listeners. To the followers, one’s story must be reality, … Continue reading

The power of simplicity

leadership, Leadership in the news, Marketing and branding, Storytelling Leave a comment

“Out of clutter, find simplicity.” This was Albert Einstein’s first rule of work. It is a quote that I have used countless times in my coaching of leaders.   In fact, after fifteen years of working with individuals on their self-expression, I have come to believe that there is a general human tendency to make messages overly complex.  When I hear people telling their stories, making their speeches or giving their formal presentations in a corporate setting, I am usually left with the impression that the whole thing is overly cluttered.  We need desperately to learn to simplify. As such, one of the most interesting articles I have come across … Continue reading

Fan engagement at Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts

John's reflections, Key to communities, Marketing and branding, Storytelling, Storytelling and marketing Leave a comment

In the previous post, I wrote that Dunkin’ Donuts seems to do better than Starbucks at engaging their fan community.  Let’s look at why. As a regular visitor to Starbuck’s Facebook page, and a subscriber to their emails, I am often puzzled by the lack of storytelling in their communication.  If there is a company with some good stories to tell and an impressive following of loyal customers who could write about their in-store experiences, it would certainly be Starbucks.  So, I sometimes wonder: Are they still living mostly in the old world of marketing, the world of one-way messages to their fans? Much like IKEA, Starbucks seems to have … Continue reading

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