Photos from StoryChicago…
October 28, 2009 by Kevin Sterner

Sitting here at StoryConference. Here are a few images.
More people than expected. Good start to the day.
Love being with people who are passionate about Storytelling.
Sitting here with 1500 others from my tribe. Feels like home.
You need to come next year!



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No. What do you DO?
October 24, 2009 by Kevin Sterner

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I saw this sign at a McDonald’s this morning, cialis sales sovaldi and it reminded me of a simple but profound question that I ask my clients…”What do you do?” It may seem easy enough to answer but the answer should convey more than just a profession…it should communicate passion.

I get asked what I do all the time. I admit I am tempted to answer differently every time.

I am a designer.
I am an artist.
I am a communicator.
I am a brand strategist.
I am starting to bore myself.

These are just categories. A sorting device that is marginally helpful in differentiating myself.

What if I said something more provactive…that actually incited more questions and buy cialis professional no prescription cultivated more interest in what I was doing or offering…

I am an agent of clarity.
I am an imagineer. ( thank Disney for this term )
I am a brand storyteller.

Now we’re getting some where.

What do you do?

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Brandwords: indelible
October 23, 2009 by Kevin Sterner

Indellible means lasting, cialis buy tadalafil irreversable, irrevocable, a mark left that can not be
easily undone. An impression that is not easily forgotten.

What causes people to be marked? Changed forever. What makes something stick?
Chip and Dan Heath call it the “spectrum of memorability” in their book MADE TO STICK.

Here are their principles for leaving lasting “indelible” impressions…

PRINCIPLE 1: SIMPLICITY

How do we find the essential core of our ideas? To strip an idea
down to its core, we must be masters of exclusion. We must
relentlessly prioritize. Saying something short is not the mission
— sound bites are not the ideal. Proverbs are the ideal. We must
create ideas that are both simple and profound.

PRINCIPLE 2: UNEXPECTEDNESS

How do we get our audience to pay attention to our ideas,
and how do we maintain their interest when we need time
to get the ideas across? We need to violate people’s
expectations. We need to be counterintuitive. We can use
surprise — an emotion whose function is to increase
alertness and cause focus — to grab people’s attention.
But surprise doesn’t last. For our idea to endure, we must
generate interest and curiosity. We can engage people’s curiosity over a long period
of time by systematically “opening gaps” in their knowledge — and then filling those gaps.

PRINCIPLE 3: CONCRETENESS

How do we make our ideas clear? We must explain our ideas in terms of human actions,
in terms of sensory information. This is where so much business communication goes awry.
Mission statements, synergies, strategies, visions — they are often ambiguous to the point
of being meaningless. Naturally sticky ideas are full of concrete images because our brains
are wired to remember concrete data. In proverbs, abstract truths are often encoded in
concrete language: “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.” Speaking concretely is the
only way to ensure that our idea will mean the same thing to everyone in our audience.

PRINCIPLE 4: CREDIBILITY

How do we make people believe our ideas? When the former surgeon general C. Everett
Koop talks about a public-health issue, most people accept his ideas without skepticism.
But in most day-to-day situations we don’t enjoy this authority. Sticky ideas have to carry
their own credentials. We need ways to help people test our ideas for themselves — a “try
before you buy” philosophy for the world of ideas. When we’re trying to build a case for
something, most of us instinctively grasp for hard numbers. But in many cases this is
exactly the wrong approach. In the sole U.S. presidential debate in 1980 between Ronald
Reagan and Jimmy Carter, Reagan could have cited innumerable Statistics demonstrating
the sluggishness of the economy. Instead, he asked a simple question that allowed voters
to test for themselves: “Before you vote, ask yourself if you are better off today than you
were four years ago.”

PRINCIPLE 5: EMOTIONS

How do we get people to care about our ideas? We make them feel something. Research shows
that people are more likely to make a charitable gift to a single needy individual than to an
entire impoverished region. We are wired to feel things for people, not for abstractions.

PRINCIPLE 6: STORIES

How do we get people to act on our ideas? We tell stories. Firefighters naturally swap stories
after every fire, and by doing so they multiply their experience; after years of hearing stories,
they have a richer, more complete mental catalog of critical situations they might confront
during a fire and the appropriate responses to those situations. Research shows that
mentally rehearsing a situation helps us perform better when we encounter that situation
in the physical environment. Similarly, hearing stories acts as a kind of mental flight
simulator, preparing us to respond more quickly and prescription for viagra effectively.

Those are the six principles of successful ideas. To summarize, here’s our checklist for
creating a successful idea: a Simple Unexpected Concrete Credentialed Emotional Story.

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“Me Monster” or “Moonwalker?”
October 22, 2009 by Kevin Sterner

Some leaders think that the organizational goal for brand communication
is volume. Saying a lot. Saying it loud. Saying it often. Those things work
if carefully planned and scripted. But often they just make the organization
sound self-centered, sildenafil find salesy, and wind up stiff arming potential customers
who really were interested but never got a word in edgewise.

The goal is having a story that is told at precisely the right moment
and so differentiates your business from the rest that people are compelled
to listen, discount engage and act.

Is your organization a “Me Monster or a Moonwalker?”

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Scattered, Smothered and Covered.
by Kevin Sterner


Waffle house offers 8 ways to eat hashbrowns.

Scattered.
Smothered.
Covered.
Chunked.
Topped.
Diced.
Capped.
Peppered.

They say “good morning” to me in a way that seems genuine whether it is or not.

At my local “wafflehouse” which I frequent with my boys, best cialis ambulance they even know me by
name. It’s not quite to the level of Norm and Cheers™ but its a comfortable place
to crack open a paper, look sip a cup of joe, troche and have a mountain of cheesy eggs
in front of you in under 2 minutes.

My waitress eggstrordinare is “Jacquee” spelled with a “Q”
She has a lot of service pins on her vest so I assume she is a “lifer”

This morning I heard an older couple ask for the usual and then the
waiter proceed with the familiar “pull two bacon.” After he was done
he asked them how long they had been coming to the Wafflehouse for
breakfast…”Over 50 years” they replied.

Imagine if by being selective and consistent…by keeping it real and order viagra uk friendly,
getting to know people by name, even able to recite how they like their “coffee & eggs”
by memory…you could string together 50 years worth of experiences with the same
customer. What is the (LCV) Lifetime customer value on that…

Probably just slightly more than I’ve spent at Wafflehouse in 20 years.

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Another “Good’n”, er uh…Godin
October 21, 2009 by Kevin Sterner

I recently re-read this book by Seth Godin. One of the best marketing
authors of all time. It’s a book that declares that Successful marketers
don’t talk about features or even benefits. Instead, sildenafil ailment they tell a story.
A story we want to believe. Enough said…I wholeheartedly agree.

godin

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Listen, Surprise, Delight, Repeat.
by Kevin Sterner

“His house was perfect, viagra canada look whether you liked food, tadalafil click or sleep, sovaldi or work, or story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking, best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.” JRR Tolkien ( referencing Bilbo Baggins Home )

I took a page from my own book tonight. With the onset of fall, and the crispness in the air,
I heard several of my family members mention that certain foods sounded good based on the
clear advent of the fall season here in Atlanta. I headed to the store intending to surprise the
family by cooking. Somehow every one loves it. I must confess I love that they love it.

I think I am the most satisfied when I’ve satisfied others. Let’s face it, my wife loves it because
she doesn’t have to cook. The kids love it because they like my food preferences, basically
anything on the grill, and my in-laws (who live with us) love it because, they usually get swept
up into the family food prep and this gives them a break too.

My menu tonight consisted of:

Blackberry Glazed Pork Tenderloin
Buttery Sweet “Silver Queen” Corn
Baked Apples
and Fresh Pressed Cider

A perfect fall meal. If I do say so myself. Everyone loved it as evidenced by their fawning
over the chef. Must admit I love that too. After doing this now about once a month, I have
cemented my position as an epicurean giant among the Sterner clan.

The point…even in a domestic situation, I was reminded that the people like to be surprised
and delighted. They are surprised the most when they realize someone was actually listening.
“Experiences” become beloved and “tradition” when they are ritualized and repeated.

I ( listened ) to my target audience who were predisposed to a taste of fall.
I ( surprised ) them by doing something unexpected when “dad” came home with a bag of groceries.
I ( delighted ) them with a “special meal” and “the night off…for mom”
I intend to ( repeat ) this ritual and insure my place in the pantheon of IRON CHEFS

What would happen if you listened to, surprised, and delighted your customers time and time again.

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The significance of the “About Us” page
October 20, 2009 by Kevin Sterner

I thought this article by Tom Young was insightful. I think I’ll go reevaluate my “About” page…

________________________________________

The About Us page does not always get the attention it deserves and often fails to drive
Website conversions. Don’t take this page for granted, discount viagra sildenafil as Website visitors to these pages
should be considered qualified prospects. Users do not click randomly on Website pages
and a visit to the About Us page shows a high level of interest. Here are a few tips and
suggestions to improve your About Us page and drive more conversions.

Reinforce Your Brand
The home page should be a clear branding statement for your company. The About Us
page can go into great detail and support that branding statement and your position.
The stronger the connection between the About Us page and the brand, sovaldi sale the higher your
conversion rate. Use the About Us page to reinforce your philosophy and business approach.
This should connect with the users motivations for being on the page and build trust.

Drive Traffic to the About Us Page
Up to 5% of our clients’ Website visitors click on the About Us page. These pages will get more
clicks if the About Us page link is prominently displayed in the navigation menu.

Company History
The About Us page is a great place to display company history. This adds value and builds trust
as it supports the brand. It is also used to support your home page messaging. This carries a lot
of credibility and will drive conversions as users better understand your business.

Team Member Photos and Bios
Seeing real people behind a Website and a business is a huge trust builder. Make yourself look
good with professional photography and keep the photos consistent. Include a caption with each
staff photo and a brief bio.

Client List and Testimonials
Your client lists and/or sample customers are a testament to your business success and should be
included on the About Us page. List your clients by name with a brief description of the products or
services provided to them. The About Us page is a great place to put client comments, testimonials
and case studies. If possible, include a photo or company logo of your client or customer.

Use customer first names only to maintain privacy.

As you can see, the About Us page is critical to success on the Web. Make sure you title
the link “About Us” in your navigation menu and follow these suggestions to drive results
for your Website.

Thomas Young is CEO and President of Intuitive Websites, a Colorado Springs
based Internet marketing, Website design and usability firm. To learn more
about Tom visit www.ThomasVYoung.com. He can be reached at:
tom@IntuitiveWebsites.com or 719-231-6916.

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The Courageous Leader
October 19, 2009 by Kevin Sterner

A couple of days ago, discount cialis sovaldi in an interview, viagra generic ask someone asked me what quality was most necessary for a leader who is navigating through a rebranding campaign or leading broad organizational change? Is it Creativity? Charisma? Salesmanship? Emotional intelligence?

My answer was immediate and matter-of-fact. It’s Courage.

I’ve worked with several organizations in the past few years whose leaders I deeply respect for diving head first into the unconventional. For humbly aligning themselves with skilled people and teams, generic and then getting out of the way.

I admire them for questioning “why we’re still doing it this way” and for modeling and defending organizational ideals. Their leadership is leaving a wake of inspiring stories along the way.
Stories that feed the belief that “future dragons can be beaten”

Stan White at Forest Home (Forest Falls, CA). Kevin Myers and Norwood Davis at 12Stone Church (Atlanta, GA), and Chris Duncan at Convene (Placentia, CA) to name a few.

I’ve enjoyed being “one of the great cloud of witnesses”
cheering them on as they enter the arena and cross the finish line to extraordinary results.

These men had the courage to embrace vision and invest not just the bare minimum, but the resources required to create momentum with excellence. They committed themselves to the
cause even under great scrutiny.

Every leader will face barriers when leading change. The courage I’m speaking of is the moxy to stand up to the unexpected threats. The naysayers willing to settle for status quo and sandbagging versus innovation. The jacobytes in every organization willing to applaud ideas for change in the boardroom but who go looking for their own spine when it comes time to actually doing something or committing resources.

A favorite quote of mine is by G.K. Chesterton

“Fairy tales don’t teach children that dragons exist, they already know dragons exist, fairy tales remind children that dragons can be beaten…”

Courage is contagious, and one of the most redeeming things that a courageous leader experiences is how that courage inspires others to beat their own dragons.

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Tim Sanders – 3 Marketing Practices
October 18, 2009 by Kevin Sterner

I like this video Tim just posted…some great ideas here…

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