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The Power Of Storytelling

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Today’s consumers are an extremely connected, discerning bunch, and engaging with them requires a thoughtful approach to communication. Reaching them goes beyond pitching your product or service, even if you think they’ll love it. It’s about effectively tapping into their values and lifestyle and finding a way to connect on a more personal level. But, how do you get them to care and ultimately choose to invest their time and money in you? One secret is an age-old method, but it's a powerful one: it's the art of storytelling.
Storytelling is intrinsic to every culture. From creation myths to legends and folk tale, it’s at the core of what makes us humans and how we relate to each other and the rest of the world. It works in PR and marketing because it allows us to connect with our audiences and take them on a journey; one that stimulates feelings, ideas, and attitudes consistent with our marketing goals. The word “storytelling” can sometimes get bad rep, especially when associated with the PR profession and our reputation to put a “spin” on things. But storytelling can be genuine, authentic and most importantly, effective, when it comes to empowering a brand and forging more meaningful relationships with their audience. The human brain is hardwired to remember stories, not to recall facts or data.First, let's elaborate on why it's vital for a brand to have a story. It breathes life into what might otherwise may be considered a cold corporation solely interested in the bottom line. People connect with other people and storytelling allows you to sell a brand, rather than a product. Successful brands are subtler when it comes to promotions and are more focused on being part of a bigger conversation, because today’s consumers expect more from the companies they support. Both the public and the media love a good story, and want to align with brands that are authentic and transparent. They want to know about the real people behind a brand and the causes they're committed to. Storytelling is about entertaining, educating and engaging with an audience to build that emotional connection that can lead to earning a customer’s loyalty.The first step is identifying your story. What do you want to be known for? How will you stand out? And, why should people care? This is where public relations plays a key role. One responsibility of public relations is to uncover a story that a brand’s audience will care about. Most of the time, a business already has a fantastic brand narrative, heartwarming anecdotes or a rich history that lends itself perfectly to the story. But often, the team is too close to the brand and doesn’t recognize the value in sharing. Bringing in a professional storyteller, like myself and my team of brand strategists and creative copywriters, provides an unbiased perspective and the know-how to tell that story in the most effective and lasting way possible. Storytelling is at the core of public relations, as we seek to influence reputations, perceptions and behaviors. To meaningfully relate to journalists and your target audience, we need to tell compelling stories. We are expert wordsmiths, developing an authentic voice that speaks louder than what many today see as "canned" advertising. Simply announcing a product launch isn’t effective anymore. The news needs to be in the context of something bigger to convince whomever we’re talking to that our announcement affects them and they should care. And a truly good PR team knows how to get the most mileage out of your story, and continue to build upon momentum gained; it’s not a one and done deal, we make your story work for you!Storytelling is not cookie cutter. A good story could start with an interesting origin that traces back to humbler beginnings, or shine a light on a company's unique culture. It could also be as simple as expanding on a fun fact, such as an ice cream chain with its highest performing location in Alaska. However, some of the most impactful stories are purpose-driven. Research has shown time and again that when a consumer feels good, it translates to more sales at the register, even if they must pay a premium. It gives them another reason to choose you over the other “good enough” options, even if you’re the more expensive choice.For example, we worked with an iconic fast food chain with a rich history and its largest share of customer made up of baby boomers. It was time to appeal to their next generation of guests. We worked closely with the team on a for-cause marketing campaign designed to support the brand's desire to give back while making an impression amongst a younger crowd. A cross country RV tour to help feed and clothe the homeless, enlisting the help of high school-aged volunteers? It was the complete package, and to think they almost didn’t talk about it! Not only did it have that feel-good aspect, but it was visually compelling which was perfect for reaching a digitally-driven consumer. In a world bombarded with information, the saying ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’, has never rung truer. We weren’t shouting why the brand was better or shoving promotions down throats. Rather, we offered a platform for the students involved and the homeless community to share their thoughts and stories, which always came back to our client in the most organic way. The media was especially receptive to the message and it was a story they wanted to share. For those touched by the campaign, the brand would now be remembered for being more than a fast food chain. It’s a brand that cares about the communities it serves, and that is a major differentiator.Your story is what sets you apart from your competitors, but a story is only truly good if it is heard. As media strategists, we understand how, where and when to tell the story and who to tell it to. PR professionals also help connect the dots so that your narrative complements your overall brand messaging. Of course, we understand that storytelling is a means to support bigger sales and marketing initiatives.Today, storytelling is not only an essential part of your brand identity, it helps your customers feel connected and closer to your company. In a time when millennials are calling the shots and their passion lies within brands that stand apart from the rest, it’s imperative now more than ever to have your story be told. The fact is, everyone has a story to tell.  The companies that do it well often succeed and, more often than not, they have a professional storyteller assisting them. So, what's your story?

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5 Ways To Break A Bad Habit

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We all have bad habits whether it is biting finger nails when nervous, smoking, or gambling. The bad news about bad habits is its ability to impact relationships, happiness, and health. Many people want to kick their bad habits, however not many of them succeed in doing so. In order to successfully overcome bad habits, the first step is to develop insight in their origin. Once you know what is causing these bad habits, it will be easier for you to control these triggers, and you will be one step closer to kicking these bad habits forever.

Decide That You Can

If you have a bad habit like being chronically late you need to acknowledge that you have this bad habit and decide that you can kick it. Being totally committed to changing yourself is the first step to success.

Learn What Is Causing This Bad Habit

Learning what causes a bad habit is one of the ways to kick it and know how to avoid it. Take a good look into what is causing the habit. Take being late for example. Is it because you forget to set the alarm or maybe you stay in bed even if you’re already awake? By figuring out what is causing your bad habit, you can work out how to manipulate the situation so that your behavior is different. Take a look at the "reward" for your bad behavior. Do you like the excitement or attention when you are late? If this is the case, maybe you can figure out ways to get noticed or to become excited over something else.

Set Reasonable Goals

For those who are chronically late, being on time the first time after deciding you want to change can be very hard. It is better to set reasonable goals so that you can slowly work towards achieving bigger goals. If you want to start arriving on time, it would be unrealistic for you to set being on time the first day after setting the goal. For those who are chronically 20-30 minutes late all the time, set a more realistic goal of being "only" 10-15 minutes late for the first few weeks and then gradually lessening the minutes until you get into the habit of being on time.

Measure Progress

One of the ways to keep motivated is by seeing how far you have come to reach your goal. Seeing your progress will keep you inspired and work harder to achieve the ultimate objective. For those who are chronically late you can keep tabs of your lateness by taking note of it in a journal or calendar. You might not experience progress immediately so it is important not to get discouraged but to keep on moving forward.

Additional Support

Lastly, find somebody who will support you and help you kick your bad habit for good. For those who are always tardy perhaps you can get a co-worker to cheer you on or remind you to get going if you're slacking off on a project again. Ask family and friends to help you by telling you it's time to get ready for an appointment right away lest you be late. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Weight Watchers are testament to the fact that it can be hard to do it alone and that you don’t have to.Aside from negative impact on relationships and work, bad habits can also shorten your lifespan. Eating junk food and not exercising can cause various diseases that can affect health and longevity. Smoking, drugs and alcohol can cause a myriad of health problems and gambling can jeopardize family land financial security. Some bad habits need professional help to totally eliminate however, following the above stated examples can give you a head start in getting rid of them.
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Why Quality Is Better Than Quantity In Design

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We have all been taught that quality is always better than quantity. This is true even in design. Quality is better than quantity in a web design, because a well designed website is thought out and capable of capturing your target audience. While it is true that there is competition when it comes to web design, there are still many designers and companies that prefer their designs to be tailor-made for their company rather than a 1-size-fits-all type of website. Here are reasons why you should always go for quality rather than quantity.

Quality Means Better Work

Let's stick to the example of quality web design. When you go to the internet and search for products, you usually go through several sites before settling on a page that catches your attention. But, before you decide to stick to that page, you've probably browsed through 3 or 4 websites. You might try asking yourself why you left those pages. Some of the most common answers include: slow loading time, unfriendly web design or uninformative product descriptions. All these reasons point towards sloppy workmanship on the part of the website developer. This could mean that the company is hiring inexperienced talent due to an overload in projects or poor supervising. Either way, this does not bode well for the reputation of your company, because it makes you look sloppy too.Quality takes work. Designers and craftsmen alike need to consider many different factors so that they can make a product attractive to the target market. If your website looks like a cookie cutter website, it makes you look unoriginal and common. It might make customers think you stole website ideas from your rivals, because your website looks like theirs. This could translate to a loss in trust and a drop in reputation for your company.Quality designs, on the other hand, means that thought was given to the design and development of the product. Designers studied what the customers wanted, what they need, and find ways to make the product unique to entice customers to them come back. All of these take time, but they have a better potential of paying off in the future. Designers and craftsmen need to consider everything from materials to the cost of time and materials ensure that the product is of good quality.

Quality Means Getting Noticed

There are over billions of different products available in the internet and in real-life. If you have a product you might want to launch it immediately to get a chunk of the market. Earlier is always better, so that you can reach more customers, right? This might be right, but in order to launch immediately, you might be tempted to go for something cheap with poor craftsmanship to ensure that your products are launched at the shortest possible date.But, there is a price to your hastiness. Cheap and poor quality products are very common. They look like carbon copies of each other and break easily. The only difference in some of them is the price or the color of the product. You don't want to be lumped together with companies like these

Quality Products Mean Better Reputation

In the end, the reputation of your company hangs in the quality of your product. If you want to be a trusted name in your industry, you want a quality product. If you produce quality, people will see your product and company as industry leaders, and there is no price you can pay for this kind of reputation. Yes, it might mean that your product is more expensive than others, but at least you know you are providing good quality products that provide value to your customers.
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Turning Stress Into Productivity

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There isn’t a person in the planet that can hide from stress. Stress happens whether we like it or not, and it can have a huge impact on your work, relationships, and feelings. Being stressed at work is normal. However, when it begins to impact your productivity or co-workers, stress can become an even bigger problem. The good news is that there are studies that show when stress is managed correctly, it can have a positive impact on productivity and performance. Here are some ways to turn stress into productivity.

Recognize Stress

Stress is unavoidable and worrying about the cause of your stress will do nothing to alleviate it. When a person is stressed, he or she feels anxious. There is tension in the body and the heart is racing. This means that stress is a feeling. Being stressed could be an indication of how you feel towards a project. How much stress you feel is directly co-related to the importance of the job or task. Once a person recognizes that he or she is worrying about a project they can respond to it in a rational way.

Reframe It

Rather than worrying about your project and being stressed about it, don't see it as a threat but a challenge you need to conquer. Once you reset your brain from the negative to the positive, your body responds in a more favorable way. When our brain is stressed, it triggers a flight or fight response. To avoid this, you need to think of stress, not as something negative, but as something challenging you need to overcome. This way your brain will be conditioned to become active rather than paralyzed.

Control

What is the use of stressing over something you cannot control it? Too many people spend too much time feeling bad towards things they cannot change or control. When faced with worry or anxiety, positive psychology expert Shawn Achor suggests the Island Experiment. On a piece of paper, write down all your stresses and draw two circles. In one circle, put all things you can control and on the other things you can't. Ignore the second island and focus on taking action on the things you can control.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed

One of the reasons why we get stressed at work is the fear of letting our co-workers down when we make mistakes or miss deadlines. One of the reasons for this is being overwhelmed with tasks. You don’t have to go at it by yourself. One of the best ways to handle stress positively and turn it into productivity is by asking help from others. You might have a co-worker that is an expert on the job you have been assigned or an officemate that is already finished with his tasks. Asking for help when you need it will help you stay on track at work while being productive and keeping stress at bay.

Stay Organized

You might not realize it, but you might not be stressing over the right things. If you are unorganized at work or have too many jobs at once, you might be worried because you don’t know how to prioritize your assignments. To keep yourself from becoming stressed due to lack of workflow, organize tasks from important to can-wait. This will help you focus on which jobs are the most urgent to the least important. Once you have tackled the important jobs, the smaller jobs can be handled easily and prevent you from becoming stressed while at your desk.Stress can ruin your life, but only if you allow it to. Since stress is inevitable, the best way to tackle it is to keep a positive attitude and keeping things in perspective. If you continue to tackle things you can control and stay organized you can beat stress so that you remain positive and productive at work.
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