On my journey through life, I stopped along the way at an ad agency.

It was my job to buy radio, television, newspaper, outdoor, and magazine ads.

I had to calculate GRP’s, through frequency and reach and audience impressions.

At least once a year, a client wanted a rebranding campaign.

The writers wrote new compelling messages.

The art directors redesigned the logo.

The production people created style guides on how to use the logo with various coloured backgrounds.

The media buyer negotiated and bought the media.

The owners of the agency licked their chops and rubbed their hands together with greed.

There was value in refreshing a visual image.

There was value in reviewing the messaging.

However, there was never a discussion about VALUES.

That was almost 25 years ago.

A head of grey hair, 2 kids, and 3 houses later, I met three wise men.

The first spoke of stories and the value of emotions.

A wise woman, Karen Post gave me the first definition of a brand that did not include colours, style guides, and logos. In her book, “Brain Tattoos”, she said,

“A brand is the STORY embedded in the mind of the market”.

What are people saying about you?

How do you change the conversation?

A good story can’t be information.

How does the story pull the audience in and keep them engaged?

A good story emits emotions with an audience.

Hollywood knew that.

Karen explained it to me and was understandable.

Sabretooth tigers, hyenas, and T-Rex sold stories for home pages of websites, brochures, and media.

Origin stories based only on information is not storytelling.

It’s chest pumping about the history of the company.

No emotion means the story is FLAT and BORING.

It’s a documentary.

Three years later, I met the second wise man.

He spoke of remarkability.

Marketers have used the term Unique Selling Proposition since the ’80s.

Seth Godin changed USP to Purple Cows, in his book by the same name.

He wrote that a remarkable business was a memorable business.

Facebook wasn’t born yet.

Google was a baby.

Today, I’m sure Seth would say a Purple Cow is also a shareable idea.

Remarkable = Memorable = Shareable

Sharks, electric eels, and piranha told me that red meant passion, green was environmental, and blue was strength.

The use of colours was psychological.

Purple became popular, no doubt because of Seth.

An office interior company changed its name to Purple.

A mattress became Purple.

And the colour Purple, which supposedly means Royalty, became overused.

They missed the lesson Seth taught us.

I continued along my path, meeting lions, tigers, and bears along the way.

Each of them told me why reach, logo development, and awareness would give me more customers.

I could see the drool hanging off their lower lip as they tried to get into my pants.

Four years after my encounter with Seth, I ran into Roy H. Williams.

Wizard of Ads bookHe added to Karen and Seth’s wisdom by stating,

“Quit Branding. Start Bonding”.

He talked of beliefs, instead of the overused and misunderstood VALUES.

He revealed character diamonds and the use of the character flaw as integral to creating an interesting character in a story.

He revealed how magic lived in verbs, and particles in thoughts.

He declared all this manifested a secret key that unlocked the door to long-term customer relationships.


The three wise men gifted me with this knowledge.

I now pass it on so you can fight off the weasels trying to get into your pants.

  1. The power of Story is tapping into audience emotion.
  2. Strive to be remarkable in everything you do.
  3. Create bonds through shared beliefs, vulnerabilities, and truth.
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