Stories of Leadership: Moving Beyond Authority to Influence

SocialVoiceBranding_Conductor by  Matthew Stinson

THEME #5 of Post Series on Humanizing Brand Storytelling

A brand’s story is comprised of many elements, phases, and characters.  One of the most important being the leadership story of a brand.  The rise of social networks has played an important role in bringing the stories of great brands, and the leaders behind these great brands,  to life.  Social networks have democratized communication between business and people, as well as the conversation regarding leadership.  Through social networks, anyone can connect to the inspiring words and shared wisdom of leaders everywhere.  Conversely, leaders themselves have access to unlimited sources of inspiration to fuel their vision.   Social networks have also redefined how we perceive leaders – and in the process, elevated our expectations.  Today, it takes far more than the respect for a title, or recognition of authority, to earn the support and trust of followers. People look for reasons TO BELIEVE in the vision of one potential leader over that of another.  When these reasons are grounded in humanizing leadership traits that transcend policy or promise – people can then connect emotionally to a bigger, and unify ideal and story.

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Forget B2B or B2C and Focus on BwB or BwC Instead ~guest post via @BLichtenwalner




The terms “Business to Business” (B2B) and “Business to Consumer” (B2C) are outdated. These terms imply your business is doing something to a customer. That may be how business was conducted decades ago, but it’s always been better – and is now necessary – to conduct business with your customer. Business to a customer is a transaction. Business with a customer is a relationship.Whether your customer is a business or a consumer, they prefer a relationship over a transaction.

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What’s the ROI of a Smile?

I sent something out on Instagram recently—a photo collage of the smiling faces of friends—with the following comment: “Smile at your customers, Smile at your employees, Smile at your vendors, Smile at your family and friends, Smile at strangers. SMILE… the ROI will amaze you!” It got over 30 likes almost immediately. I sent the same message (and photo) out on Facebook, with even more engagement.

ROI of a Smile

People commented how good it made them feel, and some said they were taking the message to heart and spreading the word. People want to be happy! And when you send them a photo with a smiling face, it generates warm feelings and a wish to keep feeling happy.

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The Inimitable @markwschaefer interviews Ted Rubin [video]

Originally posted at

Ted Rubin has been on the forefront of social media marketing innovation but when I asked him what was his exciting him about the future, he had a very surprising answer. I liked the conversation so much that I knew I needed to record it for all my friends on {grow}! It’s a short interview but Ted talks fast so he covers a lot of ground, including:

– Disconnect between agency pitches and business needs
– The glacial rate of social media change at the enterprise level
– The number one reason social media is not being spread to employees
– The need for a small-town mentality on the web

I’m sure you’ll enjoy this discussion. Let me know what you think in the comment section below!


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In Brands We Trust – Why Brands Must Treat Trust Like Gold

Back in January of this year I wrote a piece which spoke to the need for every marketer to remember a certain nine-letter word: Relevance. And while I firmly stand by what I penned then I am here to tell not just every marketer, but every advertiser and brand under the sun as well that there’s a five-letter word that must be treated like gold for when it is achieved, wondrous things can occur.

The word is trust.

Now the word “trust” in it of itself has many different connotations and in the context of advertising, marketing and branding it comes in different shapes, size and meanings, too.

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