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Conflict as a Source of Joy

Earlier this year David Altschul sent along links to a couple of TED talks that we found interesting and that we thought might be relevant to our ongoing dialogue about the intersection of story and marketing. (Here are links to The Ultimate Reboot, and The Sixth Sense if you missed them.)

David did a short presentation at the TED Conference himself, as part of TED University. There is no immediate connection to marketing in his talk, but it does go directly to the heart of what we teach at Character Camp, which is to always embrace the conflict. And I like it because it shows that David doesn’t just teach this stuff, he lives it.

The title of the talk is “Conflict as a Source of Joy”, and it’s six minutes long.

If you do take the time to watch it, we would love to know what it stirs up in you.


“Character gets to the heart of what good storytelling is all about. They’ve helped Wendy’s focus on what makes us unique, different and special and that’s helped us to get people’s attention, keep their interest and keep the business growing. We compete with much larger brands, but by being overt about how we want to attack those differences, we’ve been able to have a lot of tension and conflict in the story that we are telling. That allows us to keep the story fresh and to fuel it. The more we do that the more positive attention we get as a brand and the more the brand continues to grow, which, in turn, builds our confidence in our storytelling and keeps the courage level high.”

—Kurt  Kane, President U.S. & Chief Commercial Officer, Wendy’s Corporation

“I’ve been through Character’s story framework process four times in my career, and it has always added extraordinary value. It was a central piece of Walmart’s rebranding effort in 2006, as we sought a new articulation of our brand narrative and our purpose. It’s an equally powerful tool for us now, as Walmart defines its place in a rapidly transforming retail environment. And we are currently using it to do the same for Sam’s Club.”

—Tony Rogers, Chief Marketing Officer, Walmart

“Since articulating our story framework, Gallo has had its best year. We’re up 10% and we’re outpacing the category. From a creative standpoint it’s been great because we’re all in alignment. Now that we have the articulation of our story, our social media, our partnerships, our programs, our packaging—it all makes sense.”

—Stephanie Gallo, Chief Marketing Officer, E&J Gallo Winery