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Escape from Beacon Rock

While you’re waiting for the next essay on data and story, I have a more personal piece to offer. It might particularly appeal to you if you have raised, or are raising, a teenager. The conflicts that drive this story are safety versus freedom and autonomy versus connection, two of the big ones. And it’s all true.

Here is the synopsis that appears on The Dirtbag Diaries website:

“For me, it was a way to stay connected—literally: tied to my free-range daughter by a length of 10-millimeter climbing rope, and connected to my own dream of being an adventurer,” says David Altschul. “And that was how I found myself, a few days later, on a ledge, high above the Columbia River, in the dark.”

For the past decade, David has told the story of the infamous “Escape From Beacon Rock”—a failed attempt to climb a basalt monolith with his daughter, our producer, Jen. At age 72, it dawned on him that, rather than continue to tell the story of the failed climb, he could connect with his daughter by actually climbing Beacon Rock, and doing it this time as a ‘real’ climber.

If you are a regular podcast listener, just search for The Dirtbag Diaries and click on the latest episode, “Escape from Beacon Rock.”, or find it here on iTunes.

Alternatively, here is The Dirtbag Diaries website. And here’s a link to the episode on Soundcloud.

This story has almost nothing to do with marketing, except perhaps for a glimpse at how Patagonia spends some of its social media dollars, but I thought you might like it.

“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