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Author: David Altschul

The Sixth Sense

If you liked the TED Talk I sent last month about robotics, bioengineering and the state of the economy, you will probably also appreciate this

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The Ultimate Reboot

I just got back from the TED Conference and I heard a lot of optimistic notes amid the chaos and gloom of the current financial

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The Scrooge Effect

I read The Economist, and I generally agree with their point of view, especially on matters of business and finance. A couple of months ago

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Being Juan Valdez

You know Juan Valdez: He’s been the rugged, mustachioed icon of Colombian coffee since 1960. That’s when a Madison Avenue ad agency, realizing the potential…

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Who Do You Love?

There were compelling reasons to send Juan Valdez off to the old folks home for advertising ex-celebs. The fictional coffee-growing icon had been featured in…

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Mascot Makeover

When Pepsico wanted to differentiate its Mug root beer from competing products, it called David Altschul, the co-founder of a small marketing firm called Character…

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“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