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Chapter two:
The plot thickens

What we do and how our clients use it

We articulate story frameworks and storytelling principles for brands.

Working with the people who know the brand best, we uncover and articulate the why behind your story—both why you do what you do (above and beyond just making money) and why the audience will care. Based on a deep understanding of story and character, we can make strategic recommendations that are uniquely actionable. And we can provide the tools which will make all of your brand storytelling more effective.

To discover and articulate the story framework of a brand, we convene a workshop that brings together the people whose relationship with the brand is most strategic. Over the course of the workshop we:

  • Teach the principles of effective storytelling
  • Use story-based experiences to uncover the authentic story of the brand
  • Identify the elements of the brand that make its story emotionally resonant
  • Articulate the story framework of the brand
  • Define strategic imperatives based on the story
  • Identify principles and provide tools for more effective story telling

The result is clarity. By the end of the workshop, we deliver the story framework of the brand and use that story framework to answer a range of questions from broad and strategic issues to very specific and tactical ones.

Our clients have used our process to...

  • Define brand purpose (Amazon, Walmart)
  • Clarify positioning in a volatile category (Gallo Family Vineyard)
  • Optimize portfolio strategy and minimize cannibalization (Seattle’s Best Coffee)
  • Outline launch strategy for a new brand or product (Dark Horse Wine)
  • Reassert leadership against a formidable challenger (Old Spice)
  • Define brand voice for new channels–especially social media (Wendy’s)
  • Create, revitalize or reimagine iconic brand characters (Ronald McDonald, Juan Valdez, Laughing Cow)
  • Maintain brand identity and culture in the face of changes in ownership (Goose Island Brewery)
  • Crystalize and articulate the “founder energy” in a brand story (Perdue Farms)

“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