Start with Strategy: Principles of a WildStory Brand

Start with Strategy: Principles of a WildStory Brand

the branding lab podcast

Tune in as we explore what it takes to build a truly strategic, heartfelt brand.


Start with Strategy: The Principles of a Wildstory Brand

By Yvonne Ivanescu


cGuess what, if your brand strategy is bad, it usually ends up showing up in your marketing. Are you wondering why you aren’t getting results on social media? Why your Facebook ads aren’t working? If you answered yes to the above question, then you probably have a brand problem. If your marketing isn’t working, or your content is not resonating with your audience, or if people are not clicking onto your website, then it’s time to reanalyze your brand strategy.


Marc Gutman is a storyteller, entrepreneur, adventure, and idealist. He’s also a friend of beer, coffee, water when waves, beaches, mountains, and snow. But most importantly, Mark loves stories today. Mark focuses his energy on Wild Story, the marketing agency for the arts, recreation, and entertainment industries.

In this episode, Marc and I talk about how every brand needs to start with strategy first; the importance of including your brand in your company culture; the power of authenticity, and the key branding question every business should ask. 


Let’s take a quick look at Apple and Samsung. In reality, there is no real difference between the two phones – you can text and stake photos. But what people are really buying is a way to differentiate themselves. 

This differentiation comes from brand attributes — questions such as: what is your core purpose, what do you stand for, what do you believe in, what is your voice and tone, who do you declare that you are for and against? 

Branding and brand strategy is becoming more important because it is becoming part of the conversation. People choose a brand, they enroll themselves into brands. Brand help defines who we are. Marc gives the example of the microphone is currently using, the Shure SM7B, and he chooses this mic because it is marketed as THE microphone that professionals and famous personalities use. And that brand messaged washed off onto him — he wanted to enroll and invest in that brand because he wanted to be part of that community and tribe. 

This is how brands must differentiate. Brands need to lean into qualities like their core purpose, their values, beliefs, what they stand for, etc. so that people can choose your brand and be part of your brand community.


Marc wants everyone to remember that all the big brands started somewhere. In the beginning, Walt Disney was just sketching cartoons. First and foremost, remember that all big companies started at the bottom. And so will you. All the big brands that entrepreneurs are comparing themselves against didn’t get to where they are overnight. They put in the work, and so must you.

The fundamental questions you must ask yourself: 

▶ Who are we for?

▶ What do we do?

▶ What is our backstory?

▶ What is our vision?

▶ What are our voice, tone, and personality?

▶ What is your why and purpose?

Don’t over-think it. Keep it simple. The last question might be the hardest to answer because entrepreneurs need to ask themselves the question: why do we exist beyond making money? 

That question is important because, according to Marc, there will be a lot of bad times. And during these bad times, entrepreneurs need something beyond the product that they are selling— something bigger than yourself to motivate you.


The second most important question that you need to focus on is: who are for? Your business exists to serve its customers. So who are your customers? What is their problem and how are you helping them solve that problem? As a brand, you need to know who you are for, and also who you are not for.


Let’s take the example of Patagonia, because, it’s doing everything right brand-wise. They know who they are and they know who they are not and from that, they have cultivated a strong and very loyal community. They’ve built a community around their brand. This loyal community is incredibly important because you have people who believe in your brand and who can look past some of the mistakes that you will make as a brand. Not only do they have this community but they are consistent and they are constantly showing up for their customers. If you think of brands as people, Patagonia is like your best friend who you love to have in your life — someone who is consistent, authentic, and reliable. They are not throwing you curveballs such as showing up one day as your best friend and then stabbing you in the back. 

But Patagonia knows who they are — they are consistent and repetitive across all channels. They talk about specific issues with a specific tone, and although this can constrain some of their creativity, they show up in a consistent way and they are extremely confident in who they are, who they serve, and their mission and values. 


▶ Start with Strategy

▶ Have a clear vision, mission, or greater purpose

▶ Culture = brand

▶ Create a Brand Manifesto

▶ Make the customer the hero of their own story

▶ Ask WHAT IF?

▶ Who are you?

▶ Never stop branding


Marc and I talk more about brand strategy, and we discuss in detail, the ten principles of a wild story brand, and how entrepreneurs need to be true to themselves while also remembering that branding is not a set it and forget but a life-long activity that will change and evolve as your brand grows over time. 

Hit play on the episode above for the full conversation on storytelling, strategic content, hiring a copywriter, and what you need to be able to produce branded content that your audience wants and needs. 


◼ Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn

◼ WILDSTORY Manifesto – Download the FREE Manifesto Brand Builder 

◼ Follow Marc Gutman on Twitter or Instagram

◼ Listen to another episode: Finding Your Business Why Your Brand Purpose with Yulia Stark

The Art of Brand Storytelling with Cassandra Le

The Art of Brand Storytelling with Cassandra Le

the branding lab podcast

Tune in as we explore what it takes to build a truly strategic, heartfelt brand.


The Art of
Brand Storytelling

By Yvonne Ivanescu

What is brand storytelling? And what do you exactly need to know before you hire a copyrighting studio? Brand storytelling is when a brand or a business has a specific story that connects to their ideal audience and that allows them to use those stories to emotionally connect with their community. Why is it important? Well mainly because marketing in this day and age needs to incorporate a more emotional side — human-centered marketing.


Cassandra Le, the founder of the Quirky Pineapple Studio, a brand strategy, and copywriting studio. Cassandra has been creating content and experimenting with branding and social media. Since she was 13 years old. She and her team helped mission-driven service-based business owners, share their stories and create engaging content to help businesses grow their community

In this episode, Cassandra and I talk about the importance of brand storytelling; the difference between storytelling and brand messaging; and what businesses should know before they even think about hiring a copywriting studio.  


Brand Storytelling is pretty similar to a regular story,  a novel. It needs to be broken down into what Cassandra calls the story connection timeline, which has seven parts: 





▶ Resolution


▶ Epilogue

The prologue in a novel is setting the scene and giving people a little bit of backstory into what’s going to happen. It’s really just to give people a little bit of backstory into what’s going to happen. Cassandra, for example, has been creating content since she was 13, and that is part of her story but not her current story now because as humans our stories change and we evolve. 

The prologue sets up the scene of. The beginning of Cassandra’s story would probably be when she took blogging more seriously and started diving into actually creating strategic content or content to get affiliate ads or paid ads — it then evolved from there. 

After the beginning then you get to the middle, which is like the meatier side. This is when you’re in it. And you’ve figured out your why and you understand what you’re doing, who you’re helping, how you help.

And then there’s a conflict. Because all good stories have a conflict and that could be okay. Something happened in your life or within your brand journey that was a problem for you or your ideal clients. And then you found a solution for it.

For Cassandra conflict came after she realized that she was creating so much content to the point where she was burnt out and none of her content was necessarily strategic. So she came up with an editorial calendar and planning out her content based on marketing strategies and her quarterly goals. And with that came the resolution to her problem/her conflict. Her solution is what she now teaches to her clients — how to strategically create content. From there she moved into the transformation stage, which is what happened after the business boomed. 

And that kind of became the resolution to my problem, my conflict, which is now actually what I teach a lot of our clients, how to do, because they come in with so many ideas they’re overwhelmed and they’re looking for a solution. Which is a solution I created for myself. And then we get into the transformation stage, which is what happens after the business boomed.

Then there is the end. But don’t think of it as the end, but the epilogue, which is, your plans or vision for your business.


Strategic content doesn’t need to be anything too complicated. Strategic content has a purpose and makes your target audience take action on something. So this means there is a clear call to action and its purpose is to guide the audience member to make their own educated decision.

This all connects back to copywriting. 

It is not convincing someone. It is not manipulating someone. It is educating someone so that they can make the best decision for themselves. In the end, it really is about connected to brand strategy right into your brand storytelling. You need to understand all these pieces before you even consider writing or creating your first piece of marketing material. 


If you are creating content without a clear brand message, then most of the time. No matter how much content you produce, it will probably not convert unless you have awesome paid ads and funnels, and automation. But usually, only really big types of companies have this type of budget. If you do not have this type of budget then you need to rely on strong organic and strategic content. If you don’t have a clear brand message and communication strategy then no matter how much content you produce, it probably won’t connect to your audience in the way that you are want to because your message is unclear. 



Cassandra always tries to lay down the brand’s message first, which is a mission statement or, the goal purpose, the why of their brand, who they are, what they do, who they help, how they help, why they help. 

She then focuses on the story. This is because you can’t really shape or figure out the story that you want to tell until you understand what is the message that you want to actually share. 

Once you understand the brand message, it’s often followed by the story and an understanding of who your ideal clients are, what they need, what are their goals, their vision, and then the services or packages, programs, products that you offer. 


Cassandra and I talk more about strategic content and then we discuss what is the difference between hiring a content writer versus hiring a copyrighter and what you really need to look at and what are the type of questions you need to ask when trying to craft your brand message. 

Hit play on the episode above for the full conversation on storytelling, strategic content, hiring a copywriter, and what you need to be able to produce branded content that your audience wants and needs.