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And if we are really gonna be honest here, telling the truth is also about accurately sharing where you are at, and WTF you ACTUALLY look like. In a world of filters, overlays, and more, it can be a bit daunting. However, a good photographer is always a asset. Thank you to @GiantEye for this capture.


…All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the

whole story…

James Baldwin

When I was a kid, my dad told stories. Really exciting, persuasive ones. About 98.5% of them were true. Some were just a bit improved, if you will. Like the current inflation rate, I'd put their center to waiver difference between 9.1 and 19%. The stories I remember most - the ones with the most punch - were about the Philly mafia back in the early 80's. He had just opened up his office and was new to the area. You can imagine…

The lore was deep.

There were stories about underground restaurants where deals were made, decapitated rabbits showing up on the doorstep, and characters of such detail and depth, I later wondered if the Sopranos writers picked his brain a bit in the development phase. Truth is, I went to some of those restaurants as a kid, in the basements of skinny townhouses off South Broad Street, with dark lighting, deep red velvet interior. The spaghetti was piled high. I can still taste it.

Stories. We tell them, make them, come from them. They make geological-grade sediment of narratives in our psyche, and form the foundation of our understanding of this wide, wide world. However, at this moment, the world and our minds are getting real plastic and melty. It's getting more difficult to get to discern where the roots are. At the dinner table, for entertainment's sake, stories can sway from the center, understandably. But when it comes to how we present ourselves, our offerings, organizations, promises, businesses-- what we are up to with our work in the world, being upright with history and discernment are key.

A while back, I collaborated with a new organization to help them with marketing and language. One of my tasks was crafting their origin story, and writing presentations. I knew what they told me, but wanted to learn more about the industry. So in advance of one event, I dug a bit deeper to get a more global context of where they sit in the history of their industry.

I learned a critical part of the history was not being told. Without this thread in their origin story, they could lose serious momentum. I conferred with one of our partners, who encouraged this more inclusive narrative, but because the organization was in its earliest days, I was told to stick to the script for the time being. I was disheartened.

Today I got word that their new marketing materials (that are sent and utilized by thousands of people in their sector) reflect that whole, true story that my collaborator and I pushed for. It took three years, but it happened. Wow. We just never know when seeds planted will bloom.

When it comes to branding and marketing, we are telling stories that layer into the collective psyche, so it behooves us to protect it and keep it healthy. The truth finds its way out. Always. When we take the time and the risk to tell the full story of not just ourselves, but also histories in which we reside, we honor the full breadth of where we stand, including the lineage that created it.

So, what am I talking about? Brand histories. Origin stories. Lineage narratives. Gratitude declarations. Shoot, even About sections on a website. And it's not just for the audience and public-facing expression, for some performance. It's also for the internal organization or internal practitioner… to remember where we come from, how we got here, and clearly pave the way to where we are going.

So much of what we call branding is actually examining what we are up to and where we come from, and how that collaborates within a global context. When we tell the truth, lighten our load, and benefit from the levity of uprightness. And that way, we can do what we came here to do with more ease. That integrity ripples, and can be felt, over and over again.

Again, seeds planted don't always bloom right away, and we might never see the rewards directly. But if they are planted in a foundation with the deeper soil of historical truth, they have more chances to grow and thrive. In a world of call-outs and the fear of being called out, it's more crucial than ever to align the stories of ourselves with the foundational narratives, leaving no rock unturned.

So, let's get to planting.

Con amor and soon,




Life is so much easier when we tell the whole, rich story. But getting there is a process - to know what is true just on this day, and including the pathways of how we got here. The result is a depth of practice that can be felt through all the channels we communicate from. This is a process of going inside and gathering from the outside, delivering a full narrative. Hence, holistic branding. The experience is exploratory, and quite transformative. If you are looking to refresh your narratives, branding, marketing, or communications, get at me. We can talk all about it. I always offer a free 30-minute collaboration call to suss out where you are at, where you want to go, and how I can help you get there.


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