Writing with Ann Handley’s MarketingProfs Daily Fix has been a fantastic opportunity. It has allowed me to participate in some excellent discussions, cause others, and importantly, to meet and become friends with some of the brightest minds in marketing anywhere in the world.
There are a couple of people, in particular, who have had a deep impact on my thinking about marketing — Lewis Green and Michael Wagner. They are both very principled people and whether they know it or not, they have provided me with inspiration and guidance in many areas — from the way that I think and craft ideas to how I express them or demonstrate concepts. They have also helped me understand what it means to "own my own brand" (though I continue to work on that one).
What I love about Mike is his unrelenting focus on narrative. I am inspired by the way he highlights the way that brands can have an impact on our everyday lives. He is able to reach deep inside a brand experience and draw out, and humanise, the effect that a brand can have on a person’s life. This is more than simple storytelling and much more than an understanding of brand experience. As Mike tells it, the story or slice of life becomes enmeshed with a sense of personal history — making the brands that we love or the brands that deeply affect us, part of the fabric of the way we live.
And the best thing about Mike is that he also demonstrates this in everything he touches. When I first commented on his blog he sent me an e-mail. He was "owning his own brand" and following up a comment with a "thank you" e-mail. But it wasn’t a form letter … it was a thoughtful, well crafted e-mail that prompted a conversation and it kicked off a series of e-mails between us. Mike provided me with suggestions and was a great sounding board for some of my thinking … always surprising me with his generosity and his personal openness.
Lewis also is a master storyteller. His stories come from a deep personal history and self knowledge … and he is able to clearly articulate his stories in an entertaining way. His strong social conscience manifests in all his posts and is backed up with a great business mind. I love the way that Lewis asks the hard questions of us all … why blog?, what about those gadgets?, and why we should believe in marketing. He reminds us to ask questions of the work that we do and the way that we write. He constantly pushes us to remember the human aspect of our work and creativity — that there is a need to focus on people, not money.
If you are new to the blogs of Mike and Lewis, there is great insight locked away in the archives on their sites. Spend some small amount of time to investigate the categories and posts they have on their sites. Read the posts AND the comments — and also check out MarketingProfs.