Using analogy to teach

POSTED IN: Inspiration
May 24, 2013

Another great blog by Seth Godin….

Learning by analogy

The story of Hansel and Gretel is not actually about Hansel or Gretel.

You are surrounded by examples and lessons and case studies that clearly aren’t exactly about your project. There’s never been a book written precisely about the situation you are facing right now, either. Perhaps one day they will publish, “Marketing Low-Cost Coaching Services to Small Businesses Specializing in .Graphic Design in the Upper Peninsula for Dummies” but don’t hold your breath.

Marketing, like all forms of art, requires us to learn to see. To see what’s working and to transplant it, change it and amplify it.

We don’t teach this, but we should. We don’t push people to practice the act of learning by analogy, because it’s way easier to just give them a manual and help them avoid thinking for themselves.

The opportunity is to find the similarities and get ever better at letting others go first–not with what you’ve got, but with something you can learn from.

And the opposite is even more true. We over-rely on things where the specifics seem to match, but the lesson is obscured by the trivial. Sometimes when we see something happen that we can learn a conceptual lesson from, we instead jump to conclusions that the specifics are the important part.

Remember that the next time you have to take your shoes off before you get on an airplane.

Panama 2008

POSTED IN: Photography
April 18, 2013

three children Playon Chico

Kuna Yale Indian children outside their home.

Corporate storytelling has come of age in the business world

POSTED IN: Inspiration
April 18, 2013

Today, many of the world’s most successful companies are using storytelling as a leadership tool. Nike, for example, has designated all senior executives as ‘corporate storytellers’. Years ago, 3M banned bullet points and replaced them with a ‘strategic narrative’ writing process. Proctor & Gamble hired Hollywood directors to teach storytelling techniques to its executives. Forward-thinking business schools have added storytelling courses to their management curriculum.

Why? Because stories can engage an audience the way logical and bullets alone never can. If  you’re trying to communicate your vision for the future, sell your idea or inspire loyalty, storytelling is a powerful management tool which can mean the difference between mediocre results or outstanding success.

Why should your customers care?

POSTED IN: Inspiration
April 12, 2013

There’s a small greengrocer store about two blocks from where I live. It opened its doors last summer. I live alone and was thrilled there was somewhere close by I could walk to for my groceries. It’s called Old School Emporium and the concept is based on the old-fashioned small market where you can buy staples for your kitchen. The market is a wide open space filled with antiques and interesting old photos. When it first opened, it didn’t have a lot of product on its shelves but what was there was fresh and local.

I asked the young and friendly-looking guy behind the counter about the shop – I’m always interested in the story behind the business. Turns out he and his wife used to work for a large ad agency here; they’re both foodies and they decided to try to make a go of this venture. I go there every couple of days so I don’t buy produce that ends up wilting and in the garbage. Their prices are quite reasonable — in fact, surprisingly low compared to the near big box supermarket that’s only a few blocks away. But that’s not what keeps me going there. Every time I shop, I have a great experience. The owners ask me how I’m doing, the young woman working the till talks to me and all three of them are genuinely interested. There’s none of the canned “How’s your day going?” without looking at me that I get at the Safeway. I can get cooking advice from them or ideas on how to use their products in a different way. They’re excited and passionate about what they’re doing – they care about the business and about providing delicious goods to their customers. The owners are knowledgeable and ensure that what they’re providing to their customers is the best local product they can find. Because of this, their customers care about them. I’m rooting for them to be a success; so are my neighbours and some of the other shop owners and staff in the area. Everyone likes them.

What’s your Why?

We like them because they’ve connected with us. And because they’re clear on their Why. They opened this shop because they love food and cooking and they wanted to provide the best ingredients they could find to people like them who want good food and are concerned about the environment. And because of that I care about their success as do others.


Hello world!

POSTED IN: Inspiration
March 28, 2013


Perhaps addressing the world is a little over-ambitious, but I’m optimistic. Perhaps some of you will return often ~ I’m hoping what I provide here piques your interest and gives you pause. I’ve seen a lot of life — and I’ve learned from it. Over the years, I’ve worked for large and small businesses and I’ve seen what engages their audiences and what falls flat. I hope my musings will be valuable to you and provide inspiration.

See you around!


Let's grab a coffee & swap stories
Denise Summers
Amphora Communications
(403) 852-6320