.Cover Story

Serena – The Brand

“If you were a tennis player, who would you want to be like?” an unseen interviewer asks a young gap-toothed Serena Williams. The Gatorade commercial then goes on to document the prodigy’s spectacular career, its breathtaking triumphs and heartbreaking defeats and, mostly, the grace with which she has handled being one of the most celebrated–and criticized– athletes in American history. The commercial returns to a beaming Williams, who finally responds; “Well, I’d kind of like everybody to be like me.” It is a glorious answer, and the capstone to a transcendent career. In the world of brand marketing, there has never been anyone quite like Serena Williams, the winner of 23 Grand Slams, who has sold everything from Gatorade [...]

Content Marketing Tales — Branding like Brando

The late, great actor Marlon Brando once said that the key to great acting is the element of surprise: the unexpected gesture or pause that jars the audience, as if from sleep and compels someone to lean forward in their seat in anticipation of something new. Similarly, the element of surprise is the key to good storytelling.  The tendency in creating online content today is towards a certain cookie-cutter conformity–search engine optimization, tags, and hashtags–but it’s often good to think outside-the-box to keep your audience on its toes. It’s nothing to overdo; a light touch is best. But a part of Brando’s genius was his ability to recognize the power in an unexpected smile, or a pause that is [...]