The Corporate Storyteller
IABC Member since 1997
“In today’s environment, it’s not enough to have a good story. The story must be told well (and told again and again) if it’s to be absorbed by your targets and resonate. Ideally, it should be told virally as well, and not just by the client company but by its customers.” This is the business philosophy of IABC member, Cary Brazeman, whose beliefs are brought to life through his corporate communications and marketing firm, The Corporate Storyteller.
So, how do we tell the story of a corporate storyteller? It’s done in his own words—one astute and clever anecdote at a time. Read on to see what we mean.
Somewhere in Alabama (Seriously)
Grew up in Atlanta (Love that Southern food—including BBQ!)
West Los Angeles, California
“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”
—John Fitzgerald Kennedy
A word that best describe me
Committed. (Not to be confused with “worthy of being committed.”)
When I’m not working, you can find me
Sipping a Blue Margarita.
MY LIFE IN COMMUNICATIONS
The biggest communications challenge I have faced in my current (or previous) role was…
An ongoing challenge: managing client expectations. It’s not hard as much as it is never-ending. Especially when you are an agency professional, working outside of the client environment, you can assume nothing about what the client knows. Or that they’ll automatically “get” the value of something you do for them. You have to explain and show them the value, help them understand the work process so they appreciate the effort that went into producing a result, especially if there is no immediate, short-term benefit.
My favorite communications memory is…
Launching a worldwide brand, which I did when I ran corporate marketing, communications and public relations for an international commercial real estate services company. What fun to lead a diverse team of geographically dispersed professionals around the world … and watch them teach me a few things about language and how different countries and cultures perceive images and messages! [I also learned] how different people make buying decisions.
The most important communications or professional lesson I’ve learned is…
I try to never forget the future. Pursue skills, relationships, insights and clients that will serve you well in the future, not just today.
Resource I really find useful and recommend to other communicators is…
The book Branding Only Works on Cattle by Jonathan Salem Baskin reinforces what most of us already know, which is that branding is only superficially about logos and taglines and corporate colors. True brand value is created only when a company’s products or service delivers a remarkable experience that somehow connects with customers. There’s a difference between brand awareness and brand value.
You should also know about me…
An excerpt from The Corporate Storyteller website:
“Help Me Hire a Hit Man” reads the sign of a panhandler outside a subway station in San Francisco. Apparently, she does quite well. In Olympia, Washington, a guy gets similar results with motorists by holding up a placard that says: “Why lie? I need a beer.”
These entrepreneurial panhandlers succeed (in their own way) because they know something many business people have yet to discover: Nothing’s more powerful than a good story. Of course these stories rely on humor to succeed, but there’s much more to them than that. They grab and hold your attention—motivating “customers” to “buy”—because they’re personal, credible, compelling, and delivered with commitment and consistency.
OH, HOW FAR I’VE COME
Cary Brazeman is Principal of The Corporate Storyteller, an agency founded to help make client companies better understood and more successful. Service offerings include corporate and organizational story development, media relations, marketing communications, and multimedia communications. With clients on the West Coast and back east (Washington, Philadelphia, and New York), the agency specializes in commercial real estate and energy/environment, including where the two industries intersect, e.g., building energy efficiency and sustainability. Cary attended Georgetown University and moved to Los Angeles in 1996.
- Vice President and Managing Director, CB Richard Ellis (Los Angeles)
- Vice President, The Real Estate Roundtable (Washington, DC)
- Lowly Intern and Communications Specialist
This profile was edited by IABC-LA member and volunteer Cheryl Farrell.