The strategy of the Storied Brand is based on a simple premise: great brands act like stories. Yet, this “duh” idea took nearly two decades of researchings, rejections, and revelations that have filled countless journals of notes. Following are a few more Learnings I’ve dog-eared as formative to the creation of The Storied Brand.
Branding is a land ruled by the subjective, the irrational, the impulsive, the fickle, a veritable army of unknowns all ready to make silly faces behind any proclaimed know-it-all. Be skeptical of the expert tossing around irrefutable laws or proprietary methodologies.

The only real smarty-pants in marketing country are the customers. Listen to their stories. Picture their setting. Study their culture. Learn from their mystery. Create originality from within the romance they want from the brand.
Brand profusion, media diffusion, and empowered consumers, oh my. The sea really has changed. While challenging, there has also never been a better time to create a relevant, remarkable brand (just don’t count on the textbook approaches to get you there). These days it is essential that the search for calm seas of white space be comprehensive, looking not just for functional innovation but for cultural reverberation as well.
Freedom! Confidence! Status! Youthful Fun! Green! Whatever!

It is unfortunate customers rarely use these tidy Freudian slipcovers since a good deal of conventional marketing is built around them. Brand relationships are just too sloppy with peculiar emotions and too stained with personalized relevancies to be encapsulated by a big white cloud idea.
Sure, every brand has some semblance of a story but it’s not just the elevator pitch or the hearsay. Neither is it just the rational features, the emotional benefits, the packaging, the advertising, the 4 P’s, the personality, the promise, the PR, the reputation, nor the rumors. For better or worse, it is all of the above. The story is the experience of the brand and how that experience is shared.
And you’ll hear a personal story. It makes sense. Stories help us interpret and convey our emotions, bring often-intimidating unknowns down to human scale, and give our personal life experiences social credence. We use stories to relate, to teach, to learn, to make decisions. That’s how stories have worked for mankind long before we were fretting over things like toasters and mini-vans. Stories bring context and meaning. And brands, the best ones at least, come to act like stories providing navigational assistance in their customers’ lives.
All brands attempt to offer a solution to something in Maslow’s hierarchy, but the great ones address a primal human need with their own idiosyncratic ideology. In other words, a great brand is built upon not just an original betterment but also a highly original story that creates meaningful customer value.
While we consumers are busy using stories to form strong opinions about brands, it’s head-scratching how few companies are industrious about authoring their brand story. A daunting task for sure – align every interaction of the brand to resonate the same distinctive narrative, particularly in today’s rough seas of brand profusion and media overload. Yet, with so many brands precariously floating on paper-thin attribute differentiation and keel-less emotional promises, The Storied Brand charts a direct course to loyal, outspoken customers, attentive new prospects, and devoted trade channels.

The Story Of Owsley

Greg Owsley’s atypical career path began with putting himself through college as an Idaho fly fishing guide, landing in San Francisco as a fine dining captain, and getting his first marketing break at a Colorado farm teaching national grocery chains to love their organic vegetables. Then in 1996, he begged his way into the dream job of being the brand & marketing guy for New Belgium® Brewing and Fat Tire Ale®.

When Owsley joined New Belgium it was producing 30K annual barrels of microbrew; at his departure around 750K barrels. For 15 years, he was principally the (obsessed) steward and chief storyteller of the developing brand, yet he also had an instrumental hand in New Belgium’s nationally recognized company culture and sustainable business model.

Creatively, Owsley invented the annual traveling Tour de Fat® bike and beer ballyhoo, the Follow Your Folly TV spots; and the conception of 40-some trademarked beers, slogans, and story-worthy promotional campaigns. His strategy and executions with what is deemed “sustainable branding” earned him multiple keynote speaker roles at green business conferences and a CMO Strategy op-ed in Advertising Age. CEO Kim Jordan recognized Greg as a "foundational force of greatness for New Belgium."

In June 2011, the notion to hang out his own shingle got the better of Owsley and he opened The Storied Brand™. Dedicated to the theory that any brand, with the right authoring, can become iconic, Owsley is loving the opportunity to prove his hypothesis across a broad set of categories with global giants, ambitious start-ups, and local heroes. “With each new client brand, I’m learning as much as I’m giving,” Owsley says. “It’s a cool upward spiral this gig at The Storied Brand.”

When the work whistle blows at TSB, Owsley enjoys bumming for trout, pretending to be a chef, taking snaps (including the photos on this site), playing old man soccer, cheering for his daughters who play real soccer, and writing bios of himself in 3rd person .

The Storied Brand Story

There was a fair amount of internal debate at The Storied Brand whether to use “I” or “we.” Yes, this little LLC is currently a one-man brand cart, but I have yet to hand over a tasty strategy minus a collaborative “we” in its recipe. The power of Storied is a dialoged story after all and it’s rather underwhelming to tell one to Makelele, my Bernese Mountain Dog - a loyal office mate, mighty tug of war specialist, but not into the creative partner thing. Rest assured no project is served by my single point of view; it’s more what I like to call a “soul proprietor ship” with a sharp crew of kindred agents who I pay in beer, lattes, tacos, and warm fuzzies.

More so, our approach to brand & innovation strategy is a wholly “we” development. It’s a nineteen-year epiphany of which many a mad genius played a major role. Storied wouldn’t exist without Doug Holt, author of How Brands Become Icons, allowing me to be his grasshopper/guinea pig; tipping sacred cows with Jason Gaboriua, ECD with C,P+B; Bob Lachky, former Chief Creative Officer at A-B, sharing the insider stories to his legendary work (while no less sitting together at a St. Louis Cards game); a soul moving weekend fly-fishing with Yvon Chouinard; Mel, Mer, and all you fellow freaks at New Belgium who equal parts challenged, corroborated, and championed my folly; and the best mentor/boss/friend a person could’ve ever possibly hoped for,
Kim Jordan. Thanks to all for pushing, poking, prodding the
story out of me.

And, we’re still just in the early chapters. The strategy at TSB becomes more refined and uniquely adaptable with each new implementation. Clients include both iconic legends like Guinness, Anheuser - Busch, and Boston Beer as well as entrepreneurial upstarts such as Clean Air Lawn Care, FIN, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Firestone-Walker, Dogfish Head, Native Eyewear, No-Li Brewhouse, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, and the 2016 Governor of ___ (sorry, can’t say yet).

The Services of The Storied Brand

Try our patented 4Rs Brand Story Maker Upper now!

Sigh. If only we possessed such a brand assembly line, then we could take on more than a handful of accounts at any one time. The services of The Storied Brand™ are always rigorous and needle-eyed focused, but never formulaic. Every brand has its own remarkable originality, worthy of an equally novel innovation, brand, and marketing strategy. May we begin stitching your story?

The Storied Brand provides strategic management consultation services to businesses, namely, branding, brand strategy, brand management, marketing strategy, consumer research, creative development, package design, advertising, public relations, the management of promotional events, innovation, sales strategy and the development of point of sale materials.