The more technological our world becomes the more human our stories need to be.  My passion is creating brand and human interest stories, events and campaigns that open minds, inspire participation, and compel action.

— Jerelyn Craden, OneSmartMarketer

As an award-winning broadcast, marketing/advertising writer, certified Social Media Consultant and content writer, event coordinator and promoter, novelist and humor columnist, I will tell you this:  It’s all about story.  Your story.  And how every element of your story needs to viscerally engage your audience.

How strong is your brand story? Does it inspire participation? Loyalty? Action?

OneSmartMarketer provides…

BrandingMarketing and Social Media campaigns and content. Print ads, radio spots, marketing materials: (scripting, voicing, production), web/blog content, direct mail, speeches, press releases. Live Events: Festivals, Trade Shows, Galas, Conferences,  Product Launches, Experiential Brand Exhibits, (development to delivery). Sponsor and Volunteers Recruitment and Relationship Building. 

Jerelyn also writes feature articles and a humor column for newspapers and magazines.

OneSmartAd, our Radio Production Team write and produce radio spots – concept to finish – for businesses, events,  media and ad agencies.


NEWS:  Colourfest 2011, branded, developed, coordinated and promoted by Jerelyn Craden, OneSmartMarketer, received (2) 2012 achievements awards from Festivals and Events Ontario, the most prestigious events and festivals organization in the province.  Categories: BEST PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGN (under $100,000); BEST NEW EVENT OR FESTIVAL (under $100,000)

Need help reaching more people with your story?

Contact Jerelyn at


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What Is A Brand And Why Is It Important? Powerful Facts You Should Know

Can you imagine if Maytag® didn’t have its strong brand positioning in place? You might overhear one of its employees say: “So when somebody asks me what I do for a living I say, I sell kitchen and laundry appliances.” Hmm. Not very exciting. And is that really what Maytag sells?

Here’s what Maytag’s brilliantly effective marketing campaign really sells — peace of mind. When you think Maytag, you can’t help but picture the Maytag repairman who has absolutely nothing to do!  That’s smart marketing based on – smart branding. And smart branding expressed with a great story!

GSD&M, a visionary advertising agency based in Austin, Texas brought renewed excitement to the BMW brand by laddering the brand from: A car of great performance to … A company of great ideas. That year, 2006, was their best sales year in history.

The ad agency also took Southwest Airlines out of the airline business and put them into the freedom business. Think about it. See how it feels in your body when you think:  Airline business. Now…Freedom business.

Imagine, too, how the idea of an airline being a freedom business can lend itself to a whole fresh way to pepper the language of its advertising and marketing initiatives.

Today, Southwest is the world’s most profitable airline, posting a profit for the 37th consecutive year in January 2010.

Back to Maytag. The Maytag brand goes far beyond the products it sells. When you think Maytag you think:  reliability, longevity…trust! And, again, the greatest benefit to the consumer: peace of mind. Like the Energizer Bunny® (also brilliantly branded) – it just keeps going and going. Another great story.

Can you see how smart branding creates a strong appeal to the consumer that goes beyond the actual product or service? And, how the story it conveys compels people to act?

What is a Brand?

It’s more than a product. More than a mission statement. A brand has a soul and a personality. It can give meaning and identity to its user, so its benefits can be both functional and psychological.

A product becomes a brand in the mind and heart of the consumer.

Why Is Strong Branding Important?

  • Strong brands are profitable and may be your most important asset.
  • They create loyalty through direct relationships with consumers.
  • They are a short-cut to consumer understanding. Marketing costs are less and more effective.
  • Customers may be willing to pay more.
  • Imagery can be transferred to associated brands or channel extensions.
  • They offer protection against competitive activity.
  • They can put you on the map!

What emotions and associations do you want YOUR product or service to evoke? Think about it. Brainstorm about it. Allow for some abstract thinking.

Successful Brands: What they make us think and feel

Try this little exercise…

MAYTAG®– never needs repairs.

What you think: ________________________________________________________________

What you feel: ________________________________________________________________

Its Soul: ________________________________________________________________

Its Personality: ________________________________________________________________

Now do the same for: DURACELL® – just keeps going and going.

And, for Mac – smarter, faster, easier to use.

And now, try it with YOUR product or service in mind.

If you get stuck, consider hiring the services of an effective marketing communications writer/brand specialist who can help you reveal, distill, and reach existing and potential customers by re-purposing your brand with a dynamic, well-targeted story.

With a strong brand and a compelling story, you can look forward to generating far greater results!

Need help? Contact:

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How To Sell Your Art Online

Today, the Internet enables us to “show and tell” our work to millions of people in a nano-second. And this is key…It is the telling part of this show-and-tell opportunity that will help inspire potential buyers to become loyal collectors!

Buyers of fine art want to know who is behind the screen. They want to delight in telling your story – the story about the artist whose work they proudly exhibit on their living room and office walls. This is an essential part of the selling process – providing buyers with a compelling story they can tell friends, family, clients, and colleagues time and again.

So, as the paradigm for how we do business continues to change, you can be certain of this – the fastest and most efficient way to show your art and tell your story is to do it online. Putting up an effective website is not rocket science, but it does require knowledgeable support. Here are some valuable tips to consider …

Your Art Website Tip List

(1) Make sure your site is of high quality, simply and elegantly designed.

(2) The initial tone should be warm, welcoming, and informative.

(3) Remember the (5) Ws: Who you are, What you do, Where you are, When you can be reached, Why you do what you do.

(4) Make sure your story is compelling, engaging, intriguing.

Your art work may be stunning. You may feel that that should be enough. After all, it is your art and not your story that people hang on their walls. Or is it? Actually, it’s both.

The more compelling your story, the more compelled buyers will be to collect your work and take pride in their association with its creator.

Remember, it’s your story as well as your art that will inspire more sales.

Need help?  Contact:

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How Compelling Storytelling Can Help You in Business and in Life

Once upon a time, a very lonnnng time ago, the only way to “get the message out” was traveling by foot, canoe, snow shoe, dog sled, etc. and telling the story ourselves. Our story-telling skills needed to be strong — we had no flash animation or synthesized sounds to enhance our performance — and the story itself needed to excite our listeners and especially tribal leaders, if we wanted to survive.

Today, as technology brings the world to us and us to the world, our story telling skills are on the decline. Think “text” message and you get the idea. Think “tweet,” and you’re definitely in the ballpark.

Confidence to stand in front of an audience, rather than behind an ipod in a corner some where, can be daunting.  Now, more than ever, we need to strengthen our story telling skills in every medium and in every way we communicate.

Think about it. Every time you speak to a friend, colleague, existing or potential client you are telling a story.

How about the story you tell that sells your product, service, or message? At the core of every type and size of communication is a … story! In every print, television or radio ad, website, direct mail piece and live event!

The power and immediacy of a strategically creative LIVE EVENT can generate incredible results…when you know how to emotionally compel your target audience to action with a powerful story.

I encourage you to give yourself the tools you need to not only survive, but thrive in our rapidly changing world. Learn and/or hone your story writing and presentation skills.

Download my blog post: What’s the Story? Tips on getting to the heart of it, and other posts you may find helpful.

The exciting news is: When you take that first step to strengthen your story writing/telling (communications skills), you will begin to feel more confident about yourself and your future. That will become part of your personal story…one which you will find great joy in telling!

Need marketing help?  Dynamic creative copy? Concepts that drive results?

Contact: Jerelyn Craden —

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The recession didn’t just happen. But here it is. And here you are trying to figure out the best action to take for your business. For those who have been hit with the fight or flight response, your mind is probably shouting: “Stop marketing now! … You can’t afford to!” According to top marketing gurus and historical facts – You can’t afford not to.

Take a look at this historical perspective of marketing expenditures during the past 3 recessions:

1974-1975 recession years –
“Companies that did not cut marketing expenditures experienced higher sales and net income during those two years and the two years following than those companies that cut in either or both recession years.” — American Business Press, Inc.

1981-1982 recession years –
“Business-to-business firms that maintained or increased their marketing expenditures during the 1981-1982 recession, averaged significantly higher sales growth both during the recession and for the following three years than those that eliminated or decreased marketing.” — McGraw-Hill Research.

1990-1991 recession years –
“Firms that increased their budgets and took on new people were twice as likely to pick up market share.” — Greenburg, Eric Rolfe. Management Review, January 1993

According to research conducted at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business:
”An economic recession should not prompt marketing cutbacks, but rather an aggressive increase in marketing spending to achieve superior business performance.”

Plus … Arcus Research and Strategic Consulting analyzed the impact of cut backs in marketing investments in a slowdown in 22 industries and had this to say: “It is proven that an increase in advertising during a recession, when competitors are cutting back, can dramatically improve market share and return on investment at lower cost than during good economic times.”

Now is the time to stay in the driver’s seat and drive.
Show your existing and potential customers you care and are there. Reach out. Communicate. Present your business as unique, credible, and beneficial. By continuing to market smart you will build strong customer relationships now and well into the future.

Need help? Contact me:  Jerelyn Craden at:

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What’s the Story? — Tips on getting to the heart of it

Whether it’s a feature film, broadcast or print ad, website, lyric, logo, video, tradeshow, multi-cast event,  business meeting or stunt – what moves us viscerally has the greatest impact; hence, the most powerful motivational force.  Somebody knows what our buttons are and how to push them. Somebody knows who we are and what’s important to us – what we want, need, and fear. In other words, they know our story.

We need to know the story of our target audience. How the product and/or solution that is being presented will impact them personally. That insight is the “gold” which enables the creative to be its most powerful and, in turn, compels an audience to think, shift, and act.

Here are some helpful tips on getting to the heart of it …

Every story has a main character, a protagonist — the good guy or gal.  The person we’re cheering for.  Start thinking of the target audience of an event or video, or print piece, as your main character.  And in order to build a compelling story, find out what the main character wants, needs, and fears.

Next – whether your audience is 10 or 10 million, think of them as one person.  This is a trick top voiceover people use in order to make a radio or tv spot sound more personal, as if they’re talking directly to you.

As for the antagonist or enemy of the story — rather than a person, let’s think of it as the problem that creates chaos. The system that goes down – the air pollution that makes us sick – the gas and oil that seem to elude us when we need it to fuel our cars and heat our homes.  Personalize it and it hits you in the gut – always a more powerful motivator than just an intellectual concept. Together, however – concept and emotion are primo.

So – again, you need to know who the main character (target audience) is, what he or she wants, needs, and fears. And, who the antagonist or the problem, is.

Think:  Client = Product/Solution Target audience/Desired response = main character vs. problem or antagonist. Every one of us wants to feel that what we do is meaningful. That somehow we make a difference. Even when the target audience isn’t the end-user, he or she can feel like the hero by bringing the product/solution to the attention of his or her company.  You need to motivate them to do that. And you can when you know the…

  • Main character’s wants, needs and fears
  • Problem or enemy
  • How the product can eliminate or diminish the main character’s fear or discomfort and satisfy his/her wants and needs

The more technological our society becomes the more human our stories need to be.

Without emotion the result becomes one of indifference – regardless of how clever or cutting-edge the design or visuals may be. The reaction becomes: So what?  when we forget to make the audience care.

The tendency is to get caught up with the concept of what a product is rather than the impact it has on the end-user or our society as a whole. We tend to forget to link the client and the product with the human element – lifestyle, hopes, wishes, and dreams. By asking questions that will reveal what the story is – you will bring home the gold that is needed in order to create the most powerful story possible.

Another plus – when you know the story, you will feel more comfortable. You will understand your client better. You will be able to offer additional services that are appropriate. You will be able to clearly explain the story to others. Any way you look at it, it’s a win-win-win. It enables you to provide your team with the information you need to develop compelling creative that will help you win jobs, satisfy your client’s needs, and in turn, create long-term client loyalty.

Here’s an example of how knowing the story and being able to communicate it to a creative team enabled strong creative to be written for a software proposal and helped win the account.

The Account Executive at the marketing agency understood his client’s (let’s call it, Software, Inc.) “protagonist,” – the IT Professional who would be sitting in the audience at Software Inc.’s IT conference — and the “antagonist.”  Because he had asked the right questions, the Creative Director on the project was able to ask him what the IT Pro’s biggest pain button was, as well as his/her wishes and needs.  Their greatest nemesis turned out to be: having their lives interrupted by pagers and cell phones – being on call to put out IT fires 24/7.  They could be pulled away from any number of personal activities – attending church, spending time with family, hanging out with friends.

That was the gold.  The real personal stuff – the buttons to push – the connections needed to immediately let the audience know that Software Inc. “got” who they were and cared.

This is what was revealed: The IT Pro was the unsung hero.  The “on-call” software firefighter who wanted a software solution that would give him his life back. Hence, the gold needed to create an emotionally compelling, strategically on-target case for using  Software Inc.’s products and learning all there was to know about them.

This resulted in a powerful opening and closing video and CEO address designed to achieve the target’s desired response.

Regardless of the scale of the creative needed, you always need to provide a rationale for everything you propose based on “real stuff.” You can do this by asking the right questions from day one.

Now – how do we find out what the story is? Research. Ask the right questions. Keep drilling to you find gold.

In this next case – by asking the client the right questions, the stunt revealed itself.  To be more specific – the Sales Exec. learned that (let’s call it, Software Two) was offering free bandwidth for news groups in their booth at a major trade show. Their objective: Get the “right” people to the booth and have them sign up for the offer.  They didn’t care how many people showed up – they wanted the right people.  In this case, “qualified” prospects.

The Account Exec. also learned that Software Two was advertising this offer over the Internet with Intergalactic newsboys. Ding! That was our stunt.

The creative idea: Thirty to forty people outside the venue dressed as Intergalactic newsboys handing out incentives that would generate activity to their booth where they could qualify their prospects.

Find out what the story is and you’ll be amazed at how the information you need will unfold. If your client or prospect doesn’t know those answers, and in fact, that’s part of the problem – then you can use this as a way of explaining the importance and power of discovering what those answers are and how powerful the results of the event or project could be

Let’s revue the gold: What’s the story? Who is the main character? Who or what is the antagonist or problem?  What is the desired response/result of positioning the product or service as the hero?

Again, the more technological our world becomes the more human our message needs to be. The more direct and personal. It is through emotion that we motivate and transform. So …

Try this out. Hold this simple thought in mind when meeting with a client regarding a project — a theme, logo, stunt, training program, web site, product launch, business meeting, video, multi-cast event, etc.  What’s the story?  What’s the story?  What’s the story?

Need help moving your target audience to action?

Contact Jerelyn Craden at:


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