Meet Two Pens’ Visual Wit and How She Uses it to Build Our Brand

Posted By on June 17, 2014

Out walking in Seattle yesterday, I bumped into Cynthia photographing a rain-soaked clump of blue bells at a park overlooking Lake Washington. Her camera was about 1 mm from the flowers as if it were an octogenarian’s reading glasses. Now what is she seeing, I wondered. I ask the same question every time she pulls […]

Macklemore’s “Independence” Is a Business Brand, a Message and a Life Style

Posted By on March 25, 2014

Most people admire Seattleite Ben Haggerty (AKA Macklemore) for his rap music. I’m a fan of his business brand. What’s unusual about Macklemore is how message, behavior, and business strategy all reinforce his business brand as an independent. This is the trifecta that reinforces brand clarity.

A Writing Prompt to Help You Get to Your Personal Brand

Posted By on February 24, 2014

In this week’s video, Cynthia Hartwig, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Two Pens, talks about her favorite writing prompt designed to help business people develop an authentic and personal brand. The trick is to figure out what you are most passionate about–whether you’re working for someone else or building your own company. If you can […]

Group Photos: Don’t Make it Mass Murder

Posted By on January 21, 2014

If you’re a regular business blogger, chances are you will be assigned to write a story about a great group of people. You’ll craft your draft and then realize–whack-on-the-forehead!–there are no good group photos of these folks. What to do in a word where stellar visuals make the difference between posts that are shared and […]

Brand Management: Create a Brand Expression Guide to Avoid Brand Creep

Posted By on January 14, 2014

Emily and I are often called on to provide brand audits for clients. We’re amazed at how often companies who have spent big money to develop their brands fall prey over time to what we call “brand creep.” That’s when communications that started out with a consistent look, feel and message fall apart into chaos. […]

Round-Up Posts: What to Do When You’re Stuck

Posted By on November 26, 2013

As a blogger, sooner or later you’ll run into a roadblock–you’ll have no idea what to write. Naturally, drawing a blank happens most when you HAVE to meet a deadline. Rather than wringing your hands and whining, try writing a round-up post–a simple list on one topic.

How Susan Orlean Built A Posse of 260,000+ Twitter Followers

Posted By on August 21, 2013

When writer and social media rock star Susan Orlean was in town for the Seattle Arts & Lectures series, we had a candid conversation about how she built a following of, at last count, 263,200 people. The single most important reason–she loves Twitter! Her knack for connecting with people also strengthens her author platform and […]

Read our Case Study on Zappos’ Content Brand Strategy

Posted By on June 19, 2013

This June the big draw in the Fremont District of Seattle was not the naked bicyclists in the Solstice Parade, but rather Two Pens and Misty Weaver (content strategist extraordinaire) who presented content critiques at the Content Strategy Meetup at Makerhouse–our new place to drink beer and nibble snacks on Costco platters. Almost 80 people […]

Our Six Most Popular Social Media Tips

Posted By on February 15, 2013

There are more than 1 billion Twitterers and 500 million Facebook users but how many accounts sit idling or out of gas because they don’t know why social media matters?  And don’t forget the lurkers, Luddites, and leery who have yet to join in. That’s why SO many of our blog posts are geared for […]

Why Telling a Story Works Better on Video than Selling

Posted By on October 25, 2012

If you want to move people, telling stories is the fastest and most direct route to tears, laughter and joy. That’s why business videos that tell stories are more effective than those that sell. Business videos need stories to make people lean in. Next time you’re in front of a group of business people, test […]