Branding Your Story

By Mary Verstraete

By Stephen Tisch

Personal Comments from Mary Verstraete, President of the Center for Coaching Excellence

Stephen Tisch is founder of Activate Writing, a thriving content agency located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The agency works with a variety of clients in the areas of marketing, branding, digital and print with a strong focus on helping organizations utilize content more effectively for their strategic ventures. 

I invited Stephen to address the art of branding because he works everyday with businesses that have many of same challenges that you and I have as business ownerscreating a relevant voice in today’s market. 

Stephen Tisch

The essence of a business is only as complete as how its story is communicated, both internally and externally. And as business owners and professionals, it’s your role to tell the story. Often times businesses are unsuccessful in telling their story because they haven’t fully discovered it and/or their capacity is already maxed in the operations.



How can I maintain strategic, effective, and professional communication while I’m busy building a business?



If you’ve asked yourself this questionmaybe late at night as you’re finalizing a project for a clientplease know that you’re not alone. Running a business is difficult in itself, and finding time to accomplish the strategy, writing, and implementation of its story can be daunting; it can truly be an unreasonable task to handle. The reality is that there are many hats to wear and few hours to wear them.

Some of the options businesses have are as follows:

  1. Stick with what you’re doing, and continue to fight for time to tell your story.
  2. Hire someone to work inside your business.
  3. Hire an agency to work with on a relationship basis.

What are the implication of these options?

  • Fighting for time usually does not generate the time needed to meet the demands of developing a business brand.
  • Hiring a branding position is expensive for a small business.
  • Hiring a professional agency that is a best fit for your business can be an answer that is financially feasible and can give you branding expertise.

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with hundreds of organizations, consulting with them on branding to achieve the best marketing practices, however, at the core of the successful branding isn’t a product, it’s a relationship. It’s fulfilling to watch the needs and desires of clients come to fruition in regards to strategy, marketing, and design, and this wouldn’t have happened without that professional relationship.



What is the value of working with an agency?

  • Relationship: Relationships are the currency of power in life and business. By developing a relationship with a professional agency, your story becomes more than a project; it becomes a mission.
  • Investment: When you work with a professional agency you’re being fiscally responsible because you’re only paying for the hours you need; not the individuals you need. You gain a full communications team that is invested in your business and its goals.
  • Strategy: Strategy is best served when it’s unbiased. Hiring a professional agency gives you access to a team dedicated to your mission, but not completely engulfed in the “that’s how we’ve done it” mentality. This can be uncomfortable, but it’s also extremely valuable.
  • Agility: Professional agencies are just that, professional. They are continuously immersed in the trends, opportunities, and threads of their craft (marketing, design, etc.). Because of this, they’re also agileindustry knowledge, expertise, and consultation at your fingertips.
  • Consistency: Consistency is crucial in order to effectively tell the story of your business. By working with a professional agency, you’ll receive consistent implementation and execution of your story based on your specific needs.

Working with an agency isn’t the only solution for a business and it may not be for your business. Whatever solution you choose, keep your needs in mind and choose the solution that serves you in the most beneficial and effective manner.

The Center for Coaching Excellence chose to work with an agency and found a long-term partnership that continues to have our best interest as their priority. I encourage you to explore working with agency to check out if its a best fit for your company’s branding needs. 

If you have additional questions or want more information on working with an agency email Stephen at or call 763.439.2221.

Click here to check out his website, Activate Writing.