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AKA a great spot to find marketing advice, inspirational tidbits, and fun articles about the power of story. Enjoy!

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It is here! The 2022 PurposeBrand© survey!

Our last one was 2019… and wow things have changed a heap since then!

In this short survey, we will be looking to gain insight into what a PurposeBrand© means to you.
Because… what you think, means a lot to us!

And, as a thank you, we want to share with you the report we generated from our 2019 survey. All you have to do is complete the survey and it is yours!

Inside the 2019 report, you’ll find some surprising results on our respondents’ favourite purpose driven brands, their biggest business challenges, tried and true accounts of what it means to communicate their companies’ purpose, and much more!

And there is even more to this story….circle Wednesday, February 16th at noon (CST) on your calendar! That is the day we will unleash the results of the new report and talk 2022 trends for Purpose driven brands and their leaders.

my AHA moments of 2021

I keep track of my aha moments! I know, right? That might be weird? Please, someone, tell me you do too.

It started when I decided to erase: “where did the time go” from my lexicon. Well, because I wanted to know where the time had gone, and I wanted to know what I was thinking during that time. Covid especially made me feel like we had all lost a year.

So, here is a select (because you really don’t want to know all of them) and random list of thoughts that made me say “aha”. Some were inspired by books and podcasts, while others came from conversations and personal experiences.


    1. Great keynote speakers, podcast hosts, authors are generous people. Generous with their ideas, hearts, souls, and stories.
    2. Creativity is not an escape but the truest form of ourselves.
    3. How purpose-driven leaders are changing the world for the better shakes my world in the best possible way.
    4. Grieving for the loss of the children of the residential schools hurts. Learning more about Truth and Reconciliation is a powerful and difficult journey.
    5. “Don’t take criticism from someone you would not take advice from.” – Jamie Kern Lima
    6. Cleaning out my inbox is not a good use of my time!
    7. “Stay curious just a little bit longer.” – Michael Bungay Stainer
    8. You can’t get the right answer to the wrong question.
    9. The sheer joy of sharing in positive experiences. Investing in positivity changes everything.
    10. You can wish for many things for your kids, but the greatest of those wishes is that they have true and loyal friends to share their lives with.

A special shout out to virtual connection . the Story Cafe

Over the past year and a half, I have often heard people say that in-person connection is the most important type of connection and how nothing else can compare to that. While we are all excited to get back to in-person activities, let’s take a moment to reflect on the virtual connections we have made… come with me and see what you think!

Yes, in-person connection is wonderful… but I also believe that virtual connection has the potential to be just as powerful.

I truly could not have predicted just how meaningful my virtual connections would become.

This period of abnormality has pushed our relationships to become deeper. Together, we have all had to navigate through the collective hardship that the pandemic has sprung onto our lives. Virtual connection has allowed us to have transformative experiences with ourselves and others – forging more solid relationships.

Thinking back to many of the conversations I have had over the past year and a half, I do see a pattern of openness and spontaneity. I’ve now become more likely to ask someone how they are doing without expecting a superficial answer. And, when asked this question myself, I am now more likely to give a genuine response.

I’ve seen a collective interest in one another’s wellbeing. At the end of messages, phone calls, emails, we were all telling each other to stay safe and healthy. We were all checking in to see how we were doing mental health-wise. We were all much more understanding of our individual circumstances, given that working from home posed a whole host of new challenges that we quickly had to navigate.

Now, it feels much more natural to check in with one another. And, I know that without this shift, I would not have been so open.

Because of virtual connection, I will now spontaneously call up my friends without giving it a second thought. I feel more connected to these people than ever before, and it is not due to being in-person. I am now much more likely to be brave and open up to others. I am also more aware of making an effort to be that genuine friend who is there when others need someone to open up to.

In some ways, the technological barrier made it easier to open up – free from certain social expectations that don’t automatically transfer through the computer screen.

As we see a return to normality, we mustn’t forget that it’s okay to be open with one another.

While we have made such an effort to pivot our in-person lives to an online format, why don’t we now try to translate the openness that we have felt virtually to our in-person lives?

Virtual connection is real, and this openness should be what we call the “new normal”.

With this all being said… virtual connection, here is your shout-out!

Thank you for bringing me closer to friends.

Thank you for helping me feel brave enough to reach out and make new friends.

Thank you for giving me the space to talk about the hard stuff.

Thank you for allowing us to keep our communities together.

Are you thankful for virtual connections? In what ways has virtual connection strengthened your relationships? 


Cheers, Bronwen

The Story Co.’s Top 5 Great Stories of 2021

There are very few things that get all of us at The Story Co. more excited than a great story! With 2021 coming to a close, here’s a quick recap of some of our favourite reads throughout the year…

1. The Go-Giver by Bog Burg

Now, this is not one of your regular “business help books”. 

Having guidance in the form of a story rather than a textbook, not only helped to convey the book’s message… but also showed how well messages can be understood through stories!

The lessons drew on the law of reciprocity, meaning transactions are not all about winning or losing. Instead, we should be seeking to provide more value than we receive.

The “Go-Giver” mindset is one that should be applied at work, at home, with friends, and with strangers… it is a way of life!

2. Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

This is a book I go back to again and again when working with teams who are interested in ramping up their cohesiveness and effectiveness.

Since its writing in 2018, I think his message has only become more important, and I whole heartedly believe in his statement, “Group culture is one of the most powerful forces on the planet.”

Since many of our workplaces have moved to a virtual format, it is so important that we are now focusing on creating an amazing team culture in an online/work from home environment

Through his research in sectors such as creative, hospitality, military (and everything in between), Daniel explores three primary skills:

  • build safety – create an environment where it is ok to provide feedback, regardless of status;
  • share vulnerability – allow for an environment where teams are willing to accept the help and support of others, which in turn, drives trusting cooperation; and,
  • establish purpose – foster an environment of a shared culture that defines the group’s purpose and goals.

3. How to Eat Fudge by Jelena Jerkovic

When a 13-year-old writes a book, it gets my attention!

And when it gets published and you can buy it on Amazon and it is called “How to Eat fudge” –  I buy it!

Jelena Jerkovic is honest, open, and vulnerable in a Brené Brown kind of way.

Wise beyond her 13 years, she is navigating the end of grade 8 and the upcoming unknown of high school.

Fudge is an acronym for: Fear, uncertainty, doubt, guilt, expectations. Her book includes some worksheets, tools, and tips to help you when you slip into F.U.D.G.E.

I know she says it is for kids, and she is a kid…so she should know. But I think fudge is great at all ages! After reading this you might think fudge has never tasted so good!

4. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

This is my all time favourite business memoir. I read it as soon as it came out in 2016.

I have always been a Nike fan right back to university days when the Nike poster of the long distance runner drenched in rain, arms out with the caption “there is no finish line” adorned my residence room at Queen’s. That image spurred on a lot of miles in my waffle trainers.

It is hard to recognize the behemoth of a company that once started in Phil Knight’s trunk. His obsessive passion to find the best shoe for runners was always his fuel.

This is a book of struggle, it is relentless, eccentric, and far from perfect. Phil Knight doggedly pursued building this company, living most of his life in debt.

In this book you are pulled in and along for the ride! When you feel like you hit the turning point, that they have made it as sales hit 40 million… but there is no sigh of relief, he was on the brink of bankruptcy, again.

He goes on to say, “I’d like to share my experience, the ups and downs, so that some young woman or man going through the same trials and ordeals, might be inspired, comforted or warned. Some young entrepreneur, athlete, painter, novelist will press on.”

For Phil Knight there is no finish line, and there is something about that still inspires me (with or without the waffle trainers.)

5. The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

In The Infinite Game, Simon Sinek talks about an infinite mindset that resonated with me: “no matter how successful we are in life, when we die, none of us will be declared the winner of life. And there is certainly no such thing as winning business.”

You already know that I am attracted to the idea that there is no finish line, Sinek sees winning as a finite game, and compares it to business, where our primary objective is to keep playing. When a game is won it is over. The players go home.

An infinite perspective drives innovation, and if there was ever a silver lining of Covid it is the freedom it brought us to experiment. We had to try something new, nothing was the same, nor will it ever be. We have come to expect surprises and in the process surprised ourselves with brave and resilient attitudes that brought new opportunities.

My twist on the infinite game is that when our purpose is driven by serving others, rather than beating others, we create purpose-driven brands whose positive impact is infinite. The most sustainable way to build a business.

magpies kitchen . purposebrand profile

If you ever wondered if elves are real, you just have to meet Sharron and Shannon, the owners of Magpies Kitchen, to know that indeed they are!

Magpies Kitchen has been a PurposeBrand since the minute they opened their doors 11 years ago! And at this time of year, they are working at elf speed to get all of us delicious treats that look as good as they taste!

They are the perfect last-minute stop, and their new takeaway style and gifts are truly the proverbial cherry on top. Turkish candies, toffee, spiced nuts peanut brittle are all beautifully packaged and ready for gifting. Their gift display features the iconic and whimsical snow people paintings by Leslie Hensrud, Bath Poetry, delicious hand creams by Matter, candles and more!

Magpies is a stocking stuffers dream!

Every single one of their products is sourced from an ethical, woman-owned Canadian company! That’s the way they roll – true to their values.

Magpies have opted to provide you with the best takeaway experience you can find by converting their dine-in space to the perfect location to zip in and pick up a meal to take home or a sweet to satisfy any sweet tooth.

What makes Magpies a PurposeBrand?

They never got into this business to only delight our taste buds – they really want to make others happy. At their core, they believe that when we gather and share a meal, we also share our common humanity. Knowing that they can be part of our everyday, special days, and most difficult days is what keeps their creativity humming and how they uniquely contribute to the world. They lead, bake, nurture, and cook with love. They see their business as an opportunity to uplift people and their communities.

Our city and our world have never been in greater need of this approach to business and life!

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