January 24th, 2015 - Brand

Why Stories?

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

– John Keating (Robin Williams), Dead Poets Society

The things we stay alive for … Wow and Yikes.

There is so much truth in this short passage, yet it sets the bar so high we often fail to reach it … or we choose to ignore the bar altogether and walk right under it.

I sat down to write a bio for Client X the other day and caught myself filling in the regular template of facts … worked here, went to school there, achieved X, Y, and Z. Then I hit the delete button – washing away an hour or so of work in one hard click of the keyboard.

I stared at the blank screen for a while – that flashing cursor taunting me – until I asked myself … why?

Why did Client X live here and go to school there? Why did he do the work he did? Most importantly, why was he embarking on the next important chapter of his life?

What did he stay alive for?

And then I told his story. I was struck by how the words flowed easier and the ideas suddenly made sense. Client X became one of those passion-filled humans that John Keating described so eloquently in Dead Poets Society.

But telling his story didn’t stop and start with the bio. With the help of my design team we breathed life into the story through big bold headlines and images of Client X engaged in living his life and loving his people.

Why do we tell stories? Because they help us get to the truth. They allow emotions. They build connections and community.

Through our stories, we make a commitment to our clients and customers … and that’s a powerful sell. Our clients like to know we’re committed to the journey – that we are invested and not just along for the ride.

With gratitude,

Shannon Larkins

Inspired by a little blackcoffee

Some of my favourite moments are spent in search of something beautiful while I drink my first cup of coffee and hear the house wake up. From there I move on to the paper and the news of the day. In this space, I’ll share some of those inspirations.

Now that's some good advice

Articles, snippets, or videos that highlight what to do and what not to do in the always changing world of branding and design. 

By Frank Rose @ www.wired.com

The Art of Immersion: Why Do We Tell Stories?

Anthropologists tell us that storytelling is central to human existence. That it’s common to every known culture. That it involves a symbiotic exchange between teller and listener — an exchange we learn to negotiate in infancy.

Just as the brain detects patterns in the visual forms of nature — a face, a figure, a flower — and in sound, so too it detects patterns in information. Stories are recognizable patterns, and in those patterns we find meaning. We use stories to make sense of our world and to share that understanding with others. They are the signal within the noise.


Shannon Larkins

Founder, Blackcoffee Studio

Over the course of 15+ years, Shannon has grown Blackcoffee Studio out of a love for building brands and reputations. She serves up Blackcoffee as a morning ritual while caffeinating clients and readers on the regular. You can find her at www.BlackcoffeeStudio.com


Blackcoffee Studio

Blackcoffee is a premium brand development agency, offering luxury brand experience to clients at home in Calgary, Canada and around the globe. Brands create experience, set you apart from the competition and drive growth. Anyone can bulid a business but only the exceptional can create a brand. Are you ready?

Shannon Larkins

Shannon Larkins

Hi I’m Shannon, founder of Blackcoffee Studio. A former reporter, spin doctor and politico, I now focus on using my powers for good.

I create mighty brands for clients and share their stories with the world. I’m also rather addicted to my nutty family, dogs with pushed in faces, Mexico and of course coffee … black.