Brandstoria

What's Your Unique Story?

Meet Sharlene

Sharlene Sones

Founder & Brand Strategist

When I was a kid, I endlessly read a little pocket book on inventors.

It featured the stories of a wide variety of creatives – from Edison to Marconi, Tesla to Ford  – providing me with a glimpse into their lives and the back stories of innovation. I read and re-read the book so much that the binding and all the pages eventually fell apart.

So while the book may be long gone, what enthralled me about it back then still lives on: I’m fascinated with people and their stories – how and why ideas, causes and businesses come to life.

I founded Brandstoria as a means to connect this storytelling perspective with traditional branding practices that can surprise and delight in ways that matter. Tapping into the heart and soul of the brand to realize potential and build relationships with customers (internal and external).

The approach is rooted in my early career experience launching hundreds of products in sports & entertainment, when I’d think about the strategy for a new product based on its fit with the larger story people held about the brand.

If I made a tennis racquet for Spalding, for example, I’d consider: what kind of tennis racquet would people expect from an all American sports brand known primarily for basketball and golf balls? What would it look like? How would it be priced? This sort of thinking was, I felt, a central consideration for brand extensions and product development. What I didn’t realize, however, was that for many people – managers and customers alike – this was largely a subconscious activity. I was unwittingly leveraging the very way people make sense of the world by tapping into how it informs the potential for a product, service or business.

Over the past decade, I’ve worked with and consulted to a wide range of agencies, global brands and startups using this approach including Benetton Sportsystem, Spalding, Zagat Survey, University of Pennsylvania, Forefront Records, Barnes & Noble Collegiate, LPGA, Audubon, Womens Sports Foundation and more. As a result of my direct experience, I’ve co-founded The Next Play – an exciting new service that pairs women athletes with leadership & development coaches that help them transition their unique strengths into life after sport.

I’m also the author of Storyworks – How Stories Can Advance Your Business, Cause and Career.

When I’m not working on someone else’s story – I’m living out my own. And while I’ve put aside my single-engine airplane in favor of a bicycle, you can still find me using power tools: creating something on a wood lathe (Bowl? Pen? Art?) or tackling a DIY home project in Pennsylvania’s beautiful Lehigh Valley, or, as I like to refer to it, “the deep, deep, deep suburbs of NYC.”

I earned a graduate degree in organizational dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania and hold a B.S. in management from Babson College, where I currently serve as Vice President of the Babson Alumni Association.

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