Marketing is not a department—it's the story of how you create difference for your customers.

As a business owner who cares about doing meaningful work, you know deep down that you're different, yet you still have a hard time communicating that difference to your customers. You are not alone.

One of the biggest challenges facing every entrepreneur, innovator and global brand is understanding how to make ideas resonate with colleagues, customers and clients. We have no shortage of ideas, products and services, but we often struggle to pinpoint exactly how and why they will matter to people.

The difference between a good idea and a commercial success is context—the understanding about who the product or service is for, what they really want deep down and why they will care about this, more than that. We spend most of our time trying to make people love things, when we should be simply making things people love.

It turns out that marketing and sales are less about persuasion and more about understanding.
If you don't understand your potential customer's worldview how can you craft a brand story that matches it?

I’m Bernadette Jiwa, and I show great businesses how to become meaningful brands. I'm here to help you tap into the essence of your idea, to uncover your unique ability and tell the story of how that translates to value for people in a marketplace.

Whether you make chocolate bars, or sell consulting services, are a tech startup, a non-profit or incumbent global brand—you've got a brand story to tell. My job is to work with you and your company to unlock the value in your story and translate that into marketing people love. I'll help you to understand the difference you create and show you how to shine a light on that so that your brand becomes more meaningful to the people you serve.

Marketing and brand storytelling comes down to this.

Product - Meaning = Commodity

Product + Meaning = Brand

Good marketing tells the story. Great marketing is the story.
You get to choose the story you want to tell.
I work with clients who want to stay relevant to their customers—the kind of people who care enough to create ideas, innovations and businesses that people want and believe in.

If you are a purpose driven entrepreneur, passionate company or visionary business leader I can help you to make your brand more than just a replaceable commodity.
Together we're going to give your customers a reason to care and a story to tell.

I am a freelance brand story strategist, marketing keynote speaker and the author of five
#1 Amazon Bestsellers, Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly,
Difference, Marketing: A Love Story,
The Fortune Cookie Principle and Make Your Idea Matter.

My blog was voted Best Australian Business Blog: 2012.
Smart Company named it one of Australia's 20 Best Business Blogs: 2014.
Seth Godin listed it as one of the marketing blogs he reads.

I created the new marketing model for the 21st century complete with the Difference Map
the one-page method that will help you to reimagine your business and reinvent your marketing.
I spoke about the secret to spreading ideas at TEDxPerth.

I've been named as one of
The Top 100 Branding Experts To Follow On Twitter

In my first job I was a bean counter for supermarket giant Tesco. Seriously....I spent Saturdays, clipboard in hand, crawling over pallets in the warehouse counting how many tins were in stock. I began working in hospitality, sales and business management at the age of 18. When you're the person unlocking the door at 7am—the first to greet both staff and customers, you get real, hands on, relationship building business experience. I went on to launch and sell my own successful businesses in the UK. The most valuable business lesson I have learned over three decades is how to look people in the eye and to really see them.

I now advise, consult with and speak to global companies, startups, entrepreneurs and business leaders from around the world, helping them to build their brands and business visions around a story-centric marketing strategy—one that helps them to matter to their customers, gain traction in their market and get funding from investors. I've created brand names, communication and innovation strategies and brand stories to launch and evolve amazing, bold ideas; from football boots to a medical journal, businesses to blogs, books to Kickstarter projects, non-profits and more.

I believe that great businesses are founded on the truth and that marketing is the art of telling a story that moves people to act. Marketing is no longer a tactic used to sell stuff. It's about finding ways to create meaning and making people feel something, rather than making them do what you want them to do in the short term.

You could spend your time working out how to make people act in the moment. Or you could think about how you would like to make them feel about your brand in the long run.

My fascination with brand storytelling and marketing began at the age of 10 in my little brother's Action Man days, when we figured out that the collectible stars on the packaging, were just as valuable as the khaki outfits and grenades inside.

I grew up in Dublin, the storytelling capital of the world, a place where nobody needs an excuse to start telling a story. It's in the blood. Now I live in the world’s most liveable city, Melbourne Australia, with a cafe on every corner and surrounded by brand storytelling inspiration at every turn.

People often ask me how I get to do the work that I do? The answer is that I make my work about understanding people first and I have trained myself to see how the little things we fail to notice impact the big things we care about.

How we can work together

If you are launching a new idea, growing your business or need to connect the dots that enable you to stay relevant in a shifting marketplace get in touch.
Here are some of the ways we can work together.

  • COACHING & CONSULTING~ Launch, evolve and differentiate your brand. Connect your idea to a business strategy, generate momentum & see results with 1 on 1 sessions or a month of intensive consultation.
  • BRAND NAMING ~ You've got 9 seconds to convince them. Elevate your brand with an unforgettable business name and brand story.
  • BRAND STORY CONSULTING~ Don't be the brand that people buy. Be the one they 'buy in' to. Change how people feel and differentiate your brand with a unique position and a compelling story.
  • Online learning to help you create a more meaningful brand


I write here for you three times a week and also send readers a newsletter once a month.
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Don't just take my word for it....

"I was fortunate to recently work with Bernadette on a storytelling project. Her blog posts resonated with me greatly and I hoped she could help my team with storytelling tools and techniques. What I received was far more. Not only did I get useful tools to help tell stories throughout our process; but her philosophy helped me see the larger impact I could have within my company. Bernadette took the marketing and business “speak" we so often used and transformed it into my department’s raison d’être. She helped open my eyes to the habitual thinking that was dragging us into the same feedback loop, and understand why we had difficulty finding new solutions. Her teachings, instruction and leadership helped me to see with new eyes....to put my feet in the consumer’s shoes, and finally to create impact through storytelling. Lastly, Bernadette is a joy to work with - passionate, fun, and relatable."

— Antonio Zea, Director of Innovation Adidas

"Storytelling is now central to a marketer’s success; the best brands make you believe. And Bernadette is one of today’s master teachers in effective brand storytelling and the importance of making a difference. She reminds us, convincingly, that it’s about connection with the people we serve."

— Chris Bruzzo, Chief Marketing Officer, Electronic Arts

"We weren’t exactly sure what our brand needed, but we knew that we were missing something. So we started working with Bernadette, in hopes of learning how to brand ourselves better. By the end of our consultations, we had created a 60-second, crystal-clear elevator pitch, crafted a written manifesto, and boosted our confidence in our message. Bernadette gave us the perspective and insight we needed to tell our story — and be the best version of our brand we believe to be possible."

— Shannon Whitehead & Kristen Glenn, Founders of {r}evolution apparel

"It was wonderful to have Bernadette on our side at the early stages of our rebranding process. As a coaching company, we know the value of getting an outside perspective and she gave us just that - asking the right questions, testing our assumptions, and helping us move forward in a way we couldn't have on our own."

— Jonathan Raymond, EMyth, VP Marketing

“Bernadette sees the clever and memorable in every idea. She hones in on words & visuals that not only help you tell your story to others, but to yourself. Oh, and did I mention that “clever” comes with a healthy dose of strategy? Bernadette isn’t smoke & mirrors — her words, ideas, and strategy are incredibly concrete and valuable."

— Tara Gentile, The You Economist & Author of The Art of Earning

"When someone has “it,” words can only try and explain what “it” is. Working with Bernadette was like working with someone doing what she was born to do: Deep listening; exquisite attention to the details of your project; expert, instinctive synthesis and ultimately, a deliverable that exceeds even the highest of expectations. My experience with her on my 3rd book was priceless. When you experience “it,” you’ll understand."

— Sunni Brown, Best-Selling Author of The Doodle Revolution

"Bernadette is truly a special person. In a big world of noise and false bravado, her sharp mind and clarion, calm, voice offers uniquely insightful wisdom and direction. Our team was enormously benefited by her involvement in our project. She drew the light from within us that lit the way forward and set us on the path to achieve the end result we had dreamed of."

— Michael Garvey, Senior Digital Designer, Zappos

"Bernadette is astonishingly talented at distilling the finest essence of a message. The British Paraorchestra - the world's first large pan-disabled ensemble - is a many splendored-thing; it has multiple contours and dimensions. Bernadette managed, in the shortest imaginable time, to express the beating heart of the thing with brilliant, succinct eloquence. This focus was the first step in a journey which led to the British Paraorchestra playing a vital role in the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, in front of a global audience of hundreds of millions. We shall forever be grateful."

— Charles Hazelwood, Founder British Paraorchestra

"Working with Bernadette was a revelation. She helped us refine our vision and hone our message with warmth, grace and intelligence. Then she helped us see how best to weave that refined brand message through all of our communications platforms. Once you've got it, it seems so clear and almost obvious, but the process of getting there is not at all clear. Without Bernadette's help we might still be dancing around the neighborhood."

— Kate O’Brien, CEO, Alima Pure Cosmetics

"To be brutally honest, most of us lawyers are generally skeptical about "creative types" and "marketing gurus". But Bernadette? She blew me away. She gave shape and form to nebulous concepts with discipline, rigour and professionalism. No fluff, to the point, worth every penny."

— Melissa Kirby, Lawyer & Strategist Sharpe & Abel

"The master of making organizational change around marketing."

— Seth Godin, Best Selling Author

"Working with Bernadette was a mountaintop experience. We read both of her books and before launching our skincare company, we knew we needed to seek Bernadette's guidance on navigating so many aspects of our business. From helping us create a new name, to honing our "story". Her insight and expertise is unparalleled in the industry. Working with Bernadette was a watershed moment and she will be forever part of the fabric our story."

— Tenzing Skincare, Preston, John & Dan, Co Founders

"As an IT consulting firm who it feels like has spent 10 years constantly getting burnt by marketing “experiences” we were really hoping Bernadette would be different. For us the result turned our whole viewpoint on its head and that more than anything is the value Bernadette delivers. When you need to be challenged and questioned to break out of where you are, that’s the difference between just getting a result and smashing through barriers. With Bernadette’s help we were able to get to the essence of our story and begin to understand what was truly needed to take it forward. Can’t recommend her highly enough!"

— Zaun Bhana, Managing Director, Leap Consulting

“I doubled my income while working less hours. I appreciate your presence in my life this year. It has been transformative!"

— Heather Spriggs, Gatherings Magazine

"Bernadette changed the way I saw my business. She helped me to identify what it was and what it wasn't, and gave me fresh eyes with which to approach it. With her help, I developed a greater understanding of exactly what I was trying to achieve and why, and that has helped me to market my product - and sell it! - far more effectively than I had been. Her offering is a no holds barred assessment of business strengths and weaknesses, and her knowledge and enthusiasm is evident throughout the process. I can't thank her enough for her wisdom and insight!"

— Anna Spargo-Ryan, Founder & Editor of Bide Magazine

"When I discovered that I'd been selected to audition for TED 2013, I knew I was going to need help. I had a story to tell, but no idea how to craft it in a way that would be engaging and interesting - especially when I only had 5 minutes to speak! I sent my notes to Bernadette and in just 24 hours she came back with a brilliant opening lines - AND she had crafted my notes into an engaging story that I couldn't wait to share. On the day of my TED audition, I was given a standing ovation and I have no doubt that it was because Bernadette took my ideas and made them into something inspirational and understandable."

— Chantelle Baxter, Co-Founder of One Girl and The Launch Pad Project

"Thanks for all the advice and clarity you offered during our session. The way you phrased some of your questions helped flick a switch in my brain. Suddenly, I was able to join the dots and there were light bulbs going off all around the place. The clarity and focus I feel makes me excited and I know this is what I’ve been waiting for. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

— Deborah Holland, Co-Founder of Smith Holland UK

"Bernadette not only came up with the perfect title for my book, but inspired me to write it. She was also instrumental in the cover design, branding, and positioning. Bernadette is a brilliant strategist."

— J. David Stein, Author of Money For The Rest Of Us

“I don’t know how I can thank you enough Bernadette. After being a software developer for 15 years I was pretty stuck in my ways, but when I discovered your blog and books I started to totally reconsider how I approached my products. Now I have had the opportunity to work closely with you on several products I cannot understate the profound impact you have had. Thank you so much for your ideas, advice and guidance. I look forward to working with you again and again.”

— Stuart K. Hall, Founder of Appbot

"Working with Bernadette to set up our business and brand name was such a exceptional experience. She took the time to understand each of the directors perspectives, the brand and our long term goals. Bernadette went out of her way to craft a unique name that really positioned our brand to stand out from the crowd. If you only want the best marketing advice for your business, hire Bernadette today!"

— Brendan Lobo, Director of Marketing at Portermark

"I had literally struggled with a branding problem for more than a year. I just could not distill the concept to its essence. Once Bernadette walked me through a set of simple questions, an elegant and profound solution became apparent. She is like a branding sea of calm. Trust her."

— Mark Schaefer, Executive Director, Schaefer Marketing Solutions

"Bernadette has had a tremendous impact in one of the most strategically important brand transitions made in the history of ASSA ABLOY; namely the merger of the industry pioneer and leading hotel lock brand VingCard Elsafe with its parent Master Brand ASSA ABLOY. With great strategic skill, Bernadette guided us through the process emphasizing an emotional approach in the brand transition; cherishing the past at the same time as the quintessence of our common bright future was put in focus. I never thought I would establish strategic co-operation with a person on the other side of the world whom I never met, but this worked perfectly fine. I thus can give my wholehearted recommendations for Bernadette, to any marketing executive who is looking for strategic advice from someone who can truly make a difference when it comes to brand building."

— Samuel Asarnoj, Business Development Director, ASSA ABLOY

"Bernadette is amazing. Her blog is the only one I read consistently. It's inspiring, clear, concise, and beautiful in both words and imagery. And her consulting services are the same. I came to Bernadette seeking to translate my passion. While I was clear on what I wanted to do for people I was struggling to describe it succinctly, and I couldn't find a satisfying name for my emerging business. In a miraculously short time she distilled my mass of ideas to a simple one-word business name, a three word description, and language that can form the seed for my website's front page. Plus, magically, in the name she picked up an unspoken but crucial thread that linked to the genesis of my idea years ago. Need help with branding? Don't look any further. Use Bernadette."

— Fiona Brooks, Founder of Threefold

"When I first heard about Bernadette, I was looking for someone to view my business through unbiased eyes and to give me feedback about the message I was projecting. She quickly brought to light that the "message we were projecting" was far from the story we needed to tell. I knew something was missing, and after my consultation with Bernadette, I came to realize that something was me. I grew up in a corporate culture of the 80's and 90's where you needed to separate yourself from your business. In order to be successful you had to speak the corporate jargon. After my engaging conversation with Bernadette, I felt like I was given permission to be myself within my business. She helped reconnect me to the business I started 11 years ago."

— Laura Kelly, CEO of The Handwork Studio

"Only one session with Bernadette and I can say that there is a before and an after in the way I see my business and myself as a business woman. I have left this one single session with two different types of outcomes, one tangible and one intangible. The tangible is a well structured action plan, with clear steps that will allow me to double my profits in the next couple months. The intangible is the new perception about the value of what I have to offer the world and rock solid confidence about it. In an area where I felt there was clutter and self-doubt, Bernadette has been like a flashlight pointing out to the direction I had to follow, a direction that resonates deep inside. I am now able to communicate my mission clearly, boldly and meaningfully and this is bringing new business opportunities every week. It feels like magic. Thank you!"

— Hana Kanjaa, Founder MiMamaMe

Bernadette’s expertise in the power of storytelling inspired us to create a re-branding story. Her work opened the door to a fresh perspective on our approach to our customers. We will continue to work with her as we refine our sales and service training programs to mirror their needs.

— Dolores Shore, Director Human Resources, ASSA ABLOY Hospitality

"I wasn't sure what to expect when we started, but I got what I needed and then some. Working with you was worth every penny, and it was an investment I know is going to return back to me in spades. It is rare when someone exceeds your service expectations, so thank you!"

— Julie Hedlund, Author and Founder of The 12x12 Author Challenge

"Bernadette has the ability to help you filter through all the noise… all the things you think you ‘should’ put in a brand story. She helps you find your true and authentic message underneath, it all that makes you realise you do have something unique to offer. In a very noisy world with information being thrown at us 24/7, it is invaluable to get to the bottom of ‘you’ when communicating the essence of your brand."

— Alexx Stuart, Founder, Luxury Tastings

"Working with Bernadette has been extremely beneficial to me and my firm. Not only was she full of great insights that I had never considered for connecting with my clients and growing my business, but she also gave focus to broad ideas of my own that I had been considering for a long time and gave me the confidence to finally implement them."

— Justin Elrod, Founder, The Elrod Firm

"When you are looking for a clear signal among the noise, contact Bernadette. She came highly recommended to me and I was charmed from the get-go. She's extremely perceptive, patient and delivers straight up advice. She makes you feel strong and gives you permission to be honest with your self. You'll receive amazing nuggets of just-for-you resources, clear next steps and what surprised me the most: she checks in on you. Priceless. I spent one hour with her months ago and her words are still with me, cheering me on."

— Deb Pang Davis, Founder Cococello

"Here's a blog that succeeds brilliantly in balancing the expertise of the blogger with valuable, original, engaging content. Arresting headlines, considered imagery and a clearly nurtured and active readership make The Story of Telling a blog that's easy to get into and hard to escape. One of the commenters on the blog likens Bernadette Jiwa to 'a female Seth Godin' and I have to agree. A terrific example of a business blog that must do so much for the author's business."

— Robert Gerrish, Best Australian Blog Judge

"Need help figuring out your story and how to tell it? Get in touch with Bernadette — there's no one better. She helped us massively. Great insight. Great skills. She'll help you find what really matters."

— Dave McKinney, Founder of Discovr


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