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Season 1 | Episode 7

Chief Storyteller

An Interview With

Derek Kent

Founder, Alter Empire Inc.

This week’s guest is Derek Kent, a global Chief Marketing Officer and the founder of Alter Empire, a strategic brand communications company. Derek enjoyed a 7 year career as the CMO for the Canadian Olympic Committee, during which he and his team created the freshly envisioned Canadian Olympic House (COH) for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.


Derek spent 8 years working for Nike, including occupying the role of U.S. Media Relations Director at their headquarters in New York City. In addition to all of this, Derek is a compelling storyteller who helps “push boundaries, elevating brands to the top of their game.”


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Want some succinct and informative advice on how to handle the stress of giving a speech? Interested in gaining some insight into the importance of reaching your audience on an emotional level? What’s the “recipe or secret sauce” needed to tell a good story? Derek Kent talks plainly and with the wisdom of success about all of these things.


In this week’s episode, Jon and Derek consider what it takes to be an accomplished storyteller. Marketers and speech givers alike walk a “thin line” when it comes to resonating with their target audience, but if you can “find a way to thread that needle […] you can really stand out” in a world where consumers are inundated with information. You can ensure your story has a happy ending.

Topics Discussed in this Episode:


[01:05]  What’s your favourite story, Derek?

[02:53]  What is the goal of a good story?

[04:16]  What are some things people should think about if it’s the first time they have to craft a story? Say something more about the importance of having a beginning, middle, and an end.

[05:23]  How do you get a story to stand out in the crowded field of today?

[07:59]  Informal or formal research is often involved in determining your target audience. Is that something you’re involved with when preparing a campaign?

[10:30]  What was it like giving a TedTalk?

[12:05]  What advice do you have for someone in the position of giving a talk or speech to a crowd of 100 or more?

[13:59]  On your Alter Empire website, you use the term “brand DNA.” What is it?


Resource Links  


Tedx Talk – “In the Face of Adversity” (2017)


Alter Empire

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