Leadership and branding: The personalizing of brand stories

Leadership and branding: The personalizing of brand stories

While we understand how personal stories and passion can enhance the effectiveness of a leader’s discourse, how can we apply this concept to a brand?

In the age of e-marketing, the world is becoming more personal every day.  Brands have opportunities to communicate with us on multiple touch points, and to use these various points to spread personal stories.  For example, a company might collect user stories via email or Facebook and then circulate the most interesting ones in their newsletter.  As consumers, we long for personalization.  We prefer to hear the personal stories of people like us, fellow users of a product or members of the community, rather than direct corporate advertising.

Smart marketers are finding innovative ways to get users to contribute their personal tales for the benefit of the community, and to spread the word about the brand.  Bike Friday, a US-based maker of folding bicycles, asks users to send in stories and photos that answer the question “What do you do on a Friday?”  Today, they have quite an impressive collection of user-generated stories, photos and videos.

A quick visit to their community and photo page (Click here)  reveals an impressive variety of users and experiences: families on triple tandems, a solo climber of the Mount Ventoux in France, an American touring on the weekend during his business trip to Japan, or an adventurous couple riding rough terrain above the Arctic Circle.  Clients tell their own stories, and in the process they write about the product’s ease of use, versatility and durability. Such personal testimonials cost the business almost nothing to generate, and they are surely the company’s most credible advertising vehicle.

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