Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tell Me a Story


I believe that a great brand is a story well told.

You've probably noticed that people love to tell stories about brands that have delighted them- and often about brands that let have them down.

But I don't think that brands often make it easy for their fans to repeat the positive stories because they don't share them in an accessible way.

Lately it seems like there is a lot of energy spent thinking about the negative potential of all the viral medium and how bad press gets passed along on blogs, FaceBook, Twitter etc.

But are we also doing enough to harness the positive potential of viral word of mouth?

One example of a company that actually has great customer stories to tell AND makes it easy to share is Zappos.

The company website has a robust blog filled with amazing stories like this one about a woman who reached out to Zappos when her friend lost all her belongings in a fire a few days before Christmas. The original request was to send some Ugg's to the daughter in the effected family in a rush delivery in time for the holiday.

But Zappo's went above and beyond and actually sent a complete holiday care package including a game of Monopoly, gift certificates, Zappo's branded t-shirts, water bottles, etc so this family who had lost everything could have a little holiday cheer.

The grateful friend went on to make and post a "thank you" video for helping her friend through a difficult time.

This is a great story. And just one of hundreds like it for this brand. But what's also great is how Zappos makes it easy for fans of the brand (like me) to have their loyalty reinforced and affirmed by making these kind of stories accessible and easy to share.

Are you celebrating the positive stories in your brand? And importantly are you make it easy for your brand fans to crow on your behalf?

Don't look at it as self-promotion. Look at it as a way to help your customers celebrate their relationship with you by passing on the good news.

That's my point of view. What's your twist?

Do your favorite brands make it easy for you to share good stories?

4 comments:

  1. Interesting that you are talking about this. BzzAgent, that company that clients can hire for Word of Mouth marketing via their network of 1/2 million unpaid agents, just introduced "BzzScapes". BzzScapes are brand communities (I checked out Trader Joe's for example) where people can build communities around favorite brands. Should we care that the people participating are likely also agents? Would you go hear and get involved in a brand community if you weren't?

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  2. Christina PapaleMay 26, 2009 at 5:40 PM

    Do your favorite brands make it easy for you to share good stories?

    Some do, some don't. Ideally, the good stories are magical enough to generate themselves through thoughtful brand action vs. thought-out brand action. And then the sharing just naturally happens.

    It's the difference between Zappos simply doing a good deed vs. the Zappos marketing team brainstorming around "deeds that make us look good."

    Authenticity in the story is key...or maybe it's honesty. Yes, behind every good brand story is a good marketer..so maybe it's the consumer's connection to the story that has to be real.

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  3. Julie@BrandTwist.comMay 26, 2009 at 10:17 PM

    Thanks for sharing. I am not familiar with BzzScapes. I did check it out but couldn't find some of my favorite brands (e.g. Virgin America, Botkier). Anybody out there using this? Do you think it's the real deal or agents? would love to hear.

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  4. Julie@BrandTwist.comMay 26, 2009 at 10:20 PM

    So true. I don't think Zappos creates the stories for marketing. They are committed to great customer service even if noone knows about it. It's part of their DNA. It is so powerful because it's authentic. Great point.

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