Great branding, at its core, is nothing more than uncovering and revealing the truth behind the facts. Ronald Reagan once said, “Facts are stupid things.” Even though it was a misstatement, it was certainly true. Think about all the commercials and advertisements you have seen where they tell you some fact or facts about the product or service. Do you care? Of course you don’t, because the facts, by themselves, are stupid things. They literally have no life in them, so they make no impression on your heart. They may impact your mind, but the impact won’t last – and it certainly won’t change your behavior – because it’s in the heart where we make those kinds of choices.
The only thing that can make that kind of impact on our hearts is story, and story emanates from the truth behind the facts. What do I mean by this? Let me give you an example.
From The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2007 by Sarah McBride, comes the following two paragraph excerpt from “Internet Radio Races to Break Free of the PC.”
In January, a recreational vehicle in remote West Texas suddenly started blasting the Steve Miller Band’s “Space Cowboy.” It was a triumphant moment for Slacker Inc., a start-up trying to move Internet radio out of the computer and into the car.
Parked on the side of a road near Fort Stockton, Slacker’s 36-year-old founder Celite Milbrandt uncorked a 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild to celebrate. A few hours later, he pointed the RV toward Las Vegas. There, Mr. Milbrandt demonstrated the mobile service for the potential investors at the annual Consumer Electronics Show and ultimately raked in an additional $40 million in investments for his company.
Now that’s story. The facts of this account are simple enough. It could have been rendered thus: Slacker, Inc. has proven the feasibility of Mobile Internet radio, and thus has managed to secure an additional forty million dollars in capital at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Nevada.
Talk about uninspiring.
The story version, on the other hand, reveals the heart piercing truth behind these stupid facts; namely, that Celite Milbrandt, the founder of Slacker, Inc., has an incredible passion and dedication, evidenced by his willingness to drive to remote West Texas to test his radio’s signal, and that he received a forty million dollar vote of confidence from investors. These are the kinds of details that bring the facts to life, and they are the kind of details that are sadly missing from most marketing messages being churned out by today’s businesses.
Think about your company’s attempts at marketing, or at branding itself in the eyes of your customers and prospects. Are you creating story for them, a story they can relate to in their hearts? Are your branding and marketing messages speaking to them on a level that the facts by themselves simply aren’t capable of reaching? If not, maybe you need a little help.
That’s OK, because even though you may be the president, the founder, or what have you, and all the passion may have originated with you in the first place, that doesn’t mean you are ideally skilled to communicate that passion. There are specialists for that, and those are the people you should turn to. People with the dedication, persistence, and skill to uncover your passion and what drives you, and then reveal it to the world through story in such a way that it makes a life changing impact on your prospects and customers.