Posts Tagged ‘stories’

“Personal stories make the Ford Story as individual as you are. Read theirs. Submit yours.

Ford has recently launched a new storytelling campaign that is about sharing the stories of those who make Ford trucks part of their everyday lives. And it’s compelling. Just take a look at the OC Fireman profile video at

Sure, you could argue this video portrait is about Ford trucks. But mostly, it isn’t. And that’s the point. It’s about a universal protagonist – firefighters – doing what they do best by selflessly keeping us all safe. And the supporting players that makes it all possible are the Ford trucks they drive to the front lines of fires every day. This is classic story structure at work in a new story-based form of brand building.

A loveable protagonist (Ford’s customers and in this case firefighters) come up against an obstacle: fires that threaten you and me. We’re immediately invested in this protagonist as they are in essence our protectors and well, since 9/11 especially, they are one of the most iconic symbols of goodness in America today. In order to overcome their challenge of keeping the public safe, they need a dependable, strong, sturdy vehicle. Enter Ford trucks. Ford becomes the supporting player that helps the protagonists overcome their challenge and achieve their goal – keeping us safe.

Think for a minute about a story you could tell about a protagonist (your customer) who is overcoming a challenge that affects society at large. How is your product or service helping them achieve their goals? How do their goals help make the world a better place? If you can tell a story that answers these questions, you are one step closer to building your brand through the power of storytelling.

Think of one? Or maybe several? If so, it may be time to discover the best way to share some of your branded stories.

Yeah, they sell coffee – but what is Starbucks really selling? Well, are you in the mood for love?

So over the years, nearly every Starbucks employee has collected stories of seeing first love first hand. Coffee shop romance is not an uncommon thing after all when there’s nearly one on every corner. But Starbucks employees saw what was happening and they did something about it. They told their stories. And in telling their stories they invited others to tell more stories. Until one day the company decided it was time to capture these little slices of love and put them to work for the Starbucks brand. As part of their Valentine’s Day push, the company announced a contest called Match Made Over Coffee calling for couples to submit a 250-word story about relationships that found their first spark at a Starbucks outlet. The winner would receive an all expense paid trip for two to Vienna, Austria – coffee capital of the world. They received nearly a thousand entries.

Winners were announced to great media fanfare and the Valentine’s Day volume and mood at Starbucks coffee shops around the country was let’s say…steamy. And Starbucks’ reputation as a place to go to well, you never know – meet that special someone grew and grew.

Starbucks knew exactly what they were doing by telling these stories and encouraging customers to tell their stories. No, the stories weren’t about how great the coffee was but they were about the experience people had while enjoying Starbucks coffee in a Starbucks coffee shop. Starbucks is well aware we are in the experience economy and we are selling far more than products these days. And they knew the power of great stories, well told, that reinforce that brand experience message.

Well played, Starbucks. Well played indeed. Do you know what stories your customers are telling about an experience they’ve had at your place of business?