Monthly Archives: April 2013

Rules Are Made to be Broken: When the Brand is the Story

Coke breaks the "Golden rule" of marketing but gets the fundamentals right. When you look at successful sites on the web, they have a human touch. If they aren’t about people altogether, most of them feature people. That’s because readers want to identify with who or what they’re reading about through emotion, empathy, and ideas. That’s the narrative approach I wrote about in Pro | Content’s last post.

If for no other reason, it works because people remember and share stories about other people. “Hey, check out @EdInOakland new blog post,” someone might share on Facebook or Twitter. (Okay, I’m reaching. But you get the point). It’s a lot less likely they’ll share, “The new Timex I bought sure is stylish.”

When to break the “Golden Rule”

There are times though, when breaking the “Golden Rule” by writing about your brand makes sense. The Content Strategist’s, timely post on Coca-Cola’s new corporate website is a good example. Sometimes a brand needs to speak to customers, investors, and ambassadors, writers Joe Lazauskas. And he might be right.

Coke’s new site is a digital remake of the company’s magazine long extinct. It is beautiful and affective. But, I’d quibble, it is those things because it gets the fundamentals right not because it breaks the “Golden Rule.” It tells people-centric stories. It features compelling images. The design is eye-catching. The site is for an audience far beyond the company’s power-users and fan-boys.

The blue pill or the red pill

Coke can tell the story of its brand because it’s an American story of small business owners, innovators, conservationists. We know GE websiteCoke. Our parents know Coke. Even our great-grandparents knew Coke. It’s as American as apple pie. It’s as American as the first African America Coke model, Mary Alexander.

And Coke isn’t alone. Check out another Blue Chip company, General Electric. GE  equates its brand with health care innovation on its site. And while I’m not sure I would have chosen the antagonist from “Matrix” as the spokesperson for the benefits of a digitally connected society, I couldn’t help but click on the video to see what would happened next.

by Ed Carpenter — He’s a bad mutha … shut yer mouth.

Golden Rule: People Ahead of Products

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One of the most effective ways to convince readers to spend time on your site is to tell a story about a person.

But, you just opened a terrific new restaurant you say? Oh, or what about your ingenious new app that will change the way I order my coffee? Well, wouldn’t you rather read what dish someone enjoyed or how some uses your app in a way you never thought of? Of course! People prefer to read about people.

Let your associates, clients, and partners be the lens through which you digital visitors get to know you and what you do. Here are 7 lucky tips to make your website’s content more people-centric.

Lucky No. 7

Ask yourself:

1) Who led the way?

2) Who showed initiative and accomplished the unexpected?

3)What obstacles did they overcome?

4) Did they grow or change in the process?

5) How does their work and family related to your brand or business?

6) Does what they accomplished elevate their status?

7) Who has a unique insight (a mechanic on whether the newest hybrid car is worth the money)?

See, it’s fun. You can do it yourself. If you want to introduce a new product, introduce the inventor or a key person on the development team with an interesting backstory. Is your nonprofit or business approaching a milestone? Let’s meet customer 10,000 and find out why they’re your client.

From Good to Google

A site that does this masterfully is Good Eggs. Every product has a face. Every face has a short backstory. The site’s stunning photos are worth the visit alone.

Then there is the recurring Google doodler story. Google couldn’t have scripted this better. We all know the Google doodles, right? Here are the faces behind the creations, some of them just out of college. Talk about making your brand relevant.

by Ed Carpenter — He’s a bad mutha … shut yer mouth.