“I realized the importance of having a story today is what really separates companies. People don’t just wear our shoes, they tell our story.” ~ Blake Mycoskie, CEO and “Chief Shoe Giver” of Toms Shoes.
Shoeless children in Argentina inspired Blake Mycoskie to start a company with compassion at its soul (or, perhaps “sole” in this case). For every pair of shoes a customer purchases, the company gives a new pair of shoes to a child in need. One for One. More than a million children have received shoes.
It’s a great story that is spread in multiple ways, across various media: traditional media as well as social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc). It is a transmedia story that engages customers in multiple ways so that they are inspired not only to buy Toms shoes, but spread the story of Toms shoes.
Special events, such as TOMS One Day Without Shoes, allow people to become a part of the larger movement. They become coauthors in the story. Below is a video that promoted the 2011 One Day Without Shoes event (The next event is April 5, 2012). It makes me want to go barefoot!:
Does your product or service have a story that your customers or clients want to tell? Is it a story that makes your employees proud? It doesn’t necessarily have to be a cause-related story. It just needs to be a story of making a positive, significant difference in the world.
Here are some types of stories that get repeated:
Credibility stories—chiefly testimonials, or evidence that a product or service makes a significant difference.
Vision stories—Set the stage for a better tomorrow (great for new business or taking a business in a new direction).
Value stories—Show the integrity of the business and the people in it, especially in difficult situations.
Identify the story opportunities for your business. Write them out—hone the content and structure so that they are compelling. Collaborate with others, maybe even your customers on your stories. Then, put them out there—on your website, in your social media, etc. and find ways to help people interact with those stories, to become a part of the story and, maybe even influence the story.
As Mycoskie says, “Every person who wears our shoes becomes a marketer of our shoes.” They tell the story.
What’s your story?