Creating Virtual Friendships

20th November 2014

The truth is that everyone loves a good story. They appeal to our imagination and they give us an insight into the story-teller, it makes us feels that we know them better. We are by nature relational beings, we work better in teams, so it’s only natural that we subconsciously look for relationship with those businesses we rub up against in our every day lives, the flip side to this being that a clever business will recognise the need in people for relationship and will reach out to both potential and actual customers and clients to try and make them feel included in whatever it is that business has to offer.


How do they do that? Well, the truth is that every business has a background and a story to tell, the art is in making it into something worth listening to and then knowing how to interweave this into your brand. Why your brand? Understand that your brand is in essence your reputation, your logo represents your brand, but no more than that. And if your brand is your reputation you’ll understand that, as with any public figure (which you can view your business as being), there’s a need to portray yourself in as interesting and favourable a light as you possibly can. Why? To win friends and influence people!


Let’s look at the story behind FedEx, the international courier. Whilst Fred Smith, the founder, was an undergraduate at Yale in 1965 he wrote a paper expounding on how a company carrying small, essential items by plane could be a much better business than the traditional truck and passenger plane. He got a “C”. He didn’t give up on the idea and launched the company in 1971. So far so ordinary, however just three years later Federal Express was on the verge of bankruptcy, it was losing $1m a month and had $5000 in the bank. The chips were down. Literally. Fred Smith flew to Las Vegas that weekend, played Black Jack with that $5000 and was able to place $32,000 in the company account by Monday. It bought them enough time to raise further funding and the rest, as they say, is history. That story is the stuff of legends, it’s the essence of US entrepreneurship, it draws you to want to celebrate FedEx’s success with them in the hope that it rubs off…


Brand51’s story isn’t quite as expansive, but it’s interesting, Mark Guatieri, head of design at Brand51, was released by his previous employer on his 51st birthday, at just the time when IES, Brand51’s owner, was looking to allow their internal marketing department to service outside customers too. The new venture was to be a branding and design agency, the coming together created Brand51. It’s not the stuff of legends yet, but it is a story and it is a vital element of the brand…so what’s your story?


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