Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How a Great Story Can Help Your Brand

Yesterday evening I spent a couple of hours interacting with other local business people and entrepreneurs at this month's Network In Austin event. As usual it was an excellent opportunity to meet and learn about a whole new bunch of local businesses.

In the space of two hours I must have heard about at least a dozen new businesses, what they did, and what they were called. That's a lot of information to take in in a short time.

As I drove home I did a quick mental review to see if I could recall the salient points from each conversation. I managed to recall something about everyone, but what struck me was that the first two businesses that came to mind were the two that had stories attached, and one in particular that had a story attached to the brand name.

The lady who ran the company had told a fun short story of how the company name came from an expression her father used to use a lot.

Brand names with a story behind them stick.

Several years ago I used to write a regular marketing newsletter that included the stories and histories behind some of the most well known brand names. That section was always the most popular part of the newsletter. It gave me the idea of maybe writing a book on the subject - but then I found out that someone had already done it...


And Evan Morris' fun book "From Altoids to Zima" is now one of the most thumbed books on my marketing bookshelf.

There is a story behind most company and brand names. I've worked for companies named after bags of chips, science fiction villains, a historical event, and even one that got it's name from a typo.

Discover your story - work it in to your pitch, put it on the website, and people will remember it, and they will remember you.


2 comments:

Tom said...

Not quite a story behind a brand name, but a story behind a logo. Some years ago, Alan (the author) and I worked for a UK tech pubs company. Our parent company underwent a rebranding exercise. The agency revealed the new logo, which was a series of geometric shapes, in blue, purple and green. We operated some pretty sophisticated 4 colour printing presses, so we just knew that our stationery was going to cost a fortune! When challenged, the agency explained how purple indicated royalty, blue indicated serenity and green indicated concern for the environment (long before it became fashionable). Fair enough, but some time later, we got to meet the designer of our new logo. He arrived at our head office wearing a very trendy 1930s style blazer, in purple, blue and green stripes. I suppose you have to take your inspiration where you find it!

Tom Mellor (http://vintage1951.wordpress.com)

Alan J. Porter said...

Thanks for the comment Tom. Funny I remember about the poor color choice in that logo making the printing expensive, but had forgotten about the designers' stripey blazer.