Your product story is your product brand. Your personal story is your personal brand. Your organization story is your organization brand. The story is the brand.
Now the question arises; which brand do you build and which story do you tell –product or organisation or people? Organisations are more keen to build product and organisation brands, yet people prefer to read people stories.
This is one of the greatest paradoxes of branding. It has no simple solutions and the answer varies from situation to situation. One point is common viz. to align personal brand with organisation brand, to align people story with organization story and to find the delicate balance. A balance where organisation brand benefits due to the CEO or entrepreneur brand and vice versa. A balance where product brand benefits from the personal and organization brands and vice versa.
Organisational and product stories need to be intertwined with people stories to make them more effective and catchy to read. If we are talking of a launch of a new product, we can intertwine the innovator story with the product story. If we are talking of a launch of a startup we can intertwine the Founder (or Co-Founders) story with the start up story. How do the Founder’s experience, education and achievements increase the credibility of the organization or its products? How does the organization success add to the credibility of its Founder? The intertwining process needs to connect the dots carefully using relevant points.
Social media is slightly biased towards people branding, because people want to converse and build relationships with people and not faceless organizations. Social media platforms are interactive networking platforms after all. While Twitter has a bias towards personal branding, LinkedIn has a bias towards organisation or employer branding. LinkedIn has no celebrity pages unlike Facebook. One of the main features of Twitter is, your followers come to know of who you know and who you talk to, which is useful from personal branding point of view.
Another view is that organisation brand is a like a house and each personal/ employee brand is like a brick. This is especially true for knowledge based organisations of today. A company may get business because of personal brand of its salespeople or domain experts/ consultants. In fact organisations in USA are training their senior management and salespeople on personal branding.
Startups can also grow faster using the personal brands of their founders. Building organisation brands is a long and more complex journey. If the startup has a one year old brand and Founder has a 25 year old (personal) brand, it goes without saying who has more credibility. Storytelling is the most powerful branding tool, be it organizations, startups, products or people. Earlier branding was done only through mass media which was expensive and out of reach of SMEs and professionals. Social media is a game changer in that sense. Digital storytelling has a variety of formats ranging from text to visual, from PPT to podcast besides video of course.
What is your take? Which story do we tell and why? ———————— Brief Profile Dr Amit Nagpal, PhD is a Business Storyteller, Speaker and Digital Storytelling Coach. He is one of the pioneers of digital storytelling in India. After working for more than two decades in academics, and corporates (including publishing, television and digital marketing), he realised teaching is meditation and storytelling is his Nirvana.
He is also Chief Inspirational Storyteller at AL Services. AL Services has co-created stories of some of the most inspiring people in India and abroad. He tweets at @DrAmitInspires.