We Are The Story

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by: David Armano

What can brands learn from social experiments?

1. A passionate community is the lifeblood of your brand.  Without it—a brand is hollow.
2. People want to interact with your brand—to be a part of it somehow, to make it their own.

3. Your community can make your brand better, stronger and smarter.
4. Inviting your community to become an active part of your brand stimulates ideas, creativity and potentially innovation.

In my last post I asked "What is the story" behind this simple visual.  What happened?  You told the story—each in your own unique ways.  You became the story.  You took the idea and poked, prodded and narrated.  Some of you translated it in a very logical fashion.  Others created tall tales around what it meant to you.  Some of you created your own visuals like the three-eyed-monster (which I absolutely love)  And I'll be honest with you—these are some of the best comments I've ever had here.

So what can brands learn from social experiments?

Well, for starters—brands can learn to experiment.  I usually narrate my own visuals—and of course feedback is always welcome.  But this time I felt you could tell the story even better than I could.  And you didn't let me down.  Sometimes we mistake these invitations as not having a strong sense of self-identity.  If brands let their communities define them—are they strong brands in the first place?  The answer is yes.  My voice is my voice.  It will not change—I am who I am.  But my thoughts and actions can be influenced by what you say and do.  Are brands willing to do the same?  Does this make them weak or strong?

My original intent was to call out some of the comments which "nailed" the visual.  But the truth is that you've all nailed it in your own ways—so now I'll have to re-think what to do with these thoughts.  I'll probably pull them together in some type format for easy distribution—maybe a PDF.  It's more work for me, but in the end I know it will be worth it because it's worth sharing and proves a point.  The point is that a healthy brand does not live in isolation—just like healthy people.

Original Post: http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2007/04/you_are_the_sto.html