I admit I wasn’t paying adequate attention when my elementary school teacher covered this but as someone who works with and writes about “legendary” brands I now have a compelling interest….and so should you.
How would you categorize your company? …. a myth, story or a legend. Here are some quick definitions to aid your consideration:
Myth – A fiction or half-truth, especially one that forms part of an ideology
Story – A real or fictional account or report regarding an event or group of events
Legend – a story that is carried by its audience, often gaining some of the audience’s own perspective
In his book, entitled Legendary brands, Laurence Vincent suggests that “legendary brands forge deep bonds with consumers through narrative devices. They are storytellers, drawing from a library of timeless narratives… to captivate consumers and sustain meaning across cultural borders. It is the narrative of the Legendary Brand that generates and sustains customer affinity.”
While I completely agree with Laurence that timeless narratives are essential to becoming a legendary brand, I also see the role of compelling brand experiences. It is through these types of experiences that customers advance your brand’s story. Many branding firms look at the intersection of story and customer experience in defining what is legendary.
Legendary brands I write books about like Starbucks, the Pike Place Fish Market, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company (and my upcoming book about Zappos) have a corporate storyline melded with rich stories of customer experience excellence.
Take Zappos’ storyline for example. At the corporate level Zappos is “powered by service.” Essentially, their epic and timeless story is that of a small dot.com company founded by a couple of college friends whose persistence and unorthodox “weird style” beat all the odds and parlayed a company to billion dollar revenues and a billion dollar buy out largely on the strength of their service.
On the customer experience side, it is as simple as a recent tweet by Jon Ferrara, “My son wrote Zappos a letter & they sent him back a book on Company Culture personally signed by the entire management team”. Great customer experiences join with the overarching story line and the audience/consumer carries the conversation forward to build lore and legend.
What’s your company’s story line?
How can you increase the level of customer experiences so that your audience carries forward your stories and make them legend?