Who Are You? The Power of Personal Stories In A Social World

Who are you?

And how are you trying to change the world?


This post shares some recent observations about how personal stories are becoming increasingly important in driving the success of your marketing.

I mean, we all know who Sergey Brin is and how Google is trying to organize the worlds information.

Tony Hsieh and his mission to change customer service at Zappos.

And we know Mark Zuckerberg is the face of Facebook and what hes doing trying to accomplish with the social graph. Hell, the story is so good they made a movie out of it.

I think I know more about them and what theyre up to than the people on my street!

Why do we know so much about these people and their missions?

1. We live in a world where collectively we trust corporations less and each other more.

90% of people trust recommendations from people they know. 70% trust opinions of other people they dont even know. And 14% trust advertising. Years of having their trust broken by big companies and organizations combined with the ability to forge stronger wider personal connections thanks to the social web has shifted trust from large faceless organizations to organizations that powered by real people doing amazing things to change the world.

2. People love to read about other people.


Its that simple and the proof is as close as the gossip mags in the checkout line and the reality shows on t.v. Were obsessed with each other! And its not only in the checkout line because gossip in the world of business and marketing is just as strong. If you share who you are, how youre trying to change the world and, in the Facebook era, if you can put a face to your faceless corporation we will be interested. And it works just as well " perhaps even better " on a local level than a national one because people are more likely to do business with people theyre friends with.

3. Personal stories make the abstract easier to understand.

Personal stories are easier to remember than vague mission/vision statements because they are told in chronological order and within an emotional context we can relate to. Once upon a time, Microsoft was the underdog and Bill Gates was the rebel geek up against IBM but, sadly, since he left, its become faceless and we no longer seem to be on their side. A University of Chicago study last year found that products that had Brand biographies that contained a disadvantage vs. an adversary yet passion to overcome the odds were chosen 71% of the time vs. products that contained no such story. And because personal stories are more memorable they are retold. Which, in these days of sharing content, the ability of your story to travel is a key measure of success.

So, whether youre a big enterprise or a small one, jump out from behind that facade and lets connect.


Were more interested than you think.

About the Author: Bob Nunn

Bob Nunn is an Internet Marketing Consultant in Toronto and the founder of BrandMechanics. Bob has a successful track record of helping companies fine-tune their online marketing and getting their brands revved up. He has won over 40 marketing awards for his work in advertising, new media, email and more for clients such as Yellow Pages Group ‘The Find Engine’, Blockbuster ‘Guaranteed To Be There’, FutureShop ‘You’ll like what the future has in store.’ and 3M ‘Innovation’ among others.

Brand Mechanics

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