Show us what you Believe.
Few companies use story telling to portray a more complete sense of self than REI. I suppose you might say it’s easy for them; after all, they equip people for adventure. Whether that adventure is a weekend camping with the kids or an endurance race across the desert doesn’t matter. Sure, one is a grueling test of physical and mental strength and the other is, well, also that…but within both extremes they’ve got an endless supply of story to work with.
And REI does do an amazing job telling their customers’ stories. Watch this video from REI co-op and try not to be inspired.
REI Presents: A Walk In The Park from REI on Vimeo.
The focus of the video isn’t on REI at all. In fact, it’s just one woman’s insane feat of endurance, but the storytelling appeal goes much farther. The chances of me doing something this intense is pretty low, but I can still relate to the journey. I know what it feels like to push myself farther than I thought I could go. We all know how sweet the reward is when you’ve worked your butt off to achieve it. As a customer, I can relate, I believe the message, and I intuit that REI values the same things I value. Moreover, I take away that REI values their customers.
People take care of the things they value.
The REI branding on this may be unobtrusive, but it’s still clear as day. At REI, they believe it’s important to get out into nature. Important not just in a “buy cool gear” way, but in a “legitimately important to your well-being and to the well-being of the planet as a whole” kind of way. They could simply say that, of course, but they show it with storytelling in a way that cuts through the branding “noise” and gets straight to the heart of their value.
REI, through their videos, their #optoutside marketing push, and their political actions, show the world exactly where they stand. Their customers see a company working for them, not just for their money. In the end, it’s good both for brand and for bottom line.
We’d love to hear from you! Are your customers’ stories a part of your brand’s story? How could you use their stories to help tell your own?