Share The Story Others Want To Be In
Peter Guber’s advice in Tell to Win shows how stories can build in bragging rights by creating purposeful narratives. Then you can pull others into your story because they can see a role they want to play in that purpose. In their re-telling of your story, they reshape it, making it theirs, more multifaceted and thus more relevant to more kinds of people the more it is shared. Certainly that expanding, pass-along effect can create value for any kind of organization.
Tip: Multiply the ways and reduce the steps it takes for others to share your idea, or cite your story. For example, Huffington Post has a Third Metric section to cover diverse examples of “redefining success beyond money and power” from “Sue Parks: Why Exercise Is a Great Way to Boost Your Bottom Line” to Why This Banker Quit Wall Street to Become a Monk” and “Improve Your Life by Improving the Lives of Others.” By hosting a conference on the theme, they provided another way for people to bond around the topic and “brag” about their favorite stories face to face.
Craft “Top” Or “Best” Lists Related To Your Core Expertise
One year, fifty people, including me, were spurred to cite Cheryl K. Burgess and Tom Pick’s annual Nifty50 award honoring women writers on Twitter for the unsurprising reason: we were on the list.
Former Extreme Networks’ CMO Vala Afshar, now Chief Digital Evangelist at Salesforce, has made a brand-boosting art of creating such lists on Twitter and elsewhere that are widely shared.
His approach evokes the Coattail Effect (not “just” politicians want to ride others’ coattails to fame) and Ripple Effect, where word ripples out as friends and colleagues of those on the list demonstrate their support and desire to be part of the reflected glow of visibility by sharing the news.
Tip: Turn your list into a badge, Instagram, Pinterest or Infographic and perhaps even cite it in a KlabLab & Stitch on Pinterest
Create Adventures That Spur Passersby To Smile And Share
Create public sculpture like CloudGate or a gathering place like High Line or a commemorative site like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and in Portland, OR, which pulls us literally into action, sometimes feeling closer around a connective mood such as playfulness, awe or reverence.
Imagine walking into a hotel lobby and seeing a kinetic chandelier that turns guests’ movements and social media updates into a light show. Several years ago that bragging-rights-generating experience was created as a result of Chip Conley’s team collaborating with IDEO and interior designer Colum McCartan in the design of The Epiphany hotel in Palo Alto, aptly in the heart of Silicon Valley. This “Edison”-style chandelier stirs mutuality in hotel guests as an opportunity to observe and discuss it in the lobby as they photobomb it to share with friends. Plus, it attracted wide publicity for the hotel.
Yet you can accomplish some of the same mutuality-building effects in your physical space in low-tech ways:
• Imagine having large glass bowls at pausing areas in your semi-public place, whether it’s a hotel, hospital, store or stadium. In each bowl, place fortune-cookie-paper-sized colored sheets with sayings that are relevant for your kind of place, with signage in and around the bowl inviting people to take one out and contribute their own sayings by filling out a blank sheet and putting it in the bowl. Of course, you have to prepare for the inappropriate contributions, yet the upside of spurring connective conversations on the spot may be worth it.
• Host a crowd-attracting experiment that is relevant to your brand, and create legs to the story so it lasts longer, attracts media coverage and scales involvement. That’s what Honest Tea achieved when they set up self-service (honesty-based) kiosks in 30 U.S. cities, where people could get a bottle of Honest Tea, with their behavior video-streamed live.
• In signage, share a significant, specific and moving detail that can set the stage for others’ experience. For example, I wish a sign was incorporated into the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial saying something like, “Of the 58,286 soldiers we honor here, more than half were under 22 when they died for our country’s freedom.”
• Domino’s Pizza instigated a mutuality-centric turnaround with a “warts and all” transparency, allowing customers to watch their pizza being made and easily say what they think of their pizza via an online tracker. And by swearing off food styling, showing their pizzas as they really looked, they “Show we care, like a good mother.”
• Curalate’s Fanreel enabled companies to gather and place user-generated images onto their websites and product pages. Urban Outfitters usedit to pull a feed from Instagrams of images with the hashtag UOONYOU and puts the best images on its site. It also made the images shoppable, so a customer who likes another customer’s look in a photo can immediately buy the clothing. All these socially visible actions spur bragging rights from buyers. You can also pull relevant pictures from Pinterest and Tumblr to curate on your site and invite current and prospective customers to help each other find stuff they like, thus evoking the magnetic power of social proof.
Hint: All these successful actions are based on an us-centric approach that opportunity makers adopt when they redefine their lives around a mutuality mindset.