Brands are the Social Stories We Tell

Prompted by a message from Sean Howard, asking about brand visualisation tools, I revisited a post from 2009. Titled Brands are the Stories We Tell, it looks at a personal profiling tool from MIT that lets you map out the characteristics that describe “you”. While the end sequence is useful from a persona mapping point of view, I particularly like the way that the persona building process is visualised.

Here is what I saw when building out a profile on gavin heaton. Click the image below for the full view. It’s like watching the Google web spiders in action – collating what the web thinks of you.


Of course, when you profile a brand or a product, then you also end up with an interesting sequence that describes how and where your brand lives online. But I think it’s most important to watch HOW the profile is built. Here’s why:

  1. The repetition of keywords and their proximity to other keywords will create a centre of gravity for your brand. Ensure that the stories you tell about your brand connect with your desired brand experience keywords
  2. Increasingly, social media content is creating the online context for your brand. This means that your content marketing needs to be strong – make sure that you have well-planned social content that help optimise your story across the social web
  3. Your brand is the stories that other people tell – if there are an overwhelming number of negative stories, it’s going to make your brand a centre of gravity for all the wrong reasons. Get the experience right!
  4. You will see trends and themes in the data. Use these to tactically build your presence in places that there are already conversations taking place. Don’t hijack the conversation. Add to it.
  5. Social content wins … content from blogs and social networking sites outperforms all other content on the web. This means that your brand is the story told by others in a social context.

So what does the web tell you about your brand? Check out the MIT personas tool to find out.

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