What Surprised These College Students About Marketing

In Brand Differentiation, Brand Goals, Brand Strategy, Purpose, Mission & Values, Storytelling

I presented to a group of students at THE Ohio State University recently. They were shocked at what I presented.

I was asked to speak on storytelling, vision and purpose to students working on a capstone project.

Sharing brands like Southwest, Patagonia and Whole Foods, I shared the 5 elements of a meaningful story that each of these brands articulated and demonstrated: Vision, purpose, beliefs, mission and an understanding of those they served. I helped them think about how to articulate these elements and use them to inform their project.

Speaking to a few of the students afterwards, I realized I had a very different audience here.

They were shocked at my presentation.

Not at the fact that a business needs a purpose or a story or a vision but that a business could actually exist without them. They couldn’t wrap their heads around it.

So while you’re busy marketing and selling, your potential employees and customers – those who might work for you or buy from you are desperately seeking the deeper “why.”

If your website doesn’t have these five elements clearly expressed…if your marketing isn’t informed by them….if your hiring isn’t based on them….if your sales team don’t know what they are…

Then watch out for the competitor that figures it out before you.

Barry Chandler is the co-founder of Storyforge, a strategy company focused on helping companies discover their purpose, forging their unique story, building preference and driving margin.

Barry has been building award winning businesses since launching his first company in Ireland in 2003. His last company, a digital marketing agency, was acquired in 2012 by a California-based publicly traded entertainment company which then hired him as Chief Marketing Officer. It is his belief that the greatest brands seek to change the world, improving the lives of their associates, partners, and customers.