I’ve been doing quite a bit of research lately about how we higher ed marketers can better incorporate storytelling to build brand identity and achieve our institutional goals. (This is more than just a personal interest; I’ll be co-presenting on the topic with Heather Swain of Michigan State University during the upcoming CASE Annual Conference on Marketing and Branding, which you should attend.) As part of my research, I recently discovered — thanks to this post on Adverblog — an innovative and highly personal approach to brand-building through storytelling.
WeightWatchers recently launched its Incredible You campaign, and it leverages the power of storytelling with the power of the Internet to let the customers tell their own stories about their own incredible lives.
Visit the Incredible You website, and you are invited to create a short film based on a series of statements that you complete (starting with “When I reflect on my life the happiest memory was ______” and ending with “This year my goal is to ______”) and related photos from Getty Images’ archive of creative photos. The result is a 60-second movie of your life to remind you of how incredible you are. (Here’s my little life story, and here’s an online gallery of many others.)
This is such a simple yet effective twist on the idea of brand storytelling because it involves the audience and makes the story all about them, rather than all about the organization and their products. What a great way to build engagement. And what a refreshing approach to storytelling and brand-building.
Imagine the possibilities for a similar campaign in higher ed? With a bit of creativity, access to archives of campus photographs and back-end know-how, a college or university could create its own incredible opportunities to engage its audiences.
- An invitation to attend the golden alumni reunion could also invite attendees to create their own digital memory books to share with classmates online.
- Members of the graduating class could tell the of their fondest college memories, all shared in an online gallery.
- Prospective students could be invited to create similar movies about what they hope to achieve based on their college education — and institutions could respond accordingly, based on the customized information that is shared.
Those are just a few ideas that popped into my mind as I checked out the Incredible You campaign. Maybe you have other ideas to share?