It is hard to believe that just a few days ago I was in beautiful Miami, Fla., attending TMC’s biannual ITEXPO event, the technology event of the year. It’s especially hard to believe considering the fact that Sunday night I left a city that was a balmy 80 degrees—sporting shorts and a tank top—for a city that hours later was pummeled by inches of snow.
But our week in sunny Miami was truly awe-inspiring. For five days our team had the chance to meet with countless companies, to hear the tales of their company, and to witness marketing and branding at its best. From the impressive trade show booth displays to the must-have swag (thanks CallTower for my awesome lip balm!), ITEXPO was buzzing with best-in-class marketing tactics. And we all took notice.
One of my favorite parts of ITEXPO is undoubtedly Editor’s Day. For an entire day our editorial team gets the chance to meet with key company officials for a 30-minute briefing—for the chance to hear all about the company’s value proposition, core competencies, and chief differentiators. For me, I am not even bothered by the fact that seven hours later my stomach is grumbling, my face hurts from smiling so much, and I am starting to develop carpal tunnel. As a marketer, all I am thinking is what could be better than spending hours meeting with countless companies to witness just how good they are at organically telling their tale?
While my day was packed with multiple meetings, one briefing truly stood out. I had the pleasure of meeting with two companies, Atrion Networking Corporation and XmarteK, that both whole-heartedly understand the art of storytelling. For these companies, their technology is more than just about increasing efficiencies and driving ROI for business; it’s about bettering the world and enabling leaders to do more.
I had the wonderful opportunity to hear about how Atrion used its technology in 2000 to set up a connection between Rhode Island’s Roger Williams University and the “white house” equivalent in Afghanistan to enable a video conferencing session in which the university could interview women in Afghanistan who wanted to apply to college. During the project, three women were selected to come over to Rhode Island to attend college. (Click here to read more about my briefing with the companies).
But what really stuck out about these companies was not just how compelling and intriguing their stories were—though they were! Rather, it was the fact that the company officials were so passionate about their jobs, had so much conviction in their companies’ value proportions, and had so much belief in what they are setting out to achieve. It made it hard to not root for this company and believe in their story.
So what can we all learn from this? That you need to be excited about your brand’s message. Craft a mission statement that is worthy of shouting from the roof tops; hone your core competencies so that you yourself would want to use them; and build a brand that makes you believe. There is a noticeable difference in talking to people who possess unshakeable belief in their brand than those that are merely selling. Make sure you are in the business of story-telling—once you do the selling part will happen naturally.