Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Power of Storytelling

What makes a company, or a non-profit, or a person worth evangelizing about?

In my last blog, I talked about Movember and how for 30 days I wore a mustache that made me look like a cross between a police officer and a professional wrestler. Why? What is it about Movember, or Apple, or non-profits like charity: water and Falling Whistles that inspire such an incredible army of supporters?

I believe that the answer lies in storytelling.

A mustache isn't just an awkward clump of hair on a man's upper lip, it's a means of drawing attention and creating a conversation.

There are tons of cheap MP3 players out there, but the iPod just feels different. It's simpler, sleeker, and designed to create an emotional reaction.

The war in Congo may feel distant and beyond our control, but when you meet someone with a whistle around their neck, you can't help but think that all of us can be "whistleblowers for peace."

When TOMS was first getting started, we shared my story of going to Argentina and how our goal was to give 250 pairs of shoes to the children that I met. As TOMS has grown, however, this story has evolved to include all of our incredible fans and evangelists. You are now as much apart of the TOMS story as I am. When you buy a pair of TOMS, it's you that that's helping to put a pair of new shoes on a child's feet. You aren't just a customer, but a storyteller. Every time that someone says, "hey, I love your shoes, what are they?" it's you that's helping to spread the word and inspire others to join the One for One movement.

Whether we know it or not, all of us is telling a story... is yours worth spreading?


favline said...

Hi Blake,

Once more, your words touched my heart, as a person and, specially, as a social entrepreneur.

It makes me think how my project can call others' attention and grow inside them, as much as to make them talk about it.

It's not an easy task, but I'm sure that with people like you around, I'll find the way.

Thank you again for your 'seminar blog'. I really appreciate your words.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for you and your family. I hope that 2011 brings more and more people interested and involved in making this world a fairer place for EVERYONE.

Much love and respect!

Anonymous said...

This is a really strange question, and has no real relevance to life... but I found your blog, and thought I would just ask: were you perhaps in South Africa this past week at a place called 'Slow Foods Market'?

I saw a guy there that looked just like you (well what I have seen from pictures and TV), he was wearing TOMS (this is why I thought to ask - my husband and I are living in South Africa right now, and we are the ONLY people who flash our TOMS all around town. Although, we are 'story-telling' here and may have some future buyers [tie into the blog so I don't look like a total loser]-and it really surprised me that someone other than us was sporting them)

Anyways, I did that whole awkward thing with myself where I thought, "should I go talk to him and just see, or how weird will it be if that's just some guy and he thinks I am ridiculous, or hitting on him..." Needless to say, I didn't do it. I chickened out.

So if it was you, very cool, and I am sorry I am so rude and skipped the intro, but if not, you have a serious doppelganger living in South Africa that you should check out.

-Spreading the word about TOMS.

Will said...

maybe this is part of the why: