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  • Writer's pictureRick Ray

The Economics of Story-Sharing Part 2 of 3


(Or, yes, when the going gets tough, the tough get a Strategic Brand Story™.)


The Second Principle of brandstory economics? Nothing travels, nothing exports across borders quite like a good brand story. Sadly, it is still the case that many traditional marketing specialists still resent the import of stories from abroad (rather than relish the prospect of exporting themselves!). When brandstory first planted its flag in Milano, an old-fashioned advertising man who should have known better voiced his doubts that Italian stakeholders would appreciate stories, until he was reminded of a notable Italian storyteller (and export) by the name of Dante! No, not every SME (PMI) organization-as-brand requires a story for export… but it’s good to know that it’s there if ever needed!


Which sets the stage for the question of what do the following brands have in common? Castelli, Levoni, New Holland. Office furniture, salumi, agricultural equipment. Very different brands in very disparate categories, but all have Italian parentage and all are in possession of brand stories to inform their activities far from home (as well as, of course, close to home!).


Castelli furniture became part of Haworth, a U.S. leader in workplace solutions, but retained its brand integrity, particularly on the company’s North American roster, because its design roots perfectly fit with Haworth’s story of the “organic workspace.” This Strategic Brand Story™ flowed from the notion of “design from within,” as their website declared, all the way from Bologna to Shanghai and the tallest building in Asia.


Levoni salumi is made today much as it always has been, from the finest Lombardy pork and to the highest standards, those of the Levoni family. For the family to abandon those standards is as likely as a pig that grows wings. Which is how Levoni’s own Strategic Brand Story™ explained the logo of a flying pig found on all brand packs. A curious story from English-speaking admirers of a perfectly Italian food (and perhaps a clue as to why the Levoni export head was promoted to run the entire business).


And New Holland, far more than just a once-upon-a-time name on Juventus jerseys. Its parent company sells agricultural equipment in circa 160 countries around the globe. Born of multiple acquisitions by FIAT Group, the business was eventually given a common brand name but had not considered the potential of a Strategic Brand Story™ to unify its component parts. It was then that the company came to recognize that all its various founding fathers were pioneers in the land as well as engineering and shared a common vision: to make farming easier and thus more productive. New Holland Agriculture then reaped the benefits of a shared story wherever in the world it goes to market.


Thus setting the stage for Chapter 3… an exposition of the Third Principle of brandstory economics… coming soon!



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