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Telling true stories

October 5, 2009

Home Depot recently launched OrangeBlooded.net, which features “Stories straight from the aisles, and selected by our associates.”  This new blog evolved from an internal communications initiative and is now a powerful tool for communicating the “Orange Blooded” culture and values of Home Depot to external audiences.

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Both aspects of its editorial mission – straight from the aisles AND selected by our associates – are important, but neither matters as much as the fact that these really are stories.  They’re the type of anecdotes you might tell a friend or spouse about when you come home from work, although admittedly told in an official Home Depot brand voice.  They do what they’re intended to – make you feel good about Home Depot – and do it in a way that feels authentic.

So what can we learn from this successful effort by a big corporation is to use the very human tool of blogging to tell true stories?

Here are a few thoughts:

  • To be all about (the real) you, it has got to be all about them. Your employees are the face of your brand.  Their interaction with your customers is where you deliver on your brand promise.  If you’re afraid to give them a voice, it is too late.  They’re speaking every day they are on the job.  And they’re usually saying some pretty interesting things through both their walk and their talk.  Let that shine.
  • It’s their story.  You’re just the one telling it. Our employees are out there doing amazing work. Your job is to find those stories and tell them well – through text, images, and video – and in a way that communicates your larger brand goals. To do that, you have to foster a culture and nurture contacts that keep the great stories coming your way.
  • You no longer have to wait for a slow news day to get the media to tell your story. Thanks to online tools like blogs, we are no longer dependent on convincing the media of the newsworthiness of our story.  Our editorial guidelines can be shaped by our audience’s interests an our own objectives, so bring on the good news!
  • Keep it up. Once you launch it, have a long term strategy to continue to deliver and evolve great content. Make it clear that you want feedback, constructive and instructive, on how to make your stories more real, more relevant, and, as a result, more widely read.
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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 9, 2009 3:25 pm

    What a great example of a company using its blog to send snapshots of its employees. Home Depot’s Olympian contender television spots were memorable but not every garden dept cashier is high-jump material. But on the blog, everyone can be a star.

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