The Secret to Branding: When the personal becomes universal

3.5 minutes is a marathon in today's video clip world. The typical standard out there from a marketing perspective is typically 2 minutes or less - the average computer user's attention span for new content, I suppose. So why am I and 4 million viewers at present and soon to be 50M + so moved and riveted by this 'lengthy' clip?

If you haven't seen Google's Reunion video yet, you need to. It brings me to tears every time and there's so many lessons that can be learned for your business in what they absolutely nailed: telling a personal story that connects universally. 

Reaching the Universal through the Personal

The business world is catching on more and more that business is personal, and the way to build customers for a lifetime is through the emotive connection of your brand and how you consistently back it up. 

So I kept asking myself, why am I so moved by this video? Is it because I lived in India for a year, traveling there a few times in all, and have a strong connection to their culture? Is it because I know the history of a world that was divided in 1947, when Pakistan and Bangladesh were forced apart with imaginary lines of religious separation from India when it was all one territory before this - when families and neighborhoods were literally pulled apart and divided? Is it because Google has made my life more convenient? 


It's because of the simple yet profound emotion of two old friends who'd been separated by forces outside of their control, and through today's technology (insert Google) were able to reconnect with the help of their grandchildren, and getting to complete something between them that was unfinished. 

The most simple human emotions and themes allow all of us to connect with it, no matter our race, gender, ethnicity, etc. Who doesn't know the pain of separation, or a relationship that's not complete?

The Story leads, and your Product follows 

And while Google promotes their search engines, how the grandchildren help them connect with each other, visa requirements, etc. the Story was out in front and technology was in the background, supporting the human connection. Hearing and feeling the bittersweet pain of seeing his old friend Yusef at his doorstep. 

How often do we see ads and videos that put technology out front? I for one, am tired of the watch, the car, the fill-in-the-blank-ad that tries to laminate some soul-less family, beautiful woman, or phony smile on top of their product in the end. How often have you seen a commercial where you have no idea what they are even selling on any level? 

Getting Personal Gets Personal

So where can you take a risk in your brand and marketing strategy around getting more personal? Do you even have your photo or bio on your own website, no matter how large your business is or what industry? Do you use real photos and video or do you settle for stock images? Do you over-rely on scripts with customer service and sales, or do you create guidelines and expectations for your staff with room for them to bring their own voice forward within your brand guidelines? 

No matter how big your business is, there's always a person on the other side. Don't forget this. 

Well done Google. Apple should be worried. 

For those of you in the Atlanta -area, on Friday, December 13, we'll be working on getting your Vision and Brand clarified to the next level for starting 2014 the right way in leading your business forward. Uncover the story that your company has been waiting to communicate. 

Register at:

Eventbrite - Leaders Go First: An EMyth Business Leadership Workshop