Which local brand stories inspire you?

The Triangle is full of great storytellers.

As we wrap up a week dedicated to a shared passion for storytelling, we’re glad to highlight a few of the many local brands who have moved and influenced us by the way they tell their stories.

Which local brand stories inspire you?

Jonathan: Merge Records. How lucky are we to have one of the world’s best independent record labels in Durham? And what a story: Started by 20-something musicians who signed their friends and only the acts they wanted to hear. Stories like these about the music industry don’t always end well. But while the industry was losing its way, Merge stayed true to itself. Then came a twist in the plot: A little Merge band called Arcade Fire launched itself into the stratosphere and sold a few million records. Today Merge is still “the indie label that got big and stayed small.” And their artists are like my soundtrack: Camera Obscura, Spoon, M.Ward, Neutral Milk Hotel, and my all-time favorite, The Clientele.

Chris: I’m blown away by the work that my friend Danny Rosin and the Band Together organization have done creating a compelling story at the intersection of music and charity. They’ve taken the simple love of live music and turned it into a powerful engine for good that has raised millions of dollars over the years.

Hannah: I’ve always been impressed by brands that not only tell their story well, but that continue to tell their story through the craft of their product. Raleigh Denim blends these two methods seamlessly (pun intended). Their dedication to quality and their enthusiasm for creating a story behind every piece of fabric and every pair of jeans makes for an exceptional brand experience.

Nation: My friend Vansana Nolintha of Bida Manda Laotian Restaurant is a fantastic storyteller in all mediums, but I love the way that he uses photography and social media to document #bidalife — effectively telling the story not just of a brand, but of the lifestyle surrounding the cuisine and the culture.

Truthfully, we are blessed with great storytellers throughout the Triangle. My friend Ashley Christensen has used both digital media and earned media to tell the story of her restaurant empire, but also of other makers throughout the region. Slingshot Coffee, Happy + Hale, Gallo Pelon and Centro, the House of Swank, Fullsteam, and others are great examples of brands that have told their story in order to build their company. It really is an inspiration to me to live alongside so many storytellers and brand builders.

Tom:  I am inspired by Greene Resources, a Raleigh based recruiting solutions company.  They have developed an outstanding brand among area companies. I believe that they have successfully built their brand by not only providing outstanding customer satisfaction to their clients, but also making community engagement one of their core values. They tell their story through the action of their employees at work and in their contributions to this community.

Marie: Walk Your City — Local brand that is stepping it up! They share stories of citizen activism in extra compelling ways — inspiring others to take action and make their cities better. They even provide great tools for helping people accomplish their goals and tell a better story about their city.

Elise: Wild Yonder tells a down-to-earth story that reflects their values. The organization is dedicated to experiences in nature—something few of us city-dwellers seem to get enough of these days. I like the poetics on their website: events are “fueled by fresh air.” They have cleverly named their blog “Field Notes” and their contact page “Smoke Signals.” Another favorite is Arrow Haircuts and Shaves for “guaranteed shorter hair.” They have built a strong presence with their unique style and sense of humor. Arrow is expanding to Durham, and have a great story for why—involving a mysterious friend who no one can find, who always wanted to start a barber shop.

Matt: Some of the most intriguing stories are those that come to life through experiences. Walking into the restaurants Centro and Gallo Pelón, you immediately feel the warmth and vibrancy of Mexican and Latin American food. You’re pulled into the story of a community gathering place —  carefully crafted as a home for friends, fresh food, and the soul. And fortunately you can find these experiences — which are stories embodied through space, service, and people — all over Raleigh and the Triangle.

Which local brands do you love? Share with us on Twitter @newkind #powerofstory or on Facebook.

Want to grow more comfortable as a storyteller? Join us for The Power of Story Workshop on April 22. Learn more and sign up here. You’ll leave equipped and inspired to better bring your organization’s story to life.

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