Grassroots is the Heart of The Brand

Jerry Dee

The power of all great brands lies within their stories; innovative, authentic stories that make the brand an experience, rather than just a product. The key is getting people to connect emotionally to that brand. Once you’ve hooked them emotionally, you’ve got a loyal customer for life.

Over the past several months, I’ve travelled to places across the globe — including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, The Hague, Jerusalem and Monaco – producing shows that speak to that kind of authenticity. And I’m witnessing a global trend when it comes to grassroots branding.

More recently I had the opportunity to work with some of North America’s most innovative branding experts, at the Gathering Conference in Banff, Alberta. These brand leaders are all carving their own paths, and they all spoke about the importance of identifying their brands to their respective and potential consumers.

NHL legend Luc Robitaille, now president of the LA Kings, spoke of the importance of creating a hockey culture in California – a state that didn’t have a historical love affair with the game. The club decided to start at the grassroots level, by investing in hockey infrastructure and sponsoring countless teams. Engaging families and sparking the love of hockey, while giving back to the community, established an emotional connection to the game and the new NHL franchise for generations to come.

Movember co-founder Adam Garone spoke about community-by-community growth of the annual event involving the growing of moustaches in November to raise money and awareness for various MEN’S health issues including prostate cancer. What started as a local initiative in Australia has turned into a global phenomenon, all through grassroots word of mouth, and making a difference on a human level.

Jonathan Mildenhall, Chief Marketing Officer of Air B&B, said the company carved a niche for itself by bringing affordable travel accommodations to a new market – also enabling them to be part of local communities by living and breathing the local space, while meeting new people and developing new friendships.

Authentic storytelling is what today’s branding success stories are all about, and
making these stories real to the consumers is what matters most.

Steve Gardner with Rudy Giuliani in Jerusalem
Steve Gardner with Rudy Giuliani in Jerusalem
Steve Gardner with Jerry Dee
Steve Gardner with Jerry Dee at the Gathering Conference in Banff

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