The Hands That Made It

The Hands That Made It

Marketing writer/consultant Mark Schaefer told this story in a recent interview. He asked his daughter-in-law why she used a local, craft soap instead of Ivory. Ivory has millions of dollars of advertising targeted at her.

She replied that she buys the local, craft brand of soap not because she loves the brand but because she loves the hands that make it.

When you get to connect with the employees from a company and hear about their passion for making soap, brewing beer or crafting children’s hats from recycled cloth, it becomes clearer how a new generation wants to learn about your brand.

Local Brewery Hands 

You can’t miss the trend toward drinking craft brews from local breweries. The Instagram posts by the team that works at Wilmington Brewery help connect my daughter Fanny and son-in-law Tony to the people who run this North Carolina business. They know the owners, but they also have come to connect with their employees and their passion for making beer.

By allowing everyone to share stories about how the team at Wilmington Brewery makes their beer, it gives an authentic quality to their online presence. And, with their target audience living online – it makes sense to enable employees to tell their stories that enrich and humanize their brand.

Employee Empowerment

Many companies don’t realize the power of employees to help communicate how their daily effort brings a brand to life. Here are five tips to unlock some magic at your company.

  • Set up a few simple guidelines for posting online about the business. For example, there may be a few proprietary topics or subjects that are trade secrets and should be off limits. And, you may want to avoid any image or language that is crude and offensive. (some brands thrive in crude and offensive language). Make sure no one is violating trademark laws too by using (or defaming) a competitor. You just need a few simple rules – don’t make it too complicated or no one will want to get involved.
  • Provide a few examples of what’s okay – and what isn’t okay for your staff to promote online. Often a few examples help to make it clear.
  • Someone who works in production or distribution will tell a different story than someone in events and marketing. By having everyone involved, suddenly the brand is more than beautiful food porn images. When a driver tells the story of having to make a special run to get a customer her order late at night, that speaks to commitment. When a production manager talks about throwing away a batch that didn’t meet standards, that speaks to the quality and a desire to meet a higher standard. Think of what Rod Stewart said: Every picture tells a story. A diverse group of perspectives will enrich your brand and give depth to your storytelling.
  • Celebrate that hands that make the products. Whether you make a physical product like beer or a digital product like software, customers/clients want to buy from human beings they know and like. Don’t be shy – tell the stories of the successes and failures just like you would share with a friend. Authentic is the coin of the realm – not PR fluff.
  • Make it a daily habit. Guide your employees to share their daily vitamins. So once a day, they tell a brief, little story through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snap or Pinterest. Get them used to get the message out. Give some education and training on how to use links, hashtags, and images so you can help power their effort. Train them so they understand you don’t want their messages to be commercial (buy now!) – instead, you want their posts to be a peek into their world and their part in keeping the brand’s promise to it’s customers.

As my friend Mark likes to say, the best marketing advice is always to: 

Be. More. Human. 

Now, let me see those hands.

Need a hand in crafting your brand story? Want to find ways to improve your marketing efforts? Looking for ways to have your team show their hands? I can help. Text or call me at 919 720 0995 or

Photo by Sabine van Straaten on Unsplash



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