shoes + public speaking = brand building

In an article on Businessweek.com by Carmine Gallo, Tony Hsieh offers three tips for building your company’s brand through public speaking. Hsieh is the CEO of the all-too-familiar brand Zappos.com, which offers shoes, clothing, handbags, accessories and more while also offering praiseworthy company culture and customer service.

The following are three tips Hsieh offers:

•Speak about topics you’re passionate about.
Hsieh believes in happiness, service and culture, these are subjects he stresses in every speech. These three topics are why he believes in his company and why he wants people to believe in Zappos.

•Tell personal stories.
Use stories as a springboard for discussion; stories are also helpful in capturing audiences’ attentions. “Hsieh likes to end his presentation with what he calls his pizza story. One night, he and some vendors returned to a hotel room late. Someone in the group was craving pizza and was told room service had ended. As a joke, Hsieh suggested calling Zappos. You can probably guess the end of the story—even though Zappos doesn’t sell pizza, the customer service rep found a list of local pizza places that would deliver to the hotel. It’s a fun story that seriously reinforces Hsieh’s theme of customer service.”

•Don’t “sell” your product.
“Most presenters fail to make the distinction between selling and inspiring.” Thus, Hsieh hopes to inspire his audiences rather than sell shoes or Zappo products. “Ultimately, it causes people to be more attached to the brand and the company. You’d much rather support a company that inspires you than one that doesn’t,” says Hsieh.

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