"What's your story?"

This is the one question that keeps coming at each conference, meeting, or networking event we attend this year. It’s a question we ask all of our clients and you’ve probably heard this a number of times yourself; that in order to build a strong and resonating brand, you need to learn how to tell your story. 

But what if we enhanced that? What if, instead of telling our audience about our story, we showed them? What if we provided tangible experiences for our clients, prospects, and fans? (More on the “What If’s” here) 

Here’s a story to drive this idea home: 

Most of us are familiar with the Colosseum in Rome. Over the years, I’ve heard stories from friends and family about the history, the magnificence, and the overall experience of seeing the Colosseum in person. “What a cool place,” I thought. And then I’d move on. 

It wasn’t until I was standing in the middle of the Colosseum, gazing up at the stone walls and looking down into the pits that have stood the test of time, earthquakes, vandalism, and natural disasters, that I understood. I could touch, smell, hear, and see the Colosseum all around me.  I could see the animals and men fighting in the arena. And only then could I take in its history, magnitude, and story.

You can bet that any time I hear someone talking about the Colosseum now, I am chomping at the bit to chime into the conversation and share my experience. And when friends or family ask about vacation spots or tour recommendations, I’m going to tell them about the Colosseum.

So often in business, we focus on the best way to “tell” our story. What we’re looking for at Relan is the best way to show the story in action; to give people a memory that they can re-live each time they see our products. To help our clients provide experiences like the Colosseum. Because when a fan, prospect, or client can touch and see products with a story behind them, they’re being awarded a tangible experience fueled by real emotion. Isn’t this ultimately what we all want? 

Take this year’s Green Sports Alliance Summit. The Houston Astros provided their old banners that hung around Minute Maid Park and we turned them into one-of-a-kind, storytelling bags for every attendee of the Summit.  When they walked into Minute Maid Park, this was part of their welcome package.   

But we did more than that. 

The whole conference was held inside Minute Maid Park, where attendees could see with their own eyes where these banners came from in action around the stadium. And the bag in their hands became more than a bag: They became part of an experience that they’ll share with their colleagues, friends, and family for years to come after the Summit. 

“If you want engagement, inspire them, don’t require them.”
-Daniel Alvarez, Pixar

For you, maybe the experience is handing out gear bags to runners using last year’s race mesh or taking clients to an outdoor event and providing fold-up seats made from your company’s old banners. Maybe it’s supplying festival volunteers with gear belts made from your promo billboards or dropping off thank you gifts to sponsors with bags made from extra event material. Perhaps it’s giving a tour of your facility or arena to your VIP list, providing them with wine totes, and pointing out where the wine totes came from as you give the tour. 


As a brand, how do you use experiences to start a conversation with your audience? How can you use these experiences and stories to show, not tell? 

We’re in the business of providing experiences, and I’d love to brainstorm ways that you can do this with your own group of clients, prospects, and fans. .

Big thanks to Avery Weinman (@a.weinman) for the header photo featuring one of our Relan bags!