Great Brands Help People Be Great

A lot of good can come out of encouraging people to talk about themselves, their lives, their hopes, and their accomplishments.

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A core belief in our PASSION CONVERSATION book is the need to rewire a marketer’s brain to appreciate creating opportunities (online and offline) for the customers you serve to share their own stories. A lot of good can come out of encouraging people to talk about themselves, their lives, their hopes, and their accomplishments.

Ultimately, the passion conversion (aka word-of-mouth) is not about getting people to talk about you—the brand. It’s about getting people to talk about themselves.

Truth be told, that line you just read is a riff from a Kathy Sierra tweet I saw back in the wild wild west twitter days of 2008.

Kathy Sierra has a knack for understanding the user experience from being a master programming trainer to co-authoring many of the influential Head First tech books. She’s just published a book that expands on what it means for brands to get people excited not about the brand, but about themselves.

In BADASS: Making Users Awesome, Kathy makes the case for why and how a brand can benefit from helping its customers become badass.

Kathy explains how people do not care how great a brand is, but rather, how great they are when using a brand. And when people become a badass at something, they talk about it to their friends and friends of friends.

Context is everything. Kathy explains, “Most products and services support a bigger, compelling, motivating context.” In this context, products and services are simply tools to help people achieve badass results.

For example, I’ve improved my presentation skills over the past ten years. There are a variety of tools that I have used to help me become a better speaker. These tools support the compelling context of me giving better presentations.


GIVE YOUR SPEECH, CHANGE THE WORLD by Nick Morgan is a badass book on public speaking because it helped me to become a better speaker. I’ve routinely recommended this book to people wanting to improve their presentation skills.

The simple Logitech Wireless Presenter is a tool that helps me command a room better when giving a talk. No matter how far I wander away from my laptop, this clicker has the range to still advance my slides. Plus, the countdown timer on this device is a godsend. I never go over my allotted time because the timer keeps me on track.

I design all my talks using PowerPoint software. It’s an easy tool that helps me create visuals that keep audiences engaged.

And, I always love using a Lavaliere microphone when presenting. It allows me to improve my body language on stage because I can use both of my hands to emphasize key points.

If you follow Kathy Sierra’s approach, then you’ll understand this…

Great brands help people be great.

As marketers we need to lose our self-interest and become selfless. The marketing game today is less about making a badass product and more about helping people become badass. When people use our products to become more skillful, more proficient, and more awesome, a passion conversation will follow because people love to talk about themselves.