Be Authentic. Ask yourself. “Why should people care?”

After attending the Social Media Strategies Summit in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, an idea rose to the top for me: in order for brands to be relevant to people in today’s socially focused world, they need to be authentic. To do this they should understand who they are by asking, “Why?” Why should people care what I have to say? Why should they listen? Why should they act? Only after a brand can honestly answer these questions will they have a great story to share with people.

A good story should reflect a brand’s human side. In social media, people want to feel like they are having a conversation with another person-not a brand’s product. Let your brand’s personality shine through in its tone of voice, and by showing pictures and videos that highlight employee and consumer fun.

One brand that I think does this well is Fluevog shoes. This eclectic brand originated in 1970. Two hippies partnered up to open the first store in Gastown, Vancouver. Peter Fox and John Fluevog grew the brand for ten years before Fluevog took complete ownership. In 2010, Fast Company voted it as one of the Most Innovative Company’s. Today these grunge-like shoes are worn by folks like Madonna, Alice Cooper, Jack White — and me.

I like Fluevog shoes because I like the product and I relate to their brand persona. Their traditionally made-untraditional shoes are a reflection of my funky personality. When I buy a pair of shoes or simply interact with their brand, I feel like I am communicating with a friend. Someone that understands me as an individual. They ask me questions, “Describe your style in three words” or “Do I need advice on how the shoe I am ordering will fit — does it run large or small?” Their copywriting feels human, witty and is reflected everywhere — even on the soles of their shoes — “Flow Pure. Spread Truth and Life.”

On their website they foster an inviting community. People can swap shoes with others at the Fluemarket. They can be a FlueCreative and create original advertising. And they can even design their own eco-friendly Fluevogs at OpenSourceFootwear.

Their stores have interesting Fluevogologists that I love talking to because we have genuine interest in each other’s lives. Their love for the brand is expressed in the Flueblog. Every Friday people can get to know a unique individual from different Fluevog stores. They answer personal style questions while wearing their favorite Fluevogs.

On Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, Fluevog posts beautiful lifestyle images of their shoes using artistic photography filters to accentuate their creative edginess. And they create short little Vine videos that feature the quality craftsmanship that goes into making their shoes. Soon one-click ordering will make it easier for me to order new Fluevog’s on these social platforms. Hurry!

Why should I care about Fluevog? I feel devoted to Fluevog shoes because I trust and love the brand for what it believes in — making good soles that leave small prints (no matter what your shoe size).

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