Talking About Stories: Building the Wildix Brand

Building the Wildix Brand

Take a minute and think about your favorite brand. Do you like it for its products? Its price point? Its extra features? Or do you choose it time and time again because you feel connected to the brand? Because you trust it?

Maybe that trust is because of a good experience. You only take your car to the mechanic on the other side of town because you know them and trust their work. Or maybe it’s because you feel your purchase will make an impact. That the product is all-nature, fair-trade or subscribes to one for one model like TOMS. In either case, your choice still boils down to trust. You hear the company’s message, either through experience or clear marketing, and you believe the narrative fully, choosing that one particular company to follow through on its promises.

While good customer experiences are key to business stability, that kind of trust only works for customers who already know you and your company. But what happens when, as a brand, you’re new to a market and no one knows you? You need to find a way to tell your story.

Over ten years ago, when Wildix was looking to enter new markets, this is exactly where we found ourselves. In our home market, partners and competitors knew us. They knew our story. But outside it, we were starting completely from scratch. We needed a way to build recognition and, ultimately, trust. We needed a way to tell our story.

So, I wrote a book.

The Wildix Code

There are many ways a brand can tell a story. From the logo and tagline to advertising campaigns, you are surrounded by companies telling stories. So much so that it can be hard to cut through the noise. Which means to be heard, you have to be different.

And at the time, none of the other vendors had a book.

Why did I choose to write a book? Because a book has value. Even if you aren’t going to read it, you wouldn’t throw it away. You’d feel guilty. When I was at school, they taught us that books are sacred. The same isn’t true for magazines, brochures or flyers. You can throw them away, without a second thought. But if it’s a book, you’ll keep it with you.

And I don’t mean a cheaply bound commercial book full of products and prices, but a real book with a plot and lovingly bound. That’s the kind of book you’ll keep.
Once it’s received, a book stays in people’s offices. It occupies a space on their bookshelf. And in addition to the story, the book itself brings a message; that we are so established we’ve published a book about our company.

So we sent it out as part of our blue box to prospective partners. Every time I spoke with a new partner, the one thing they remembered about us was that book. Even if they didn’t read the whole thing, they remembered the humorous drawings inside.

So, even before I wrote the content I knew that a book itself would tell the story. Not of a brand-new company that came out of nowhere, but one that was established, reliable and could be trusted with your business.

Finding the Story

Now, when I wrote the Wildix Code, I never set out to write a bestseller. Though one reviewer reviewed it in an Italian national newspaper as if it were a regular book. And while the extra attention helped increase our brand awareness, my intention was to share our story with potential partners who could then learn more about us and, hopefully, choose to work with Wildix.

So to find the story, I went to the source, Steve and Dimitri Osler.

I met them in Tallinn, and after realizing that they were answering my questions in a very matter-of-fact way, I moved the meeting to a pub where I knew they would relax and tell me the whole story.

And what I discovered was both a new story and an old one. While the debate may be as old as time, there is a general acceptance that there are a limited number of basic plots in the world, and every story is built on one of them. From the Osler brothers’ story, I immediately recognized a “rags to riches” or underdog trope and built the narrative from there.

There was nothing to invent, only to organize and structure. In listening to their tales of high adventure from setting up the Odesa office to assembling PBXs by hand in Trento, it was clear that in some ways their story was like other IT brands, who started up in their garages. But there was also something different. Something that made us stand out from all the rest.

Wildix did business differently. To this day, we have a CEO that wears flip-flops. We aren’t guys in suits that show up to meetings wearing dark sunglasses. We are a bit laid back, very Mediterranean, and perhaps even a little bit weird. And of course, we only ever sell through the channel.

So by collecting and telling the stories in the Wildix Code, I shared not just the origin story of a plucky upstart UC company, I made it clear to prospective partners who we were, how we were different than the competition and, most importantly, the long road we took to get where we are today.

The content showed our journey but more importantly, it showed that we were not a fly-by-night tech start-up that might disappear as quickly as we appeared on the market. We had substance, we had evolved and we were here to stay.

A Never-ending Story?

Now, the Wildix Code has a definite purpose, and it still successfully fulfills that to this day. While we could update it, for the most part, the book itself is a finished product.

But that doesn’t mean we stop telling the story.

Every time we approach a new partner or our partner wants to approach a new client, a decision has to be made: will this new person trust us enough to take a chance and work with us?

So you will see that in all our content, be it on the web, blog, magazine or other sales material, we mention what makes us unique. Our channel-led model. Our focus on sales. And yes, small nods to our quirkiness.

But most importantly, we make sure to add in the elements that reassure people new to Wildix. Things like case studies, testimonials, awards, certifications and our inclusion in analytical reviews and reports.

Because at the end of the day, if people don’t know who we are and they don’t have the time or opportunity to read our book, they’ll look for third-party recommendations. And being recognized by big players like Gartner and Forrester is a stamp of approval that proves we’re established, we’re not going anywhere and you can trust us.

As Wildix continues to grow and expand, so too will our story. With more partners come more case studies and hopefully, more recognition. We may even one day become so established, we’ll have to officially “wrap up” the story of the little underdog company that dared to challenge the giants. But overall, our storytelling mission will stay the same: to demonstrate what makes us unique and why you should put your trust in us.

Because if we tell a good story and are memorable, half the battle is already won.

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