Door stop. Seat booster. Hard surface on which to write. In our line of work, thinking about using a book this way is downright blasphemous.
No, indeed. Here, and among book-lovers everywhere, books are used to inspire, educate, inform, enlighten, escape. They’re read cover to cover, or flipped through for compelling snippets of story, appreciated for their stunning visuals, displayed on bookshelves and coffee tables, stacked on bedsides, scattered across desks.
At the risk of stating the obvious, ECHO books are all about story. We tell the story of a person’s life or a company’s history and culture through compelling writing and rich photography. It’s one of our core promises that we will tease out the best (and sometimes worst) nuggets of a life and weave it into an unforgettable story, resulting in a book our clients love. We’ve made good on this promise over 300 times.
But what especially delights us is when we hear stories about ways that our clients made use of their book that we never would have expected. Here are three fantastic examples.
A Culture Book Helps Real Estate Developers To ‘Get’ The Brand Instantly
Initially, JOEY Restaurants engaged ECHO to help them create a book that they intended to sell in their restaurants. It would, they anticipated, be filled with recipes; tell their history and evolution from a family restaurant to a major player in the chain restaurant industry; and include photos and stories from their staff, including everyone from the owners to the executive chefs to the bussers.
As the project moved along, we began to notice that the stories we were unravelling were less about how a specific recipe was made and more about inside jokes, employee bonding, and the “JOEY way,” which essentially instills in every staff member the belief that the business is theirs, that they can develop a career trajectory, that they can be entrepreneurial in their role. It was the richness of these stories that prompted a shift in the book’s focus. The book, happily, emerged as a showcase of what it means to work at JOEY Restaurants, and an illustration of just how JOEY’s incredible staff and owners live the values of the company. A quick flip through the resulting book gives the reader an instant sense of what the place is all about.
We had helped to tell their story in a way that reassured potential business partners that JOEY was the right choice. Talk about ROI.
So when we heard that the JOEY Restaurants team was using it as a tool to help secure real estate deals for new locations, we were intrigued. They explained that passing the book to a developer, who was weighing multiple restaurants for their property, was a silent but powerful way to let that developer know who they’d be getting if they gave a lease to JOEY. We had helped to tell their story in a way that reassured potential business partners that JOEY was the right choice. Talk about ROI.
A Book Designed for lululemon Employees Proves a Useful Tool to Secure Investors
We were thrilled when, in 2007, lululemon hired us to create a book for their employees. Back then, lululemon was a young but fast-growing yoga-wear retailer with a rich internal culture, growing worried that the rapid pace of their store expansion could dilute the “special sauce” that so many of their existing staff members lived by. Bottling that sauce was our challenge and we took it on with passion, showcasing personal and intimate stories of what it was like to work for lululemon, revealing a cast of characters who bonded over their loyalty to the company as well as over their interests outside of work.
When then-CEO and founder, Chip Wilson decided to take his Vancouver-based brand to the world, he employed the book to ensure a successful IPO. Investors could see, feel and read real stories about the kind of culture lululemon was espousing, convincing them that a staff who loved their company this much was going to do everything they could to make the retailer a top global brand. They bought in big. Sun salutations all around.
[Chip Wilson] employed the book to ensure a successful IPO. Investors could see, feel and read real stories about the kind of culture lululemon was espousing, convincing them that a staff who loved their company this much was going to do everything they could to make the retailer a top global brand. They bought in big.
Rocky Mountaineer Gets Sales—Plus True Employee Engagement
Tourism company Rocky Mountaineer first engaged ECHO to create a high-quality, revenue-producing book. They intended to sell the book aboard their trains that travel up and down British Columbia’s west coast, north through old Gold Rush towns and throughout Canada’s Rockies. It made perfect sense: tourists love a souvenir of their trip and a book is often the most meaningful memento. Entertaining travel stories abounded. And the Rocky Mountaineer experience for passengers is truly breathtaking, not to mention tinged with a welcome nostalgia and luxury, thanks to the romance of train travel, gourmet meals and comfy passenger cars.
So when Rocky Mountaineer came to us just a few months after they received their initial shipment of books asking for a substantial reprint, we felt pleased; it seemed clear that we’d hit the right notes for their customers. What we didn’t know then, however, was that the book had also been a major hit with employees.
The tone we’d been able to strike — a layered narrative and layout evocative of a magazine, rich with stories of bear sightings, fascinating historical factoids, unique guest experiences, fun infographics and jaw-dropping scenery — not only resonated with guests, but reiterated to the staff how the company operated. The book is now offered to every new staff member as an employee onboarding handbook of sorts, helping them understand their new place of work. All aboard, indeed.
The book is now offered to every new staff member as an employee onboarding handbook of sorts, helping them understand their new place of work. All aboard, indeed.
There are myriad reasons why your company may wish to embark on the rewarding process of making a book: to mark a milestone, to gift to shareholders, to showcase your culture, to sell to customers.
Our mission is to help you through that process from start to finish, and to make the process a pleasure.
It’s what you do with the book once it’s done that we can’t wait to hear about.