Companies that share their successes, challenges and learnings are being led by some of the greatest brand storytellers of our time. Businesses that release autobiography style content add authenticity to their brand that data filled, how-to, or even thought leadership pieces of content can’t capture. And yet, very few businesses are keen to release such content.

Autobiographical brand storytelling requires a level of transparency that many business leaders find scary and too risky. This branding strategy has a lot of emotional baggage attached to it—that’s why we’re going to focus on the who before tackling the how.

The following CEOs used autobiographical storytelling to build a community of brand advocates:


Alex Turnbull, CEO of Groove

Startup CEO Alex Turnball uses autobiographical brand storytelling to boost influence


Groove CEO uses autobiographical brand storytelling to grow blog influence


Alex Turnbull, CEO of Groove, has done what few business leaders are brave enough to do. He recognized that his business was facing a challenge that had the potential to make or break his startup. Rather than continue following blogging best practices that weren’t driving significant branding or financial value, he took a leap of faith and began sharing the good, the bad and the ugly of Groove’s business story. By transparently documenting his startup’s struggle to achieve brand influence and financial success, Alex Turnball has grown his blog views from hundreds to a hundred thousand and Groove is steadily moving towards their goal of generating $100K in monthly revenue.

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Ben Horowitz, co-founder & former CEO of Opsware

Ben Horowitz masters vulnerability in telling his story of being CEO of Opsware

Ben Horowitz delivered one of the most genuine, painstakingly honest, and inspirational stories on entrepreneurship that TechCrunch has ever seen. Ben’s post on the struggle of being a CEO oozes with vulnerability. The detailed scenarios he describes can only have been told from firsthand experience. Although the startup Ben led may not have benefited from the authenticity of his autobiographical storytelling, the Venture Capital firm he now manages certainly has capitalized off of the invaluable trust he earned from startup leaders.

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Alex & Ben are two entrepreneurs whose businesses are at different stages of growth. One of them is sharing his story while in the trenches, and the other after the dust has settled. One’s startup achieved the holy grail of having his business bought out, while the other is feverishly working to achieve similar success. Both businesses are led by CEOs who are using autobiographical storytelling to drive value for their business as measured by revenue, professional and brand reputation. Both have earned the trust of many and established a reputation for themselves and their businesses as being smart, innovative and worthy of success.

In our next post, we will outline exercises you can take to add autobiographical brand storytelling to your content marketing strategy.