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Once again, Cleveland is the center of the universe…for all the wrong reasons. And once again, we’d like to attempt to spin a negative into a positive—starting with the fact that after a decade in captivity, three courageous women are alive and have been reunited with their families.

And that’s thanks, in part, to the help of struggling-dishwasher-turned-overnight-viral-sensation Charles Ramsey. And while his animated interviews have provided some highly meme-able online entertainment, auto-tuneable amusement, and shameless PR opportunities for the Golden Arches. We believe Charles can provide us with a few invaluable marketing lessons as well:

Be authentic. It’s not easy carving out a unique brand positioning/voice/personality that only your brand can own. We know it takes courage. But you can do it. Or as Charles put it to CNN’s Anderson Cooper (way more uniquely): “You gotta have some cojones, bro. That’s all it’s about. It’s about cojones on this planet.” (So true, Charles.)

Be a great storyteller. The strongest brands in the world are amazing storytellers. (See any of Apple’s brilliantly simple, storytelling ads over the past 30 years.) Charles’s straight-telling, highly-detailed, non-PC interviews are chilling, poignant, sad, comical, empathetic, polarizing, and philosophical. But always memorable.

Be a hero. Even if your past isn’t perfect, when the opportunity presents itself, you can still do the right thing. (See Adidas.) When asked by a reporter what he’s going to do with the FBI reward money offered for the missing women, Charles pulled a pay-stub from his pocket and said, “I got a paycheck, take that reward and give it to the kidnap victims.”

Thanks, Charles, for reminding us all…this should definitely not be about Charles right now. Or trivial marketing lessons.

To make a secure donation to the victims and their families, click here.

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