I was recently part of a panel for the Financial Communications Society in San Francisco, which was moderated by Sara Silverstein of Business Insider and included Lindsay Tiles, VP Corporate Communications at Schwab, and Demetra Airaudi, Head of Brand at Square.

They each provided great insights into how brand and culture work hand-in-hand, what we at Chromium call The Power of Four: Branding Begins Within Your Own Four Walls.

Here are two of my favorite stories:

Lindsay talked about how being in such a regulated industry as financial services had made the people at Schwab extremely cautious about using social media. This was actually becoming something of a liability in and of itself, as the authentic stories of their lives and the positive contributions their work was making to society weren’t getting out there. The corporate communications team worked very hard to “unscare” the culture, providing them with guidelines and examples so that employees could understand the parameters in which they needed to operate to conform with regulations, but still be themselves.

Demetra relayed a story about how Square was working to tell the stories of their customers, small business owners who found success by deploying Square’s innovative payment solutions. Especially touching was learning how the brand partnered with Van Jones to tell the stories of previously incarcerated individuals who, finding limited job prospects when they returned to society, became small business owners almost out of necessity. Square was there for them as they made the transition.

I love being on panels because you get to hear and discuss inspiring stories like these, and because you get to be a part of inspiring those in the audience to go out and build vivid, shining brands and vibrant corporate cultures for their own companies.