Every business has a story to tell with a beginning, middle and an end. If you haven’t taken the time to write it for yourself, what are your customers ‘reading’ about your brand?
Recently, I attended a conference where I had the pleasure of hearing Seth Godin - the prolific blogger and writer of countless #1 best-selling books speak live. He asked the audience to participate in answering this question: What’s the better story?
- Subway has 10 sandwiches that contain 5 grams of fat or less
- There was a young man who entered his freshman year at college weighing close to 400 pounds. He was obese to the point where he could no longer fit the seats in his classroom. He only chose the courses that were closest to his room because he could not walk across the campus. He made a conscious decision to change his life, so he began to eat at Subway twice a day, 7 days a week for a year. He dropped over 100 pounds in the first year, and is now the size of the average 34” waist man.
It’s the same message, but one is clearly the better story. That’s the kind of story you want to tell about your business, because stories are far more likely to be discussed over coffee, on the bus, at dinner parties and between friends and peers far beyond the reach of your network.
You don’t have to be Apple, Google, or Facebook to be interesting. Just ask the blender company with millions of hits on Youtube for their genius “Will it Blend?” web series. This company sells blenders; they might as well be selling drywall. When was the last time there was a breakthrough in blender technology? When was the last time you saw a headline that caught your attention about a blender? Can you remember when your blender came up in any conversation? Trust me, you can make any product or service compelling – Blendtec’s CEO dressed in a lab coat, blending household objects to pulp in slow motion is proof of that.
The moral of the story is… find YOUR story. Too often we just give the raw (admittedly dull) facts about our business, product or service and cross our fingers that our audience will pay attention. Unless you can attach those facts to something more compelling, your message might end up DOA – Dead on Arrival. Breathe life into your brand and what you’re selling. Sell a story first and your key messages will go along for the ride.