Sunday, January 14, 2007
This evening I attended an event where a speaker captivated the audience. It wasn't because of his title, his looks, or even his clothing - it was about the story he told. It made me realize the importance of the stories marketers tell about their product or service. And it got me thinking...
The brands that stand out and achieve the most are the brands built on powerful stories and descriptions about their history, their mission, or their founding. Think of Starbucks which started as a little coffee house in Seattle and a big dream to learn more about coffee than any other coffee retailer. Or what about L.L.Bean, Inc. which was founded in 1912 by avid hunter and fisherman Leon Leonwood? Whether you know the stories in great detail or not, there's always a story behind these brands.
I think that as marketers, it is our responsibility to market our products and define our services through stories that touch the hearts and minds of our prospects and is relished by our customers. It makes much more sense buying form a company that stands for something or has inherent meaning through its history than a brand that only sells itself through product features or price. I can tell you that this idea - the idea of storytelling- is done very well by the top brands and not so well by those brands you can't recall.
How about Dell? Michael Dell started the business in his college dorm room with a vision to mass produce customized computers and sell them for less than any other retailer at the time. He sold direct to the people to make his computers more affordable and meet the needs of each individual. In thinking about his model, and telling the story, one connects with the brand.
If you want to sell more, touch those you market to, and give them a reason to buy from your brand, then start thinking in terms of storytelling - not just benefits. Focusing on benefits in your pitch is important, but stories can be larger than life. Think about it. Try it. The next story you tell could be the one that lasts for a lifetime.