Anyone starting a company knows — or at least should know — the power of story-telling.
A product — let’s say an ice cream brand — could focus on marketing the ten scientific reasons why it is better than any of its competition.
These clear facts may even be understood & accepted as true by the potential customer.
The customer may even like their fancy packaging, the drool-inducing images & the warm, welcoming branding.
But they don’t give quite enough of a shit. They still buy the more expensive, objectively less healthy version on the next shelf.
Why? Because our first product has no soul. It has no narrative to match the brand. Where did it come from? Who worked their arses off to get the milk churned, to hand-pick the fruit, to send it off to you with love, care & dedication?
I don’t even particularly like ice-cream, but if I buy it, I’ll buy Ben & Jerry’s.
The names are fun, true. But I buy it because I remember reading the back of the pack fifteen years ago & it resonated with me. Two guys, on an organic farm, raising a couple of cows, coming up with crazy recipes. What is not to love?
And what’s more? I don’t even know whether it’s organic, nor how many cows they have, nor how they come up with the recipes. It’s probably all just done in a factory by a team of guys in lab coats.
But my ten-year old self created that image in my head & it’s still the same one my twenty-five year-old self envisions.
So start telling your story
So any entrepreneur or marketer knows the value of story-telling. Yet we still don’t f**king do it!
And that’s OK. I have ignored it myself. And that’s because it’s a really hard art.
Find something remarkable
You need to find something that is compelling enough for people to go & tell their friends. This can happen with luck, but generally happens with a decent understanding of psychology or with the experience of trying one hundred ideas & seeing if one sticks.
We live in a crowded world. It must be remarkable, something worth remarking upon, in order for people to stop & notice.
Remove your ego
In order to stumble across an idea that is clear & compelling though, you must remove your subjective opinion as much as possible.
What you assume is interesting about your own story is unlikely to interest others. That life-changing trip? Those years in that shitty job? Unless it really clicks with the audience & comes across as incredibly humble, you are just going to put people off.
Again, we live in a crowded world. People have heard all the sob stories. Someone somewhere has probably had the same experiences. Your audience have already been there, done that.
Go out there & tell people
And don’t expect to hit the ball out the park in your first go. Just start telling people what you do, what your story is. See how they react. And I don’t mean their nod of approval or supporting words. They are bullshit. They are just being nice to you.
Really see what their true reaction is. Do they tell other people? Do they visit your website? Do they get in contact with you after?
If 10 people react indifferently, go back to the drawing board.
I’m not a marketing guru. You’ve probably heard this advice before. Yet you didn’t actually go & follow it. Find a story, test it on a few friends, go back to the drawing board, test it on as many people as you can find.
Because if you hit that one idea, that one thing that resonates, it does all the work for you.