Think back to when you were a kid. Did you enjoy sitting on the mat listening to the teacher read you a story? Or did you prefer to sit at your desk and practice your letters or even worse math?
For me it was definitely the story. I was an avid reader growing up and some of my fondest memories from childhood include time spent wrapped inside the worlds a good book can create for you. I still remember the summer when I was around 13 or 14 and I decided that I would sit down and read Stephen King’s IT. If you are a fan of Stephen King you’ll know that this book it a massive tome with pages in excess of a 1000. I was proud of this accomplishment and even though it was years ago that I read this book I still remember the story quite vividly and how it terrified the living daylights out of me.
A good story can do this. Evoke feelings in a reader even years after they last read the book. The reader can not only remember the story from the book but can also recall events that happened around them while reading the book and even how they felt while reading the book and how they feel about it now.
What if anything does this have to do with your brand? Plenty, let me explain.
People remember stories for a lot longer than they remember corporate talk. They often don’t remember the ingredients in your product, or that it now has added fiber or even many of the new bells and whistles added. To emphasise this point I want to tell you another story from my life.
A long time ago, for my first job I used to work in a manufacturing plant where we created a food product. This product had a fictional person as the name sake of the product and on the back of the product was a story about how she lovingly created the product is small batches from her home. Now, I know she wasn’t there making this product as I was involved heavily in the production side and she was nowhere to be found. Yet, this story touched people enough to write into the company and ask about how she was doing, how she made such a delicious food item and other questions.
While people enjoyed the product they also enjoyed and remembered the story on the back of the bag and wanted to learn even more about this individual.
No longer can your brand, your store, your website or your product compete on price alone. With a Wal-Mart in nearly every community and Amazon only a click away you need to find a new way to attract people to what you are doing and telling a compelling story is a one way to do just that. It makes you memorable; it humanizes who you are and lets everyone else know what you are passionate about.
One of our family’s favourite snacks is Chicago Style popcorn which for those who don’t know is a mixture of caramel and cheddar popcorn. It’s amazing. If you haven’t tried any before I highly recommend you do. Anyways, we have tried several different brands and the one that stands out the most to me and the one I purchase every single time is not the cheapest brand and it may not be the best tasting one (as I have not tried every single brand on the market) but instead is the one that told me a story on the back of the bag. There on the back of this bag is a little story about how the company came to be generations ago, how it’s still remains in the family and is currently ran by the same family. I loved the story and it provided me with a connection to them.
Stories are the great human connector. They make us feel, they paint some of our most vivid memories and they bring us together.
Take a look at your website, brochure, or your product packaging. Does it tell a story? Or is it merely corporate talk extolling the virtues of how great this thing is? I for one would rather see a website that introduces me to the team and personalities behind it and shows off why they are so passionate to bring me this product. Or hear the story of how a family recipe turned into a family business.
This is how you differentiate yourself from everyone else. You can try by adding new features, new flavours or upping the bag size but in the end if you work to connect to your customers and your audience with a story, you’ll be far better off.
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