What makes a story incredible is when it resonates. A brand story works when it fits into the narrative someone is already telling themselves about their life. A brand story that moves is a story that’s seamlessly integrated into another story … the target’s story.
The story about fast internet is within the narrative of most. But when internet (story) is nonexistent in a restaurant or social gathering place, there’s frustration and dissatisfaction.
The story about 1 in 4 children living in poverty is a story that resonates only with few who have a narrative of generosity and empathy. That’s why it’s hard for so many to wrap their minds around it.
The biggest problem I see with brand stories is when the story is used as a fact or feature to convert a consumer. And we both know facts and features aren’t moving. The facts and features may offer reassurance or an out, but they’re not what a person is truly searching for.
Consider heritage stories of the land a business occupies. It might sound like a great story, but that’s not often what people go into telling themselves about why they are there or the product they want to purchase.
Thankfully the solution is simple. When there’s a costumer at your door, listen and ask questions until you know what story they are telling themselves and how you might fit into it.
Stay Positive & Less Following A Script, More Listening, Please
You can make lemonade.
You can grab tequila and salt.
You can take them because free stuff is awesome.
You can squeeze them in your enemies’ eyes.
You can hang on to them as a keepsake.
You can give them to someone who needs them.
You can zest them in a dish for Friendsgiving.
Like everything life gives you, it’s your choice what to do with it.
Not the giver’s. Not your parent’s. Not your boss’s.
Stay Positive & Choose
You see it in photos and videos, that the content that wows is the content that gets up close and personal with the subject of the shot.
The same can be said for those who make the right connections, for the work you’re doing and the people you’re doing that work with or for.
A 30,000 ft view is a great perspective, but it’s not where you want to spend all your time.
Better to dig deeper, to get closer … to the target, to the market, to your coworkers, and to the work that matters.
Stay Positive & Inch Forward, Will Ya
The point of marketing is to create change.
Change that concludes with someone purchasing your something, that is.
But change is peculiar. Not only do most people fear it, there’s a lot of tension around it.
It’s that tension that both the marketer and the marketed to have to overcome.
It’s that tension that helps the marketer decide how to tell a story and the marketed to to incorporate it into the narrative they are telling themselves.
It’s that tension that will either build or break the marketed to’s trust in the marketer and it’s that tension that forces so many marketers to play it safe, to under-promise and over-deliver instead of simply promising the marketed to something and keeping that promise.
What’s the tension the customer is feeling between where they are now and where they could be with your product or service? And do they know you feel the tension to? You do, right?
Stay Positive & Find The Tension
WholeFoods does have products that are less expensive than its competitors.
Zappos does have some customers who have had a frustrating return experience.
And good ol’ Zig Ziglar did have days that he gave up, stayed in bed and didn’t sell.
All of these experiences, though, we don’t see because of the narrative at large.
WholeFoods is perceived as expensive, so we’re more likely to notice all the products that are.
We read all the heartwarming return stories of Zappos and we listen to hours and hours of Zig Ziglar being the Zig Ziglar that we know and love because those are the narratives we tell ourselves are true.
It’s worth noting that the narratives for each brand were designed, formulaic and intentional.
The crux of creating a larger narrative is by surprising and delighting, but even more so by simply and forwardly connecting with someone to create a memorable (and by extension, often sharable) experience. And to do so, we must be intentional.
You’re not given a narrative at large, you earn it through providing a specific remarkable value, consistently.
Stay Positive & What’s Your Narrative Again?
Here’s a quick gauge on whether you’re investing in a valuable friendship or not.
If you tell them you want to own a company, be prom king, start a magazine or become a major celebrity in your passion-industry, how do they react?
If they expect you to succeed, if they hold you to your lofty goal, if they support the idea; then it’s worth keeping them close.
Anything short of that, though, find better friends.
Stay Positive & Remember, It’s A Two-Way Street
It was six years ago that I first wrote about the benefits of showing up early.
Six years later, I could write about 1,000 more experiences where I’ve benefited from showing up early.
I’ve connected with remarkable people. I’ve been able to focus on the work that matters. I’ve saved time by not having to wait in line. The list goes on.
Let this be a six-year-later reminder that great things happen when you show up early.
Stay Positive & Don’t Even Get Me Started On Staying Late