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Our business, like many businesses, was totally dependent on sales. At first we thought our customers, who were distributers, retailers and the general public, would be swayed by superior features and benefits, and, to a degree, they were. But when our sales really began to take off was when we finally realized that our buyers wanted a story. They wanted a story they could identify with, a story that would grab their imagination, a story that had them pulling for a “hero” who is up against all odds.
We were in the wine business at a time when the French pretty much controlled it. They had imbued the industry with sense of pretention and patronizing elitism that most Americans found snobby. So it was a great story when the owners of Chateau Lafitte, one of the wealthiest wine families in Europe, threatened to sue the tiny startup, Barefoot Cellars. They took umbrage to our use of the term, “Chateau La Feet of California Wine!” We agreed with the Baron Rothchild that there could be confusion in the marketplace and so we stopped using that term. We pointed out that “If there was confusion between Barefoot at $5.99 and Chateau Lafitte for over $100, we’d be ruined!”
That story sold more Barefoot wine than all the features and benefits we had been spouting. It gave our buyers a chance to identify with us, pull for us, and participate in the story (by buying our products).
Pulling for You
Story is a powerful way to build your brand. Your buyers want to know where you come from, how you got started, what you stand for, and what challenges you had to overcome. Once they hear your story, they give your brand more credibility. And they are more likely to not only buy it, but tell others about the story. They become advocates because there’s something in your story that they can relate to and want to share with others. Now they are pulling for you! They want to see you succeed and want to participate in that success.
Story is also a great way of attracting those who resonate with your principles. You can tell people the principles that you subscribe to all you want, but when your story demonstrates those principles it’s much more convincing. In the story you witness the challenges and are right there with the founders as they weigh the decisions they are about to make alongside their guiding principle. You witness the decisions, the actions and the outcomes.
Story can be a fun and entertaining way of conveying history that will hold the listener’s attention much longer that a prescriptive litany of events. The best stories are gripping and compelling to the point you can’t wait to see way happens next. Basically, bingable.
And story, especially spoken story, is easy to recall because the listener participates in the story. The listener fleshes out the scenes by grabbing props and background from their own experiences. In this way, they create mental touchstones for the story to attach itself. It becomes easier to recall. Now the brand has life and lives on through the story.
The Business Audio Theatre Team is made up of experts at brand building, story writing, storytelling, directing and performing stories. Let us help build your brand by bringing your story to life!