One of the master storytellers of the last century, Walt Disney, talked many a reluctant banker into providing him with funding for his next theme park attraction or movie.
And how did he do this?
Through the tactic of imaginative storytelling.
When asked how the Disney company raised so much capital, Walt’s brother, Roy (who was the Chief Financial Officer and responsible for getting the banks onside), said “don’t credit me, it was mainly through Walt’s incredible storytelling.”
When Walt would run out of money for a movie project or theme park attraction, Roy would put him in front of the banks and Walt would take them on a magical journey, explaining where the project was up to and how some extra funding would magnify the likely profits beyond what they first imagined.
Each and every time, Walt and Roy would walk out of the bank building with the money!
What was Walt doing?
He was cleverly marketing his products –
through creative storytelling.
So no matter what your offer or product benefits are, make sure you build a story around them.
Just like a children’s storybook, give your customers
a compelling story about your products or services,
using a lot of convincing rationale.
- So if you market the best lawnmowers around, tell the story of “why” they are better than your competitors.
- If you have the freshest fruit and vegies in town, explain the reasons why! Eg. You buy only from the very best farms, which have won awards for quality control. Or you get to the markets earlier than anyone and get the freshest produce each day.
- If your facial cream reduces fine lines quicker than any others, tell the story of how this is the case. Eg: A very special formula from the jungles of the Amazon etc.
- And if your guest house or hotel has the most comfortable beds around, explain the whole story about the mattress, who makes it and why it’s so delightful to sleep on.
You see, “Wow Factors” don’t necessarily have to be “free things”.
Your Wow Factor can be the unique benefit which your product or service offers – a benefit that your competitors simply cannot match.
How’s this for a story about a hotel bed!
Lets take hotel beds for example.
I’m always intrigued why hotels don’t make a big deal out of the comfort level of their beds, because after all, that’s the main feature of a hotel room that we are all interested in.
If I owned a hotel, you can bet your life that I would make sure the beds were absolutely divine to sleep in – because it’s the bed that is going to largely determine the chances of me getting repetitive trade from that guest.
I stayed at the Westin Hotel in San Diego some years back and have never stopped raving about the bed I slept in that night.
The beds brand name was “Heavenly Beds” and it was the most comfortable nights sleep I have ever enjoyed.
The Westin Hotel chain have used its brand of Heavenly Beds as a major marketing message for years and because of the attraction of those beds, actually started retailing them would you believe!
Talk about “brand extension!”
However, this particular hotel chain is one of only a few who have recognised the potency of marketing the comfort of their incredible beds.
Telling your story helps validate your authenticity
It goes without saying that your story helps promote your “authenticity”.
How did your business come about, where has it been, what products and great benefits does it deliver and where is it heading in the future?
After all, it’s only when you know similar sort of background details of colleagues or acquaintances that they become truly trusted friends and people you believe you can rely on.
Generally, a company’s brand is founded on its history, so why not tell your story whenever you can?
I still maintain that you need to give priority to your unique benefits, but after doing so, there’s nothing wrong with telling “the story” of your background.
You should be telling your story across all channels of communications, including your website, direct mail, public relations, catalogues and blogs.
People relate to stories that have an emotional appeal, ones that truly demonstrate the personality or brand that your business has.
For example, if you support community or charitable projects, make sure you are communicating this on a regular basis.
It’s important to communicate how you have historically “over-delivered” to your customers and how you treat your staff.
You may care to even comment on why customers keep coming back to purchase your products or services – after all, this is part of your story.
Everyone loves a good story, so why not give them one?
And in the instance of validating your company’s brand message, there’s nothing better to do it than give your message of authenticity via a great story about your business, values and history.