Consider receiving information on two competing products in the same market. One details the product and its features and the other talks about real world examples of how their product was used to the benefit of the owner. Given the choice, which are you more likely to read about?
Apple has been based on creating an amazing brand, with a key part to that being the stories associated with it. The Apple story is not just about what use to be considered a crazy name and how they came about. It is also about their customers and the transformation that occurred when they used their products. When we think of Apple, we think of beautiful, cutting edge products that are easy to use.
What about Microsoft by comparison? I doubt that many will think of Microsoft with the same passion as Apple. When people think about Microsoft, they are more likely to be thinking about their product features. Has the use of Microsoft products been transformational for some of its customers? Most likely yes, but we are less likely to think of them that way. Yet with Apple, they have built an army of loyal followers who will defend and promote their products to any and everyone.
Microsoft has focused on simply solving problems. They have sold their products based on this approach. Steve Jobs and Apple, focused on creating a great experience, as they solved problems. Maybe they did or did not solve problems as well as Microsoft, but people have fallen in love with the experience, so it hasn’t mattered. Apple has been incredibly effective at telling great stories about them and their products which has captured the public’s imagination.
Part of creating a great brand, is telling the transformational story of the impact of that brand and its products on the purchaser. Think of Nike and Air Jordans. Buy a pair of Air Jordans and you too might be soaring through the air.
What is the relevance for you as a small business owner? If you want to make a cut through with your marketing, consider telling stories about how you have had a transformational impact on your clients. This can either be at the brand level or at the individual product level. Give them real world examples that they can relate to. Rather than focusing on your products features, focus on stories of how your products helped your clients.
Where possible, use video and incorporate client feedback when telling your stories. Don’t make it that people need to buy your product because you solved the following problems for a client. Set a scene for a client’s situation and tell the story about how their problem was solved. By not overtly trying to sell your product, it creates greater credibility. Have confidence that your product/service will sell itself within the story.
Stories are great as sometimes people need to hear about others experiences in order to fully appreciate how that product/service could benefit them.
When you tell a story, it doesn’t feel like marketing, so for that reason it is often the most effective!