With marketing and advertising, describing the nuts and bolts of our products or services is easy. As business owners, we know, after all, why what we offer will help our customers. We know that our product can solve such-and-such a problem or that our service goes this much farther than that service.
When potential customers are searching for a particular item or service to match their needs, though, they may not be convinced with marketing schemes that focus solely on logistics, facts, or claims. Often, they are looking for something else, something that they can believe…and believe in.
They aren’t looking for an advertisement. They are looking for a story.
In a recent post, Bernadette Jiwa states, “Good stories have always driven great strategy—not the other way around… Successful brands have a great story long before they have a grand plan.”
With any marketing strategy, what’s most important is the story a business builds around its brand. As Simon Sinek explains, our “why” should drive everything we do. Sharing that “why” will show customers that their vision aligns with our own.
Just as relevant are the stories we tell about what we do. Case studies are a clear choice here because they allow us to focus on our customers. Such obvious success stories–the ones where x customer acquires y result from z product/service–may not be the ones that matter, however. In another post, Jiwa notes, “Often our best stories are the ones that seem insignificant to us.”
As we go throughout our day-to-day business lives, how often do we forget the little things that make an impact? Those tasks that come naturally, those simple steps we do without a second thought, those extra minutes we spend on a project…those may be what our customers notice the most.
As Jiwa explains, not acknowledging those little things is a problem. “We become accustomed to doing the work without celebrating or showing the results,” she says. “[But [i]f we don’t articulate and share our strengths, how will our right people know? If we don’t show people how we can help them, how will they know to ask for our help? If we don’t communicate our value, how will our work become valued?”
Telling these stories, those that focus on our efforts rather than on our product or service, may seem a tad self-congratulatory (i.e., “look at me and what I’ve done”). Yet, when genuine, these stories show customers we care. They show customers that we’re willing to go the extra mile to help them, that we’re willing to walk with them step-by-step until they reach their goal.
Such stories are small. They may seem inconsequential. But when what we do makes a customer happy, gives the customer peace of mind, or relieves the pain the customer has been feeling…that’s when those efforts are far from inconsequential. That’s when they are worth telling. That’s when they matter the most.