A recurring theme amongst the members was that their own story was not as dramatic as some; they ranged from wanting a better work-life balance, turning their dream job into a reality, to taking some large risks and overcoming massive obstacles.
Most of our members at some point had told their story to clients and other business associates in some form – and it generally always paid off.
We discussed the old adage of people buy from people. When you tell your story, you’re giving a bit of your personal journey; how you got to where you are. That gives an insight into who you are, and people love to know who they are working with and helps to build a better relationship.
The innocent smoothie story was one that was shared with the group. The founders had a stand at a festival where they sold their smoothies. They then had two bins, one marked with ‘Yes’ and one marked with ‘No’. They then asked the questions ‘shall we give up our comfortable corporate lives to make these smoothies full time’. The customers were asked to put their empty smoothie cup in one of the bins. The story goes that the ‘Yes’ bin was overflowing and the rest is history.
We also discussed that’s it’s not necessarily the content of the Story you tell that matters – it’s the outcome. As an example, we had a member who suffers from severe dyslexia. But rather than make this an issue, they have concentrated on making sure the work they do is 100% right, first time. This has given him the reputation of almost never making a mistake and always delivering to their customers first time. The Story to be told is one of overcoming a massive obstacle and never giving up, but the result of this, is why people want to hear the story.
The members discussed the idea of the book Start with Why (by Simon Sinek). This evolves around the idea that companies should start with the reason why they do what they do, not how, by why. This links very well with one’s story which usually involves telling the reason Why they do what they do. Most businesses do not accomplish this effectively nor do they get across the reason why they do what they do.
We discussed the Story behind the footwear brand Tom’s, and how they have the slogan ‘Buy a Pair, Give a Pair’. This shows how they use their Story and incorporate it in all their marketing activities and their entire model is based around that story. This had led them to develop very strong customer loyalty to their brand.
Another, more local, smaller business who has a powerful story to tell is that of Mallow and Marsh (confectionery business). This was born from the idea of a drunken bet to start a company and make it work – and it paid off. A Story can be funny as well as dramatic and have the same effect.