Everyone loves a good story. It’s engrained in us as children to listen, understand and interpret information in order to make sense of the world. Importantly though, it’s how we relate to that information that determines how much we like the story we’re being told.
In the modern age of digital marketing, where information is everywhere and time is at a premium, customers expect more than just a great strapline or a list features to encourage them to buy or engage with your product or service. They want to understand the benefits of your product or service and the positive social impact that their purchase might make. Putting an interesting story at the heart of your proposition, particularly one that helps explain ‘why you do what you do’ will help your target market identify with you, empathise with you and win their hearts.
Big companies with huge marketing budgets and amazing agencies can create whatever stories they want, but small and start-up businesses quite often have the most interesting and positive stories to tell. About 6 months ago I was on a train and read an article*, which really helped me to understand the true potential of how a story can have a positive impact on start-up businesses. The article was about a company called Gandy’s and told the story of two brothers who started up a company that sold flip-flops. Their story starts in Sri Lanka in 2004 when they were travelling and working with their parents and their other two siblings. In a tragic turn of events, the Boxing Day Tsunami took the lives of their parents, and the four children (then in their very early teens) returned to the UK as orphans.
Fast forward to 2011, the two eldest brothers established Gandy’s after a night out where one of the brothers woke the next morning with a mouth like ‘Gandy’s flip-flop’. The company was born and has continued to grow and develop with household names such as Richard Branson endorsing their products. The important part of this story however is the social impact that company has by donating 10% of its profits to help orphans. This year the company expects to turn over 1.2million.
I have skimmed over some the important elements of this story but themes include family, love, tragedy, comedy and passion – all of which we can relate to. Importantly, the story has helped to create the company’s strapline ‘two brothers helping fellow orphans’ and provides purpose and a true positive social impact in purchasing their products. The flip-flops are nicely designed and promoted, but in my opinion, the story is the real reason to buy here.
So what is your story? Not all businesses have one or need one but it could help you to unlock your market and truly differentiate. At Platform81, our story is quite simple. We started our business in order to help small businesses with big ambitions. We understand this and it is at the core of everything we do. Why? Because we are a ‘growing business helping growing businesses’. We understand the problems that small businesses face, particularly as they grow and require more support. We’re here for your journey and we’re here to make sure that you succeed. We’ve listened to what our clients need from us and we’ve developed a range of core services that help small businesses realise their true potential.
If you want to tell us your story or need some help telling it, give us a call and we’d be only too happy to help.
*For the full article written in the Guardian click this link http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/01/brothers-orphaned-tsunami-flip-flop-profits-gandys or visit Gandy’s website www.gandysflipflops.com