Get your story straight

Why do some companies with exactly the same product or service succeed while others fail?

Accountants might tell you it is because their financial model is wrong; lawyers might say they haven’t protected their intellectual property. Seth Godin would tell you they simply aren’t telling a good enough story.

I’m with Seth, having just finished reading his book: All marketers tell stories – or as it was originally titled: All marketers are liars.

Seth is cheeky to make a point – a very critical point.  Consumers buy into stories based on their worldview.  If someone constructs a story that fits my worldview I’ll buy into it.  I can choose to buy 20 varieties of washing up liquid, but I if perceive that it is good to be environmentally conscious, I will feel good about buying into the story that Earth Mother is the way to go, even if it costs a few cents more.

Seth is quick to point out that a story still needs to be authentic – Earth Mother does have to be environmentally sound – but his point is that in a world swamped by choice compelling stories are what sells, not the product.  As followers of this blog have heard me say many times over – it is perception not reality. 

The same principle applies to every organisation.  In the court of public opinion it is compelling stories that help convince the jury to find in your favour. If your company can’t articulate a compelling story, you’ve got a problem.

Here is the link if you are interested in reading more: Seth Godin.