Suppose someone hands you a nickel. As they do, they give you this story: here’s a nickel. It’s worth roughly five cents. You will probably never need it, except maybe to pay a toll on the turnpike. Enjoy.
If I had a nickel for every time I heard a boring story like that to sell something…
Now suppose someone hands you that same nickel, and they paint this picture of the coin’s history: here’s a nickel. But--even though it has worn edges and a scuffed look to it--this nickel has a story you won’t believe. This nickel, minted in 1982, has been exchanged in some form or another 14,566 times. One time it was used to pay a parking meter for a young woman on her first successful job interview. In 1987, this nickel was used to win the $10,000 jackpot at the Bellagio in Vegas. This road weary coin was used to make a big wish at the Buckingham Fountain in Chicago. Five months later, the man who made the wish proposed to his girlfriend and she said “yes”. It was used to buy a super-rare Beatles butcher cover album at a garage sale in the early 90’s, which became the jewel in a vinyl enthusiast’s record collection. It helped a lady scratch off a lottery ticket that won her a cool $250 in 2004. And, just a few weeks ago, a grandfather used it to make his granddaughter’s eyes light up when he magically pulled it out of her ear.
Not only does this seem like a lucky nickel, but it’s a magical coin. Somebody get me that nickel.
Is this an extraordinary nickel, or was its story simply told differently?
Have you convinced yourself that your product is just some run-of-the-mill, average commodity? I promise it’s way more interesting than you think and the stories surrounding your product, service, or brand are typically the very thing that move you from a commodity to a product your prospect needs. If you’re not convinced what you are selling is special, neither will your potential customer.
The story is there, you just have to dig for it and do a little bit of creative thinking. And it’s not just some kind of marketing gimmick--it’s honest storytelling. Some key brand marketers have been selling their products this way for years, namely the shoe, beer, and fashion markets. They craft stories and moods that surround their product to invoke a feeling of loyalty, family, or passion. It has seemed to work for them quite nicely.
The thing is--you know the story of your business better than anyone else. What compelled you to start it in the first place? What was your “startup” phase like? Was it exciting/hard/exhilarating/fun? What have been some big (or small) wins along the way? Whose lives have you affected for good with your business? What was your first sale like? Asking yourself questions like these will begin to uncover and rediscover your unique, mesmerizing brand story. And we’d love to help you tell it.
Lastly, you’re probably not in the nickel industry but if you are, we have a great promo video idea for you.
By Curtis Honeycutt – AGP Contributing Script Writer