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Richard Jaggs

MD | Resolution Design

  • August 30, 2022
  • 4 minute read

Let me start with this, I was disappointed by ‘Star Wars; The last Jedi’ and also by ‘No time to die’, the recent James Bond. Both films were entertaining and had some fantastic scenes, but, in my opinion, key elements of storyline, characterisation and overall philosophy were disposed of in order to assist in the reinvention of the franchises. The result was that people like me, who had bought into these worlds, were left in consternation at what unfolded… why? what? are you serious?

My strong reaction to these films was a consequence of the feeling that the filmmakers had crossed a line, that they had damaged the worlds that had been so carefully constructed by previous films. This brings me to the point of this post… stories are powerful. We all love a good story well told and we all hate having a favourite story ruined. So it’s no surprise that there’s a good deal of talk about stories in marketing… if a business can tell a good story it can be a very powerful way of engaging with customers.

Once upon a time

In the early days of advertising, products were promoted based almost entirely on their features and benefits. In the 1960s a new idea emerged, the idea of wrapping the product up in an exciting world to create a unique brand story. Famous examples of this approach are the Marlboro cigarette adverts, commercially very successful if sadly promoting an incredibly unhealthy product. The Marlboro world was exciting, glamorous and rugged; consumers wanted a slice of that. The game was no longer how smooth or satisfying a cigarette was, it was about what smoking that brand said about you, and smoking Marlboro said you were cool.

1968 Marlboro Advert
1968 Marlboro Advert

If you’re a smaller business you’re clearly not going to be creating giant international ad campaigns like Marlboro. But there are important lessons we can learn.

Move beyond product

Faster, bigger, cheaper, shinier… whatever. The problem with talking about features is that anyone can do it, it’s hard to establish a difference and most of your customers will tune out. Of course, people want to know what your product or service can do for them and you should share engaging success stories. But increasingly, customers also want to feel aligned with the businesses they are buying from. Are you ethical? what do you stand for? do you share my values?

Tell your story

So what’s your story? The good news is that all businesses have a great story they can tell that no one else can. It’s the big story, the story about why you exist and how it happened. Clients often ask me what they should put in the about us section of their website, the feeling being that no one is going to be interested in knowing more about the people involved in the business or how it all started. Nothing could be further from the truth. Customers want to know all about you, they want to know who they are buying from and what your values are.

So be sure to tell your story. Use your about us section to tell everyone about your business. Be sure to include information about your people, company history, purpose and philosophy. These key truths are the foundations of your brand and will help customers understand and buy into your company… maybe not with the passion I bought into Star Wars as a teenager, but perhaps sufficiently to convince them you are a better choice for them than your competitors.

Let’s get the

ball rolling…