All stories need a protagonist – a hero, a heroine. That goes for the story of your business too.
The most obvious choice is you. It’s your business, it is infused with your DNA.
Not everyone is comfortable taking the lead role in the story of their business, though.
The reasons vary from shyness to uncertainty about their worth as a subject. In most cases, with a bit of coaching, these can be overcome.
While I think it is always a good idea to put yourself into the story of your business, you can choose a supporting role and leave the leading role to somebody or something else. You can make your products and services the heroes of your story, for instance.
Letting products drive your narrative
This is especially appealing for businesses that manufacture limited numbers of items (a yacht builder, for instance) or use artisan processes (handmade food producers). In fact, in the case of the food and drink industry, the product is nearly always the hero.
It’s easy to talk about the care and attention that goes into your products. Most of the time, they will have some aspect that sets them apart from those made by your competitors – something that expresses your own value set. Talk about that.
The component ingredients or materials that go into our products are part of that story as well. You can tell us where they come from, how you source them, why you chose them. Talk about the people who produce these components and ingredients.
Before you know it, you have a compelling narrative about the design and manufacture of your product. The story of its creation – the story of your quest to make it.
There is no such thing as mundane
Yachts and food are easy examples that we can all warm to. But what about more mundane products and services?
The answer is that regardless of what you sell, someone is interested in how it is made and its inherent qualities. That said, you might still struggle to produce a compelling story that is appealing to a wider audience.
If that’s you, concentrate instead on what benefits your product or service brings its users. By doing this, you’re shifting the focus of the narrative. It’s a subtle shift, but big enough to open up a fresh vein of storytelling.
The Nurofen principle
I don’t handle headaches too well. Certainly, I don’t handle them as well as my wife. Maybe its because
I’m a wimp mine are more severe – who can say?
Having them go away quickly is of great benefit to me.
Thing is, most pain relief tablets barely make a dent on my headaches. Nurofen, though, works for me. I think the same goes for a lot of people.
I don’t care how Nurofen is made, nor how it works (though I’m sure both could be turned into engaging stories) half as much as I care about the benefits the tablets bring to me.
The story of Nurofen is the story of what it does for the people who use it.
You can apply the same principle to your products and services. People buy them for a reason. Mostly it’s to solve a problem or fulfill a need. Tell that story.
This switches the focus away from your business and on to your customers. Have you ever thought about using your customers as the heroes of the story of your business?
That’s a whole other blog post.