The girl wore a hat. It was a simple hat that covered her young bald head and sported the tag line: Life is Good. And while the story was about her dire cancer prognosis – they said she had a mere year to live – it was also about that tag line. Or rather, her spirit in spite of her condition. Life, she said, was indeed good. Her name is Lindsay.
Bert Jacobs, co-founder with his brother, John, of Life is Good, told that story in his keynote speech at the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference 2016 in San Diego last week. Jacobs was there to talk about the stories that make us human and his own story traveled from childhood through his five years living in a van with his brother while they sold t-shirts across college campuses to the successes of their apparel company and charity to help children in need.
The power of his story, and all good stories by brands and business leaders, is that they illustrate the basic principle of good content:
Every product, service, or technology enables a human moment.
The secret to creating killer content that captivates your audience is to describe the human moment that your product enables. It doesn’t have to be a tearjerker, although emotion certainly makes an impact.
Learn the method for creating human moments. Read my new book: Brand, Meet Story.
Sure, consumer brands can dredge up plenty of human moments. But B2B marketers shouldn’t lose heart. Every technology product or service eventually enables a human moment. CRM allows the sales executive to deliver a necessary solution to his prospect and make his number. Turn that into a story. Big data allows a business development manager to notice that people purchase decongestants on average three days after they travel, prompting product development. Tell that story from the point of view of the mother who stays healthy for her daughter’s wedding.
Good stories, and content for that matter, let the moment lead the story. Like Lindsay, an 11-year old girl who showed Bert and John the power of optimism. Today, she’s a beautiful teenager who can thank the brothers for the great hat. For those of us in the audience, the hat was a symbol of optimism, miracles, and a good life.
What’s your story?
Stories require effort and imagination. The payoff comes when people remember the details associated with emotion – associated with your brand.
To get started:
- Trace your product, service or technology to the end customer who uses it for a life or business purpose.
- Give the person a gender, name, location and goal.
- Insert the use of your product, service, or technology into the scenario.
You can draw from case studies, sales stories, or create fictitious stories based on real examples. If you don’t have permission to use a story, change the industry, gender, location or any of the facts.
If you need practice, start telling these types of stories in company meetings to bring your product to life. Next, share one in a blog post.
These brands tell the stories of their products and services through human moments:
Life is Good apparel
Content: Web site
Nanorep Digital Self-Service Customer Guidance
Content: eBook: Customer Service for the Convenience Customer
South African tourism
Content: Article: Massages in the Bush
Microsoft 3D Soundscape Technology
Content: Article: Independence Day
Inspired? Go find your customer’s moment.