To improve, we must recognize where we fall short. Some companies and distributors are willing to accept they can improve, others stick their heads in the sand. My last post I quoted Seth Godin when I wrote, “So, go tell a story. If it doesn’t resonate, tell a different one. If people are not asking for your product when you finish your presentation, it is time to change your story. Either you’re going to tell stories that spread, or you will become irrelevant.
There is nothing wrong with telling stories if they are true, or you can make them true under scrutiny. The best companies in the world are the ones that are constantly staying ahead of the crowd with their stories. They are willing to admit when their story becomes tired or doesn’t resonate the way that it used to.
In 2007 I founded a juice company with my brothers. At the time there were a few different multi-juice blend companies, but today there are even more with “the best juice.” We decided to base our story on an unstory. The unstory was based upon my family’s desire to have a product made by nature and assembled by science. We did not want a story based on a mystical adventure in a rain forest and happening upon some indigenous people saving us from malaria with a magic potion. We believed people were too smart for that kind of story that was popular for a while. Our juice was a great formula and our unstory had legs for quite a while. However, today I believe that most juice company stories have run their course, and like BMW did with its Joy Campaign, it is time to find a story that will resonate anew amidst all the new and continuing noise of “The best juice on the market.” Everybody preaching the same message that they are the best is frankly being lost on consumers who have heard it ad nauseam for the past 5 years.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8T-TG0Orak
If you watched the video clip above, you will see that BMW is a master at story telling. Masters because they are passionate about making their story true. BMW understands that people do not buy facts, they buy emotions that stories provide. Seth Godin says, “The facts are irrelevant. In the short run, it doesn’t matter one bit whether something is actually better or faster or more efficient. What matters is what the consumer believes.” “Stories (not ideas, not features, not benefits) are what spread from person to person.” For juice companies as a whole, I recommend a new direction instead of trying to prove that you have more of this or more of that, it doesn’t resonate any more. Does the number of phytonutrients you have really capture the imagination of large or important audiences. I would say no it does not, most people really don’t know how something with a phyto in it even affects them enough to care deeply.
“A great story is true. Not true because it’s factual, but true because it’s consistent and authentic. Consumers are too good at sniffing out inconsistencies for a marketer to get away with a story that’s just slapped on.” Let me give you an example of a new juice company that did something smart. Rain Nutrition is a small company that started selling juice in the beginning. Too small and too late to capitalize on the juice fad, they have recently taken a very important step to becoming significant. They added a couple products and started a basic fitness program that also included a diet that featured their products. They focused more on the emotional needs of their consumers. To me, their new story is, “Rain is Fitness”. I was told that their recent program has been a smash hit and at a recent convention they saw a huge spike in product sales as a result. Nice work separating yourself from the juice noise.
Time for more of us professional networkers to listen to Seth Godin and less to ourselves and the glory days. Great stories make a promise. They promise fun. The promise is bold and not just very good, it is exceptional or it’s not worth listening to. Time for all of us to ask if we are fulfilling on our promise and not just saying, “Oh yeah, my product can beat up your product!”