Your story matters. It matters to you because it’s the step-by-step process that got you here. That doesn’t matter yet to your consumer but it should. When they are able to truly understand WHY & HOW you got started in your industry, they will have more respect for WHAT it is you’re about to provide them.
People formulate memories based on the details surrounding an emotion. When you are able to list in order a set of details you want someone to remember, surrounded around one central emotional concept you want them to take away, it all gets stored somewhere in their mind as a story.
Adding Value to Your Content with Context
Whether it’s a rags-to-riches story or an “accidental discovery” archetype, your products have a story to tell. Products don’t inherently have emotions, but we can associate our own emotions with them. A great way to do that is by asking yourself “Why should people care about what I’m offering?” That could start with how you came to be the provider of your service.
In an experiment two entrepreneurs decided to change the perceived value of simple thrift store items. They had hundreds of writers create emotionally enriched stories that made the various cheap items seem sentimental. In some cases they may have just simply described where they bought the item and in other cases, they crafted elaborate stories about the products changing hands over time. Items that were purchased on Ebay for .99 cents were able to resell for $62.95, a 6258.58% increase in profit. By simply giving consumers a contextual history of the product there was an instantly perceived added value.
Imagine the same situation for your business. When someone interested in your business is given a background of emotional context it immediately creates a foundation for them to begin their exchange with you.
Creating a History
Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing rely on story. Your product is the solution to someone else’s conflict. Who are the characters involved? Who got the ball rolling? These details can inform the buyer as to why they may need the product. Knowing where everything started could also show your intended target buyer how far you’ve come.
Many Americans know the story of how Steve Jobs started Apple in a garage. That story in context with how far Apple has come only adds to the consumer’s perception of the company. The products have a human element of necessity, history and how that led to product evolution over time. This also gives companies like Apple credibility for how long they’ve been around and how that speaks to their quality.
Your company may not have a lengthy history but that is fine. What matters most about your business history is the emotion attached. People remember the Apple story because they can relate with struggling to start out. They remember the hard work that must have gone in to take a business from start-up to tech industry leader. What are the conflicts you overcame to get your product to market? When you are able to sell your company history as an already successful success story, it can brand your business as “experienced” and “tested” no matter what your timeline may look like. What matters most isn’t that you say your business provides quality, it’s proving that notion with historical context.
Selling Your History
The way you present where you’ve come from can also tell the customer so much about your brand personality. In a recent interview with CNN, Coca-Cola Archive Director Justine Fletcher showed off the many saved historical items that the company has held on to. Of course their level of branded history is unique. While not every company can relate to the amount of history equated with Coca-Cola’s branding, there is still much to be learned from.
Fletcher started by explaining the timeline of where they started their business at a small pharmacy. They used images of what their product looked like at that early point and then they illustrated the product evolution through advertisement campaign video. A simple timeline is a great visual. Actually seeing the evolution of Coca-Cola shows the amount of work and planning that went into the product design.
While seeing is believing, your business growth throughout its history may not be a very visual one. Emotional testimony can be just as effective. A detailed story of your struggle to get the product to market or how your business overcame growing pains can show the consumer that your services have been tried and tested.
If there’s one thing you will never be successful with when it comes to inbound marketing, it’s embellishing the facts. People can tell when you’re trying too hard. When sharing how you got your start don’t add unnecessary details to your emotional struggle. Be honest. If you’ve had nothing but a breeze getting your business started then sell that concept. Maybe detail how your business plan was so successful that it went off without a hitch.
Show your consumer that you are committed to being honest about where you’ve come from so that they can have an honest idea of how you’ll be able to help them. When organizations are able to detail their origin, highlight their successes and live their company’s mission with clear choices every day, there’s no room for your business to slow down.