I just bought a Marc Ecko shirt. As I detagged it in preparation for its maiden voyage, I noticed what seemed to be an "extra" tag mixed in with the pricing and branding stuff. The tag told a story.
The story goes like this:
"My grandfather was a tailor. It never provided him great wealth, but he was rich in skill and love for his craft. I chose the symbol of the garment shear as a reminder of a time when craftsmanship wasn't mechanically engineered, but rather measured by the skill of the maker.
"I'm pleased to have the opportunity to offer this garment to you. Its workmanship would have made my grandfather proud."
I love a good story. Seth Godin does, too. He wrote: "If what you’re doing matters, really matters, then I hope you’ll take the time to tell a story. A story that resonates and a story that can become true."
Before I even put that shirt on, I felt like I owed something to Marc, and to his grandfather. I felt a thread of connection to Marc's grandfather. I felt like I had to wear this shirt just a little "better", with more dignity and respect. That's how a good story works.
Seth also shared this cartoon, sent to him by a reader who saw it in the Denver Post. It addresses the issue of honesty head-on. Yes, we can fabricate stories and hoodwink our audience, but not for too long.
A B2B Marcom professional HAS stories, real stories - but, like a precious gem, they need to be sought, extracted, polished, and presented. When we start seeking our stories, we often discover that we have too many to tell. So, how do we determine which few stories to take to market? We need to determine which messages resonate with our target audience. The personas and motivations differ, sometimes greatly, between groups as diverse as buyers, specifying engineers, R&D scientists, etc.
If you don't truly know your target audience, you can't present a compelling story to them.
I'd like every single one of my B2B industrial customers to feel the same affinity and sense of responsibility for my products that I do for my new shirt. I've got my work (ahem) cut out for me.