Workplace: Stories

The stories we tell customers prompt them to buy our products – or not. The experiences we create for customers will keep them coming back to buy more – or not. Today’s focus is on the stories we tell.

Does your company story communicate how you were founded; how things are managed today; how products are made and/or selected; how employees feel about working there; what the product/service will likely make a customer feel like; what a customer can do with the product/service; and does the story create a feeling of “I want that”, or “I want to be a part of that” ?

Once you’ve refined your story, you are ready to determine where to tell the story. The more costly your product or service, the more places your story must be told for sales success to be achieved.

  • Online – website. Have a company website that is easy to navigate. Easy to identify your location(s) – I write this because a great concept for a rental space is promoted online as “New, In Eagle!” but doesn’t give an address on the home page, or any other obvious pages. Product descriptions that are detailed enough for a viewer to say “YES I want to buy this.”
  • Online – social media. As many social media sites as are fitting for your products and services.
  • Print – media. Newspapers still work for some products and services. Magazines – local and national. Newspaper inserts might work. Explore your options. Negotiate for placement that works for your target audiences.
  • Print – your marketing materials. Information and specification sheets. Product packaging – buy a pair, we give a pair; for every pair sold we plant a tree, made from recycled goods, and so on. In-store posters, banners, wall messaging, and signage. Tell the story everywhere.

Example: Swiss luxury watchmaker Oris combines high quality images on high quality paper to share their stories of founding, company location, innovations found only at Oris, whom they partner with on research and development, and what their newest products are. Oris also creates in-store experiences by touring an Oris-only travel trailer display and shopping experience. Their trademarked teddy bear is used to create warmth in their visual and printed presences.

  • Television and Radio. If your customers watch and listen, determine what broadcast media buys are a good fit for your company. Then, create the best messages possible and keep the story consistent across all media and materials you produce. EXAMPLE: GOAT (sports-speak for Greatest of All Time) is being used in several car company ads. Make sure your ads are memorable – along with making your company and/or product memorable. Over the years, memorable ads haven’t always sold products.
  • On-hold audio – this is an often overlooked place to share your story, your care for customers, and the options customers have for reaching you. That said, the reason someone has dialed a phone number is because they can’t find the help they need on your website – even though you might easily find it on your website.
  • Voicemail greetings – Your name, the company name, how you want the person to leave you a message. Some companies include: “I’ll return your call within 24 hours” or “I am most quickly reached by email (or text)”.
  • Lobby of your offices – Make certain your greeting and waiting space tells the company story. We are bright, innovative and happy to see you – or we are dingy, just getting by, and desperate to see you.
  • Wait staff, cashier staff, and all staff – Does each one of your staff members know the company story? Can they tell it in a paragraph, or just a few sentences? If not, get on it. This is a part of creating memorable experiences that prompt people to want to return. Example: In Boise, Idaho, The Lively is a new restaurant run by a chef who moved from out of state to open this venue. During the dining experience, the wait and food delivery staff told us the story of the chef, the selection process for food brought into the restaurant, and specifics about our menu choices. These shared stories created a WOW experience that prompts us to tell others about the restaurant and to want to go back.
  • Retail stores – Spaces, products, and staff must all tell a consistent story about who you are, what you do, what you are selling and why a customer would want to care enough to shop with you in person (and online if you don’t have it in the store).
  • In store experiences – Create memorable events and experiences that prompt a special trip into the store. Author book signings. Special product demo’s. New product releases. Remember the Oris traveling trailer mentioned above. Sales events might draw people into the store, however they are not really memory-making experiences.
  • Mailers – Whether you are sending out your own mailings to prospects or your in-house lists, the stories you tell will create a sense of wanting to belong, to be a part of what you have and are selling.

What stories are you telling at work? About your work?

Ready to explore your messaging or to provide training for team members about your company story? Contact Jana Kemp, Meeting & Management Essentials or 208-367-1701

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