One of the big reasons why Apple does so well is that they successfully tell a story to those who would buy their products. It’s worth expounding on the storytelling aspect and how important it is for you and your business. Too often we (men especially) get stuck on specifications but fail to connect to how those make our lives better. How do I know if the 0.1GHz difference in the CPU of the new computer I’m buying is worth the extra $250? How can I tell if it’s worth getting that set of 4×6 prints from my wedding photographer? There’s almost no way to tell with just that information.
Clients rely on artists they trust to tell them a story instead.
Let’s take the 4×6 prints example. In this digital age, the vast majority of what is photographed either stays on our smart phones or perhaps gets copied to our computer, maybe posted on Instagram or Facebook. But that’s where it ends. The digital bits die with time and there’s no durability, no reason to look at those photos again later on to reminisce. Nonetheless, we’re all used to the digital meme and are comfortable with it enough where a client might actively wonder what the point of having a photographic print might be.
So what’s the story to be told?
There’s something special about holding a professional photographic print in your hands. Imagine the night, a few short weeks following your wedding, when you sit down on the sofa with your new spouse and a bottle of your favorite champagne, remembering the moments captured in each of the prints you hold in your hands. Share and laugh about the craziness of the day as well as the quiet moments. Keep these prints in their custom-made silk-covered box, make your own small album with the prints, loan the set to your mom (or maybe encourage her to get her own set), or even include one of the prints of a friend gettin’ down on the dance floor with your thank you note to them.
See what happened there? The narrative allowed the client to envision themselves sitting on the sofa together, enjoying each others’ company and reminiscing together over these images.
If you’re a software developer, the story you’re telling is the custom platform and API you’ve created only to those who care about custom platforms and APIs, an admittedly small subset of your audience. But to the end user, your story is how your software will enable them to finish their work in half the time so they can go home and spend more time fishing with their kids.
In other words, make the underlying process, product, and technology an invisible part of the story. They’re supporting crew members and absolutely vital, but they shouldn’t be part of the narrative you tell your clients.
What’s the story you’re telling?