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Shame About The Weather

Some people have no choice but to pay attention to the weather. Pilots, fishers and farmers must make allowances for the state of the atmosphere on any given day. But for most of us, the weather isn’t a problem, unless we believe and declare it to be. And yet, we allow our thoughts about the weather to constrain us in ways we don’t always realise.

Our limiting beliefs about circumstances beyond our control don’t just apply to how hard it’s raining outside. We use often use metaphorical ‘bad weather’ days to justify our actions or inaction.

What if instead of looking for excuses not to do the thing we planned to do, we found reasons to do that, or more and better? How would that change the quality of our work and the impact we could make?

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When Marketing Works

Marketing works when:

  • Unmet needs are recognised and satisfied.
  • Unspoken desires are understood and met.
  • Companies tell true stories that align their customers’ worldview.
  • Customers want to buy into and share those stories.

Marketing works best when it’s in service of the customer.

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The Bounds Of Possibility

Just twenty years ago, it wasn’t probable that you would launch a successful company, publish a best-selling book or get your idea funded by people you didn’t know. Twenty years ago, we operated within the laws of probability. We knew our limits. We lived, sometimes frustrated by, but mostly contentedly within pre-determined educational, geographical or societal boundaries.

And then the internet changed what was possible. The internet enabled us to share ideas. But more importantly, the internet helped us to find more of the people who believed what we believed and believed in. This changed the bounds of possibility, inviting us to think beyond the probable.

Now that we are no longer bound by the constraints of probability, we must face the fact that we have a responsibility to own what’s possible. Opportunity abounds. And that’s both a scary and empowering thought.

The onus to create the future we want to see for ourselves and others is on us. We get to own the story we want to live and tell.

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What’s Your Customer Acquisition Strategy?

The owner of the new gym that’s opening down our street stands outside armed with helium balloons to attract attention, and a clipboard to sign up new members.  Anyone who happens to be passing is fair game. At this stage, beggars can’t be choosers. The gym needs three hundred members to break even.

Every fledgling business feels the pressure to market to everyone. So we make compromises to get runs on the board. But it’s not until we find the courage and conviction to start serving our ideal customers that we get to do our best work. There are two ways to approach customer acquisition.

We can make something generic that we think most people want and do it faster and cheaper than our competitors. Or we can understand the unmet needs of a particular group of people we are keen to serve and intentionally create products, services and marketing messages for those people.

Successful brands and businesses don’t simply open the door to everyone and hope for the best. They know why they do what they do the way they do it, they understand who they serve best, and they tell that story to those people.

Successful selling is as much about customer discernment as it is about brand differentiation.

If you’d like to have a clearer understanding of your ideal customer, The Story Strategy Course can show you how.

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10 Benefits Of Strategic Storytelling

We humans have long recognised that stories are a great way to transfer knowledge and wisdom. We know that better stories result in more resonant messages. But we’re selling storytelling short by putting it in the ‘communications’ box. This limiting belief that story is simply how we impart information means we don’t harness its full potential.

A good story well told helps you to:

1. Communicate with clarity and confidence.
2. Achieve emotional resonance with your audience.
3. Be more persuasive and influential.
4. Consistently act in alignment with your mission.
5. Attract the right people, whether they be customers, employees, volunteers or donors.
6. Inspire people to buy into your mission or get behind your cause.
7. Execute plans as you work towards your vision for the future.
8. Add value to your products, services and company
9. Spread your ideas.
10. Change the culture and create the future you want to see.

Stories do more than help us to tell and sell. Shared narratives are powerful catalysts for change and the building blocks of our culture.

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Planned Progress

You will do things today that you hadn’t planned to do. You will react and respond to someone else’s agenda and put the things you’d prioritised on the back burner. You will find yourself entering digital rabbit holes that distract you from doing the work that matters. Maybe you’ll get a lot done, but will those things you accomplish be moving you closer to your goals?

If you’re going to build the business or create the impact you want, then you must be intentional about how you’re going to do it. You have two choices. You can wait for the next opportunity to present itself, or you can purposely plan for the progress you want to make.

There is no such thing as accidental momentum.

What’s your planned progress strategy?

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The Empathy Advantage

On the face of it, the bus driver is paid by the hour to get passengers safely from point A to point B. But most of the value he creates for the bus company, not to mention the city, has nothing to do with his driving ability. It’s in the empathetic work of reassuring passengers and tourists, taking care to make sure they have a pleasant journey. How he does his job changes everything about the passenger experience.

For most of us, our job description rarely encompasses the extent of the real work we do, or how we create meaning and value.

Just as there are several possible routes to a destination, there are many ways to leverage the power of empathy to differentiate a brand or business.

How you do what you do is your competitive advantage.

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Invest in Second Contact

How many times have you bought something once from a business, and never returned?

How much time, energy and money did that business owner, or any company, devote to getting that first point of contact with a customer? The doughnut shop that attracts a passer-by with its signage, the hotel that pays for placement in the travel magazine, the artist who spends hours grooming her Instagram account.

Having done the hard work of attracting people, how much do we invest in ensuring we get another chance to serve that customer tomorrow?

We have come to believe that attention and awareness are the currency of success. They’re not. What matters more than getting someone’s attention is what you do to change how they feel once you’ve got it. Successful businesses are built on earning the second interaction, and the one after that.

Both the business and the customer win when we prioritise affinity over attention.

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Begin With Wants and Needs

All successful businesses do two things.
They fulfil the unmet needs and unspoken desires of their ideal customer.

The businesses that find it challenging to market their products and services are the ones that fail to begin with this end in mind. They start with their needs, instead of a clear insight about what the customer wants.

So the artisan lamp maker who loves working with wood fails to find enough customers to keep his dream alive, because he makes a product that not enough people want. The business coach’s pitch falls flat, or the yoga studio opens in the wrong part of town.

When we see our customers, it shows. When we understand them, they know.

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What’s Your Promise To Your Customers?

It’s easy to revert to long-winded descriptions about what differentiates your products and services from those of your competitors, as you market your business.

A better place to start is by clearly stating your promise to your customers.

Are you the dentist who listens or that marketing agency the cares? The cafe that sources local ingredients or the gelato maker that’s on a mission to impact employment and business practices and consumer happiness.

There are a thousand ways to stand out with a better story. And you get to pick one.

What are you promising your customers?

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