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What Story Can People Tell Themselves About You?

This is the story of two businesses. I tell it often. Two cafes, that are literally side by side on the same street. One has a shaded elevated outdoor seating area with a view of the ocean. It is bigger and has a couple of comfy couches inside, where customers can relax over a light snack. On a beautiful Sunday morning at 9am they have a sign outside saying; “Open all day, for breakfast, drinks and snacks.” There are two people sitting inside.

The tiny cafe next door is smaller. They have extended their seating area outside onto the pavement. You don’t get a view of the ocean because of the lower elevation. They have made the most of the available space by placing low orange coloured stools at little square tables. Some people miss the cafe as they drive past because it’s tucked in between the petrol station, the larger cafe and behind the bus shelter. At 9am on the very same Sunday it is packed to bursting. There are people spilling out onto the pavement and others waiting both inside and out for a table. Why?

The bustling little cafe with the orange stools does serve great coffee, expensive cakes and organic homemade food. But what differentiates them is more than just coffee. They simply make their customers feel part of something special; a shared secret. Customers who go there feel that they belong. They believe that where they drink coffee says something about the kind of life they have and the experiences they enjoy.

Behind every business statistic, reader, website visitor and customer, is a real human being who wants to matter.
People the world over care about and pay more for things that make them feel that they matter.

People don’t want experiences and things that are fabulous, cool, beautiful, empowering, trendy, delicious, sexy, cutting edge, healthy and smart. They want to be all of those things. And your business must give them the opportunity to shape the story of themselves.

People are looking for a reason to do business with you. So why not give them a great one?

Your customers, clients and readers want to feel something and they want you to help them get there. What story can people tell themselves about why you’re different, why they love your brand and feel compelled to do business with you?

*This is an open Q&A thread. Post your brand story questions, with links to your website where appropriate and I’ll answer them.

Image by Henry.

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