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Why A Better Business Story Matters

Santoso and Dian live within a kilometer of each other in the once sleepy town of Ubud, in Bali. Both men are master wood carvers and work for hours every day hunched on the floor of their tiny workshops. Happily for them Ubud is now the thriving arts center of the island and thousands of tourists arrive in buses, cars and taxis every day of the year, to shop for souvenirs to take home from their trip.

So every day they sweep the pavement in front of their workshops and set out row upon row of their amazing hand carved, statues, masks, trinket boxes and trays ready to showcase to their potential customers. The only fly in the ointment is that there are ten equally gifted craftsmen, with similar workshops and shopfronts all lining up along the same strip, trying to attract the same customers. Faced with all that competition Santoso and Dian can only see one way to differentiate themselves, and that’s by rushing to the bottom and being the cheapest wood carving artisan in the town.

The wood carvers in Ubud are not much different to artisan bakers on 9th Avenue, pizza chefs of via San Giovanni or crafters on Etsy. It’s all too easy to get stuck in the commodity and needs business. When you should really be in the emotional wants business. What would happen if Dian identified a niche for himself and told his story from a different angle? He might decide to offer wood carving lessons, with free souvenirs to take home. What if he became not just another wood carver in Ubud, but the wood carver to go to in Ubud?

If we want to be believed and not just noticed it’s time to think about telling a better story.

So many huge brands have built their businesses on servicing our needs, but appealing to our wants, Innocent, Apple, Zappos and even TED.

How are you selling emotional wants, and not just simple needs to your clients?

Image by Shenghung Lin.

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