Vriend Herman stopte me bij zijn laatste bezoek twee boekjes in de hand. Nassim Nicholas Taleb “The Bed of Procrustes” en “Baked In” van Alex Bogusky & John Winsor. De laatste twee hebben iets te vertellen over creating products and businesses that market themselves.

Hun stelling is dat een verhaal moet ingebakken zitten in alle aspecten van een product. Van het design tot de marketing, distributie en verpakking moet er één brand narrative zijn.

Mine your history.

Many companies forget what made them succesful. A lot can be learned by simply mining the company’s history through the lens of discovering inflection points for both product and marketing.

Every company has a grand story of how it was founded. They need to be mined as a source of inspiration and even guidance when it comes to defining the company’s identity. Most often, rediscovering that original vision – which is usually steeped in product and not marketing – can be the start of creating a deeper brand narrative.

Bogusky & Winsor maken een sterk punt. Het verhaal van een product begint niet bij wat marketeers bedenken bij wat een aantal ingenieurs hebben ontwikkeld. Neen ! Ingenieurs, bedrijfsleiders en marketeers moeten samen aan de kookpotten staan en een verhaal bakken.

Elk goed gebakken product is een verhaal het vertellen waard. Geen beter taart dan de taart die grootmoeder bakte met het fruit uit de eigen boomgaard.

Stories worth spreading.

Do you like to tell stories ? Great innovators usually do. Leaders of great companies are seldom focused on their brand when they start their business. Instead they focus on stories – and if those stories are powerful enough, they eventually change the world.

These stories are usually at the grassroots level. The founder is usually an inventor or user trying to change the world for himself or herself, years before anyone else sees the opportunity. In the start-up phase, these leaders inherently rely on their customers, suppliers, and employees to help develop and broaden their story. Established companies often forget this and try to distance themselves from their turbulent beginnings. But most companies would do well to revisit, and build on, their own creative history.

That’s hard to do. In more developed companies, the fluid, organic process of creating the stories necessary to fuel marketing and product design has usually been replaced by a linear process. When the product-first, marketing-second linear process becomes established in a company, each participant is judged by what he or she adds to the story and, in the process, changes it slightly to put his or her mark on it. The result is that too often the product tells a different story from the marketing.

En dan komt de verhalenpredikant in me boven, met twee simpele vragen :

  1. Wat is het verhaal van uw bedrijf of product ?
  2. En stemt dat verhaal overeen met het verhaal van uw communicatie-, pr- en marketingmensen ?

Benieuwd naar uw verhaal.