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Tell a compelling story

 3 May 2017     Donald Cooper 

Every industry and every market, including yours, is over-served and under-differentiated. There are too many other people selling what you’re selling and that’s your biggest problem. To differentiate yourself you need a compelling value story. Then you need to tell that story in a way that engages your target customers, draws them in and keeps them coming back.

Simply put, you need to be extraordinary. You need to do the work that your competitors are not willing to do. One of my most important business insights is that ‘first you have to be a story – and then you have to tell your story’.

I’ve just found a great print ad for Glenfiddich, single malt Scotch whiskey that is aged in a very special way for 21 years. Imagine, in a world where most businesses are trying to turn their inventory as often as possible, these folks are hanging on to their inventory, in a dark room no less for 21 years to make it better. Here’s the ‘story’ they tell in this masterful ad that makes some people line up to pay $477 for a bottle of booze.

Glenfiddich 21-year-old reserve whisky
“Patiently matured for 21 years on-site at our distillery, it is a complex, traditional Speyside whisky, rich and ripe with our Glenfiddich signature notes. But rather than bottle it, as other distillers would, we add a surprising and sublime finishing touch.

After aging, our Malt Master Brian Kinsman finishes our exquisite 21 year old single malt in bourbon barrels that he’s seasoned with our own unique Caribbean rum. This rum, made to a secret recipe from three tropical islands, has been specifically created to imbue the staves with exactly the right further flavours.

This Caribbean rum finish awakens our Scottish whisky, rousing it with extra exotic notes of ginger, fig, lime, and banana and a vibrant spicy toffee warmth, elevating it from something great to something extraordinary. Not many whisky makers would go to the trouble of creating their own rum to season the casks, but we are not most whisky makers.”

Let’s look at what they’ve done here. First, they went to extraordinary lengths to create something special. They patiently age their whisky for 21 years. Then they produce a special secret rum just to season another set of barrels in which the whisky will receive a unique final finish. In other words, they do the work. Passionately and patiently, they do the work. Then they tell their story brilliantly.

So, what’s your story? What work do you do, that your competitors won’t do? What is it that ‘grabs’ your target customers, clearly differentiates you from your competitors, makes you famous – and grows your bottom line? Mediocrity is no longer an option.

Then, how are you telling your extraordinary story in a way that engages your target customers, draws them in and keeps them coming back? Remember, there’s no point being the best if you’re also the best kept secret. The alternative, of course, is to be mediocre, bland, undifferentiated and, sooner or later, out of business. It’s pretty much your choice.

What decisions will you make and what action will you take, starting right now, to be a story and then to tell your story brilliantly? There’s no more important thing for you to do in your business than this.

This HGO article was written by:
Donald Cooper
Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability.

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Home Goods and its accompanying newsletter - HGO This Week - covers the furniture, bedding, appliances, consumer electronics, accessories, lamps and lighting and floor coverings product sectors of the big ticket home goods market in Canada. HGO is also a forum for the dissemination of market research and hard-hitting articles on best practices for Canadian retailers.

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