What's the Story?


Once upon a time... The phrase makes you want to know what's next, doesn't it? People are universally attracted to a great storyline, hardwired to enjoy a good narrative.

We are drawn into stories where large and small events convey meaning and significance. In our lives, whether  it is overcoming a difficult break-up or learning to cut fruit a new way, we end with a story that's uniquely ours.

Those life moments happen during a parenting dilemma or the creation of an art project, and together they combine to tell a story of each process.

Good or bad - meaningful or mundane - when we talk about what happens in our lives, the primary way others relate to us is through a narrative thread.

No matter the topic, most of the conversation would be categorized as "story."  Consider your conversations.  You tell a story; that reminds someone else of story; someone else relates to it - and on and on it goes.

Recently I found a video that  shows what happens when a business decides to value an experience over a simple product. What you'll see in this video is a Brooklyn bike store that gives people more than a bike; they give them a story.

Check it out.

Why do you think this bike store is successful?

Do they simply build a superior product? Does "customization" alone account for the growth and loyalty of their customers? Or is there something else at work?

I think there is.

The owners of this shop, whether by design or serendipity, made a brilliant business decision by creating an experience that conveys a great story about their product and its owner.

How different does the buyer feel about his bike after building it himself? Does he recommend the bike shop to his friends? Does he appreciate the craftsmanship in entirely new ways? Does he take better care of his bike? Does he ride it more?

Do buyers tell the story behind their experience?

I bet they do.

Of course, I don't know what you do for a living or how you foster your relationships, but I think the values of the bike shop are relevant no matter what.

Ask yourself these questions:

How well do I create storyline experiences for those whom I work alongside and for my clients? Do I give customers a narrative they are compelled to share? Do my colleagues brag about my support and encouragement? How can I craft a family story for my marriage or for my children?

These days I spend an inordinate amount of time considering the story I'm writing and how to take a naturally mundane or lifeless experience and make it memorable.  Do you think about such things? Maybe you should.

Let's practice. Your story starts now.

"Once upon a time..."