A Good Story Always Wins

When you go to a store to buy a bottle of wine, how do you usually pick the wine? Maybe it depends on a certain grape, like Malbec, or maybe you fancy a specific country’s wine? Or maybe it’s even about price? I would argue that the most important attribute is what connects all these facets: a story.

Some weeks ago, I received something called a “wine box”. It’s a service that delivers wine to your door every three months. You receive 6 bottles of wine, carefully selected by a sommelier (yes, a very bourgie thing, I know…). What adds even more to the experience is that you get a booklet describing each wine that you receive: a story about the family who owns the wine yard, about the terroir: the surrounding nature and landscape. Additionally, you receive recipes to pair the wine. And as you sip the wine, a story unfolds.

Another example of a compelling story is the “10-year hoodie”Flint and Tinder, a Brooklyn based company decided to go against the H&M’s and Zara’s of the world and manufacture a garment that’s built to last. They set up a Kickstarter page and to date they have received over a $1,000,000 in backing.

“It’s more than a sweatshirt though; it’s a battle cry. Not everything should be disposable. It’s time to buy less, but get more!”

It’s not just a piece of garment; it’s a philosophy and part of a way of living your life. Too many of our material goods are not made to last. Flint and Tinder wants to change that. That hooded sweatshirt is part of a bigger story. A person who buys a hoodie doesn’t just buy a piece of clothing, they buy into a lifestyle.

A similar narrative is provided by PeoplePeople, a Swedish design firm that designed“The Transparent Speaker”:

“People want music to sound good. How can we let the music equipment blend in nicely, while still be proudly perceived as high tech?

These days people keep music in many different digital places. How can we allow people to play it without hassle or cables everywhere?

Electronic waste is a huge environmental problem. How can we design something that doesn’t add to that huge landfill?”

Over 490 backers provided $160,000 without even trying the product.

I recently went to a presentation by the author of The Real Mad Men, Andrew Cracknell. He painted a picture of the life of advertising in the Mad Men era: the martinis, the eccentric creatives and the big ideas of Madison Avenue. Aside from the compelling stories of advertising’s heyday, he gave the audience a sincere recommendation on how to create compelling digital experiences. To paraphrase: “Any good piece of advertising is persuasive and provides a narrative. It’s as true today as it was back in 1960’s.”

In today’s world, there are too many products out there that don’t have a narrative, a story. They are manufactured without an idea, without substance. These products are perhaps, not needed, if we as consumers choose not to buy them.

In my view, brands and products that have a sincere and compelling story will always disrupt and change the status quo. A good story always wins.