Four of every five customers will pay more for a product when they feel a personal connection to a company. And one strong way to create a personal connection is sharing your company’s backstory.
It’s never been easier to share your backstory thanks to Facebook, Twitter, publicity generation tools, and press releases (all of which the Vocus Marketing Suite offers) – but to make it really effective, you need to pick out the humanizing details that connect with customers emotionally.
Here are six great business backstories to inspire you as you record your own.
1. Raising money to fix a home
The Trappists monks who produce Westvleteren XII, one of the world’s best beers, did a limited release to the United States in mid December to fund repairs to their abbey’s roof. The beer sold out within minutes despite a price of $85 a six-pack.
The mystique of a hard-to-get beer, a limited release, and the motivation of the sale captured the media’s and buyers’ attention. Tell the story of your unique or rare product.
2. Identifying a cause
A trip to Argentina inspired Blake Mycoskie in two ways. He discovered the traditional Argentine alpargata shoe and the many area children who were too poor to afford them. In 2006, he founded TOMS, which sends a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. By 2010, it had donated more than 1 million shoes and now helps children in more than 50 countries.
Having a socially responsible message helps strike a chord with customers. Nearly half of consumers around the world are willing to pay more for a socially responsible product.
3. Thinking outside the bag
One day in 1978, James Dyson became frustrated when the vacuum he was using lost its suction. It was a design flaw related to the vacuum’s use of bags. After thousands of designs, James created a vacuum that used centrifugal force instead of bags to suck up dirt. By 2010, Dyson had almost a quarter of the market share.
Telling stories of your determination and trials can inspire customers in a David-versus-Goliath type manner.
4. Providing something unique
Horst Rechelbacher was a well-known hair stylist in Minnesota, but it wasn’t until he studied herbs and plants in India for six months in the 1970s and subsequently started Aveda that he went from local success to international phenomenon. Horst pioneered using oils derived from plants in salon products. In 1997, Horst sold his booming business to Estee Lauder.
So you didn’t travel half way around the world. Your story is still unique. Tell what inspired you to create your products. Think of the connection a baker would make by revealing he uses an old family recipe.
5. Showing the power of family
Faced with the choice of either going to college or starting a business in the mid 1980s, the four Murrell brothers chose to open a burger stand in Arlington, Virginia. Eventually a fifth brother was born and the business became known as Five Guys Burgers and Fries. More than 1,000 locations in 47 states now pay tribute to the entrepreneurial siblings.
Showing family teamwork will appeal to mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons. In other words, it appeals to everyone. Tell the story of how your family worked to put your business together.
6. Going all-in
Ben Cohen had dropped out of the several colleges he attended. Jerry Greenfield couldn’t get into medical school. Needing a job, the friends decided to split the $5 tuition for a correspondence course about ice cream making, added their $8,000 life savings to a $4,000 loan, and started Ben & Jerry’s. Now Cherry Garcia, Chubby Hubby, and dozens of other flavors are found in nearly every grocery store.
Tell the story of the risks you took in starting your business. Customers will admire your courage especially if, like Ben and Jerry, you bet your bottom dollar.