A single bead of sweat rolled down my forehead as I mustered up the courage to say the words. We had been coming to this coffee shop for years. We had argued over football scores, TV programmes and politics as we sipped our coffee and took in the world passing outside the large window. I was telling my best friend I was gay that day. Of course, he didn’t care and soon enough we were back arguing over football, TV and politics. Six years later in the same seats, he would tell me he was having his first baby. Same seat, same coffee, same place.
My local coffee shop doesn’t just sell coffee
My local coffee shop doesn’t just sell coffee. They sell a space to grow relationships, a space to escape the stresses of the office or home, a place to reflect or get some work done. Too many businesses don’t fully understand the need they are really satisfying for their customers, and so they often concentrate on the wrong parts of their offer. Customers are rarely motivated to go into a coffee shop because they are thirsty.
Understanding your customer’s story will help you better construct your business offer and make decisions that keep your customers coming back. Whether you are a small corner cafe or a global brand leader, one of your key priorities should be telling the stories of your business but more importantly, your customers.
Why does your business exist?
Ask yourself, why does your business exist? What motivated you to start the business? For me, it was a passion for stories about people. I had been working in media for almost 15 years, every day coming across stories of love, loss, endurance, sadness and triumph. I knew there was a value in those stories and I knew I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life working for someone else.
I set out to build a platform that would harness and develop a global community of people who could tell stories – journalists, bloggers, community activists and videographers. StoryStock would become a platform where we could connect that community of storytellers with media but also with brands who needed to tell stories about themselves and their customers. We were creating one of the world’s first global storytelling platforms that would connect people who could tell stories with people who needed to tell stories!
StoryStock helps some of the largest brands in the world to bring those stories out. Here are two examples of how stories were used by our clients:
One of our first customers was Agri tech global Irish company, Dairymaster. They build some of the most advanced farming technology in the world and have operations that stretch from Ireland to the US and into the Middle East. We helped them to start telling the stories of the farmers who use their technology. Soon enough it became clear that Dairymaster don’t just offer new technology that makes life on the farm easier; they offer farmers the opportunity to spend more time with their children, because new technology is doing the work they once did.
We told those real life stories of their farming customers – at home on the farm. That shows other farmers who may be considering investing in new technology that they can have more family time, a more profitable farm and an easier life by using the tech that Dairymaster are selling. By telling the stories of their customers, we helped Dairymaster realise why they existed and how to communicate this to potential customers!
Global Airlines don’t just fly people from A to B. They bring people who love each other together. Young couples in long-term relationships, workers who want to get home to see their families. They allow people with ideas to share those ideas at conferences on the other side of the world. Those are the stories they must tell. Telling the stories of why people use your product or service is how you will show others just how valuable it really is and why they should be using it too!
Stories help you stand out
Advertising has changed, with adverts fighting for space in a crowded and noisy online market. Stories help you stand out. Storytelling isn’t just for global brands. If you are a small pharmacy, why not tell the stories of how the drugs you prescribe make a difference in people’s lives? Fish shop? – tell the stories of the fishermen who spend weeks at sea so that customers can sit down with a takeaway on a Sunday evening. Every business has a story, and every customer wants to tell a story. The best brands are built on great stories! Start building today. Tell some stories or find someone who can tell them for you!
About the author
Francis Fitzgibbon is a New Frontiers participant and the CEO and founder of StoryStock. He is a former reporter and producer with Newstalk 106fm, and documentary maker with TV3.
Francis most recently worked as a political advisor in the European Parliament in Brussels, before returning to Ireland to start StoryStock. He completed the New Frontiers programme in March 2017 and was awarded Competitive Start Funding (CSF) in April 2017. The Storystock team of committed storytellers is based between Kerry and Dublin, with a goal to build one of the largest storytelling platforms in the world, connecting brands and media with the best content creators.