A Marketer's Lens By Danette Amstein
Danette Amstein is a managing principal for Midan Marketing - a full-service agency that solely focuses on supporting the meat industry.

If your meat product doesn't have a story you might as well dig a hole

(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author.)

This spring I was on the road six out of eight weeks, which is a lot for me. I attended three conferences and led a couple of strategy and planning sessions. I met amazing people and heard incredible stories – both personal and how businesses fought to overcome, scale and prevail. Here’s the thing:  I remember these stories with much more clarity than any of the statistics shared.

Take a moment to reflect on your last two months. What do you remember?  The stats or the stories?

If you are like most humans, it’s the stories.

Stories bring things to life; they usher in emotions that we relate to. Some stories entertain, some lead to conversations and, in business, stories lead to sales.

Think about the latest product you brought to market. I know you and your team spent countless hours on the product research and development to get it in front of customers and, ultimately, consumers. You worked on getting the specs right, sourcing the raw material, working through labeling approval, etc.  How did it go? If it didn’t meet expectations, one of the reasons just might be the lack of a story.

Without the story, how do you set your products apart? In this age of growing Millennial and Gen Z influence, hurrying a product to market in response to a competitor’s launch could end up being the same as digging a very deep hole in the ground, tossing a large red duffel bag stuffed with hundred dollar bills into it and watching as a cement truck backs up and starts filling in the hole. You hear the backup beeps then the chugs of the cement as it comes down the trough. You painfully watch the gray gooey wet mess fall into the hole. As the cement piles up you look up at the gray sky and realize it is starting to rain, further confirmation that Mother Nature is in on this egregious act.

You see what I did there?  I just told you a very short story that didn’t end with happily ever after (sorry about that). If I did my job right, I evoked relatable emotions. Did you start to feel more and more like you were there as you read further?  Did you experience the gut-wrenching, sinking feeling of the money going down into the hole? Almost see the cement truck? Smell the new concrete mixture or ever so slightly feel the raindrops hit you?

It is hard, maybe even impossible, to attach a good story to every product. Where it becomes much easier is when you have a brand to attach the story to. Then you tell the brand story of your product. The brand story, when done well, is what can help you create loyal customers. And loyal customers – whether B2B or B2C - generate sales.

I fully recognize I have focused on only one aspect of creating a successful product. I am not discounting the others but rather want to emphasize the importance of the story. Without it, brands and their products tend to be unrelatable.

Now, this is where I should flash the warning sign:  The story has to be true. Sure you can put a fairy tale story out there but it will come back to bite you. And once you have destroyed trust, well, you might as well dig the hole and toss the money into it.

Don’t have a story connected to your products?  It is time to. Don’t have a brand platform through which to tell the story?  Yes, it’s also time to do that.

What’s your brand’s story?

P.S. If you die-hard data lovers are still wondering if storytelling is really important, here’s your stat from the London School of Business: People retain 65 to 70 percent of information shared via a story versus only 5 to 10 percent of information conveyed through statistics.


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