Retail Observer

January 2020

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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Page 43 of 67

RETAILOBSERVER.COM JANUARY 2020 44 M arilyn greets each visitor as they enter the home office headquarters. But Marilyn is much more than the usual anonymous greeter you'll encounter at most big box retailers. Marilyn is a storyteller. Ask her about the moss-filled company logo that's set in reclaimed barn wood, and she'll tell you about hard-working people and the farm equipment that helped them do their jobs in the company's early years. Ask her about the award for innovation that sits on her desk, and she'll give you the story of the company's current innovations, in sparkling detail. You don't have to be a 75-year-old company to have lots of stories to tell. Stories, old or new, are the living witness to your organization's values in action. What you do as a company is driven by your values and beliefs, whether you're aware of them or not. Knowing your values is the key to telling your story, and the seed that will grow your future. At its heart, all marketing is about storytelling. It's about telling stories that transport people from their current experience of the world to new possibilities and new ways of seeing. A meaningful story, told well, transports the listener into their own personal world of the story as they see it – it creates a context for how they (and you) experience your brand and your products and services. When Marilyn tells a story, she speaks from the heart and from her long experience. She's speaking her truth on behalf of the company, and she's sharing it because she cares – about you, about the customers, and about the company she's proud of. • When your customer service people are confronted by critical decisions, they need a set of values to make good decisions that will serve the company and represent the brand. • When your salespeople find a major opportunity standing in front of them, they'll need guidance to help them serve the customer in the best ways. • When your marketing team creates a new campaign, they'll need tools to align the campaign with a brand promise that will build customer trust. • When your innovation team is deciding which products or services to create for your customers, they'll need to understand your customers' pains and cares, and how your brand must meet and resolve them. • When you're looking to bring on a new executive team member, you'll need a set of values that will help them understand what you stand for and how they'll fit in your culture. Your values guide your most critical business decisions. Your values are the deeply felt beliefs that create clarity and confidence and enable the heartfelt humans on your team to do what's best for your customers. By knowing, living and communicating your values, you're creating a sense of belonging on your team. THREE TIPS FOR COMMUNICATING WITH HEART 1. Be captivating. Short-attention-span marketing is here to stay, and it's worse if you're marketing to young people. Most young viewers will give your story 3-5 seconds to grab their attention before they move on. To capture their attention, your stories must be – well, captivating. When you operate in the fast-paced, social online world, your content needs to be more than outstanding – it has to be quick, efficient, personable and valuable. 2. In a world of Likes and Comments, it has to be, in a word, remarkable. 3. Make your audience the hero. What's the most powerful word in any language? A person's name. When we hear our name, our emotional brain lights up and you've grabbed our attention. Tell your audience a story that they can relate to with their emotions and identify with. Better still, tell them a story that's all about them, a story they can insert themselves into, and that at least tells them that you know them and can feel for them. How does your business shake hands with the world? What kind of intentional first impressions are you making? What kind are you willing to make? How are your company's beliefs driving your actions? Your culture? Your marketing? Your innovation? Your customer service? Have you baked these beliefs into your brand, your business and your culture? If not, what are you waiting for? For the past 25 years, Steve has served as an advisor and consultant on brand strategy, organizational life, and humanized marketing strategy. He has worked with companies such as Samsung, Habitat for Humanity, New Balance, Sony, LG, Amazon, NFL and MLB franchises and is a regular speaker for TEDx, Creative Mornings, CES, HOW Conference, Social Venture Network, American Marketing Association, and AIGA conferences. Steve has published two books, Brand Love and Loyalty and Humanizing the Customer Journey, as well as a forthcoming book, The Evolved Brand: How to Impact the World Through the Power of Your Brand. He has been featured in Business Week, Brand Week, Ad Age, Conscious Company Magazine, MarketingProfs, and HOW magazines. Steve leads his own brand and business strategic consultancy, Mth Degree. Contact:, 619-234-1211 or RO Steven Morris On Brand YOUR BRAND STORY, INSIDE-OUT

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