Adding Value Through Narrative : The Significant Objects Project

Bill Marketing Leave a Comment

We all visit websites and conferences and experience the messages and narrative used to engage you to find out more.  An interesting project tested whether adding a narrative to an ordinary object could add value, and had an outstanding result.

The Significant Objects project bought a hundred objects at junk stores and jumble sales at rock bottom prices, the average price of these insignificant objects was $1.27. They then gave these objects to writers to add a story about the object, intended to be published alongside the object on eBay to see what people would pay.

The stories couldn’t contain outright falsehood such as “previously owned by Britney Spears”, so as not to mislead buyers. One object was a second hand mallet costing $0.33, the story written around the mallet involved a rift in the space time continuum in the year 2031 where only the holder of the mallet could cross into the spare-time rift, and in doing some become supreme ruler of the universe. The mallet sold for $77 – an amazing result by just being creative about the purpose of an object.

I’ve been involved in similar creativity in finding a narrative for new businesses which engage with prospective customers. In the capital markets these stories often revolve around compliance, meeting a regulatory need, which is an unavoidable requirement for the prospective customer, yet isn’t always a way to tell an engaging story.

If the benefits of your product or service really do reduce cost then explain how and expect to prove it. If your product enables the customer to achieve something new and gives an advantage over the competition, prove it and explain how.  What intelligent people don’t like is being told “our product is better because…” without being respected to understand the reasoning behind the claims.

The buyers of products and services in the capital markets are intelligent people who won’t buy into inflated claims and benefits of buying software or using a service unless you can provide them with a reasoned business case which tackles both the quantitative and qualitative justifications for choosing yours over another.

Before any marketing campaign or product launch, invest time and energy in creating the very best narrative and story telling around your business, allowing customers to understand your reasoning and treat them with respect.  This foundation work will reap benefits throughout the life of your business both with your own staff and with customers and prospects.

Or alternatively put up a website with flashy graphics and obscure taglines to fool people into believing your hype. You can find out more about the Significant Objects project here. You can also hear about the project in this BBC Radio 4 episode starting at 15:26 into the broadcast.

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