by Dianna Brodine, managing editor
In my job as a magazine editor, I get a lot of press releases every day. A lot. And, if I had a dime for every time I read the words “state-of-the-art” or “customer-focused,” I’d be able to retire from writing Booklists! Marketing buzzwords don’t attract or keep attention. Instead, those words (and other empty phrases like them) are advertising qualities that – at the end of the day – don’t tell your customer or prospect anything about what you can do to solve their problems.
This issue’s Booklist is about crafting a story that grabs attention and explains benefits that make a difference to the people who need your company’s products and services. These books talk about structuring your story to capture attention, and then encouraging longtime customer devotion by creating relationships that resonate.
You keep hearing how story is the latest-and-greatest business tool, and that storytelling can do everything – from helping leaders better communicate to motivating sales teams and winning customers away from competitors. But, what stories do you need to tell? And, how do you tell them? In Stories That Stick, Kindra Hall, professional storyteller and nationally known speaker, reveals the four unique stories you can use to differentiate, captivate and elevate:
- the Value Story, to convince customers they need what you provide;
- the Founder Story, to persuade investors and customers your organization is worth the investment;
- the Purpose Story, to align and inspire your employees and internal customers; and
- Customer Story, to allow those who use your product or service to share their authentic experiences with others.
Telling these stories well is a simple, accessible skill anyone can develop. With case studies, company profiles and anecdotes backed with original research, Hall presents storytelling as the underutilized talent that separates the good from the best in business. She offers specific, actionable steps readers can take to find, craft and leverage the stories they already have and simply aren’t telling.
How do some brands attract word-of-mouth buzz and radical devotion around products as everyday as car insurance, b2b software and underwear? They embody the most powerful marketing force in the world: die-hard fans. In this essential book, leading business growth strategist David Meerman Scott and fandom expert Reiko Scott explore the neuroscience of fandom and interview young entrepreneurs, veteran business owners, start-up founders, nonprofits and companies big and small to pinpoint which practices separate organizations that flourish from those stuck in stagnation. They lay out a road map for converting customers’ ardor into buying power, pulling one-of-a-kind examples from a wide range of organizations, including:
- HeadCount, the nonprofit that registers voters at music concerts
- Grain Surfboards, the board-building studio that willingly reveals its trade secrets with customers
- Hagerty, the classic-car insurance provider with over 600,000 premier club members
- HubSpot, the software company that draws 25,000 attendees to its annual conference
For anyone who seeks to harness the force of fandom to revolutionize his or her business, Fanocracy shows the way.
It sounds so simple: Incorporate a story and people will remember your message. But, when you get down to crafting one, there’s nothing easy about it. Material for stories surrounds us. Yet, few people are skilled at sharing personal anecdotes and even fewer know how to link them to professional goals. Whether you want to stand out in the interview process, add punch to a presentation or make a compelling case for a new initiative, Let the Story Do the Work shows you how to mine your experience for simple narratives that convey who you are, what you want to achieve and why others should care.
Packed with enlightening examples, the book explains how to find the perfect hook, structure your story and deliver it at the right time in the right way. You’ll discover how to use stories to capture attention, engage your audience, bring facts and data to life, pitch persuasively and more. Learn to leverage the elements of storytelling – and turn everyday communications into opportunities to connect, gain buy-in and build lasting relationships.
Apple Stores, Disney, LEGO, Starbucks. Do these names conjure up images of mere goods and services, or do they evoke something more – something visceral? Welcome to the Experience Economy, where businesses must form unique connections in order to secure their customers’ affections – and ensure their own economic vitality. This seminal book on experience innovation by Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore explores how savvy companies excel by offering compelling experiences for their customers, resulting not only in increased customer allegiance but also in a more profitable bottom line. Translated into 13 languages, The Experience Economy has become a must-read for leaders of enterprises large and small, for-profit and nonprofit, global and local.
Now with a brand-new preface, Pine and Gilmore make an even stronger case for experiences as the critical link between a company and its customers in an increasingly distractible and time-starved world. Filled with detailed examples and actionable advice, The Experience Economy helps companies create personal, dramatic and even transformative experiences, offering the script from which managers can generate value in ways aligned with a strong customer-centric strategy.