What Morgan Freeman, a ‘Cat’ & ‘Crap Coffee’ Teach us About Marketing
Let’s imagine for a minute that you’ve come to my house to visit. Naturally I would follow the usual etiquette and offer you a tea or coffee. You choose coffee.
So I go off to prepare your drink, returning a few minutes later with a steaming cup of great smelling coffee. But just as you take your first sip I inform you…
(Disclaimer: Some ‘colourful’ language below. No offence intended!)
“Oh, by the way. That coffee you’re about to drink. The beans were picked from the sh*t of a ‘Wild Cat’ in Bali after it ate and digested it.
With no other framing or explanation, I’d hazard a guess that you’d probably spit it out all over my living room.
I wouldn’t blame you.
However, let’s repeat this scenario, only this time when you ask for coffee I get very excited and enthusiastic, and start telling you about a particular type of coffee that I have reserved for ‘special guests’ only. I say…
“You’re a coffee lover? Great, I am too! I love it when I have a guest that appreciates true high end coffee, and I can tell that about you. Have you heard of Luwak Coffee?
No? Well, get this. If you were to go and buy this in London you’ll only find it in 5 star hotels. And then you’d have to pay over £70 for a single cup!
I got this when I travelled through Bali and visited a native coffee plantation there. It’s amazing how they harvest it.
The coffee beans are collected from the droppings of a wild cat-like animal called the Luwak. It’s a cute little forest animal that lives near to coffee plantations. The best thing is that these guys are really fussy eaters meaning that they only dine on the best, tastiest and ripest coffee cherries that means the coffee itself tastes like nothing else!
I know it sounds a bit weird, but don’t worry, I promise it’s amazing. Besides, it can’t actually digest the coffee beans, just the husks, so poops them out. The beans are collected by farm workers, and hand washed using traditional methods that removes all traces of ‘poop’.
What is left is a coffee bean that has been naturally selected by the little fella as the best of the best. Even better they have acquired a unique and highly prized taste from the passage through the Luwak’s enzymes, which includes going through unique scent glands they use for marking their territory.
Being wild and hard to collect, these beans are very rare so few people ever have the chance to taste the real thing. Certainly not at £70 a cup!
It was even on Morgan Freeman’s list in the movie ‘Bucket List’; it’s that exclusive that having a cup is now on many other people’s own ‘Bucket List’.
Though I do only have a few cups worth left, so if you’re not sure I can make you a Nescafe instead…?”
It’s a bit more long winded, but I delivered it with real excitement and passion. Just consider the state you would be in afterwards…
What would you say then? If done right you’d probably be willing to agree to anything I asked for, just to make sure I didn’t change my mind! Especially as I half took it away at the end…
Notice the difference?
It’s the story.
Our ancestors would do this to create a common bond between tribe or village members so each member would do what was best for the group. These stories would create such a strong sense of belonging that members would fight to the death to protect it. Or they would put fear in them so they would never leave or ensure that they follow the rules.
So our love of stories is in our DNA.
Why stories help customers buy
In the first example, the story is short and only focuses on limited information. Mainly that you’re drinking coffee that has come from an animals sh*t. Not particularly nice.
However, when you frame the exact same cup of coffee around a story that uses some key psychological triggers to create desire and wanting, you have a totally different outcome.
A second benefit here is that it’s no longer the coffee company telling the story. It’s me! This adds an additional layer of credibility as I’m not selling anything (or am I…? I’ll cover a few examples of why this could be used as a manipulation in my next post, though there is a clue above if you spotted it?).
It’s positioning, by another name!
Unfortunately, storytelling isn’t something everyone understands in business. It’s not always going to go down well in a board meeting if you’re asked about how you propose to increase sales, and your reply is “tell some stories”.
You’d better find that cardboard box.
So to use another name, storytelling is part of positioning. A word much more welcome in The Boardroom!
By creating a more compelling story around the customers desired result (see my previous post ‘The Single Most Important Marketing Lesson You’ve Probably Forgotten‘ on this) or one that actually creates the emotions they’ll experience with your service or product, you’re then able to build your competitive advantage around this.
Continue to Part 2 of this article, click here