I saw Tony Hsieh speak years ago and he said something I’ve always believed (and I know many of you agree): “When you think your story is big, think bigger.”
In the case of Zappos, the story was never about shoes or things. It was about people and creating the best customer service on the planet. He thought much bigger about the value he created and what he sold. It’s never about the things you sell. It’s never about products. People have their human needs (always) and you need to figure out what human need you really fill.
In my opinion, a value proposition deals with the product or company level. A value proposition is *not* the same as your core marketing story. I don’t use them interchangeably. Yet, I hear companies do this all the time. People don’t exist to buy your stuff.
Your big marketing story goes bigger – to the core of a human need for your customers, perhaps your community, your world.
Every Organization has a Bigger Story to Tell
I’ve written about this for years, and I am still really passionate about it! Your story is bigger than profits, products, positioning. It’s about how you help customers meet a very real human need. Bigger than economics. Think Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. There is always a human need underlying everything.
I sat down with the VP of brand for Lyft recently for a conversation about brand storytelling. She told me the brand believes in livable communities, and traffic is a big issue making that goal harder to achieve:
“In the LA area alone, the ratio of people in cars commuting to work is 1.1. If we could increase that ratio to a doable 1.3 per car; we could eliminate traffic congestion.”
That’s a powerful statement and story. At the heart of it, Lyft believes ride-sharing makes peoples’ lives better and communities more livable. That includes alleviating traffic and the cost of owning a car. Are drivers better off? Yes. Are communities better off? Yes, absolutely. That is a bigger story about leaving others – and not just customers – better off.
What is your bigger story? How are you meeting a real human need? How are customers better off? Is society better off? How?
Let me know in the comments below.