Many direct response marketers and copywriters make use of stories in both sales copy and marketing in general. The advantages are many…
- It helps cut through the marketing clutter
- You can create a stronger emotional connection with your market
- It helps create the conditions for a successful sale
Also…it makes the copy and marketing a lot more interesting!
Stories can be used both tactically and strategically. In the latter case, we often talk about a back story or an “origin story” – that is to say how did the business come about and why was the business started? Put another way, what is the business about, over and above the simple delivery of a product or service?
One of my favourite restaurants (now a chain) in the UK is Dishoom. Regularly appearing in lists of favourite or top restaurants, the small London-based chain has expanded steadily in recent years. I don’t have financial data but I have to assume they are pretty successful. Certainly, every time I have been into one of the restaurants they are very busy.
From their website…
The key idea behind the restaurants is to recreate this style of old Bombay cafe.
There is a fascinating post on the Dishoom blog (or “journal”)…
…that I assume is written by the owner. It’s a look back at the year but also goes deeper in to what the business is all about. It’s titled “GOODBYE 2017. HELLO 2018.
I’M HERE AGAIN”…and here is one section…
“Each time we open a Dishoom we imagine it as an old Irani café embedded deeply in some sparky story of old Bombay that needs more putting about. In Dishoom Carnaby, the setting is Bombay’s rock scene which flared up briefly in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In Dishoom King’s Cross, the setting is in a notional godown near Victoria Terminus, the Independence movement a backdrop. We then sit down and write the narrative for each Dishoom – a different founding myth – deeply rooted in the history and characters of the time.
Every single aspect of the design (no detail too small) is informed by this story. We spend weeks and months researching the Bombay of the period. We meet people with memories of the period. We comb the city for the right antique furniture. Our fictional proprietor may even have views on the politics of the time, or perhaps specific tastes in art and literature. You walk across the threshold of our restaurants and into our stories. We began to wonder whether we could welcome you, our patrons, into our story in a much more literal sense. Could our characters meet you, perform music for you, the plot unfold around you?
That was how we gave birth this year to Cyrus Irani, charming, noble rogue and fictional proprietor of Dishoom Kensington in its two week guise as the Bombay Roxy. And thank you to all of you who came to meet him in his jazzy, noirish immersive Bombay in 1949 world. Much fun was had.
For us, the stories of the old Irani Cafés (which a few years ago, we collected from frequenters of the cafés and literally baked onto our plates in Shoreditch for all to read) have been central to what we try to honour and celebrate. These old cafés, sadly now almost all gone, were significant for being truly shared spaces. They were the first places in Bombay where people of any culture, class or religion could take cool refuge from the street with a cup of chai, a simple snack or a hearty meal. People from all walks of life shared tables, rubbed shoulders and broke bread together. Shared spaces beget shared experiences, and shared experiences mean less violence, less hatred, towards those they are shared with. And indeed, while Delhi and Calcutta try to forget the bloody riots and senseless slaughter of Partition, Bombay’s memories of Independence are more peaceful and joyous in no small part because of its culture of cosmopolitanism and its shared spaces.
In a way, it must be true that the stories that we remember and revere – whether historical or our own – define how we see ourselves. These stories must also surely be indicators of our values. If current events leave us confused, if we can’t make sense of the world, then we could do worse than use these stories to guide our actions. To then create stories of our own that in turn may even be remembered.”
Well worth reading the whole post.
I find the Dishoom story very powerful and I imagine many others do as well, given the success of the business. It makes the restaurant much more interesting…fascinating even. It doesn’t hurt that the food is outstanding as well (I love the Pau Bhaji in particular 🙂 ).
By the way…Roy Furr has a good new book out called “The Ultimate Selling Story”…
Products from Amazon.co.uk
…which is well worth checking out.
So…as 2017 draws to a close…have a think about your own business and your own story. Consider how what you do can be seen as more than simply delivering a product or service.
Allow me to wish you and your loved ones a very “Happy New Year” and happiness, health and success in 2018!