(by braden Barty) WHAT’S YOUR STORY? A great example of just how powerful your creation story can be is Dyson vacuum cleaners. When inventor Sir James Dyson first introduced his revolutionary vacuum cleaner, the 30-second TV commercial was James quickly telling his creation story. He explained what was wrong with old vacuums and how long he worked on creating a solution. It stood out not only because the Dyson vacuum is a good product, but because we got to see the person behind the idea and how it came about.
BTW, James has been married to the same woman, Deirdre, (AKA Lady Dyson) since 1968. What more do you need to know?
Your target audience is asking that question. How well you tell your story matters.
Knowing and writing down your own story will not only help you to know more about yourself. It will help you to define your brand and what makes it unique from others.
Your creation story is the story of how your brand and business got to be where it is. People love to know how something came about and how it got started—from Walt Disney humbly saying, “It all started with a mouse” to the stories of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak building computers in their garage.
These creation stories fascinate us and give us a better understanding of your brand.
Ree Drummond is known as the Pioneer Woman. She’s a highly successful author and blogger. Her fan base is quite large and very passionate. Whether it’s trying out recipes from her cookbook or devouring a new blog post about her children, they can’t wait for what Ree will do next. So why “the Pioneer Woman”? Ree grew up in the city. She ended up marrying a real-life cowboy, “and now this city girl is living on a farm learning how to create good ol’ country meals. Her books and blog cover what it’s like diving into her newest adventures. It’s a fantastic creation story that people find interesting, and it gives them an idea of what she’s all about.
We’ve all heard the stories of Coca-Cola being created by a pharmacist or that the Post-It Note was invented by accident. Every successful brand has a creation story they share.
No one knows the name Kevin Systrom but in 2010 while in Mexico with his girlfriend she was unwilling to post her photos because they did not look good enough when taken by the iPhone 4 camera. He began to develop an app software that was able to add filters to the photos, effectively hiding the qualitative inferiority of the photographs. He called it Burbn. One day while hanging out in a coffee bar in the bay area he ran into Mike Krieger who he recognized from hanging out in the same circles of tech people. Together they pursued Burbn and pitched the app to a venture capital company that gave them $500,000 seed money. (what would you do with $500K?).
They acquired some office space and renamed the app Instagram and launched the app in October 2010. On day one they had over 25,000 downloads. It took off so quickly that their server began to crash. Kevin and Mike were not sure what to do! Should they put the project on hold? Should they purchase another server?
Either way, it all worked out and 2 years later they sold Instagram to Facebook for $1 Billion.
Everyone has an original beginning to their brand. Sure, there will be some similarities. Just think of all of the similar rags-to-riches stories out there. But no one has lived your life but you. Therefore no one has the same creation story as you. Don’t hide it from the world. Write it down. Share it and own it. This exercise will do wonders when you create your next branding video. As you define your story, people will look for similarities with the struggles they have been through themselves. This tightens the bond they have with you. People relate more to your struggles and the challenges you’ve overcome than they do your accomplishments. My own creation story begins when I was a teenager in the 80’s. And trust me, it was NOT an overnight success. In highschool I loved both computers and making videos. But the two didn’t seem to go together back then. Boy, how wrong I was.
One day in 1999 I heard that college kids were filming and editing videos from their college dorms on computers using NLE(non linear editing) systems. No one even uses the term NLE anymore but we did a lot back then because the idea was so fresh. So with some money from my dad, I bought a computer with Adobe Premiere Pro software and a digital video camera. The Canon XL1 (it still recorded to tape) but it was considered “digital” and revolutionary. (Photo Courtesy Thom Jensen)
Then a friend told me to put an ad in the recycler newspaper under Video Production and people started calling. I was doing weddings, editing actor reels, and even a dead doggie memorial video. And this was before Vimeo and high speed internet so clients actually had to come to my apartment and edit with me. It was laborious work but I was getting by. After a while my jobs were mostly word of mouth. Eventually, after 14 years of working for many small businesses and corporate companies, including producing some of my own documentaries and TV shows, I got a phone call from a crew staffing company that found me online and they began hiring me to work for their clients who happen to be big brand names. It’s been a blast.
Plus the ability to grow with new startups and businesses, some that send me out of the country to film.
Sometimes your audience wants to know how and why you got to this point. They also might want to know where you are going. As your creation story gives people insights about you, it strengthens the bond and relationship with your audience. Don’t hesitate to share your creation story with people. You may think no one cares, but your audience cares a great deal about it. They will remember it, and, most importantly, they will share it.