5 principles of a good product story

Photo by Oliver Thomas Klein on Unsplash

Storytelling is not a new trend, but it is still difficult to find a good product story that would consistently be communicated to the brand’s recipients. A product story is more than just a story once described in an advertisement, a product story is something more than…

…a unique value proposition, product story is a WHY product that translates into WHY recipient. Well, why exactly should I buy this PRODUCT, since the competition sells a similar one cheaper? Well, why?

More and more brands make great use of storytelling in advertising, in campaigns and in one-off creations. There is talk of using the video trend in storytelling, as well as using real customer stories or marketing communication users. Very often, however, these creations and actions (however sensible in their essence) are detached from the overall history of the product, the brand and have a one-off, ad hoc character, carried out randomly by the marketing agency.

In order for marketing communication to be effective and have the appropriate (as large as possible) firepower, coherence, consistency and continuity are important. In the construction of such unity, it is crucial to define the product’s main history, which will give the brand a deeper sense and history, and will be the foundation for specific campaigns, creations and messages.

Start with WHY!

You do not have to publicise Simon Ted Sink’s “Golden Circle” speech at TED.

The concept of building communication around the “WHY” brand is very widespread. However, to know and to use are 2 different matters. Few brands communicate their “why” in a coherent way. What is the mythical “WHY”? This is the reason why our brand exists. Sometimes it is a brand’s mission and sometimes a determination of the deep need of users that our product implements. Sometimes it is a story about values, and sometimes it is related to the founding history. There is not one correct recipe for defining it. However, it has a key character for the development of the brand. Let’s take a look at these examples.

Example: Allegro

However, it has a key character for the development of the brand. The presented product story is connected with the realization of ordinary people’s dreams. The products bought on the auction platform, or products positioned as those that bring value into our lives, because they allow us to achieve important goals related to this “what is important in life” (family, development, life courage, etc.).

If we could make the Allegro brand’s promise in one sentence, it would probably be:

Allegro — we will help you fulfill your desires, goals and dreams, regardless of who you are.

The history of learning English to be able to talk to grandchildren has won the hearts of recipients, because it was based on an excellent product story.

And it is precisely this promise that builds the history of the brand. And its “Why”? The answer to Allegro’s “Why” could be: to show that objects are only a means to realize what is really important in life.

Example: Risk Made in Warsaw

The Warsaw clothing brand runs a very coherent marketing communication. Brand values are visible at every step: in every post and in every contact with the customer. If we looked at the promise of the brand, we could probably formulate it as:

Risk Made in Warsaw — we will help you dress comfortably, elegantly and feminine, in accordance with your values (sewing in Poland, being eco and treating you with respect).

“My beloved models from riska? Vesper and Maria Antonina”. Iza Korzańska, from our production department, has this latter one in five colours (including collector’s chocolate) and wears them for a whole year round;). “This is a model in which I always feel on the spot, no matter if I am in the office, on a date, or go somewhere with friends. In the winter, if it does not get dirty, I put it under the belt. By the way in the summer, when I want to show my legs — also;) Recently, I put it on with snow boots for work and it was fun.”

The Risk Made in Warsaw brand consistently shows #realpeople in its materials. It presents women who, regardless of their size, look feminine and beautiful in their clothes.

Is this a brand promise and its “WHY”? It is helping the conscious women feel better in their own skin and raise their self-esteem.

Use your “WHY”

It is very rarely visible at first glance. Imagine a marketing message that directly refers to the above “WHY” Risk Made in Warsaw. It could be too direct and, in addition, cause a displacement effect on the recipients (After all, I have high self-esteem and feel good in my skin!). Therefore, when communicating Product Story, several rules are used to prevent this.

1. Show who the recipient will be when he/she uses your product

Instead of directly showing your “Why” — present a vision of what kind of person your recipient can become after using this product. This is often achieved by presenting the role models (the history of a real person that represents a particular set of features) or the history of change. Exactly..

2. Show the change

Showing the condition before using the product and its condition after use, it is also a very often used procedure. It allows you to visualize the positive effect of the product. It is easy in such materials for the lack of transparency, so it is worth taking care of the “twist” — a certain uncertainty that will surprise the recipients.

3. Refer to emotion

It has been known for years that people buy under the influence of emotions. Even if they analyze facts and data and want to make a rational decision, they often have feelings about the final purchase (eg attachment to the brand, its aesthetic closeness). Therefore, in their materials, present the emotions associated with the implementation of “Why”. Allegro ads are great, in which emotions play a leading role. However, if you show the product directly, it is in addition to the emotional sphere…

4. …Help the recipient to rationalize the purchase

Provide information that will allow the buyer to “explain” to him/herself, relatives, family and friends from this choice. It was only about xx zlotys more expensive, and it still has xx function! or I work hard, so once in a while I can afford to have fun! These rationalizations are very often inspired by marketing communication. Take care of them with your product as well.

5. Take care of what is important for the recipient

Very often creating a “WHY” product, we immediately define the group of recipients to which the product is directed. It is worth knowing in depth the values, goals, needs and problems of our target groups and take care of them, even if they are only indirectly related to our brand and product.

Creating a product story is not an easy task. However, avoiding the direct presentation of the product, its functionality and features, we can only gain by building and presenting its history! What is the “WHY” of your product?

Beata Mosór-Szyszka — CEO, Project: People, Google Marketing & Product Mentor. Lean marketer & strategist.

Project: People is the lean strategy agency. We don’t have an offer. We are working on problems and needs our customers have. We have an experience in variety of projects from different areas: product development, marketing, design & UX, HR, employer branding, management, etc.