[Your Company] in 100 Words

How Warby Parker uses product to make their story stick

I recently ordered a new pair of sunglasses.

When they arrived, my favorite part was not the tortoise shell frames, the “Nice to See You” leather case, or the perfectly tinted lenses.

It was the cleaning cloth.

Not your typical product feature to celebrate.

But this wasn’t just any cleaning cloth.

This was their story.

With a simple 4x4 square, they put their story into customers’ hands — quite literally — every day.

It’s brilliant.

Here’s why.

Short = focused.

Forcing the 100 Word limit forces you to distill your story into the one key value at stake.

You don’t have time to list out the features, benefits, and how they came to be. You only have time to focus on one.

And here, it’s price.

“Fun” and “giving back” make a quick cameo, but without them, the story would still stand.

That’s the Jenga test…

What’s the one value, that if removed, would make the entire story fall apart? Until you get there, keep cutting.

Once you have that core value, everything else flows from there. Product, Website, Email copy… everything.

Consistency = Authenticity.

Speaking of one core, consistency builds brand more than anything. One false step, and you call everything about your story — and your authenticity — into question.

If you look at Warby Parker’s website, the story matches.

On the History page, the core value is price.

On the landing page, the core value is still price.

By telling the same story everywhere, you’re making it stronger each time. It’s not just repetitive. It builds muscle.

Stories stick.

If your story is focused and consistent, it will travel further, faster.

Since falling in love with my little 4x4 cleaning cloth, I’ve already brought up Warby Parker’s founding story in conversation. I’ve already told friends. Shown strangers.

Who would have thought a little cleaning cloth could do so much?

What’s your 100 Word Story?

Start drafting your story. I’d suggest a stack of napkins. Low fidelity enables speed, and faster iterations mean better results.

Here’s a low-tech template to help you get started.

If you end up with more like four napkins worth, that’s ok. Have fun with it, and then just keep cutting.

By the time you whittle it down to one, you’ll have a napkin worth framing.


About the Author: Alli McKee helps companies develop their strategic messaging and brings it to life with visual design. After years creating strategic stories as a consultant at Bain & Company and designing visually at IDEO.org and as an artist, she’s working with B2B sales and marketing organizations to help them win more business. Through strategy, story, and design, her work enables companies to make their ideas sell — and stick.

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