[Your Company] in 100 Words

How Warby Parker uses product to make their story stick

Alli McKee
Nov 2, 2017 · 3 min read

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.

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.

Connect on LinkedIn to read more daily updates on startups, sales, and design.

Show and Sell

Storytelling is the new Selling. Show and Sell brings together the best of strategy, storytelling, and design to show companies how to sell more, faster with stories that stick. Brought to you by stick.ai.

Alli McKee

Written by

CEO and Founder, Stick.ai - Illustrating Ideas in real time with NLP + ML. Painting and Improv on the side. TEDx Stanford.

Show and Sell

Storytelling is the new Selling. Show and Sell brings together the best of strategy, storytelling, and design to show companies how to sell more, faster with stories that stick. Brought to you by stick.ai.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade