Garage Sale and Corporate Storytelling

I was reading some article on our love for garage sales. The quaint backyards and double bays opened with all the personals a lifetime has gathered, ready for bargains.

What is really appealing to people is that you’re buying more than just second hand treasure (or junk), you’re buying stories. A family cared for this furniture, children grew up and made memories with those toys and these tools lasted a generation and will continue to serve.

There was a small spoof campaign a while back where professional writers would write stories for knick-knacks in an online store. Crazy, unrealistic stories, but somehow this added a whole new dimension to the product, and it was a big hit.

It made me think further about how you can weave a story into a product. Marketing for the most part, and content writing in particular are about telling someone’s story. I’ve always been a fan of corporate storytelling, so I decided to put together a couple points on how to help customers connect with products and services.


Where did it come from?

The story of origin is just as compelling as ever. Telling people about the craftsman behind your product, why you build, how you give back to those who support you; these are all compelling tales people are intrigued by. Sometimes it’s easy to think that the roots of a product don’t matter. It might be a dirty process, or one you don’t think is particularly interesting, but it can become a tremendous story.

Coffee is a story about where it came from.

“We look for fair trade partners to source our beans. Look, here are the people we partner with, the families we support and the jungle we preserve with progressive planning. Buying our product is supporting the story of these people.”

I worked with an old-school foundry a while back. That place was dark, hot and covered in dirt and steel. Right out of a storybook with old cranes, sand molds and a giant warehouse of frames. They thought it was a dirty, unimaginative place, but it showed a commitment to the roots of craftsmanship. The place was a living story, from the highly skilled people to the rail tracks that moved the product.


Where can it take you?

The story of transformation really sparks imagination. Helping people picture themselves in a new reality, a better reality by incorporating your products.

Camping equipment tells a story of where it can take you.

“Picture those family memories around a campfire; the classic moments of bonding that you experienced as a child. Now, with our product, you can give your kids that same enchanting experience.”

A product is a means to some end, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting. People want to see themselves as special, so if your product can help them envision themselves in a special place, it will be far more appealing.


These are just a couple of quick points on the power of corporate storytelling. The great thing about a story approach to marketing and content writing, is that it’s easy and usually tells itself. Just explain why you do things, why it matters and how it creates impact, and think of an example of where it happened. You’ll add a whole new dimension to your marketing and open up new, compelling conversations with your customers.