I read a lot of press releases. Whether it’s from a brokerage boasting about a great second quarter, a tech company angling to get their new doodad into our Cool Tools section, or an author pitching their latest book, most of them fail on a really basic level: They’re not telling me a story.
Author Nicolas Boillot aims to help you fix that problem when it comes to marketing your business. His newest book (and first foray into the business section), I Killed a Rabid Fox With a Croquet Mallet: Making Your Business Stories Compelling and Memorable (HB Books, 2013), breaks down the elements of a good story into their simplest components. He then explains the relationships between these components. For example, you can spout the values of your business all day long. And you can tell me all you want about how amazing your fourth quarter results are. But can you connect the two? If so, you’re on your way to starting to tell a story.
But that’s just the beginning. Here are some of Boillot’s key points to telling a great story about your business:
Know your audience. It may seem like an obvious point, but that’s just because you remember it from grade school. Things are different now: You’re trying to tell a company’s story. And yet they’re also the same, because you’re trying to tell the story to people. News flash: People don’t want to hear about companies; they want to hear about people. The good news is that your company is full of fascinating people that will tell your company’s story better than it, as an organization, can.
Don’t always follow the leader. Even if it’s you. Boillot reminds readers that while leaders often have a compelling story to tell, “sometimes they have enormous egos, want their stories told, and no one around them has the courage to suggest it’s a bad idea.” Boillot then talks about how he diplomatically helped a CEO see that a video all about how awesome he is would not make for a compelling story, and how he helped the guy introduce some conflict (and other characters) into the tale.
By Erica Christoffer, Multimedia Web Producer, REALTOR® Magazine
How did they do it? How did they achieve and maintain such an inspiring level of success? There are many lessons these bands can teach real estate professionals and other entrepreneurs.
In the same vein and a great piggy-back to our video interview with “Come Together” author Richard Courtney, this short documentary features David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan at the Gathering of the Vibes Festival last year. It offers a captivating (and musically delicious) inside look at their recent book “Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead.”
The Dead knew how to get in front of people, as is pointed out in the book and this short film. They toured nonstop throughout their career, reaching out to their fans, creating personal connections and lasting relationships. Plus, they had a recognizable brand that they stuck with. Sounds like key elements real estate practitioners can implement in their careers.
Check out the book, check out this video, and share your thoughts: How can you be more like the Grateful Dead of real estate?
The most popular marketing-related books this week from Amazon.com.
1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, Kindle Edition (MacMay, Apr 25, 2009) Originally published by The Ralston Society, 1937.
“Think and Grow Rich is a motivational book written by Napoleon Hill and inspired by a suggestion by Scottish-American billionaire Andrew Carnegie. It was published in 1937 during the Great Depression. At Andrew Carnegie’s bidding, Hill studied the characteristics of the high achievers from past and of his day and developed 15 “laws” of success intended to be applied by anybody to achieve success. Think and Grow Rich! condenses these laws further and provides the reader with 13 principles in the form of a philosophy of personal achievement.”
2. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell, Paperback (Back Bay Books, Jan 7, 2002)
“The premise of this facile piece of pop sociology has built-in appeal: little changes can have big effects; when small numbers of people start behaving differently, that behavior can ripple outward until a critical mass or “tipping point” is reached, changing the world. Gladwell’s thesis that ideas, products, messages and behaviors “spread just like viruses do” remains a metaphor as he follows the growth of “word-of-mouth epidemics” triggered with the help of three pivotal types. These are Connectors, sociable personalities who bring people together; Mavens, who like to pass along knowledge; and Salesmen, adept at persuading the unenlightened. (Paul Revere, for example, was a Maven and a Connector). ” –Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information Inc. Continue reading »
Branding is so much more than a fancy logo or catchy tagline, says Sandra Sellani, author of What’s Your BQ? (W Business Books, 2007). It’s the ability to get into your clients hearts and minds, rise above the competition, and get customers to want to pay more for your services. Find out if your brand makes the cut with Sellani’s 40-question BQ (Brand Quotient) Test, included in her book and online. Don’t worry about a low score. The rest of Sellani’s book is devoted to branding worksheets and case studies of 35 exemplary companies. Buy this Book
FROM THE BOOK: 5 STEPS TO A STRONG BRAND
Big budget or small, you can build a brand. Author Sandra Sellani offers some of the following tips in her book:
1. What’s your story? Having a memorable story can keep your brand in prospects’ minds. To find your story, list all of the ways you’re different from your competitors. Ask yourself: What am I doing that’s so unique? Who are my clients? Why do people use my services? Use your responses as the basis for all of your marketing materials, from your Web site to your listing presentation materials. Continue reading »
By Kelly Quigley, REALTOR® Magazine
May I Have Your Attention, Please? Build a Better Business By Telling Your True Story by Chris Hilicki (John Wiley & Sons, 2005)
Buy this book from Amazon.com.
Top brands go beyond logos and clever taglines; they connect with consumers on an emotional level. You may not realize it, but you already have everything you need to create such a brand, says author Chris Hilicki. Her introspective approach to brand-building requires you to draw from your life experiences, values, and beliefs as you create your public image. The overriding theme: Just be yourself. The book spends most of the time on the author’s personal stories, philosophies, and insights into branding case studies. But it also lays out the steps you must take and—questions you must answer—to build what she calls an “authentic” brand, albeit in a round-about way. “Your brand is everything that people think of when your name or image comes to mind,” Hilicki writes. “You build your best brand identities when you know your true foundation and learn to tell it in the right way.”
Tips From the Book:
- Make music part of your brand. Music can have an emotional impact on the way consumers think of you. By playing music, you can express yourself more honestly than you can do with words. Make your brand memorable by choosing music that communicates who you are and captures your spirit. Play that type of music in your lobby, when a caller is put on hold, and when you pick up clients in your car.
- Shower your customers with attention. There’s no substitute for face-to-face contact in order to establish, build, and protect your brand. Defy the trend toward electronic communication and be human—there’s nothing like the sensory feedback of personal interactions. Not only will your customers appreciate it, but the nonverbal cues noticed in personal contact are invaluable for the growth of a company and your brand.
- Being special isn’t good enough. The purpose of building your brand is to show that you or your company is special. But just being special isn’t enough; you must clearly demonstrate your core benefits to your customers and clients. Don’t just tell the customer about the services you offer; tell them about the unique benefits of those services and how all of their wants and needs will be fulfilled by your services.