What can storytelling do for your business? Learning about your customers’ stories and their journey is crucial to working out how you can be of value to them.
I was introduced to a business modeling system called The Business Model Canvas this week. Doesn’t sound very interesting does it? But once you start adding stories into it, it becomes a very powerful tool. How do you create value in your business? Hopefully you have an answer to this ready (put it in the comments below). But how do you know your service or product is what your customers are actually looking for?
Ludo Chapman from The Innovation Practice came along to Drive The Network’s December meeting at Allia Future Business Centre in Cambridge armed with a print out of The Business Model Canvas, some sticky notes and a story. It was so good, I’m going to tell the story to you.
Once there was a manufacturer who made the finest quality tools for builders. They had a sales team, a manufacturing plant, and they had a good reputation. But then they began facing competition, customers left, their margins got smaller and their revenue started peaking and troughing. They started asking how they could retain customers.
When they spoke to their customers they found out something surprising. The customers they thought they had weren’t actually their customers. They made tools for builders but it wasn’t the builders who bought them. When they asked the builders about their products and what they needed they heard stories about broken tools and how that led to delays on building jobs and financial penalties. They heard about what happened when builders arrived at jobs and the tools weren’t there. People told them the impact of their vans being broken into or when sites are burgled. Tales of setbacks.
They also discovered that the builders’ stories were part of their employers’ stories. It wasn’t the builders buying the tools, it was the companies who employed them. Tools could make the difference between a contract being a success or failure for a building firm. Those drills didn’t just build houses, they built reputations as well.
The manufacturer realised what their customer needed was reliability. To know they would have the right tools for the job wherever they were, when they were needed. Those stories helped them develop a new, profitable value proposition for their customers.