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Why Your New Year’s Resolution Should Be To Tell Better Stories

When was the last time you bought something solely because you needed it - in other words, your life would be dramatically impacted if you didn’t make the purchase.

Sorry, food does not count, especially since most of the food we consume is personal preference/enjoyment - not for pure survival.

I can’t think of anything in my life where it was an absolute necessity to buy said item. I am not saying there aren’t cases where one makes a buying decision based on extreme circumstances, but I am sure (or at least I hope) they are few and far between.

So why do we buy what we buy? Why do we settle for many of the decisions we make? And why do we even hang out with the people we hang out with? It is simple - we are drawn to their stories. They make us feel a particular way. Sure, some products/services make life easier, but at the end of the day, it is the feeling we get from our association with people and their life stories that play a part in many of our buying habits that keeps us coming back.

I was walking through Duluth Trading Company the other day, helping my dad pick out some clothes for work. After about 20 minutes of sorting through pants, shirts, and sweaters, a thought popped in my head - “why Duluth? Why not something cheaper?” We could have found the same type of clothing at other stores. But something about this retail store drew us in.

Go to any Duluth Trading store in the U.S., and it will feel like you are walking into a modern outdoorsman’s closet. It feels rugged, yet classy. Adventurous yet business-like. You could wear the same clothes chopping wood as you would to a family Christmas party.

What I quickly realized is, we weren’t buying the clothes (although they are excellent), we were buying their story. Duluth’s clothes certainly look good, but it was their consistent story across all marketing outlets that made us give up our well-earned money in exchange for their product.

The concept of telling a consistent story is usually a given for anyone starting up a business or trying to market one. Yet, it is difficult to be exceptional at it. It requires a real dedication to understand what your brand offers that others don’t, along with a willingness to stick by it no matter what. Telling a captivating story takes time. It can’t be achieved overnight and often takes more than a year to appropriately develop. It may require numerous repetitions for your story to become authentic to the consumer.

This is true even on a personal level. You are the CEO of your own life. Just like the leader of any business knows the ins and outs of their entire enterprise, you too must know precisely who you are. Once you have that figured out, then comes the hard work of staying the course and not wavering from your brand.

So, whether you are the head honcho of a business or someone just wanting to make an impact in the world, you have to start by telling a good story. When you make storytelling your emphasis, you will see numerous other things change for the better.

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