There’s one thing every marketer and business owner should know - great stories about your product or service will increase sales. Storytelling forms a bond between brands and customers. It’s so powerful that it taps into humans and their emotions. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, divided the means of persuasion, appeals, into three categories - the most substantial being pathos because of its emotional appeal. An appeal to pathos causes an audience not just to respond emotionally but to identify with the writer’s point of view - to feel what the writer feels. The power with which the writer’s message moves the audience will guide their decision or action. Both social media marketing and reputation management have a lot to do with pathos.
We came across a story titled “L.L. Bean: The importance of relationships in CRM and social in CSR” on BrianSolis.com. We felt that we had to supplement the post because of its emotional appeal to so many people. The story starts when Steven Gadecki receives an L.L. Bean backpack for Christmas one year. He knew little about the backpack at the time but was now part of a powerful CRM cycle that drove the next 15+ years of his life.
Before tossing the decrepit backpack in the trash, Steve decided to send a letter to L.L. Bean about the great experiences - hiking 104 mountains to name a one - he had with his companion. He also included the backpack in the package.
Two months later, L.L. Bean wrote back saying that they appreciated the letter and were going to include the backpack into the official archives at the company headquarters. How cool is that?! Steve goes on to say, “I was happy that it had a ‘final resting spot’ and found out later that the archive is a serious deal which actually houses the founder’s boots.” Steve’s story, picture, and backpack had resonated so much within their walls that they wanted to include him in their national ad campaign for the 100-year anniversary.
He went on to film a mini documentary with several interviews and shots of him hiking throughout the forest. The feedback he’s received has been extremely humbling for him; he even wrote letters to Jimmy Carter and Habitat for Humanity asking them to formally thank L.L. Bean for their corporate responsibility. Lastly, he has been selected, along with 17 others, to test gear for the company for the next year.
Remember, this all happened when Steve had a great experience with a product and decided to write a thank you letter to L.L. Bean. If I could pick any word to describe this great story, it would be relationship. People everywhere care more about the human side of the company than the actual product or service itself. SMBs should remember to always treat their customers as their first and to always keep this story in the back of their mind.