If you heard that a certain type of fox is endangered, would you be moved to
How about if you heard that a mama fox was trying to keep herself and her
litter safe as their forest disappears?
Now that's different. There's a story there with actual individuals being
Such was the storyline for a campaign by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF),
which told a universal tale of survival to communicate about the kit fox
problem in Northern California.
Information in the context of a story is dramatically more compelling than
straight facts. Yet, many nonprofits fail to tell stories to illustrate their
challenges and successful outcomes.
"If you look at the web sites of fifty small nonprofits, you would be
hard-pressed to find written stories or pictures that tell a story," says
Katya Andresen, author of Robin Hood Marketing and Chief Operating Officer,
I have a not-quite-two-year-old, and thus, spend a lot of time reading
nursery rhymes and fairly tales.
Most of these catchy or intriguing little stories pre-date our
great-great-grandparents, but the lessons are still valid today.
Take the story of the Ugly Duckling, a tale released by Hans Christian
Andersen in 1843. The ugly duckling, which was mocked when young, grew up to
be the most beautiful swan of them all.
In the case study world, non-public customer stories are perceived as an ugly
duckling of what we do. When you can't post it on your website, spin it into
a pr... (more)
If asked, will customers submit themselves as possible case study or success
From consumer-products companies to B2B to nonprofit organizations, many now
actively solicit stories with self-service “Share Your Story” links on
their Web sites. Apple created a link for this soon after the release of its
wildly popular iPhone. FileMaker software includes a link to “Tell us your
Girl Scouts of the USA asks former members to share their experiences for its
alumnae program. And Toyota Motor Sales gather owners' stories and gets usage
permission through an o... (more)
I'm a big proponent of what I call "win-win storytelling" in customer case
studies and success stories. The company creating the customer story has to
benefit, as does the featured customer.
The key - especially for landing big-name customers for customer stories - is
finding what motivates each customer (on an individual, departmental or
company level). Simply reminding the customer they receive free publicity may
not be enough.
In just the past two weeks, I've worked on several stories with interesting
customer motivators behind them:
- A civil engineer is enthusiastic a... (more)
Several times a week, an appeal for funds from a charity (or alma mater)
arrives in my mailbox or inbox. The same organizations contact me over and
It’s annoying, but if they don’t ask for contributions, they usually
don’t get them.
That’s just how it works. We have too much going through our heads. If
you’re in an asking position, you have to be in the audience’s line of
sight often if you hope to get a response.
The same goes for the quest for case study or success story candidates and
reference customers. Marketing and reference managers are constantly looking
for ste... (more)