Your story is WHY.

Companies tell stories. That, in a nutshell, is what marketing is. But what stories really resonate? Truth be told, the most compelling stories are typically those that illuminate the WHY – rather than explain the WHAT or HOW.

When Apple introduced the Apple II, the story wasn’t the WHAT or HOW. It was WHY: to bring personal computers to every home and office. That’s what made it a game-changer.

Similarly, the WHAT or HOW didn’t make the iPod, iPad or iPhone must-have devices. It was the WHY. Because these devices could transform the way people listened to music, utilized apps and the web, and generally connected with the world.

The political theorist Hannah Arendt once said: “Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.” This in many ways is the secret to marketing prowess. The ability to subtly reveal a product’s meaning – without beating consumers over the head with it – is what makes for effective marketing.

At Lessing-Flynn, a good number of our client-partners are ag manufacturers. These companies are innovators and pioneers who build products that change the way growers and ranchers go about their business.

It’s important that we explain WHAT a product is and HOW it works. But there is no story if we can’t say WHY … why it was made … why it’s important … why it’s worth it … why you need it.

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WHY speaks to what people really want: to be happier, more efficient, more productive and more profitable than they were yesterday. That’s WHY. That’s the real story of your company and products.

But what makes a great story?

Ira Glass, host of the TV and radio show This American Life, put it best when he said: “Great stories happen to those who can tell them.”

Way too many companies overlook this. Namely those companies that treat their websites like pieces of literature – with page after page explaining the WHO’s and WHERE’s. Those companies that use Twitter and Facebook to push self-absorbed news promoting the latest WHAT’s and HOW’s.

These companies disregard the great opportunity the digital world affords us all: the power to share quickly and effectively the WHY’s of the world. The WHY’s are the heart and soul of great stories. The WHY’s bring ideas and innovations to life, giving meaning to products and creating a sense of need and desire where none existed before.

The question is WHY do you do what you do? WHY are your products or services important? And WHY should anyone care? Answer those questions and you’re on your way to telling a great story.