How Patagonia proves the power of story

Executives often aren’t convinced that stories can sell products on their own, but the apparel company’s example proves otherwise.

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The situation below is completely true and yet completely fiction:

You’re on one side of a quickly Windexed boardroom table. You had accepted the offer for coffee when you arrived, and it is half-full now, cold, sitting in front of you. Across from you are three to five people. These people are your potential clients. They fit the archetypes you know from being in boardroom situations. There is the boss who makes the final decision, the executive who read some marketing articles that morning in Fast Company, the naysayer who will not like any ideas (including his own) and the overworked person who will be tasked with implementing everything you are pitching.

They stare at you cow-eyed while you run through your vision. They look at your proposal numbers. The executive smiles slightly.

“So where does this all start?” says the boss.

“It starts with establishing your story,” you say. “Your brand needs a personality. It must be compelling. It must have vision and inspire others to do something greater.”

You know this because the kinds of brands who would call on you would only do so if they wanted to create vision. You can see, perhaps better than they can in this moment, there is something more behind what they want to achieve.

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