Want to Engage Customers? Do Something that Matters

For years, there had been a very suffocating preconceived notion that if you have a social mission, you are not allowed to make profit.  And, if you exist to make profit, it is not logical to waste your time and resources on the social missions.  It had been assumed that customer satisfaction is more likely to come only from actual product or service and less likely to come from any other social mission.  And, due to this preconceived notion, people were expected to keep their deep sense of purpose away from their business; and, assume that combining both these might complicate and undermine both.  When someone tried to combine the both, people would accuse them for exploiting social mission for making money. 

Now, it is wonderful to see this preconceived notion breaking down with the force of the touching stories of social entrepreneurs.  Today, it seems comparatively normal for an entrepreneur to aspire to have deep lasting impact on the world, at the same time, having a desire to make profit.  When your idea of a service or product is for something that matters, has a meaningful touching story that engages customers, and conveys a deep sense of purpose, it might catch a lot of customers' attention.  They tell their friends who will tell their friends and so on, and your story goes viral.  The new media technology provides the boosts and enables the spread of your story.  And, in turn, your customers may join the movement to be the part of a compelling story. Very basic types of internet or social media market research may be helpful for you to understand potential of your story to go viral.

This video is an example of a compelling story. It is about TOMS. TOMS is a fast growing shoe manufacturer and retailer. Their story is very simple: if you buy a pair of shoes from TOMS, they will give away another pair of similar shoes to a child in the developing world who otherwise might not be able to afford the shoes. The story was spread by people who wanted to be a part of the story.  As a result, it has taken the internet by storm!  They are able to market high numbers of shoes with very constrained marketing budget, and customers are providing a positive feedback by spreading good words around.

In his very inspiring book Start Something That Matters, Blake Mycoskie, Chief Shoe Giver, TOMS emphasize the importance of compelling stories to engage customers; according to him, “stories resonate more than facts.”  From the book, I learned following simple steps for using the compelling stories to engage customers; internet or social media market research can play an important role at all three steps. 
  1. Find your own meaningful story, tell it to the world and share it with everyone you can
  2. Find story partners and carefully manage your online story
  3. Find the influence makers who will love your story and be specific
Do you have an engaging and meaningful story? Are you ready to tell it to the world? Are you looking for story partners and influence makers?
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