Marketers spend huge amounts of effort and money trying to define the problems they solve for their customers and potential customers. Often they fail simply because they do not understand their customers motivations sufficiently well, or they are overwhelmed by the great, world beating features the engineers have built in.

Customers do not care about your features, they only care about the outcomes for them that come with use.

There is a process that leads from the prospect being identified through to the initial transaction, then the development of a mutually beneficial relationship

At each point in that journey, in order to build the relationship, marketers have learnt that stories are by far the best way to go about it.

There appears to be three types of stories, and these are prevalent not just in marketing, but everywhere we look that stories are told. Books, movies, the theatre, and even advertisements.

External: These are the superficial obvious pieces of the narrative, but do not go to the heart of  the reasons why things are happening. The role the external story plays is that it provides the context for the real messages being delivered.

Internal: The internal parts of a story is usually all about how the protagonists feel about themselves, and those with whom they interact, how they behave under different circumstances.

Philosophical: This about the basic motivators of human behaviour, and the roles being played. Good vs Evil, Envy vs generosity,  Us vs Them, and Right Vs Wrong.

Consider the original Star Wars movie. The external story is about the development of Luke from a boy to a trainee Jedi, and the trials that are encountered as he and his acquired companions try to keep out of the clutches of the Empire.

The Internal story is about the angst and confusion felt by a boy suddenly thrust into a strange world that is trying to kill him and his companions.

The philosophical story is about the battle between good and evil, which comes to a head in the climatic fight scene.

When considering the elements that make up your brand story, remember that customers buy solutions to internal and philosophical problems, not the external ones, as they do not really matter beyond a question of price.

In other words, do not bother selling the features, sell the beneficial outcomes of use.

This works for simple products as well as it does for a complex one.

One of my clients provides a specialist engineering service to large scale manufacturing plants and infrastructure. The external story is that they do a really great job in a potentially dangerous and  highly regulated area. The internal story is about the absolute confidence that clients can have in the technical and project management skills they deliver. The philosophical story is about the need to retain some of these key skills in Australia, as once gone, like the Tassie tiger, will not come back, and the impact of that is long term and painful to us all.