How many times have you seen the movie Avatar?
I've seen it at least 10 times and I love it each time, even though I know the ending. Why? Because of the compelling nature of the Hero's Journey.
As you know the movie starts with Jake our "hero" once he’s been spat out by the world. The military have rejected him because he’s a cripple.
His journey starts with the death of his brother, when he is asked to travel for 4 years to Pandora to join their science program.
Jake is derided by the scientists because he is not one of them.
The head of the military “The Cornel” asks him to be an informant on the Na’vi, the indigenous tribe. Jake agrees as this is a way to be part of the only world that he knows. This is a way for him to be respected.
Jake’s first day in his Avatar body thrusts him into the heart of the Na’vi people which suddenly gives him importance in both of the human worlds he lives in, science and military.
The journey of learning the Na’vi way changes Jake. He doesn’t want to be a mindless soldier that’s paid to kill. He certainly isn’t a scientist. He is still a human controlling an Avatar body so he isn’t one of the Na’vi either. This creates an interesting character conflict because he is more “at home” in his Avatar body even though it isn’t real.
Jake is rejected by the military and Na’vi as they both believe that he has betrayed them. This forces Jake to take sides and to achieve the impossible by becoming the most respected warrior in the Na’vi culture, Toruk Makto.
So what does that have to do with product launches and making more sales in your business?
For a product launch to be effective you need to take your audience on the hero’s journey. You are the hero in the story. You are telling them where you started and how you discovered the secret (your product) that is going to help them change their life. Through the story you show your audience how the secret has changed your life (social proof) and that when they posses it they can enjoy the same success as you have.
For a story to be compelling, one event has to cause or trigger another. I’m sure you’ll agree that the most powerful trigger in life is pain. This is what forces you to see a doctor. You don’t just go for a chat when you are healthy.
So your launch story needs to show how a painful incident in your life sent you on a journey of discovery. This is where you build rapport with your audience because you are revealing something painful about your past. It could be a mistake that caused you to lose a lot of money. It could be your temper that broke your marriage. Whatever the reason it needs to be emotional. Something your audience would want to hide from the world.
Once your shocking story has grabbed your audiences attention, you need to lead them by the hand down the road of discovery. This is where you show the years of toil, the false starts and the moments when you wanted to quit… and you would if your circumstances were different. As you had no choice you kept moving forward until you discovered a secret. A secret that would change your life very quickly.
What people care about is the outcome so you must describe in detail the ways in which the secret has changed your life. If we go back to Avatar it is when Jake becomes Toruk Makto that he is able to make life better for all the Na’vi people.
Most people fail to describe the outcome in a meaningful way. They may say “I’m now richer” and leave the audience to fill in the blanks. But the reader is left thinking, what does richer mean? What they want to know is; will they have the money to buy the things they want. You know; cars, houses, holidays, clothes.
For the end of your story to drive sales you need to paint a picture of what this secret has given you. If it’s holidays then you need to say how many and where in the world. You need to show pictures for undeniable social proof.
So there are 3 points in our story or narrative arc.
Notice that I haven’t said:
What the secret is
The reason is that your prospective customer doesn’t really care. It’s easy to think that they do because that is what you are selling.
What they care about, and what they want, is the outcome. The reason why you need to tell the story of how the secret was discovered is that justifies the price. That also makes you unique in the market place because no one else has gone on the same journey of discovery as you have.
Imagine you are helping a friend move house. In the process you hurt your back.
If your back pain is cured with a couple of Nurofen then it’s not a very interesting story. No one is going to want to buy Nurofen from you because they can pick it up from their nearest supermarket.
But if you told the story of chronic back pain and how it stole the happiness from your life for several years; you are describing a problem that many people have.
If your pain relief journey takes you on the road of conventional medicine and drugs that knock you out then you are taking them by the hand through your journey of discovery. If this takes them from what they know and have tried (drugs, homeopathy, reflexology, physiotherapy) to something that they have never heard of. Then they will want to know what it is and if the outcome is exactly what they want, they will be desperate to get their hands on it.
Once your audience wants what you have then you can then tell them what it is and how they can get it.
So, if you want to stand out from the crowd then you need to tell your emotional story. If you want to make more sales then you need to tell your emotional story.
It is the Hero’s Journey that ends with the pot of gold that is the magic pill for unique positioning and more sales.
I hope this has shown you how you can use your life story to drive growth in your business.
In my next blog I’m going to show you how to make your brand story memorable. Until then…