Cookies and Fortunes

Have you read any of the writing and ideas by BernadetteJiwa? She writes an insightful blog called The Story of Telling. 

I learned about her work through an interview she did on a marketing podcast several months ago. Her thinking intrigued me and Seth Godin recommended her book. Bernadette speaks with clear intention and tells wonderful stories illustrating important marketing lessons. This book has 20 key ideas and insights to help you establish a framework for your brand. And best of all, there is a real fortune of wisdom inside. 

I read The Fortune Cookie Principle on my last trip home from California. It is a small book bursting with a core idea that is simple yet profound.  Marketers (and companies in general) are so hung up on selling the features of the cookie that they are forgetting to market the magic of their fortune. Think of a fortune cookie. It doesn’t taste particularly good but what we are excited about is the fortune inside.

Marketing, when done right is that fortune. It’s the link that emotionally connects and binds us to a brand or a product. It is the activity that goes beyond the description of function and takes you toward emotional connection. 

"People don't buy ideas. They buy into how an idea makes them feel."

One of my favorite examples in the book is the story of the humble shopping cart. Mr. Goldman, some 75 years ago had a grocery store in Oklahoma. He noticed that people had a problem carrying their groceries in their hands and he figured if he could help them, they might actually buy more groceries and have a better experience.

Who invented the shopping cart? 
So he crafted a little makeshift trolley with a basket and then had a local manufacturer make 100 of them for his store.  And what happened, people hated them. They thought that the cart made men feel inadequate and women were already busy pushing baby carriages around. Only older people were using them giving everyone the impression they weren’t for them.

So Mr. Goldman  had an idea. He hired men and woman in their 20’s and 30’s to walk around the store using the cart. When a new customer came in, he said, would you like to use one of our new shopping carts, everyone else is? And the rest is history. The marketing idea of having models use the cart was the catalyst to acceptance. 

Jiwa explains how the masters of marketing like Steve Jobs understood that people didn’t care about the computer power of his machines, they wanted to be part of the community he described in his ads. Whenever I read this, I know I want to join his tribe.

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Pick up a copy of Bernadette's wonderful book. It may help you find your fortune.


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